The Mystery of My Heart (#lyric #poem)

What is the meaning behind the mystery of my heart
That tugs so hard no matter how near or how far
I need to know
I really need to know

Feelings of rapture keep me tied up in thought
Is it hindering my future or
Is it the light shining on where I ought
I need to know
I really need to know

Years of security were a blessing indeed
Was it worth the price of choosing not to leave
I need to know
I really need to know

Did the lies I believed underneath the grief
Kill the truth of the story of the resident thief
I need to know
I really need to know

Memories of home and childhood innocence
Destroyed any chance of building fences
Which would I choose if I’d had all the facts
Who would I be, how would I act
This is the mystery of a life without answers
To questions I have for happily ever after
I need to know
I really need to know

A Lifetime (#lyric #poem)

A lifetime is a long time to never have known you
A decision was made without your consent
Birthdays and Christmas and favorite Sunday dinners
Counting the measures of unceasing torment

Photos displayed on a beachy white dresser
The cross prays for family unknown to the pastors
Strumming the coasts in search of heart’s answers
Mothers in hiding and cruel puppet masters

The child pays the price for adults who are wounded
The cycle must end in choices not taken
Letting go of love for what can never happen
Walking day to day with a soul deeply shaken

Triumph is yours when light faces dark
Staring the truth down a long lonely barrel
Companions who appear like angels of laughter
Are gifts you ignore to your everlasting peril

A lifetime is a long time to never have known you
Decisions made with or without our consent
Offer moments in hours of restless slumber
Awake counting treasures of unceasing relent

Questions (#Lyric #Poem)

If I asked mere questions, it wasn’t to gossip
But to fill in the air that poetry leaves
Like whispering trees or a dripping faucet
Rushing Hardy Falls where I once grieved

How can you know the buttons and the brass
Internally observed when cutting teeth
Sitting in Mr. Clukas’ poetry class
Deprived of your presence like the air that I breathe

If I seemed to you rude when I inquired within
It wasn’t to make a judgment of some mortal sin
I came to you with nothing but a clean, blank slate
Looking for you to fill it like your favorite plate

Breaking Out of “Cave Syndrome” with the Help of Tommy Bahama

After over a year of isolation, writing and producing music in my home studio, I had a feeling I would find it difficult to get back to “normal” life. I’d remembered how during a time in the Bay Area in-between jobs, I found it difficult to leave Fremont to commute to San Jose. And after this past year when my world shrank even more, I would not be surprised if I struggled to go out for fun.

We’d gone to SoCal a few times for special events at Knott’s Berry Farm and Disneyland, but I kept finding reasons not to go out to a restaurant here in Las Vegas. Rich kept making reservations at Tommy Bahama, but I talked him into ordering in from various places instead.

But when I found myself sitting in the garage Friday afternoon waiting for Rich to finish his work day in his upstairs office, reading about “Cave Syndrome,” I knew it was time to take steps.

Rich made another reservation at Tommy’s and we actually went. But walking to the restaurant from the parking garage, passing strangers wearing the usual masks, I wondered if I was truly ready. Had this thing changed me forever, leaving me in a mental haze where all of life seems a bit dim?

But as soon as we were seated, we noticed that unlike Disney, we were not required to sit there wearing masks until our food arrived, and, unlike Disney, our server was mask free (allowed if vaccinated), my heart leapt with joy! Suddenly, life was feeling a lot rosier, the fog began to lift. And by the time my Blood Orange Margarita and Rich’s Key Lime Martini arrived, I was downright ecstatic!

I began to feel hopeful that there is, indeed, life after Covid, that I can do the WDW trip, and that maybe even our November cruise is possible! It was quite a watershed moment.

Sound Familiar? #Push2 #AbletonLive #Fun

So I’m playing around with some sounds during a melody practice tutorial for Ableton Live’s Push2 and I stumble across the “ACME Organ” sample and start playing some notes. Does the beginning sound familiar? No doubt if you’re a Disney fan.

