Music, Story

From the Threshold

FullSizeRenderSpring is here and it perfumes the air. The hauntingly beautiful voice of Raina Rose fills the room from the tiny speakers of my Mac Desktop, the faint sound of milk foam popping as the bubbles settle into my coffee, the mist floating from the clouds to the treetops, the birds chirping, the humidity hanging in the air like a lovers arms that are holding you captive in bed, thankfully it’s still cool enough you don’t want to break away, just yet. A battle of the bands that seduces the senses that all seem to meet at the threshold of my apartment and the outside world.

My home is a private place.  Although, my apartment, for the most part, is always set for company, but rarely does it see any.  My front door is always open when I am home.  No one ever comes to it, but this week, maybe it was the Spring air, or time giving a little push, something changed.

My neighbor, Jack, has been feeding a stray cat for about six months.  He started out skittish, never allowing anyone near him, even Jack. I’ve tried to coax him closer to no avail.  These last few days, his little heart has softened.  Earlier this week, I was in my kitchen doing dishes and I went to my bedroom to grab something and there he was, sitting there as if to say, “Can I help you?” A couple days later, he sat on the threshold of my open front door and watched me as I tidied up my living room.  Yesterday, he came in and sat just on the inside of my door and listened to me practicing a lullaby for a gig I have next week.  He listened contently, ears perked, posture straight.  When I was finished he lowered his head, as if to nod in a approval, before he left in search of other adventures.

“Cat” has started a new trend.  Outside my door, I have an old wooden cart that holds my balcony garden.  If my door is not open, “Cat” will climb up on this cart and stand on the potted plants.  His head comes just above the window sill.  He bats on the screen with his paw until I give him notice.

It’s just a cat, but I eagerly await our next encounter.  Perhaps I am a cat lady in the making or he’s a symbol of good things to come.  Either way Spring always brings new life, new meaning, just waiting to blossom.

Advertisements
Music, Uncategorized

Thoughtful and Thankful Thursday

The last few days of the first month of 2015 are rapidly approaching and I am thrilled with the amount of productivity that I have been able to maintain over these last few weeks.  Today though, I woke up with an overwhelming sense of gratitude.

I never in my wildest dreams thought I wanted to play music.  It just happened, but now, I realize that I couldn’t live without music.  I love to write, sing, play, and perform.  Like any field or art, there is constant room for improvement, growth, etc.  Yes, I am sure, that like any field or art, there are many moments of self doubt.  I feel as if I experience the later more than I should.

As an artist or a musician, each piece you create has a little bit of you in it.  You offer that openly to the world for the taking, the critique, as well as the rejection.  Sure, as an artist you should be able to remove yourself from that situation, but the reality is that you can’t.  It is difficult not to be personally involved and even more so not to take the negative personally.  I have tried very hard to avoid the negative.  I find myself to be my harshest critic, therefore I am often hesitant to share my work, in this case my songs.

This month, I forced myself in a way that I have never done before to share my music.  I submitted one of my songs to the Tiny Desk Concert Series Concert.  Now, we will completely overlook my strong dislike for contests anyway, and embrace the notion that I took a huge step.  I submitted my video to the NPR contest and was hesitant to let anyone else know that I had entered my video, but I overcame that too.  Since I have let go of this fear of sharing my work out of receiving negative feedback, I have received anything but that!  Nothing but good has come from it and it has proved to be a valuable lesson.

Now I have shared this video, the links and articles that it has been included in (by Ovrld and KUT Austin) all over Facebook but what I haven’t been able to mention, or at least communicate clearly enough is my overwhelming sense of gratitude to those that have liked, shared, and given me the support that I have needed!  I have always felt has if I have never fit in here in the Austin music scene, this week has proven otherwise and has given me the momentum I need to keep propelling myself forward.

Thank you to the following folks for sharing links, tagging me in posts, etc. I couldn’t feel this way without you. (There are many, many more of you, but this is the beginning)

Lisa Kettyle (Austin badass: barista, promoter, pedicabber, the list goes on)

Lee Jaster (fellow singer/songwriter)

Alexis Alexander (in need of ancupuncture? She’s your girl!)

Avi Hartman (badass welder- video was filmed in his warehouse)

Terri Lee (that adorable dress I’m wearing… hers!)

