This Is Me--2019 A to Z Theme

This Challenge of 2019 will be the 10th! Since this is kind of a milestone year for A to Z my theme will be a retrospective of sorts, looking at my 10 years as a blogger as well as ruminations about my life as it is and as I hope it yet can be. I've got places to be and people to see along the way. Hope you'll join me for this part of my journey...

Always a work in progress--welcome to my blog.

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Tuesday, April 30, 2019

Zodiac Message ( #AtoZChallenge )


         I'm often a bit surprised about how much a daily horoscope message seems to apply directly to me.  Then I read the messages under the other signs and realize they all could apply to me...






#AtoZChallenge 2019 Tenth Anniversary blogging from A to Z challenge letter Z


       I usually don't much stock into horoscopes, but I always read mine when I see one and it doesn't matter what date it came from.  In the matter of horoscopes one entry could work as well as another for any day.  And that's what I did during April.

       A few years ago I cancelled my L.A. Times subscription because the paper didn't seem to have a function as a news source that I needed to pay for.  Over the years I had accumulated a stack of unread entertainment sections that included comic pages that had crossword and sudoku puzzles. That's why I saved the papers--for the puzzle section since now and then I enjoy working on those puzzles.  Between the puzzles there is the Daily Horoscope which I would always read, mostly out of a habit developed since a long time ago.  The messages don't mean anything to me as in affecting my daily activities, but I read them nevertheless.

        At the beginning of April the idea hit me for that often difficult letter 'Z':  I decided that I would clip out my horoscope messages to be compiled at the end of the month in the style of a kidnapper's ransom message.  As I started saving the messages I realized that an interesting message that seemed very applicable to my A to Z theme for the month was beginning to form.   In addition to the eleven horoscope entries I collected during the month,  I used a fortune cookie message from an early April Panda Express meal for the title and voila!--a message from the Zodiac!  Tell me what you think:


Message from the Zodiac:

Nurture Your Passions

To anyone trying to break into a new business, the business world can be hard and uninviting.  Your cheerful demeanor helps to melt the first line of defense.
Don't waste your time with those who inspire doubt in you.  Put the people who always take your call or call you back immediately on the top of your list.
Meet with someone you trust to help keep you on track with a project.  Lay it out one the table, and determine together whether you're trying to take on too much or too little. 

There's a cause speaking to your heart.  You're still not sure what you can do that make the biggest difference.
You'll come up with ways to help the people who have been affected by unfortunate circumstances, even thought you had nothing to do with the creation of those circumstances.
You usually spend your time helping, learning about the world and having fun. So Today's focus on making a name for yourself may feel strange.
You'll speak to a group of people, and each individual will believe that you are connecting specifically with him or her.
You'll improve the quality of your life by dealing with a problem that's been plaguing you.  Keep trying new things.

You may be concerned about being criticized, but it doesn't keep you from putting your best work out there. Your courage keeps you moving forward
You feel more in control of your emotions than you did earlier in the week.  There will be a sense that a pressure is off for now.
Your spirit of exploration will be awakened and encouraged by the fire-sign influences you know--that's Aries, Leo, and Sagittarius.


          I'm not sure about the last entry.  I can think of a couple people in my life who were born under those signs, but maybe I need to start finding out some birthdays. Aside from that, this message does seem kind of relevant to what I've been thinking of late and what I've been alluding to with my April A to Z theme.  I know I've been doing a lot of hinting and random rambling, but I was saying something this April even if only to myself. 

          If any of you readers has any epiphany about what I have been talking about this April or anything else for that matter, I'd love to hear your thoughts.  I'm probably not going to rethink my position about the accuracy or usefulness of horoscopes, but this exercise in putting a series of messages together has produced an uncanny compilation that works very well for my circumstances.

         And if I do meet some "tall dark stranger" after being forewarned by a daily horoscope listing, I'm going to have to remember to ask that person what their zodiac sign is.

