Sunday, February 11, 2018

Playlist Post: HUMBLE.

This week I was inspired by artists I saw on the Grammys, as well as thoughts about rap music and explicit lyrics in both rock and rap.

C-Jam Blues: Accomplice One, Tommy Emmanuel, 2018 This track came on my Spotify "Release Radar" playlist this week. Tommy Emmanuel is one of the best classical guitar players alive today, trained in the style of Chet Atkins, which is basically country music fingerpicking. This is from his newest album, which is a series of duets with fellow guitar legends. Icky Thump: Icky Thump, The White Stripes, 2007 From acoustic to ripping electric here comes Jack White and his sister Meg tearing it up on the White Stripes' farewell album. I saw them perform in 2005 at the Berkely Greek, and it was a completely amazing show. Closer: The Downward Spiral, NIN, 1994 The first NIN album was a soundtrack to my adolescence. I also saw Trent Reznor perform at the first Lollapalooza in 1991. I was transformed; rock and roll was seared into my soul as Reznor tipped over his drum kit and amps and lit them on fire. Life would never be the same again. Being part of that experience would drive my attendance at live music shows for the rest of my life. Contact: Random Access Memories, Daft Punk, 2013 This album was such a pleasant surprise when it came out a few years ago and was awarded Album of the Year. I was not familiar with them that much before this album came on the scene, except for one of my dorm mates in college who was really into early EDM and spun some Daft Punk vinyl for me in 1995 when they were just starting out. Although they were not my thing at the time, they are a fundamental and enduring fixture in electronic music.
Play Dead: Greatest Hits, Bjork, 1993 Bjork was another part of my teenage musical landscape since her iconic album Debut came out in 1993 when I was in high school. I was actually already familiar with her celestial, otherworldly vocals from her first band, The Sugarcubes. Yeah listening to the Sugarcubes in the late 90’s was uber hipster before hipster was a thing, ha! At any rate, I was reminded this week of this track which was actually from a 1993 movie soundtrack but appeared on her 2002 Greatest Hits album. Liability (Reprise): Melodrama, Lourde, 2017 I am slowly becoming a Lourde fan. Her voice is amazing, I’m impressed by the raw talent she displays for someone so young, I like her creative artistry. I haven’t listened to this entire new album yet but I’ve liked everything I’ve heard so far. I heard in an interview that Lourde has synaesthesia, which means that when she hears music she also sees colors in her head. Stevie Wonder and Pharrell also have this condition, and there is evidence that Mozart did as well. Broken Clocks: Ctrl, SZA, 2017 I was introduced to SZA via her performance at the Grammys. Like the rest of the world, I’m pretty bummed she didn’t win best new artist. She is reminiscent of Lauren Hill with her combo of rhythm and sweet vocal ability. I feel like she’s also giving a fresh female perspective about sex and love from a specific, marginalized cultural perspective. I’m a white woman and when I think about the work I need to do to understand and dismantle institutions of systematic racism, patriarchy, and oppression, I know that it is my job to learn about the experiences, struggles, desires, goals, and successes of women of color. SZA is telling these important stories and it is crucial that we listen, understand, and include these narratives in the dominant narrative of women’s experience. HUMBLE.: DAMN., Kendrick Lamar, 2017 Same as for SZA, but he’s a man so… he got to open the Grammys. #sorrynotsorry. Kendrick Lamar is undeniable right now and everyone who can handle it needs to listen to this album. When To Pimp a Butterfly came out, a younger latina co-worker recommended it to me, which I consider an honor because, again, as a white woman I feel a lot of respect that a young person of color would recommend this album to me, knowing I would “get it” and appreciate what Kendrick was saying about race, culture, and society. That album was an amazing cultural landmark that opened my mind to what modern rap could be. I think DAMN. is one of the most important albums in the American cultural tableau today and encourage everyone to at least listen to one track, preferably DNA. HUMBLE. is my favorite track, and truthfully I’m still trying to figure out why. That’s one of the reasons I like the album so much. It’s accessible and yet not, because I live at the edge of rap, at the edge of Kendrick’s lived experience. I also struggle with the explicit language on this and other rap albums. I’ll write more about this in a future post but in short, my tendency to place more value on “correct” standard American English is social conditioning, and “explicit” language, or any dialect regardless of it’s content or origin, is not inherently less valuable, necessary, or important than speaking “correctly.” Isn’t Kendrick really telling me to sit down, to be humble about the privilege inherent in my whiteness and to step aside for someone else to speak for once? Is this the cognitive dissonance of the rap listening experience? The fact that listening to this album inspires these questions in me is a good indicator that putting it on repeat will help in my deprogramming. City Too Hot: The Best of Lee Perry, Lee "Scratch" Perry A roots reggae classic. Living in Santa Cruz for the past 20 years has given me a deep appreciation for reggae of all types, but the OG roots hold a special place in the heart of most beach bums. Run for the hills with Lee Perry on this slow smooth track. I'm Waiting For the Man: Beck A cover I did not know existed from a mystery Spotify album. Obviously, I love Beck, and I’m interested in everything he does. I have mixed reviews about this track. He doesn’t sound quite raw enough to be waiting for his dealer. This is actually one criticism I read of Beck’s most recent album Colors as well: it’s too perfect, too planned, too rigidly designed and executed. This quality doesn’t necessarily work against him on that album with its upbeat dance tracks. In this case, however, I find myself wanting more grit in my Velvet Underground cover. Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow?: Lioness: Hidden Treasures, Amy Winehouse, 2011 I heard this playing in a Ross store of all places. Winehouse has an immediately recognizable voice that grips you with its power and emotion. I hadn’t heard this cover before. It’s timeless and a fitting tribute to the singer’s legacy. The House of the Rising Sun: 9 to 5 and Odd Jobs, Dolly Parton This came on when I was shuffling through my songs on Spotify and I had to include it because it is too much Dolly all over the place. Seriously watch out for those horns though. The arrangement is painfully cheesy but Dolly’s vocals and lyrical interpretation are spot-on and you do actually believe her when she sings about being lost in the House of the Rising Sun. Plus, it’s DOLLY. 'Ol 55: Closing Time, Tom Waits A beautiful, haunting, early morning freeway anthem. I like songs about driving on the freeway because I grew up in Southern California where driving far and fast way of life. Even though the location is never mentioned in the lyrics to this song I’m pretty sure he’s talking about a Los Angeles experience here. Wildflowers: Wildflowers, Tom Petty This song was performed beautifully by Chris Stapleton and Emmylou Harris at the Grammys during a tribute to artists that passed in 2017. RIP Tom Petty. Helpless: Deja Vu, Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young I saw a cool interview with Neil Young on Dan Rather’s show The Big Interview. He is just so in tune with a progressive, spiritual agenda that it was refreshing to hear him saying the same thing he has been saying forever, just being himself. I was reminded of this classic album and Neil’s vocals in this haunting tune. As always, thanks for reading and happy listening!

