Musically.

It’s been a long week.

As usual, I don’t quite know how to write about anything.

I finished a book the other day. Every book I finish is a success because it’s been a hobby that has quickly been a bore. One day I’ll find excitement in it again. In the meantime, I’m content being reading occasionally and not obsessively.

I bought a mandolin. It’s an instrument that I’ve admired for many years and often dreamed of playing. I never thought I’d be brave enough to try. Now I’ve got a nice instrument (one that I looked into and a friend asked her musician friends about, so that’s nice.) I learned about how to hold it, how to hold the pick, how to strum it properly, and today I learned a few chords. My hand isn’t quite strong enough yet to hold down the strings as I’m playing and my fingers haven’t developed callouses yet, so they’ve been hurting today. But I learned three basic chords and I just need to practice them.

Chris Thile has been my main hero of the mandolin. He’s the one that made me aware of what a mandolin even was, caused me to want to play with intensity. I will always admire his musical talent. Today, I wanted to find some other people who played mandolin, particularly women. I’m surprised by how few successful mandolinists are women. I’m sad to discover so few women want to play. I’m not trying to break barriers or become famous or anything but why? It’s such a beautiful, whimsical instrument. More women should give it a go.

I’ve been listening to Button Poetry a lot recently. It’s a company (is this the right word?) that publishes poets and hosts spoken word poetry of these poets. I don’t always listen to them to the end, but if someone’s message catches me, I find myself staying to the end. I’m not used to slam poetry/spoken poetry, but I feel drawn to the soft spoken, quiet beings that draw your attention and have a soothing voice about them. Not that there’s anything wrong with other speakers, that’s just what I’m drawn too. I need to listen more often.

I checked out “Helium” by Rudy Francisco and read a few of his poems. They’re very beautiful and minimalistic. I like it a lot. Free form poetry is the best, in my opinion. If I have to write anything else, then I’m struggling.

I look foreword to sleeping in tomorrow. I look foreword to reading a little bit, playing music a little bit, maybe even writing a little bit. Becoming well rounded is hard sometimes,

But I’m working on it.

Advertisements

Why Modern Country Music Stinks.

I discovered a new YouTube channel last night called Lost in Vegas. They are two guys from the Los Vegas (obviously) who listen to various music from various genres and react to it. They have a country music series and surprisingly they like a lot of the songs that they’re reacting to and have a lot of good thoughts on what’s being talked about in the songs.

In one of their videos, one of the guys asked what makes country music country and why do a lot of people separate themselves from a lot of modern country and say it’s not real country.

I’m going to attempt to answer this question, even though I don’t think I’m necessarily the right person to answer it. Nor do I think my answer necessarily answers for everybody as there are people who love modern country and others who only go for traditional country and still others who will only listen to bluegrass.

Here’s what I think:

In country, the music tells a story of everyday people. It tells of struggles, of triumphs, of friendships and heartbreaks and revenge. If you’re going through something, country music has it. You can connect to it. The music is acoustic and strikes reminds ordinary people of well, ordinary things. It connects them, reminds them that other people are going through the same things too.

For a long time, country music has taken a backseat. A lot of people consider country and those who listen to it as backwards and a little strange. They don’t seem cultured or with the program so to speak. So, I think with modern country, musicians have been trying to make it sound cool to those who wouldn’t normally listen to it. And in their effort to appease a broad range of listeners, they’ve lost the country sound that a lot of people were used to hearing from country music.

And that’s why there’s a lot of anger and frustration. People want to hear that traditional, acoustic sound. And there’s not a lot of that in modern country.

I go back and forth with modern country. There’s a lot of it that I will never like because they sound like rap or pop than country. But there’s a lot of country that sounds like the 90’s country that I enjoy. And then there’s modern country that perfectly balances country and pop in its instrumentals and voices and that’s enjoyable too.

Country is one of those people that reminds you of a time when life wasn’t so connected to technology and well, modern times. And to stray too far from that causes disruption. I think if they can balance country/pop in the song like Shania Twain or even Garth Brooks could in the 90’s while keeping ordinary everyday things in mind, more people would be able to connect to it even if they don’t typically listen to it while not angering the country enthusiasts.

