bronze_ribbons: knife with bronze ribbons (bribbons)
The Christmas Day service at First UU ("It's the Most Jewiful Time of the Year") included a dramatic reading of Lemony Snicket's The Latke that Couldn't Stop Screaming, led by the sabbatical minister with audience participation (congregants waving their arms and going "aaaaah!" on cue); a Dr Who reference (Rabbi Rami: I was hoping to watch the special tonight but my wife is insisting that we go out for Chinese); an extended Star Trek benediction in both Hebrew and English; and substantive theological points to consider, with the rabbi comparing closed systems (salvation-based) and open ones (hope-based). The quote I repeated to several other people later in the day : Johanan ben Zakkai's "If you are planting a tree and you hear that Messiah has come, first finish planting the tree."

Also: The thrill of hearing a professional soprano several pews behind me warbling through "Silver Bells" and other standards. The pleasure of petting my friend Victoria's therapy dog through the first half of the service. The hugging of friends and acquaintances and the talking about plans for dancing, performing, volunteering...

For champagne tea with my honorary mama, I baked potato wafers. The BYM and I heard someone very, very good playing the piano in the assisted living lobby when we arrived, and it was indeed her son, who'd brought along sheet music for several super-silly, wildly virtuosic seasonal pieces.

I was not feeling well enough to join the late-night crowd at Lipstick Lounge, but I did stay up to sort out a few things and to say a few more blessings...

second night

And, speaking of blessings, my thanks to all who responded to my Feast of Stephen appeal. I am full of gratitude. See you in 2017.
bronze_ribbons: 18th century harpsichord (harpsichord)
Lots happening: At Moonsick, my poem "Nowhere to Go" (trigger warning: harassment). Over at soundcloud, a song with my name. I'm hoping to get to Simchat Torah dinner and dancing Monday night, at a synagogue whose rabbi delivered the benediction at our new mayor's inauguration in Spanish
(his Twitter bio: "With a real southern (a.k.a. Argentinean) accent! :)").

My original plan for the evening had been to head across town for ice skating, but a wave of tiredness hit during dinner, so the new plan is to review tomorrow's music and then go fall asleep in the bathtub. But first, some photos in response to Upper Rubber Boot's 100 Untimed Books challenge (most of which is taking place over at [personal profile] zirconium, but it's nice to relax with something that doesn't require absolute order or comprehensiveness [she says, enjoying the lull before her next indexing gig]).

Prompt 19: same sex

This is a book I copyedited four years ago:

19 - same sex

Our new mayor officiated at the first SCOTUS-legalized same-sex ceremony in my county earlier this year. From the Scene's report:

Councilwoman At-Large Megan Barry opened a book--a copy of the works of William Makepeace Thackeray with the ceremony taped on some inside pages. This is standard procedure for the current mayoral contender, who has the authority to perform weddings as part of her standing as a council member; she always picks up a used book when she's asked to perform a wedding. She then presents the book, with the verbiage of the ceremony, to the newly nuptialized couple.

Prompt 20: travel

A book I couldn't resist after walking around the Tuileries: Fabrice Moireau's album of Paris

Prompt 20 - travel

I'm still periodically dipping into Anthony Glyn's The Seine. I couldn't resist sending the following excerpt to a friend yesterday:

Centuries of royal boredom have done something to the building, to its very stones; the place glows with boredom and the sensitive passer-by cannot but be aware of it. It is for this reason, of course, that the palace still survives. Nobody has ever cared enough about it to burn it down; even the Communards were half-hearted when it came to the Louvre.
bronze_ribbons: yoshizumi flying off cliff (yosh37 yoshizumi off cliff)
  • I confess that I don't much like "Jingle Bells" most of the time, but I borrowed Bela Fleck and the Flecktones' Jingle All the Way (2008) from the library earlier today, and their version? Oh yeah.

  • This one's for Molly: there's now a French market in Green Hills called Little Gourmand...

    Little GourmandRead more... )

    reindeer ornament

  • bronze_ribbons: Image of hand and quote from Keats's "This Living Hand" (living hand)
    Those of you into both wolves and music might want to take a look at the artwork inspired by Judy Bertelsen's "Interval"...
    bronze_ribbons: yoshizumi flying off cliff (yosh37 yoshizumi off cliff)
    (Went to see ETHEL's Documerica last night, thanks to a comp from 12th and Broad, and going back tonight to see ETHEL +.)

