A Sheepish Confession, but Wheat-Free

What? Look, I have enough trouble thinking up song titles.  I pull out a reasonable preposition like a 3m hook and put it up. Sometimes, upon peer or professional review, another title is suggested as more suitable, and though it does make more marketable sense, resistant to change, I keep my comfy preposition. My bad.

That was not the confession.

In thos post I want to highlight the song I have so far called “A Grain of Wheat.” It has barely and roughly bee recorded in alive setting, but I have not yet been able to swing the production of many more songs. Perhaps when I do, someone will suggest a title change, for now that is the name, and I am stiking to it, even though I am gluten-free.

That was not the confession.

The story behind the song “A Grain of Wheat” goes like this. Once I hard a story from a man who spent most of his working life in East Africa. He and his family were sent to the beach for some much needed R&R. Offshore there was a reef, and behind the reef was a story. It was a story involving a shipwreck, and the wrecked ship became a part of the reef on which it went aground.  The ship was loaded with grain to be sold, during a time of great famine. It was suggested that some or part of the grain be unloaded, and perhaps the vessel could go on. Perpahs local people could help with this effort, and be rewarded with much-needed food. The owner refused the suggestion. The boat sat, in the heat, tides alone would not dislodge it. As the grain sat, in a watertight hold, gasses built up. Finally, the owner decided to offload some, but the gasses killed anyone who tried to release the grain. The entire load was lost, as well as the ship, which became part of the reef. This is a story of greed. There are words in this song that allude to this story. “A grain of wheat, festering in my hold.” It was suggested to me that I switch out the word hold, maybe for the word hand, but I did not, I wanted to keep the nautical vessel term. This becomes critical to my upcoming confession.”Hold” is a near rhyme to the word ‘soul.” Hold only that thought, that rhyming pattern, for my later confession, but that can wait.  So the song is based on a combination of three things: The story above, the Holy Bible [John 12:24, Mt 19;29, and the Parable of the Sower from all 4 Gospels] and lastly, a quote from 1950’s martyr Jim Elliot, “He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep, to gain that which he cannot lose.” You can see the similarities. The Bible is fair game because at this point it is public domain, and my reference to the Elliot quote is found in this allusion, “nothing to keep, and nothing to lose” Lots fo source words and ideas in there. But there is one word I knew shortly after the song was finalized, I had heard elsewhere, crust. My husband has a favorite song, by a father missing his son, and it uses the word crus and soul in the same phrase. The rhyme is with the word control, but still, I am sure that the fact that the idea of a crusted soul could not have been original. Though not plagiarism, or sampling ( am music plagiarism term) it always sort of bothered me that if ever that person, whose music fed me so very much, heard that line in my song, they would think…Hmm sounds familar…eye roll.

I try hard not to name drop as it directly relates to my music unless  I have had asked and been granted permission. There are those whose music and ideas mean so much to me and have nurtured me so much, I feel tongue-tied in their presence, even though I know they are people just like me.  But I had forgotten about this crusty little soul secret of mine until very recently. I was attending a conference where the speaker was one of those people. I saw others walking up and talking to this very approachable brother, but I was not going there. But, I did find others who I had been delighting in getting to know throughout the event. One was a man with an accent that sounded familiar, but not quite, like he could have come to form a part of West Africa I had been to twice, and I had to have word with him. Turned out I was wrong, he was from East Africa. Decades ago I could tell the difference between upper west and upper east African accents…weird, I know. But as I was wrong, I do a bit of name-dropping to move the conversation a hair off of awkward, and say, Oh you were from this region, did you know so and so? So-and-So is the man whose story my song is based upon. Then I tell them this story. it has happened before, that my conversation mate does know So and so, and yesterday, yes, it happened again. As the event was artful and spiritual, and I am an a songwriter, I say I worte a song based upon the sad story of the shipwreck, and the conversation continues to ramble about and move and make the world seem like a smaller place. BUT yesterday, I felt a quick shot of horror to recall that the presenter was whose crust I must have gotten my crust. I know, I am weird, I do not think anybody cares a bit about this, but this is just typical me. My mind runs circles around itself, and I second guess myself far more than anyone else ever would. I like to unwind others who are like that too, so I am trying to have grace with even me. At Ease!