          Do you tend to read a horoscope on a regular basis?  Would you say that there is any validity to horoscopes other than generic encouragement/advice?    Have you come to any conclusion about my April series based on the above zodiac message which I have deemed relatively accurate?   How closely do you think I should heed my "Zodiac Message"?


My thanks to those who read this post and a really massive thank-you to those who followed this series in it's entirety or read many of the posts.   It's been another great A to Z!   I'll have more to say in my upcoming Reflections Post on May 6th or so. 



Monday, April 29, 2019

Youth Is Wasted on the Young ( #AtoZChallenge )



     If it is true that youth is wasted on the young, then does it follow that experience is wasted on the old?...


Arlee Bird in Ecuador (2013)


#AtoZChallenge 2019 Tenth Anniversary blogging from A to Z challenge letter Y


            My life has been filled with experiences both good and bad.  How much wiser these experiences have made me is debatable, but my inclination is that, though I do believe they have instilled some bit of wisdom within me, they have most certainly provided me with a great deal of education as well as interesting memories.

            When I was young I used to hear kids saying they wished they could be older.  Often at times I felt the same way.  Most of the time I was fine being my age.  Even now my mind doesn't seem that different:  There are still some of those same dreams I've had most of my life.  My mind seems neither young nor old now except for outlook. I am a realist who is subject to great flights of fantasy.

           That's where the body comes in. I can't say I was ever an overly physical person.  Never played sports or engaged in excessive activities.  Maybe something in me was telling me not to which later in life I could understand when the doctors told me I had a congenital heart defect which could be damaging if that organ were overtaxed.  I've consciously taken things easier since learning that bit of important knowledge--you know, just in case.

            Now as I approach my seventh decade I think of all of the things I still want to do in my life.  If only I could be 20 again--and, you know what they say:  Know everything I know now.  Would I do things differently than I would have back then?  No matter.  I might have more physical stamina.  I might look prettier.  People wouldn't perceive me as someone who was getting older.

           So am I too old for crazy dreams that some think should be the domain of only the young?  

           Just this morning my friend Sanford called.  He's 15 years younger than I, with a wife and seven kids ranging from toddlers to high school.  Without me even saying anything about my dreams, he told me what he'd been dreaming lately and it was uncanny how closely his dream resembled mine.  This gave me a certain amount of reassurance that maybe my dreams are not really so crazy.  

          Now that April is coming to an end, I will once again cut back my blogging.  I will break out my notebooks and start strategizing.   There will be places to go and people to see.  Phone calls.  Emails.  So much to do!

         Yowl!  There goes that durn foot again.  Let me set down and take a rest.  Maybe a nap would be nice.

          Did you take many naps when you were in your teen or young adult years?   Would you be able to keep up with your younger self at your current age?   What do you think is the best age of life?






Saturday, April 27, 2019

Xylophones Are Funny ( #AtoZChallenge )


Think about the last time you saw a cartoon with a funny dancing skeleton.  Can you remember what music was being played?  I can almost guarantee you that whatever the music, the main instrument playing it was a xylophone...


Image result for xylophone
A professional model xylophone


#AtoZChallenge 2019 Tenth Anniversary blogging from A to Z challenge letter X



           As I had mentioned in my post for the letter 'F', my father could be quite funny.  I never got tired of watching his comedy juggling act even though I'd heard the jokes and seen the funny tricks more times than I can remember.  My dad had a boldness that I have often envied.  And he could make people laugh.

          When I went on went on with my own solo career in show business, with my father's blessings I incorporated some of his gags into my own comedy juggling act.  As part of my shtick I was introduced as a serious violinist.  Well, as most anyone who has heard me play, I am not strong enough of a violinist to pull off being serious for long.  And though not a strong juggler either, at least I somewhat successfully made a living playing that role.

