Showing posts with label Music. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Music. Show all posts

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Clair Fair

 ‘Rapture.  As a noun meaning delight.’
Clair thought to herself as her fingers flew over the piano keys as if she didn’t guide them. 
‘Delight as a noun meaning enjoyment, ecstasy, enchantment, contentment, joyance, relish, which leads back to rapture.’ 
Since Clair discovered the piano and the joy inherit in this instrument that could whisper and yell, sigh and resonate, she spent her spare time trying to find the word that defined the sublime elation that filled her when she played.  She searched thesauruses, other languages, symbols, whatever she could get her hands on.  But not a single word alone described this feeling of release and bliss that she experienced while she played.  So her mind would string together all of these words to try and express what was being experienced.
‘Bliss, as a noun meaning ecstasy, euphoria, felicity, heaven, paradise, which leads back to rapture.’
She was playing Mozart’s piano concerto no. 20 in D minor.  It was one of her favorites to practice on at home and loosened her up when she was ready to compose her own works.  No. 20 in D minor was special to her.  This one had been the culmination piece of her first full concert at the age of 15 for a local arts festival.
After her Aunt Mary introduced Clair to the piano it had been the passion of her existence.  She had played throughout middle school with a mix of lessons with her Aunt Mary and whoever was available.  When she had entered high school, Clair had applied for a work-study program that allowed her to spend fewer hours at school and more time practicing her instrument.  Her dedication had been noticed by several of the local musicians as Aunt Mary had made it her job to find teachers that could operate at the level that Clair had reached and could carry her beyond.
That had been when she had met Edwina Powell.  Edwina was a large maternal woman with dubious ethnicity.  She was dark in coloring with her black hair and dark brown eyes.  But it was her tan skin tone that made it very hard to place her into any particular race. Edwina had been teaching pianoforte for 15 years in the small high school in Taos New Mexico.  It wasn’t until you went to her home for private lessons did you see the fruits of a 20 year long professional classical pianist career.  She had played everywhere, Carnegie Hall, the Kennedy Center, Sydney, Paris, Japan.  Her walls were lined with accolades and world championships.
The day Clair had met Edwina had changed the course of her life.  Before that day, Clair had believed that she would not be able to become a professional artist.  She was told by school counselors and most other adults that choosing to become a professional artist was foolish and would not support her well. Everyone agreed with exception of her Aunt Mary and her mother who had both encouraged Clair to follow her passion and to ignore the call of material wealth in lieu of happiness. Still Clair had been undecided until she had her first meeting with Edwina Powell.
The first meeting had been at Clair’s home with her mother and aunt.  Ms. Powell had walked in like a ruling queen.  Her stature had been perfect, her clothing, hair and makeup immaculate. She had asked for Aunt Mary to leave so that she and Clair could speak privately.
The woman had instructed Clair to sit at her piano and then circled her seemingly looking for deficiencies.
“Clair.” She stated clearly in a Spanish accented, deep feminine voice. “That is not your full name.”
The woman waited a moment or two and then continued. “Clair is short for something, what is your full name, as it is written on your birth certificate.”
Clair had hesitated, hating what she was about to say out loud. “It’s” she paused taking a long labored breath. “Clairvoyance”, she sighed, “Clairvoyance Olivia Warren.”
The woman only stared pointedly at Clair, “This shame’s you.” She stated. “It is empowerment, a characteristic that is unique only to you.  You should embrace this name of yours.”
Moving to stand next to Clair she stared pointedly at the instrument before them both. “Does this shame you as well?”
Clair turned to her quickly denial in her heart. “No, there’s nothing embarrassing about a piano, or playing it.”
The woman sat next to Clair at the bench. “What is this instrument to you?”
Clair thought about it long and hard staring at the instrument in question.  Softly she ran her fingers over a few keys and the day her Aunt Mary introduced her to it flashed starkly in her mind.  Her entire body was filled with the euphoria that had started that day.  Her Aunt’s words ringing in her ears, ‘this does not care what color you are, it only knows music, it only knows joy.’ With that fresh in her mind, Clair had answered Ms. Powell with the only word that had summed it all up for her.

