Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Happy Writer's Block


I have found that words come easiest when I'm distraught. Sorrow and pain unblock the passages that lead from my mind to the page, but excitement and happiness are too frenetic and distracting to flow so easily into ink. I want to write, but in joy, I'd rather sing.

And so this song has been sitting wordless on my guitar strings and in my throat for the past week and a half as I try to calm my mind into a state conducive to thoughtful writing. Attempt after attempt, yet words do not come in streams, but as driftwood piece by piece slowly accumulating on an empty sheet only to be washed away again as I realize that I am collecting remnants of the wrong type of tree.

Structure and sense emerge only when the low, rhythmic droning of the surrounding world induces clarity through its meditative chanting, and even then as the scaffolding comes up, the words to hang on them fail to appear.

Line after line written and crossed out as I think, write and reread, then realize that the words are not making me feel anything. And then I wonder if the problem is in the writing or the reading. It's hard to connect with angst when you are content.

Be bold.

R

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Counting in the Quiet


Count in the quiet when the music goes out and learn to trust the beat. Your heartbeat, your breathing, your footsteps, your instincts--trust them.

There might be a band backing you or you might be out on your own, but there will inevitably be stretches of nothing when it is only you and your pulse. When the monitors go out, when your ears begin to buzz, when the world becomes so overwhelming your senses shut down, and you are faced with measures of silence.

Count in the quiet.

Count in the quiet and keep your song moving, keep yourself moving, trust your beat. Always keep playing, though it seems by yourself, keep to your chart.

The music will start.

Be bold.

R

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Recharge


When things get crazy--and things have been getting a little crazy lately--the most beautiful part of the day is lying down to go to sleep for the night (or morning, as tends to be the case). Getting off your feet, closing your eyes, feeling all the muscles in your back and shoulders relax. It's glorious.

I know some people think about their day or what they have to do the next day or all their shortcomings or all their achievements or imagine what their future will be, and while I do think about what I have to do the next day as I lie in bed, I do so mostly to set my internal alarm clock--what time do I need to be up so that I can accomplish everything I need to accomplish? But after that, I let everything drift away.

All the stress, all the worries, all the excitement won't help me recharge. And recharging is an important thing to do. Your body benefits, your mind benefits, your spirit benefits. It's so easy to believe that we must be always working, always in action, and while yes, we must find ways to continue to move forward, we must also take care of ourselves. So during the day, I will be in motion, but as I lay in the darkness, I will let myself be still, let myself recover and let myself get ready to take on the next day.

Be bold.

R

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Rehearsal

Ben led me to the room.

One day, when I have my own house, I will have a room like the one I walked into with giant speakers hanging from the wall and a nice rug under a well-maintained kit, with tube amps and halfstacks and eight channels free on a mixer and a couple of SM58's on tall stands.


And on that day, I will call my band over and we'll practice my hit songs and jam and groove like old friends as chocolate chip cookies bake in the oven in the restaurant-grade kitchen I built right next to it. We'll talk about our latest gigs, personal projects and philosophize on the state of music as we moogle and experiment and have fun.


Yes. One day, things could be different and amazing...But today, honestly, is pretty different and amazing. The last time I had a band was almost ten years ago. We were six girls practicing in my parents' living room with an electric drum kit, and I was desperately trying to teach my bandmates songs using the Suzuki method.

Today, my mother was spared the snake pit of cables that would inevitably appear on the floor and my brother was not forced to stop playing video games in the living room on my behalf. The two guys I had backing me knew how to play their instruments and we got through three songs using charts and recordings.

I know I'm not even close to achieving my goal right now, but as we play I can't help but be in a little awe as I look back and see how much has changed.

Friday, March 7, 2014

The Dungeon Queen


The guys watched as I screwed the mixer back together. Screw by screw. Allen bolt by allen bolt. The second channel had been crackling and needed a good cleaning. I imagine I could have just dripped the rubbing alcohol down the stem of the troublesome pot and achieved the same effect, but there is a certain joy in carefully dismantling, exposing and rebuilding products that aren't intended to be dismantled, exposed or rebuilt.