Somehow my finger (ear) finds these things right off the bat, which can be annoying when you’re trying to come up with something semi-original (what is really original these days?). So then I start doing my own variation. I confess I love playing around with sounds.

And I guess I really am in the mood to get back to Disneyland/Disney World.

How Silicon Valley Prepared Me for Book and Music Production

Reading It’s All About Him, written by Alan Jackson’s wife, Denise, I’m thinking how when I heard “Here in the Real World,” back in 1992, working in book production at a Silicon Valley high-tech firm, I thought he’d really made it. But when the song came out in 1990, he was far from making it at all. Living in a tiny basement apartment in Nashville with a pregnant wife, “Here in the Real World” was the second song his label had released and it was unclear whether they would keep him or drop him.

I started thinking about how successful I felt in Silicon Valley when I moved into technical writing, earning writing and publishing awards from the “Society of Technical Publications.” I sometimes say I got my PhD in that world, and, for the most part, it was a really awesome fit for me: the companies I worked for, the people I worked with (eventually marrying one of my co-workers), and the opportunities it brought me.

I would later grow wearing of that stressful, high-pressure day-to-day life, Las Vegas became my relaxing getaway, wondering what it would be like to be a cocktail waitress – lol! Eventually, my heart would start leading me to more creative pursuits.

I began writing fiction, starting with short stories as part of the well-known  “The Writer’s Loft” program in Chicago. I moved into fiction and by the time I wrote my third novel, Real Women Wear Red, at the height of the Chick Lit boom, I got an agent, and was offered a publishing contract.

Long story short, when the Indie author movement started going strong, I was able to use my book production skills to publish as an Indie author. I’ve done better as an Indie than I did when I was with publishers, certainly, the smaller publishers.

But then that market became oversaturated and I kept dreaming of my first love, music. In my youth, I didn’t pursue music as an artist because I knew you had to be spectacular to make it and while I’d sung a bit here and there, I wasn’t spectacular by a long shot. And I didn’t know of any other music path, at least not one I was interested in.

Fast forward to today with the ability to produce your own music in your own studio. Now I see that those same book production skills (with a propensity toward software) I learned in Silicon Valley help me now with continuing to learn new music production skills.

Push2 is the latest instrument I’m learning and with that and my Novation Launchkey keyboard, I’m hoping to advance more in more in creating my own melodies, instead of relying on loops and samples. Recently, a collab partner from FAWM told me he wants to release one of our songs commercially, but the melody was not copyright free so we could not use it. Between his piano skills and my production skills, I think we’ve come up with something we can use instead.

I have no idea where music will take me, even if it’s just the thrill of making it for myself, but I’m excited when I think about how far I’ve come from Silicon Valley production editor to producing my own music.

 

How To Do Nothing: Resisting the Attention Economy (#BookReviews)

“Read Like an Artist,” this week’s topic for Austin Kleon‘s weekly newsletter, mentions his new book club. And the first book in this book club is How To Do Nothing: Resisting the Attention Economy. That grabbed my attention immediately.

I started reading the sample and then proceeded to deactivate Twitter one more time. Yes, I’d reactivated about a week or so ago. Big mistake! Now I start the 30-day countdown all over again. Here’s hoping I make it this time.

The thing with Twitter is it can be fun, but too often it disappoints. People ignore you or don’t reciprocate when you outwardly support them. Those are the good days. And then you realize Twitter exists just to create chaos and war. After the last 14 months, I don’t need another war right now. So this book came at just the right time.

And now I’m going to do absolutely nothing, except purchase this book and enjoy the day reading.

Have a great weekend!

Life is a Series of Naps, Ghost Writers, and Such (#BookReviews)

My life at home these days seems to be a series of naps. I often wake up somewhere in the 1 to 4 am range, maybe because I’ve slept from 1 or 2 to 3 or 4 pm. During that middle-of-the-night awakening, I grab my smart phone and open up my Kindle app to read or write a poem or both.

