They’re Called Calluses

I was rubbing my thumb over my fingertips as I did some on-line reading (yes, it’s impossible for me to be still) and I was struck for a moment because I couldn’t feel with the tips of my left fingers.

I had to think a moment before realizing, Oh, they’re from all my guitar playing lately.

In the past I’ve only noticed calluses as they’ve (messily) gone away, so it was fun to notice my playing is having some effect.

For almost two weeks now I’ve been playing my guitar every day.  I have no structure to my blips of practice, and so I’m probably advancing slower than I could, but its “clicking” better than ever before and I enjoy practicing like never before.


I find it interesting that I dove back into guitar a week after I had storytelling off my plate (and I was thankful to be able to focus on writing as my single “creative” endeavor), but one of the benefits of having nothing set in stone is that I can follow my inclinations and see what happens.

Guitar has been a nice balance to my writing as a physical, musical act to balance the stillness and (relative) silence of the novel.  It’s also been nice to take into the room where the kids play or pack to the park so I can get some time while still being available to my children.

Have I said lately how much I love my job?

Tell me anything else I could be doing that marries so perfectly my responsibilities and my inclinations.

Quick question:

Have any of you readers put a recording of yourself on-line?  (Dedee I remember you mentioning a video of you directing ;) )

I have a couple older hymns I was wanting to share (since they’re out of copyright and won’t get me in trouble), but I’m not sure of the best way to do it.  YouTube?  Digital recording?

Jay will work something out, I’m sure, I just wondered if there were any voices of experience out there.

The Wailin’ Jennys

This is the song the ladies opened with last night.

I love the sound, but I think it’s a funny/odd song because I hear “there’s only one way to mend a broken heart” over and over without being sure what they think that one-way is. ;)

Live music is, just. wonderful.

Sometimes I’m surprised to be reminded how much it affects me, and it makes me think again about how I believe we humans are designed for community and to be steeped in music.

A few more videos to show the group’s variety:

Their website is here if you want to see if their latest tour brings them near you (sounds like they have a weird-crazy itinerary this time). You should go listen if you get the chance.

Absolutely worth it.

Character Songs

One thing that always seems “magical” to me is when I hear a song (usually on the radio, but it’s also happened in a store) with a message, sound or single line that perfectly encapsulates a personality, action beat or relationship.

I initially noticed this when I was working on my first novel, and heard a line from “For the Longest Time” by Billy Joel:

And the greatest miracle of all
Is how I need you
And how you needed me too
That hasn’t happened for the longest time

It was the heart of the first part of the novel and their interaction.

So here are some highlights for my current work (don’t read anything into the videos– I never saw them before I did a search for the song itself. YouTube is an *awesome* substitute for iTunes– I just don’t watch while I’m listening if it’s for the sound, like here).

I guess I’m more auditory than visual, because if I’m going to be imagining for a while, it’s with music rather than images. I think these examples hint at the individual conflicts of interest that arise in my novel.

Includes the lines,

“…I feel so small and bewildered…
Tell me that you love me, tell me that you want me
Even if I’m not all you thought I would be.
Tell me that … you’ll catch me when I fall.”

Cecilia is the bride arranged for the crown prince Torbjorn, and I love this sweet wistful song for her. Torb doesn’t have a song of his own yet, but (jokingly) I’ve assigned him “I knew I loved you before I met you,” as his relationship song, because he’s that kind of guy— one who makes up his mind and that’s the way it is.

A sign of the times we live in.

I was at a musical production about the Christmas story tonight, and was a little shocked to watch the young woman playing Gabriel at the annunciation to Mary.  The surprise wasn’t that the angel was a girl, but the fact she was shimmying.

While informing Mary that she (Mary) was God’s “favorite virgin.”

More than a little weird and an odd beginning that distracted (me at least)  from other, better, elements of the program.

It didn’t help that the angel took Mary’s hand and “taught” her the shoulder-shimmy through the last series of “favorite virgin” repetitions in the chorus.

Why I Do What I Do

I was in an analyzing mood today, and so all of you faithful/careful/hapless readers get to be the blessed recipients of the result of this exercise.

Actually, I found it to be a very useful exercise and encourage anyone to try it.
(And, yes, I noticed that my wife-ness didn’t hit the list, but I think that is indicative of the way God works in our marriage– all of it has been quiet, natural, and nearly invisible. So it almost never makes it to a list.)

One of the blogs I read encourages finding/creating a purpose statement for your life/writing/work. I’m not ready (focused enough?) to do that, but this list is probably the next-best thing– and I really like it.

It goes like this:
I am drawn to a number of different things in my daily life. Why? Do they have a purpose? What do I hope they accomplish?

What I want to do?
Why I want to do it?

Why write?
Because I hope to somehow touch lives beyond my family without detracting from my primary responsibility and assignment.

Also because it helps me better understand myself, so that (Lord willing) I can better/more efficiently improve myself to be a useful tool and effective witness for my heavenly master.
Being less of an embarrassment to myself is an additional perk.

Why Guitar?
Because I’ve always felt competency in an instrument it is somehow a part of a “complete” life, along with the husband and children and so on.

While not wishing to diminish the the intensity of the desire for children, this is the best analogy I’ve found so far: There is a image of older women desiring children; that they feel a hole, along with a sense of urgency while they wait. That’s the best way I can describe my “need” for excellence, or maybe just existence, in this realm of music.

Being able to sing (even well) is somehow not enough, in the way that these women, while perhaps willing to adopt, desperately want to hold their own baby.

It is a very awkward need to have, truly, because I’ve found little internal motivation (e.g., to practice) beyond the bloated sense of need that it happen. The means of happening is woefully under-funded.

Continue reading »

Speaking of Music…

Here is a Dad Song to pair with the Mom Song.

Both have been around for a while, but I just found the dad song today (Girltalk).

I laughed-to-crying at least four times during the 4-minute run-time. (Can anybody guess I needed this today?) My kids (especially E) now start laughing every time they hear the intro.

More evidence about Mother setting the mood in the home.
Sweet Jesus let it reflect you.