Tag Archives: creative

Keep Going

By Tray Taylor
IG: @allusiontoreality

I researched a lot before I created this website.

There were common repetitive things that I kept stumbling upon that revolved around consistency, endurance, and don’t aim for perfection when posting.

Since going into hybrid mode with work, I haven’t been able to keep up with my original goals that I set to keep. So, I have to admit it may be time to adjust with how often I produce posts – at least for now

Instead of a couple of times a week, it may only be once a week that I can manage to write something to share with you all. Writing is my true passion, and it is what brings me joy. I won’t let responsibilities of growing older hinder the goals I have set out for this website, and myself.

The other thing is, my creative tank has also been closer to zero percent, but I think that has more to do with the grey skies of winter. I write this all in hopes that whoever reads this, if you’ve been feeling a similar sort of way – that you aren’t alone.

And I’ll leave you all with a song that can sum up how my feelings have been feeling lately:

What song have you had on repeat lately that’s been getting you through the days?

Dusting Off the Bookshelf

By Tray Taylor
IG: @allusiontoreality

The tale is in the title this time. 

I was trying my best to hold off on buying new books because my bookshelf is overflowing (as it darn well should be since I am a writer & a librarian). The problem is I haven’t read some (several) of those books or I never really intend on reading them more than once. 

So, this past weekend I went through my main bookshelf and made three piles:

+books to give away
+books to read & then give away
+books to FINALLY read & put back on the shelf. 

This activity in itself made me feel accomplished (it really is the little things in 2020).

Especially because I was not only letting go, but I was dusting off a shelf that really needed it (I forget that adulting means you actually have to dust your apartment). 

Anyway, it put me in the mood to revisit older songs that I adore, but haven’t listened to in awhile. 

Sometimes revisiting the past through music can help us to appreciate where we are in the present. 

1.Atlantic City – Bruce Springsteen


One may think because I am from NJ I would follow suit in loving Bruce Springsteen. Truth is, I was a bit of a music snob that took pride in being someone that didn’t enjoy his music at all. Then one day someone told me, even if you don’t like his music – do yourself a favor and listen to the album Nebraska. It’s now one of my favorite albums and this is one of my favorite songs. If I had to only live with 10 albums for the rest of my life Nebraska would make the list. If you find yourself hesitant about Springsteen’s music like I once was, I will give you the same advice someone once gave me – listen to Nebraska.

2.The Wheel – Grateful Dead


If you’ve read any of my previous posts you know I mentioned my love for the 60s and 70s culture. I grew up a kid truly obsessed with the music and wanting to know everything about the time period. Right out of high school I went to my first Phil Lesh show – which was followed by a handful of Bob Weir, Furthur, and The Dead shows. I remember the first time I heard The Wheel live – I know jam band music isn’t for everyone, but it’s a different experience hearing it in person. At those shows I really felt like I was getting to experience a bit of a decade I wasn’t alive to live through. And oh what long and strange trips they were…

3.Try (Just a Little Bit Harder) – Janis Joplin


I’ve been listening to Janis a lot lately and dusting off my vinyl records. She’s been a favorite of mine since I was younger- I was always fascinated by her. If you really take the time to listen to this song it embodies all of the power that is Janis Joplin. The energy and the voice is all jam packed into this one song. A woman that was an icon of her time, and certainly doesn’t get the recognition she deserves compared to the men in her era.

4.For Once in My Life – Stevie Wonder


What other artist has the ability of connecting people through music better than Stevie Wonder? This song is one of my favorite Stevie songs, and it just sort of has the ability to get you out of your seat & sing along. I’ll never forget the time he did a surprise free concert in Philly (and ya’ll wonder why I talk about why I have such a love for that city…). It was right when I got back from my 25th solo birthday trip from Seattle, it felt like an extended birthday gift. I walked from my place in South Philly to Dilworth Park and got myself a seat on the lawn not too far from the stage. Stevie Wonder is timeless, and that is one concert I will never ever forget.

5.Walkin’ The Boogie – Memphis Slim


If this song doesn’t leave you speechless, I’m not sure what to say about your musical ear. I discovered Memphis Slim this year when I was trying to discover new music (for myself). This is a standout song and after you’ve listened to this – I encourage you to check out more of his music. Memphis Slim’s depiction of Blues music is like a stellar painting heard through sound.

6.Green River – Creedence Clearwater Revival


Oh CCR how I’ve adored this band for so long – I went through a phase of only listening to CCR for a bit and wanting to listen to their entire discography. Green River was the song that always stuck out for me because of how upbeat it is. Honestly, I don’t think I knew (and still don’t fully know) what the lyrics were other than when he sings “Green River”. The instrumentals are my favorite though, and even as I relisten to this song now – I realize how quickly it puts me in a good mood, and why it was always a favorite.

