Thursday, January 31, 2008

Life's a Song (Terri Hendrix)

Today is Thursday, January 31, 2008 - I began this blog on Monday, May 14, 2007 with the intention of posting daily a thematic song/book/poem/quote revolving around my life's passion for music and literature, more as an exercise in creativity/
journaling/scrapbooking than any desire for feedback or validation. I will pass my 7000-hit mark today, which absolutely amazes me - I'm not a math person, but that equates to almost 1000 hits a month, about 30 a day, mind-boggling when I have absolutely no expectations in the grand scheme of things. Believe me, I understand the perspective - some bloggers actually receive 300 *comments* in *one 24-hour period* :: shakes head in wonderment ::

I assumed I was flying under the radar, "delusions of anonymity", I recently wrote - as a friend responded, "The internet does not allow for such things", and I am finally, dazedly, becoming aware. I have found myself on the RSS feed of a non-traditional, yet prestigious, internet radio station... on the website of one of my favorite musicians... and on the blogrolls of a handful of people whose philosophies I respect and admire - I have been linked to and tagged, and it's all just so d*mn overwhelming and fascinating and fun!

I have met (and been befriended by) some incredible people, and crossed paths with/entertained/enlightened by many others who have no clue as to my existence - it's a small world/spiderweb/ripple effect of a family, one link leading to another, most regular people like me who are documenting their life experiences in small or grand, but always important, ways.

So... whoever you are out there... clicking, reading, commenting... thanks - my spew-and-send has somehow, sometimes touched a chord and I'm feeling extremely grateful... and blessed... and overjoyed to be in this skin at this time on this planet...

All that being said, I am in awe of some stunning (in all senses of the word) blogs out there, timesuckers (in a good way, Martha) that encourage me... spiritually, emotionally, artistically, physically, ecologically, musically, humorously, literarily, organizationally... to learn/laugh/cry in my own journey of self-discovery - in fact, today (Thursday, January 31 by 10:00 p.m.) is the last day to vote for the
Eighth Annual Webblog Awards: the 2008 Bloggies. Check out "the best of the best" - I repeat... amazing... :-)

Life's a Song by Terri Hendrix

BOOK: Clear Blogging: How People Blogging Are Changing the World and How You Can Join Them by Bob Walsh

POEM: The Big Heart by Anne Sexton

"Too many things are occurring for even a big heart to hold." - from an essay by W. B. Yeats

Big heart,
wide as a watermelon,
but wise as birth,
there is so much abundance
in the people I have:
Max, Lois, Joe, Louise,
Joan, Marie, Dawn,
Arlene, Father Dunne,
and all in their short lives
give to me repeatedly,
in the way the sea
places its many fingers on the shore,
again and again
and they know me,
they help me unravel,
they listen with ears made of conch shells,
they speak back with the wine of the best region.
They are my staff.
They comfort me.

They hear how
the artery of my soul has been severed
and soul is spurting out upon them,
bleeding on them,
messing up their clothes,
dirtying their shoes.
And God is filling me,
though there are times of doubt
as hollow as the Grand Canyon,
still God is filling me.
He is giving me the thoughts of dogs,
the spider in its intricate web,
the sun
in all its amazement,
and a slain ram
that is the glory,
the mystery of great cost,
and my heart,
which is very big,
I promise it is very large,
a monster of sorts,
takes it all in--
all in comes the fury of love.

QUOTE: "I... recommend to every one of my Readers, the keeping a Journal of their Lives for one Week, and setting down punctually their whole Series of Employments during that Space of Time. This kind of Self-Examination would give them a true State of themselves, and incline them to consider seriously what they are about. One Day would rectifie the Omissions of another, and make a Man weigh all those indifferent Actions, which, though they are easily forgotten, must certainly be accounted for." ~ Joseph Addison, 1712

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

59th Street Bridge Song (Feelin' Groovy) - (Simon and Garfunkel)

January 30, 2008
Create Time For Self-Compassion
Being Gentle With Ourselves

During those times when our lives are filled with what seems to be constant change and growth, it is important to remember that we need to be gentle with ourselves. Since it can be easy to use our energy to keep up with the momentum of our lives, we may not be aware of the fact that we are much more likely to run ourselves down. When things seem to be moving quickly, it is especially essential that we make a point to slow down and be gentle with ourselves.

It might be difficult to notice what is happening to us for we may be so caught up in the whirlwind of our lives that we lose sight of the direction in which things are heading. Being gentle with ourselves doesn’t mean that we don’t accomplish things. Instead it means that we honor ourselves on an ongoing basis and take care of the needs of our bodies.

This means different things to different people. For instance, it could mean having a session with a healer; taking a remedy, herbs, or vitamins; or getting extra sleep. Putting our energy into ourselves in this way helps create space for a more positive, loving, and accepting view of our lives. By setting the intention to do so, we will be more cognizant of our energy levels on a daily basis and more able to replenish them as needed.

The more we are able to treat our bodies with gentleness, the more tenderness and compassion we will call forth into our lives. Learning to understand and pay attention to what our self needs will in turn allow us to fill our lives with unlimited loving and healing energy and to truly take care of the things that mean the most to us.

At work this afternoon, I had an epiphany that I had totally lost sight of my 2008 intention... and wasn't doing anywhere near the
relate/relax/release-ing I had promised myself - I almost got angry, and then realized that if I didn't start changing something, I was back to the same-old, same-old. I've actually cancelled some things this week and not accepted a few invitations as well - feels like time to keep a low profile and concentrate on caretaking...

