Dig in and Hold On (#lyrics #poem #50/90)

Fifty Ninety (50 songs in 90 days) is starting in a couple of days so it’s time to start writing poems in more of a song form for potential songs.

I’ve been quiet for too long
Sitting at the library reading those books
Writing in my diary dodging those looks
Gotta show ‘em who I am
Show ‘em what I’ve got
Not gotta lie down, I’m way too strong

Stomp, stomp, scream and shout
Let your inner diva out

Dig in and hold on
It’s time to make some noise
Stuck in my head for way too long
Pedal to the medal, come on, girls, let’s race some boys

I dug out old photographs of my old boyfriends
The ones he “made” me throw away
Instead I hid them along with my dignity
Jonesing for a second chance
now he’s down and out
Begging for some money I could lend no doubt

Stomp, stomp, scream and shout
Let your inner diva out

Dig in and hold on
It’s time to make some noise
Stuck in my head for way too long
Pedal to the medal, come on, girls, let’s race some boys

Not gonna feel guilty
He had more than a second chance
Running through women, drugs, and money
Laughing like the truth was so funny

Stomp, stomp, scream and shout
Let your inner diva out

Dig in and hold on
It’s time to make some noise
Stuck in my head for way too long
Pedal to the medal, come on, girls, let’s race some boys

Stomp, stomp, scream and shout
Let your inner diva out

Dig in and hold on
It’s time to make some noise
Stuck in my head for way too long
Pedal to the medal, come on, girls, let’s race some boys

In the Studio Discovering a New Path and Identity

Woke up to another beautiful sunny day here in Las Vegas and that means waking up early this time of year. The dawn begins to break a little before 5 am and by 6, I can no longer stay in bed. I climb down the stairs from the third floor, stopping off on the second floor to grab a cup of coffee before continuing on to my first floor studio.

I log onto my Mac and continue with a Master Class on Electronic Dance Music, which I absolutely love and have loved since my Disco days. Playing around with sound triggers the knowledge I now have about my father and that side of a musical family – the family I did not know growing up. People did that more back then – when the couple split, that was the end of the father and “hello, step dad” who was now dad (sometimes you didn’t know he wasn’t your dad), and you used his last name.” Good-bye identity.

But that is old news. What strikes me today as I play around with sounds for an Electro Pop song is that knowing I have an “ear for music,” (told to me throughout my school years and later by my Las Vegas vocal coach, who happened to be starring in “Mamma Mia” on stage), was how lonely it was for me to have these gifts but not really understand them, unable to embrace my true identity because I was surrounded by strangers who were family. Strangers because my mother and half-siblings did not have these gifts, although to his credit, my step dad played the guitar. Ironically, he was the most supportive of my music. But my mother and siblings seemed to want to down play my musical gifts. Subtly, of course. 😮

So here I am, decades later, having met and discovered my family and my identity, pursuing my love for music, embracing all that I am. It’s a thrill, a triumph, but with a sense of loss and regret of the choices that others made for me. And why I’m such an advocate for children, whether adopted or conceived through sperm and egg donors or anything that has gotten in the way of children not knowing who they truly are. It’s an outrage!

Over ten years ago (closer to fifteen now), I wrote and published my story in Myths of the Fatherless, but I think it’s needed even more today.

In the Studio: Electro Pop song in progress

 

L.A. Nights Book Trailer is Live

Story and Music by Kathy Holmes

I love making book trailers, using visuals and making my own music to give a peek into a story I also wrote. L.A. Nights is available as a standalone short story or as part of the Cougars in Cabo anthology. For more information, see SHORT STORIES under the BOOKS menu.

Tequila, Take Me Home

I wrote this song when we were living in Florida. We were having lunch at La Fiesta, the most Southern California Mexican restaurant in the New Smyrna Beach/Daytona area and I was soaking up the atmosphere, the Mexican music, and the “Mexican Margarita,” as they called it. It was my favorite, if not a bit strong.

A Native Californian, I was so homesick for the West Coast so I took a drink and said, “Tequila, Take Me Home.” That became a song.

So when Taxi A&R had a listing for “drinking songs,” I submitted it. Well, it was not forwarded. But after last night’s episode where they played many of the submissions and we got to vote +1 or -1 as to whether we thought it should be forwarded, I realized my mistake. It was not a “drinking song” in the real meaning of that. It was more of a homesick song – lol!

