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 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

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.

 

 

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

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

The November Unplugging Experiment

I managed to unplug from social media and blogging for the month of November but I’m not quite sure of the results. Perhaps it’s too soon. But I can say I did more reading, took more classes in electronic music production, learned more songs on my music keyboard, and wrote more lyrics by unplugging.

December finds me halfway across the country in another cross-country move. The new house will give me a casita for a dedicated music studio, which I’m very excited about. This reinforces my belief that I’m supposed to be focusing on music at this stage of my life. I’m certainly being equipped. Now it’s up to me to do the work.

There’s so much more I long to learn and do and accomplish when it comes to music. I’m hungry for it. I’ve got so much lost time to make up for by neglecting it for so many years. I urge you to never give up pursuing your art. But there’s a specific time for everything. Perhaps only now am I ready for this.

And thinking now about how all of you reading this blog and I are connecting in some artistic way inspires me more than I can say.

#Blogtoberfest Day 30: On the Brink of Everything

On the Brink of Everything by Parker J. Palmer caught my attention on my recent visit to Barnes & Noble. He may be on the brink of turning 80, but while I don’t agree with some of his thinking, he does share the things that are true for him about growing older, being mentored when he was younger, and becoming a mentor to younger people now. The point is that people of all ages have something to learn from or share with others.

I totally agree. When I was in my 20s through 40s, I often gravitated toward older women who taught me so much. I even wrote a song called “Wise Woman” about my friend from Montreal who I met in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Then somewhere along the way, I noticed younger women were gravitating toward me, looking at me as a mentor and I love fulfilling that role. Sometimes it’s people I’ve met online or at church or wherever. Sometimes it’s my readers.

They say that when you want to learn something new, you have to be willing to be a beginner. And that’s me with music. I have to be a beginner. And so I’ve met such interesting young people as we travel this road together, whether music or poetry.

November is just a couple of days away and I really do feel like I’m on the brink of everything, experimenting with a bit of unplugging and planning another cross country move. I invite you all to travel that road with me. And while I hope to take a blog hiatus during November, I’ll be back to share any experiences/insights worth sharing and I invite you to do the same.

No matter how young or old we are, we’re all on the brink of everything that’s going to come next.