I Wrote a Song

January 7, 2012

I took the challenge my friend, Jim, threw down. Poking fun at the recent meme rolling through Facebook (the one I mentioned in my last blog post), he said to think of your earliest memory, write a song about it, and post it on Facebook. I think he was kidding, but I took it up on him. Here’s mine:

How My Mind Works

January 6, 2012

One of my Twitter friends, Travis Burch (check out his great playing here), gave me the nicest complement the other day:

Don’t believe him about being woefully ignorant about things. I’ve read his tweets and his poems, and listened to his music. He’s very much on the ball, the kind of person that you can tell, even within the limits of a relationship involving a few 140-character notes, the guy has substance. I hope to run into Travis one day, to both say hello in person and to play my mandolin with him. He can teach me a thing or twelve.

More to the point of this post though, I had the strangest mash-ups of songs in my head as I started off my day this morning. They were making me quite happy, the fun of them, and so I thought of posting them here before I forgot them. Now, on those days of doldrums and blues, I can revisit and make myself smile. I dedicate this post to Travis, since he wants to pick my brain (though he may be thinking twice about that now.)

First, Nancy Sinatra (especially the horn section):

This then blended into Rosanne Cash’s “Seven Year Ache”, leaving me singing something like “These boots are made for walking on a seven year ache. See what else your old heart can take.”

If that wasn’t strange enough, a song that I heard for the first time yesterday, Lori McKenna’s “The Most” (first line, “My life is a grocery store line…”):

merged with They Might Be Giants, “Dead”. Really.

Sorry this isn’t the best video, but it’s fun. And it’s a wonderful song to memorize every word and sing often. At strange times. Like now.

Finally, it all came to a culminating sing-along during the morning commute as I sang loudly to “Birdhouse in Your Soul”.

I blame all of this on that crazy meme spreading around Facebook right now, the one asking you to share the song that was #1 the week you were born. Hint: None of the above are mine.

Anyhooo… Happy Friday! Enjoy!

Annual Evaluation

December 16, 2011

Wannado List

I have a shelf filled with black day planners; years worth of them that I simply cannot throw away. I’m a pretty active journal keeper, but I view the daily/monthly planners as an extension of my journals. They give me a more detailed, day-to-day view of what was going on for me in, say, 1994. You might be surprised how often I reference back to these books. Evidently, they really do contain “need to know” bits for me.

For many years, I preferred the AT-A-GLANCE® QuickNotes® Weekly/Monthly Planner. I like being able to see both a month and a week at a time. I like the big and the small picture. More recently, my love of Moleskin journals led me to covet Moleskin planners. In fact, when Lynn and I violated our “buy nothing” rule on Black Friday by going to Dick Blick’s, I pulled the one I wanted for 2012 off of the shelf and put it in Lynn’s basket. Ready for the new year.

I don’t make New Year’s resolutions, per se, but usually at some point during the holiday weekend, I pull out my new planner and turn to the blank pages that precede the calendar section; the pages for notes and memos and such. Then, I begin to fill the page with things I hope to accomplish in the coming months or year. I start out by reviewing the same page from the previous year’s book and copy over the still pending items from that list (at least the ones I still care about). I don’t feel badly if I’ve not achieved something* and I’ll add to the list as the months pass. It’s not a “to do” list, not a “bucket list”, but simply a list of things that I’ve likely, at some point or another, claimed I’d like to do.

Several of my items from the past couple of years have been associated with music. I wanted to play my mandolin better, thus I wanted to start taking lessons (check!). I also knew that playing my mandolin better would come only by playing more often and by playing with other people. I wanted to perform. I wanted to be in the band. I wanted to be on stage. These were all carryover “wannados”, because like my wish to get involved in community theater, I’d been saying and thinking and wanting them for awhile. But it was really hard to get over the anxiety that these wants evoked. I am NOT shy to stand up in front of people and talk. It’s second nature to me. Doing something that’s easy is always … well … easier than something that requires you to stretch a bit. For me, it was really hard to step up and play an instrument – to fumble through and miss chords or notes. It’s really hard to willingly stand up in front of others and make mistakes.

But back in September, my friend Chrissy had her birthday party at a pub in town. It was on a Sunday, open mic night. It was a fundraiser for the Worcester Animal Refuge League. She wanted friends to come and enjoy the evening, and to perform if they could. I decided that, for Chrissy’s birthday, I’d give it a shot. I practiced 2 songs that I knew pretty well and I showed up that night with my mandolin in hand. Encouraged by many, when it was my turn I went up to the mic and I sang and played my songs. It was over in a few minutes and I was too embarrassed to really even enjoy the fact that people applauded. But at the same time, I was proud of myself AND I realized that it was an awful lot of fun. Really fun.

Since that night, I’ve played at a bunch of open mics, I’ve met a bunch of new friends, and last night, sat in as a guest on a few songs with a couple of friends who had a real gig at the pub. I got a set list emailed to me a few days before, I practiced, and I showed up and played. And like all of the other times, it was terrific fun.

”]Sitting down for lunch this afternoon, I opened my planner and looked over my list, thinking how I’ll be reviewing and transferring pieces of it to the new book in a few weeks. It made me smile to know I’ve met a few of my dreams for the year – and one of them being pretty big.

*Unless it’s related to a widening mid-section.