I have a couple of other drinking songs that would have been more appropriate but they need some work. But it might be good to do the work now because you never know when they might just have another call for that kind of song.

I Freakin’ Love Music Production

So I started my Silicon Valley career in book production working for San Francisco publishers and printers before I segued to high tech companies in San Jose. Unfortunately, production departments were eventually incorporated into technical writing so I was forced to do both. But I’ve always had a thing for production. And now it’s music production.

You know how you can’t seem to avoid people on Facebook who follow some site called “I freakin’ love science” (to put it nicely). Well, I freakin’ love music production. I can’t resist watching videos of music producers working in their studios. Oh, yeah, Loopcloud isn’t bad either.

Check out this video about the latest version of Loopcloud.

Heavenly Holmes Band (Musical Family Story and Testimony)

I grew up up without knowing my father or my father’s family. It’s complicated. But my maternal grandmother was a staunch Jehovah’s Witness and my father’s family were Baptists and she wasn’t about to hand me over to the Baptists. How ironic I should become Catholic. 🙂

Anyway, when I came into contact with my father and his family in my 40s, my Uncle Don said:

“Now that you know you’re a Holmes, you’re going to want to pay attention to music.”

And he began to tell me the family stories and the talents of the family I had never known.

Along about the same time, my literary agent said:

“Your writing has a poetic, almost lyrical rhythm to it.”

What did that mean? Poetic? Me? Lyrical? Really? But I had heard that my paternal grandmother wrote poetry and my grandfather was a musician, so I started to look at my love of music and this lyrical rhythm I apparently had to see what I might do about it. That was the beginning of my serious pursuit of music, including songwriting.

As the story goes, my great grandfather made musical instruments and, of course, then, he could play all of them. My grandfather played the keys and sang in a band (besides, being a pitcher for the Memphis Chicks), my uncles and dad either sang and/or played various instruments, from guitar to drums to bass to the keyboard.

In school, I’d heard that I had a musical ear. My vocal coach in Las Vegas (who had appeared in Mamma Mia on stage), said I had a great ear for music. Anyway, back to music in school, I sang in the choir, solo’d and played the organ, piano, guitar, and violin in fits and starts. The constant for me was singing – that was my favorite part. And as a modern musician, I’ve discovered that, like great grandpa, I love to arrange an assortment of instruments through music production – I absolutely love that!

All of that family except for one younger uncle are gone now so I like to think that some day I’ll play and sing with the Heavenly Holmes Band. (For more about Uncle Ron’s musical talent, check out his obituary).

Listening to Travis Greene this afternoon, I’m calling on the Heavenly Holmes Band to be my prayer warriors and all play and sing this song together:

 

 

Kristopher (#poem)

Kristopher I call you today
Are you the one or is it Kristy?
Not if the little boy who went away
Sweet, loving, and kissy
Was really you in disguise
Would my love have been a lie?

To heal a broken heart, they say
Is not to bury you, but to give you a name
To keep alive since that day
You were identified by your grave
And so today I call you Kristopher
Until we meet in the ever after

Song Drop on Spotify: “On the Brink”

One of the Electronic Dance songs I wrote for FAWM 2019, part of the “Everybody Lies” album in progress, is now available for streaming on Spotify. Hope you like (add me to your playlist) and follow me.

(This is just an excerpt. To hear the entire song, log into your Spotify account to play it. )

 

Thanks for your support!

FAWM 2019 (Original Songs)

Today is the last day of FAWM (February Album Writing Month) 2019 and I finished all 14 songs. Songwriters have different goals for FAWM but it’s a time to experiment, get creative, try different things.

This was my second FAWM and it went a lot better than my first. I’m making progress – yay! I noticed that I did a lot more EDM than before and I’m thinking that’s turning into my strong suit.

Here’s my playlist for FAWM 2019.

