Steathily Releasing a New Song: My Imagination

Stealthily, did I make up a new word again–dictionaries, look out! I’m writing again! If I were writing a song, and not a blog post, Stealthily might Rhyme with healthily, but songwriting never waxed me wealthily, so here I am again, working on putting out a story behind one of my songs.

I’d like to make a new album, and organize my audio files on my computer, and clean my house better, and on and on ad nauseam…Right now I should paint my nails and go to bed because crew scheduling could be calling me and giving me only a mere 90 minutes to rise from being dead asleep to having my mind and body fully ready to perform the duties of my day job. So, quickly, before I lose my current and fleeting steam, I am going to quietly release a song. It’s a terrible way to do business, in the business of songwriting, but I honestly do not have time anymore to navel gaze long enough to figure out some “right way,” anymore, if there even is one, there is just no time, and no hope of having time–it is what it is.

Way back in 2011…

wait a minute—Lemme back-up…I already wrote a blog post about this…I must be losing my mind…Let’s just use that content right now, so I can get to sleep!

Imposters ALL !!! (A headline within a headline)

There has been much talk about imposter syndrome. Defined as occurring when a capable or accomplished person feels like a fraud but just like so many trendy diagnoses, the words become overused and loses meaning and context.

While I do believe Imposter Syndrome as defined is real, and wreaking havoc, I also think in the over-use it has been tossed around like when I was in high school, and we girls thought and said we were fat, even though our BMI was well within normal range. With the ability to constantly self-publish, it is very easy to only put out there a cleaned-up and photo-shopped version of ourselves, which we could never live up to in real life. Now, should you have some very good photos taken, that captures your essence, and put you in the best light possible? YES!!! A Resounding Yes! But, if regularly we are angling and editing to promote a version of ourselves that is truly unattainable, and does not exist in reality, then we do no one any favors, especially ourselves. Even thought I wrote it with insecurities in mine, and perhaps deception, including self-deception, but also, I was thinking about those who hide behind a screen seeking whom they may devour, in the form of a nasty comment that they might never speak as freely if in person, lest they be given a knuckle sandwich! What a mess this self-publishing world we live in. The blustering and bullying, peeping with dubious motives rooted in jealous malcontent…Sad…so very sad…

Switching gears, I will tell the back story of the mechanics of the making of this song:

Back in about 2011, an invitation circulated among a songwriter group that I was in, regarding a collaborative songwriting project, in which none of the participants saw each other. One person would add a beat, another a twangy guitar, another an interesting baseline, and so on. Hearing one of these songs, and intrigued by the project, I started penning a melody line and lyric which began:

“I have never seen your face

I hear the music that you play

and wonder if you really do exist…”

“Can I make myself look fine?

Brother can you spare a dime

To rescue me from who I claim to be?”

“Ooo Are we any relation

to our own imagination?”

“Mirror Mirror on the wall!

Do we know ourselves at all?”

It was one of those times that the lyrics and vocal melody rolled off my pen and it was done in minutes. I went to the house of the man who had orchestrated the whole project, literally, and recorded a track. Now, because it was my first official time making something that would be “out there” somewhere, I was nervous, and also did not want to tie up this young man’s time, I got in and out of there as fast as I could. I used to be very nervous in any performance- and was a stranger to the ways…

I have always had the hankering to perform, and re-record the song and add in another snippet of a song on which I also did some vocalizations, and later had an idea to fuse into the longer song as an introduction. You can find the original versions here:

The track title for the small intro is “Dramatic Musicbox” and the Whole lyrical song is “Funkadelic Slow Grow” which was named before I submitted a vocal melody and lyric layer. Prior to participation, it was agreed that whatever we created would be placed in the “Public Domain.”

So, after a decade, I called up a friend and asked if he could create a new fresh backing track for these songs so that I could take a stab at re-recording it. Not only did he take on the challenge, but also we remembered fondly a mutual friend who worked on parts of the original project, who has since passed.

In the original version there is a single voice (mine) in an empty room hollow sounding room… (Reverb) Dramatic Musc Box was mysterious and intriguing. Coming in the track list just before the song with the lyric, it was a perfect intro.

The re-make is bright and cheerful while posting a rather probing question, and the vocals have a feel of a soundtrack for a modern stage production.

The wonderful musician, writer, is from Lancaster, and has a vast library receiving radio airplay in the relaxing ambient genre, but I have enjoyed his lyrical creations as well, form all the way way back when we were in a songwriters group that met…and which I attended long before I had the courage to perform, and winced at recording. He told me back then to come on over and he would help me to get over my studio nerves—and we could work on a project… I think that offer was made in 2008 or 9… Procrastinate much? You decide…but I digress…

Releasing this song has been a painful process for me.