The book I’m reading now is called Lost and Found in Italy: True stories that prove your ‘Nuova Vita’ awaits you on the other side of your breaking point .

It’s intriguing, no doubt, at least to me, but the writing style is really starting to bug me. It feels unnatural. It reminds me of a similar book I read (or almost read because I couldn’t read the whole thing – at least, not yet) called The Latin Hit Maker: My Journey From Cuban Refugee to World-Renowned Record Producer and Songwriter.

The writing style in both books is very similar and unnatural. At least to me. The voice feels identical as if the same person wrote both books. I know that ghostwriters are quite popular these days (I interviewed for a romance ghost writing position but they wanted me to work 7 days a week with such a high word count quote paid in pennies that I turned them down).

Bummer! I was really into both stories, but struggling with how the stories are being told. Is it me or is it them?

Round Goes the Night (#poem)

The spinning of the fan in the ceiling goes round
Fills the room with cinema and sound
The cat tree in the corner spirals in place
The whirling of the dancing cone cools my face

Thoughts in my head twist and turn
Lessons in Push will I ever learn
Poems and lyrics, simple that I write
Bring peace and rest until daylight

The cat is sleeping, quiet as a mouse
Do I risk breaking the stillness of the house
Will he awaken demanding his time
Warming up his vocals in rhythm and rhyme

Four hours til dawn too early to tell
Snoozing on my lap or sounding a yell
Too soon for coffee way before first light
Sleeping with one eye open round goes the night

For the Love of Music (Production)

I suppose I could have gone back to school to complete a degree but I had gotten so far without it. Perhaps if I’d wanted to change careers, it might have been worth it. But to go through all that time, effort, and money to continue doing what I was doing already didn’t seem worth it. Just to make other people happy and to avoid those awkward interview questions, certainly not.

For one thing, the only thing I really wanted to do was to make music and through targeting specific classes, training, and certificate programs, I’ve been able to learn what I need to know. That’s how I got as far as I did in Silicon Valley in the first place. Truth be told, I loved my work more when I was in book production – so much more creative than technical writing.

And so music production is where I’ve landed in the music world. And I absolutely love it.

The Power of Home (#poem)

This feeling of home owns a power I cannot control
It exacts a price I don’t always know
It binds me to its side in a prison of my own
Of isolation, loneliness, of being alone

It calls to me in memories of long ago
It whispers in wimpers of four walls and a floor
Awakening to music, knocking door to door
I hear the one missing, hidden before I was four

The desert is stunning when the sun begins to rise
The tropics tempt me to live fully alive
To live without one for any length of time
Sends me packing for a new state of mind

How is it possible to love two at a time
Pulling me in circles to walk a straight line
Round and round and round I go
Where I stop only God knows

Fight for Me: A Victory Song (#poem #conversationswithmyself)

Version 2 (Orig. Fight for Me)

Give me honor, not pity
Give me justice, not excuses
Fight for me, don’t feel sorry for me
Stand up for me, don’t watch me fall
Assuming I won’t get up, that I can’t fight for myself
That I won’t be victorious
And know this
That everything I’ve done has been out of strength, not weakness
Don’t assume
That I can’t stand tall
Or respect myself, most of all
Anything less and you would be wrong
This, most of all, is my victory song

Fight for Me (#poem #conversationswithmyself #wip)

This is version 1, a work in progress

Give me honor, not pity
Give me justice, not excuses
Fight for me, don’t feel sorry for me
Stand up for me, don’t watch me fall
Assuming I won’t get up, that I can’t fight for myself
That I won’t claim the victory
And know this
That everything I’ve done has been out of strength, not weakness
Don’t assume
That I can’t stand tall
Or respect myself, most of all

Push2 Has Stolen My Heart in My New Red Studio #Ableton

Ableton Live’s Push2 arrived last Friday and my first order of business was to rearrange my studio. First, I got a small, corner desk to replace the tri-level monster I thought I had to have.