           There have been a number of comic violinists through the years--Jack Benny and Henny Youngman immediately come to my mind.   Not that playing a violin is inherently funny, but it acts as a humorous prop as people anticipate that they will hear some serious playing that never quite seems to come about.  A person who is not overly funny--like me for instance--will often resort to some prop as a distraction.  The audience sees a guy in a tux come out to begin a serious concert piece that devolves into nonsense--that might be funny.

          While violins are not usually thought of in terms of comedy, the sound of the xylophone is genuinely funny.  Just think about cartoon music.  Do you eventually hear a xylophone somewhere in the music?   Of course you do!  Just like slide whistles, tubas, and trombones.  Instrument sounds can be very funny.  Xylophones are indeed funny!  Hitting tuned wooden bars with a couple of mallets is a funny concept and can be quite funny to watch when performed by the right player.

          Frank Zappa--one of my favorite modern composers--used xylophones often in his music.  There is an absurdity to much of Zappa's music that lends itself well to the comic tinkling of the xylophone.  I'd like to be able to play a xylophone, but a good one can be very expensive and take up a lot of room.  Though necessity might be the mother of invention, it is a fact that I do not need a xylophone.  My wife would be very annoyed if I were to bring a xylophone into our home.  And that wouldn't be funny. 

           But the sound of a xylophone playing can bring a smile to my face as well as an occasional guffaw.  In a way xylophones are kind of ridiculous, but at the same time I find the instrument to be rife with musical possibilities. 

           Not that I'll ever play one or even be around one for much length of time--I can't say for sure right now.  However, one thing of which I have no doubt:  Xylophones are funny!

           Can you name any serious music written for xylophone?   Where can you recall hearing a xylophone used for comic effect?  Who are some of your favorite musician comics?









Friday, April 26, 2019

Waiting and Wondering ( #AtoZChallenge )


I wonder what would happen if we didn't have to wait for anything anymore?   My guess is that we would no longer value that which we formerly waited on and with the loss of wondering, imagination would be diminished.    I can only wonder...


A figurine from my sister Joy's collection.



#AtoZChallenge 2019 Tenth Anniversary blogging from A to Z challenge letter W


           When you think about it, most of life is spent waiting.   We wait for night so we can go to bed or we might lie awake in the dark early morning waiting for the alarm to stir us out of bed.  We wait for meals when hunger distracts us or wait for someone to get out of the bathroom so we can be next.  If you think back on your life you can likely come up with countless instances from early childhood on when the wait became obsessive at times. 

           Some of you might remember the mounting anticipation as Christmas came closer.  As the signs declaring the approach of that holiday appeared, we kids waited with anticipation as we watched bauble laden lit trees go up in our living rooms and gaily wrapped mystery parcels stacked beneath those trees.  We wondered what we were going to get this Christmas and the waiting became almost too much to bear.

          Life is all about waiting.  Waiting to finish school, start a career, get married, have a family, buy a house, retire, and eventually die.  It's one wait after another on this journey of life.  Once we reach one milestone of life, we begin turning our thoughts to the next one.  Much like the kids in the back seat wondering, "Are we there yet?" we are on a long journey with many stops.  Getting to one destination is not the real end to the journey.  Rather than wondering if we have arrived to where we thought we were going, we might more fittingly ask, "Where do we go next?"

         This is me, right now at this time of my life.  It's been a long exciting journey with so many stops and sidetracks along the way.  And as far as I'm concerned there are so many more places to go, people to meet, and experiences to be had.  I'm waiting, but still wondering as I move toward my next destination.  I am also working on it.  Dreams start passively, but disappear like early morning fog if they are not acted upon.

         Pondering, planning, and pursuing are the actions of the dreamer who wants to make a reality out of a perceived will-o'-the-wisp.  No dream can become a reality without some wondering and waiting.  That is the essence of dreams.  We wonder about an idea.  We map out a journey to achieve that idea. We then work on that idea to make it as real as it can be.  Then, once everything is set into motion, the waiting begins.