Saturday, February 3, 2018

Playlist Post: Manners Maketh Man

Welcome to week three! I'm really enjoying writing and sharing these posts. It's something I've been wanting to do for a long time. I hope you are enjoying this eclectic mix of music tastes, as well!

This week I've created a "double-sided disk" with different themes or each half of the playlist. the first half is entitled "LOVE" and contains songs about relationships, longing, and betrayal.

The second half is entitled "DOVE" and it contains tracks with political themes such as war, immigration, and other issues of progression, repression, and resistance.


1: Lips Like Sugar: Echo and the Bunnymen, Echo and the Bunnymen, 1987
This is one of my favorite late 80’s tracks, played again and again on my favorite teenage radio station, KROQ. Spotify loves this song and it appears frequently on many playlists; I assume that makes it a standard of the synth-pop genre. I think it sets the tone for the first “side” of the playlist: wistful, troubled love.

2: Call Me a Dog: Temple of the Dog, Temple of the Dog, 1991
When Andrew Love, the lead singer of Mother Love Bone, died from a heroin overdose in 1990, Chirs Cornell of Soundgarden formed a new group with members of both bands as a tribute to his friend. The result was one raw, screaming, grunge album that pre-dates the explosion of Pearl Jam all over pop culture. Eddie Vedder joined the band to sing some of the vocals, and when they hit the big time this album was rediscovered by a new fan base.
I had the extreme good fortune to see Vedder and Cornell perform as Temple of the Dog at Lollapalooza in 1992. Here’s some footage I found, which still makes my pulse race, to tell you the truth. Very exciting, thrilling performance and show.

