All posts by Wendi Loomis

Dancing on the edge of dreams & blowing my horn to the wind while living & loving the live entertainment.

Falling back into the classroom

My how time flies when you’re busy teaching yourself new songs, moving, planting and growing yourself in a community, and mostly searching for good work to do. Sure there has been some fun along the way, of course. However, after years of relying on Poetry Alive! to find me good work to do in classrooms across the country while I juggled some new projects on my end, I find myself setting sail on a solo adventure that means booking not only the bands I perform with, but also marketing my years of arts integration experience in the classroom as a solo artist.

I started putting applications together last winter and reaching out to organizations that fund this work. I’m excited to share that the Teaching Artists Presenting in Asheville Schools (TAPAS) program funded by Asheville City Schools Foundation in cooperation with LEAF in Schools & Streets and UNCA has accepted me into their cohort of teaching artists for the 2013-2014 school year. This means that teachers working in the Asheville City Schools may submit grant proposals to TAPAS to fund in-school residencies with experienced local teaching artists like myself. I will be updating this website soon with more information about the types of residencies I have done effectively with the SmartARTS program in South Carolina and new ideas for pairing core curriculum with engaging music, writing, and performance residencies. For now, you can check out the brief overview in the new TAPAS catalog below:

If you are a teacher working outside of the Asheville City Schools, feel free to contact me directly about booking and we can discuss rates and other funding options that may be available to you in your area.

My current schedule on this website is a “living breathing entity” (aka “subject to change rapidly”) that contains much of the live music performances coming up with The Gypsy Swingers and The Red Hot Sugar Babies in the area. I also will be playing a show later this fall of original music and some covers outside the jazz genre. I must admit, that has me a bit anxious as I stretch myself a little further into the solo world. I’ll keep updates coming as that develops with some sound bites & lyric dribblings.

Thanks for stopping by and reading! Wishing all the teachers and students heading back to school this week a great start to the new year!

 

Doo-dads & dribblings journaling through the holy daze

Howdy reader! It’s been a while. In fact, I almost let the site disappear, but then realize I’ve grown rather attached to this odd piece of internet real estate where I can park my words. Looking back through the paper journal there’s a gap of words between September and November as my world shifted and moved once again. So, I thought I’d get the new year started here by playing catch up and sharing some of the word droppings that made it to paper since the last blog.

Warning, words are slippery and unless you catch me speaking them directly to you it’s possible that upon reading them you may make new meaning from them that has nothing to do with what I was thinking. I can’t even tell you what I was thinking, because all I have left are these dribblings of those thoughts.

The words are here free for you to read. If you like them or find them useful and would like to see more you can feed the muse by clicking the little donate button in the right column. This allows you to magically add cyber dollars to the paypal account which pays the fee for having this space for words owned by little ol’ me. Also, feel free to browse the other areas of the site which contain more words and music and even where to find me in the real world sharing words and music.

Okay, shameless self promotion done. Now for the journal doo-dads…

11/14/2012
“Tell me about your true love,” he said.
But the answer comes not from a tongue gone mute
In her mind she answers the question for herself
“I have loved before and may love again,
but never had one that’s true.”

12/5/2012
I wish I had something new to tell ya,
But it’s been a whole bunch of the same
Finding my way only to lose it again
As the mirage I’m chasing drifts farther away

I should be on the road by now
Instead of walking round this town
Looking for something I can’t seem to find
But I just can’t get you off my mind

I hear you keepin’ on by the timbre of your song
As the seasons change
Relationships turn strange
Falling back or springing forward
Wondering what to look toward

I wish I had some light to give
To shine you out of the hole you’re in
But the flame died in all the tears I shed
When you let another woman take my bed
I should be on the road by now
Instead of walking round this town
Looking for something I can’t find
But I can’t get you off my mind

I’m looking for a song
That will move my heart along
As the seasons change
Relationships turn strange
Falling back or springing forward
Hoping for something to look toward

———–

We’ve crossed paths missing connection
Crossed hearts swearing no lie
But that offers little protection
Crossing the world before we die

12/27/2012
I walked across town in the rain
To wash away the fear & pain
For the bodies buried on Babylon’s shore
For Mia Zapata & women around the globe
For the children of Sacramento
For the children of Littleton
For the children of Newton
For the children who died today
not knowing it was Christmas somewhere
Gone too soon, taken from us
I wash the fear in drenching rain
I let the past let go again
Stepping through the veil
To awake refreshed, wide open & frail

1/5/2013
We open & you hear me
Even from a-far
The thought of you
like fine sweet molasses
pours over my soul
soothing all that aches
Love heals

1/7/2013
Step out of fear & into the moment
We are all here together

1/8/2013
Dropped out of the whirlwind of cyber delusion
Lost in the mainstream now
Surrounded by masses fed media until
confusion drowns.