        Imagine that your life is a brick house.  The bricks are what we think of when we consider the structure of that house.  The part that we usually don't think much about is the mortar holding all those bricks together.  The bricks are the parts of our lives that are most meaningful--this is what we see when we look at our lives.  But the mortar is the time spent waiting and linking everything in our lives together to make it one coherent structure.  The house that we live in; the house that we are.

          And now I'm going to add a new wing to my metaphorical life house.  Keeping in the spirit of the metaphor I am assembling my building tools and preparing my blueprints. I haven't finished building my life house yet.  I've got work to do...

        Have you ever built a house?    What do you think would happen if you started building a house with no idea how you wanted it to look or anything else about the structure?    Have you ever had a dream fulfilled without any waiting or wondering on your part? 






Thursday, April 25, 2019

Variety Shows ( #AtoZChallenge )



If all the world's a stage then a variety show is like a microcosmic representation of the universe in all of its infinite variety...


Image result for ed sullivan show
A holy grail of television variety shows


#AtoZChallenge 2019 Tenth Anniversary blogging from A to Z challenge letter














       One of the biggest attractions of the vaudeville stage show was the variety of entertainers presented.  In the span of a couple hours on the same stage one could enjoy singers, dancers, and comedians along with jugglers, magicians, acrobats, or whatever talent had been employed for that show.  It was an extravaganza intended for the delight of audiences who didn't get to see such things on a daily basis.

        While radio might have helped vaudeville in several ways, the advent of television was the death knell for vaudeville.  If movies had already taken a toll on the vaudeville show, television essentially sealed the deal.  The live stage variety show became a rare event in theaters while these shows became the mainstay of television.  Families in the fifties and sixties regularly gathered around their television sets to watch variety shows throughout the week.  For over two decades The Ed Sullivan Show was the most popular of them all.

          For performing acts like my family--The Juggling Jacksons-- an appearance on The Ed Sullivan show was synonymous with "hitting the big time."    A big break came in the spring of 1970 when the show's talent coordinator contacted our agent to have us come to Philadelphia to audition for the show.  It was uncommon for my father to accept an audition offer, but it was worth making the exception for a chance at Ed Sullivan.  


           Since we were living in Tennessee at the time, my father decided to take some time off from work and make the trip a vacation.  We visited NYC and DC among other places.  The audition went very well and it looked like we would be set for the upcoming season.  Then the show was cancelled from the CBS line-up.  After over 20 years and our chance to make it on national TV the Ed Sullivan dream vanished.  

          There are still variety revues being presented throughout the United States and other parts of the world--there likely always will be as long as there are entertainers with skills to present to audiences. There is not the organization in routing or organized tours like there were in the heyday of vaudeville, but there is certainly the potential to do so.  After all, with the resources available today a very organized tour could be put together--and some have been.












          Today's audiences are more sophisticated than a hundred or even fifty years ago. It's like they've seen everything and have access to anything they'd want to see by looking no further than their computer screens and television sets.  Still, people enjoy being entertained.  Variety shows have evolved in some cases in order to accommodate modern minds.  Then there are the retro shows that seek to recapture the flavor of the old shows.  Something for everyone is like a mantra for modern times.
          Perhaps there is something worth considering in this thought.  I am considering something.

          When is the last time you saw a live variety show, whether professional or amateur?  Are there any television variety shows that you still watch and enjoy?    Which bands have you seen that have incorporated elements of novelty entertainment?







Wednesday, April 24, 2019

Universities ( #AtoZChallenge )



I've spent several years going to college, but the best times I've had at any university were when I was attending some show or performing in one...


13-HYLTON-PERFORMING-ARTS-CENTER
Performing arts center George Mason University



8-ROBERT-HOWELL-BROOKS-CENTER-FOR-THE-PERFORMING-ARTS
Robert Howell Brooks Center for the Performing Arts  Clemson University


#AtoZChallenge 2019 Tenth Anniversary blogging from A to Z challenge letter U


        My previous post looked at the old vaudeville theaters that are still scattered throughout the country.  They are wonderful venues much of the time but there are even more performance locales at colleges and universities throughout the United States.  In the past I have played some of these--most I cannot recall--but a few stand out.

