Tag Archives: on the road musician

The Lady of Arles (Poem)

The Lady of Arles

The Lady of Arles

 

Echoes of Edith
Chanteuse of a certain age.
Je ne regrette rien

Forty years from Barcelona
Playing her life in Arles.
No regrets. No regrets at all.

 

 

 

 

note: my sister-friend Susan and her husband are playing gypsies traipsing throughout Spain and southern France this month. She keeps my e-mail inbox filled with wordy treats describing eats and events of their day, including occasional photos that wow my (he)artistically starved eyes.  This photo is posted here with her permission.

It’s All About The Music

My Swimming with Swans project.

Imagine a single sunflower blossom, filling the mind-canvas in O’Keefe fashion.

Sunflower-Eye-copy

The center, filled with potential protein tidbits to be harvested after the bloom has died, is the current focus of my Swimming with Swans project.  It is the source from which all else emanates.

It’s All About The Music.

Prose, dance/animation, fiber art and documentary infuse individual project-petals emerging from that sunflower center.

SanFran Sunflower

My Swimming with Swans project-petals emerging from its music-center

It’s All About The Music.

Recently, I awoke with that O’Keefe-esque visual imprint in my mind’s eye.  Often, the Lord speaks to me through such visuals.

It’s All About The Music.

How that basic fact escaped me during the early days of organizing Swimming with Swans: vignettes of our three-year journey between homes can be understood in the reading of its working title. In reigning in the scope of my Swimming with Swans project, first steps were found in the Kevin Powers article I read and wrote about sometime last year.  Still, it only addressed the written aspect of my project.

It’s All About The Music.

From the very start of our Between Homes journey and on through to the bittersweet end, music was my calling card.  Wherever the work sent us, whatever job opportunity hubby pursued – performing opened doors, initiated relationships and provided supplementary income. The Music also served as a precious tether connection with my true self amidst the current Reality we were navigating.

Early on, a colleague jokingly spoke of our Between Homes lifestyle as my personal sabbatical.  While I was certainly immersed in composing, playing, performing and practicing, the circumstance of our journey was not something I’d label as a sabbatical.*

But truly, output gleaned from that Between Homes time resulted in a large body of work.  A large body of quality work, some of which has been presented in bits and pieces on this blog in the form of ‘individual prose-project-petals’ as re-edited vignettes, reflections of re-entry into the mainstream, photos of fiber art created as a result of that experience, and the desire to Give Voice to the experiences of others in similar situations across the country.

All to the exclusion of its core element: The Music.

It’s All About The Music.

To be fair,** the sharing of musical projects on a blog is not easily achieved.  Posting mp3 audio snippets or pdf score excerpts of works in progress is problematic on many fronts.  Copyright protection just doesn’t seem to count for much of anything in this digital age.  Aside from that, there is this old timey view of discussing current projects and ideas that I hold as truth.  Any creative (he)artist knows what I’m talking about: the dreaded speak it, talk it, discuss it, and it will disappear! In other words, don’t share all the details of a current project or idea during the creating of it or the energy will just vaporize; just do it!

And that’s exactly what I have been doing since the beginning of the New Year…

It’s All About The Music.

Swans on a Misty Lake, by Alex Saberi

Swans on a Misty Lake, by Alex Saberi

With the music in its proper place, Swimming with Swans is fleshing out naturally.  It is beginning to glide effortlessly across the lake of completion with strokes of fluid motion, like the swans themselves.

 

 

*Definitely something worth writing about more deeply in another post/vignette.

**and in the spirit of full disclosure: the last few months of our three year journey, I walked away from the deepest part of my self-the music- which took longer to heal after our reentry. That time to the beginning of this year represents a period of restoration and reconciliation that is relevant but not appropriate to recount in this post.  Possibly open to dialogue further in another one, though.

In Search of a Replacement Classical Guitar Case

In 1994 I purchased my first custom handmade classical guitar.  A Thomas Prisloe.  Crafted with an Englemann Spruce top, Indian Rosewood sides and back and customized features, it came housed in a Pro Tec International case.