3: Greatest Love Story: Hallelujah Nights, LANCO, 2018
This band as a straight up new country influence from my husband, Jason, who listens to way more modern country artists than I do and therefore broadens my exposure in this genre. I heard LANCO (short for Lancaster and Company) playing live on the radio and was immediately taken by their storytelling style. This song, like many on the album, is straightforward, honest, relatable story about human behavior. Jason and I tend to like songs that remind us of our relationship and marriage, and this one lines right up to our narrative.

4: Stand by Your Man: Greatest Hits, Lyle Lovett, 2017 (written by Tammy Wynette, 1968)
Tammy Wynette wrote this classic song in 1968, and it received criticism from progressive feminists from the first note. I love this cover by Lyle Lovett because his performance flips the lyric on its head being sung from the perspective of a male. All of a sudden, "stand by your man” isn’t so much the sage advice of a long-suffering married woman. It becomes the plea of a desperate man who just wants “two arms to cling to.” Also, it showcases Lovett’s amazing vocal ability.

5: The Long Black Veil: The Long Black Veil, The Chieftains, 1995
This is my favorite track on my favorite Chieftains album. The poet and writer in me loves a good ballad, and this track is a stellar example of a country standard being reworked in a new way. Listen closely to the vocalist… it’s not anyone from the Chieftains. This album features the band doing covers and several of the tracks feature guest musicians. About halfway through the track, you’ll likely have figured out who’s singing. If not… you’ll have to look it up. I don’t want to spoil the surprise.

6: Who’s Gonna Ride Your Wild Horses: Achtung Baby, U2, 1991
Again, one of my favorite tracks from my favorite U2 album. This entire album showcases in crystalline detail the mastery of every member of the band, but Bono's vocals are the soaring masterpiece that enraptures me every time.

7: Don’t Change: Shabooh Shoobah, INXS, 1982
I listened to INXS a lot while riding around in my best girlfriend's car in high school. I got picked up every morning and we would cruise into school blasting "Kick," or drive around town at night with the sunroof open singing along to “Devil Inside.” This is a solid early 80's track from the band, although I prefer their early 90's, kind of rawer stuff better.

8: Wonderful: Adam Ant, Wonderful, 1995
A friend posted snaps from a concert with lots of 80’s acts, including Boy George and Adam Ant. This single was released around the time I graduated high school, and I loved the melody so much that I bought the whole album and listened to it on repeat. It gave me an appreciation for Adam Ant that "Goody Two Shoes" did not. He's still pretty pop-croony here, but I love his voice and the arrangement is new and unexpected.


9: Chocolate City: Chocolate City, Parliament, 1975
Let’s talk about an important part of my musical life: George Clinton and the Parliament/Funkadelic mothership connection. I First saw George Clinton in 1996 at the Catalyst nightclub in Santa Cruz. He was wearing a Pocahontas bed sheet like a housedress. It was my first time at the Catalyst. And, although I’d been listening to funk albums for over a year in anticipation of that moment, I was not prepared for the spectacle of George Clinton and the P-Funk All-Stars. I was transformed. My college years involved a sincere commitment to attending live music shows, and I had seen some configuration of the Parliament/Funkadelic coalition four times by the end of the century. That’s a lot considering I went to about 12 concerts over that time and so a third were P-Funk shows!
At any rate, this track is, again, one of my favorites and I remember when President Obama was in the white house I would think about this song and how it g and how it had basically come to fruition and wonder if we would just have black leadership from that point on, and what that would be like and when would a black woman be president, etc. Needless to say, that's not what I think about when I think about the white house today because it's a literal festering shithole.
Today, the song resonates more than ever as it shows how far we have yet to go in terms of really understanding race dynamics in America. But it also highlights how the conversation has shifted. I guess it’s the same conversation, just more people are trying to have it and it’s happening more in the open, in politics and in popular culture and not just in academic circles.
Perhaps not surprisingly, Clinton remains as relevant as ever, performing on tracks by Kendrick Lamar and appearing on an NPR tiny desk concert just a few months ago:

10: Englishman in New York: Nothing Like the Sun, Sting, 1987
The Grammys happened last Sunday. I enjoyed the line-up and performances. I enjoyed the focus on rap and hip-hop artists but missed rock & roll. I’ve read a few articles lately the gist of which is, “rock and roll is dead” to which I say rock & roll will never die, it’s just not commercial right now. Thank goodness.
At any rate, Sting surprisingly appeared with Shaggy (!) and performed this song, which is another of my favorites from childhood. I’ve loved Sting since I was in junior high and really began to understand the political meaning of songs like “They Dance Alone” and “Russians.” I thought this song was a timely pick considering the discussion about immigration in America. Sting sings, “I’m an alien, I’m a legal alien, I’m an Englishman in New York.”