It have tried so hard not to let my lyrics music be influenced by anyone else’s. I aim to be on the very safe side of original. I am pretty sure, with the exception of Biblical themes and references, I have stayed in my own lane. I am so thankful that I can only create songs on that which my uniformed butterfingers can play, so far so good. Exceot this word, and eaht is there are others, that I do not know about. But one word, My word, I need to chill out. So I am. I hope to look back and laugh at mid-life me someday.

This brings me to a story within a story. This songwriter, whose I heard speak, and whose music nurtured me from my late teens, through early and mid-parenting, and still has an impact on me, helped me through dark times, helped me to understand things I had read and wanted to get deep into my heart to overflow into do ing, not just thinking.   I can honestly say that his teaching had a direct influence and can be credited, though  I am sure he would not want to be associated, but with my band name and the foundations of my fake name. (By the way, I pronounce Selah with a hard “A” and an accent on it. it is a play on words, and dances lightly on my real name. I chose a fake name, in case I ever worked a job where it mattered, that there could be a degree fo separation. I have found out that that was an over-kill thing to do too, I sure am a person of extremity! But it is too late now. I’m in the interview process, and it has added a layer of complication to my paperwork. But I digress on my digression.  The fact is, I am finding out that everything seems to have been influenced by something. I watched yesterday as this speaker artist performed his songs, the looking at the lyci sheet, and not the crowd—(way easier and cooler to do when you self-accompany, rather than front a band, with no wood or electronics to hid behind!) I watched as he enunciated for clarity, with a sense of feeling like maybe me and my dense lyrical content are OK. I have been told to weed out words, and not make my songs instructional….yet such songs have preserved me for decades….scary hard decades. I listened as I heard songs which made me feel more at home in my own life and caused me to imagine and do better in my whole life floated on the air from the front to the very back where I was sitting, enjoying seeing the delight and attentiveness of the crowd as well.

It’s OK, it is all ok, and it is going to be OK. This weekend of being a “Mary” came in the midst of a most “Martha” season. I am entering something new and took a year to count the cost. I have had three paths to choose, and as I have knocked on many doors, the one that is opening is leading me to let go of some long-held ideas about how I was going to most likely spend the rest of my life. Doors which have opened might close others. I tried so very hard to make space for the other 2 paths. I was told I could do both. On Monday, there will be phone calls, and bags packed, and my shoulder is to the plow and I can’t looks back….except Oh NO!!! that was very lyrical, and I might have to write that in my song-hook book, which tyr as I might, I cannot shut out, because I hear lyrics and music in everything I think about and even when people are speaking, I hear words in tones.

Oh my very few readers, I must leave this lyrical life for a while. I must go where I am lead, and if all doors are open to me, this is going to be an intense year or learning and grasping a job that I am wiser to do, but it would have been easier to do in my 20’s. But it is good, and if I am supposed to be making music full time, or as was suggested, on a dual track, where I can self-fund by music-making alone, then it will be un-mistakably known. For now, I might not be here very much, my mind has got to be on pressing knowledge inot my brian, and polices and procedures into my memory, and catching every cold and virus my body has not already pitched out, I might lose my voice. No matter what I lose, I will be losing only things which I could not keep anyway. it is possible, that this “day job” will make it eaierfor me to work on newer projects, eventually. Them I could say that letting all these songs fall, over 70 in my regular performance catalog, then if they yiled 100fold, then I cannot imagine the good that could come from laying them down.