Unfortunately, this bedroom in this house is smaller than I’m used to. I got out the tape measure and it is not the 10×10.1 feet the floorplan showed. It was supposed to be .1” larger than hubby’s next door. As it turns out, his is larger so we switched rooms. I left him the large desk because smaller spaces don’t bother him the way they do me.

Anyway, his office with the large desk looks so professional, compared to the dining room table he was using. And that room has always had more of a masculine feel with the dark grey drapes and chair. It’s perfect for him.

So, not only did I get the bigger room, but a smaller, corner desk was what I was after, along with red drapes, red bookcase, and red chair. I am so pleased.

And then I was ready to install Push2 and start playing with it (with some tutorial guidance via Sonic Academy). I am having a blast! So much so that I totally hated spending some time editing the third book of the “Real Women Wear Red” trilogy yesterday morning. (Now you see why my studio is decorated in red – lol!)

Don’t know if I will get back to editing since I’d like to really know what I’m doing with Push2 by the time 50/90 begins in July. Besides, my heart just isn’t into writing fiction these days. That time may be behind me now. Now it’s all about the music!

The next step, I think, is to get this table I saw on Wayfair to replace the low bench. Then I can have a place for my third keyboard instead of it sitting on the chair. The red chair may not fit if I do, though. I may have to keep looking for the right thing.

#DeleteTwitter Countdown: April 30, 2021

Two days ago I deleted my Twitter account again. As a member since 2007, it’s been hard for me to pull the final plug and allow it to expire in 30 days, which is how you delete Twitter. Actually, you deactivate and 30 days later, if you don’t log in, your account is deleted. I’ve never made it that far.

I logged in the day after, reactivating my account, thinking nobody would read this blog if I didn’t post it to Twitter. And then I deactivated it again after reading the first chapter of Stillness is the Key (another book recommendation from Roni Loren).

It’s not that his thoughts are all completely new to me or that I need Buddha to be told these things. No, not at all. But, in addition to presenting new thoughts, it also validates and is a reminder of what I already know. That’s often true for me and probably for you, too. You just have to allow yourself time to think and tune out all the noise out there.

I like the idea that by June 1st, to round things off, I could be Twitter-free.

Last Track Before Push 2 #Ableton #Music #Producer

I finally did it – ordered Push 2! It’s on its way. In the meantime, I’m finishing up some tutorials highlighting the new features on Ableton Live 11.

To experiment, I started playing around with some Disco sounds and came up with this track – it may be the last track I create in Ableton 11 before getting Push 2. Curious what I will do with Push 2, but the part that I find the most intriguing is the drum sequencer. We’ll see how it goes…

And then there’s that Dub/Techno riff I mentioned earlier… perhaps that will be the first track using Push 2.

 

“Never Met a Machine I Didn’t Like”

Will Rogers may have said, “I never met a man I didn’t like,” but my mother once said, “I never met a machine I didn’t like.”

Reading some of the “End of Absence” book I mentioned in my previous post, I realized a couple of things:

  1. The problem today isn’t the internet, it’s social media
  2. How you perceive problems today is who you are

In illustrating the “problem” today, the author tells the story of babies used to pinching an iPad to gain a bigger view and doing the same thing to a newspaper or magazine, as if that’s a problem.

The truth is, I do the same thing when I’m using a laptop. So used to mobile devices, I automatically expect the same thing on a laptop. Besides, when the baby gets older, he’ll know the difference between a paperback and an iPad. And no doubt they will still be around. After all, vinyl records have made a comeback when people thought they were gone for good.

I believe in human nature, and if all this technology creates a problem in the future, they’ll figure it out.

As for kids texting each other when they’re sitting next to each other, perceiving it as a need for companionship without the hassles of real-life people, I have to say that maybe that is a valid solution in today’s crowded, super busy world. If you know history or have watched movies set in the past or have read historical fiction, you’re aware of the “mountain” men who struggled when this country began to be populated. They increasingly sought out the wilderness, going to Alaska, etc.