11: Gunfight: Science Agrees, D.A.R.K., 2016
As promised last week, I picked a track from Dolores O'Riordan's last project, D.A.R.K. I love the chorus of this song and it is one of the few tracks off this short album that features all three vocalists.

12: The Next Day: The Next Day, David Bowie, 2013
Bowie is another major influencer in my musical taste. I was extremely affected when he passed a few years ago. This is a scathing, kind of scary track from one of his later albums, which was conceived as a kind of response to his 1977 album Heroes.

13: Midnight Train to Memphis: From a Room: Volume 2, Chris Stapleton, 2017
Damn this track kicks ass! I saw Stapleton on Saturday Night Live this week and was blown away. The guitar riff opening was so good on the live show. Then the next night I saw him win a Grammy for From a Room: Volume 1. I’m hooked and we want to try and see him when he’s around in July. Why is this song political? Because the singer is jailed for not being able to pay a fine. It's a clear argument to aboloish the cash bail system as it currently exists, where rich people walk and poor people sit behind bars because they can't afford the bail.

14: The Patriot’s Dream: Don Quixote, Gordon Lightfoot, 1972
Time for another musical confession: I’m a Gordon Lightfoot freak. I know all the words to all the songs on Gord’s Gold Volumes I and II. I love ballads, remember? This obsession is another gift from my parents, who played a lot of Lightfoot when I was young. He has the best story songs, and they captured my imagination as a child. His voice is just amazing. OK, anyway, this song is a criticism of the industrial war machine. Listen closely and you’ll hear he’s singing about Trump and his cronies, same as it ever was.

15: Deportee (Plane Wreck at Los Gatos Canyon): The Essential Highwaymen, Highwayman, 1985
This song shuffled up on my Spotify and as soon as I heard the chorus I broke into tears thinking about immigration and how we treat people as though they are less than human simply because they were not born within an arbitrary designation of nation-statehood. Seriously its f-ed up and that is the fundamental reason we do not have world peace yet (ever?). UGH.
This song has an interesting history, and it’s really moving and disturbing that it still rings as true as when it was written by Woodie Guthrie. Here is a very interesting piece by NPR on the plane wreck that inspired the song and the incredibly moving lyrics, which also includes many other versions of the folk standard by well-known artists:

As always, thanks for reading and happy listening!

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Playlist Post: I May Be Delayed

Welcome to the second playlist post!

The first track that caught my ear this week is “The Nothing Maker” by The Pretenders. This was a song suggested by some Spotify-generated playlist I was listening to this week. I don’t remember hearing it before, and some research revealed it is from a 2008 double disk album, Break Up the Concrete. I’m a Pretenders fan but definitely not familiar with all of their work, so this song was a pleasant discovery for me. Chrissie Hynde’s vocals are superb, and the lyrics are kind of eerie in my opinion, once again mostly because of the current political situation. I also see a parallel between this track and the Beatles’ “Nowhere Man" in the idea of being outside or different than the norm.

I heard The Allman Brothers Band classic "Midnight Rider” on KPIG this week. This band is part of the musical tapestry of my childhood, one of my parents' influences that has always been a part of my musical consciousness.

Sublime is a band whose music marks a specific time in my life; the transition between high school and college.  Bradley Nowell died the spring of my first year of college, and for one art class assignment, I contributed a Sublime-themed Dia De Los Muertos diorama. This week “Doin’ Time” came on another radio station I listen to regularly, Bob FM, and it inspired a wave of nostalgia. This track also has an excellent ska beat. The lyrics are, like many of Sublime’s songs, fairly misogynistic, but they can also be viewed as a more ambiguous portrayal of the power struggle within a relationship.

“I Need Fun In My Life” is a track by The Drums, a band I was introduced to around the time their sophomore album Portamento came out. I can’t really rationally explain why I like The Drums so much, but I find them (him?) mesmerizing. This track exemplifies some of the qualities I find amusing, such as the ironic contrast between the plaintive, pleading tone of the vocals and the upbeat request for “fun!” It’s like when Morrissey sings about love. You’re left wondering, “what kind of fun is he talking about?”