Since that day of recording the final vocals, I am now shouldering a day job, which has caused a delay in getting it out there, and because I am spoiled. Now, when I write a song, I feel like there has to be a music video to release it, since my opportunities for live performance have been limited due to disbanding the band even before Covid hit, and now being at the mercy of my schedule being dictated by operational need-it will be 2024 before I have enough control over my schedule to be able to plan and promote live events, not to mention finding time to practice—But I REALLY want to launch this song, and how I have been launching songs that I cannot perform live is with janky little obviously homemade videos. I can’t. This song sounds like a full stage of voices and needs some kind of visual to reflect that, yet NOT be a distraction from the probing lyric, set in a bit of a fun melody in instrumentation…What to do???

Well, I am just going to do it, here it is. The New Title is “My Imagination”

You can find it here, I guess…sitting quietly on the fringes like a wall-flower until someone invites it to dance, (or wants to dance one it–with a crowd of costumed fakers and posers…and hams. But for now, I will leave THAT to yours and

My Imagination:

{Click on the listen on Spotify Link–first 10 minutes I read the words above–with ad libs added in…last 5 minutes are the NEW Version of the song! Just released quick and Dirty-here and here alone…at least for now…G-nite…

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Kaleidoscope and Bird Storytime

I wrote and released Kaleidoscope in 2021

But It was back in 2020…when

I got the cold email when I was waiting to be picked up after some minor outpatient surgery–about an hour of needles and calculated lacerations aimed at my left leg while awake. My driver for some reason missed my texts that it was time to pick me up-stood up by a usually prompt loved one, jilted by a job I was engaged to most of the year, and only several days before Christmas. Bummer!

After 10 months of waiting, and geared toward going to training with a “mid-major airline,” they sent out a heartless “dear applicant” letter, cutting the line on all trainees in waiting. I was vetted and packed and only 2 or 3 weeks from training when the whole world shut down, but I waited, and worked on myself, and studied my pre-training lessons, and then just like that, it vanished.

While waiting, I had taken what I thought would be a temp job, about 5 months earlier, which had been beating this round peg into the square hole of bookkeeping, with a side of unfathomable receptionist/dispatcher stress. I loved it, and hated it, and knew it was not sustainable…but I kept on keeping on (for another whole year, actually)…and was very glad to be an essential worker, at least in my field, and for the brief times my duties allowed me to be round and fit, instead of square and frenetic.

It was January 2021, and I had money, thanks to having a job, but felt like I did not have time, also thanks to having a job. I determined to make time, in the midst of everything, just carve it out. I contacted a local sound engineer who had worked on a neighbor’s project, and I appreciated those pieces. We met a week later to talk, and to see if we could work together.

I brought a song that I had JUST penned, and all the enthusiasm of wanting to quickly get it out there, but I hid that as we talked about or experiences, and values etc…I pulled it out, and said, it is OK if nothing comes of it, but here is my most recent song let’s try to work on it…out came a guitar, and out came the EXACT feeling I was going for with the lyric…it was DYNAMIC!!! And the snowball rolled right on down the hill, including a rare moment where the meaning of the song got stuck in his throat and came out his tear ducts briefly, I hope he does not mind I shared that. He is a bomb.com guitarist, and he nailed my song right out of the box.

He made a backing, and we set a date to do the final vocals. Then, I postponed due to having a cold, and then for months as I experienced a front-row seat to the death of a parent. But eventually, it was appropriate to go back and finish.

I wrote the song Kaleidoscope for caregivers. There are times when caregiving, and already underpaid, usually just unpaid position is a gut-punch. There are caregivers who show up every day to give attentive and patient care, only to receive abuse, and usually also experience isolation. It is very sad that many people walking through unfathomable circumstances are also shunned. I probably could write 5 screens on that, but instead of hypothesis, I offer a song.

Caregivers are often the physical ballast, literally steadying a person whose balance has been thrown off by injury. In the same way, where there is neurological or emotional injury, or where those are tacked onto physical need, the caregiver is the ballast in the unseen as much as what is seen. Go tour an old wooden sailing ship, any old wooden sailing ship, and when you get to the lowest deck, where the ballast is you will observe chaos and odor not observed in the more orderly layout on decks above.