Ms. Powell had nodded. “You’ll do Clairvoyance.”

Grab your copy of So a Psychic and a Rocket Scientist Walk Into a Bar
Barnes and Noble

Thursday, April 7, 2016

Learning to Not be Ruled by Genre

It is a long road that I believe never truly ends.  That road is that of a writer when finding their voice.  The best of the best say that the most important part of this journey is the journey.  No matter what never stop writing. For many writers that is almost like saying never stop breathing.  But as an asthmatic I can tell you that breathing is not always a guarantee. And over the years my writing has come and gone like a breath in some instances. Whiffed away without any hesitation or thought. My well seemingly run very dry.

However my mind still swam with scenarios of unfulfilled passions and desires. The human spirit needs passion and desire.  Creation is as much a part of living as the breathing and the beating. Most seem to not notice that life is nothing if not a lesson in sheer natural brutality. The elements that make us up crammed together in clumps and fits.  Our very systems demand the use of words like force, beat, move. As they say the struggle is real. And it is a struggle.  Nothing worth having has ever been born politely. It comes in a haze of blood, sweat, and tears screaming its battle cry ready to be heard, listened to and engaged. Life does not ask for the fight, life demands it. So the only failure is in trying to deny the fight. Because then you are truly denying life.

When I decided I wanted to try my hand as a writer I was sure that I wanted to write romance. I had a game plan like I normally do. I wanted to start as a romance writer then move into more science fiction or fantasy. As offensive as the thought is I was young and foolish enough to believe romance writing was an easier place to start. I was very very foolish years ago. As many know the genre is not well thought of by literature critics. However I dare to say that writing romance may be even harder because of how it is thought of.

It reminds me of professional wrestling in a lot of ways.  The trick to professional wrestling is that there is no trick. Its hard work, dedication to a goal and a performance. It eats up life because the only way to get better like with any craft is to continue to hone it. And yet it is not very well thought of by many people who view it as fake.  In many ways similar to how some authors view genre writers. The analogy forces me to think about the limitations provided just by perception. Because the barriers are not one sided.  All are affected by the perception and the need to justify it. As human beings we love balance and we like to know the answer. We subconsciously lean to a lie of perception as much as we may lean to the truth. Just as there is no way to convince gravity to stop working for a wrestler, there is no way to easily construct a palpable endearing emotion laden first kiss for a romance author. It is a sport of conditioning, practice, and training.  The road is long and the culmination is to tell the perfect story.

I now know that there is no such thing as an easy writing. The quality writing, the change the world stuff is a labor of intense love, commitment and selfless devotion. It is staying up all night to finish the most crucial scene you have ever written.  But they all are aren’t they? And the answer is yes, every single one IS the most crucial scene you have ever written.

I was given the advice that my heart knew was true before it was even given.  Write what you love. I started writing because of love, I write about love.  But I was looking for the trick, I was asking gravity to stop working for a moment. Sometimes in a craft you get completely immersed in your tools instead of the art giving the tool the power. It becomes about fitting in, coloring in the lines and less about expressing your unique voice. The truth is the man behind the curtain is in fact just a man.  A man dedicated and committed enough to an idea that he was able to convince the world he was an all-powerful wizard. He went outside of genre, outside what the limitations of a man should be.  In the process he stopped allowing his tools to limit him, he instead gave them new power.

I was a visual artist in high school and became a vocalist and music composer. I noticed early in my art studies that I was better with colors than with black and white.  What I understood before I left was that this was a myth I had told myself. My mind was so enrapt with technique that art was not being made. When I went into music I noticed the same. I was concerned with vocal replication of other artists and not concerned with my own sound. The girl is hardheaded. Somewhere in my junior year of high school, somewhere in the middle of performing Deep River, somewhere in the middle of composing my 3rd work technique faded and art finally took form. The moment is indescribable. For a split second you hear clearly, you feel deeply.  The world is beautiful, lovely. You absolutely matter and what you have to say bears weight and has the meaning and affluence of a living viable human soul and spirit laced throughout it. It connects you to the now, the past the future and the fountain of infinite bliss and wisdom. Pure as you and I are meant to be.

