April Song Challenge

For this month’s song challenge, I had to pick up the guitar as my piano is on the mend from a freak incident involving naughty cats. I chose to play “Tonite Reprise” by Smashing Pumpkins, as it is one of my favorite songs by one of my most favorite artists. The lyrics are so lovely and encouraging and I hope you all like it as much as I do, and I hope I did it at least a little justice. And I know, I need a new microphone badly! Any suggestions on a decent microphone setup would be seriously appreciated!

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March Song Challenge

This month’s song challenge was quite the challenge in and of itself! Seasonal allergies made singing very difficult, which was disappointing to me as I really wanted to knock this song out of the park. Overall, my voice is deeper in parts than I wanted it to be, and flat in others, but I tried my best given my mild laryngitis. Also, I managed to get a new microphone, but it broke mid-play while I was practicing. I think I can fix it, but for now I had to go back to using my phone’s microphone, which isn’t the best. Despite these shortcomings, I figured I couldn’t just back down on my challenge, so I pressed onward.

The song, Mitski’s “Square”, is one that I have long wanted to play because of its complexity. I really enjoy the slow build in the difficulty, even though it makes for a challenging song for someone who is still very much a novice. The words too, have in the past meant a lot to me. But now? Especially now, I think there are rare circumstances where waiting is worth it….

It’s not perfect at all, but I hope you enjoy my cover of Mitski’s “Square”.

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Dreams Darkly Dreamt

“They’ve promised that dreams can come true- but forgot to mention that nightmares are dreams, too.

–Oscar Wilde

As the world locks down around me, so too does it seem that I am running into a bit of trouble in the dream world as well.

Most nights, nightmares have replaced my normal dreams.

Dark dreams of despair and hopelessness.

Sometimes they are vague. Many dreams of inky black, sharply shaped creatures, tearing at me with their terrible black claws as they visit me in the night. They tear away my clothes and scratch at me until I am raked over with fine red lines on my pale white skin. No matter how bare I am, it’s never enough for them.

Other nights are worse, as I witness terrible things happen to those I love, most painful of all being dreams of Liam being wounded.

I relish the nights that these malevolent visions leave me be, as rare as they are right now. They do shine through like sunlight in a dark forest, giving me hope.

One sequence in particular keeps replaying. The dream usually starts off as something innocuous, like being at work or going to a movie. Something totally mundane…

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Slack Jaw

As a challenge to myself, I have been working on learning one song a month to post at the end of each month of 2020. This first song is a cover of Sylvan Esso’s “Slack Jaw”, mostly learned by ear from listening to their live recordings. A simple song, but one that has always resonated deeply with me. I did make some adjustments for my  voice and skill level, so it’s not an exact replay of their version. I am so very nervous, but I hope you all enjoy!

Hopeful, the Spirit

“If someone does not want me it is not the end of the world. But if I do not want me, the world is nothing but endings.”

— Nayyirah Waheed

And so the year has turned to its close, and as I heal from wounds of my own choosing, I find myself turning introspective again. Not only of the year, but of the decade. I admit that I started this writing before Christmas, but found the words sticky and unwilling to lend themselves to exactly what I have been feeling. I hope that tonight, I may do them justice.

I suppose it’s a tad cliche to write an introspection. Everyone is doing it, right? I’ve heard grumbles here and there, but for me, it’s an important process. I have to sit and think on things past, so that I may move forward in peace, and with purpose. And to the oak tree, what are the caws of crows but mere distraction in its reaching for the sun?

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Peacock Hydrangeas

“Take me to the land of lovers where flowers bloom with love, birds sing with love, and hearts long for hearts. ”

–Debasish Mridha

I must admit, I have neglected the blog as of late. Part of it has been due to writer’s block, which I struggle with often. But the other part has been life in general, and juggling hobbies. I somehow try to fit music, writing, drawing, and poetry all into a life that is already full of mom and work duties. I make it work, I suppose, but the piano has been winning out a lot lately, much to the chagrin of my guitars.

Then there’s the dreams themselves. I’ve gone into another period of deeply dreaming that is much too personal to share now, if ever.