I really miss reading (just don't seem to make the time for it anymore) and, synchronistically, a friend just today loaned me the new Stephen King book, Duma Key - I'm a long-time fanatic, beginning way back when Carrie was first released and buying almost everything in hardback as soon as it was released. The entire top shelf of my wall-to-wall, floor-to-ceiling bookcase is overflowing with SK tomes, including his Dark Tower series and a few non-fiction works on writing - the new novel weighs in at a hefty 607 pages.

So... I read the first fifty, headed to the grocery store, whereupon I stocked up on healthy comfort foods (not necessarily an oxymoron), then unloaded the goods when I got home, hardly touching the computer (except for this blog) and not even turning on the TV - I'll spend another hour reading, will do a jacuzzi soak and then crawl into bed (Self-Pampering 101 launched!).

Today's poem is from a book I recently gave a friend for her birthday (I've gifted a few others with this special offering too) - figured I would do well to take my own advice/wish, eh?... :-)

SONG: 59th Street Bridge Song (Feelin' Groovy) by Simon and Garfunkel

BOOK: This Is My Wish for You Mini by Charles Snell, Harold Darling

POEM: This is My Wish for You...

That the spirit of beauty may continually hover about you and fold you close within he tendernesses of her wings.

That each beautiful and gracious thing in life may be unto you as a symbol of good for your soul's delight.

That sun-glories
and star-glories
leaf-glories and bark-glories
and glories that lurk in the grasses of the field
glories of mountains
and oceans
of little streams of running waters
glories of song
of poesy
of all the arts
may be to you as sweet, abiding influences that will illumine your life and make you glad.

That your soul may be as an alabaster cup, filled to overflowing with the mystical wine of beauty and love.

That happiness may put her arms around you,
and wisdom make your soul serene.

Ths is my wish for you.

QUOTE: "At this very moment, you may be saying to yourself that you have any number of admirable qualities. You are a loyal friend, a caring person, someone who is smart, dependable, fun to be around. That's wonderful, and I'm happy for you, but let me ask you this: are you being any of those things to yourself?" ~ Phillip C. McGraw

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Find the Cost of Freedom (Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young)

Monday, January 28, 2008
CSNY Speak Out and Listen In
“Déjà Vu”
by Gregg Goldstein

Park City, Utah - Death threats, loud catcalls and walkouts didn’t stop rock legends Crosby Stills Nash & Young from completing their fiercely anti-Bush reunion tour in 2006.Two years later, the band has reunited again to unveil its Sundance Film Festival closing-night film, “CSNY Déjà Vu,” a documentary that isn’t so much a concert movie as a balanced examination of America’s fiercely divided opinions about the Iraq War.

“We went to war for one reason, then the reason changed every six months,” said the project’s main catalyst, Neil Young, an approachable guy despite his habit of locking eyes with you and not blinking when he speaks. “America never had a pre-eminent war in history before this, so we had something to say. But if anyone has anything else to say, the more the merrier.”

“Déjà Vu” takes a 360-degree look from inside the eye of a storm the band set out to create on their Freedom of Speech tour. It profiles civilians and soldiers both for and against the war between performances of popular ’60s protest songs and newer, less universally accepted ones, like “Let’s Impeach the President” from Young’s 2006 album “Living With War.”

And don’t get Young started on the war.

“Some people support the troops by saying they’re being abused, put in a situation with no armor, where they can’t win, where there’s not enough of them so they’re used over and over again,” he said. “They say the American way of life is threatened, and we’re at war for our lives. But if that’s true we should’ve had a draft. These guys didn’t believe that enough to put their own careers on the line. It would be political suicide for this administration.”


But there are plenty of well-articulated, contrary opinions in the film, and lots of self-criticism. There’s footage of fans leaving en masse with middle fingers raised during “President” — though Nash noted that it came three hours into a 3 1/2-hour show — and gripes about $350 top ticket prices.

The film even includes a review saying the huddled sixtysomethings look like they’re comparing prescriptions onstage. “I didn’t get putting that in for a while because I’m not a masochist, but I came around,” Stephen Stills said with a laugh. “We’re all pretty proud of Neil for including it,” David Crosby added. “But don’t tell him I said that.”

As the band sat in a swank Park City Delta Sky Lounge suite, they had an easy camaraderie that showed their mutual affection — and a love of giving one another a hard time. When Crosby put his bare feet up on the table, Stills quickly waved his hand in front of his nose.

But while all members support the film’s inclusion of differing points of view, like the pro-war sentiments some people express onscreen — “We don’t want to stand on a mountain and tell everyone how to do things because we don’t know more than everyone else,” Crosby said — they chose not to include the death threats and bomb-sniffing dogs they faced at each stop on the tour.

“I’ve never gone into a hotel where everyone else went into the room before to look behind the curtains. But we did it,” Young said. “We’re not going to live like this forever. You don’t want to fan that (by putting it on film) or say, ‘Look at poor us, we have death threats.’ ”

The band members are famously contentious. “We watch out for each other like brothers, and we fight like brothers,” said Young, who has drifted in and out of the band for decades.

“We’re a damn Jerry Springer show!” said Stills, drawing much laughter.

“Yeah, it’s the Jerry Springer Tour!” Crosby added.

But virtually none of that is onscreen, and on further reflection, the band said this tour might have elicited the least interpersonal tension of their career.

“We were basically scared s—less, so we were hanging together closely,” Young said. “It wasn’t comfortable out there, just because of the subject matter. Positive or negative, we crossed a line.”


Young said he doesn’t really care what audience the $500,000-plus digital-video feature reaches — “We’re not making it to score commercially,” he said — yet the band feels strongly about securing a theatrical release to help stir debate several months before the presidential election.

