The Manhattan Project--2016 A to Z Theme

Always a work in progress--welcome to my blog...

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Troubled Times

Enjoy this clip from SITA SINGS THE BLUES which features the music of  popular 20s jazz vocalist Annette Hanshaw.

      Troubled times are here.  Has it ever been otherwise?  Your household may be joyous today, while a neighbor down the street may be experiencing a sad time.   You may be suffering a job loss or bad health while a college kid across town looks forward to a new job waiting for him after his impending graduation or a young family celebrates the successful birth of a healthy new baby.   The world is full of ups and downs.

     As on one side of the world the sun rises on a new day full of hope, another side cringes in fear and dread at the coming of darkness.   Some nations struggle with war, poverty, and hunger while other nations abound with plenitude and security.  There is good and there is bad.

      But is there anyone anywhere who has never experienced a smile?   Don't we all have some moment of hope amidst our times of strife?  Even during the most treacherous storms we can look forward to the break in the clouds, the rainbow, and beautiful blue skies.  We thrive on hope or we would not be alive.

      A song that I wrote many years ago contained the following verse:

Loneliness, sweet well of inspiration,
I'll drink to quench a thirst and hope for sunshine.

      Difficult times of trouble, sadness, and uncertainty have often been the times when I have been at my creative peaks.   Songs and poetry fill my mind and spill onto the paper laid out before me.  My imagination churns out stories and my thoughts become rich with ideas.   I can become complacent with happy times as I settle back and enjoy the ride.   But in the sad times an inner energy swirls and stirs me into a productive mode as I attempt to recharge myself.  Troubled times are not something that I want, but they are times that I can use in a positive way.

       Do you allow troubled times to drag you down?   Have you used your difficulties for inspiration?   Are dark clouds headed your way or do you sense that a rainbow is about to break through to brighten your day?



  1. I've had troubled times, much like everyone else...but more than it affecting me then, it affects me later. I 'll pull through, do what needs to be done, and then collapse in a heap later when the whole bad time is over....which prolongs the bad time a bit, I think.

  2. You just made me want to skip down the street singing "la di da" and "Skipety doo dah" Having a disney moment,I think I will take Minnie with me. :)Nice post.

  3. That was a lovely post Arlee and the video went so perfectly with it! Your song lyrics were quite beautiful.
    I don't usually let troubling times bring me down. Oh sure I've felt down here and there but I know deep down inside that this too shall pass. So I just try to make the best out of a bad situation. This of coarse comes from years of practice, LOL!!
    Love Di ♥

  4. I think experiencing troubled times and times of uncertainty makes one stronger in the long run,We have to experience the bad to appreciate the good.

    Have a joyus Easter Lee.

  5. I have often been inspired by the "dark" times. They never get me down for long....there are more good times than bad.

  6. Great video and what a lovely song! Bad times are fleeting (or a bit longer!) but they do make us stronger if we refuse to let them overcome us.

  7. Thoughout the ages, great literature has come out of troubled times. My first book, I Romanced the Stone (Memoirs of a Recovering Hippie), was written within weeks after having suffered a deadly bout with narcotics addiction and losing everything - nearly including my life. And that book still outsells any of my other books.

    Reminds me of a quote from the "infamous voice of the lowlife" street poet, Charles Bukowski, who said, "Nothing worth a damn was ever written in peace."

    Marvin D Wilson

  8. Awesome post Lee. I started writing when I was miserable, and 2 things happened: I was able to get some perspective, I was actually able to laugh at myself on occasion, and I exorcised some particular demons. Oh, that's 3. I think the best art comes from extremes of emotion, good and bad. We are all part of the canvas of human experience.

  9. I think that in my 56 years of living and 39 years as a believer, this time (past 18 months) has been the hardest time and the darkest time I have ever experienced. I feel as if I am on hte dark side of the moon.

    Yet, I know that trials and troubles are what God uses to build character and Christ-likeness in to the lives of His Children. So Looking to Him, for the most part we don't let these times drag us down. We (my wife and I) do use this period for inspiration to further trust our God. Lord knows, we are looking for that rainbow. It is there and will arrive!

    I like the "old-timy" clip! Good post!
    Gregg Metcalf
    Colossians 1:28-29

    Gospel-driven Disciples

  10. I hope there is no one who has never experienced a smile. (excuse my double negative).

  11. a lovely post, sir, a lovely indeed.
    I usually do my best when I'm down, and I usually rise most quickly when someone wants to put me at the bottom.

  12. Hi Arlee .. I tend to put troubled times behind me, even when I'm in them ... because they drag me down, and at that stage I need to be positively pulled up ..

    Maintain a happy face and we'll benefit with cheer .. have a good Easter .. Hilary

  13. You gotta stir the pot to get the meat off the bottom. You need the dark to highlight the bright. Sometimes the creative spirit will create its own problems just to get you going. Hard times come to everyone. How will you use yours?

    Yep, I do believe suffering is essential to growth, development and perspective. And parents who succeed in protecting their children from all of the knocks and bumps of life, have also succeed in severely retarding their progress.

  14. I experience up and downs like everyone else, but rarely to an extreme. My life seems to mirror my emotional state - no major highs or lows.

  15. Sometimes I think the only way to survive the rain is to look for that rainbow. That can keep you going.

  16. Good for you Lee. It's great to be able to find things that are positive during troubled times.
    Something terrible happened to me recently, and until now I'm still struggling to come to terms with it, still looking for that silver lining. In the meantime my Farm and blogging (where I try to be cheerful, and funny at times) keep me going.
    I've received tremendous support from blogger friends during my trauma.

