Red Tiled Roof (#poem)

Rat-a-tat-tat Rat-a-tat-tat
Rhythm of the drum of an ally cat
Clippity clop of a horse’s hoof
Rainy night on a red-tiled roof

Drip drip drip sings the rain
So unusual on the desert plain
This time home is more of a stranger
It feels so temporary, so full of danger

Where did it go just last year
It’s gone for good is the deepest fear
Three thousand miles more or less
Hurrying back to cross the abyss

Writing songs up all night
About home and loss and other frights
Night time writing so aloof
Recognizing only the red-tiled roof

When the Muse Calls…

So much for all of that bravado about how music always trumps writing fiction. Ha!

Here’s what happened… I had an amazing songwriting day yesterday. I couldn’t wait to hit the studio this morning and start banging out more songs. I did a little keyboard practice. I did some vocal warmup. And then I listened to yesterday’s song. It sucked! I got scared. I felt so intimidated. The imposter syndrome struck. So what’s a girl to do?

Pull out my favorite manuscript in progress and start writing? That’s what stopped me the day before, when I decided I should focus on music – not writing. So I pulled up a different manuscript. Perhaps the muse wants me to work on that one today.

Okay, so maybe I won’t really know who wins until I’ve done enough work that something crosses the finish line. Maybe that’s how the muse works and I should just obey the muse when it strikes.

How about you?

Music vs. Fiction: Music Always Wins #amwriting #songwriting

January has just begun and already I’m in trouble. Choosing to focus on writing and music, I realize I must designate one as the priority because both of them take enormous skill and time and focus to succeed. Sure, I can pursue both, but I must choose which will be number one in my life. I keep returning to this truth for me.

Music always wins. And now I have a separate designated studio in my home, which is great because then the cats can’t chew the wires. 🙂

But songwriting still counts as writing, right? Will that be enough or will I have to fit in fiction, too? Yeah, that’s what I thought.

Besides, I can always write fiction during breaks from music because you always need breaks, right? But there are just so many pieces to a song, including vocal warmups, as Shelly Peiken writes about in her latest blog post here.

 

Save the Cat for Novelists

Kicking my writing intentions into high gear for 2019, I dug out my Save the Cat! Writes a Novel. And what I realized is that I’m living the “Save the Cat” life. Art imitating life or life imitating art? There are two thoughts on that one.

Case in point: If you look closely at the “Save the Cat” beat structure, you would see that this time last year I was living my normal life, the status quo, the Setup. We’d just moved into a brand new Florida beach house, a new kitty had joined our little family, we’d had to trade in our Jeep that kept stalling at inconvenient times for a brand new Dodge Challenger (which I love, btw), new furniture to decorate our new house (especially when the electric recliner couch got permanently stuck in the open position), and life was looking pretty darn good. We were set up to live in our forever home, right?

Then, last summer, out of nowhere, we were blindsided. We didn’t see it coming. First, our beloved 18-year-old cat Skipper died and this may sound minimal to non pet lovers, but this was a huge loss that I’m still suffering through (okay, he was old and we knew he couldn’t live forever, but he’d been doing so well). Then, two weeks later my father died. The next month, hubby was summoned back to headquarters in Las Vegas, where we’d just moved from the year before. We thought we’d left Vegas behind. Ah, yes, we were faced with a Catalyst.

So after returning to Florida, the Debate begins. Should we leave Florida, move back to Vegas? The job situation really looked like it. Personally, it seemed like it, too. I was missing my home back west, and the losses were too much for me being so far from home. But we had a brand new house. The cross-country moving expenses are huge. Was it worth it? Where would we live now that we no longer had our Vegas house? Could we recover?

Then we break into Act 2. As Save the Cat says:

The game is afoot! The challenge is accepted! The adventure is upon us! The new way of life has begun! The Debate is over, our hero knows what they have to do, and now it’s time to do it.

This is where we are now. Unexpected challenges occur, resistance is futile, it’s time to take action and move forward into my pursuit of what I really want, and, hopefully, find what it is I really need.

And now, my friends, it’s time to get to work and structure my wip, “save the cat” style.