“Déjà Vu” is directed by Bernard Shakey, a shadowy figure who has never been seen in the same place at the same time as Young. His work includes the quirky 1982 comedy-drama “Neil Young: Human Highway” and dates back to the trippy 1974 film “Journey Through the Past,” which has never been released on home video. “It’ll come out again, and now it’ll live up to its name,” said Young, Shakey’s unofficial spokesman.

The film could lead to a concert album, another promotional tour or even an original album, said Nash, depending on its reception. They’re hitting the road soon in different combinations: Crosby Stills & Nash in July, Crosby and Nash in the fall. Graham Nash is completing his box set and helping Stills on a box set. CSNY is prepping an album of demos of their songs dating back to the ’60s.

Young insists that his “Archives” project, delayed more than a half-dozen times, will be released this year on Blu-ray Disc and DVD (but not CD) “now that technology has caught up to how we want to present it.”

But right now their focus is getting “Déjà Vu” seen to stir debate.

“I truly believe there are good people on both sides. You can’t look at John McCain and say he’s not a good man,” Young said of one of Crosby’s friends. “He’s not dirty, he has experience, and he believes he’s doing the right thing. How is that different from Barack Obama?“

This movie is not about our opinion, just people willing to stand up and express what they believe” he said.

Or, as Stills put it, “The Constitution doesn’t say you have to support the liberal blowhards, just freedom of speech.”

So... today is Election Day, the presidential primary here in Florida, and I'm reading that, so far, there is record turn-out - the excitement level is high (major understatement).

My husband had a business dinner last evening, so I seized the opportunity to treat my daughter and son to a meal at our favorite local sushi restaurant - the impromptu outing made for some great conversation, most especially regarding today's choices. I told them of an exchange I had earlier that day, in which a co-worker voted early and said how emotionally overcome she was (in a good way) at seeing a woman *and* a black man on the ballot, believing it would never happen in her lifetime - I love the fact my children will soon be able to take this progressiveness for granted, as gender/race barriers crumble and the circle of role models widens.

I will head to the polls as soon as I leave work this evening, as will my daughter... and my son has promised he'll vote before his 4:00 p.m. shift - this is not your forefather's democracy... :-)

SONG: Find the Cost of Freedom by Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young

BOOK: Is This Any Way to Run a Democratic Election? by Stephen J. Wayne

POEM: Possibilities by Wislawa Szymborska

I prefer movies.
I prefer cats.
I prefer the oaks along the river.
I prefer Dickens to Dostoyevsky.
I prefer myself liking people
to myself loving mankind.
I prefer keeping a needle and thread on hand, just in case.
I prefer the color green.
I prefer not to maintain
that reason is to blame for everything.
I prefer exceptions.
I prefer to leave early.
I prefer talking to doctors about something else.
I prefer the old fine-lined illustrations.
I prefer the absurdity of writing poems to the absurdity of not writing poems.
I prefer, where love's concerned, nonspecific anniversaries
that can be celebrated every day.
I prefer moralistswho promise me nothing.
I prefer cunning kindness to the over-trustful kind.
I prefer the earth in civvies.
I prefer conquered to conquering countries.
I prefer having some reservations.
I prefer the hell of chaos to the hell of order.
I prefer Grimms' fairy tales to the newspapers' front pages.
I prefer leaves without flowers to flowers without leaves.
I prefer dogs with uncropped tails.
I prefer light eyes, since mine are dark.
I prefer desk drawers.
I prefer many things that I haven't mentioned here
to many things I've also left unsaid.
I prefer zeroes on the loose
to those lined up behind a cipher.
I prefer the time of insects to the time of stars.
I prefer to knock on wood.
I prefer not to ask how much longer and when.
I prefer keeping in mind even the possibility
that existence has its own reason for being.

QUOTE: "Another world is not only possible, she is on her way. On a quiet day, I can hear her breathing." ~ Arundhati Roy

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Happy Birthday (Stevie Wonder)

Make MLK Day a Day ON, not a Day OFF

In 1994 Congress passed the King Holiday and Service Act, designating the King Holiday as a national day of volunteer service. Instead of a day off from work or school, Congress asked Americans of all backgrounds and ages to celebrate Dr. King's legacy by turning community concerns into citizen action. The King Day of Service brings together people who might not ordinarily meet, breaks down barriers that have divided us in the past, leads to better understanding and ongoing relationships, and is an opportunity to recruit new volunteers for your ongoing work.

Participation in the King Day of Service has grown steadily over the past decade, with hundreds of thousands of Americans each year engaging in projects such as tutoring and mentoring children, painting schools and senior centers, delivering meals, building homes, and reflecting on Dr. King's life and teachings. Many of the projects started on King Day continue to engage volunteers beyond the holiday and impact the community year-round.

Although the scope of the event grows every year, many people still are not aware of the service component of the holiday. By encouraging the participation of as many organizations as possible, we hope to make next year's King Day of Service the biggest and best ever, engaging more people in service that honors Dr. King's life and teachings.

Since MLK Day observed was the day after the South Florida Folk Festival, I was remiss in giving it the attention it deserved - in doing a bit of research this afternoon, I ran across the article and website above, which spoke of the ongoing effort to turn it into a day of service.

We owe much to Dr. King, not the least of which is his belief in, and work toward, equal rights - I am proud to say my father worked for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution and in 1961 covered the story of the desegregation of Henry W. Grady High School in Atlanta, one of the first high schools in Georgia to open its doors to black students. I remember watching home movies he took of the incident, as the young man and woman entered the school, through lines of police waiting for potential riots and/or violence, and none occurred - just one more reason/incentive to get my mom's Super8's transferred to DVD, so we can relive history in the making...

