Category Archives: reflections

Back to Life

My poor website has languished from lack of attention. I just spent the school year working with eight outreach Girl Scout troops as a Program Provider, working catering gigs for weddings, developing a website and social media for an inventor’s new product, moving, giving an eight year old girl some voice lessons, and of course playing as much music as I can with friends. My poetry has suffered. Writing creatively has taken a break from being in my world as I work more on living life than hiding behind my notebook or laptop.

However, that doesn’t mean my muse is dead, just dormant for a bit. Inspiration is a friend that thrives on golden moments when we slow down to really observe the world around us. These days there are so many words and news streams and photos and memes and viral videos to distract us that it is hard too find the time to breathe. I hope to breathe life into work this summer and perhaps there will finally be something for me to write about again that is worth sharing. You might just catch me taking my dog to the river too in between the works to be done.2016-06-09 20.58.20

For now, know that sunsets are beautiful at home, the garden is growing, and there’s music to be played live.

 

Put me to work

I can’t believe July is already over! I’ve had a very busy and productive spring/summer with Poetry Alive!, Red Hot Sugar Babies, Tanglewood Theatre Camp and some special odd projects helping with database cleanup and editing from behind the scenes. I am looking at August and beyond wondering how to fill many empty dates quickly. If you have projects to do, need music for an event, or know of a job opening that would fit my talents please shoot me an email.

I also want to put a general call out to teachers getting ready to go back to school about booking me as a teaching artist bringing music and poetry to your classroom.  I just updated my Teaching Page with workshop examples and my teaching artist resume. For teachers in Asheville City Schools please check out the link to the TAPAS Grants and contact me about how to fill out the form to get the funding for a residency with your students. If you are outside the district, please email me and we can discuss possible sources of funding.

School’s out for the Summer…

It’s been a wild and speedy Spring bringing poetry and music to classrooms as far flung as Wyoming and Vermont as well as right here in North Carolina. In addition to touring with Poetry Alive! and playing with The Red Hot Sugar Babies as well as some gypsies, I was excited to work in Andy Pond’s EC Math classes through the TAPAS program for the first time. I’m looking forward to more arts integration workshops through the program this fall. To find out more about the work I do in the classrooms or to book a classroom visit to your school, please visit my new “Teaching” page on the website here: jazzandpoetry.com/teaching

For now, here’s a little video montage of some of the photos from the road and home this Spring with an original song I wrote and recorded in the hotel rooms.

Fresh for the New Year

I took the time today to do a little housekeeping on this website and decided to give it a fresh look for 2014. This marks the sixteenth year of blogging since I started the Tour Doodles journal while I was on tour my first year with Poetry Alive! Looking back at the old style of framed web page that took forever to update and modify, I’m thankful the updates today were a breeze thanks to WordPress and all the widgets. Back in 1998 I was carrying around a Windows Thinkpad and plugging into a phone line at the hotel to dial up a local Earthlink phone number for service. Now it seems every hotel, even the really cheap ones, have WiFi access. Things have changed rapidly. Back then we carried a road atlas, called for directions and read the signs before the days of GPS. Sometimes though, I still like to read a map and am glad that is something I learned growing up.

As the technology continues to advance, I find myself growing ever fonder of the simple things in life that have nothing to do with a screen. I look at tables of people in restaurants with screens in every hand and wonder when we stopped making time to look at and communicate with the people right in front of us. I find myself journalling more with pen and paper again or banging out poems on the old Underwood typewriter just to get away from the ever present screens. The faster the communication happens, the more I crave a quiet walk with the dog undisturbed by phone calls. Just because we can call, text, or email anyone we know at anytime doesn’t mean that it is healthy for any of us. My goal for the new year is to be more present in the now of each moment rather than distracted by the twitter of the phone. I turned off a bunch of the notifications that were doing little but interrupting the present so that I can once again divide my time between the screen and the real world. I’ll still get all the messages faster than I would have back in 1998 on my analog tape answering machine, but I choose to be more human than cyborg in order to enjoy this life.

Wishing you, dear reader, a beautiful New Year experienced with all of your senses, not just two thumbs, eyes and ears attached to a screen.

So, I had this idea…

I was writing down this:
image

When I started thinking about this:
image

But can’t figure out how to get wordpress on my phone to rotate the photos, so it may be tricky to read this brainstorming. Email me or comment below with ideas or click the donate button and feed the muse a dollar and I’ll get the game started typing on my crackfaced phone.

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.