7.Voodoo Woman – Koko Taylor


Thanks to a new vinyl subscription I received as a gift this year, I discovered this incredible woman. Her voice will blow you away, it is absolutely astonishing. Koko Taylor, who was sometimes called “Queen of the Blues”, is one person you need to add to your playlist…right now. If you take nothing else from this post today, add any one of her songs (although I recommend this one) to a playlist. Sometimes people wonder how can you “feel” music? Listen to her sing, if that doesn’t “feel” like you’re “feeling” something outside of yourself…check your pulse.

8.Wild World – Cat Stevens


Does anyone remember Myspace? This song was on my page for the longest time. I was young and angsty with a whole life ahead of me. At the time this song meant something completely different to me, and it’s funny to even think what my world of problems were as a teenager. Not to mention how very real they felt at the time. Now, I think I just listen to this song and appreciate the life I have lived so far as well as the many years ahead of me.

An Ode to Mary Oliver

by Tray Taylor
IG: @allusiontoreality


Poetry has always held a special place in my heart. 

Somewhere out there exists a notebook of poetry that I wrote in middle school. I’m pretty sure in one of those poems  I compared the crush I had on my middle school boyfriend to having a vanilla ice cream cone with rainbow sprinkles on a hot summer day (I was so deeply poetic then…).

Mary Oliver has always been one of my favorite poets and I think from the moment I first read her words, I felt some sort of connection to her (I’ve always loved when writers can somehow make their readers feel connected to them as if we’re long lost friends through their writings.).

2020 has me reading her poetry more and more – yearning to be inspired, but also to feel comfort. As I was searching through her words earlier this week, I stumbled upon these lines:

“The most regretful  people on earth are those who felt the call to creative work, who felt their own creative power restive and uprising, and gave to it neither power nor time.” – Mary Oliver

Those words did two things for me

  1. Hit me like a ton of bricks
  2. Forced me into deep thought and consideration that it is my duty to myself to keep pursuing writing. To keep striving for plan A, not settling for plan B. 

The time is now, because life is happening NOW. 

So, lately I’ve been trying to keep the fire of inspiration lit in a few different ways:

  • Weekly Goal Lists (sometimes I accomplish half, sometimes only a few – but it’s been holding me accountable)
  • Lighting candles that smell like my favorite wintery smells (pine trees, apple cinnamon, sugar cookie, etc…)
  • Stretching every morning (okay okay this is mostly to keep my back from collapsing completely…but it is helping my overall mood)
  • Reading more (I am a reader, even when I had loads of graduate homework  – it was my favorite way to procrastinate. But, my to-read pile has been getting higher and higher. So, it’s been a nice reminder that reading can be beneficial in many ways.)
  • Cooking soup (this may sound odd, but I have been on a soup cooking spree lately. It’s been both delicious and inspirational – also the warmest of food hugs.)

This year has been one like any other, and it is hard to believe we are in December already. I just hope through all the muck, you are able to find a sense of inspiration in any which way that is a right fit for you. 


As the famous Mary Oliver line goes, “what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?”

Let it Rain into Self-Motivation

by Tray Taylor
IG: @allusiontoreality

Whenever it rains, especially for consecutive days – I always wish I was living in Seattle. I sometimes ponder to myself, if I have to deal with rainy days – why can’t it be in my favorite city?

I have had a thing for Seattle since my pre-teen years, and I don’t really know where the origin of my love for the city came from (I’ve only visited once, and this was way after I self declared it as my favorite city).

I do know my love for the city increased once Grey’s Anatomy premiered when I was in middle school (Yes my Sundays and Thursdays were once dedicated to that show & nothing else. No I don’t still watch, I stopped after Sandra Oh left the show). 

*The above photos are from the ONE and ONLY trip I have ever taken to Seattle. (yes, it was a spontaneous trip that I booked last minute, solo for my 25th birthday.)*

The truth is, I have been in a “anywhere but here” mindset lately – as I assume many of us may be. It has made it easier to lose sight of what I can be doing to take care of myself and my own well being.

So this week, with intention, I made a list of goals (I love lists, I am guilty of that). 

At the end of my list, I wrote a reminder to myself: If you stay focused, and get it done – you will find success. Easier said/written than done? Sure.

However, “success” is how YOU define it – and for me success is accomplishing what I want to get done to build towards my future self. As if I am investing in my future self – that to me is success.

Do lists work for you? Have you ever tried making a list- whether it is 2,3,5, or 10 things?

Need an example of a few things? (I’ll share a few that were on mine – I only wrote about 8 things) Don’t be afraid to start small, sometimes creating larger lists sets us up for disappointment, instead of “success”. 

