The *F* Bomb Epidemic (“Houston, we have a problem”)

We have an illness and it’s spreading everywhere. It’s the *F* word epidemic. Frankly, there’s something wrong with a Society that can’t stop using it, especially in public, spreading their illness.

I remember when Chick Lit was first popular and the first place I started seeing the *F* word used in literature. It wasn’t too bad, like the Izzy McNeil character who was trying her best not to swear but occasionally slipped. I can relate to that. I’m not perfect. But today, on TV, on social media, in books and blogs, people seem to think it’s perfectly okay to sprinkle it or apply liberally without any thought of their audience.

They act as if it’s so very acceptable. That the only reason we didn’t hear it before is because of censors or lack of social media. But I’m pretty sure I’m not the only one who is downright disgusted by this over usage, especially in public (google “no swearing.”) I didn’t grow up around people who used the *F* word. It is unacceptable to me.

So what sent me over the top, needing to express my feelings on my blog? Well, not only reading Dating You, Hating You, watching The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel (which is unfortunate because the writing is incredibly amazing), but also today’s blog post from  a certain songwriter/author.

It’s becoming so widespread, it’s almost impossible to avoid without making serious lifestyle adjustments, going a bit off the grid. I did a #deleteFacebook and #deleteInstagram, rarely use Pinterest, and muted my Twitter feed where the *F* word is used. Still, it’s hard to avoid completely.

Okay, so maybe that’s why I’m watching Downton Abbey for the umpteenth time and peeking into Father Knows Best before that. Thankfully, in my music world, except for most Hip Hop I try to avoid, swearing is frowned on or downright not allowed. Listening to/writing EDM with mostly instruments and a few oohs and ahhs helps, too.

FAWM 2019 (Original Songs)

Today is the last day of FAWM (February Album Writing Month) 2019 and I finished all 14 songs. Songwriters have different goals for FAWM but it’s a time to experiment, get creative, try different things.

This was my second FAWM and it went a lot better than my first. I’m making progress – yay! I noticed that I did a lot more EDM than before and I’m thinking that’s turning into my strong suit.

Here’s my playlist for FAWM 2019.

Sleeping in a Stranger’s House (#poem)

Daytime I see the snow-capped mountains of home in the desert light
Night time I hear screeching and scurrying under the first flight
Consciousness tells me it’s the heater roaring on a colder than usual night
Imagination weaves a story about a monster living underground
The sounds surrounding me startle me awake reminding me I’m sleeping in a stranger’s house

Money and a contract give me the right to call it mine
But my heart remembers a home of a different time
When family and memories made it more than just a mortgage and I knew I belonged
But all of that has changed and everything feels so wrong
Like landing on an unfamiliar planet where once upon a time I sang a familiar song

Living in a stranger’s house is like living in a foreign body
Looking in the mirror at an amusement park or traveling carny
The familiar is distorted, upheaving your orientation, spinning you round and round
Uncontrollable reeling, desperately seeking balance to keep you from falling on the ground
If six months in feels like home, you’re halfway there counting down

FAWM Day 5: Howling of the Wind (#poem)

Rat-a-tat on my window pane
The treetops holler from the third floor
Like a stranger knocking let me in
Pounding loudly outside my bedroom door

The slider on the second floor rattles my nerves
Is Daisy safe hiding in an unreachable place?
Should I tiptoe downstairs in barefoot curves?
Dodging life’s bullets hurling in space

Slurping kitty quiets the mouse
And the raging fury of the desert wind
Stills my heart praying for grace in this house
While the muse gathers strength to show up again

Creativity hides from a quiet life
Yet the artist resists her vocation like the Prophet Jeremiah
The priest reassures me about suffering and strife
A human lost in confusion in a broken Hallelujah

Once I was lost and now I am found
And the howling of the wind spins round and round…

(My middle-of-the night offering to my King)

FAWM Day 1

This time last year I began my first FAWM (February Album Writing Month). It nearly killed me – lol – but I was hooked.

Okay, I managed to survive, but it was very stressful. My chest muscles tightened and it hurt to breathe. By the end of the month, I even caught a cold.

I debated all year about whether to FAWM or not to FAWM again this year. We’re going through a very stressful time right now. I don’t need more stress right now. But I really enjoyed the community of supportive musicians and the songs I wrote were used throughout the year in various circumstances. How could I not FAWM?

I posted my first song for FAWM 2019 and now it’s time to do some laundry and read and relax, a day I would have been thrilled to have back in my Silicon Valley days. So maybe the answer is to take one day at a time. Gratitude. Live in the moment.

FAWM Day 1 = done!

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.

 

 

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).