Have you ever handed a busy child a kaleidoscope? They stop and begin to slowly turn the outer ring, in order to see all the shapes and transitions, and the beautiful colors. They slow down and really focus, aiming the prisms at the light at the best angle to be able to see the most. Some caregivers become like a prism to the ones they care for, they become something to focus on, good or bad, and it is heavy. The glass shards are turned and ever-changing shapes can be seen. The tuning can come in the form is testing—Yes, you are bringing me food, but do you love me, let me drop this bowl onto the floor and see…or maybe you will be me whipping post, or maybe you will become my WHOLE world, I am looking to you, I am looking AT you…Sometimes someone finds their ballast, by focusing on you.

If you have a poetic bent, perhaps you can connect those thoughts to the lyric. The video is a compilation of a very round and scopic—(is that a word?) architecture. A marvelous Mid-Century Modern Building, that connected areas and structures with passageways, but no doors. Thank you Eero Saarinen and whoever undertook to Preserve the TWA Hotel at the edge of JFK Airport-and also preserve the happiest pieces of my childhood, and aviation history. The videos also feature a lone dancer working out some ballet steps and turns after class, and prior to instructing them to her next day’s classes, in a space with new well thought-out architecture designed to be free of limitations and open to all who seek to pass through.

Enjoy, be encouraged, and most of all, caregivers…be seen and valued…your sacrificial love and offerings are noted in a book that can never be erased.

..

Behind the Iron Gate

“Why do you seek the living among the dead?”

The song can speak for itself, because it is biographical, down the tragic deaths on the river. (There are several lengthy newspaper articles about that. My great-grandfather was only 4 when he lost his father and brothers, but chose the river as his daily commute and worked at the steel mill until well into his 8o’s.

The cemetery, the airport, the riverbank, and the steel mill on the other side -are all very real places, each within walking distance. The cemetery is scattered in every “block” with my ancestors. It is so peaceful.

It is a place where I can ‘come to the garden alone,” and yet not feel alone, or sad. I have gone there for all the reasons is the song, and the song says it best…so go have a listen, or a watch, as there is a simple video set to the song now on my you tube channel:

The stories, sunshine, and gathering are things I would wish for every family to have. I always leave with a little more resolve to live—and love and serve as well as I can. That too is in the song…more artfully than I can express in spoken words.

Those who care for this place have created a haven of beauty and solace. If you feel led please feel free to make a donation. I have decided to use this song to bring them good, as they have brought so much good to me.

Here is a link: https://www.mtolivetcemetery.org/

I LOVE making music and songs for my local community. I do hope to put out a “Locals EP” soon. I was down to the very last song for that project and got a bit sick, and now have to switch hats, because ready or not, here comes my day job…but no worries, it will be a great vehicle for interviewing open mics, and collaborations with other independent singer-songwriters like me–who are also crazy about making for their local community!

Selah…

Two Infectious Days

I’m too infected for my head too infected for my head too infected for my head…

The last time that I posted was about a year ago. When I discovered that I could do an amazing thing I can type up my blog on voice to text and then I can go ahead and read it aloud and put it up out as a podcast which is good practice because I do hope to eventually do some “real” podcasting (or hire someone to make it really good.) I’m never doing just one thing at a time, so allow me to describe 2 Days in my life.

Let me preface my story, Last month the dentist had to crown one of my molars or I going to lose it. My mouth was on fire with inflammation for a week until I finally had the courage to wear a night guard from years ago. My jaw seemed to settle down, but around the same time I was observing that I was also having headaches each evening. This went on a bit too long, and  I knew I was going to be doing a recording session, so I went to a massage therapist and a chiropractor to try to work out this headache thing thinking they must have struck a nerve. Everything helped, but not enough. Apparently, I developed a sinus infection as a result of the dental work, and apparently that is a”thing.”

Sandwiched on the day between seeing a massage therapist and chiropractor, and then seeing a medical doctor who diagnosed it,  I had a job interview. What resulted will impact so much of what I do moving forward as an artist and a person in the world, because I got the job!  This time two years ago, I was in a similar position. I was all packed and ready to go—then everything shut down. Well, here we go again! I am on track to finish something I started over 35 years ago! Yep, I said it! Maybe I’ll finally live up to my IG tagline “I am a bird I sing / I fly.” That was the flying…Now for the singing…

A few days later, I was in a recording session. I have so little time to finish half an album before I leave to be trained, and then gain mastery over my day job, through the end of the year. I had originally planned to make a whole album in different local studios over the coming summer. But opportunity knocked, and it was not wise to gamble and wait for it to knock later.  I woke up the morning of my session finally believing that I actually DID have a sinus infection because whatever was up in there had begun oozing down past my throat. The body is an amazing thing! Bad timing in this case, but amazing nonetheless! I really didn’t want my body to be doing that just then, but I was not about to cancel!