A few off of my list: 

-Cook a comforting meal
-Work on manuscript for book
-Create more art/paintings 
-Schedule daily time to exercise (like, two days)
-Submit more writings for publication 

Crossed off the cooking a comforting meal off of my list last night. I love making chili this time of year, and it always has to spicy. As most things need to be that I eat.

Try it, make a list, and see if it works. Maybe it won’t, but at least you can say you tried. 

And to end this rainy day post.. I’ll leave you with a song that I’ve had on repeat for the majority of this week…

Turn Up The Volume

By Tray Taylor
IG: @allusiontoreality

I tried my best to keep to writing two to three times a week, but life has a funny way of ruining that routine. My goal is to continue on with posting as many times as originally planned, and not allow certain things to get in the way of what makes me happy. Which is writing.

The way things have been going recently, I thought it was best to share another music post. Lately, music and true crime podcasts have been my short head-phone getaway from reality.

So, here a few songs I’d like to share with ya’ll

1. I Remember Her – Ingrid Michaelson

The first time I listened to this song was after my Mom-Mom passed in 2016. She was my rock. I drove down from Philly to visit her and slept overnight in the hospital two nights in a row because I didn’t want her to be alone. When times are tough, I long to be able to give her a call. Since I can’t, I turn to music that reminds me of her to give me a sense of comfort. Songs that comfort us, and remind us of loved ones that are no longer here are so important.

2. Cruel to be Kind – Letters to Cleo

Oh my love for 10 Things I Hate About You – I love the movie and I love the soundtrack. Whenever I hear this song I find it nearly impossible to be in a bad mood. The lines from this movie are timeless. Tell me, can you ever just be…whelmed?

3. Turn Your Lights Down Low – Ms. Lauryn Hill feat. Bob Marley

This song is exquisite AND beautiful. Their two voices balance each other so well even if it is digitally done. If this song was a scene in nature it would be a field of colorful wild flowers set against a vibrant lilac tangerine sky. I needed to listen to this song a few times on repeat to mellow myself out over the past month.

4. Glenn Miller Medley – Judy Garland and Martha Raye

Most people don’t know, but I am a huge Glenn Miller fan. I also have a bit of a soft spot for the classic Gay Icon, Judy Garland. Combining the two just brings me flutters of Gay bliss. If you didn’t know this song existed, and you’re a fan of either – I highly recommend it.

5. Sunshine – Johnathan Edwards

The first time I heard this song I was living in Philly and it was right after I pulled myself out of deep dark rock bottom. I would listen to it frequently just to pep myself up and remind myself there is a bright future ahead. If this doesn’t do that for you, did this remind you of a song that does? Go seek that song out and listen – now.

6. My Chemical Romance

Full disclosure, I thought I was too cool to listen to or like My Chemical Romance when they first came out (I know, lame). However, fun fact – my Dad was and still is a huge MCR fan. It is because of him that I know their albums from start to finish after the many times of riding around with him and their music would be ALWAYS be on in his car. For some reason, I have been playing their songs on full volume lately and it has been centering me more than anything else has been able to. The truth is, I’m not okay (pun may or may not be intended).

7. Effect and Cause – The White Stripes

I hated the White Stripes until a college boyfriend (yes, this was before I came out…. and just a note that relationship taught me a lot about myself. He is a great guy and I will forever be grateful for the bond we did have.) broke down for me the raw talent of both Jack and Meg. I will say it took weeks of convincing though. This is the one song that still sticks with me because of the line, “you can’t take the effect and make it the cause, I didn’t rob a bank because you made up the law.”

8. Got ‘Til It’s Gone – Janet Jackson (Q-Tip, Joni Mitchell)

When I saw Janet perform this (honestly her whole set was flawless) in Vegas over a year ago, my mind was blown. She is a performer in all sense of the word. This song is a true bop and what we all need now is a good song to bop to.

9. It’s a Beautiful Life – Ace of Base

Back in my younger days, like three years old, “I Saw the Sign” was my absolute favorite song. There is video footage to prove this, somewhere. For me now, I love listening to Ace of Base for nostalgia sake but this song I am sharing particular because it takes me back to a time of innocence and bliss.

10. It’s Not Right But It’s Okay – Whitney Houston remix

Oh Philly Gayborhood days, how I miss you so much. I miss my chosen family there, I miss the environment, I miss all the gays roaming the streets, and I just miss the feeling of blindly belonging to a community. This song represents so many good memories, with some pretty spectacular folks that I miss dearly. So, yep, my next question is…. what song reminds you of great friends and times that you still cherish the memories of?

Please share your stories in the comments, I would love to hear what songs/memories may have popped up in your head after reading this post.