Ode to Cecilia (#poem)

Stories of California Missions and Father Junipero Serra
Disneyland fireworks from our childhood era
Beach Boys and Beatles and Screamie Birds groupies
Cecilia and I sang “Hang on Sloopy”

From “sexy scientist” to Las Vegas beautician
She called herself “CeeCee” following her ambition
Sitting next to Alan at the sixth grade spelling bee
On stage I saw green but he was mine, she reassured me

“Cecilia, you’re breaking my heart”
Paul Simon sang years later and many miles apart
About a Patroness for poets, novelists, and musicians
Discovering decades later, it was a year after my audition

Hiding in plain sight God touched my soul
He sent priests and musicians and witnesses and moles
Pursuing me relentlessly for as long as it took
Saint Cecilia leading me to sing and write the book

You’re Somebody Else (Warming Up for #2019)

We all have goals we set for the new year, and I’m setting goals for both writing and songwriting, I’ve been struggling with how to juggle both but I find that instead of saying I’ll do music in the morning and writing in the afternoon or vice verse, I just have to go where the muse leads me – as long as it leads me somewhere on a daily (M-F) basis.

The best way I know to start warming up with music is to do some rehearsal vocals as a singalong cover song. So as I was rearranging the kitchen cabinets (have I told you how tiny this kitchen is?) in the Vegas house, I heard this song on Spotify and just had to do my thing with it.

So, here it is, warming up with “You’re Somebody Else” (Flora Cash).

Through the Looking Glass (#poem)

Through the looking glass I see the past
Funny shapes go round and round
Reaching for the wind I cannot grab
Carousel spinning bringing me back

Night times looming without slumber
Fear gripping my skull
Frozen shards preen their splendor
Creative forces strike my surrender

Hearts on fire near my beloved
Breath on the window pane
I feel the essence of its touch
Memories gentle yet so rough

Worries abound in the midnight hour
I pray to shut it down
Counting down to daylight’s power
Sunlight optimism, my favorite flower

With age comes wisdom and its dark side
Absolute terror
Knowledge you cannot hide from your mind
Abounding in the night

Turning back is not an option
Time to put away yesterday’s toys
Would I have gone if I had known the outcome?
Questions I strum on my drum

Throwback Tuesday

So I’ve been sorting through my music files to make a “2018 Accomplishments” list as recommended by the CEO of TAXI A&R (see yesterday’s episode), and I ran across this fun cover version I did sometime last year. It took me back to junior high.

Yes, it’s Christmas and almost winter and the end of the year, but maybe that’s the perfect time to get all nostalgic and look back to the past.

Summertime

 

My Father’s House (#poem)

I slept at my father’s house
But I never saw him at Christmas
How did he decorate with his spouse?
His favorite carols I did not hear or witness
For wanting more, am I such a louse?

He drank coffee at the kitchen table
Reading the morning paper with jam on his chin
I ate his food and listened to fables
He showed me the mountains I would never see again
But nothing more, of that he was not able

No Christmas gifts for me under the tree
No cookies for Santa or Scotch in a glass
Did he celebrate Christmas morning or Christmas Eve?
Or swim in his pool surrounded by grass?
One year I was invited but she did not want me

I slept at my father’s house
For two nights or maybe it was three
High on a mountain away from the lights of town
Why was I a secret, why couldn’t he introduce me?
Was it the other daughter, did she have a breakdown?

So many questions, but the answers are barren
John Wayne was his hero, this I do know
I knocked and I knocked, but I was not let in
The time that we had was something we’d borrowed
Now that he’s gone I sing with the night heron
And the empty space in my heart brings such sorrow

My First Christmas (#poem)

Silver trees, silver cards, and silver bells
The neighbor’s Christmas I remember well
Christmas carols and the Rita and Reesa twins
Jewish tradition mixed with Christian

Presents stacked in the closet
Trees forbidden, I know she fought it
Red wagon pulling brother and me
Backyard tetherball for me to see

Seven years old in the new house
Shiny new bicycle in the land of the mouse
The Rose Parade and Santa Clause Lane
Memories of my first Christmas take me back again

Looking back many years later
Questions demand answers but I mustn’t hate her
Her wounds kept me from my father
Regrets, I’m sure, I must consider
No matter what, I know he loved her
And love is all that really matters