    Life on The Farm

  17. Man... difficult times. I know better that mine aren't the worst but they are happening to me & what others are going through isn't so they affect me more. I do get down over them but I dig myself out eventually & muddle through it all. Most of the time learning a lesson for the future when I move on and make the best of the future cause the past is the past:-) Stop in & read T is a Twofer

  18. My writing keeps me focused in spite of the troubled times. In the course of humanity, I don't believe there has ever been a golden age. Conflict has always been alive in us and most likely always will. It's just human nature.

  19. my struggles lend to my writing have a wonderful Easter weekend

  20. I love rainbows and when I come upon one, or it upon me, I always stop and drink in the moment.

    I am a glass 3/4 full individual and have had the good fortune of a happy countenance throughout my life.

    I have had troubled times aplenty and have welcomed the challenge for in walking through the fire I have learn how to avoid getting burned. Scars remain to remind that care must be taken in all my choices and in the direction I aim my soul.

    If I feel the waves of despair are about to wash over me and hold me under I try to relax and know a rainbow will follow...soon.

    What an incredibly excellent thought provoking post.

  21. Hello, I am C. Agatha, a blogger of Thrifty Chic Shop on blogspot and a new admirer of your blog. I am currently experiencing troubled times, so your post is enlightening to me to stay afloat. It would have been nice to participate in the A to Z blogging challenge, but I think it is too late for me to enter the game, so I hope to be part of it next year. Thanks for the beautiful poem.

  22. Terrific clip!

  23. This post captures the essence of everything I believe bout troubled times. It's beautifully written, and so true!
    Just this past Tuesday, I wrote a post about my philosophy for living through difficult times here.
    Peace and Serenity
    Thank you for an uplifting and inspirational piece of writing.

  24. T is for Thanks, thanks for doing the challenge, I've had a blast blog with this A - Z

    Happy easter to you.

  25. Lee-

    Life is stress and troubled times. I think we need the hard times.

    They give us our edge, and they give us perspective on the good times.

    I like to keep in mind this piece of wisdom from the character of Hannibal Smith...

    "It's always darkest just before it goes totally black!"


  26. Stressful times aside, Sita Sings the Blues is wonderful!! It was freely available (sans piracy) on the Internet Archive last time I looked (

  27. Ironically, I believe it's the difficulties that do give us inspiration. It was my personal difficulties that became the basis for my memoir.

    I think about the great novels by Russian writers. Did they write their powerful stuff while sitting in paradise?

    I believe in rainbows around the corner. But I believe we get to them after much travail. How will we appreciate the good days if we don't have bad ones?

    Excellent and thought-provoking post, Arlee!
    Ann Carbine Best’s Long Journey Home

  28. You've done something major here with such a wonderful post about troubled times, in a way that offers hope to your readers....especially with that verse from your song.

    Yes, I allow troubled times to drag me down because I often feel overwhelmed and it seems like every time I make progress or move a few steps forward, something always takes me backward. I also have some personal things that bring me down no matter how well my day is going but those things usually only bother me when I am alone and have time to reflect on them. I guess, that is what makes it good that I'm often busy these days. No time to think about anything, much less what's bringing me down.

    Yes, I've used a few of my difficulties for inspiration and it worked out in some of those situations. Dark clouds are headed my way, I'm sorry to say but thanks to me finding this challenge, I have some plans to search for a rainbow to break through and brighten my day, instead of waiting for one to appear. So even though the dark clouds are a-creeping, I'm prepared to try and send them passing on by.

    The Madlab Post

  29. I've been through my share of troubled times over the years, especially recently. But, I haven't let those times get me down - although it would have been easy to let them.

  30. Beautifully written. At times I find myself wanting to wallow in my misery, but I try to turn it into determination. I enjoy writing so that is my way to beat what ever is not going my way.

  31. Well, if there's one thing that makes me sad is knowing there's only one week left during this challenge! But as always, I try to find the bright side...and right now that's looking at all the great blogs I've found and the people I've connected with. So thank you...Happy Easter!

  32. Hi! (waving) I'm a new follower. I missed the A-Z challenge. Do you do other blog fests throughout the year, or just this one in April? I'd love to get involved.

  33. So much diversity among us, yet so many shared feelings. I thank each of you for leaving these comments today and for you continued encouragement.


  34. The troubled times add a richness to our lives, and help us understand and empathise with others. I don't like them, but they're beneficial and provide grist for the mill.

  35. My post for letter "T" is up.

    Thanks for looking.

    Laura T.

  36. I do feel that writing is very therapeutic. When I start thinking about missing my kids, I sing the alphabet to make sure I'm working on the right letter,and get back to the challenge. Julie

  37. I'm an optimist. I've always been one to look at the positive side of things, and that tendency has only increased through the years. Life's too short to dwell on anything but the stuff that makes me smile.


  38. I tend to write more during troubled times because writing helps me to organize my thoughts and feelings. It's a coping mechanism. When things are going well, I don't have the same drive and inspiration to figure out why. I just let it be.

  39. I had a dark day today Arlee and it is so good to find you and Sita here on your site.
    I will participate in the May digestion of the challenge- which I have loved doing. The regularity created a certain momentum in my blogging. And I jumped at creative bursts just like that.
    Tomorrow V is for Verisimilitude.
    I recently saw the whole movie of Sita Sings the Blues as part of a collage workshop I assisted at Kripalu. The movie is wonderful and the artist's website it worth visiting.
    Hope you are well. Love, Suzi

  40. Julie's singing the alphabet to herself and the rest of us are hanging in there. Writing can be a big help in sorting things out for us.

    Suzi, hope things are picking up for you. I haven't watched the Sita film in its entirety, but I've watched most of the song clips--great music and interesting visuals.



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