I am sorry for not coming out with my music earlier in my life. because when I heard about how heartbroken many singer-songwriters were about being on the road, I was afraid, really afraid to even make dated commitments on a calendar for events within even my own community, for fear one of the kids would fall out of a tree, or have a burst appendix, and have to go tot he hospital, and I would be off singing soehere, with my heart torn in half. Now, the itinerate life is upon me, but will not involve music, it involves loving and caring for people, in ways that have been proven to give back to me as fast as I pour out, and I am even gonna get paid…I will not know what hit me! I mut do this to be able to continue to give music freely. I have had interest from an independent filmmaker, and I do have some projects for film sync submission to quick get in the studio and do before I head out for hurling novicely for a feature film, and I might even see if I can hire someone to clean up a privately released album, and excepts form a live album, if I think my voice is going—rather than wait to re-make them. Those are things I must tie up in the coming weeks, or try to get back to as soon as I can add it back.

Who knows, But I DO know that the kindness of God is going with me.

Thank you to each one who has come to my live events, or has contacted me via the internet, or those of you deeper in the business who have reached out to me to encourage me toward suggestions and plans you had for me. I know, I winced, but you don’t know my heart or the needs of those nearest and dearest. Maybe if I weened out, I will get tougher, and come back to you somehow, with more stores and songs, because maye the stories and the songs will never stop, but for now, I am assuming that this chapter may very well close. But it is OK, and it is going to be OK!!!

 

 

 

Where the Water Tastes Like Wildflowers

In my mind, I can recall the drive from the airport in Anchorage to My grandfather’s house in Homer, Alaska. After long cross country flights on unpredictable non-revenue standby status, our parents had to stand in the airport searching schedules and prices for any available and affordable quick one hour flights in small battered commuter planes, some seating as few as 12. Of course, being impatient, we children preferred getting there in only one hour.  Sometimes that worked out, but not usually, and especially not at first when the whole family needed to have a full-fare ticket. Then it would be standing hopefully in line at the car rental counter, negotiating whether we would better afford to drive and drop off the rental car or keep it the for the whole ten days.  Then we would be off, leaving the city which stood in the shadows of Mount McKinley/Denali.  Very shortly we would be looking for Dall sheep and rams up the mountains on one side, and looking down at muddy clay patterns in the tidal basins on the Cook Inlet side. This went on for hours, and I was never bored, even though at home I would be looking hungrily at restaurants and asking when we were going to stop at one, there were none, or maybe one pastry shop on the 5-hour drive back then, but somehow, I did not mind, I was well fed by earthy yet ethereal beauty. As the roads were coastal, I recall as we got closer to our destination, one side I would see lush green, interrupted at intervals by strange places where some kind of natural disaster suddenly killed and stripped communities of some sort of pine or spruce trees, still standing, though weathered and grey. I always wondered if it was from some earthquake or with a tsunami pushing saltwater suddenly too far inland and messing with the freshwater in the lowlands, but I never asked, or if I did ask, no one had an answer. The longing for answers yielded to the longing to turn up the lane into Pap’s Spruce Cove. A five hour trip with no stops, not even for a bathroom, there were none to be seen from this road seemed long, but it never was. It may have been for my parents who were running on jet lag and too little sleep.

Though it would always be the middle of summer snow-capped mountain ranges with ice fields filling the valleys in between stood at a distance, but also seeming so close. In the pristine absence of roadsigns volcanoes, rising above the others marking the way. When going past small signs on one side for Kenai and Soldotna, on the other you could see Mount Redoubt, when you Mount Iliamna you could begin to get excited, and I am sorry to say, I cannot recall seeing Mount Augustine come into view out into the bay rising unmistakably from its own little ash island, because I was eagerly looking for roadsigns, like “10 miles to Homer.”  When we saw signs for places like “Anchor Point” you were allowed to start acting goofy, after about 24 hours or more of being awake, or only catching cat naps on planes, or between waiting on standby at gates hoping to catch the next flight further up and further in. I cannot recall the scenes we were approaching the outskirts of town, that memory is lost to me. All I know is that once we hit the town we would see THE (Yes only one) grocery store, Proctor’s, and beside it, WildBerry jams and gifts, the gas station, the Post office, Toby Tyler’s Art Gallery, and the turn off to head toward the Homer Spit, a piece of land which served as a marina and harbor for fishing vessels and ferry boats, and beach campsites for summer cannery workers, called spit-rats. Before long there was the log cabin style Baptist Church, then finally the Pioneer Cemetery with its victorian era wrought iron fence where brave homesteaders silently rest below, and there it was, the lane. The lane was lined with beach stones and pebbles tumbled smooth and flat in the waves so that they squeaked under wheels and underfoot. The air was clean cool and sweet-smelling, even if it was raining, and I suppose, that when the rain,  filtered down through moss and loam comprised of millennia of perennial flora, grasses, and berry bushes, that  Pap’s well water tasted “Like Wildflowers” to me. 