    (I've been to the space once before -- a corporate dinner some years ago, back when it was still the HQ of the cigar company. Nifty displays, then and now.)

    From a recent profile of the founder:

    OZ, Ozgener says, is his gift to Nashville.

    "As you come to a stage in your life, you think of your life in general, what you have done in your life, how much you have taken from society, things that have helped you in climbing the mountain," he explains. "And the place where you live is very, very important, the place where you have taken energy from.

    "I didn't know anything about cigars, but I liked them, and that's how I got involved in cigars — as an engineer, I always tried to improve everything that I see. I was trying to improve the cigar that I smoked and I liked. Same thing with the pipe that I smoked. That's what I do as an engineer."

    At BAM, it shouldn't have taken Hopkins long to realize she was dealing with a formidable personality. In person, Ozgener exudes worldly charm and infectious curiosity. But underlying them is fierce determination. Whatever the game, he says, he will figure out how to win — something Schermerhorn learned in their tennis matches. Despite the late maestro's towering over him ("Kenneth was an octopus," he recalls), Ozgener used his engineer's eye to angle the ball return after return into the middle, where his friendly rival's reach was useless.

    "I have a deadly drop shot," he deadpans.

    bronze_ribbons: snapshot of me in standing bow (Default)
    When I arrived in Paris about two years ago, the day coincided with Kehilat Gesher's celebration of Simchat Torah, which is pretty much my favorite religious holiday since it is about beautiful words and lively dancing. Getting to celebrate it in Paris was a highlight -- and I had meant to post about it before now, but I was exhausted when I got back to the flat (as I wrote to my husband before turning in -- around 10 p.m. Paris time -- "I'm so tired I can't even bring myself to open one of the beers my hostess left in the fridge"). On the upside, it has been nice to make a point of gathering back together the various notes I jotted down (as well as sifting through other souvenirs) in between Elul readings and everyday errands.

    In my handwritten journal that morning, I recorded that 7:30 a.m. is a beautiful hour to fly into Paris -- the sky different shades of navy blue, the lights of the broad city below. Ninety minutes later, I was still waiting for my luggage, but not as anxiously as the French musicians who'd had to check their guitars. A woman across from me was reading Twilight, and I'd managed to converse in French with a luggage handler and a ticket agent.

    The tiny flat I rented for the night was in the Latin Quarter, in the southern half of Paris. The view from the window:
    From paris day 1

    The synagogue alternates between two locations, one in a suburb and one in the 17th arrondissement. 17e is a ways across town from the Latin Quarter, but still a much easier shlep than getting to/from St.-Germain-en-Laye would have been. I allowed myself enough time to walk to the Métro stop at Place Monge (pink line) and take it to Chatelet, switch to the magenta line to get to Réamur Sebastopol, and change one more time to the green olive line, diréction Pont de Levallois Bécon. The stop for Kehilat Gesher is at Wagram.

    From paris day 1

    Kehilat Gesher is a French-English congregation. The handouts for the service were in Hebrew (with transliteration provided for some parts), French, and English:

    Simchat Torah at Kehilat Gesher

    The rabbi wore sneakers and jeans, as did a number of other people there, as well as folks in dressier garb. The other songleader was a young woman who reminded me of my mentor from Borders, looks-wise; she worked around Europe as an opera singer, but hadn't lost the ability to sing sans vibrato. There were frizzy-haired older ladies, and families with young children (including one from Britain), and younger women who danced unselfconsciously and later formed a conga line. A grizzled older man reminded me of the president of a Nashville running club; I noticed someone androgynous in a blazer, and someone else in crocheted gloves.

    Some people carried the scrolls readily, and others visibly balked when asked to take a turn. They were handed to me a half-dozen times and the singing (all a cappella) was lively enough that I could truly kick up my heels without feeling out of line. During the faster (and at times near-frenetic) numbers, the rabbi danced arm-in-arm with the congregants -- which reminded me of contradancing, except that it didn't matter where one ended up.

