The road ends, but the journey continues...

Category: 7 year itch (Page 1 of 3)

The ‘3 Measure Fix’

Sometimes all it takes is a 3 measure fix.

This vaguely simplistic concept was brought to light a few days ago while staring down an old (as in a piece I put aside years ago to work on ‘later’) arrangement I began, but never finished, for solo classical guitar. Something about it wasn’t quite right back then and something about it still wasn’t quite right, right now.

There were these 3 measures that, well, just didn’t measure up.

In seeing what I’d done previously with fresh eyes, I couldn’t dismiss it as a throw-away. I’d already invested much time and effort into crafting an original arrangement of a traditional Tarantella. It was, in truth, almost finished.

Stylistically, there are many songs in Italy that qualify as a Tarantella – basically a rowdy, raucous dance tune with moves inspired by – you guessed it – the Tarantula. More specifically, ridding one’s self of one and/or what happens after one gets bitten by one (frenzied madness)!

As is typical in folk music, each town, province, heck – family – has their own version of this. I mention family because coming from a musical family, these things get passed down along with the traditional family recipes. But not necessarily in tangible, written down form.

I knew how to play it in ensemble. That’s just a fancy way of saying I could rock out those rhythmic chords on my 12-string acoustic and/or classical guitar to my Dad’s clarinet/saxophone or my former duo partner’s violin/mandolin melody instruments.

But I really wanted it in my personal arsenal of songs to play for fun in a solo classical guitar context.

That said, I knew how my arrangement needed to sound.

I sight-read the unfinished score on my music stand with its errant 3 measures standing out as ugly as ever. Searching for a solution, I reviewed the source materials referenced in the initial creation of the arrangement and noticed something tucked in between the pages of my notes. All those years ago, I had hand-written a 3 measure idea to insert as a possible replacement for the trouble spot.

Sometimes all it takes is a 3 measure fix.

My ‘fix’.

Hmm, why hadn’t I just gone with that in the first place?


This video offers a good example of a player working through various ideas for an arrangement of the most recognizable of all Tarantellas.

Snow Joy (Poem)

Snow Joy
Laura Bruno Lilly ©2020
I don’t want to gaze upon its sparkly freshness.
         
              I don’t want to observe.

I don’t want to talk about it or take pictures of its transformative effect upon the common everyday landscape.

I don’t want to sit in warmth and take in the frosty view through my studio picture window.

              I want to leap and dive and splash about.

              I want to be in it.
To be clear, this is not me, but an unknown kindred spirit!

gif credit

It’s Been a Fun…

…Ten Day Run.

I’ll bet you thought this was gonna be about a mega-marathon. Better yet, about me training and then actually running one of those events. HA!

Or maybe just an announcement of a 10 day-in-a-row blogging challenge that never happened.

None of the above.

It has been a fun run of Palindromic Dates, however!


Littering the calendar landscape from January 20th through January 29th, these dates read the same forward and backward. That is to say iff (since we’re in a sort of Math Realm, I thought the abbreviation for the Math term of ‘if and only if’ to be appropriate herein) one writes dates in the month/day/year format.

1/20/21 = 12021 both ways through to today’s 1/29/21 = 12921 both ways.

I love this sort of stuff, sorry to see it go for now.

Did you know: the USA’s Inauguration Day date of January 20th won’t be up as a Palindrome Date for another 1000 years?

Bye, Bye, MMXX

vonnegut quote

It’s been a hard year.

To borrow the March proverb and apply it to our domestic and worldwide on-going state of affairs, I like to think that as 2021 ‘comes in like a lion’ it will ‘go out like a lamb.’

In the meantime –

I believe in kindness. Also in mischief. Also in singing, especially when singing is not necessarily prescribed.

Mary Oliver

This 2020 virtual choir video edition of How Can I Keep from Singing makes me feel less alone – its message, its virtual human presence. It seems just what the doctor ordered to usher in a dose of courage, strength and continued commitment to stay the course during these unrelenting times.