After I aged out of the system for free flight benefits via my father who for a major legacy airline, I could no longer go to my grandfather’s primitive homestead. I have heard that things have changed so much and that I would not be happy if I returned there. On the one hand, I believe that. I observed changes in the town over the years, as it shifted from a fishing village to a seasonal tourist attraction. I know that though my grandfather’s house still stands, even if I were granted a kind tour of the inside, the 1940’s refrigerator, with it’s tiny “pretend” freezer at its very heart would not be there, nor the smoothed pine trunk furniture hand hewed most likely during the long winter months in order to to make a pine board and batten shanty into a home. His house was neat and tidy, and the gardens were a feast for both stomach snow weary eyes, and supplied long dark winters in his root cellar. His yard was a fairyland for a little girl aged 2 on up through 17, where she could watch for moose, fetch buckets of smoothed round pieces of beach coal for the cook-stove where each morning a batch of hotcakes and home stuffed sweet-spicy sausage were made right on its top surface. I could opt to use the one tiny bathroom indoors, or the original plumbing, an outhouse with a proper cut out of a waxing moon on its door, or stand mesmerized as he cleaned and fillet fish on a wooden table for in the nearby smoker At least one large batch would be carefully prepared and tended and wrapped in small brown paper parcels so that we could take a whole suitcase full home for family and friends back in the “Lower 48.”  Smoke was an essential part of the welcoming sights and smells. It curled up all day from the stovepipe above a roof covered with moss, and each morning, when trash from the day before  was burned in a barrel stove on the bunkroom side of the cabin, taking off the chill from even a mere three hours of darkness of summer nights, and of course at least once during our stay the smoker, crafted from two 55 gallon drums, once housing a winters worth of fuel for Pap’s hardy pick up truck, but now smoked fish.
Oh the drives boucing along the road in the back of Pap’s old blue pick-up to the Homer Spit to check Pap’s net, and further back in time to his fishing boat the “Toot” which took us across the Katechamak Bay to the foot of the mountain range over which the summer sun presided and promenaded each evening just above the snow-covered peaks and ice fields between them, filling them up with what looked like a breaker heading toward us through his Pap’s two big bay windows.
We spent long days just swinging on a swing made of a thick scratchy rope tied into a high tree with the truck so side at the base three kids arms still could not span it in a hug. Some swung with one foot atop the other in the bend of the rope, and their hands grasping on for dear life, and another option notched board, or boards, as one was a two-seater. To swing you could go back and forth, but when you pooped-out, I would have to jump down into a gully,  ditch sometimes muddy with dishwater. if you tired just to go back and forth, you had to turn to keep your eyes always on the rooty bank, because you would have to course-correct constantly, or risk hitting the trunk full force and getting the wind knocked out of you, or worse. The older kids and cousins would stand in line to take a turn. For one side of the tree, they would run in an arc, starting as far around the tree as possible, then take a flying “roundhouse” out and over the gully, then hopefully land on your Flintstone-running feet safe to the other side. A wimpy take-off might make your meet the wall of the gully or the trunk of the tree…so you had to be brave and strong. My Brother would challenge himself to NOT land on his feet, but keep wrapping around the trunk. He was boss at that, except for a few times he was clobbered, but it was worth it, and gave me a squeal of excitement to see him fearlessly wrapped around and a few feet off the ground up the trunk, then unfold sending him back out an around the other way almost as fast as he had come the first time, if he could get a quick last-minute  push with his feet as he came away. I have to scan the pictures and digitize the film. Kids can make fun out of anything if given a few simple materials and un-scheduled time.
Each time I went spent a summer vacation, I came home stronger in many ways. Far from the usual trappings, like, grazing network re-runs of cool retro sit-coms of the late 60’s early 70’s on TV–I found things out about myself and the world around me. There was no TV.  I had time to think about who I was, and who I was becoming, and what I might have to offer the world. I still think about those things, as we all should, but not with the same expansiveness as then. The landscape has changed, but the mountains surely have not uprooted and moved south, winter-weary. They have not passed away to the shadowy unseen like those asleep in the Pioneer Cemetery. But I am not asleep yet under dirt and stone, so the verdict is that I should like to go back, come what may. My eyes long for looks at mountains. Tying in another song title here, though I would lift Up My Eyes to the hills (I did not write the words, those were written long ago,) I know where my help comes from, and I have hold of the constant, in the midst os s shifty world. This is the longing behind the phrase, “Take me back, to where the water tastes like Wildflowers. “