BOOK: The Autobiography of Martin Luther King, Jr. by Martin Luther King Jr., Clayborne Carson

POEM: Psalms 15 (in memory of Martin Luther King) translated by Stephen Mitchell

Lord, who can be trusted with power,
and who may act in your place?
Those with a passion for justice,
who speak the truth from their hearts;
who have let go of selfish interests
and grown beyond their own lives;
who see the wretched as their family
and the poor as their flesh and blood.
They alone are impartial
and worthy of the people's trust.
Their compassion lights up the whole earth,
and their kindness endures forever.

QUOTE: "Everybody can be great. Because anybody can serve. You don't have to have a college degree to serve. You don't have to make your subject and your verb agree to serve... You don't have to know the second theory of thermodynamics in physics to serve. You only need a heart full of grace. A soul generated by love." ~ Martin Luther King, Jr.

Friday, January 25, 2008

Sleep (Melissa Etheridge)

After months of festival preparation, hosting a house concert, the South Florida Folk Festival weekend, out-of-town company, back-to-back jaunts to the Luna Star Cafe (in addition to my regular life of a full-time job, running a concert series and various UU church commitments), I was finally able to get a good night's sleep - I got in the bed last night at 8 p.m. and woke up at 8 a.m. (a full twelve hours!).

My normal sleep cycle is 4 - 6 hours... and I feel so rested that it's actually disorienting - my weekend is laidback such that I'll go to a movie with my husband this evening (a date night long overdue), work on the BFC newsletter (as well as my laundry and housekeeping) Saturday and make it to Brian and Ellen's festival decompression party Sunday.

That's all... that's enough - gotta love January in South Florida (music overload!)... but I'm ready to segue back into normality (at least my version of it, which is still too frenetic for most... :-)

SONG: Sleep by Melissa Etheridge

BOOK: I'll Sleep When I'm Dead: The Dirty Life and Times of Warren Zevon by Crystal Zevon

POEM: City That Does Not Sleep by Federico García Lorca (translated by Robert Bly)

In the sky there is nobody asleep. Nobody, nobody.
Nobody is asleep.
The creatures of the moon sniff and prowl about their cabins.
The living iguanas will come and bite the men who do not dream,
and the man who rushes out with his spirit broken will meet on the
street corner
the unbelievable alligator quiet beneath the tender protest of the

Nobody is asleep on earth. Nobody, nobody.
Nobody is asleep.
In a graveyard far off there is a corpse
who has moaned for three years
because of a dry countryside on his knee;
and that boy they buried this morning cried so much
it was necessary to call out the dogs to keep him quiet.

Life is not a dream. Careful! Careful! Careful!
We fall down the stairs in order to eat the moist earth
or we climb to the knife edge of the snow with the voices of the dead
But forgetfulness does not exist, dreams do not exist;
flesh exists. Kisses tie our mouths
in a thicket of new veins,
and whoever his pain pains will feel that pain forever
and whoever is afraid of death will carry it on his shoulders.

One day
the horses will live in the saloons
and the enraged ants
will throw themselves on the yellow skies that take refuge in the
eyes of cows.

Another day
we will watch the preserved butterflies rise from the dead
and still walking through a country of gray sponges and silent boats
we will watch our ring flash and roses spring from our tongue.
Careful! Be careful! Be careful!
The men who still have marks of the claw and the thunderstorm,
and that boy who cries because he has never heard of the invention
of the bridge,
or that dead man who possesses now only his head and a shoe,
we must carry them to the wall where the iguanas and the snakes
are waiting,
where the bear's teeth are waiting,
where the mummified hand of the boy is waiting,
and the hair of the camel stands on end with a violent blue shudder.

Nobody is sleeping in the sky. Nobody, nobody.
Nobody is sleeping.
If someone does close his eyes,
a whip, boys, a whip!
Let there be a landscape of open eyes
and bitter wounds on fire.

No one is sleeping in this world. No one, no one.
I have said it before.
No one is sleeping.
But if someone grows too much moss on his temples during the
open the stage trapdoors so he can see in the moonlight
the lying goblets, and the poison, and the skull of the theaters.

QUOTE: "Sleep is the interest we have to pay on the capital which is called in at death; and the higher the rate of interest and the more regularly it is paid, the further the date of redemption is postponed." ~ Arthur Schopenhauer

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Lullaby for Ruth (John William Davis)

Last night was the "official" full moon, but I didn't have a chance to post about it... since I was viewing it, enveloped in a dimensional cloud cover... from the steaming warmth of my jacuzzi... sipping La Fin du Monde beer... deep in conversation with Danny Schmidt after his show at the Luna Star Cafe a few hours previous...

John William Davis appeared at the same cafe this evening and, being a respectful and appreciative admirer of his music as well, I had to attend - this is a song he wrote for his daughter...

The moon is full tonight
an illustration for sheet music,
an image in Matthew Arnold
glimmering on the English Channel,
or a ghost over a smoldering battlefield
in one of the history plays.

It's as full as it was
in that poem by Coleridge
where he carries his year-old son
into the orchard behind the cottage
and turns the baby's face to the sky
to see for the first time
the earth's bright companion,
something amazing to make his crying seem small.

And if you wanted to follow this example,
tonight would be the night
to carry some tiny creature outside
and introduce him to the moon.

And if your house has no child,
you can always gather into your arms
the sleeping infant of yourself,
as I have done tonight,
and carry him outdoors,
all limp in his tattered blanket,
making sure to steady his lolling head
with the palm of your hand.