Being raised Catholic, and then doing the Jesus People street theatre scene in the 70s, my knowledge of purely Protestant Hymns is limited. Yet, here in the midst of a 21st century Pandemic, it took a Unitarian quilter blogger buddy to introduce me to this encouraging and joyful Hymn (thank-you, Zippy).

My life flows on in endless song above earth’s lamentation.
I hear the real, though far-off hymn that hails a new creation.
No storm can shake my inmost calm, while to that rock, I’m clinging. Since love prevails in heaven and earth,
How can I keep from singing?

– Keep singing –

Thoughts Thought on The Longest Night MMXX

Can a 66 year-old woman begin her own designated Hero’s Journey? Again? Is it too late? Rather, is there time left in her life to dive into yet another Path that would surely reveal itself during that Journey?

In many ways, 2020 has been the dead-end to end the multiple dead-ends I’ve hit over the past few years in my creative life. One could say it has been the ending of an unconscious Hero’s Journey.

My generation has always championed the idea of jumping over one’s shadow. Elements of a traditional “Hero’s Journey” are hardwired into my everyday life. In fact, they were supported and modeled by my folks even as my life took shape. So, facing more adventures, twisty, turny changes, and making do are all just part of the mix. Mostly, knowing that in the midst of it all, surviving & thriving are not mutually exclusive and is a precious insight.

Somewhere along my (he)artist’s way, product and validation overtook process and creation. As such, the muse all but disappeared, the gift all but withered.

The focus to finish and get my project(s) ‘out there’ became so strong it obscured seedlings of exploration, experimentation and self-expression. And in the end, with little to show for that absorbing focus.

The good part to all of this is that the stubborn ruts I’d traveled were more easily seen for what they were – not an obstacle to the Path, but proof that I’d wandered from the Path.

So I have corrected my focus. I am firmly ensconced in choosing repertoire based upon pure desire to play/perfect what I want to play – not based upon some audience type or proficiency parameter. And the composing! Instead of keeping it in check so as not to overshadow my practice time and/or exploration of tangential instruments, I am fully leaning into those juicy sessions.

Yes, I have project(s) that are screaming to be ‘out there’. Many are in fact 99.9% ready to go…but I gave myself permission to just not angst over all the odds and ends I’m clearly not knowledgeable enough to do right now to finish them*.

In other words, I gave myself permission to do what I was meant to do: create music – play around with sound – and commune with the Giver of the Gift in doing so.


Meanwhile, this year marked the entry into one of my favorite type of birthdays – one of duplicate double digits. It’s just one of my things.

The last such marker was 5-5 Revive.

Surprisingly, this year’s spontaneously spoke forth as Route 6-6.

What? Taking to the road again, in this time of lock downs, life threatening environmental obstacles and lack of connection?

Yep. Maybe not literally, but certainly in allowing the muse, my music, to lead the way…instead of my dragging it along with me. Be the conduit, serve the Gift and enjoy the process.

If I am the only one to hear or see or understand what comes forth, then so be it.

But I’m willing to bet this ‘Hero’s Journey’ change in attitude might alter that solo scenario come 2021.


*That’s the extreme down side of all this DIY stuff that goes along with being an Indie (he)artist – having to do all the business stuff, packaging, marketing, registering, licensing, publishing, etc; and finding/hiring qualified people to do the production side of things. It simply is not as easily available as one would think. Not whining, just sayin’…

We all need more Christmas

(this year especially)

The fresh-cut tree stand down the road from us always sets up shop around November 11th and sells out of ‘fresh’ stock (highly contestable IMHO) around Thanksgiving. This has always confused me as the thought of needle drop before Christmas proper and indoor dry tree syndrome does make for a huge holiday fire hazard, if not messy house.

After living in the deep south for almost a decade, I’ve learned it’s common to start with the tree-in-the-house aspect of Christmas decorating to begin not the day after Thanksgiving – which has always seemed strange to me, too – but instead often several days before Thanksgiving. I’ve gotten used to this and kept my thoughts about this seemingly local quirkiness to myself – to each his own, right?