    Simchat Torah songsheet

    It was the smallest space I'd ever celebrated Simchat Torah in, and at the same time, the most festive in feel once it got going (even compared to the one in Nashville where a man near me was sharing swigs from a flask). The Torahs in circulation included one that was 30 years old and one that was 70 years old, and at one point an arch was formed for the children to wriggle through. Since nothing had been rehearsed, the energy level in the room surged and dipped depending on how familiar the group was with any given song ("Frère Jacques" in Hebrew was a new one for me; classics such as "Hava nagila," "Hineh ma tov," and "Siman tov ou mazal tov" brought out the liveliest, lustiest renditions; there were melodies familiar to me from services elsewhere -- and then there was the Shema, where the notes went in an unfamiliar-to-me direction).

    closeup of the siddur

    As it turned out, though, the most magical stretch of the evening to me didn't involve voice or feet at all: there was a point where instead of singing -- in large part, I think, because many of us were out of breath by then -- the songleader and some other congregants started clapping in complementary patterns. That is, she started varying her rhythms and others did likewise, but without stopping, so you had maybe twenty people (including me) all clapping rapidly and confidently in a spontaneous, wordless, percussive chorus of hands that became its own song.
    bronze_ribbons: Kimiko Date Krumm fistpump @ Seoul 2009 (Kimiko fistpump)
    From the November 2012 issue of O Magazine:

    Oprah: [Conducting a speed round of questions.] ...the song that makes you turn up your radio or iPod.

    Michelle Obama: There are so many; right now it's "So Fly," by Elle Varner.

    O: Get out.

    MO: I'm sorry. Malia turned me on to her. I love that song.

    Read more:

    (First verse of the song, y'all:
    "I can't help being depressed
    When I look down at my chest
    Oh yes, my chest it might as well be nonexistent
    How can I ever compete
    With 34 double D's?")
    bronze_ribbons: snapshot of me in standing bow (Diana closing her door)
    One of the songs currently in heavy rotation on my WMP is Pete Morton's "Another Train," an artist and song introduced to me via a fanmix by [personal profile] copperbadge.

    Pete Morton's page on the song, including lyrics and downloadable copy of the song (which is different than the one on the studio album, btw)

    Using YouTube as my jukebox:

    Pete Morton performing it, with bonus chorus in Welsh by Les Barker (sp?)

    A capella cover by the Poozies

    A capella cover by Mount Holyoke M&Cs

    We crawl in the dark sometimes and think too much,
    Then we fill our heads with the craziest things that only break our hearts.
    ...There's another train, there always is,
    Maybe the next one is yours,
    get up and climb aboard another train.
    bronze_ribbons: three daffodiles learning left (daffodils)
  • Rooting for French tennis players is a sure route to misery and woe, and I'd picked Ryan Harrison to win over Michael Llodra today, but I'm pleased Llodra prevailed. He's neither the most photogenic nor talented of the Gallic cadre, but he provides the press with good anecdotes, such as foregoing a wine tasting en route to winning Marseille, and traumatizing Ivan Ljubicic:

    Ljubicic was on a hot streak early in the 2005 season when he arrived in Miami, opened his locker and found a naked man inside. It was Michael Llodra, all curled up in a ball, smiling broadly.

    "Shock. Completely shocked," Ljubicic explained at the time. "Michael Llodra naked in my locker. He says, 'I'm trying to get positive energy from you. You're winning a lot of matches this year.' And it worked! (Llodra and Arnaud Clements went out and upset the Bryans in doubles) Now, when I'm opening my locker, I'm opening really slowly. I mean, after this, I don't know what I'm going to find in there."

  • I had some airtime to fill during my most recent recording session, so I read aloud several fistfuls of poems from Naomi Shihab Nye's A Maze Me: Poems for Girls. One of them was "Ringing," which included these lines:

    I want to drive a truck full of eggplants
    down the smallest street.
    I want to be someone making music
    with my coming.

  • It is a trifle bizarre listening to a musical laden with dodgy Cold War rhetoric and then reviewing Rachmaninoff for this year's Easter services.