The point is have influences, mimic them as you need, read the art books, understand the style, refine your craft; use your tools. Before its over though make sure the voice is your own.  A lesson I have to teach myself over and over again. This is my ultimate love letter to remind myself why I should never give the tools power but instead use the art to empower them. I'm writing this so that when I start to forget and I'm worried about book sales, or another press or agent saying no that I stick to my declaration and follow the advice of knowledgeable others.  I embrace these tools and make them an extension of myself and what I need this world to see and understand. That I listen to the beating, pounding pace of my heart and stay with the fight. That I fill what I do with my will, my spirit; my spark. With my love, always with my love.

Sunday, November 9, 2014


Lovely word and fascinating movie. All of us have ideas about what would make the world a better place. I do but I shape them more around what I can do to make the world a better place. I thought the most interesting thing about the movie was the ways it embodied the word.  A state of transcendence is described as the state of going beyond limits, exceeding confines, becoming more than what you were ever meant to be.  The movie was about life beyond death, and life beyond death reshaping life as it is irrevocably.

The irony about it is that the entire time the main character was trying to attain what they already had.  In many ways I think we as humans endeavor to do the same thing. We fight our confines just to attain what we already have. We all seek some form of liberation from our humanity. We limit who we interact with, who we allow ourselves to be seen as, we limit all things that push away from the downfalls of humanity. However it is the downfalls of humanity that spark the most vibrant and amazing aspects of being human.

Some of us do this by procreation. This belief that somehow creating new people will cement our transcendence. The irony is no one remembers the parents of a great human being. We rarely recognize the brilliance of a human when they are alive and demonstrating it. We often have other words for them. Anarchist, rebel, criminal.  It just depends on who is doing the naming in most situations.

Others do this through labor.  Work plain and simple. But the lure and the ultimate lie of this is that work has permanence. And in a way it does until someone else's work comes along to shatter it. In those situations all that can be done is to try and use work to facilitate well being.  When all is said and done legacy is a lie. Its a myth we tell ourselves to deal with what can be seen as an unfair lack of time bound in our human forms.

Its ironic that in many ways I believe our short lives are our only true gift. I believe the purity of who we can be and what we can accomplish are only possible because of the frailty of life. The things we fight for, live for, and die for define the sanctity of our existence. We move through this life this existence with hardly a clue as to what is needed or expected of us. We leave our callings to belonging and love.  We make connections and declaration based on tribal and regional affiliations. We find and discover things that bring us hope, beauty and joy. Some of us even deny ourselves the pleasure because of the fear of loss. Not ever understanding that the only thing lost is the moment.

We move through this space and seem not to understand that simple fact. We define what is important. We verify what brings us hope and joy. We dictate what love is and where it is spent. Now is the essence of humanity. Now is the world as it is. Now is the only truth.

What I always seek is to sing the song in every key.  Sometimes my notes are happy, sometimes my notes are sad. At times I wail and at times I moan.  From time to time I rise like the coming tide and crash like the coast ashore. I crest and hold for days, I swell and drop, I burrow and shriek, I cry in joy and in pain. Its in those notes in that phrase, in that bar, octet, reprise symphony is life. All that it can be, all that it shouldn't be all that it is and all that it is not. The point is not to control, regulate or build.  Those are distractions from your song. The point is to live and life can only be lived in one way now.