Podcast Palooza!

Everyone has things they do or pursue which are unique, and with all the different social media platforms, those things can be turned into regular publications which others can look forward to at intervals. Some have shows on YouTube, others produce a podcast. I am not sure why I just explained that? I am just realizing that most of my interactions lately have been with the wonderful octogenarians I am blessed to have in my life.  I am pretty sure one of the 4 of them, my Mom, who is my biggest fan, reads this blog.

So, Hi Mom! Thanks for reading Happy Mother’s Day 2019!

And, Hi Dad too— Happy Birthday next week! Thanks for giving me wings, literally!

Well, moving right along, I am a podcast/youtube junkie in several areas of interest.

So…Today I was checking in with one which I follow, and

Bam! I heard my music and my [fake] name! GAH!!!!!!!!!!!!! 

Made my day!

So, I like to send links to news articles when I come across some, or send an email because, if they are anything like me, it is a weird feeling putting your thoughts and stories out in space, then wondering who is listening. I like to speak up when I hear something which strikes a kindred cord. Maybe it’s crazy, but I do it, especially when a podcast is particularly storied or equipping in an area of my interests and or ambitions.

I also think about how that person has pulled back the curtain and little bit on their lives, so I do the same, by saying who I am and what I do, a mere listener among thousands worldwide. It is fun to connect, and I truly do not expect anything in return, not even a simple reply. I think about how these folks give of themselves, whether or not anyone tunes in because it is coming from their heart. OH how I ‘get” that!  I believe that if a tree falls in the forest, it DOES make a sound, whether anyone hears that sound or not.

I like to pop in every now and again, as if to say, “I hear you.” I have enjoyed when people come out to my live events and tell me that a certain song really touched their heart, or made them think. Everyone can use a little more thanks and encouragement. Even me – I feel so honored and humbled, and undeserving…actually I had been feeling pretty low, seems like I am always trying to swim an ocean. Today’s hearing a familiar voice speaking my name was a real surprise. For clarity, I was asked for permission for my music to be used (I did NOT ask ) and of course I felt flattered (in a good kind way) and gave permission, but in any case, I did not know it would actually be used, so I was floored!!! Also, art is such an expression of your inner soul.. BUT no less vulnerable than a storytelling enthusiastic podcaster or youtuber. I love to hear all the different voices, ideas, and tutorials, oh the tutorials…Yes, I am a podcast junkie.

I am on a dual “2nd Act” career path. I have so much to learn. I try to keep a somewhat of a low profile on the non-music career interest.  In the past year, two podcasters with content unrelated to my music career and learning path, rather related to my other aspirations, have generously given me a shout out -made my heart skip a beat!