  • 5000+ words of Federer/Nadal finally on its way to the beauteous beta. Now to whale through the current raft of EOM/tax-related deadlines, and then it'll be back to "Not as Dumb."
  • bronze_ribbons: snapshot of me in standing bow (Default)
    Miles to go before I can leave the office (to work still more at home), and I just said "no" to something in August... but seriously, the caffeine's starting to kick in (and it's only my first cup of coffee of the day), the work is interesting, and cool stuff aboundeth:

  • It's sunny and 68 F right now, and I got to scoot outside and enjoy some of it (ran errands when someone else needed my desk for an hour, and not even getting stuck in post office traffic could harsh that glow).

    Plus, "Hurts So Good" on the car stereo and catnaps in the parking lot...

  • Errands done! We are no longer low on detergent, beer, or pears.

  • Microwave-in-the-package vegetables. Eating healthy-like away from home has never been so easy.

  • Came across a picture book called On Sukkot and Simchat Torah at the library. Text by Cathy Goldberg Fishman, illustrations by Melanie Hall (Kar-Ben 2006). It's pretty! (Too many series books aren't.)

    My grandmother says that, if you put together the very last letter and the very first letter of the Torah, it makes the Hebrew word "lev" meaning, "heart".

    [Punctuation = what's in the text.]

    I can't quite get over the fact there's a picture book on Simchat Torah, and that my public library has it! *am inordinately thrilled about this*

  • Also at the library: Falling for Rapunzel. Text by Leah Wilcox, illustrations by Lydia Monks (Putnam 2003). This is a hoot: "Once upon a bad hair day / a prince rode up Rapunzel's way..." She keeps mishearing his request for her to let him in, and the twists leading up to the happy ending are delightful.

  • One more from the library: A Green Horn Blowing. Text by David F. Birchman, illustrations by Thomas B. Allen (Lothrop, Lee and Shepard 1997). Gorgeous illustrations. A boy who wants to learn how to play trumpet learns the basics from a migrant worker, using a "trombolia" squash:

    It took me almost a week to coax my first sound out of that trombolia. Fortunately, John Potts was a patient man. "All it takes to play a horn," he said again and again, "is a whole lifetime."
  • bronze_ribbons: snapshot of me in standing bow (Default)
    What Helen Radice said:

    As I've argued before, you have to make music matter enough for people to decide to invest in it, not expect it to pay. If you want a classical CD, you have to fund it, just as if you want a music lesson, or a nice harp. If you are poor, hopefully a civilised society that cares about the arts has sponsorship opportunities for you, but the need for money remains.

    To make people care about any music, recorded or otherwise, you have to communicate - in concert, on disc, in books and magazines, through education and by what you create in the first place. You have to reach out to others. It never ceases to amaze me how many so-called artists think their self-interest self-expression is the only thing that counts, but music (to me) is too widely human, too gloriously infinite. Just as someone who only talks about themselves is a crushing bore, all creative endeavours that are only masturbatory acts of self-love fail. Some initial charisma might carry the artist for a while, but there is no lyricism, no tenderness, no angry drive to make things better for others, no love: only an arid and deluded pride that ultimately burns itself away, for it has no other fuel.

    Applies to writing, too, and getting paid for it.

    From what Helen wrote earlier:

    As with anything where you must deeply think and feel, the more you know, the more you know how little you know.

    And, in a post I revisit from time to time, she quotes Sarah Bullen: "you can get better and learn, or get bitter and decline. The choice is yours."

    Today's French phrase: c'est la fin des haricots

    Deak: "That's the limit! can you beat that!"
    Harrap's: "the bloody limit!"
    [haricot literally means "bean"]

    More from Harrap's:

    des haricots! = "not a sausage!"
    courir sur le haricot à quelqu'un = "to pester someone"
    [literal translation: "to run on [with?] the bean to someone"]
    bronze_ribbons: snapshot of me in standing bow (babe in bath)
  • Chamber choir rehearsal: cool music + singing with people with phenomenal voices = kickass combination that in turn increases my motivation to become a better singer (which has also become a chief reason for me to say "no" as often as I need to in order to take proper care of myself so that I stop disappointing myself and other people in this regard. You can't cheat on sleep as often as I have this winter without it taking a toll on both physical appearance and vocal quality, and I'm vain enough about both that I don't want the deterioration to continue any faster than it must).