This week I was excited to discover a new-to-me band, Wolf Parade. After my friend posted on Instagram about seeing his favorite band on back-to-back nights, I was intrigued, because this friend has an excellent musical taste. It’s hard to believe I’ve never heard of this indie mainstay, whose seminal first album Apologies to the Queen Mary was released in 2005. This track is from their most recent album Cry Cry Cry. like both albums. I would describe them as a mix of The National and Arcade Fire. Certainly an exciting find for me!

I was already listening to The National this week before Wolf Parade came across my radar, and my LP recommendation this week is their 2007 release, Boxer. Two different people introduced me to this band around this time, my younger brother, and a co-worker. Two solid recommendations that led to one of my all-time favorite bands. I go back and forth about The National because they can be lyrically and tonally dark and but for a few years they were my most-played artist, particularly the High Violet LP.  The track that stuck out for me this week, "Mistaken for Strangers" echoes the themes of track one of this playlist, “Nothing Maker.” There is a distinct feeling of alienation and isolation, as:
You get mistaken for strangers by your own friends
When you pass them at night
Under the silvery, silvery Citibank lights
Next in the lineup is the title track from Jane’s Addiction’s 1997 compilation album, Kettle Whistle. Fair warning: Jane’s is my all-time favorite band and I listen to them most weeks so they will likely appear on many playlists. Also, I’m biased about their awesomeness. That being said, this track starts out pretty slowly, with a lot of lyrical indulgence by Farrell, but the real payoff is the guitar-bass crescendo at the end. This is a fine example of Navarro’s face-melting guitar skills, and for the 1997 tracks off this album Flea took over for Eric Avery on bass. I actually saw this lineup on tour in Sacramento in 1997, and it was really an amazing synergy between the two guitar men.

I grew up in southern California, and Siouxsie and the Banshees were one of the bands on heavy rotation on the alternative L.A. station KROQ in 1991 when Superstition was released. They were one of many goth/new age bands to capture my teenage angst and ennui. I saw them live at the first Lollapalooza in 1991 and Siouxsie Sioux was cemented in my mind as an indie rock goddess. The title of this playlist comes from this track. It’s why you need to kiss them for her, after all.

“99.9 F” Is a scorching track from Suzanne Vega. I love Suzanne Vega and got really into her songwriting my freshman year in high school.

Tragically, The Cranberries’ Dolores O’Riordan passed away this week at only 46 years old. I picked "Linger" in honor of her the impact this song and album had on 1990’s radio. Not many articles I looked at mentioned O’Riordan's current contributions to an interesting project called D.A.R.K. with Olé Koretsky and former The Smiths bassist Andy Rourke. O’Riordan performs on D.A.R.K.’s 2016 release, Science Agrees. I’ll include something D.A.R.K. on next week’s playlist.

I finished this week’s lineup with a classic from another Irish/Scottish band that my mom introduced me to, The Waterboys. I’ve always been into lyrics and in high school, I started to become interested in songwriters who have taken poems and made them over into songs. The Waterboys did this with “The Stolen Child,” a W .B. Yeats poem that the Waterboys released as a track on Fisherman’s Blues (1988) and I discovered in the mid 90’s. I was hooked on the band from that point on. This track, “This Is The Sea,” is a soaring, inspirational song that I think is about moving from one point or phase in life to another, about growth and the pain of change even if it is for something bigger and better. After thinking about Dolores O’Riordan leaving the physical world, this song also plays as a comforting reminder that death is not an end, but a transition to another state of being. Listen to this track with your headphones on and you’ll be crying by the end (at least I was).
Now I hear there's a train
It's coming on down the line
It's yours if you hurry
You've got still enough time
And you don't need no ticket
And you don't pay no fee
No you don't need no ticket
You don't pay no fee
Because that was the river
And this is the sea!
As always, thanks for reading and happy listening!

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Playlist Post: A Weekly Series

Do you love music? Me too!

Music appreciation is an integral part of my life and has been a hobby and passion of mine since I was a child. Most of the stories I tell about my past center around music, concerts, albums, or what I was doing when I heard a certain song.

As a child, I remember singing and dancing along to one of my favorite albums at the time, Billy Joel's "Glass Houses," pretending that my wooden block was a microphone. My favorite track was "It's Still Rock and Roll to Me." I was not yet enrolled in kindergarten, but I had already started classes at the School of Rock.