         It's hard to forget the big auditorium at the University of Lafayette in Louisiana that sits next to a large swamp with alligators and other native flora and fauna.  We played that one nearly every year for ten years.  Then there was the odd lecture room/theater at the School of Mines and Engineering at Montana Tech in Butte.  The place was so absurdly small that we had to play three shows for near non-existent audiences despite the fact that enough tickets had been sold to fill up the place at least ten times.  Thankfully turn-out was low at that one so we didn't have to face an overflow attendance.

        The lecture halls were the worst for a touring show such as the one I managed.  They often had odd shaped stages with no real backstage area which presented a real challenge to us.  On the other hand, one of the best concerts I've seen was Murray McLauchlan in a lecture hall at some university in Toronto.  Despite feeling like we were attending a college class, the concert was excellent and due to the small house it felt very intimate.

         Most universities have many facilities suitable for live presentations so there is a wide range of choices depending on staging needs and how many are expected for the performance.  A touring group, artist, or lecturer can make a career at just playing colleges.  This is something for authors to keep in mind if they are interested in going on a lecture circuit.  The opportunities are limited only by ones imagination.

           A university tour might be something for me or even you to consider.  Seems like something with a lot of possibilities.

           Have you ever seen a performance at a college venue?   Do you have a venue of this nature in your town?   Have you ever considered establishing yourself as an "expert" in some field so that you could go to colleges and other places to give lectures (and maybe sell your books)?
           











Tuesday, April 23, 2019

Theaters ( #AtoZChallenge )


Those vaudeville days of riding the rail from town to town playing the  marvelous old theaters must have been a grand time!  Also rather grueling I'd guess, but grand nevertheless...


Image result for lincoln theater marion va history
Lincoln Theater Marion Virginia

Image result for tiffin oh theater
The Ritz  Tiffin Ohio




#AtoZChallenge 2019 Tenth Anniversary blogging from A to Z challenge letter T



          During the seventies and eighties when I was on the road with stage show companies, we played hundreds of school auditoriums, legion halls, and other facilities that had been booked for us.  Some of these were very nice with good stages and decent lighting while others were a challenge to set up in and make the show look as high-quality as we could.  There are some stories to be told about some of these odder venues, but I'll save those for another time.

          Some of my favorite places that we played were the old theaters from the vaudeville era.  Those were the days when theaters were constructed with themes in mind.  They were luxurious and ornate with fancy chandeliers, wall murals, and velvet seats.  Going to a theater for a show or a film was not just an outing, but an event.  Fortunately for us today, a good many of these old theaters have been maintained and in many cases meticulously restored to their earlier glory.

          Though it was usually pretty awesome to behold the auditoriums and to appreciate the large stages that facilitated our work presenting our show, it was perhaps even more fascinating to experience the aura of the history in the backstage area and dressing rooms.  After setting the show up, if I had enough time, I would often explore those backstage areas and places like the basements if they had them.  One could imagine the players of past time preparing for their own shows and presenting them to the packed houses who would attend. 

          Thinking back on some of those theaters we played, there are many I recall while others I would have to think deeply to revive those memories.  We played small theaters as well as big theaters. There was the Tivoli Theater in the small town of Spencer Indiana and the Ritz in Tiffin Ohio.  Playing in my parents' home state of West Virginia, our shows performed at the Metropolitan in Morgantown and the Robinson Grand in Clarksburg.  Then there were the elegant houses such as the Missouri Theater in St Joseph and the Saenger in Hattiesburg Mississippi.

          Playing theaters such as these added a certain element of greater legitimacy to what we were doing as a touring theater company.  Somehow it was like being a part of history to be in such historical places.  And the good news is that most--maybe all--of those old theaters we played 30 to 40 years ago are still in operation.  Additionally, many shuttered former vaudeville houses are being restored to their former glory and reopened for touring companies and local productions.