  • Sometimes it's all I can do to keep from wriggling in sheer happiness when I hear the men behind me -- one bass is the director of choirs at Vanderbilt, and his sight-reading is smokin' smooth and seamless; another has the low, rich notes that are the aural equivalent of bathing in chocolate; and the baritone soloist is an incorrigible smartass who also gives great technique tips (sometimes along the lines of "for God's sake, squeeze your buttocks together and you'll stop going flat on that note," but damn if it doesn't work).

  • We're doing a Moses Hogan arrangement of "Hold On" this Sunday, which includes an all-out soprano solo with a sustained C'', and Laura nails it. It's the kind of performance that would give you religion if you didn't already have it -- it's that good.

  • The music for our upcoming concert includes an arrangement of "Somewhere" from West Side Story where the first altos get the melody for most of the piece. Woot!

  • Positive forward motion on a number of projects. Still so crunched that I'm having to pass on most of the social/volunteer/creative things I'd normally want to be a part of, but once I slay the current flock of albatrosses (all due no later than April 30), I can start acting like a halfway sane person again.

  • Tonight's corporate event included a tour of the GEC rehearsal hall (very warm, very spacious, very bright, and heaps of cases and electronics), and the Predators' workspaces, including the team locker room, the workout room (the tour guide pointed out that the players spend hours on the bikes, and their legs are so strong that ordinary people can't move the pedals at all at the settings the players use), the tools (including glove-warming boxes and a skate-warming oven) and the toolroom. Also a nifty presentation about NHL economics from the team brass and a good buffet (sushi and garlic mashed potatoes. Mmmmm).

  • A new poem drafted and a second one starting to take shape. It's been a while.

  • Good hair day.

  • My church might be visible on a segment of NOW (a PBS show) this Friday. (A crew taped parts of our March 18 service, for which I was the lay leader (on a not-so-good hair day, alas), and interviewed members of the church involved with the Vanderbilt campaign for living wages.)

  • Scando-geek video humor:
  • bronze_ribbons: snapshot of me in standing bow (feather)
    Mrrrr. I need another obsession hobby like a fish needs a flamethrower, but there's a part of me that's actively itching to sit down with my Harrap's, get a grip on all the damned prepositions and pronouns, and then translate a slew of French pop songs into (1) colloquial English and/or (2) singable English. And then to put in enough time at the piano so that accompanying myself on a Cabrel or Goldman ballad (for, say, a UU coffeehouse) wouldn't be just a pipe dream.

    Plus ca change, toujours pas de temps )

    During the 1990s, a number of French musicians volunteered for a series of CDs on behalf of Sol en Si, an organization assisting children with AIDS. Last month, I decided to treat myself to Vol. 4 after finding out it contained a French-language version of "Girl of the North Country" (with Francis Cabrel, Jean-Jacques Goldman, and Zazie on vocals).

    The CD finally arrived yesterday, and "Fille du Nord" is lovely, but the track I've replayed most often has been Maxime Le Forestier's cover of Goldman's "Quand tu danses." I've also been listening to Goldman's version via YouTube. (English lyrics can be found here. If you like Carla Bruni's "Quelqu'un m'a dit," you're likely to enjoy these.)

    How this relates to instinct and fruitbats )

    This post was also going to enumerate what I enjoyed about church this morning and other blessings, but I've lingered too long on this topic as it is, and I need to devote what's left of the night to billable work (plus supper). I spent a good chunk of the afternoon in my kitchen, boiling chicken (for stock and salads), baking chess pie and rosemary shortbread, and tackling other chores, all with the door wide open and the CD player blaring blues and zydeco. Here, it's spring, and today was one of those perfect days -- daffodils outside the church, a breeze with a bite to it (I like that, days like this), and the sunshine pouring down.

    I'd made two pans of the shortbread yesterday for a gift; that particular batch turned out so well that the BYM made a point of saying so. There had been only been a few pieces left over for us (all gone by breakfast), so I decided to bake another pan of it once I got home.