True transcendence is freedom from ideas that hobble, thoughts that condemn, habits that contain.  Transcendence is viewing hurt and pain as notes in the harmony of the concerto. Its viewing joy and happiness as the underlying melody that's always playing whether you hear it or not. Its in the rhythm of your beating heart. The lulling hum of your breathes.  The harmony of your flowing blood. The buzz of life singing around you.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

My Serenity (1992-1998)

Self Portrait in colored pencil 1994

Heaven and hell wrapped into one
Peace held in check by the power of the sun
My life, my love, my form of exquisite ecstasy
If only you could understand what its like for me
To hold this gift within my soul never to leave
Held in myself so string and tightly it’s hard to believe
Everyday I take my joy and share its grace
From the voice in my throat to the smile on my face
Every time I move, every step I take
From every tilt of my head to every sound I make
Lives in color the proof of my joy
In full light that can never be called coy

What is my life, my peace and my constant company
It is the music in my soul that’s my serenity

Pulled from the sky in the shapes of stars and the face of the moon
With the awe inspiring regality of a delicate rose in bloom
The feeling of touching the sky and finding it soft as silk
The sensation of holding wind as it runs like milk
Take me life but give me my song
Without the music life would seem wrong
Take my heart, but leave me my voice
No heart is needed when life is no longer your choice

Bound together by something far stronger than fate
It seems that music is my soul mate

Behind my eyes exists a separate entity
There lives my soul with music as my serenity

Sunday, August 12, 2012


Lyrics to the song I'm working on:


In this I see
All that you could be
In turn I find
All that I can’t bind
Behind your eyes
Lives innocence and lies
Sometimes you hide
All there is inside
To show yourself
To me and no one else

I bleed to be
Everything you need
From me to you
Lies all I want to do
You pull away
I can’t make you stay
You pull me back
Mercy you don’t lack
And still I see
So much looks like me

The lie you sigh
The truth lives in your eyes
You run to hide
But always by my side
And still I see
Such much looks like me
Now trust I knew
We both now know the truth


I don’t know you
I’ve always know you
I don’t know you
How could I ever know you
How could I not know you

Friday, October 21, 2011

True Altruism

In book one of my W.A.R.M. Front series the heroine and the hero share a very interesting if not integral belief.  That belief is in altruism.  Whenever I write books I like to talk about things that are near and dear to my heart.  In very many ways I doubt anything is as near or dear to me as altruism. 

Growing up my family depended very much on the kindness of strangers.  I remember at least 2 Christmases very clearly that would've been awful if the local church had not been kind enough to give us a Christmas dinner and toys for my brother and me.  I wonder about how different my childhood would've been if these services had not been available and how I would be a different person now from those experiences.  And I wonder how the general public feels about charity and altruism.  Even more so I wonder if those who have been fortunate enough either through recognition of hard work or by virtue of luck to be highly financially successful in this life understand what sharing this does for their soul.  Not just giving money to the Red Cross once a year, but actually getting their hands dirty and watching a life transform.  

For those who have lost their way and lost meaning in their own lives, it is restored through finding meaning in another’s life. Altruism is in many ways the most selfish act I know and all the more lovely for it.  It is a process of healing another that brings the healing to the healer. By opening the most nurturing and cradling parts of yourself to others you give that part of you what it really needs, air to breathe.   By burying it in yourself you are only suffocating it, depriving it of sunlight, food, and water.  The things it needs to grow.

This comes on the heels of reading something yesterday that literally made me cry.  I've always been a fan of the music of Bon Jovi. Well now I'm a fan of the man Jon Bon Jovi because of this wonderful contribution he has made to his hometown.  In a nutshell he and his wife have a foundation that gives back to their community. This is something that I believe is an absolute must if you have any amount of great success, and is a must in smaller quantities even if you don't. 

Their latest endeavor is a revamping of the 'soup kitchen' concept.  Historically the soup kitchen is a necessary thing that brings with it a multitude of soul destroying poisons.  However this version includes something that I believe people forget to give to those in need. Dignity. This is a pay as you can restaurant that gives a healthy meal in a clean well received environment.

The full story can be found here: Soul Kitchen, Jon Bon Jovi

I can't wait for the next trip I take to the area so I can eat a meal there and leave $100 on the table.

I know it stands to reason that if you are this down on your luck, beggars can't be choosy.  But this is in essence the problem.  Beggars should be choosy.  It is this sense of self-worth that propels a person to make the necessary changes in their life to actually start a positive shift in their existence.