         Someday I'd like to go back to some of these theaters to experience them again.  To wander the backstage areas, explore the dressing rooms, and feel those exquisitely adorned auditoriums all around me.  A tour sounds like fun.  To stand on the stage under the lights one more time would be exciting as it evoked old memories.

          Those wonderful old theaters--they are out there all across America.   Just where I would like to be.  One that I've got my dreams fixated on is the Lincoln Theater in Marion Virginia.  I've never played that theater or even been inside for that matter.  Marion is like my dream town--has been for many years.  Knowing that there is an elegant old restored theater there makes it all the more appealing.   Yes, there are enough old restored theaters across America to make for a fine tour. 

             That sounds like a pretty cool dream to me.


Are there any old vaudeville era theaters where you live--restored or not?   Have you ever performed or watched a performance in one of these types of theaters?   Does anyone have any information about Marion Virginia or the surrounding area that they'd like to share?




                 








Monday, April 22, 2019

Songwriter ( #AtoZChallenge ) ( #BOTB Results )



The songwriter can make you laugh or cry
He's pumping gas, yet manages to survive
And all he asks is for you to sing his song
And put his name in lights where it belongs

                                  ---Peppi Marcello lead singer/songwriter of 
                                                                 The Good Rats



Arlee Bird 4/21/2019 Easter



#AtoZChallenge 2019 Tenth Anniversary blogging from A to Z challenge letter S





     Over the past year I've been turning back to one of my earliest creative loves--song writing.  During high school and through the seventies I used to write a lot of songs that would end up in some notebook.  Nothing has ever come of my songs, but I've never tried to get them published or recorded.  Still I think I can legitimately call myself a songwriter.  This is me--I write songs.

           This talent of mine--I do consider it a talent--seems to be coming back into its own this year. There is something I must do.  I've been working on it.  My dreams still include writing a book (or books) and publishing other writing. For now I'm on a creative interlude.  What has been happening with me recently might be just the ticket to dreamland.

              For now we'll have to wait and see.

Battle of the Bands Results



The Global Challenge Edition

          I don't know if my prediction about Afro Celt Sound System winning the previous three way Battle had any bearing on how anyone cast their vote, but for whatever reason my prediction turned out to be wrong. Actually I was rather pleased with the way things turned out at the end.

           As for my own vote, it was a difficult choice since I like all of these and have listened to them frequently since first discovering them. Afro Celt Sound System I first heard on the radio early the morning of August 2nd of 2015.  I was driving alone from Houston to Maryville Tennessee.  At about 9 or so that morning I started listening to some Sirius station playing Irish music and they played "Whirligig" by ACSS.  It blew me away and I've enjoyed their music since that day.  But as I said in the Battle post this was not going to be my vote.

            In previous posts I have acclaimed the cumbia group Los Angeles Azules, a group I've enjoyed since the end of the previous century (it sounds funny to say that so I did).  A few years ago I discovered the amazing Sinfonic collaborative videos they had started putting out and I was pleasantly surprised.  The group was going to new levels that I find to be quite exciting. I guess others have too. Last year they even played the Coachella music festival in Indio California.   Even though this video inspired this particular Battle, I am not voting for this group either.

             That of course leaves Datu with Han Han and company.  This is a new comer to my realm of music appreciation so maybe there is a freshness that influences my vote.  I first ran across this particular video when I was researching Filipino music earlier this year (I won't go into that story here, but it does fit into my current This Is Me blog series for the 2019 A to Z Challenge).  At first I was a bit taken aback, but the costumes and ethnic instruments drew me in.  Even the rapper became less annoying after a couple more listenings.  Other videos related to this artist collective are also interesting.  My vote goes to Datu.