I will post those episodes below:

Betty in The Sky with a Suitcase:

https://www.bettyinthesky.net/podcast-and-archives/

Podcast Episode 165 ‘Grounded” posted 2 days ago, May 7, 2019 (ft song “The Best Life”)

Betty Shares stories from her travels and from on the plane and fellow crew. She is also a 5xs published author, so while you are there on her site, click through her Amazon link and order her books!!!

The other was

The Airline Pilot Guy Show:

http://airlinepilotguy.com/apg-341/

APG Episode 341 entitled “D’oh!”  (Song Clip “Like Wildflowers”)

Airline Pilot Guy and his host of co-hosts wax fondly, educationally, and humorously among pilots about things pilots, aspiring pilots, and aviation enthusiasts are interested in. I have enjoyed attending some meet-ups within the listenership.

And now for a music-related podcast:  Women of Substance Radio 

Women of Substance Radio is curated by Bree Noble of Female Entrepreneur Musician

My songs have been included in these three episodes:

#940 posted March 22, 2019: (Song “Shall We Dance”)

http://breenoble.libsyn.com/940-music-by-tina-van-eveonvox-annie-calder-lara-ruggles-joan-bessie-heather-layne-catherine-m-thompsonrebecca-selah-melody-cooper-kele-fleming

#881 posted on November 18, 2018  (Song “The Edge”)

http://breenoble.libsyn.com/881-music-by-joy-chadwell-verily-doreen-pinkerton-rebecca-selah-andrea-schmider-elaine-peacock-christine-roberts-verily-doreen-pinkerton-andrea-schmider

#880 posted on November 16, 2018 (Song “While My Father”)

http://breenoble.libsyn.com/880-music-by-lola-dehanna-margo-zelle-kyra-shaughnessy-sheila-veerkamp-cleopatra-dame-janet-blair-rebecca-selah-emilsounds-joe-joe-benita-charles

#853 posted September 19. 2018 (Song “Turn a Light On” )

http://breenoble.libsyn.com/853-music-by-laura-berman-ann-leung-kathy-bogle-curtzon-astroblue-express-lisa-brigantino-raina-krangle-rebecca-selah-chelley-seibert-melanie-broussard-intelligentsia

Bree Noble does so much for the songwriting community. The resources she holds out are almost too numerous to mention. If you are reading this, and you are a songwriter just search Bree Noble and avail yourself of her resources.

I WANT TO SAY A BIG THANK YOU TOO ALL THESE WONDERFUL PODCASTERS!!!

From a very blushing

Rebecca

 

 

 

 

What I Do All Day

I used to love reading the big Richard Scarry books to my kids containing detailed pictorial descriptions of working folk, their tools, and their trade. One such Book was called “What Do People Do All Day.” Back in the day, my work consisted of reading that book all day to my littles, because the illustrations were fantastic! Now my days are spent differently because I have no littles under my roof, Though 2 still live in my home, both are over 18 and basically living here while preparing to establish their own vocations and homes.

Fall of 2018, and certainly the 2019 New Year would bring traditional employment, if not full-time globetrotting with benefits, at least part-time or temp, but a paying “day-job” to feed my music projects. at least that was the plan…Sometimes life comes along and blows up your prior plans. I see no day job for a long while. it is because I cannot ‘land” a day job? Of course not, it is by choice. I am choosing to place an extension on my primary title of full-time caregiver, and with good reason.

I have done the singer/songwriter thing off and on, in addition to my natural habitat involving caregiving, part-time employment, and volunteering, since about 2007. I wrote songs long before 2007, and began the caregiving and part-time working at age 17, and I think I have volunteered since I was old enough to push a broom. I have 2 speeds, industrious, or asleep, with not much in between. I only slow down where in caregiving it is necessary to sit quietly, which have been doing more of that the past several weeks, listening, taking directions, and attending appointments. This must be understood to know why I am not actively seeking a paying job at this time.