I remember being ashamed of my upbringing when I was younger.  I never had the best toys on the market, was lucky to have the toys I did have.  My mother always made sure that we had clean clothes, food, and a roof over our head no matter what she had to do to accomplish this.  If it meant swallowing her pride and asking for aide then so be it.  Her children were worth it.  However as a young child all I had was a perpetual sense of not being 'good enough' to have things other children had.  And my mother's income or lack thereof became a definer for people as to what I could or could not accomplish.

I remember being accepted to my high school and then told in so many words that children from my socio-economic background usually didn't last long because they felt like outcasts from other students who sometimes had very privileged backgrounds.  They could afford the things I could not.  Being a visual artist is very expensive business and somehow my mother made sure that even if I couldn't have the best supplies, I could create art. She didn't let me feel guilty about costing the family so much money because she saw this for what it was; dignity for me.  And she knew that I very much needed to have that if I was ever going to achieve anything.

As the first high school graduate, first college degree holder, and soon to be the first graduate degree holder in my family I can look back and see how unattainable these goals would've been if I didn't have my dignity to see it out. What people from other backgrounds don't understand is the sense of helplessness someone who is deeply impoverished has.  When you are in poverty your living conditions and standards are much lower than that of people in the middle class.  You juggle bills, paying them by importance as opposed to paying them because they are due.  You never have enough money to pay all of your bills and trying to live below the means necessary to account for the amount of money you make leads to consequences like not being able to buy the proper clothes for the job you work. Not being able to secure transportation to it, or not being able to eat enough to have the energy to work. And all the while everyone around you blames you for your inability to be better, to be more.  The United States poverty lines are just a bad joke that accounts for an economy that was thriving over 3 decades ago without truly accounting for inflation, technology, and the changing standards of basic human needs.

The issue is when another bill collector has called you a deadbeat, your boss is too cheap to give you a raise implying that your work effort is not worth this level of finance, and you don't know how you're going to feed yourself or your children tonight, you start to believe some unfortunate things about yourself.  When you work yourself to the bone with multiple jobs, no health insurance, living paycheck to paycheck and another financial burden presents itself as an emergency; you are willing to do almost anything to free yourself from the panic, the horror, and the rage this gives you.  The last thing on your mind is your dignity, because if it will make you feel like you are accomplishing something to sell it off, you most likely will, and very few people in similar situations would blame you for it.

While some may say all you have is your pride, you must realize that people in truly tragic situations don't have that any more.  Pride proved to be too expensive in the face of hunger. And dignity isn't allowed to be a thought if you want to maintain shelter. There are those miracle stories.  Those people who despite the odds managed to maintain both and succeed.  However they are the minority not the majority.  Self-worth is a commodity in our world that has had a definite price tag placed on it.  It is now a beast that involves status, income, and has little to do with moral values and community building. Dignity has always been this nearly indefinable mix of human frailty and strength.  It can be used to break you and to lift you high.  Sometimes within the same breath.

I build this case to state this. The humility it takes for a person who is very successful to look at someone less fortunate, and offer a hand as opposed to a handout is immense, and should be treasured for the miracle that it is. The difference is in the old Chinese fish metaphor, give a man a fish and he'll eat for a day, teach him how to fish. . . you know how it goes.  This is the act of showing someone through the care you have taken to prepare something for them, their worth to you as a human being.  And when someone can't manage to build self-worth and dignity for themselves, it is the job of others to show them how it's done through our own actions. The world is our community if we don’t care enough to take care of it, who else will? No matter how isolated we try to make ourselves, no one is here alone and if you are in a position to help others, you must understand this and help.

I give men who have Superman tattoos a hard time.  It’s because usually they are self-involved delusional braggarts that have placed on this false persona to fulfill some missing need within themselves.  My issue is that Superman is a hero and saves lives.  If you aren’t doing something similar you haven’t earned his colors.  Jon Bon Jovi is earning those colors.

I hope acts of true altruism become an epidemic.