Final Vote Tally

Los Angeles Azules                     8

Datu                                              4

Afro Celt Sound System             6




Next Battle of the Bands on Wednesday May 1st

        The next Battle will be on May 1st which is also the day that bloggers everywhere will exhale a collective sigh of relief that another Blogging from A to Z Challenge has ended.   If you can, please come back for my final A to Z posts, but do not miss that next Battle.  Not exactly sure yet what I'll choose in the way of music, but as always (most of the time) it will be something that I like and hope you like too.

          Is there something you enjoyed doing in younger days that you eventually stopped doing and then picked up again in later years?    At what point does a pastime become a career and vise versa?









Saturday, April 20, 2019

Roller Coaster Ride (#AtoZChallenge)



Another oft-used metaphor for the life journey is roller coaster.  So many amusement park metaphors lend themselves well to a life.  A merry-go-round can be a bit repetitious, a life going in circles, stuck in a rut.  But a roller coaster!  All the thrills and changes just like a life lived and savored...

     

Virtual re-creation of The Cyclone at Puritas Springs near Cleveland, Ohio




#AtoZChallenge 2019 Tenth Anniversary blogging from A to Z challenge letter R












            In the fifties when I was still a child and living in Cleveland Ohio, my parents would sometimes take us to an old amusement park in nearby Rocky River.  Puritas Springs had been there for decades.  The wooden roller coaster called The Cyclone was a featured attraction.  The ride was an ominous sight to a five year old, with the clanking chain drive sound and the smell of the grease on the track impacting the experience deep into my memory.

          I never rode that particular roller coaster, but I've thought about it often.  As many in recent generations have done, my life has taken on a metaphorical role as the roller coaster that I never stop riding until the day I die.  All the ups and downs and the circuitous changes of the course we all take in life are easily likened to a roller coaster.  It's a metaphor that has become a cliche.

          But it does work, which is why so often we return to that reliable old standard metaphor of the roller coaster of life.

           As I have mentioned in previous posts in 2018, during the April Challenge last year a song came to me that I wrote down and eventually even recorded a few rough versions that I featured in a Battle of the Bands post.  Once again this year I trudged into April with little enthusiasm for A to Z or much else for that matter only to get another rush of inspiration to write another song during this Challenge of 2019.

           Actually, I usually come up with several songs each day that I think on for a little bit before I file it away into the inner recesses of memory.  I don't think those songs are ever forgotten, but just put on hold until ideas and words come to turn that dormant song into a project leading to completion.  Then, sometimes, a song idea will grab me and stay with me for many days until it's part of my mental music library and committed on paper until I can find a use for it.

            So what song have I written this April?  What is the name of this new song that is obsessing me?  It's not a totally unique title or concept, but I think that's okay.  It's my song and I think it could sound pretty good with the right recording.  If you didn't guess already, my new A to Z April inspired song is called "Roller Coaster Ride."   I'm still coming up with additional lyrics, but I've got a melody solidly in my brain.

             I don't know if I'll get another Battle of the Bands post from the song, but this is another lurch forward on that open road leading to my dream.  This is me--the dreamer riding on a crazy roller coaster ride of life.

           Do any particular times or circumstances inspire more creativity with you than others?   What is the best roller coaster you've ridden on or heard of?   Did your parents take you to amusement parks when you were a child? 

         




Friday, April 19, 2019

Quest for the Future ( #AtoZChallenge )



Quick question:  Do you have a dream that you have set out to achieve even though others tell you it will never work?...




Maybe someday?
#AtoZChallenge 2019 Tenth Anniversary blogging from A to Z challenge letter



           Those explorers who discovered new lands and the pioneers who blazed the trails of those lands are a lot to be admired.  That's my view at least.  Some in our time will criticize their motivations and the eventual outcome of the actions taken by those who came before, but who are we to criticize that which came before we were even born?  Whatever happened happened and no one can change that now.  What is now is what it is and we are given the baton to carry in the next leg of the race.  Without exception, we are all running the race into whatever lies ahead.  Now it is our turn to head onward to that ongoing quest for the future.