My 1994 Prisloe nestled in its original Pro Tec International case, 2015

My 1994 Prisloe nestled in its original Pro Tec International case, 2015

Both have served me well these past 21 years of gigging, performing, recording, teaching and traveling.

The woods of this guitar have long since opened up, developing a tone quality shaped by the touch of my fingers and style of playing.  The case remains a stalwart protector of its charge.

Heavily padded, yet extremely lightweight and durable, this case kept the Prisloe at a consistent temperature and humidity level as well as safe and secure during transport.  It didn’t show signs of falling apart until we ended our between homes journey in July 2012. Continue reading

Ecco là – Coffee Beans – è Finito!

Thought I’d spice this up a bit with some of my good ole Italian…besides, a picture is worth a thousand words, so if there’s any question of what that title means, just take a gander at this:

Coffee Beans Means Love to Me, back & quilt label

Partial view of quilt back with label signed and dated

Yep, Coffee Beans Means Love to Me is no longer a WIP, but a completed project.

Last seen on the table ready to be basted a few posts ago, I experimented with using large quilter safety pins.  In general, I liked the way they held the 3-layered sandwich together while I machine quilted.  However, the holes they left in the fabric after being removed left me wondering why I didn’t just do it the way I’ve always done it.

Basting together pieces of (he)art

Basting together pieces of (he)art*

Live and learn.

Perfectionist that I am, I feared I’d wrecked the whole thing.  Then I remembered: part of our between homes experience was embracing the ‘strange life path’ He had for us.  So what’s a few microscopic pin pricks?

Still living.  Still learning.

 

Finishing Coffee Beans has been freeing.  A sort-of final transition stage where our between homes past has been pieced together into something beautiful to be seen in the ‘now’ as a reminder while we proceed into the ‘next’…

GEDSC DIGITAL CAMERA

The road between homes has ended for now, but the creative journey has not.

*creative confluence: Coffee Beans Means Love to Me (2014), my NaNo Novel, ‘The Woman Who Didn’t Belong’ (2013), my hand scored original arrangement of ‘Mo Giolla Mear’ written while I was ‘Swimming with Swans’ in IN (2010), favorite guitar strings and an old photo of me with an anonymous horse in Montana during Spring Break (circa 1977).

 

Goats in the Garden at Midnight by the Light of the Full Moon (part two)

from-Swimming with Swans: vignettes of our three year journey between homes
(Goat Suite Saga #5b)

February-March-April 2011 (the desert outside Las Cruces, NM)

“Happy Easter, Happy Spring everyone”…thus began the preface to the e-mail I wrote to my ‘little list.’  I hope this longer vignette offers to you some music interest along with a little encouragement in whatever you’re facing today. And, this season instead of thinking ‘bunnies and peeps’ think:  goats!”

After recounting my ‘goats in the garden’ incident; revealing both my strange emotional response to it as well as the overall musical inspiration I’d been receiving from those goofy goats, I pushed the ‘send’ button.

It was quite cathartic. Continue reading

Goats in the Garden at Midnight by the Light of the Full Moon (part one)

from-Swimming with Swans: vignettes of our three year journey between-homes
(Goat Suite Saga #5a)

February-March-April 2011 (the desert outside Las Cruces, NM)

Mama Goat, Tater & Kids

Final Goat Family Portrait: Larry, Terry Scape, Mama Goat and Tater

With Tater gone, Mama Goat and the kids were introduced to life beyond the pen; opening up numerous opportunities to roam about the range during the daytime.

Terry & Mama foraging in Tate's feed bin

Terry & Mama foraging in Tate’s feed bin

At first, the threesome devoted their new found freedom to eating leftover hay in Tater’s now empty pen rather than go exploring. However, frolicking in the feed bin became passé once its contents dwindled down to nothing.  While the pens held fond memories of family playtime, Mama Goat, Terry Scape and Larry easily entered into a daily routine of romps out on the range.