That being said, no matter what I am doing, I have realized that a percentage of my waking hours are devoted to matters pertaining to songwriting. There is the writing itself, there is production, there is learning my trade, honing my craft, and the business…which includes all manner of desk-work – that is the part that churns my stomach, and takes up the most time. I am so used to the bad habit of measuring my days by tangible three- dimensional output, like gleaming floors and appliances, that I forget to “count” my hours of intangibles, like all that is involved in songwriting and caregiving….as if I only “worked” on songs when I have a page of fully worked lyrics with chord symbols, or have sung into a microphone. There is so much more that goes into a song, or family for that matter- the intangibles are priceless in every sense of the word.

Now, for my own benefit, and the benefit of peers, and those just wishing to peer into my creative process, I’ve made a google calendar which will not only house upcoming events my local peeps can attend, or my online peeps can tune into, but also document my deskwork and legwork which nobody sees. The hours I put in have begun to surprise me when documented. BUT those hours are unpaid. If you figure in that my local events are usually free, or if paid, stretch way to thin for my musicians to even get minimum wage for the performance only, they get mere pennies when rehearsal time at home and collectively are factored in. The fact is, I have not had to fill out a 1099  for music yet. I have paid for many things, but have never written them off, or even been reimbursed. This is not a complaint. The best things in the life I’ve ever done, have gone without financial compensation. I will work diligently either way.

So, enjoy my new calendar as it grows: (Oops! No link here—see msg below)

OOPS! My calendar kept showing things like meetings & appointments not having to do with music. So I need to find another calendar app. I guess we will have to wait for that.

On it, you will find an accounting of my actual song-crafting, desk-time like making blog posts, updating website, contacting venues/musicians, creating Spotify playlists, (next up on my learning and implementing,) dealing with documentation involving copyrights and performance rights organization and backing up hard drives and hardcopy, also any research or classes I audit, at seminars, retreats, or  through online tutorials. By scheduling my rehearsals, studio-time, you might be looking for photos and or short live vids on my Instagram (which reminds me, I need to have my Instagram link added to my buttons on my website) and of course, you will find events, along with times, locations and directions. Feel free to check in at any time. I hope this will be fun, and enlightening.

It will add minutes to each day, but I hope to keep up with it, so that when I think I must be a proverbial “grasshopper” and not an “ant,” I can look back and see that some of the most valuable things I have ever done, just do not show up on a pay-stub. I’m not saying songwriting will never yield an income, but for the sake of those who work hard at good things which go unnoticed, I’m throwing it down. Tell me in a comment what types of thing you do each day, for which you do not receive a pay-stub, but are likely the best investments you could ever make?

 

 

Looking Up: Sweet By & By, plus other rambling trivia about un-official c 2007 album art, and more

I found myself talking about windows and thinking about windows today, (1/30/18). The weather started out snowy, then turned windy first carrying a white-out squall, then sending it elsewhere revealing a beautiful clear blue sky. The sun is shining through my windows into my very soul. I know someday I will look back and think of the times I stayed in my nightgown all day writing songs or writing blog posts because they were the first things on my mind and I didn’t want to waste any time getting down to work. I’m thanking God I could stay inside my house all day. yet be diligent and productive. I’m gonna miss this.

I am attracted to windows, all the time. Mainly ones that I can look OUT of and see the world. My first album produced by friends, privately released to friends and family, was Titled Out of my window, and featured family of my husband and my kids had activities going on centered around the windows of our big old house. One was of my husband rehanging shutters he had just painted, while my 7 year of daughter looked out smiling, and on the back was a picture of my older 2 sons when they were tweenagers, practicing how to attach a rope ladder out an upper story window and climb down. The meaning of the tile was derived from a line in one of the songs citing a time in my childhood when the nurse taking care of the elderly neighbors next door would sit in her bedroom window, about ten feet away from my bedroom window, to listen to me singing myself to sleep at night. Sadly, when I found out, it stopped, because I became self-conscious…too bad. Later in life, when I was rocking my 4 babies to sleep, living on houses with no air conditioning, I am sure that a few songs could be heard from “Out of My Window.”

