Archive for November, 2008

Slip Knot

I wanted to play music and write today.
I’ve done a little of both.
Not nearly as much as intended.
I did visit with my sister in person
and the parents by phone,
Ate good food I didn’t have to buy or cook.
I feel like a strange mouse in this house
that was welcomed in to entertain the guests
and is too small for the king size furniture.
I understood the horses better
Than my sister’s employees who joined us for dinner.
When all was said and done
I called one of my friends who knows the whole story
and even her wisdom had no solution
for the knot in my brain.

I’ll just have to keep dreaming.

November 28, 2008 at 8:12 am 2 comments

Dodging the Chasm

One of the most amazing things about a good improviser is that you never notice when they make a mistake. In fact, a great improviser can even cover other people’s mistakes. Whether it’s poetry or theatre or music, one of the most frustrating things is when the performance to comes to a grinding halt because someone drops a word or line or phrase that sends everyone onstage spinning into the chasm of panic. Yet my favorite magic moments on stage are when suddenly everything is “real” for a moment as the performers respond and dance gracefully around the chasm.

In real life, every day is improvisation reacting to and relating to the events that happen. No script can be read to determine what will happen next. Flying solo, it is easy to react to the whim of the world if you allow yourself to be flexible enough. (Pause here for a moment to catch a bit of Oscar Aleman of Argentina improvising a bit to please his listener.)

When I woke up Saturday morning I realized that I’d spent the whole week in a juggling act of personalities and musical talent that somehow landed me right side up alone in my home once again to catch my breath. I can’t say whether I’d do it all again, but there is one highlight worth mentioning.

For the first time in the six years since we met and made music together, I finally got to spend time on stage in front of audiences as a duo with my best friend. It involved running late of course, as well as crafting a “clarikazoo” on the way out the door with duct tape. We practiced one song in the car on the way to the first stop and then let go of worry and simply played whatever came into our heads. We even played one song that neither of us had ever performed, but we’d played the record many times. The audience laughed with our goofy antics and we laughed with each other and every song landed with gracious applause. It was exhilerating to finally cross the chasm of fear that had kept us from making the leap and learning that together we can fly.

November 24, 2008 at 8:44 pm 2 comments

Taking 5 to catch my breath

Time seems to be flying past me faster every day. I am horrible about running late. Add others to the mix and I actually have been averaging the same amount of lateness or….less!

That was a shocking realization. Other people don’t make me late, it’s all about me. Looking back on lateness patterns it’s a sign to myself that something needs to change in my schedule. I don’t care enough to be focused enough to make it someplace on time. Now when I’m in charge of someone else being on time I can fill that order (unless I don’t know their schedule, and then I can’t be responsible for their lateness). Sometimes life just seems like it has other plans for me than what I thought I needed to do.

I finally took a few minutes and ran a little bit later this week in order to give myself time to start the ball rolling on a new plan. If successful, it will eventually eliminate the one place in my schedule where I always arrive late.

November 20, 2008 at 8:40 pm 1 comment

I could have danced all night

J's at MoDaddy's

J's at MoDaddy's

What do you get when you mix former and current members of The Blue Rags, Snake Oil Medicine Show, Mad Tea Party, Firecracker Jazz Band, & Squirrel Nut Zippers on stage with electric instruments? High powered rock and roll baby!

I had just finished a fun evening of singing and playing trad jazz with Dan Petrella & Caroline Pond in SC and was too wired to think about sleep. So, I trucked up the hill to meet C-Po at MoDaddy’s and check out what the Screaming Jay’s sounded like now that they were just the J’s. I couldn’t help but dance.

Thanks to Jake, Abe, Krekel, Mikey Fresh, and the H-bomb for a great finish to an evening full of music.

November 6, 2008 at 8:09 pm 1 comment


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