It's not so much a "pleasure"--it's more of a comfort. A comfort knowing that the world has some order. That pieces of metal can be held together with screws. That a faulty potentiometer is not a product of demon possession, but of a long-forgotten coffee stain. That, although so much is presented to us in black boxes running on magic, they are really just systems (though sometimes complex) that have been encased in seamless plastic.

It is a comfort knowing that if something breaks, I can fix it. That I can affect the world I'm living in. Physically change it. Adjust it to my will. That I am not simply a victim subject to external forces beyond my control, because look! I have control. I have control over this space I exist in. I can do things.

It is a comfort . And it is beautiful.

Be bold.

R

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Letdown


While I try to keep my head and body in the moment, the question forever in front of me is, "Now what?" And that question is never louder than after doing something big. For me (this time at least), that "something big" was performing my first half-hour set at a really nice venue.

I knew it wasn't going to be a huge affair--that I would not increase bar sales, that the crowd would consist of whoever I could convince to come, that my payment would be experience--but it was a show.

I had practiced for weeks and had worked the kinks out of my set. I had invited all my friends and created fliers. I had picked out my shoes and my dress. For two weeks, this show was the focus of pretty much every waking moment. 

But, that focus made life brighter. There was something to look forward to--a reason to get excited. It felt like progress, like wonderful, joyous progress. It was a reason to practice and struggle and strive. It was a chance to prove...something. How loud I am, maybe? 

It was all so very exciting, but in a half-hour it was done, and I was left feeling like my soul was slowly decompressing within me. As I packed up my guitar, I could see the cliff I was about to plunge over since adrenaline was no longer there to keep me from falling. I enjoyed as much of the afterglow as I could, but the crash was inevitable.

Actually, it was more like finding myself in a fog. I had passed the light post I had been using as a target and now it was all just haze and uncertainty. Really, I still feel like I'm walking through fallen clouds hoping to find another light or at least a silver lining. 

Luckily, closer to the end of my nose than the mist is the question

Now what?

Be bold.

R

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Old Haunts

Monday, February 24

5:25 PM - Here we go. A carry-on bag filled with a performer's essentials on one shoulder, Grudzel in a soft case on the other. I should leave now so I don't miss the train.

5:37 PM - It's so crowded and my luggage prevents me from being unobtrusive. Balance and bag-wrangling are the skills of the hour. I think about my set as we speed forward.

5:52 PM - Transfer successful and train #2 is on its way to my final destination. The child across the aisle is making noises somewhere between unhappily uncomfortable and ridiculously excited. It's amusing, but not enough to completely distract me from what I'm about to do.

6:05 PM - Off the train and on campus. I could easily be mistaken for a music student. College is such a strange place. I would have made a terrible collegiate music student.

6:10 PM - At the venue. Tommy's Place hasn't changed, but it sure is different being the performer and not the crew. The other performer for the night has arrived early too.

6:20 PM - Soundcheck ahead of schedule. I was worried I would be uncontrollably nervous, but standing onstage behind the microphone with my guitar plugged in feels more therapeutic than nerve-wracking. I am clearly not well warmed-up, but it's better to know that at soundcheck than to figure that out during the actual performance.

7:06 PM - The performer before me sounded pretty good during her check. I start to question myself. The deficiencies in my technique on both guitar and on vocals become obvious. Moments of panic rush forward as I tell myself it's too late to worry about that now. I can't help but worry that I haven't practiced at full-volume enough. I really should find a rehearsal space where I can be loud without disrupting the neighbors.

7:14 PM - It takes so much focus to remain calm. So much energy just pulsing through my veins. Got to keep things positive otherwise I'll likely destroy myself. Part of me is hoping that no one shows up and the other part is hoping everyone I know shows up.