I took basic dance lessons as a young child, including ballet and jazz. In elementary school, I tried to play the flute but lost interest in the first year. I sang in the little school choir in 5th grade but was too self-conscious to continue in that arena as I do not consider myself a gifted singer. I was on the drill team in junior high and dabbled with guitar in high school. I still love to dance and was a Zumba instructor for a while. Although I've never been a musician, I could not imagine my life without music in it.

I enjoy sharing my passion for music of all kinds and genres, new and old, mainstream and really weird. Lately, I feel like using my blog to write and share the music that I'm listening to each week. I plan to share a playlist of the songs that caught my ear over the previous week and maybe write a bit about why I like each one. I generally spend a few hours each week listening to all the songs in my Spotify collection on shuffle, and there's usually one track that brings me back to wanting to hear a full album, so I'll also suggest an LP that I listened to that week.

This first installation is a playlist entitled "Everything Was Right" -- a line from the Beatles' classic "She Said She Said."

The first track this week is a Cat Power performing a cover of the Rolling Stones' "I Can't Get No Satisfaction." I had not heard of Cat Power before a couple of years ago when I read Carrie Brownstein's autobiography Hunger Makes Me a Modern Girl, in which I was introduced not only to Sleater-Kinney but to their salient influences as well. I got hooked on Cat Power's most recent album, Sun (2012) but added a few more of her works to my Spotify collection and the covers album spun into my orbit this week.

Track 2 is a lively number from The Chieftans. My experience with Irish music comes directly from my mother, who loves world music in general and has a particular fondness for Celtic and Irish folk-influenced rock. The Chieftans are standard-bearers of this genre but the album this track comes from, Santiago (1996) is dedicated to The traditional music of Galicia and Asturias, located along Spain's north-west Atlantic coast and therefore has many of the sounds and instruments that first influenced Celtic folk music.

There's not much to say about Track 3. It's The f-ing Cure.

Track 4 is one of my favorites from REM's Green album (1988). The lyrics are just so weird they fascinated me as a teenager. The ambiguity and sense of urgency and then silence are some of my favorite parts of the record. Stype's wail is the perfect tonal accompaniment.

Track 5, Blood Rag" off of Porno for Pyro's 1993 debut is another that I like because of the lyrical ambiguity. What is this bloody rag of which Perry speaks? Why did someone hand it to him? The rest of the song is basically a tight percussive beat and Perry declaring "No way!"

Track 6 felt relevant because of the current social issues surrounding women's rights and the patriarchy. Behold, Lennon's ultimate mainsplaining lyrics:
She said you don't understand what I said
I said no no no you're wrong
When I was a boy, everything was right
Everything was right

In fact, Revolver is my LP recommendation for this week. Listen to it and meditate on the patriarchy and taxes.

Track 7 is a newer band, David Wax Museum. I first heard them on the late great KUSP 88.9 before they went off the air, for the brief window when they were doing adult alternative programming and played some great new stuff. The first track I heard from this band was "Guesthouse," the title track from their 2015 album of the same name. They are currently on tour in the eastern US.

Track 8 is just a great selection from "Moon Shaped Pool," an album I am still listening to on regular rotation since I can only take a little Radiohead in my life at a time before I start to get apprehensive about the robot takeover.

Track 9 is a Funkadelic classic because when three separate people in your life mention funk music to you over the course of the week, you have to listen to Maggotbrain, right? That's the formula, isn't it?

Plus, I mean, what else is out there right now except a Whole Lotta BS?

I hope you enjoyed my first installment in what I hope will be a weekly, Wednesday publication. You can follow me on Spotify where I will release the playlist each Monday. thanks for reading and happy listening!

Saturday, March 4, 2017

On Power and Passion

It’s been a long time since I’ve written a real, from the heart blog post. There are many reasons, not the least of which is my own ego getting in the way of creative production. Perfectionism is the fatal flaw that hinders production. I think I’ll write, I wonder what to write, I decide that nothing I have to say is really important or significant enough. Or I’ll get an idea, and jot it down for later, but then another idea comes and another and before you know it I have so many ideas as to what to write about it’s almost as bad as having no ideas. The end result is not knowing where to start.