And while the wind ruffles the pear trees
in the corner of the orchard
and dark roses wave against a stone wall,
you can turn him on your shoulder
and walk in circles on the lawn
drunk with the light.
You can lift him up into the sky,
your eyes nearly as wide as his,
as the moon climbs high into the night.

QUOTE: "By night only crazy things, like the full moon and the whippoorwill and us, are busy." ~ Charles Olson

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Falling Slowly (Glen Hansard/Marketa Irglova)

I received the DVD of the movie Once as a Christmas gift from a dear friend, who knew I had tried to see it in the theatres when it came out but never could manage the time - the recommendations came to me from too many directions to ignore...

My daughter and I watched it together a week or so ago (my second viewing, her first) and there is a scene in which the male character begins playing his song and encourages the female character to chime in on piano and vocal accompaniments - Sarah looked at me and said, "yeah, sure... what are the chances of that happening?".

I dreamily gazed back at her and proudly said, "in my world, that happens all the time"... and I experienced a rush of memories of songswaps and house concerts and campfires in which I was privy to people who had never before met sharing songs and intuitively adding instrumentation and voices, with angelic results - I cannot verbalize enough how truly blessed I am to run in circles of magic and harmony (pun absolutely intended... :-)

[Added 2/25/08 - Wasn't it great to see Glen Hansard and Markéta Irglová win Academy Awards last night for "Falling Slowly" from the small indie film Once... and how cool was it that John Stewart called Marketa back to give her speech when she didn't have a chance initially?!? - what an inspiring moment for independent musicians and artists everywhere who are playing their own kind of music. A YouTube video of their Oscar performance and acceptance speeches here and here:

Glen Hansard: "Thanks! This is amazing. What are we doing here? This is mad. We made this film two years ago. We shot on two Handycams. It took us three weeks to make. We made it for a hundred grand. We never thought we would come into a room like this and be in front of you people. It's been an amazing thing. Thanks for taking this film seriously, all of you. It means a lot to us. Thanks to the Academy, thanks to all the people who've helped us, they know who they are, we don't need to say them. This is amazing. Make art. Make art. Thanks."

Marketa Irglova: "Hi everyone. I just want to thank you so much. This is such a big deal, not only for us, but for all other independent musicians and artists that spend most of their time struggling, and this, the fact that we're standing here tonight, the fact that we're able to hold this, it's just to prove no matter how far out your dreams are, it's possible. And, you know, fair play to those who dare to dream and don't give up. And this song was written from a perspective of hope, and hope at the end of the day connects us all, no matter how different we are. And so thank you so much, who helped us along way. Thank you." ]

SONG: Falling Slowly by Glen Hansard/Marketa Irglova (from the soundtrack of Once)

BOOK: This Is Your Brain on Music: The Science of a Human Obsession by Daniel J. Levitin

POEM: Promise of Blue Horses by Joy Harjo

A blue horse turns into a streak of lightning,
then the sun --
relating the difference between sadness
and the need to praise
that which makes us joyful, I can't calculate
how the earth tips hungrily
toward the sun - then soaks up rain -- or the density
of this unbearable need
to be next to you. It's a palpable thing -- this earth
and familiar in the dark
like your skin under my hand. We are a small earth. It's no
simple thing. Eventually
we will be dust together; can be used to make a house, to stop
a flood or grow food
for those who will never remember who we were, or know
that we loved fiercely.

Laughter and sadness eventually become the same song turning us

toward the nearest star --
a star constructed of eternity and elements of dust barely visible
in the twilight as you travel
east. I run with the blue horses of electricity who surround
the heart
and imagine a promise made when no promise was possible.

QUOTE: "Always be on the lookout for the presence of wonder." ~ E.B. White

Monday, January 21, 2008

Stand (The Kennedys)

"It's in moments like these that memories are made" ~ my new friend Esther Golton

The following statement was uttered during a monsoon at 5:30 a.m., in which we were attempting to reattach the rainfly to our tent (which was breathing like the door in The Haunting of Hill House), re-stake the corners and reclaim even a few square feet of dry ground - it was right after I ran barefoot across a large field to the porta-potties and right before we decided to wake up my folk daughters (Megan and Becca) in the tent next door and bail to my house (20 minutes away) for a few blessed hours. We never lost our sense of humor - we continued to laugh, even when (or maybe because) we were living on fumes, minimal sleep and music overload...

But I digress... :-)

As I mentioned in my previous post, this past weekend was the South Florida Folk Festival - I am on corestaff and I must admit to more than a bit of selfishness, as I made sure I had jobs that could be accomplished before the festival began so I could enjoy the music. My tasks were to choose two judges for our songwriting competition (Esther was one), serve on the Artist Selection Committee (a full day of listening to 90 entries, narrowing down to 30, including the amazing Danny Schmidt) and compiling information/editing/proofreading the festival program - all missions accomplished (and not in that Iraq War kinda way), such that I could appreciate the fruits of the collective labor...

We were rusty after a two-year hurricane-imposed hiatus, not to mention reinventing the wheel by relocating to a different park, and the familiar processes of the county soon morphed into one flaming hoop after another of permits and inspections and fees - oh my!

All hardship was quickly forgotten in the set-up of our camp (affectionately termed Estrogen Row!) the Friday before (I learned I have a three-tent quota before my body protests), the first notes of music on the Flamingo Stage noon Saturday, the 1-2-3 punch of Danny followed by Nick Annis followed by John William Davis on the Gator Stage Sunday... and Brian's bread passed liberally throughout the 72 hours - the last notes of festival music for me were Esther's dulcimer and stunning voice, playing a few songs she knew I'd love (Dave Carter's Elvis Presley and Christine Kane's Overjoyed) followed by another few I requested (one of her originals and Danny's Happy All the Time... :-)

More memory moments:

~ Annie Wenz's energy and light... and the lovely moon with purple stone necklace she gave me...