7:21 PM - I feel so uncomfortable doing it, but when it comes to a show, it's absolutely necessary for the performer to declare his/her importance. I must claim my spot on stage. Whatever happens tonight, tomorrow I can work on making things better. Additionally, I've seen enough shows flop to know it's not the end of the world.

7:29 PM - Time to change and get dolled up.

7:45 PM - The show starts. Her smoky voice sits snugly in her guitar playing and everything glistens with reverb. There aren't many people here. I wonder who will come to watch me.

8:07 PM - The first set wraps up. I can feel the butterflies again.

8:10 PM - I invited these people!

8:16 PM - Head backstage to warm-up. I wonder if people can hear me though the thick curtain and the house music. I decide I don't care. That much...

8:29 PM - My alarm goes off. A deep breath and I'm onstage. The club is pretty empty, but I know there are eager ears listening in the shadows. Plug in. Make it through the intro of "Mary." The worst is over.

Sometime between 8:30 and 8:57 PM - I realize that there is nothing I would rather do than perform.

8:57 PM - Speed through an encore.

9:01 PM - Pack up Grudzel. I can feel my spirit expanding within me--decompressing after a week of excitement.

9:06 PM - Meet and mingle. Friends are good company at shows, but the two girls who came over from the bar to watch are equally kind and supportive. Cards are handed out with much gratitude and appreciation.

11:00 PM - Back home. Not sure what to do now. So tired, but still buzzing with the night's excitement. I have to find more gigs.

Now - The journey continues.

Thank you for all your support! It's not a show without an audience.

Be bold.

R

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Boom!

Please forgive me for my late post! Things have been happening all so quickly and I'm still figuring out what's going on. In reality, there are quite a few things I'm doing right now, but all you really need to know is this:


Hooray!!! Not that that's a great reason for not posting earlier...But in a way, it was the reason I didn't post earlier. This upcoming show is my first real solo performance that will exceed seven minutes in length, it will be only the second time performing with Grudzel, AND it will be in a venue that I hold very dear--I spent many hours helping run sound at Tommy's Place in a past life. 

For all those reasons and for the sake of good entertainment, I want this performance to be as amazing as it can be. I want it to be a demonstration of the power of the singer-songwriter. I want it to be emotional, visceral and moving. I want it to be beautiful, powerful and freaking sexy. But to accomplish that, I need to practice. A lot.

I know the songs and I have performed them before, but I know that being onstage on Monday is going to be different. The room will be different. The lights will be different. The distractions will be different. I also know that I am prone to sensory-overload. Not to say that I couldn't pull off a great performance while part of my mind tried to get past the shock of a new (and flashy) environment, but I know I won't be satisfied with that type of experience. Additionally, the set will be longer than what I usually perform and will include transitions and intros...

Yes. Practice is a must. Practice so I know what to say. Practice so I play at the right tempo (which is extremely important). Practice so I don't fall over in my heels. Practice so I don't mess up the words or the notes or the chord changes. Practice so that when the time comes, all I have to focus on is the delivery--the song is only a vehicle for the emotions.

But with all that practicing, I lose track of time--and lose time--which is why this post is so late in coming. So, my sincere apologies if you have been waiting for word from me, but I am happy to invite you to come watch me perform this coming Monday, February 24, 2014, 8:30-9:00 PM, at Tommy's Place (600 Downey Way, Los Angeles, CA 90089). 

Thank you for your support--it means the world to me!

Be bold.


(P.S. Monday's show is FREE!)

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Enter: Grudzel



I realize where I am as I walk out of the Metro Station--Hollywood and Highland on a holiday. Great...I pull my purse close to me, put my sunglasses on and attempt to maneuver as fast as I can through the crowd of tourists and street-worn characters. This is not an excursion I particularly want to go on.

I have to, though. It must be done. Once past the swarm in front of Grauman's, my concern is no longer of being trampled by the mob. I readjust my sunglasses, put my street face on and speed up. I don't care if you whistle, holler or tell me I walk like a model--flattery will not make me stop. Onward.