    This one? It's okay, though not as good as yesterday's. I ended up having to add milk after mismeasuring the flour, which is the sort of thing that happens when one ends up dancing to "Eunice Two Step" instead of counting. :-)
    bronze_ribbons: snapshot of me in standing bow (lifejacket doggie)
    Francis Cabrel's going to be at New Orleans Jazz Fest this year!

    ...on a weekend I can't leave Nashville, because I'll be singing in a concert.


    That said, Loreena McKennitt's playing at the Ryman that same weekend. I haven't been as into her work as I used to be, but I've a lot of memories tangled with The Mask and the Mirror and wouldn't mind newer ones to go with those songs.

    Not really distraught, IOW, especially considering I often don't end up even seeing the artists at such fests, what with the crowds and all. (I heard Koko Taylor and John Lee Hooker in Chicago back in '91, but could I see them? Hell, no.)

    Also, the chamber concert's going to rule.

    And, perhaps Cabrel will schedule some other stops in North America as long as he's over here? And if not, well, I've got other reasons to visit NOLA when I'm less squeezed. *blows kisses at Saz and Erac*
    bronze_ribbons: snapshot of me in standing bow (feather)
  • Via marymary: Erin Noteboom's "Deep calls to deep at the noise of thy waterfalls". Wow.

  • Yaki manu (dumplings with sesame soy sauce) and chapjae (clear noodles with beef and veggies) at Manna.

  • This video of Francis Cabrel performing "Je sais que tu danses." I've owned the studio recording of this song for years, but there's an intensity to this rendition that really locks the song for me.

  • "Rockollection" -- why have I not known about this song before now? It is so much fun. I've been replaying the Enfoires 2001 version as I work (I can't get enough of David Hallyday's solo in "Tous les cris les SOS") and YouTube also has three other variations (Vanessa Paradis, Nouvelle Star, and Voulzy himself -- search on "Rockollection").

  • Bear's chatroom transcripts slay me. This one includes this jewel from [ profile] katallen: "writers -- different because our subconsciouses can be bothered to hate us that much."

  • There was more I meant to mention, but I can't remember where in my conscious I stashed it. That, and a story needs revising, a sermon needs drafting, and an essay needs finishing. Onwards...
    bronze_ribbons: snapshot of me in standing bow (Default)
    Ah, YouTube, you siren!
    Neil Patrick Harris and Jason Segel singing part of "The Confrontation" scene from Les Miserable while on a talk show. What makes this awesome is that even though it's performed as a joke, the two guys are so into it it is intense. *swoon*
    UK concert version of "The Confrontation" with Chinese subtitles.
    US tour version of "The Confrontation"
    "Stars" in German. Christian Muller as Javert. (And because I'm a dork, I immediately thought, "Oooh, if I were playing a Regulus...")
    "Javert's Suicide" in German.
    Japanese anniversary concert version of "Do You Hear the People Sing?"
    bronze_ribbons: snapshot of me in standing bow (babe in bath)
  • Nifty All Things Considered interview of Anne-Sophie Mutter and Lambert Orkis on playing Mozart's sonatas. To hear them talk about each concert hall as "the third instrument" they have to take into account each night was well worth being stuck in interstate traffic.

  • Antonino the Carny Barker, which definitely suits me better than the bottle of "13" for which I traded it. The notes listed for it are white musk, wild plum, vetiver, black coconut, verbena, fig, and lavender, but to the BYM it smells mainly of sandalwood.

  • Peter Louis van Dijk's "Horizons" (a commission for the Kings Singers). The chamber choir I sing with will be performing it in January. We listened to it earlier tonight and by the end of the piece, half of us had our jaws on the floor and one woman was in tears.

  • Made it through rehearsal. (It's time to go see the internist, though. Dammit.)

  • The scent and flavor of orange peels.

  • Sarah Brightman's voice actually isn't bad when she isn't trying to sing over an orchestra at the top of her range, and I'd forgotten that Andrew Lloyd Webber wrote some damn fine tunes. (I had a yen to hear "Love Changes Everything." Hurrah for the library!)

  • The miniature blueberry pies at Sweet 16th. Perfect crust. Oh, my.
  • Tags:
    bronze_ribbons: snapshot of me in standing bow (feather)
    Was up too late and up too early (in relation to the too-lateness, that is), and there was a rejection for two poems in my in-box when I opened it. And I don’t have enough left in the mental tank to get any new submissions out the door before midnight.