On the 45-minute drive, I worked through my usual warm-up routine, which is to sing through the soundtrack of The Phantom of the Opera. If I can sing the high notes just before Christine faints in the lair of the Phantom, then I know I can do anything.  I can’t quite say that I made it to my goal because it seems like when I would get close to that note nothing but air came through, but it was close enough, and I didn’t really think I was going to be hitting that note in the session, so I was not going to be deterred. Side Note: my voice seems to have dropped over the past two years. I thought that it was just me, but I’ve heard from other singers that they’re struggling with the same thing.  If you don’t use it you lose it!) 

 It was the first time I worked at this studio and was probably only a one-time-only deal because this guy makes a living with his OWN music, but a long time ago he said that he would help me to get comfortable with the recording process WAY back when we were in a songwriter group together and I admitted that I was intimidated by the process.  Now I actually love the beautiful process! But on this particular project, I wanted to work with this particular producer, because of a mutual friend who had worked on it previously but had passed. I will explain more about the song itself in a bit.

When I arrived I was surrounded by so much beauty! The producer’s wife is a visual artist. I was enraptured in all the art, and had to resist wanting to stop the session and interview both of them!I also had to fight through the way a singer feels when the voice may not be at its best, but ya gotta deliver.  I think that my adaptability and delivery have developed from working in different studio environments and with different producers. Like there was a vocal producer voice in my head, as I recalled and applied some of the good tips lavished upon me by what has become quite a village.  Work ethic trumped the fear and it was enough to get the job done, until very literally the last two notes. I was putting in one last vocalization of a two-toned Oooo… and it just crapped out on me, complete with a dry coughing spell. But, there were enough good passes to be able to call it a day. It was good.

Then, suddenly I was really very tired. I’d become accustomed to studio sessions running from about 11AM to 2PM sessions, never later then 4pm, and it was 6PM. I went home feeling both wired and tired. I was wired from the fairy dust of yet another project getting so beautifully done, in such an artful beautiful setting, and also deeply tired from having an unseen war raging inside my body.  

So, all that so say, I should have a new song soon and I’m going to go ahead and tell you the story behind the song. It’s going to be called, “My imagination.” It is a combination of two songs that already exist in the public domain, but for which I created the melodic lyrical vocals. The small album was created by multiple people who would each add a layer of an instrument or vocal track atop what was already there—like making a song “Telephone Game” Style. I did get to see one of the participants, the man who was running it because he had to capture a recording of my vocals. It was a rough cut but its out there on ReverbNation and in a little disc that I have in my library of things I’ve created or been part of creating. I’m breathing new life into it, because the message of the song seems to have been a bit prophetic and very pertinent to the social media culture. Also am going to learn the legalities of putting a song out a song registered previously under the public domain. I think there are potential royalties for the performance but not for writing – I don’t know, but f you’re going to be a singer-songwriter you have to learn about these things or else write such great songs that somebody else does all that FOR you, so I guess I better learn about these things.  😛

I’m hoping to put out an EP of songs that I have made locally and mostly over the pandemic. Well, at least one of them was made before the pandemic when my spells of inactivity were more due to seasonal depression and grief over sidemen lost to injury or worse–back when shutdown inside my own head, seasonally, rather than a worldwide pandemic. So I guess you could say that I’ve always been “too infected for my head…too infected for my head too… infected for my head…”  But I am making a rather good go at it…So fasten your seatbelts!!!

Getting an “F” in School and in Life

I consider myself a lover of words. I like to listen to the words of others, and I like to write. I think I have had a pretty broad vocabulary all my life, and I like to make good grades too. You would never know this as you discover a minefield of typos in all my posts on all out platforms. I flunked typing class…yes, an all out F indicating a failing grade. A black mark in my academic record. If I were offered the opportunity to retake that class and expunge my academic record, I wouldn’t. For me it would be worse than a waste, and for anyone attempting to help me overcome the appearance of illiteracy, I would not waste their time.

As an aside, if I could touch type, I could also learn to skillfully play and instrument. If I could play an instrument, I would be out sharing my songs CONSTANTLY with anyone who might benefit from hearing. I am here to say that there is some kind of disconnect between my brain and my hands. I could not change it if I tried, and I have really tried.