~ Friday's hot pink sunset...

~ blue crab burritos, whose motto was "let us roll you a fat one"... :-)

~ Amy Carol Webb's new Welcome Home song...

~ Saturday's gorgeous weather...

~ Laurie and Dana's grins of joy...

~ Sunday's cold snap allowing me to don my favorite hat, which I never get to wear under normal Florida circumstances...

~ buying three of Christine's (from Friction Farm) scarves she crocheted for Rachel Bissex's White Light Fund, and gifting Megan with one (The Kennedys, her favorite!)...

~ meeting Esther, who I initially began an e-mail correspondence with in 2002 when I was booking Michael McNevin and she was with Whole Wheat Radio (an internet radio station in Talkeetna, Alaska she co-founded)... and appreciating the synchronicity that brought her to South Florida six years later so we could have conversations in real-time and I could finally see what a serene, beautiful and wise woman she is in person as well...

~ brainstorming upcoming Labyrinth Cafe match-ups from the talented array of festival performers...

~ beaming with pride seeing Nancy, volunteer coordinator extraordinaire, zip around the park in her yellow Beetle cart, making the puzzle fittings of 150 volunteers appear easy...

~ a foamy cappuccino and buttery croissant breakfast, served by John at his camping picnic table...

~ hanging, laughing and dishing with Melanie all weekend...

~ watching the audience fall in love with Zoe Lewis, and knowing I helped orchestrate her festival appearance...

~ a falafel with hummus and cucumber sauce...

~ hearing The Kennedys dedicate their set to John Stewart (the singer, not the comic) who died early Saturday morning, and realizing why a friend seemed melancholy all weekend...

~ Homestead cinnamon buns ("are you a biter or a peeler?") - enough said!

~ feeling honored when a different friend sobbed on my shoulder, 10 minutes into the songwriter competition, and said, "we did it... we really did it"...

~ late-night song circles, accompanied by sips of Dave's "apple pie", Jamison Irish Whisky and chai liqueur...

~ Mixed blessings: porta-potties with fresh toilet paper... and mirrors (who wants to see what they look like after three days of camping?!?)...

~ the lovely festival program in which, after hours of crossed-eyes, I still found one typo!

And you know... there may be more, but that's enough - we made mistakes, but we did many things right... and I'm already looking forward to next year... :-)

P.S. When Esther played for me Sunday night, she told me that after she discovered my blog mid-December (via Christine Kane's blog), she mentioned it to Jim and he added it to Whole Wheat Radio's RSS feed - I am beyond honored/pleased/surprised (wow)...

SONG: Stand by The Kennedys

BOOK: Hot Jams & Cold Showers : Scenes from the Kerrville Folk Festival by Dyanne Fry Cortez, David Amram (Foreword)

POEM: Solar by Thomas Centolella

On a gray day, when the sun
has been abducted, and it's chill
end-of-the-world weather,
I must be the sun.
I must be the one
to encourage the young
sidetracked physicist
working his father's cash register
to come up with a law of nature
that says brain waves can change
the dismal sky. I must be the one
to remind the ginger plant
not to rest on the reputation
of its pungent roots, but to unveil
those buttery tendrils from the other world.

When the sky is an iron lid
I must be the one to simmer
in the piquant juices of possibility,
though the ingredients are unknown
and the day begins with a yawn.
I must issue forth a warmth
without discrimination, and any guarantee
it will come back to me.

On a dark day I must be willing
to keep my disposition light,
I have to be at the very least
one stray intact ray
of local energy, one small
but critical fraction
of illumination. Even on a day
that doesn't look gray
but still lacks comfort or sense,
I have to be the sun,
I have to shine as if
sorry life itself depended on it.

I have to make all the difference.

QUOTE: "I am of the opinion that my life belongs to the whole community and as long as I live, it is my privilege to do for it whatever I can. I want to be thoroughly used up when I die, for the harder I work the more I live." ~ George Bernard Shaw

Friday, January 18, 2008

Beggars and Mules (Danny Schmidt)

Time is short but life is good - last night I had the honor and joy of presenting Danny Schmidt for a house concert. Words cannot begin to describe the magic and spirit in my living room, as time stood still for a few hours - more sighs and goosebumps collectively per square foot than have been experienced in quite a while, I'd venture to say. Megan, my folk daughter, is visiting from Baltimore - we ended the evening in a steaming jacuzzi under partly-cloudy skies, much needed for so many reasons...

Heading out of here in about 30 minutes for the South Florida Folk Festival, where I'll be all weekend (as a member of the corestaff as well as an active listener) - back Monday with stories, stories to tell...