    On the other hand, I’m not sick yet, my beta-reader remains awesome, and there are other good things as well:

  • Receiving my copy and payment for On Our Way to Battle. (Thanks, [ profile] samhenderson!)

  • The Library of Congress online card catalog and Amazon's look-inside-the-book feature. Vetting citations has never been easier...

  • The NYT’s article on Robert Fagles and his new translation of the Aeneid, and also that I noticed it because it happened to be #2 on the most-emailed list.

  • Songs from the Labyrinth is still delighting me during my commute and coffee breaks. It’s been reminding me both that Dowland is a hell of a songwriter and that Sting has that x-factor that separates okay musicians from those who have the knack of knowing when and how to bite off a phrase just so or stretchhh it out a second longer (I’m captivated by how he sings the word "eyes" two different ways in "Clear or cloudy" -- a very small detail, but it makes the performance for me.)

    I don’t happen to possess that x-factor when it comes to music or calligraphy – I’m okay at them on my good days, but I’m never going to be great at either. And it’s not nearly present enough during most of my efforts at writing, either -- but I have been gifted with a measure of it there, and when it does kick in, oh is that a good feeling. When instinct and training and practice manage to intersect such that I know I’ve locked the right words into the right order to make the reader laugh or gasp or suck in their breath in recognition – in those moments, I am myself most alive.

  • The sooner I get through my current deadlines, the sooner I can get back to leaving saucers out for the prowling half-truths and stinging rhythms (pace Viereck). Onwards, then.
    bronze_ribbons: snapshot of me in standing bow (gravity)

    There are tasks, inevitably, and here on this farm, at least, too many to be filled in one day. Some tasks are seemingly straightforward. Wash the kitchen floor. Shovel the barn floor. Others are less so. While washing the kitchen floor remind yourself to be more consistent in keeping shoes off in that room and better at mopping spills when they happen. When shoveling the barn concentrate on what being a shepherd really means. To find some joy in the appointed tasks is another requirement. For without joy, what is the point? That is a more difficult thing to do. And that is one of the things that define us to ourselves.

    Right, then. Lists...
    To do... )

    Slightly vexing things:
    * Gouged my heel on a nail
    * Car sounds worse than before its stint at the shop

    Splendid things:
    * Says You now airing Saturday afternoons.
    * Pomegranates on sale (*nods to [ profile] qrssama)
    * Sting's new album of John Dowland songs and letter excerpts. I've been playing "Have You Seen the Bright Lily Grow" (by Robert Johnson -- the one non-Dowland piece on the CD) over and over - so, so pretty! Also, I normally loathe "Can She Excuse My Wrongs," but Sting's arrangement is interesting enough (and he has that lovely decadent tinge to his voice) that I won't automatically hit "skip" next time I run the whole playlist. And the liner notes/design is also well-done.
    * Earrings from [ profile] orbitalmechanic. They're perfect. Thank you, my dear.
    * The painting [ profile] almost_clara surprised me with yesterday. It's inspired by a series of drabbles I wrote related to "Dover Beach," and it's stunning.
    * Random notes and cards from friends.
    * Sun's out. It's going to be a brilliant day.
    bronze_ribbons: snapshot of me in standing bow (Default)
    * In spite of miscellaneous mistakes, the chamber choir sounded good at this morning's services. (Enough that someone exclaimed "Wow!" right as our opening anthem ended. It feels wonderful to connect to a listener to that degree.)

    * Today was the first day of this year's Religious Education classes. The minister and RE director read a charge to the teachers (all volunteers) themed around Noah's ark that included the line, "Remember: the ark was built by amateurs, the Titanic by professionals."

    * Went fly-fishing yesterday at Newsom's Mill with four guys from church. The weather was perfect for wading around in the Harpeth River -- which was good, because the fishing was best where the water was up to my bra. It's not going to become a new hobby (too much driving and gear involved), but damn, casting is cool.

    * Dinner was shrimp boil, with homemade key lime pie for dessert.

    * Tired and frustrated and feeling like a turtle, but also hopeful and jazzed about there being so many things to make/do better.


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