Archive for the ‘In Search of Celestium’ Category

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Rockin’ and Reelin’

August 26, 2008

My new favorite song, Northern Line by Opal:

I’m dreaming on a night train
It’s only been a light rain, and a darkened sky and a starry night
I’m humming on a cold train
I’m singing about the wreck of the Old 97

And I’m walking through this city
I’ll tell my story to the rain
And I won’t come back no matter what you say

I’m feeling no pain
I don’t care if I ever see your face again
I’m riding on a Northern Line
I got no money – but I got a lot of time to spend

And I’m walking through this city
Yeah I’ll tell my story to the rain
And I won’t come back no matter what you say
No I won’t come back no matter what you say

After a recent crash-n-burn with a friend I never dreamed I could have a falling out with, Mr. Twittles suddenly reappeared. An email after months of nothing. Rather than starting another firestorm, I decided to answer with a graceful if non-commital reply. Non-commital seems to be what people want, or at the very least, what they can handle. So that’s what they’ll get until I get a clear signal otherwise. Which I don’t think I’m going to get.

This leaves me with my music and singing, which means more to me than anything. A and I are back on regular rehearsal schedule again, in spite of his job and apartment hopping. I forgive him because he is adrift in the fast-moving stream of life and I’ve been there. I’m pretty sure he’ll settle soon, and as long as he makes rehearsals, I don’t care what he does with his own life, as long as he’s clean and not hitting me up for money.

We will record in mid September. And then up goes the web site. I plan to shoot a lot of video footage, and have music vids on our site.

I have an audition next week for a backup/lead singer position with a cover band. I am making huge strides with the new coach I’ve been working with. He gets pop music, and I am learning how to transform all the training I’ve had into something that works for these genres.

I persist, although my heart is broken.

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I Go to the Quarry for Milk

August 9, 2008

From time to time, I seem to insist on banging my head against walls, and looking for things that I can never have and am not going to get. I’m always surprised at my capacity to do this, over and over again, when I know better.

I’m like a puppy, running towards that outstretched hand that I’m sure is the one I seek… only to have it slap down, hard.

I’ve hit a new low this week, not sure how I’m going to get myself out of this one. I’ve always had a way out before, I’ve had my drugs of choice that always did the trick… but I’m not sure this time. I’ve thought about suicide twice in the last few weeks. I’ve only been down there once before, and this feels lower than that. I don’t think I’m going to do it, but the feeling is real.

I seem to seek a friendship that doesn’t exist. So, examine what you seek, is what they say. I’ve examined it. I don’t think that I’m asking for all that much, I really don’t. And I am disappointed, time and time again. I thought this time I’d try someone I thought I could really count on. Someone who could be there for me.

Perhaps the truth of things is this: no one is going to be there for you. No one. So get used to it. Get used to being alone, ’cause that’s what you got.

Guess I just need to get used to it. No, actually, I am used to it. I just didn’t know that I’d have to accept it.

Good morning heartache
You old gloomy sight
Good morning heartache
Thought we said goodbye last night
I turned and tossed until it seems you heve gone
But here you are with the dawn
Wish I’d forget you, but you’re here to stay
It seems I met you
When my love went away
Now everyday I stop and I’m saying to you
Good morning heartache, what’s new

Stop haunting me now
Cant shake you nohow
Just leave me alone
I’ve got those Monday blues
Straight to Sunday blues
Good morning heartache
Here we go again
Good morning heartache
You’re the one
Who knows me well
Might as well get use to you hanging around
Good morning heartache
Sit down

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Why I Sing

August 5, 2008

I figured something out tonight. I figured out why I love the performing arts so very much. I watched some tap-dancing Broadway babies for a while on TV, and I suddenly realized: it’s not Life, it’s what Life Could Be that I love to see. Sometimes it’s What Life Is — listening to any jazz or blues singer for a while, and you find yourself saying ‘yeah, it’s like that, it’s just like that, and that’s why I feel it so deep…’. But that’s what I love. And that’s why I do it. And that’s why I like to watch it, listen to it, be overcome by it.