So maybe texting each other, even in the same room is okay if you’re not neglecting other people in the room. Introverts react to today differently than extroverts.

Artists (writers, musicians, painters, etc) may react differently, too.

I’m definitely an introvert and have been using computers since 1976, unlike most people of my generation who reluctantly started using computers only when “forced” to.

I’m probably more comfortable behind a computer than sitting in a group of people I’m expected to interact with. But no worries there, I remember my mother, a business machines major back in the 1950s, once said, “I never met a machine I didn’t like.” We teased her about that and she laughed, a bit embarrassed. But oh so telling.

People are different and we all react to today’s technology differently. I, personally think the problem is social media, not technology. I’m absolutely thrilled how technology has given me the opportunity to create electronic dance music. I may be older and do not have kids so I don’t always know what’s going on with them, but my music is one way I connect with younger people. And I love that.

If Politics is the New Religion, Then Twitter is Church

I read somewhere that “politics is the new religion” and a light went off. So that’s why we all seem so divided and verbal about it today. This is a recent thing. Even if my childhood was long ago when people agreed not to discuss “politics or religion,” until recently, people really didn’t.

I’ve been trying to delete Twitter for some time (been off Facebook and Instagram for years – yay me!), but I keep going back for more of the Twitter Kool-aid. I keep believing the lie that somehow I need it. “Just this one,” I tell myself. I need one social media. YouTube doesn’t count, right?

But people on Twitter are annoying, to say the least, that it’s affecting how I feel about people. It’s giving me a somewhat skewed idea of who people are. This is not real life. There are plenty of lovely people out there. But social media (and reality TV shows) puts the idiots in my face. And they’ve never seemed more idiotic than during this pandemic.

Just yesterday somebody tweeted something like, “Have you ever known just looking at a person that they must be Republican?”

I’m neither Democrat nor Republican so I wasn’t offended by the statement. But that view, in my opinion, is taking politics way too far.

I deleted (deactivated) my Twitter account again today. I don’t want to be a member of a cult.

The other social media trouble spot I have is with Youtube and YouTubers. For me, that usually means the Disney vloggers and cruise vloggers where, after a while, I must question their value. I receive value from musicians showing me how to use Ableton Live or LogicPro.

But the reason I say I don’t receive much value from Disney and cruise vloggers, is that their experience is not your experience. Besides, at closer inspection, you realize their content reveals them to be either too stupid, too dishonest, or too lazy to educate themselves on their topic (not all, but way too many).

They’ve so fooled people that people send them gifts and money as if that will give them some kind of similar experience. My experience is always different from theirs. But sometimes I’m tempted to peek in when I can’t have that experience. What I’ve discovered is that by watching their experience, my experience is less than.

Full disclosure: I have a YouTube channel where I upload videos from my travels, or book trailers for my novels, and include some of my music. And I don’t mind others who do that. But not the ones who are aggressively marketing their channel, who will use click-bait headlines, the ones who make it their daily job to come up with just about anything to get views, often giving dishonest reviews, those who hold live chats where people send them “super chats” and they may or may not interact with you if you don’t (mostly not).

I confess, I watch them way too often. It’s been unbelievably tough during this pandemic, my head is still swimming, and I think a lot of us have leaned on YouTubers to get us through this. I know my channel got a lot of subscribers during this time, and are probably now busy unsubscribing – lol! I know I am.

I’m much better off if I spend my time in my studio, writing songs, producing tracks, writing stories, and reading. My latest find that I can’t wait to get to? The End of Absence: Reclaiming What We’ve Lost in a World of Constant Connection
(found on Author Roni Loren’s blog when she was trying to focus her life away from the internet and to encourage her son to spend quality time unplugged.

This is just one book on her list. I’ve read a few of these and find them fascinating how the internet and social media is changing our brains. Now that’s scary. But I’m hoping it’s just more inspiration to get me away from all of it, including YouTube.

Managing social media and other distractions is even more important for writers and other artists. After all, “Solitude courts the muse.”