Sleeping in a Stranger’s House (#poem)

Daytime I see the snow-capped mountains of home in the desert light
Night time I hear screeching and scurrying under the first flight
Consciousness tells me it’s the heater roaring on a colder than usual night
Imagination weaves a story about a monster living underground
The sounds surrounding me startle me awake reminding me I’m sleeping in a stranger’s house

Money and a contract give me the right to call it mine
But my heart remembers a home of a different time
When family and memories made it more than just a mortgage and I knew I belonged
But all of that has changed and everything feels so wrong
Like landing on an unfamiliar planet where once upon a time I sang a familiar song

Living in a stranger’s house is like living in a foreign body
Looking in the mirror at an amusement park or traveling carny
The familiar is distorted, upheaving your orientation, spinning you round and round
Uncontrollable reeling, desperately seeking balance to keep you from falling on the ground
If six months in feels like home, you’re halfway there counting down

FAWM Day 1

This time last year I began my first FAWM (February Album Writing Month). It nearly killed me – lol – but I was hooked.

Okay, I managed to survive, but it was very stressful. My chest muscles tightened and it hurt to breathe. By the end of the month, I even caught a cold.

I debated all year about whether to FAWM or not to FAWM again this year. We’re going through a very stressful time right now. I don’t need more stress right now. But I really enjoyed the community of supportive musicians and the songs I wrote were used throughout the year in various circumstances. How could I not FAWM?

I posted my first song for FAWM 2019 and now it’s time to do some laundry and read and relax, a day I would have been thrilled to have back in my Silicon Valley days. So maybe the answer is to take one day at a time. Gratitude. Live in the moment.

FAWM Day 1 = done!

Red Tiled Roof (poem)

Rat-a-tat-tat Rat-a-tat-tat
Rhythm of the drum of an ally cat
Clippity clop of a horse’s hoof
Rainy night on a red-tiled roof

Drip drip drip sings the rain
So unusual on the desert plain
This time home is more of a stranger
It feels so temporary, so full of danger

Where did it go just last year
It’s gone for good is the deepest fear
Three thousand miles more or less
Hurrying back to cross the abyss

Writing songs up all night
About home and loss and other frights
Night time writing so aloof
Recognizing only the red-tiled roof

Music vs. Fiction: Music Always Wins #amwriting #songwriting

January has just begun and already I’m in trouble. Choosing to focus on writing and music, I realize I must designate one as the priority because both of them take enormous skill and time and focus to succeed. Sure, I can pursue both, but I must choose which will be number one in my life. I keep returning to this truth for me.

Music always wins. And now I have a separate designated studio in my home, which is great because then the cats can’t chew the wires. 🙂

But songwriting still counts as writing, right? Will that be enough or will I have to fit in fiction, too? Yeah, that’s what I thought.

Besides, I can always write fiction during breaks from music because you always need breaks, right? But there are just so many pieces to a song, including vocal warmups, as Shelly Peiken writes about in her latest blog post here.

 

 

Ode to Cecilia (#poem)

Stories of California Missions and Father Junipero Serra
Disneyland fireworks from our childhood era
Beach Boys and Beatles and Screamie Birds groupies
Cecilia and I sang “Hang on Sloopy”

From “sexy scientist” to Las Vegas beautician
She called herself “CeeCee” following her ambition
Sitting next to Alan at the sixth grade spelling bee
On stage I saw green but he was mine, she reassured me

“Cecilia, you’re breaking my heart”
Paul Simon sang years later and many miles apart
About a Patroness for poets, novelists, and musicians
Discovering decades later, it was a year after my audition

Hiding in plain sight God touched my soul
He sent priests and musicians and witnesses and moles
Pursuing me relentlessly for as long as it took
Saint Cecilia leading me to sing and write the book

My First Christmas (#poem)

Silver trees, silver cards, and silver bells
The neighbor’s Christmas I remember well
Christmas carols and the Rita and Reesa twins
Jewish tradition mixed with Christian

Presents stacked in the closet
Trees forbidden, I know she fought it
Red wagon pulling brother and me
Backyard tetherball for me to see

Seven years old in the new house
Shiny new bicycle in the land of the mouse
The Rose Parade and Santa Clause Lane
Memories of my first Christmas take me back again

Looking back many years later
Questions demand answers but I mustn’t hate her
Her wounds kept me from my father
Regrets, I’m sure, I must consider
No matter what, I know he loved her
And love is all that really matters

The November Unplugging Experiment

I managed to unplug from social media and blogging for the month of November but I’m not quite sure of the results. Perhaps it’s too soon. But I can say I did more reading, took more classes in electronic music production, learned more songs on my music keyboard, and wrote more lyrics by unplugging.