Why bother? With what particular arrogance do we find ourselves on stage, thinking we have anything more or better to say than anyone else before?

It’s because we need to know, we need to be reminded — often — that life is worth living. Life, in all of it’s glory, pain, exhaltation, horror, hysteria, impossibility and all the rest. Keep going. Just a little farther down that yellow brick road, surely we’ll find our way home this time.

I am tired. I am lonely.

In the awkward, strange and tragically funny category, I’ve managed to pull muscles in my neck. And some of the stress that I don’t talk about here has exacerbated. I alternate between feeling like someone is strangling me, feeling like I’ve swallowed a chunk of apple and fear that there is something really wrong with me. The chiro assures me all is fine, but I wish this would go away faster than it is.

I had a fun trip to the ENT who stuck tubes down my throat and assured me that my chords are fine. I try to be grateful for that in the hailstorm of chaos and stress I seem to destined to fight my way through. Again.

Singing is a bit on hold as I get through piles of work and waiting for this to clear up.

I am tired. I am lonely.

I write this only to remind myself that I am still here and that for some reason I’ve never really understood… I must prevail.

* * *

I Wish I Was In New Orleans — Tom Waits

Well, I wish I was in New Orleans, I can see it in my dreams,

Arm-in-arm down Burgundy, a bottle and my friends and me
Hoist up a few tall cool ones, play some pool and listen
To that tenor saxophone calling me home
And I can hear the band begin “When the Saints Go Marching In”,
And by the whiskers on my chin, New Orleans, I’ll be there

I’ll drink you under the table, be red-nosed, go for walks,
The old haunts what I wants is red beans and rice
And wear the dress I like so well, and meet me at the old saloon,
Make sure that there’s a Dixie moon, New Orleans, I’ll be there

And deal the cards roll the dice, if it ain’t that old Chuck E. Weiss,
And Claiborne Avenue, me and you Sam Jones and all

And I wish I was in New Orleans, ’cause I can see it in my dreams,
Arm-in-arm down Burgundy, a bottle and my friends and me
New Orleans, I’ll be there

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What Happened

July 14, 2008

What happened is that singing won. For now, at least. I am human, and with a fulltime career that I’m supposed to be taking care of from roughly 9 to 5, there is only so much I can do. I hope so very much that one day I will have enough money and time to spend my days doing nothing but creative work, pure creativity, no more input from clients. A girl can dream, am I right?

The singing has won. If I apply some logic to this equation, I started playing piano at 5 and spent my summer afternoon ‘performing’ for the traffic that rolled by our lovely old century home… music came first, and it is only right that She has won.

The Scottish guy has turned into three, possibly soon to be five bandmates. We’ve done 2 open mics, one good, one disastrous. We are getting better, we write good songs and we’ll have our act together soon.

So much more has happened, but it’s all I have time for tonight.

Oh, and someone very, very special has come back into my life. All I had to do was send an email, pick up the phone… and it’s like the 20 years never really happened. Goblin, you’re a suedehead and I love you forever.

Peace, babies.

Out.

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On The Other Side

May 2, 2008

It’s been 4 months of a lot of darkness, but I’m doing better now. I’m enrolled in a UCLA online screenwriting class that is going pretty well so far. Thanks to David for the referral. What a relief to have a teacher who has his ego in the right place, and is simply interested in teaching us the basics of screenwriting. I am impressed with the quality of the writers in the class. No one sucks, and one guy is downright excellent. I’m not sure why he’s in the class because he’s clearly not new to the game, but who cares, I am learning from every assignment he submits.

So far, I fear that the story I’m working on is going to be a little too serious and dark to be enjoyable to read or watch. This is where Excellent Guy in the class excels. I have yet to see how his story will unfold but so far, he introduced a situation and characters that are rich and compelling without getting heavy. He saves us from heavy with humor, and that kind of agility is impressive, not to mention fun to read. I am terrified that I’ll never be able to achieve that. I say that like I’m going to actually get somewhere with this.