Caught in the funnel
Fumbling for air
If we don’t breathe
there’s no riding the current
If we fight, we sink

Check your center
Focus to stay afloat
Reach out a hand to help a brother
rather than pushing them under
to save yourself.

———–

OCD, PTSD, ADD, Autism, Asbergers,
what you be?
Labeled filed & defiled
by the pharmaceutical industry?

Shift happens…

After a three day transition from the end of summer, this morning I woke for the first time to a bright clear morning too cold too sit out and watch the birds for more than a few moments and felt the fall. There’s also a sense of panic as the work of the harvest comes in (or in the case of artists, those summer checks arrive later than expected in the mail) and the year tallies whether the seeds planted in the spring produced enough through the summer to keep the family fed and sheltered through the winter.

It feels like a cold one coming in these bones hybrid from the DNA of farmers who trekked across the continent for generations surviving 100 year floods and dust bowl droughts. My gardening skills undeveloped are in need of several more years of practice before I could ever hope to feed myself, let alone a family. However, before I could walk I figured out how to turn my mom’s entire cabinet of pots into a drum kit. I learned to read notes and words before I started school, but had never planted a seed.

I was the product of a generation of industry involving these new fangled computers where instead of heading out to the barn or the mill, young eager minds entered boxes of cubicles to calculate numbers and create code to speed the productivity happening on the plant floor. What gets lost in the boxes is the idea that there is a quality of life that can’t be bought or sold when you take the time to breath the morning air and listen to the birds at sunrise rather that leaving before dawn to commute to a box where there are no windows and look at a glowing screen until leaving after the sun has set.

There are plenty of types of humans. Some are suited to these boxes the same way some are suited to live in Alaska or Miami and would be miserable in the other environment. We’re adaptable too, most of us learn by doing what is available for us to learn that gives us what we need. For some people that means devoting every spare moment in charity work for the church, and others throw temper tantrums in the office and demand all employees work over time to make up for losing payroll in a poker game the night before. You see how the shift happens?

Cycles of behavior within certain circles are accepted and normal but feared and judged by other groups. There is no way to make all humans want to live the same way and any government that tries will eventually force a rebellion upon themselves. That’s what history tells us. The shift in consciousness comes when the majority of humans can teach the minority of those we call politicians (because they’re good at traveling all over sharing information between social circles to build links between resources and cultures) what “We the People” need in order for this planet “to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to” all. The trick is not to get caught in the smoke & mirrors of the national media covering the “Romney vs. Obama” race. The real change starts from within the PTA where the children in your neighborhood go to school, the school board, the city council, the county board of commissioners, the judges, the state legislature, and finally trickles from there to D.C. where the senators and representatives from each state meet with lobbyists who to try to buy their votes on issues to fulfill corporate needs. Please take the next month as an American to take responsibility for your freedom and find out who the candidates are who will get in the trenches and fight for the people of this country who’s blood, sweat and tears already feed corporations too much of our lives every day.

We can make a difference, it just means taking responsibility for our own pursuit of happiness rather than waiting for it to be handed over on a silver platter.

Where I’m From (now)

One of my favorite things about facilitating Poetry Alive! institutes is the chance to sit down and play with the writing assignments while the participants are writing. For thirty minutes there’s no talking to listen to and finally I have the freedom to put pen to paper and see what flows out. I’ve done the “Where I’m From” and “I Am” (for a character in a poem) exercises more times than I can count, and I’m always surprised at what comes out. Since I have a few hours of riding in the passenger seat down the freeway toward my dog and the elusive spot I call home, I thought I’d type up for you what came out this time. Let me know where you’re from now…

Sunset over the neighborhood

*********

“Where I’m From”

I am from racing cars & horses
Building computers smarter & faster
While finding ways to make the garden grow
Always flowers, rarely food
Then the first flower turned tomato this year
Jazz men light up the night like firecrackers
Morning birdsong flute trills

I am from eleven generations of stubborn runaways
Fleeing the family to grow independent
Dust bowl survivors growing violets & collecting coins
Doctors, editors, engineers, vets, accountants, dreamers
Women working & creating alongside the men
Mending & melodies with crops & technology

