Courtney S. Barr

Welcome to My Kingdom!
Join me, the Princess, on my Royal Adventures in the Land of Writing!

Friday, March 29, 2013

Do you Write as an Outlaw or to Survive?

“Writing is a form of personal freedom. It frees us from the mass identity we see in the making all around us. In the end, writers will not write to be outlaw heroes of some underculture, but mainly to save themselves, to survive as individuals.”
-Don Delillo
I never thought of myself as an outlaw. But then again I often find myself trying to skirt boundaries, so it may not be a stretch at times. No, really, the truth is in the freedom.
I write because I cannot help it. It is a being trapped inside me that is eager to share its ideas, stories, nightmares… I dream vividly. I always have. I don’t think there is a part of my brain that would let me not dream in story form; so many of my characters began/begin in dreams. I see faces in my dreams – and no they are not family members or people I know. There have been times that my scientific friends tell me it is people I see on the street, yes it’s very possible, but I often like to think that they are truly organic -that my imagination is mine alone to share.
That is where I am the outlaw. My characters definitely don’t play by the rules. They are often obstinate, difficult, exasperating, hilarious and terrifying. They surprise me as well. Just today I was thinking of one of my female “friends”, she is in a state of shock and turmoil; a state where she should be falling apart yet resolution came to me swift. She will make it through this; I won’t have to tell her goodbye. That is wonderful. There are others though who skirt the rules and I have to watch them go. They are the outlaws, pushing their limits, losing their minds but they have a purpose, they have a reason and freedom is often the lead cause.
I write to survive. I write to see if the outlaws survive. I write because their stories, no matter if they are big or small within the context, are important and to ignore their stories is to create my own personal prison, where lockdown is madness and there is no recreational time. So yes freedom from mass identity, from personal prisons, from madness…it is all avoided so that survival is first and foremost in my mind each morning.
I write because I must.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013


Springtime is the land awakening. The March winds are the morning yawn.
-Lewis Grizzard
That is one powerful yawn this year…
Spring began last week. Yep, you read that right. I know, I know you don’t believe me, well I was pretty sure it was still January too until I realized Easter was this coming up weekend. Peter Cottontail better be careful, those Reese’s commercials where the bunny ears and booty of the chocolate rabbit ‘disappear’ might be attributed to frostbite rather than small, excessively excited hungry egg hunters.
Don’t get me wrong the sky outside my window is lovely; a beautiful, bright blue with cotton candy clouds and the soft glow of sunshine filtering through. Yet when the door opens and the air rushes into the room the perception alters…biting cold breeze, chilling air thrusting around your face, you imagine dead trees, gray clouds and dull monochromatic color schemes. My cheeks sting with the pinch of wintry fingers and I am afraid that sighing will give way to frostbitten tonsils.
Yeah, that yawn might need to just hurry up and close its trap before a frozen bumblebee slips in to sting it all the way into summer.
Cold weather or not, the season really is upon us. I have open toed sandals dying to be loved. Flirty dresses that want to sway in the breeze and lungs that dream to breathe air in one swift movement rather cough every half second.
So today I am just popping in, begrudging the weather a bit and sending happy Spring vibes out to the world. It will be lovely again soon…I know it. IT MUST!
Happy Tuesday! Have some fun blog hopping today:

Friday, March 22, 2013

Focus - do you struggle as well?

“It’s not what’s happening to you now or what has happened in your past that determines who you become. Rather, it’s your decisions about what to focus on, what things mean to you, and what you’re going to do about them that will determine your ultimate destiny.”

-Anthony Robbins


Yes. Focus.

We hear this from the get go. We must focus on the task at hand. What we don’t often hear or process is which task truly deserves my focus?What we choose to do with our time. The selection of the task is such an important thing, that the moment that we discover perhaps another task would be better or that we should shift our focus we find it easy to get a little lost. When a task is complete, yes that feeling of accomplishment is phenomenal but then we are met with that beginning question all over again. Each time the question leads us into the direction that determines who we are.