December finds me halfway across the country in another cross-country move. The new house will give me a casita for a dedicated music studio, which I’m very excited about. This reinforces my belief that I’m supposed to be focusing on music at this stage of my life. I’m certainly being equipped. Now it’s up to me to do the work.

There’s so much more I long to learn and do and accomplish when it comes to music. I’m hungry for it. I’ve got so much lost time to make up for by neglecting it for so many years. I urge you to never give up pursuing your art. But there’s a specific time for everything. Perhaps only now am I ready for this.

And thinking now about how all of you reading this blog and I are connecting in some artistic way inspires me more than I can say.

#Blogtoberfest Day 30: On the Brink of Everything

On the Brink of Everything by Parker J. Palmer caught my attention on my recent visit to Barnes & Noble. He may be on the brink of turning 80, but while I don’t agree with some of his thinking, he does share the things that are true for him about growing older, being mentored when he was younger, and becoming a mentor to younger people now. The point is that people of all ages have something to learn from or share with others.

I totally agree. When I was in my 20s through 40s, I often gravitated toward older women who taught me so much. I even wrote a song called “Wise Woman” about my friend from Montreal who I met in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Then somewhere along the way, I noticed younger women were gravitating toward me, looking at me as a mentor and I love fulfilling that role. Sometimes it’s people I’ve met online or at church or wherever. Sometimes it’s my readers.

They say that when you want to learn something new, you have to be willing to be a beginner. And that’s me with music. I have to be a beginner. And so I’ve met such interesting young people as we travel this road together, whether music or poetry.

November is just a couple of days away and I really do feel like I’m on the brink of everything, experimenting with a bit of unplugging and planning another cross country move. I invite you all to travel that road with me. And while I hope to take a blog hiatus during November, I’ll be back to share any experiences/insights worth sharing and I invite you to do the same.

No matter how young or old we are, we’re all on the brink of everything that’s going to come next.

#Blogtoberfest Day 27: Doing What Brings Me Joy

On the brink of making some changes, analyzing how I use my time/resources, I’ve made a long list of things I’d like to accomplish, musically speaking. And when it comes to music, there are just soooo many things to learn/work on. Feeling overwhelming, decided I need to start with what brings me the most joy and make incremental improvements on some of the other things, instead of attacking the most challenging things first.

So when somebody said that Amy Winehouse songs are a mix of 60s Motown with Contemporary, I had to take a closer listen. And I discovered that “Rehab” is definitely an example of that mix. Heavily influenced by that era, I decided to play around with the song and this is what I’ve done so far.

#Blogtoberfest Day 26: Unplugging in November

Instead of doing #NaNoWriMo in November, I’m going to unplug – at least somewhat. What I will not be doing (or trying not to):

  • Blogging
  • Reading on Kindle
  • Watching travel videos on Youtube (okay, maybe once a week)
  • Sleeping with my iPhone
  • Playing gin rummy on my iPad

What I hope I will be doing:

  • Practicing the keys
  • Writing songs and/or fiction
  • Reading paperbacks and/or hard cover books
  • Going to Barnes & Noble
  • Visiting the Guitar Center

I also plan to delete my LinkedIn account. I only returned because the old Lynda.com was now part of LinkedIn and they forced me to rejoin LinkedIn to access it. Each time I renew for another month, they change how they work. Now you have to use iTunes to manage your payments, which I try to avoid as often as possible. iTunes – ugh! I”d like to delete LinkedIn immediately, but I still have access to classes for most of November.

Except for Twitter, I’ve deleted my other social media accounts. Even the word “social media” creeps me out – lol!

Ah, but then there’s YouTube. I subscribe to several travel Vloggers, but I’ve noticed that by watching their travel experiences, my travel experience is diminished. It’s helpful to read about places you might visit, but YouTube vlogs kinda take away the surprise, those things you stumble upon which make your experience so much richer.

And I really dislike all the begging to subscribe and share and donate money. I definitely think I need to avoid travel vloggers. At first I thought that might be the hardest thing for me to give up, but it’s getting old and I’m not enjoying the videos as much.

I have no idea how November might change me, but I hope to update you all in December.