I am from the Emerald City
Flying backwards over the rainbow
To the heartland
Tracing the arteries of the continent
To find a southern home
Reverse migration after the west was won

I am from constant movement
Fifteen years of travel
Never settling to form a family of my own
Letting go of everything
To fly where I’m needed next

***

“I Am” (as a little star in “Wynken, Blynken, & Nod” by Eugene Field)

I am a joyful shining star
I wonder why those kids are trying to catch my reflection
I hear the moon ask them what they wish
I see them toss nets at my light reflected in the water
I want to laugh at their foolishness
I am a joyful shining star

I pretend I’m a herring fish swimming too fast to be caught
I feel the nets splash past my light
I touch the foam on the waves
I worry the kids will lose their way
I cry to the moon to help them
I am a joyful shining star.

I understand the children are dreaming
I say I’m never afraid
I dream of diving under the waves
I try to brighten the night
I hope to light the children’s way home
I am a joyful shining star

More from the journal

When the words won’t come to my fingers under the keyboard, I go back to putting pen to paper. Sometimes when all the world’s words are spinning by so fast, the pen in hand helps slow down and distill the essence.

Here are a few barely edited blurbs fresh from the page:

4/15/12

Tax Day
Sun Day
No taxes
Taxed
Tracing the lines
of lies
Tied to the $ signs

*****

Addictive
Adaptive
nearly twins
2 sides of a coin
Anything done to excess
will kill you

4/16/12

Riding the rapids
Through the deafening babble
Dog sits stoic at the bow
watching
As a lone fly buzzes
endlessly

4/23/12

Neither money nor fame
are core human values
so why are so many humans
caught up in the struggle?

4/26/12

Why spend time attacking those who dare approach
rather than building a bond of love so strong
as to weather every storm?

*****

Driving the highway river
finding the center of flow
no longer in a hurry
with just a few hours to go
rolling into the Blue Ridge
as the sun sets at our backs
white red yellow lights
wink on to light the track
like a backwards river
flowing up the hill
dancing through the rain drops
whispering “peace be still”

*****

His heart was bigger than this world.
Now he has the wings
to see it all
& sing his songs into the wind.

5/11/12

Already into May
the winter bites back again
reluctant to let summer
reach the northern village
Barefoot Beltane in Southern Spring
this northern ground chills through shoes
shifting green for gray
Springing back to Summer
through the city that never sleeps

5/16/12

Sunset from Robert Moses Causeway
Sunset from Robert Moses Causeway
Oak Beach after Sunset
Oak Beach after Sunset

Leap

It’s not only Leap day, but it’s been a month since I’ve posted to this blog and the last chance to post something before the new month begins. I’ve been brooding over it a bit and thought I’d share at least something before the clock strikes midnight.

Perhaps this whole month should have been called Febroodwary. It seems I’ve listened to many people brooding over loss, pain, and the need for change. Let me tell you guys, while I may have a sympathetic ear, bemoaning your woes and sharing your suicidal thoughts are not very attractive ways to flirt with me. That said, know that I love you all anyway. I just could really use a good man in my life that takes a moment to stop and ask about me. In short, while other’s may find February romantic, I found it emotionally draining.

I skirted the attempts of universities to channel me down the path of psychologist/psychiatrist rather than performance for a reason. I truly believe that the performing arts provide the catharsis that most of us need to transform pain into beauty to allow us to let go and move forward with our lives. I also know that I can reach many more lives through performances than I ever could listening to each individual’s story. Also, as draining as a performing can be, it’s not nearly as draining as one individual using me as their lifeline at a moment of crisis.

Jack of Hearts
Jack of Hearts

Someone did ask me what I did for fun anymore, and I realized I had no answer to that. I used to say dance, but now that I’ve given up music as a hobby and am working at it as a profession even dancing at a club to my favorite musicians has become more work than fun. Okay, this is the point where I realize that writing after driving 14 hours of the past 48 and doing 3 poetry shows, a teacher workshop, while still catching 3 bands in order to follow up on business and sit in with them has taken it’s toll. I am officially exhausted on all fronts.

So, as we March forward into the new year I invite you to join me in making a leap of faith. Together we can make a difference and live the life we dream up. I’m not necessarily talking about broad sweeping miracles, but belief in the power of each individual moment. Today I found a jack of hearts and a magic wand. I chose to let them remind me that with love and a few magic words anything can happen.