***

On the singing front, I haven’t found a new teacher, but I haven’t been looking for one much. I’m still having a hard time deciding what kind of music I want to sing, and where my voice fits in best. Classical is still an option: becoming a local soloist is not beyond my reach, I’m pretty sure of that. I think I need to stop thinking about it so much, and go with my heart. And I’m not sure the classical thing is what I really want.

I answered a local ad for a singer and have hooked up with a rather interesting Scotsman who has written a rather nice body of work. He came over 2 weeks ago, I sang for him and he said in his fantastic lilting accent: “I think you’ve got some potential, yeah, let’s give this a go.” He’s recorded/produced one album in Scotland and is here now because he thinks his music has a better chance. Its needs orchestration, but I think the guy has an interesting style. Kinda’ Sujan Stevens meets The Pet Shop Boys meets Rufus Wainwright, with a dose of slightly Celtic melodies that don’t cross over into the Enya realm (thank goodness). Interesting stuff. We’re rehearsing this weekend and we’ll see what we sound like. He wants to be out there performing, and I don’t think we’re ready for that. But if we could get a bunch of other musicians together and work out our music… it just might be something kind of cool.

***

My biggest hurdle is self-sabotaging thoughts of mediocrity and dilettante-ery that haunt me incessantly. Why am I doing this? Where do I think this is going and what is it going to get me? Who the fuck would want to read anything I write or listen to me sing? The answer is always to turn off my brain and simply get into it. Last weekend, as I sat down to write the first assignment for my screenwriting class, it was pure joy to delve in and not care about anything but the process. And when I’m signing with Angus, it all feels so right.

Oh, for the off switch in my brain. Maybe with practice, I learn to shut that off before stagnation sets in.

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In The Black

March 29, 2008

I’ve been trying to post here for months. Couldn’t do it. Couldn’t pull out of the darkness. I still feel so dark, like I’m stuck in emotional quicksand, but I’m writing tonight in spite of it.

It’s been some of the roughest 3 months I’ve had in a long, long time. Rough professionally, personally… everything. All kinds of things have gone wrong. I don’t feel like getting into specifics, as this post would be 4 miles long. But people and situations have hurt me, deeply, in these last few months. If I didn’t have a strong faith in God, I think I easily could have headed off some dark path in response to the stress and the pain. I’m sticking to a glass of wine and this blog instead.

I have so many things to be grateful for: work is better now, and even in this shitty recession, my husband and I support ourselves with our business. We live comfortably, even in these difficult times. We both have our health. We both have things we love to do, both personally and professionally. We have lives, and they are good.

And yet… I struggle with loneliness. Other people disappoint, so deeply and so often. I find myself pulling away from the world, deeper and deeper, and more often. Between the endless shitty spring weather, the upheaval of the last few months and never-ending shocking, horrifying headlines, I find myself thinking more and more that my father who pontificated too often on the woes of the world in my youth… was in fact, right.

“In all your life”, he said, “you can count yourself lucky if you end up with more friends than you can count on one hand.”

My god, he was so right.

My husband puts it this way: think about high school. Think how many of those people were even half-way decent people who were interested in anything more than themselves… the world is just high school, all grown up.

My god, he is right.

I’m too talented to let all this do me in. It’s just a hard time right now.

There are things I really want to do with what is left of my life, so this blog is going to open up and take a new direction:

– I’m not going to do the opera thing. If I was 23 and had more time, yes. I’m not and I don’t.

– I’m going to find a new teacher. This was part of the pain of Q12008… more on that later, maybe. She was nuts and bitch, is the short version.

– I’m going to get back to story and screenwriting. I miss it and I think I could do it. I have stories to tell. I’m done wasting time with stupid people and situations. I’d rather write about them.