Dearest blog reader, if you were to read back from the beginning of my bloggy journey you would be able to see some of the growth and expansion that has occurred in my life and my heart.

Every time I think about coming here to speak these truths my ego flares, my fears come up, and I feel insignificant and weak. I feel like my voice is insufficient to say what needs to be said. It’s so complicated and will take so long and there are so many parts I again am left not knowing where to begin.

To write is to encounter risk. To place your inner thoughts and ideas out into the world is scary and threatening and takes strength and courage. I’ve come to this stage many a time ready to sing my song, and have even expressed my intention to do so, and yet I have tapered off, my production limited to occasional photos and playlists.

I am better than this. I am a skilled writer and I feel that my talent is being crushed by my ego. My ego is trying to protect me from hurt, from imaginary dangers that don’t exist outside of my mind. Fear is based on lived experience, and my experience with writing is that it is an unstable profession and therefore does not fit my ego’s requirements: steady, reliable, predictable, measurable, and easy to analyze. The ego likes to sort, categorize, and file. But the wild and passionate life does not want to be filed away. It wants to be present every moment, experiencing life as it is lived instead of how it is imagined or feared to be.

My word for this year is “surrender” and it has already appeared repeatedly in many of my studies. I am working on surrendering to the universe, surrendering to my higher self and to my life purpose. I am ready to assume my power, to be less concerned about being liked and more concerned about being respected. I am ready to stop giving my power away to others, to the patriarchy, to capitalism, to people I know and people I’ve never met and their imaginary demands on my time and energy. I am in control of so much more than I have wanted to take responsibility for. I am learning how to assume true leadership in this new age of humanity.

Ideas expressed in this blog are inspired by my current reading, Sacred Success: A Course in Financial Miracles by Barbara Stanny.

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Friday, November 4, 2016

26th Avenue Hill

Running down
26th Avenue hill
fog softens my footfall
the horizon is sleepy.

At the base of the hill
a woman with
a puffy purple vest
a close cropped cap
of white hair
peers at her screen
her finger scrolls
up and down.

We pass without a glance she
continues up the hill
slowly, not seeing.

Pokémon Go, I think
and return my gaze
to the terns, the green lagoon.
A vacuum cleaner is submerged
In the cloudy water under the bridge.
An egret launches from the shallows
I look up, startled
feeling her silent wings on my skin
scroll up
scroll down.

8.27 Night

Last night I
awoke to get water for the dog
fumbling in the darkness I
confused a colander for her bowl. I
tried to fill it but
the water just poured through.

Heirloom Fruit

On my backyard quince tree
downy apple-pears
ripen to the shade of morning suns.
A sweet smell like sugar cookies
fills the garden
as ready fruit falls, uneaten.

It is an heirloom orchard
planted over 50 years ago.
I googled how to use
the tough fruit.

Hard to eat, bitter even when ripe
the woody flesh calls for
a sharp knife and skillful hand
to slice and prepare,
to coax out the sweetness
in pies or preserves.

I never tried to cook one,
too scared the paring knife would slip
in my modern hands.
I lack the sturdy intuition
of earlier women.

The Forest of Nisene Marks

Living beneath the marine layer,
I forget the relentless desert
where the sun’s insanity
heats your bones
in a torrid x-ray
your insides strained
shivering with fever.

In the solid green redwood forest
light is milky-white and heavy,
filtered through flat needles.
Ferns trail lazy fronds
the smell of wet earth waits
under fallen leaves.

A slim stand of cottonwoods
is reflected in the creek.
A black lab bounds into the water
shredding the papery bark.

A crow caws, indignant, alarmed
this dog is different–
she cannot be trusted.

I had never seen a banana slug,
couldn’t imagine a creature
so vulnerable and bright
not living in the desert
under a scorched shell.


You swim through my dreams
Underwater tendrils curl around my horns
cold kelp traps my cloven feet.

Neptune is your companion
I don’t speak that language
can’t breathe underwater
I’ve pledged my allegiance to fiery Mars.

Like a bighorn
I see the mountain
I want to ascend.
The rocky ledges crumble
as I climb.

You don’t need to see it to know
this atmosphere’s too thin for fish.
You slip through silky shadows
blue and deep.
I gaze at the azure sky

Playlist Post: HUMBLE.

This week I was inspired by artists I saw on the Grammys, as well as thoughts about rap music and explicit lyrics in both rock and rap....