Romps on the range

Romps on the range

Billy & Terry & Leggy Lady's manure mound

Billy & Terry & Leggy Lady’s manure mound

Human romps out on the range increased as the days grew warmer.  All of us on the compound got quite excited about starting a new garden plot by the goat pens where Leggy Lady left us lots of soil enriching fertilizer.

Billy and Terry on tractor with pitch forks

New Mexican Gothic: Billy and Terry

Everyone on our corner of the compound pitched in: Billy and Terry tractored and raked,

Karen in the director's chair

Karen in the director’s chair

Karen watered and directed, and I…well…I raked, but mostly just kept the goats company.

Laura, sitting in the goat pens

Laura, sitting in the goat pens

By the end of that third weekend in March, we had a fully prepped garden area; ready and waiting to begin planting crops.  In order to gain greater yields during its producing stage, we were now ready to plant our cool weather crop seeds by the dark of the Moon (time from the day after it is full to the day before it is new again) and to plant our above ground bedding plants by the light of the Moon (new to full) in April.  Planting by the Phases of the Moon is a new farmer-thing I learned and has some basis in scientific reasoning. Just as the moon pulls the tides in our oceans, it also pulls upon water beneath the soil’s surface, causing moisture to rise in the earth, which encourages plant growth.

Consequently, this combination of getting my hands in the dirt, planting according to the Phases of the Moon and watching Mama Goat, Terry and Larry cavorting about the land caused my brain to come up with the song title for a musical composition I’d had rolling around in my mind for quite some time:

Goats in the Garden at Midnight by the Light of the Full Moon

Several rhythmic motifs came to me from observing those goats playing on any given day with such abandon and crazy clumsiness, providing me with plenty of creative inspiration.

Surefooted?
Yes.
Clumsy?
Yes.
Do they care?
No.

As well, I acquired some melodic material from their bleating. Continue reading

Teaser Quote: Goat Suite Saga #5a

from- Goats in the Garden at Midnight by the Light of the Full Moon (part one)
(Goat Suite Saga #5a)

“In terms of a musical composition, titling a piece, ‘Goats in the Garden’ conjures up quite the visual. Picture this: snapshot images of goats dancing wildly about while snacking on the available produce, all to the sounds of the rhythmic and melodic motifs whirling about in my brain.   Adding to that, ‘Midnight by the Light of the Full Moon’ sounds romantic and earthy and mysterious. The two titles could quite possibly comprise two movements within the totality of the piece; a short Goat Suite composition. Technically, a suite consists of a minimum of three movements.  And even that works within the complete title: #1-Goats in the Garden, #2-At Midnight, #3-By the Light of the Full Moon.  Cool.”

Between Homes

from-Swimming with Swans: vignettes of our three-year journey between homes
6/2009 ~ 6/2012

July 2010 (North Webster, IN)

“Sometimes, when you possess nothing at all, the only thing you can do is hang on to your dignity.  But even simple words can take that away from you if you’re not careful.” *

We are in transition, my husband and I.

As of June 26, 2009, we have been living life on the road.

Having sold our home in Colorado, we stored all non-portable, and “to be used later” items in a storage unit; packed two duffels with clothes, books, Bibles, toothpaste, and meds; filled the car trunk with tools, hydraulic jack, an air mattress, fold-up sports chairs, and mini basket with important papers; and the rest of the car with a greatly reduced number of items needed for our livelihood.  For my husband, that included a computer with two screens, tech stuff, a mobile wi-fi device, and business materials; for myself, two guitars, one ukulele and a satchel crammed full of selected musical scores, teaching/marketing/composing materials, and of course my journals.  Throw in our two pillows, a small “food/domestic needs” box, CDs, DVDs, camera, coffeepot, water bottles, maps and there you have our home on wheels.

Whatever we continue to take with us, has to be able to fit in our 2003 Toyota Camry, so if we have a non-disposable need other than what we have on hand, we usually do without; not only because of financial considerations, but also because it all has to fit back into the car once we’re on the road again between destinations.  Most destinations have been house-sitting/house fixing up assignments and/or visiting and helping out family and friends, with lots of cross-country traveling thrown in for good measure.

Essentially, we are between homes.  Continue reading