Down the busy streets periodically checking behind me and always keeping an eye on the cars and the other pedestrians until I stumble upon my destination. A sense of relief swells from within as I walk into the store--there is more civility in such institutions than there is on the street.

Such places used to feel like heaven--rooms lined with beautiful instruments waiting like puppies to be played with and loved--but today it's a little overwhelming. I feel like a child in a grown-up's world, not allowed to touch such valuable items with my grimy, sticky fingers. I wander around the rooms slowly building the courage to pull an instrument off the wall. Who am I to feel like I belong there?

But...Who am I? I am a musician. Perhaps not as advanced or well-studied as others, but I am a musician with a gig coming up and I need a new guitar. More, I am a girl who just braved the strange streets of Hollywood and their abuses to get here. To go home empty-handed because of fear is NOT acceptable. Now resolute on getting what I came for, I pull down a guitar and play it.

I play a lot of them, taking stock of how they sound and how they feel in my arms and under my fingers. The combination of steel strings and hollow bodies is somewhat new to me and it takes some time to get accustomed to. Everything sounds slightly off until...

Its body is distinctly marked, exotic wood gleaming under a fine coat of polish. I am not sure that "love at first sight" exists, but surely "love at first sound" does. Less harsh than the others and a touch smaller, it seems to ring into my soul and it feels like it belongs in my arms. It's as though I wasn't sure what I was looking for until I hear it play.

I put it back to see if there are others that play like it--a test of love--but none feel so correct. The decision is made.

Back to the streets, but now with a box almost as tall as me under my arm. I take a different route back. My new friend requires a seat for itself and I can feel my fellow bus riders' slight irritation, but there are plenty of other seating options and I am not in the mood to let my new friend get abused by careless passengers.

Off the bus and almost home, a stranger offers to help me carry the large box, but it's not particularly heavy and I can manage. Into my building and to my apartment, finally inside. The excitement builds as I cut the tape and carefully pull out the reward for my anxiety and travel. He's beautiful. A quick tuning and a long moment of appreciation. And now, we play.

Welcome to the team, Grudzel!

Be bold.

R

NOTE: I know his name is ridiculous. Deal with it.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

What They Told Me


This is one of those songs that struck at two in the morning while I was lying on my bed refusing to acknowledge my weariness. Sometimes your fingers know what to play and all you have to do is recognize it as something worth remembering. Beyond that, I can't recall much of the process. I remember the lyrics being a pain (what's new?) and the excitement of stumbling upon something interesting...And I remember thinking to myself that it was incredibly simple in construction once it had been written. And then thinking, "So?"

So...Here's to simplicity, torn edges and the raggedness that is rock.

Be bold.

Rachel 

Friday, February 7, 2014

6PS


Something amazing happened to me. I went shopping for jeans and found a pair that fit. Actually, I found four pairs that fit (by "fit" I mean "went on without trouble, did not require a belt to be held up and could potentially be worn without alteration"). I was stunned--that had never happened before! Jeans have always been my least favorite article of clothing to shop for. If they got around my thighs, they would be huge around my waist and they would always need to be hemmed so I wouldn't trip on the excessively long legs. Shopping for jeans tended to make me feel like I was trying to fit into a world that was not made for me.

Yet, there I was in the fitting room with a pile of jeans that all fit and I started to feel a warmth spread through me. It was as though finding those jeans that I didn't have to alter somehow validated my physical presence, like someone was aware that my body shape existed and deemed it worthy enough to make pants for. It was the warmth of belonging--followed by the nausea of disgust.

I was letting my existence be valued by my ability to find clothes at a department store? And I had been doing that since I was in elementary school? It wasn't the disappointment of not finding pants that fit that I had always despised, in that moment, I realized the thing I dreaded was the pain of feeling like I was not supposed to be in the world because I was not shaped "correctly."