– I’ve left the toxic salsa people behind. I’ve found a great new dance studio/school, and I’m having a lot of fun there. No more bitches. Mean people suck, ya’ know?

I feel better at the end of this post than I did at the start. Perhaps I’m turning a corner on this darkness? I’d better be, staying where I’ve been the last few months is simply not an option.

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Something Is Happening

November 8, 2007

Third lesson with La Dolce’s man today, who I shall refer to as Opera Man from here on out. He lucked out as La Dolce’s hammering, melding and sculpting of my vocal chords took effect just as she was taking off for being fabulous elsewhere. We had one last lesson where I was consistently rather fabulous for the entire hour and then she was off. Opera Man has been reaping the benefits ever since. As have I.

The first few months with LD were, to be really honest, kinda hellish. It was totally different from anything I’ve been doing in the choirs for the last 5-6 years, it was very different from anything I did with Blackbeard. I consequently now think that Blackbeard is basically a total fraud and more than once I have wanted to write him a scathing email. But I refrain and try to stay with the positive.

Something kicked in with that last lesson with LD, and suddenly… I could sing, really sing again. I like what I’m hearing coming out and so do LD and OM. They only have two kinds of comments: change this/do this/not like that or yep/that’s it/gorgeous. It’s been way more of the latter lately. I feel like a piece of wood or clay they are sculpting. I’m not done yet, but I’m starting to take shape.

On the day that I ‘got it’ finally with LD, I had a sudden flashback feeling: this is what I used to sound like when I sang so much in high school. And it made think that maybe I wasn’t dreaming, maybe the things people used to say to me about going for it, having a beautiful voice, really were true and not something my fragile ego had made up to soothe the pain of not ever having been good enough. It’s really hard to say for sure, and I might be wrong… but lately, I’ve been beginning to think that I might have been good enough. And maybe even, I still am.

What does good enough mean? It means that the voice teacher who told my mother at the [fairly well respected] local music school that yes, she could have a career in opera if she wanted, wasn’t lying. It means that I didn’t dream that. It also means that those days and that opportunity are gone because that was well over 20 years ago. BUT — and that’s a big but which is why I wrote it in all caps — that was a different opportunity and what I have now is possibly a new one. Like, maybe roles in local opera. The Met and La Scala? I’m not supposed to say never, and the silly little optimistic in me doesn’t want to… so rest assured I’m a realist when it comes to all this stuff, but like any dreamer, I leave that door open. Beverly Sills sang for the first time at the Met in her early 40s. Why not me… you know? I know, just play along, will ya?

Opera Man has been wanting me to let go, stop thinking so much, feel the music and let that music come out. A refreshing change from the hammering of La Dolce. I didn’t mind her hammering, but I’m talking entire lessons where I would sing two notes and be interrupted. Hard work, let me tell you. So now, I’m getting a longer leash and he wants to hear the music. It would be easier if he played the piano so that he could accompany me. But in some ways, singing accappella — especially what I’m working on now, Bellini’s Casta Diva — has it’s own beauty. Or, it would if I could just really let go. I think I need to imagine myself singing it all alone in a beautiful concert hall. Not in some dingy practice room with harsh neon lighting, or their somewhat scrappy apartment where we usually have our lessons.

Anyway, the technique is sticking, something is happening, I am happening and I had to note this here because I will likely have plateaus and I must remember that plateaus are only temporary and just when you think you can’t… is when you often have that breakthrough.

I found this poem on another blog tonight, and liked what I was reading there so much I’m blogrolling her. I need to read more stuff like this to keep me in the right frame of mind. To keep my star shining. Twinkle, twinkle.

A Star Without a Name

When a baby is taken from the nurse
it easily forgets her and starts eating solid food.

Seeds feed awhile on ground
then lift up into the sun.

So you should taste the filtered light
and work your way toward wisdom
with no personal covering.

That’s how you came here,
like a star, without a name.
Move across the night sky
with those anonymous lights.

—Rumi