         We're all getting to our futures by our own devices.  We each have our own dreams, plans, and expectations.  Throughout my entire life I've been on my own quest for the future.  Not that I'm like Christopher Columbus or Cabeza de Vaca (there's a story!), but I am on an adventure like any one of us--a life adventure. 

           Call me crazy, but I'm not the first person with a big dream.  My dream is essentially the same dream that I've pursued for as far back as I can remember.  Maybe I didn't always understand what my dream was or maybe now I've become a bit delusional.  I don't think so.  What I see ahead is real, tangible, and absolutely possible.

            The biggest obstacle will be convincing others that I am dreaming a possible dream.  However, an equally big obstacle will be my ability to convey my dreams to others in a meaningful manner that sparks a fire within them to share my dream.

          To be on a quest for the future is a plan of action.  It beats just sitting back in my easy chair waiting for each tomorrow to come and go.  I do believe that we all have a potential to make dreams happen and even if we don't realize the prize ourselves, at least we can help start blazing the trail that will get someone else there.

            The future is the only option we have on a life journey.  I want to try to claim my part of that future.  The past will help get me there as will the present.  My road doesn't have to be a lonely one because there are many who want to go where I'm going.  The way ahead is an open road filled with possibilities.

          Have you ever fallen back on old skills or contacts to help you embark on a career course change?  Are you easily discouraged when others scoff at what you believe to be good ideas?  Is there a time when you've overcome rejection and ridicule to become successful at something others thought you'd never achieve?







Thursday, April 18, 2019

Planning a Project ( #AtoZChallenge )


Planning a party?   Hire Arlee as your party performer!  On the other hand, I can't make it to your party.  I have other plans...



Pointing the way is the first step on any journey.
#AtoZChallenge 2019 Tenth Anniversary blogging from A to Z challenge letter



       
          Lately I've begun assembling an array of notebooks, journals, and other items that will help me to plan.  For now, as I have indicated in previous posts, I am essentially still in a dreaming stage as I plot possibilities in my mind.  Occasionally I've jotted down lists, pondered mental timelines, and made notes of things that might occur to me.  And I've been writing down song lyrics--but more on that in an upcoming post.

          There are many sayings about the wisdom as well as the futility of making plans.  I don't need to fill up my thinking with negative quotes that might discourage me, but those positive quotations are not anything I need to dwell on either.  Right now I need to continue down the road of thoughtful planning--strategizing with the intent of making a dream come true and for plans to make sense.

          Whenever I set out on a trip I grab my road atlas in order to make the trip in my mind first.  Tracing the routes on the maps, I consider which places to stay the night, what highlights we should take time to visit, or which routing will save time and money.  After I've planned the route, I get online to book motel rooms and set up vacation holds on services like the mail.  If my plans are meticulously made, then the trip will likely be smoother with less worry.  Plans are never cinched for us, but they will usually accomplish what we need or want to do in an organized manner.

           I can get away with a lot of randomness and lack of certain direction on my blog, and often in life as well.  But when there is a project at stake--especially one where you have to count on others to help you accomplish what you set out to do--smart planning will facilitate that metaphorical journey that must be taken.

           Whether it be a road trip journey or a metaphorical journey of dreams, the planning is what facilitates the first leg of the journey--reaching the destination.  That destination is always a prelude to the next part of the journey, and the next.  Life involves continual planning as well as sometimes changing those plans.

             The wise thing to do is to anticipate what can go wrong and have back-up plans.  After all, as we all have discovered at some time or another, plans often go far differently than we hope or expect.  Once my basic plans have been laid out, then I will have to decide what do when it all turns out different.  And I can probably count on that happening.

            When has a well thought out plan gone down a totally different path than you thought it would?    Do you tend to meticulously plan things or do you prefer others to do the planning for you?  Have you ever taken off on a long road vacation without knowing where you were going to go and how long you were going to be gone?