The Tuesday We Never Forget.

Found in Google Images

It’s the seventeenth anniversary of the World Trade Centers falling due to an act of terrorism.

It’s actually hard to believe that it’s been seventeen years since that Tuesday morning when the world changed so drastically. In spite of the years that have past, it’s still in the forefront of the American mind, and indeed, the world’s. It’s still talked about as if it was yesterday because to be truthful, we are still dealing with repercussions and events that have and are happening due to what happened.

I could talk about where I was that day, but really, that’s what people expect of others to do when the anniversary comes up, so I won’t do that; even though I think about it every year as if it’s a snapshot burned into my skull.

Instead I want to talk about my feelings and emotions.

Even though I was a teenager at the time of it’s occurrence, I don’t think I felt the full emotional impact of 9/11. Instead, I felt an obsession. I watched the news obsessively every night. I watched shows of heroism, people being saved, animals being taken in, simple every day acts of coming together to grieve and overcome. When Alan Jackson and Toby Keith made their patriotic songs, I felt a surge of pride for being an American. These terrorists could bring down a building, but they couldn’t bring down my patriotism. When it was announced that we’d go to war, I shook my fist and prayed that they’d take down the men who planned these acts.

But it hasn’t been until the last couple years or so that I felt a more emotional impact of what happened. I can feel the horror, the terror, the sadness, and the reality of death that occurred at ground zero. Over 3,000 people died. 3,000 people. For every person that died, can you imagine the number of friends and family members that each person’s death impacted? The children, the wives, the husbands, the sons, daughters, fathers? Even if you say ten people per death, that’s what 30,000 people who felt that person’s loss? It’s unimaginable.

Maybe it’s because I’m older, I can understand the loss and the pain that this day truly meant for me and for others. For the United States and the world. Or maybe it’s because I read so many stories and heard the last words of people knowing they’re about to die.

I can understand now.

I was aware seventeen years ago, but I wasn’t truly aware. Not yet. That would come later.

I don’t think we could truly recover from that Tuesday morning, but we can make steps to making a better future. May we never forget.

In This Together.

There’s something that I’ve learned about bloggers over the years:

We’re all a little insecure.

We want to be authentic, but we’re afraid of opening ourselves up because we’re afraid that someone’s going to take a stake to our heart.

We stop writing because we’re afraid that our writing is not good enough and then come groveling back because we can’t stand not writing anymore.

We try to rationalize our feelings, swinging from one branch of feeling to another, as if we need to justify to others why we aren’t writing. Or painting. Or creating in some way or another.

We go from writing too much, to not writing at all. And yet we still write.

We still write because we want to be heard. We want someone to tell us that we’re alright.

And we are alright. We are still here, you and I.

We are here together.

If you need to take a break, I’ll still be there. I didn’t come this far with you just to come this far. I will still read your writing even if you need some time off to focus on yourself. Because God knows we all need to boost our morale.

It’s okay.

It’s okay to be uncertain. It’s okay to feel the way you’re feeling. I’ll waiting for you, for that next post. I followed you because you write quality, not quantity. You find the words to describe how I’m feeling in just a way.

I feel the insecurity. I’ll write and write and write. And then I’ll stop because I’m feeling insecure. I’ll then write and write and write about how insecure I’m feeling about my writing and obsess over why I’m not as good as any others. People actually have things to write about, I say, and then pull back. They travel, they cook, they get involved with their communities.

I just live an average life.

An ordinary life, you would say.

I wanted to show that living an ordinary life could be extraordinary. You didn’t need to travel extensively or cook fancy meals every day or be especially literary with fancy words. I wanted to show that a small, normal, ordinary life could be just as worthy as any other blogger, writer, x successful person.

And yet I got sucked into the belief that I need to be something in order to write about it. I needed to do things, be extraordinary. And yet–

And yet that was tiring.

It was boring. I’m not that sort of person to put myself out there underneath the spotlight all the time.