I mulled all this over as I walked out of the fitting room with what I imagine will be one of my favorite pairs of jeans. I thought about the Barbie dolls I used to play with and all my friends whose legs were/are longer and skinnier than mine. I thought about how ethnicity affects what's available at different stores in different regions. I thought about labeling things "curvy" and the implications of doing so. I thought about the shifting sizes that mark our clothes and how it feels to have to buy something that is both "petite" and "short." I thought about the happiness that comes with finding something that fits right off the rack. I thought about how I felt about all this.

On the one hand, I was happy. I had found what I was looking for. On the other hand, I was...pensive. At the end of the day, sizes are arbitrary and manufacturers' sizing systems are out of my control. Also out of my control, what those sizes translate into, what stores stock, the media's portrayal of female beauty, society's expectations of....I can't even finish that sentence, because, honestly, I don't care. All that doesn't matter. The thing that most struck me was how backwards our relationship with our marked size is.

You buy enough clothes and you think of the world in terms of small, medium or large, tall, regular or short, petite or plus-sized, or a number, or a set of numbers, and the thing is, you can get away with that. The system lets you think that you should fit into a set of numbers and letters, but the truth is that you are a physical entity that is not molded out of plastic to fit sample sizes. You are a lump of matter formed into some shape and only for convenience sake are you measured, rounded and assigned a size.

Where am I going with all this? Should you be expecting a song about clothes sizes? I'm not really sure. We are sized, but we don't have to fit the sizes people set. We are sized, but those sizes aren't the only options (it's sewing time!). I guess, looking at the big picture, the point is that we are labeled but those labels don't change what we are, who we are or what our "value" is. Perhaps this is another case where language is limiting us--chaining our perception to words that we have defined and set as reality. Perhaps we are afraid of being undefined. Or, perhaps we are afraid of leaving others speechless.

Be bold.

R

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Let the Battle Come

New video has been posted!


The process is still rough, but at least I figured out how to use YouTube's video editor to put titles in my video--that makes life a little easier and definitely less pixelated.

What's next?

Keep Posting and Tweeting
Consistency counts.

Get Gigs
Now that the internet contains proof of performance, I don't feel as bad about asking for opportunities to play.

Assemble a Band
Since all of my songs have been charted and the necessary band packet material has been created, it's time to get loud!

Keep Improving EVERYTHING
There is so much room for improvement in every direction! Writing, playing, singing, performing, mixing, editing, etc. etc. etc. Everything I am doing can be better and I am determined to make everything better.

It's time to move up in the world. I hope you will join me as the adventure continues.

Be bold.

R


(P.S. If you just want to listen:

)

Friday, January 31, 2014

Collegiate Words


How powerful are words? That was the essence of the prompt we were to write about. We were given passages to read and had gone over different arguments in class. We were given deadlines and goals, and sent on our merry ways.

I read the passages and looked for some conclusion I could draw. I gathered evidence and started organizing. I started writing...I despaired. I couldn't find the words I needed.

Perhaps it was actually that my ideas were poorly developed and thus difficult to articulate, but I found myself spending as much time thinking about the shortcomings of language as I did thinking about developing my thesis and supporting it. Part of me was absolutely convinced that it didn't matter what I wrote--it would be misread, misinterpreted, misunderstood because there weren't words to convey what I wanted to convey.

I managed to finish my essay on time and got a good mark on it, but the revelations I had while writing still haunted me. Words aren't enough. At some point, words fail.

As someone who has always loved words, whether written on a page or spoken aloud or sung, these thoughts were terrifying. What's the point of writing if you can't communicate what you're trying to say because words fundamentally aren't capable of expressing what you want to say? Why am I writing songs if they aren't going to convey the messages I want them to? Why should I talk to people if they aren't going to understand my pain since there aren't words to describe how I am feeling? If words fail, what's the point of trying  to communicate with them?