KUT Radio, Austin

Ovrld

*NOTE*- I realize the winner’s of the Tiny Desk Concert Contest won’t be announced until the end of February and I most likely won’t be one of them, but for now, I am feeling like a winner! Thanks ya’ll! (Yes, so cheesey, I’m sorry)

 

 

12 Day of Crafting, Glass, Mixed Media, Music, Uncategorized

12 Days of Crafting: The #10 Special

Day 10: The Barbara Dowling

This post is dedicated to Barbara Dowling.  I will say right now that this one may not be eloquent or well written but please know that it is particularly dear to my heart and particularly difficult to write.  I know I have mentioned Barbara Dowling in the past.  She was my stained glass professor at the School of Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.  She was far more than just a professor though.  She was one charged glass of water who became my mentor in art, men, life, etc.  She introduced me to the glass world, taught me to take creative risks, and the ground work to the business of the art world.  But to a young woman coming into her own, she taught me that it was okay to be myself.  Coming from a high school experience that sent me home crying every day coupled with teenage years that lacked a creative mother figure, she guided me while I figured out who I was.  She helped me find the balance between my incredibly wild side and just as incredibly sensitive side.  The one thing I cannot thank Barbara enough for was helping me reconnect and build a strong relationship with my mother.

I got word last week that Barbara passed away.  I am still a part of the email thread that spread the word and while everyone is sending their condolences, I find myself completely unable to say anything on the thread, but yet, I can write here.  I didn’t shed a tear when I first got the news, but I find as I type this note with every key stroke I fall more and more apart.

I realize that this is Day 10 of the 12 Days of Crafting and not the 10 run on sentences of sadness, but it’s Christmas time and we should be celebrating the ones we love, whether they are here or not.

When I got the news of Barbara’s passing, I pulled out pictures, notes from her lectures, and a few remaining stained glass projects I had packed away.  One project I found was a box of glass bells.  As many of you know, I play music.  When I was in college, I was just really starting to perform and have shows.  Barbara challenged me to make music with my visual art.  I ended up making a collection of 50 glass bells.  I hung them in a few trees in the park where there was lots of foot traffic and spent hours recording the sounds of the glass bells clinking together in the breeze, cracking against each other, crashing on the concrete, and the comments of passers by.

I have since lost the audio and photos of this project, but I have a few remaining bells. I have turned these bells into candle holders.  I want to share these with the world and hope that they bring light to someone else’s life like Barbara brought light to mine.

 

Music

Blocks and Blanks to Back in Action

IMG_1111As an artist, staring at a blank canvas can be very intimidating when you’re in the midst of a creative drought.  For a writer, a blank page can be the equivalent while experiencing a block, but for a songwriter, when you’re unable to make your instrument make the sound you want, even though you’re not entirely sure what it might be, stringing words to go along can become an impossible task.  As any type of creative mind, has experienced this and when it goes on too long you begin to question yourself as an artist, a painter, a musician, etc. We try everything: wine, coffee, falling in love, getting heart broken, structure, complete chaos, workshops, friends, family, solitude, you name it, we’ve done it.

I’ve been in a songwriting drought for about a year now.  I’ve started a little something here and there, but all of them I have completely hated and in disgust for creating something so awful, I toss the scraps to the wind.  Frustrated with my lack of lyrical output, I have created a deadline for myself.  I am planning on writing a song a week for the month of November. Come December I will record at the Brooklyn Outboard in Nashville, TN. There is literally no time or room for putting it off or procrastinating.

I have gone from practicing once or twice a week to playing, doodling on my guitar, singing, and working on lyrics an hour or two every day.  I made this pact on Monday, November 3rd.  It Thursday, the 6th right now, and I’m one instrumental and one chorus in.  I’m hoping to come up with a couple versus the next few days and hoping that I will have a completed Song #1 by Sunday and perhaps ready to share on Monday.

I will still be working on other creative projects such as restoring furniture, but my main focus over the next month will be writing and hosting three fundraising shows.  I don’t want to pursue an Indie GoGo and Fundme campaign, because honestly, sometimes those campaigns can be a bit obnoxious.  (there I said it, I am sorry if you’re upset)  I am hosting two online shows that are donation based.  The first will be held Tuesday, November 18th at 8 PM CST. If you can’t donate, it’s cool!  Just log in, enjoy the show, and if you can, spread the word.

For the Facebook event with frequent updates on the November 18th show: Click here.

For the actual link to the online show: Concert Window.