Friday, June 20, 2014

Once More Into the Fray

For Father's Day: A New Method for Torturing the Kids
I've resisted this one for quite a while...

It started with the mandolin -- everyone knows that story. And when I felt I needed a little variety or to explore outside the edges, I added a banjo, a guitar, and eventually even a bass guitar. Every so often I try to tune my voice with the guitar, too, and I do keep a harmonica in the car for when I'm stuck in traffic.

This, though, is something different.

The overarching intention hadn't changed: I want to see more amateur musicians practicing out in the wild. It didn't seem that that was going to happen unless I was part of the scene, so I picked up an instrument of my own and started. Along the way, I also picked up the notion that it would be wise to have one or two of each of the bluegrass band basic instruments on hand so that I could host and encourage the effort. With that, I also picked up the notion that I should at least be passable on each of those instruments so I could fill in on one if people dropped by with particular expertise or interest in another.

The fiddle, I figured, would be the last -- and a long way off before I would even consider it. The learning curve to "passable" -- or even "bearable" -- is comparatively huge.

Now here it is.

In retrospect -- or rationalizing backwards -- I couldn't have imagined the fiddle being my first instrument: there would simply be far, far too much for me to learn all at once.  Now with some fiddle tunes under my belt from the mandolin, why not try them out on a fiddle?

It's going to be a while before anyone else enjoys this as much as I do, but at least I've gotten out of my own way to give it a shot.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Maya Who.

What do I know about Maya Angelou?

Some years ago, she was scheduled to be the commencement speaker at the university.

Maya Who? The university didn't teach me that -- different major. I looked her up. The university didn't teach me that either -- another story. Ahh, a poet... and some quote about what to do when people show you they are.

She didn't show up. Something better on the schedule, I suppose.

Here's hoping.

And now you know.

Spirit bells ring in the distance, a former monk mispronounces your name.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

A Belated Gift

[Clever Caption comes from Here]
Can you choose the "mode" through which your own mind interprets what it perceives?

If you can answer the question definitively with a "yes" or a "no," your mode -- your assumptions, beliefs, and so forth -- is essentially revealed -- high-five! If asked to explain your answer, I have full confidence that your articulate self can explain your answer, citing beliefs, experiences, stories of others' experiences, ... No problem, but can you entertain changing your assumptions in such a way that the response changes?

It's puzzling. Maybe intentionally so.

Somewhere there is someone with a grin emerging, ready to answer as if it's a koan; and somewhere else there is someone who's ready to yell "Don't know!" or make a big noise slapping the floor or the table with a stick or a hand. Is that you? Or do their answers make sense to you?  Are you on the way to becoming one of them?

Was it your choice? Could it have been different?

Sit with it long enough and it will eventually make sense.  I trust your articulate self will be able to explain why.

...and when you tell me, you know how I'll respond, right?



Music has had nearly my full attention for two years. That's how I had to experience it before I could make it meaningful to anyone -- and really, there is a lot to tell about that journey. Aikido and Zen practices -- including writing -- arguably were the trade.

It's springtime though, and time to rebalance.  If I don't adjust from the sedentary practices, I might not live long enough to convey them.

Interested people, let me know. You'll find the the form link on the right.