And one day two things hit me. First, I had much to learn about language. Writing is not only about the words, but about how they are arranged and organized in sentences, in paragraphs, in essays, in stories, in poems. There is so much more to writing than vocabulary and if I wanted to accurately convey what I was feeling or what I meant, I would need to not only master the words but master how to use them. Discover the subtleties of timing and arrangement, literary devices and creative word choice.

But more striking to me was the second thought: When words fail, do. When words fail, sing. When words fail, dance. When words fail, bake. When words fail, smile. When there is nothing else that you can say, there is action. Though words are powerful, they are only labels that we have assigned to things, and there are so many things that we have not assigned labels to. But that does not mean that ideas, actions, emotions, colors, shapes, etc. that are currently unlabeled don't carry meaning or significance, and it certainly does not mean that they can't be conveyed. Words are wonderful tools, but they are not our only tools.

I think for me, that's part of the appeal of music. There are words, but there are also melodies, harmonies, timbres, timings, rhythms, performance. There are so many different ways to convey an idea or a feeling...And if music is not enough, there is dance. There are movements, steps, formations, facial expressions, costumes, lights. And if dance is not enough, there is....




Be bold.

R

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Battle with a Beast


Modern video editing is such unfamiliar terrain to me! However, after much struggle and strife, I am (rather clunkily) launching my video presence. (Seriously, though, who uses Illustrator and MATLAB to make titles????)

Is the video itself messy? Yes. Very. The beginning and ending plates are grossly pixelated. The edits are rough, sometimes a little off, and there are no transitions, just sharp cuts. Would I like it to be better? Smoother? More professional? Yes. Of course. But the truth is this: I am working with very rudimentary tools (did I mention MATLAB?) with no intuitive timeline-editing capabilities, no title-making applications, no effects.

After shooting all the shots I thought I needed (twice...), I went into Pro Tools to figure out how long I needed each shot to be and proceeded to cut my footage using the numbers I calculated. And even then, my editor was not particularly precise. It did, however, allow me to mix my audio track with my video track--a capability that I very much appreciated--though that, too, gave me results that were slightly off from what I was expecting...There was quite a bit of going back and re-cutting clips to better fit the music. And again, did I mention that all my video with text was created using an old version Illustrator and software I needed for an Electrical Engineering class?

But does all this mean that I shouldn't release this video? No. If I was a production company, I would have a very different answer, but I'm not a production company. I am a musician. A frugal musician, at that. And while we live in a world where content is sleek, flawless and hi-def, I am not sleek, flawless or hi-def. I am driven, bright and creative, and if that means sometimes I am also crude, rough and scrappy, so be it.

That doesn't mean that this video couldn't be better. It doesn't mean that I am satisfied with the titles or the editing. It doesn't mean that I am happy with my process. My next video is going to be better. I will make my titles look beautiful. I will come up with a smoother, more efficient process. But right now, this video has to be set free--a declaration of my intentions, a reminder of my vision, a pinprick of light in a pitch black room, and a record of where I started. And with it released, I can continue to work, improve and move forward.

So, watch and enjoy! (And let me know what your goals are! ;) )



And if you just want to listen to the song...


As always, thank you for your support! My video-editing skills will get better! 

Be bold.

R

Friday, January 24, 2014

Teenage Words

Please forgive my lack of posts. I was trying to produce a video for your viewing pleasure and discovered that technology was not working in my favor. I was hoping to release it Tuesday, but was unsuccessful. Then I hoped to release it today, but the process by which I am now doing things is not as speedy as I had hoped. But do not despair! A video is on it's way--it is coming! For now, though, there are always words.



Words saved my life. It wasn't that I didn't have friends or felt like an outcast. I had a group of very good friends and we would hang out during breaks and lunch, and successfully shelter each other from feeling like losers. It wasn't that my life was any more difficult than anyone else's. If anything, my life was probably more stable than most. It wasn't even the depression that settled in during my sophomore year and leached venom into my soul. I was never suicidal. There was too much to be done to be suicidal....But words saved my life.