I often focus on the wrong thing, then have to turn re-evaluate what means the most to me. I over analyze and question myself too often. My decision of focusing on things that are mundane can be devastating. I feel like I’ve lost time, I’ve wasted opportunities, and that I’ve let myself down. I see those signs that say to “make each moment count” and for a fleeting moment I feel like I messed up & my moments become worthless.

As a Type A/Creative person this is beyond annoying. I cannot explain the frustration with wanting to focus, complete the task all the while this huge part of me that relishes creative freedom tells me to just relax and let it all go. What a war my own mind wages daily…comical if you relish the highly confused, over organized, lackadaisical writer.

However, just recently I took one of those moments to focus on “focusing”. I pondered how I often get sidetracked, how I allow self-doubt to slip in and how I know that I have every bit within me to accomplish my dreams and I found something…You see making each moment count is great, but really, my newest epiphany is that for me it’s the fact that I must accept that each moment of my life is inherently valuable. I don’t need to focus on making each moment count, they already matter. I just need to remember that focus as a verb is one exceptional word: (of a person or their eyes) Adapt to the prevailing level of light and become able to see clearly.

So long as I adapt to see clearly, then my focus is spot on.

Monday, March 18, 2013

TOP 10 MOVIE BLOGFEST...a little late but still loving the challenge...

Okay, I am a bit late to this party, but what a shindig to swing by!  Alex Cavanaugh is hosting the most awesome blog hop!!!
So my top ten…really? Just 10? In all honesty this list is a summary of the ones that cling to my frontal lobe at all times, but others sneak in here often, so if asked again at a later date you may find substitutions…Oh and I won’t apologize for my weird and eclectic list purely because the hodgepodge is me from top to bottom. ;)

1)      High Society – Grace Kelly, Bing Crosby, Frank Sinatra & Louis Armstrong. My old soul says “enough said” after that cast list. But it is more than the beautiful faces & voices of this cast. The glamour in this movie is stunning and the love triangle one for the ages of writerly romances.
2)      Empire Records – The cast is one of misfits unlike any other. They are quirky, weird, unique and altogether perfectly combined. Its storylines are very teen angst but the setting of a record store, the kind that are beyond few & far between these days, is the perfect backdrop for rebellious attitudes against “the man”. Considering the fate of record stores, it may evoke melancholy outlooks, bewarned.
3)      Emma – Gwyneth Paltrow is by far one perfect player for this matchmaker of doom role. The classic story is funny, sad, and worth every minute. The landscape is gorgeous and the costumes are lovely.
4)      EASY A – The references to classic romances Can’t Buy Me Love, Say Anything, Sixteen Candles or the Breakfast club alone have this one in my top 10. Emma Stone however delivers a snarky teen with morals, opinions and charisma in a way that I thought was lost amongst young actors today. Stanley Tucci as her father is refreshing and to see Lisa Kudrow as such a “villain” (if adultress chlamydia wielding makes you a villain) is quite entertaining.
5)      The Usual Suspects – Set aside a couple hours and just watch it.
6)      The Parent Trap – Original with Haley Mills – first of all the split screen for the capture of the twins, Disney magic at the time, is awesome. But there is a sweetness to this movie within all the mischief that evokes childhood days of outside, laughter with my siblings and the idea that parents sometimes do need to listen to their kids.
7)      McClintock – John Wayne, the wonderful Maureen O’hara (she’s fantastic as the Bostonian matron no matter what movie) deliver quips, laughs, shocks and utter fun in this western comedy. John Wayne’s tough demeanor is breathtaking when the façade slips as he speaks to his daughter about what she will inherit one day.  A must watch.
8)      Troy – I know, I know, Brad Pitt, shirtless, half naked – it should be the only reason, but honestly it isn’t why I love it. I love this movie because when I watch it I don’t see Brad Pitt, I see Achilles in all his tragic glory. I see this movie and I believe it is what happened. For a war movie with mythical implications of strength and bravery, that is saying a great deal in my book.
9)       That Darn Cat – (original 1965 version) yep. You read that correctly. Disney made this one based on a lovely cat caper book series and well something about this one has me giggling every time I watch it.  Dean Jones had one heck of a contract with Disney and this one had to have been a doozy. He is hilarious as the FBI Agent dealing with a cat as an informant. Animals are not expressed to be easy to work with in Hollywood and I imagine cats top that list. However Disney did quite a few feline movies, so hats off to the days of cat wrangling.
I had to make 10 a 3 way tie…these three just won’t let me select just one:
10)   North by Northwest (1959) – Cary Grant carries me off every time I watch this one. The simple story of mistaken identity is taken to a level only Hitchcock could do so effortlessly.
10b) The Princess Bride – As a young aspiring writer there is nothing like this fairytale to bring all fairytales to life. The cast aides in creating a world that little girls dream of being the princess within and the tale ends as though the last seconds of your dream are just slipping away. I love this movie. The costumes, the sets, the hilarity, the twists and some of the best lines of all time.

