Tuesday, August 27, 2013

oh my achy breaky heart

"Remember who you are." – Mufasa (quoting Ray and Mary Carver)
My parents were saying this way before the Disney machine churned out The Lion King. These were the words they sent me off with on a regular basis. Whether I was going on a date, to a friend's house, or away on an extended trip, their exhortation was always the same: "Remember who you are."

Thursday, August 22, 2013

"you played good for a girl" - goodbye, Marian McPartland

Nowadays it seems to me nobody takes trouble about anything, especially writing songs. - Marian McPartland 
Every once in a while, a person will come along and beat the odds. They'll combine their natural talent and passion with a lot of hard work and a boatload of perseverance to buck the stereotypes, stump the naysayers, and create something beautiful and new and uniquely theirs. The jazz world lost such a treasure on 20 August when jazz pianist and radio host Marian McPartland died at the age of 95.

Marian McPartland, Mary Lou Williams, Thelonious Monk (Photograph by Art Kane)

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

a parent's worst nightmare, a parent's best hope

Last night I had every parent's nightmare: I dreamed my child was kidnapped.

It was just a dream. She is fine. But still, it was very disconcerting.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

my weird habits: being a human pincushion

Yesterday I allowed myself to be stuck with needles like a voodoo doll, and boy do I feel better!

I have chronic pain and stiffness in my right shoulder. I've had it for years and years. Only recently did I realize that it probably was the result of playing the tenor saxophone in band from middle school through college. Hanging a 7lb weight around your neck for hours at a time and carrying a 24 lb case to school and back could definitely have some repercussions. Talk about suffering for your art.

Regular visits to the chiropractor, occasional deep massage, and stretching regularly usually keep me in good health. But lately the pain has increased, and now my lower arm and elbow are acting up and my right hand goes to sleep if I don’t keep moving it. I rearranged my workstation. I shifted my pillows. I tried arnica gel and even resorted to ibuprofen, but I still couldn't get relief.

Finally I made an appointment to get stuck in Summerville. With needles. On purpose.

Thursday, August 08, 2013

power, sex and hope: the ageless story of Camelot

"...The winter is forbidden till DecemberAnd exits March the second on the dotBy order, summer lingers through September...There is simply nota more congenieal spotthan here in Camelot" -  King Arthur in Camelot by Alan Jay Lerner
Imagine an idyllic city. A holy city. A beautiful, hopeful city, warm and inviting and surrounded by sparkling water. A city bursting with the best life has to offer: Love. Power. Wealth. Gentility. Diligence. Charity. Elegance. 

But it seems wherever virtuous self-promotion commands the limelight, a seedier side lurks nearby in the shadows: Infidelity. Greed. Illegitimacy. Intrigue. Revenge. Desire. War. 

Even in Camelot. Or Charleston.

Friday, August 02, 2013

curiouser and curiouser: the good luck teacher

Rabbit. That is the first word I uttered aloud this morning, this Thursday the First day of August 2013. On purpose. In the dark in my bedroom all alone before getting out of bed I said "Rabbit."

This is an old habit, a superstition really. I have tried to say "rabbit" aloud before uttering another word on every First morning of every Month of my life for the past 38 years.

I haven't always been successful. Sometimes I don't think of it in time. Sometimes there is something more important that I need to say aloud first, something like "I love you" or "wait, I have to pee first." But then I remember that I should have said "rabbit" first. Only it's too late and I have to wait another whole month.

Why do I do this?

Because in 6th grade, my English teacher Mrs. Mowry told me to.