In the meantime, I'll leave you with the lyrics of a Danny Schmidt tune which, in my cheating mind, stretches to fit the definition of song, book, poem and quote - enjoy (I know I have... :-)

I always did like music, and I always did like wine
I always liked em best when they was mine
I’d heard enough of Nashville to give a happy man the blues
So I took a job for nothing as a beggar and a mule
And I hauled my cart and guitar
And I stood outside the door
Singin: Listen to me, listen . . .Won’t you listen to me, sir?
Well fuck that cause I’ve got too much pride
Fuck that cause I got clear
And fuck them that got no heart at all
Or the balls to trust their ears

And I sat upon the sidewalks and I saddled up my sides
And I chewed my cud and washed it down with pride
Catnip and barleycorn, and made ready for the show
And I lost myself in stories of the hard luck and morose
And the people pitched me pennies
And they pounded on the glass
Then they left to see the painted man
And I left to pack my ass
Well good goddamn another empty town
Goddamn another shell
Goddamn cause when I ride back home
I’m a stranger there as well

And I can’t say they weren’t good to me, can’t say they weren’t kind
It’s more the way they weighted down my mind
And it’s more the lack of dignity and the hustle and the hounds
To take your hat off while you’re playin’ -- just to lay it on the ground
It was never for the money
Or the whistles and applause
And I will not tip my hat
Unless you sing me back a song
God bless the sound of music
God bless the golden rule
That’s why all my friends are beggars
And all my friends are mules

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Fruitcakes (Jimmy Buffett)

SONG: Fruitcakes by Jimmy Buffett

It's All Too Much: An Easy Plan for Living a Richer Life with Less Stuff by Peter Walsh

POEM: Temple by Tammy Burns

May I know peace
in the sacred space of my body.
May I find awe
in its tapestry of cells,
towers of bones,
and rivers of fluids.
May I behold treasure
in each tessellated organ-
and cradle my heart and liver
as nurslings.

May I walk, stretch,
and choose food that has been
nourished by light and earth
to imbue each limb
with power

May I treat this body as a guest-
here to visit briefly
considering its needs first…
taking it where it wants to go
even if I’d rather watch Oprah.

May I see aging as a perfect progression
of journey
and float on its current,
exalting its wrinkles
bowing down
before its eyes that don’t focus
like they used to.

May I gather up false notions of aging
and blow them from my palm,
as chaff,into the wind-
knowing …all is well.

May I trust my body’s Creator
and know that he who mixed the elixirs
from which it was formed
created it
with a lifetime guarantee.

May I fall to my knees in honor of this sacred home of Spirit
never perceiving one cubic centimeter
as anything
but perfect…
This temple
of God
come to Earth.

QUOTE: "Giving up doesn't always mean you are weak. Sometimes it means that you are strong enough to let go." ~ Author Unknown

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Things Change (Terri Hendrix)

SONG: Things Change by Terri Hendrix

POEM: Beannacht ("Blessing") by John O'Donohue

On the day when
the weight deadens
on your shoulders
and you stumble,
may the clay dance
to balance you.

And when your eyes
freeze behind
the grey window
and the ghost of loss
gets in to you,
may a flock of colours,
indigo, red, green,
and azure blue
come to awaken in you
a meadow of delight.

When the canvas frays
in the currach of thought
and a stain of ocean
blackens beneath you,
may there come across the waters
a path of yellow moonlight
to bring you safely home.

May the nourishment of the earth be yours,
may the clarity of light be yours,
may the fluency of the ocean be yours,
may the protection of the ancestors be yours.

And so may a slow
wind work these words
of love around you,
an invisible cloak
to mind your life.

QUOTE: "If you don't like something change it; if you can't change it, change the way you think about it." ~ Mary Engelbreit

Friday, January 11, 2008

The Calling (Mary Chapin Carpenter)

How strange to think I haven't blogged since Monday, when I was so proud of staying on task daily (other than travel absences) - however, in my new 2008 Release mode, I've given myself permission to skip a day (or three) when the timing isn't right... or I'm not channeling the inspiration... or when I just don't feel like it...

Lots going on in my world these days, which makes my goal even more difficult - being on the core staff of our South Florida Folk Festival (which had taken a two-year hiatus due to Hurricane Wilma and her aftereffects) has sapped my time/energy/sanity. The Moment of Truth is next weekend - bring on the music!

I'm also dealing with some parenting issues with two of my three children - things will work out (they always do) but, in the meantime, I'm feeling exhausted, confused and even a bit betrayed. They're good kids, always loved, never deprived and raised on logical consequence - they'll follow their heart to a responsible outcome...

In the meantime, I'm challenged to find my balance, release my struggles and be kind to myself - I'm still learning to do the best I can, one day at a time...

P.S. Just writing this helps me realize how much I've missed doing it - however, I've learned my expectations cannot outweigh my emotional and physical health...

Like the joy of the sea coming home to shore,
May the music of laughter break through your soul.

As the wind wants to make everything dance,
May your gravity be lightened by grace.

Like the freedom of the monastery bell,
May clarity of mind make your eyes smile.

As water takes whatever shape it is in,
So free may you be about who you become.

As silence smiles on the other side of what's said,
May a sense of irony give you perspective.

As time remains free of all that it frames,
May fear or worry never put you in chains.

May your prayer of listening deepen enough
To hear in the distance the laughter of God.

QUOTE: "Inspiration is wonderful when it happens, but the writer must develop an approach for the rest of the time... The wait is simply too long." ~ Leonard Bernstein

Monday, January 7, 2008

A Dream is a Wish Your Heart Makes (as sung by Cinderella)

I seem to still be on a New Year tangent, full of hope and pro-activity and forward motion - think I'll ride the wave of optimism before the roots of reality take hold... :-)

with too many worlds
for its own good,
this portion of creation
constantly trying
to make its self singular,
this chef at home in the kitchen
among the gleam of knives,
among eclectic bottles,
sometimes dreaming
as a hermit among leaves,
drinking the centuries
of inherited silence,
sometimes the
social host opening
the doors and lighting
the candles,
often a father lifting his daughter
high up above him
and then
the husband
sheltered by night
to talk and talk again,
too often now
as the years go by
the son worrying
for a father sitting
Atlantic miles away,
in a silent
remembered parallel.