10c) Super 8 – it has been a long time since I went to the theater to watch a SciFi/possibly horror-esque movie. This one teased me enough to have me wanting to go at midnight. Alas I went at 8 p.m. on the opening day and went I stepped out of the theater I was grinning from ear to ear. I loved the cinematography, the acting was superb and the suspense was perfect.  JJ Abrams, well done.
So there we have it. My list. It is ever evolving but these ring true as top faves.

Thanks for visiting; I hope I gave you some new redbox/Netflix/amazon prime selections to add to your queue. If not, ah, well to each his own.


So long as a person is capable of self-renewal, they are a living being.

-Henri Frederic Amiel


How satisfying to know that I am a living being.

My dreaming self has been in turmoil for the past few months. At night I find my mind has deep crevices of ideas, desires, nightmares and untruths. You see a very sneaky self-doubt has continued to creep into my current state of mind.

However for the past few weeks I have been on a trek, a journey, a walk where renewal is the theme. I am working on being a better Courtney; a woman who finds relief in the simplest aspect of life & realizes that the mundane is unimportant. Mundane must not be taken lightly. It is a term that can be used to reference the earthly part of our existence – lacking in spiritual depth. I don’t want to be that writer. The spiritual side of me, no matter what your beliefs, is what has kept me above the water’s surface rather than just treading it.

Faith has been a consistent topic on my blog in the past and it is because I am strong within it. I am not Catholic but I do choose to participate in Lent every year. It is purely because I feel that self-exploration and acknowledgement of habits/vices/addictions is healthy.  My “fast” this year is a bit odd and has definitely met the challenging aspect of Lent. I gave up two things: caffeine & cursing. Sadly for your Royal Writer over here, the cursing is the hardest. You just don’t realize how often those horrible words feel the need to escape into the air. They appear to be trapped “beings” within you and when they are free they elicit a shiver of excitement. Yet they don’t earn any awards or accolades or honest smiles from those around you. Granted I do feel there have been some instances where words of the vulgar manner seem to be the best responses, yet I have refrained. Faith has kept me on my path; the knowledge that the journey is worth it – a journey in which I am renewing the woman from the inside out. Even though dark, doubting thoughts try to get me to stray. They try to make me give up.

You see I lost my way again, I really need a map. I lost my moment of clarity and decision. In all honesty, I let it slip away; I allowed my inner being to become something that I no longer see as healthy or beneficial to my dreams & goals. Self-Doubt has held court for too long. It is as though my Royal Advisor has been talking truth but instead I have been listening to my nemesis’ lies.

So today I return to this wonderful world that has always welcomed me with open arms. I am a living being, capable of self-renewal, capable of believing in her talents, capable of using her strengths, capable of selecting what is best, what is silly, what is useful, what is important and what is pure fun. The map I need is really right here. It resides in this place of renewal, in this path of light; where self-doubt is banished by the knowledge that faith will lead me home.