This year, that same stand began displaying its wares around the 17th of November. A tad later than usual. And, those trees did indeed sell out several days before Thanksgiving – after two full tree-lot re-stocking of product!

Meanwhile, I found myself spontaneously delighted to see the emergence of such local ‘normalcy’.

Perhaps it’s just me grasping at snippets of Joy. But why not lean into Joy – however seemingly small or passing?

If you suddenly and unexpectedly feel joy, don’t hesitate. Give in to it . . .

. . . Joy is not made to be a crumb.

from: don’t hesitate, by Mary oliver

Hubby and I agreed that maybe this year we’d get going with Christmas decos earlier than usual for us.

Almost two weeks ago, as I tidied the house up for our Thanksgiving ZOOM family feast, I also cleared away the place where our new 4ft, pre-lit, artificial tree would be set up for this year’s Christmas.

Why?

It felt good.

It made me happy and expectant.

Because:

We all need more Christmas.

This year, especially.

Go and enjoy choice food and sweet drinks, and send some to those who have nothing prepared. This day is holy to our Lord. Do not grieve, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.

Nehemiah 8:10 niv

Snowman table topper pictured in the featured image made by quilt-buddy Roseanne. (Flash wanted his picture taken, too!)

60/40 in favor of…

The tally’s in: 60/40 in favor of ‘expanding’.

Thank you, readers, for your well-thought out input on the matter.

Real numbers? 12 (60%) – ‘expanding’ and 8 (40%) – ‘ballooning’.

I admit, I leaned heavily in favor of ‘expanding’ from the get-go. The word just rolls off the tongue better. But the visual evoked with ‘ballooning’ is what had me teetering between the two. Alas, in my mind, the other – ahem – gasses associated in those images nixed its usage – plus it was a cumbersome word to intone within the context of the poem itself.

Well, that’s all there is to this post! I wanted to officially announce that the word ‘expanding’ beat out the word ‘ballooning’.

                  Making Bread - poem WIP
                         (LBL - MMXX)

Making bread
I become a Builder.

                   Hands kneading.
                   Yeasty gases expanding.

Making bread.
I watch as it shapes a story.

Pandemic Potpourri V

As mentioned before: herein I will blog, and commenters can comment, without feeling guilty about seeming to disregard the seriousness of our present COVID-19 Reality. In other words, this space is reserved for escaping/managing Reality – however that translates. Anything goes, so here goes!


Mariss' Kantha
October’s Kantha Piece by Mariss Stevens

First and foremost, I just had to show off this piece by my friend, Mariss. I’ve long admired her fiber art – and her curiosity about trying new techniques. After attending a course given at the South African National Quilt Festival in 2019 on Kantha stitching (pre-COVID – remember when?), she decided to experiment with the stitch form by making monthly samplers. As she says, “What has caught my imagination is how the simple running stitch can be used to produce such varied patterns and effects.”

Coincidentally, she began her samplers in January 2020 and they have since become a form of meditative creation for her as this year of the Pandemic has persisted & progressed. (click here and here for photos of each month’s sampler thus far)


Changing gears: How about a little help with my poem WIP? Below are two versions of Making Bread. If you feel so inclined, please read through both and then in the comments below let me know which word you prefer. I waffle between the two of them. Oh and, anybody notice the relationship between the Kantha piece above and something else on this blog post? If so, let me know about your discoveries in the comments.

Making Bread – poem WIP version #1:

                  Making Bread - poem WIP
                         (LBL - MMXX)

Making bread
I become a Builder.

                   Hands kneading.
                   Yeasty gases expanding.

Making bread.
I watch as it shapes a story.

Making Bread – poem WIP version #2:

                  Making Bread - poem WIP
                         (LBL - MMXX)

Making bread
I become a Builder.

                   Hands kneading.
                   Yeasty gases ballooning.

Making bread.
I watch as it shapes a story.

And last, but not least, just because this is how I’m feeling right now…
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