“The Woman in the Water” Excerpt (#amreading #bookreview)

I’ve recently discovered a fascinating psychological suspense author Cathryn Grant. She makes some interesting insights into the human psyche through her characters. And I love her writing (although she may use “shoved” a bit too often – lol).

This passage from The Woman in the Water (the second in a series) especially spoke to me. Maybe because right before Covid, we had downsized and the smallness is really getting to me, especially now that we’re both working at home full-time. But I’m not as comfortable leaving the house, pushing through crowds and being around people as much as before Covid.

The Woman in the Water
by Cathryn Grant

“A large home provides a chance to lock yourself away from the chaos. Inside your house, surrounded by a decent-sized piece of property, there aren’t any panhandlers or solicitors. There aren’t any madmen ranting extreme political views, unless you choose to turn on the TV. You don’t have to smell loathsome perfume and cologne, or hear music that rips the nerves right out through your skin. There aren’t any people talking in loud voices, drowning out your own thoughts or quiet conversation with your dinner companion. There’s no litter and filthy sidewalks, no dog shit and broken glass, no threats to your physical safety.

All of those things are more or less first-world problems but that doesn’t lessen my aversion to them. With a quiet, well-secured, spacious home, you encounter the world on your timetable, your terms. Instead of having humanity shoved down your throat, you can brush up against it as you please, taking small sips. Humanity is like a martini—nice if sipped slowly, knocks you on your ass if you absorb too much too fast.

The world is a crowded place. It’s overrun with traffic and barking dogs, unimaginative strip malls with unkempt facades, cars sitting in front yards, screaming children, and unwanted odors.

But a beautiful home isn’t just about what you want to avoid.

Human beings were meant to possess space and beauty. We feel that in our souls.

Sure the crush of people going to a baseball game has a certain excitement—the sheer mass of humanity with all their thoughts moving in a similar vein. There’s energy and connectedness. The crowds surging through Times Square or down Bourbon Street, a giddy appreciation for the variety of living souls and the noise of conversation—a thousand minds verbalizing their thoughts, small bites of the things they have to say caught as you pass by, usually forgotten, sometimes remembered as clearly as if they were speaking directly to you.

But overload causes frayed nerves. Lack of control over your environment leads to despair.

When there’s adequate space, breathing becomes relaxed and comfortable. You don’t feel the crush of your possessions piled on top of each other, towering over you, moving closer as if they want to swallow you alive. There’s room for closets filled with shelves and cabinets and drawers. When the space is too small and all your things are exposed, it begins to feel as if insects have invaded your home. You hear their jaws grinding as they move ever closer. Your skin crawls, and your limbs twitch with a frantic desire to escape the sense of confinement.

Despite the thrill of crowds at sporting events and inside bars and clubs, the human body needs space like it needs water and food. Standing in a park or at the peak of a mountain gives a feeling of calm and freedom. A large house does the same thing. A spacious bed where you can stretch out, even when someone is lying beside you, even a tall man who takes up a lot of room with his height and the heft of his muscle. A shower large enough for two, and a long counter with an enormous mirror where you can dry your hair and put on makeup without tripping over each other, a mascara wand shoved in your eye.”

When I Met My Father

When I met my father, I had to reorder everything I thought I knew about myself. About him. About her.

I sat in the back seat of his car, directly behind him as I listened to the timbre of his voice, not the rich baritone I’d become accustomed to growing up with the man I thought was my father, which was just one thing I could barely wrap my head around.

I stared at the back of his curly white hair, noticed the blond, freckled forearms, so unlike the brown skinned other dad, who I could never look like. Or be like.

As the weekend progressed, I saw more and more of myself, not just physically, but in our interests, the jam on our chin at breakfast, and the way we respond to the world, the impulsiveness, the quick but short-lived temper. But mostly the music. The music blasting from his headphones as he sat alone in his recliner, totally immersed in the sounds flooding his ears. Mostly jazz and RnB with an occasional pop song by Bobby Darin.

This week we inch forward to the overwhelming praise and worship of mothers, whose job is very hard, no doubt about that, but, still, things are not always as they should be. Far from it. So, I’ll pay tribute to the romantic, larger than life man who was and is my father who never stopped loving my mother. Who said, “I’ll always have San Francisco.” I believe she still loved him at the end, too, if it is possible for her to love at all.

So here I sit at 5 am, missing my dad, and thinking about these 2 favorite Bobby Darin songs.

Beyond the Sea Live version with a drummer solo

Kitten Loves Logic Pro, Too! (#music #production #logicpro #ableton #push2

Well, you saw our new kitten being totally fascinated by Push2 in Ableton Live in this video, but now it looks like he loves Logic Pro, too. Even he can’t decide which one to use – lol!

Mastering with BandLab (#music #production)

Pete (Studio Live Today YouTube Channel) has been doing a series on BandLab, an online music creation tool and community. Today’s video was about the free Mastering that BandLab offers.

So I decided to check it out by signing up and doing a comparison with the unmastered version “Golden Hour,” I wrote about here vs the mastered version below.

Unmastered Version:

Mastered with BandLab:

I think BandLab improved it – it’s not perfection, but it’s better. Well, it’s louder, anyway. But it’s got me thinking about what else I need to do to my music to get it to perfection.


DJs on the Rocks (#DJs #Rock #Music)

Had to share the music I discovered on MixCloud. As a music lover of all genres, I have to say rock will always hold a special place in my heart. It may be just the theme I need for this upcoming road trip.

Check out this mix:

Fernando Cabral Sacadura from DJs on the Rocks, Portugal:

Golden Hour #Cruise #Music #FAWM

Thinking about 50/90 starting this July and with our cross-country move happening in the middle of it all, I thought I’d do some prep work. I’ve been thinking about using YouTube this time (instead of Soundcloud or BandCamp), so I started experimenting with creating a video for a particular song.

My iPad suggested a “Golden Hour” collection from some footage of sunsets at sea from our November Panorama cruise. I wondered what song would work with that.

I dug through my recent songs I created for FAWM and “Waiting,” although still in raw form, seemed like the perfect song, waiting for that Golden Hour before starting the shipboard nightlife. Btw, a great way to listen to your song with fresh ears is by changing the context. You will hear all the imperfections.

Words Words Words (#poem #NaPoWriMo)

Words words words
My head screams in silence
Sounds of music soothe me
But the night demands the quiet

My mind reels from nighttime reading
Searching for answers in visual cues
The photos lure me as they see me
The screen blinks in shadowy hues

Counting down to the first light of dawn
As the world awakens in a gradual shift
The weakness of the night reveals what is strong
And my worries and fears are set free to drift