And now, in the midst of finals week, worn out, and with a tuckered out kiddo passed out in bed, I finally felt I had something easy to share. Something to at least break the silence, anyway. I was actually sitting at the piano, languidly pecking out the notes to a very lazy, half-hearted rendition of “Jingle Bells” when I finally decided to hit the computer keys instead.

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Some Personal Poetry

I am signaling you through the flames.

The North Pole is not where it used to be.

Manifest destiny is no longer manifest.

Civilization self-destructs.

Nemesis is knocking at the door.

What are poets for, in such an age?

What is the use of poetry?

The state of the world calls out for poetry to save it.

–Lawrence Ferlinghetti, “Poetry as Insurgent Art”

I am unabashedly in love with poetry of all forms. From the staples of Shakespeare, to the metaphysical meanderings of John Donne, to Poe, Ferlinghetti, Rosetti, Aiken, Plath, Frost… the list could go on. Even the new, viral “short form” poems have a special place in my heart, especially those of Nayyirah Waheed. After all, music has always moved me deeply, and what is poetry but music with prose?

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The Blue Serpent

“Just as a snake sheds its skin, we must shed our past over and over again.”

–Gautama Buddha

When I was a little girl, just barely 7 or 8 at the oldest, I met a snake at the local wildlife center during a field trip. I had seen snakes before, and had been told they were dangerous. In fact, many a serpent met its end at the mercy of my grandfather’s garden hoe. My grandmother often spoke of snakes in terms of the biblical snake in the Garden.

“Never trust a snake,” she would say in her thick, French accent, “they are all bad, even if they don’t poison you, they will squeeze you dead! Always stay away from the snakes.”

So at that moment, as the handler came up to me and offered for me to pet the snake, I gazed at it with a little fear, and a whole lot of wonder. That moment may have every well been my first act of rebellion. I remember thinking, just before my fingers shakily reached for the snake’s coils, that it must be so smiley, and oh, how my grandmother would be so upset!

And the surprise that it was not so was even more delightful. Fingertips touched smooth, cool scales, instead of slime. So soft, almost like velvet, with the exception of the slight ridges of each scale. And even more, it did not poison me, or squeeze me dead. Right then, in that moment, I knew that one day, I’d have a snake of my own.

And very soon, that knowing moment will come true. But before then, a snake came to me in a dream …

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A Summer of Wanderings

The world is a book, and those who do not travel read only one page.

Augustine of Hippo

Since I was 5 years old, I’ve traveled almost every summer. Most of the summers of my youth were spent in France, but as I got older, I tried to get out into different parts of America as well. In my teens and early twenties, I managed to hit up every state on the East coast from Florida to Maryland, and then westward into Tennessee, Kentucky, Illinois, Indiana, Colorado, and eventually, Nevada.

And then it all stopped.

I could get into all the whys and hows, the excuses and the arguments. But the end result was the same, regardless of how it happened. For 9 years, travel was not an option, and my house was more cage than home.

Then the tumult and chaos of last year happened, and I was travelling again out of nowhere. Savannah (multiple times), Charleston, New York, Augusta, and, at the end, Oak Island. All were whirl-wind trips of only a couple days here and there, but all were meaningful in some way. A part of me that was suppressed for so long was returning.

This year, with my life officially in restart mode, I was able to pull off some longer trips, both alone and with Liam as my little travel partner.

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Sturgeon Moon

“When the snow falls and the white winds blow, the lone wolf dies, but the pack survives.”

–George R. R. Martin

Full moons have always held significance to me, throughout my lifetime. From the awestruck gazes of childhood to the more spiritual tones of my adulthood, I have always made sure to take a few minutes each full moon to acknowledge the beauty of it. There is something pure and good to be seen in that alabaster light. Despite the consensus that the full moon brings out the wild and crazy in people, it has always been a calming, grounding force for me. Then again, I might just be crazy.

Meditation has become a ritual for me at each new and full moon cycle, and this one was no different. Truth be told, I meditate nearly every night before sleep, but without much intent. I allow thoughts to flit here and there through my mind until I nod off to sleep. With these moon meditations, however, I try to put some purpose or intent into it. Usually some sort of letting go, or goal. And since I haven’t written about a dream in some time, I thought I would share one from this most recent full moon.

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