Over the years, I had amassed a large collection of journals. Journals of all sizes and colors, various bindings and paper weights, with covers ranging from being plastered with 90's pop bands to being purple, furry and embroidered with unicorns. I had made many attempts at keeping a journal. Actually, I recently looked over what I had written in some of those bedazzled books and found many only sparsely used for entries of mundane nature. For the longest time, I thought the blank pages were supposed to be filled with each day's activities as a sort of log to be looked at in a hundred years and give some poor, probably very bored, soul a glimpse of what my life was like. But, in high school, that changed.

In high school, I started to get serious about songwriting. And when I got serious about songwriting, I realized I needed to get serious about my feelings. More than recording what I did, I needed to record how I felt. I needed to put my feelings in a form I could work with--a form I could review, analyze, return to, draw from--and, my goodness, there were a LOT of feelings.

The plight of the American teenager is pretty well-documented, so I will refrain from repeating, but know that I was not immune to it. I wrote about it. I vented it. I put it down in red ink in a journal with a vintage cereal mascot on its cover. Sometimes it helped immediately. More often than not, it didn't feel like it did very much. But it gave me a sort of ritual that I could do when things got emotional. It gave me a way to step back from my feelings, find patterns, find solutions, find...poetry--raging, rough, wild poetry that only comes out when you are not worried about making sense but lose if you don't write it down. And from this poetry I learned to find songs.

Words saved my life, because my veins pulse with poems and when my spirit bleeds, words clot the wounds and tell me how to heal. Words saved my life, because I could depend on them to be there when my friends went home and the world seemed to walk out on me. But most importantly, words saved my life, because they brought me life. They led me to my passion and they showed me that everything I needed to follow that passion was already within me.

Be bold.

R

Friday, January 17, 2014

Young Words

Not the stories that my dad read to me at night...

Every night my dad would tuck me into bed and read me whatever books I had pulled from the shelf. Silly stories, poetry, picture books, chapter books--all read to me in a voice so soothing that I sometimes had to fight it to get to the end of the story. If my interest in words started anywhere, it started there, in the half hour before bed, with the night light on its brightest setting and my dad sitting next to me entertaining while coaxing me to sleep with stories of clever police dogs, dancing mice, and big, bad pigs.

Periodically, we would stumble upon a new word and he would stop and ask, "Do you know what that means?" I would shake my head if I didn't know and he would give me a definition I could understand. To be honest, I can't really remember what words they were--there were a lot of them and I imagine they seemed much more sophisticated when I was five. Actually, I think "catastrophe" was one of them, but I can't be sure...Anyway, those words were like toys I could show off to my friends--signs of intellectual status and pompous know-it-all-ness.

But back then, it was magic. Squiggles on a page could hold words. Words could form stories. Stories could be brought to life by simply speaking them aloud. I don't think I thought of it exactly that way when I was younger, but I felt it. Each word I discovered and learned to decipher was like a new spell to cast or tool to use. Words were powerful, beautiful and mine if I decided to claim them....

...And I decided to claim them.

Be bold.

R

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Landing Gear


Back to the Basin, the bug bites, the beat...I hope the new year has been treating you well thus far--it has been treating me well. I got to spend some time back home and found my stay there quite rejuvenating. However, now I'm back and my head is spinning with what to do next.

Find gigs, shop labels, make videos, write songs. There is so much that I want to do and sometimes it feels like it's all spinning around me like a tornado in my head, or like a living room full of squeaky toys all begging to be played with at once...

How interesting. As I write this post I find my mind clearing. It strikes me that at this very moment, I need only follow one pursuit and let the others wait--they will be there after the first step is taken. Words can bring such sudden clarity.

So, with this revelation, I guess all I can say right now is that it's good to be back, stay tuned for new and exciting things, and thank you so much for listening and reading. I have to go and get things done now.

Be bold.

R