But today, the line that came out of me, was that I love my big old house with lots of windows. I found myself saying that I need to look out of windows at the world, otherwise i might look so intensely inwardly as to tear myself apart. How many times a song is born out of my rambling thoughts. I knew that sounded like a Phrase form a piece I wrote, but also as I contemplated a getting full-time job in order to self-fund my art. The thought of it is hard because, in the past, I chose work which stole time and energy form my writing. I was self-employed and able to set my own hours, but I because  I was the boos and the worker and the scheduler etc…it became all-consuming and a big pitfall to my natural drift into perfectionism, I killed parts of my skeletal system. But the job I am considering now has windows and a clear start time and a targeted finsih time each day. Best of all it has windows, and rain or shine, those windows will look out on things I love to see.

So, once upon a time when I was experiencing my first two music losses, first of many, I will add, because to be involved on any level of music production means you have to learn how to lose …people. In my first months of having made music, and feeling the nudge to share it, I lost tow people who I thought would always be with me. One died and the other relocated. Cosquesnlty, I did not start sharing the 15 songs I’d recorded for another 3 years. Then, every time one of my volunteer musicians would understandably need to shift their priorities elsewhere, I would be up-ended and though I was smiling and giving my sincerest blessings, I was a quivering sobbing mas on the inside. If anyone wants to choose to make music as a career, get ready because people of art need to be people who are free to come and go and pursue interests other than yours…Can you imagine that? I am pretty sure many good writers have choked on that bone and suffocated. But I have fallen many times, and have stood back up, eventually. if you love them, you must set the free…I am dependant on musicians, but I can’t take prisoners.

Looking up was written as a potential personalized, maybe even public goodbye to the musician who relocated, because this person breathed the idea of singing in public to me, and then 15 years later, after a doctor thought I was going to die (but I wasn’t going to die) I fessed up years worth of songs only my babies in arms knew, and would have forgotten if that doctor had been right. I was friends with the whole family and was sad to see them go, but glad for them too. I started 2 songs, and then they turned into about a half of a song, and not sounding at all like it was about saying goodbye, more like how hard it is to focus on the things we are called to do, because we get distracted by trying to make a living and by too much morbid introspection. The line was “looking to my heart until I tore myself apart” and there’s no end to all that I know I should” [be getting done.] Leave it to an indie singer songwriter to follow that stream of consciousness…The half son was all over the map, then something happened too attached it to some more stable moorings. it never was presented to the friend, when I read the words it seems now Like it had little to do with that event at all, it has become a “happy little song” {aka ‘Bob Ross’ inflection}

Somewhere in the process, I was looking on a website that told the back stories to old hymns, and stumbled across the story behind the song sweet by and by. I was captivated. The story goes that there was a violin player who was often melancholy. He stopped in to the druggist one day, and the druggist in his concern for how low the violinist was feeling, told him to go home and get his violin. When he returned, this was the song they accidentally and oh so wonderfully co-wrote, “The Sweet By and By.” While the lrics indicated the sting of this present reality of and the hope of the future, and meeting again. After reading the story, I sat right down and wrote what has now become a “preamble” to my own arrangement of the good old hymn, often used as the last number for some of my live events for which it would be appropriate. My musicians Love to play it, their good work is showcased in a way that highlights their talent and passion for playing their instrument, and the arrangement is upbeat of “goodbye.” I hate goodbyes.

I only have one recording of this song, and it does not contain the piano lines, because my pianist was out that night, but it is good, and I hope with $ I earn from my day job, that I will have the time and energy to see many of the songs in my now about 80 song catalog, through to production on a level that I can at least share them with family and friends.

Done right a full-length album cost 20K to produce. if you are cheap and poor, and your friend helps you, it costs them large chunks of their life which goes unpaid. That can’t happen anymore. I am aiming toward the former, not because I like to drop money like nervous sweat, but because in the world of the work of music, it is the right thing to do.