I am quiet. I can be weird around people that I most want to talk to. I get awkward. I’m by no means as confident as I make myself out to be.

And yet here I am…still writing. And people are still following.

Thank you.

Thank you for following me. And if you write a blog, thank you for writing. We’ll find our footing. We’ll get to the other side.

We’re in this together.

This is partially inspired by Chris Nicholas’ post “Epoch” which you can read here if you’re so inclined. Give him some love, he deserves it, I’ve never met a bad piece of writing from him.

The Greatest Music in the World.

This is where it begins:

In the toes as they start to tap. A tingle rushes up through the body until your head starts nodding and your body starts swaying and your hands are clapping. The music is catching. You watch as even the musicians close their eyes and dancing around the stage, instruments pressed against them as if the music could could come out more in with a passionate fervor.

I turn to her and say, “You want to go up there and dance?”

“No!” She exclaimed.

“Oh, come on,” I said, “it’d be fun.”

“No!” She protested.

The women next to us turned and said “You want to go? It’ll be fun.”

She laughed and finally agreed. We went off to the side and she got into her dancing routine. I pretended to know what I was doing, twirling and clapping. The energy pent up finally released. I glanced at the stage and saw him there, smiling at us having fun, his hands plucking out the notes with ease. We were dancing to his music and he was glad. His music made us feel.

A few young ones went to the front. They danced however they wanted, as if no one could ever see them move in such a way. I locked eyes with him, a young man with twinkling eyes and curly hair. He smiled and I returned it before twisting back towards my friend. He wants to dance with me, I thought.

He danced around me all nice, brushing up against me, watching me in my little bubble. Some of us never have the courage to dance, even with the greatest music in the world.

Via Discover post: The Greatest ___ in the World

Words I Hate.

There are two words that absolutely irritate me:

    Chat
    Pass away (and it’s variants of passes/passing away/passed away, etc)

For some reasons, the word “chat” never seems like a real word to me. Whenever I hear it I want to tear my ear drums out and never hear it again. I feel like it’s a word that people use to show they’re more educated or are superior to other low life, every day people. You’re not special just because you’re prettying up a word. If you want to talk to me use the word “talk,” for crying out loud. You’re still giving me information. I’m still hearing it. Don’t “chat” at me about it, or I’m going to tell you how I really feel. (Or just look at you passively aggressively.)

As for “passing away,” I never understood why people prettied up death. Everybody dies, why are you making it sound like the person’s merely falling asleep? The person has died, therefore you need to tell other people that this particular person has “died” or is “dead.” He’s dead. Leave him dead. That’s all there is to it.

There’s a saying in the writing world that basically states that if you keep using extraordinary words, then you won’t have any words left when you see or hear something truly extraordinary. Say things simply without dressing it up too much. And that’s how I want to try and keep it.

Let’s talk about it. What are your thoughts?

Going on My Dream Trips.

I haven’t done a list in a while so I thought I’d make a list of all the trips that I’ve always wanted to go on. If I had a bit more money, I’d probably have gone all of them by now, but as luck will have it, I just don’t quite have it yet. But it’s always nice to dream, no?

  1. Ireland.
  2. Romania — to see Vlad Dracula (Vlad the Imapler’s) castle.
  3. Australia — Sydney, Ayers Rocker, Great Barrier Reef in particular
  4. New Zealand
  5. Argentina.
  6. The Netherlands–Anne Frank House.
  7. Poland — to see Auschwitz.
  8. Sweden.
  9. Germany.
  10. Scotland — particularly Loch Ness and the Edinburgh Vaults (did I spell that right? Probably not)
  11. Denmark.

People are probably surprised to note that I didn’t include France or Paris in particular. Quite frankly, I don’t have any desire to France. It just never held any glamor or interest for me. Sure the Louvre would be swell and to try a croissant would be fabulous, but it just doesn’t capture my attention. France always seemed to be one of those countries where they don’t quite welcome strangers, like they’re put off for one reason or another. That’s just my opinion, though. I’m sure the French are quite lovely. But I digress.

Maybe next time I’ll write down themed trips that I’d like to go on some time.