And now this
other parallel,
this symmetry
for everything
on the outside,
the writer in winter
at his desk,
caught in the light,
beneath the window,
bringing together
the last and the first,
the middle and the edge,
the near and the far,
the troubled lives
all calling for the one line
and the one life,
for creation came together
in a central
unspoken wish,
to be held
and made one
like a god's blessing
out of nowhere,
the pen
touching a wound
that heals them all.

QUOTE: "Dreams are today's answers to tomorrow's questions." ~ Edgar Cayce

Sunday, January 6, 2008

I Ought to Know (Jack Hardy)

A review I wrote for a concert I attended last night:

Thanks so much to Brian and Ellen for hosting yet another wonderful Shack in the Back concert - what a perfect co-bill!

Rod MacDonald and Jack Hardy have known each other for decades, from the Greenwich Village Fast Folk days - Jack still lives there (hosting a songwriter's exchange every week for *30* years!)... and we are lucky to call Rod local, after his parents' health issues 13 years ago in South Florida motivated him to move here.

Both men are sincere lovers of the language, translating their passion and skill to us in each musical gem - whether the theme is political, relationships or humorous, they craft poetry from their words, inviting us, the listener, on a journey of beauty and pain and connection.

We were treated to a few new songs last evening... Rod's Soldiers and Jack's Worst President Ever (and thanks, Vic, for requesting the elevator song... :-) - we laughed, we cried, we sang... and we came away changed...

Those of us who present house and venue concerts do not take for granted the work it takes to make such an evening appear seamless - much appreciation to all (from sound to snacks to seating!).

P.S. Congratulations to Rod and Nicole on the upcoming (February 29) birth of their second daughter...

P.P.S. I've seen Jack a handful of times at various festivals, more recently at last summer's Falcon Ridge - when he played I Ought to Know (last night's encore) at the festival after-hours, I googled the lyrics when I got back to Florida and was thrilled to find a hyperlinked version... :-)

P.P.S.S. Jack last night mentioned his friend Suzanne Vega, who covered his song St. Clare - she also coordinated Vigil: N.Y. songs since 9/11, a project sparked by the death of Jack's brother Jeff in the World Trade Center attacks...

I Ought to Know by Jack Hardy

To-Do List: From Buying Milk to Finding a Soul Mate, What Our Lists Reveal About Us by Sasha Cagen

POEM: Lines For The Fortune Cookies by Frank O'Hara

I think you're wonderful and so does everyone else.

Just as Jackie Kennedy has a baby boy, so will you--even bigger.

You will meet a tall beautiful blonde stranger, and you will not say hello.

You will take a long trip and you will be very happy, though alone.

You will marry the first person who tells you your eyes are like scrambled eggs.

In the beginning there was YOU--there will always be YOU, I guess.

You will write a great play and it will run for three performances.Please phone The Village Voice immediately: they want to interview you.

Roger L. Stevens and Kermit Bloomgarden have their eyes on you.

Relax a little; one of your most celebrated nervous tics will be your undoing.

Your first volume of poetry will be published as soon as you finish it.

You may be a hit uptown, but downtown you're legendary!

Your walk has a musical quality which will bring you fame and fortune.

You will eat cake.

Who do you think you are, anyway? Jo Van Fleet?

You think your life is like Pirandello, but it's really like O'Neill.

A few dance lessons with James Waring and who knows? Maybe something will happen.

That's not a run in your stocking, it's a hand on your leg.

I realize you've lived in France, but that doesn't mean you know EVERYTHING!

You should wear white more often--it becomes you.

The next person to speak to you will have a very intriquing proposal to make.

A lot of people in this room wish they were you.

Have you been to Mike Goldberg's show? Al Leslie's? Lee Krasner's?

At times, your disinterestedness may seem insincere, to strangers.

Now that the election's over, what are you going to do with yourself?

You are a prisoner in a croissant factory and you love it.

You eat meat. Why do you eat meat?

Beyond the horizon there is a vale of gloom.

You too could be Premier of France, if only... if only...

QUOTE: "Real knowledge is to know the extent of one's ignorance." ~ Confucius

Saturday, January 5, 2008

Grace Cathedral Hill (The Decemberists)

A New Year Blessing

I hope for you in this new year...

That the single, most significant dimension of life is your relationship with the Source of Goodness who never ceases to sing love songs to your soul

That you find meaning, purpose, and vitality in what you do daily

That you treasure your loved ones and let them know how dear they are to you

That you make choices and decisions that reflect your truest self

That you look in the mirror at least once a day and smile in happy amazement

That you remember relationships are what count above all else - more than work or money, or all the material things we spend so much time tending

That you live in an uncluttered manner, enjoying the freedom to be content

That you keep your sense of humor when things don’t go the way you want

That you find adventure in each new day and marvel at the wonders of creation which constantly present themselves to you

That you never give up on yourself when others turn away or do not understand

That you are attentive to the health of your body, mind and spirit

That you take risks and accept the growth-full challenges that come to you

That you draw on your inner strength and resiliency when you are in need

That you carry peace within yourself, allowing it to slip into the hearts of others so our planet becomes a place where violence, division, and war are no more

© Joyce Rupp January 2004

This is newness : every little tawdry
Obstacle glass-wrapped and peculiar,
Glinting and clinking in a saint's falsetto. Only you
Don't know what to make of the sudden slippiness,
The blind, white, awful, inaccessible slant.

There's no getting up it by the words you know.
No getting up by elephant or wheel or shoe.
We have only come to look. You are too new
To want the world in a glass hat.

QUOTE: "One resolution I have made, and try always to keep, is this: to rise above the little things." ~ John Burroughs