About a year ago, I applied for a job. it was a part time job, that after a few months it became just a few hours short of full time. I nearly walked out of the interview because I sensed typing -Data Entry was required! But they hired me anyway, as the rest of my skills seemed to be worth trying to navigate the admitted/confessed risks regarding typing. I’m not sure that was a good choice, but somehow, I am retained…but I will tell you, my body and brains are in pain and agony! I am hanging in. I like the way at the end of the daily adrenal exhaustion, there is usually a neatly arranged stack of completed closeout paperwork, and I got to complete it within yards of planes, and all sorts of fantastic aircraft, and people…and I am humbled…so very humbled. Why they want to keep me I will never know…

It is not an easy thing to make a choice to show up, even though you are certain there will be a degree of failure everyday. The typing thing, among a few other glitches in my artsy fartsy non math-seeking brain [ “Look at the bird!”] have proven to keep me at a level of under performance that is driving my nuts, and taking a toll on my body. I stare helplessly, but loyally and committedly into a screen, when there are faces-Faces I cannot look at , and conversations I can NOT afford to have…I am a square peg and a round hole, and an absolute sucker for acceptance…and planes, yes the planes, my office has a wall of windows on the runway side, if I were not maniacally busy I would likely pine that I am not ON them.

I’ve I stayed many months at an almost full time amount of hours, but wanted warned and begged to be cut back to part-time. I knew I was heading for burnout or worse. Recently there has been additional help, and also my hours were reduced one some days, and eventually I will be back to a manageable amount of failure fraught hours. (Its not ALL frustration, I love my co-workers and the customers, and planes, and after many months I know HOW to do all the many tasks. I am tired but sticking with it. This should ease up once back to my original hours. I do so much miss interacting with my organization clients, interacting with people at a more graceful pace, and waking up with the sun.

My plan was to pass flight attendant training, and lay low through the probationary period, to earn the free form jazz of commuting to base,navigating mass transit in a major US city in order to get form my crahspad to the airport, and how to bid trips. BUT that came to naught when my class date was postponed for nearly a year, then revoked, due to the pandemic.

Musically speaking, I was rehearsing a “farewell concert when everything stopped, and changed for what seems like forever. I was going to take a year to fully concentrate on my new job. Well, everyone did that, and I got a essential worker land based job. But, my plan was to shoulder my new load, then take my music and another venture on the road. I was going to build a network of peers in each city, and try to rehearse a 3 song set in order to be ready for any open mic I might be able to find and participate in on layovers. The plan was also for me to create a podcast of interviews with home grown artist like me, on a specific aspect of how we function withing their own spheres of influence.

The best laid plans…Now, I am knocking on different doors, to see if I can get some much needed face to face interactions before my evening shift, whether earning the difference between almost full time to half that, or volunteering. If I do it well, in the future, I might still be able to earn my wings and still remain deeply connected and invested locally. I will keep you posted, and no longer be as secretive about my day job (s.)Yes, most flight attendants have a second job, so its not far fetched. I guess when I was an unpaid parent doing volunteering, I became accustomed to juggling multiple occupations.

For 2 weekends, one in June and one in July, I stepped back into my home organizer for hire role, helping a family to de-clutter and prepare a property for the market.I loved the more relational ad conversational type of interactions with my clients It was utterly brutal to work full time hours over a weekend book-ended by regular near full time work weeks, but it was certainly definitive, and for reasons too complicated to explain in the post, I should be making another album this coming year, if we do not have a repeat of last year.

My empty nest clock began ticking December of 2019. It got off to an amazing start when I put in my application to a major US airline on New Years day at midnight, was interviewed on February 5th, and immediately and extended and Conditional Job Offer, and was scheduled for training in the beginning of April, and then everything changed…

I may have gotten an F in typing, and my posts are chock full of typos, but I was a straight A student in high school, while moonlighting as a corporate flight attendant intern- what an after school job THAT was! I volunteered like crazy and was very engaged socially…then I stopped for several decades to be committed to providing good for 4 other human beings to find thier callings.

If you read this far, thanks for letting me get more personal, now my posts can be a little less ambiguous. Music is just one aspect of the whole. My tag line on Instagram is “I am a bird -I sing, I fly” Sometimes I can figure out how to post there. If my social media platforms ever start looking good, I’m either paying someone else to create content or living a lie. Typos may be my unique seal of authenticity!!!

If you want to hear this, with additional author notes I have been dabbling in turning my posts into podcasts with Anchor on Spotify and you can access that here: