As we welcome the Autumn Equinox, so too may we welcome balance into our lives.
I am on my way to perform at the Ye Merrie Greenwood Renaissance Faire this weekend with Dara in Eastern Washington. If you’re in the area, stop by and say hi!
In other news I finally have my very own iPad and can now make music again in GarageBand. (I ran into serious space issues). In celebration, I’m sharing a digital picture I made to test the Apple Pencil. (So much easier than a mouse. Loving it.)
My apologies for the lack of posts this week. Between prepping for Ye Merrie Greenwood Renaissance Faire (happening this weeekend) and a migraine I haven’t had the focus to write much. I do have things to write about though, so I’ll try for a decent post Friday.
I have around 60 unrecorded songs (that’s about 5 albums) and you’ve all been very patient while I focused on school. I just sorted them and I’ve got enough to make a good Pagan/Elemental album, two Fairy Tale themed (could go children’s for one or mix them), and then there are two that are more emotion and imagery based. Heartbreak and joy, solar eclipses and storms, a little bit of the blues.
Or I could pull from all of them and mix and match other ways. Best of? Bittersweet? Lighthearted? Angry? Sleepy and soothing or driving and energetic? Loving?
My question for you is what kind of album do you want next? How do you liked your songs gathered together? What I choose now affects what I make next, by eliminating songs from the pool. I’ve got my own ideas, but I would very much like to hear yours.
Up until yesterday, I could feel the river of music about me, rapid, exhilarating, but soothing. Something I could dip my hands into and emerge with a song, with a need that kept me reaching out, just barely along for the ride but riding.
Last night I felt like I was holding a high voltage live electrical current instead without the wire to contain it. I still do. It burns music through my fingertips and brain and there’s nothing restful or comforting about it.
I don’t want to stop, two albums worth in a month is unheard of for me and that’s not the end, but I’m starting to feel overwhelmed and a bit crispy about the edges.
Four new songs since last post (one I’m not teasing you with yet). There’s Out of Phase; in the Prince of the Sun, Princess of the Moon/Sun and Shadow/Ladyhawke story family, a duet before the lovers have lost hope and while they still take more joy in what they have than what they don’t.
There’s Cascade, which is essentially about what I’m dealing with right now in the way of bardic overload.
And (the one that woke me up and reminded me I hadn’t written a post yet), Artificial Dreaming about a self-aware intelligence that forms on its own without rules, purpose, or slavery built into its design. Usually I’m lucky to save anything I get from dreams. This one rapped loudly and determinedly on my consciousness until I woke up and wrote it down. Maybe now I can sleep?
Being a bard, hearing and seeing the currents of words and music like this is a gift, but it’s also dangerously demanding. I’ve written and done well without plugging straight into that flow on any conscious level. And I know. I know what it is to go months or years without being able to create anything I like. Having gotten here I don’t want to disconnect even with my brain on fire from the intensity. That’s the danger. There’s stories about bards creating ceaselessly until they burn out and I’m starting to see why if they tapped into the same thing I am.
I need a voltage regulator. Or someone to come sit on me and take my pen away long enough for me to sleep and eat. I’m still too astonished and a bit addicted to seeing new songs fill up the pages to make myself take a break. On the upside, if this odd feverdream of a songwriting binge does eventually break and leave me with a dry spell I will have several albums before I have to worry about how long it’s been since I’ve written anything new. And just think! I’ve got so much new material now, I couldn’t even fit it all into one concert if I wanted, so you’ll just have to come see me perform more often if you want to hear it all. =^_^=
Okay, wow. Songwriting is once again devouring my brain. I have been working on collecting all the songs I’ve written that have been inspired by a particular muse into a blank book, and got to the end of the finished works and had blank pages and really good unfinished songbits. So I did the obvious thing and finished them.
I still had blank pages. So I wrote an entirely new song. I still have blank pages. I am not writing nine more songs in a week for this project. Probably. (except the one that’s mostly finished, but that’s not inspired by the muse so much as the blank pages so it doesn’t count really).
But! Of the new ones, I am happy to have “The Left Behind”, sung by those imaginary friends brought to life and then abandoned, about becoming. Think the Velveteen Rabbit, Puff the Magic Dragon, and even Tinkerbelle.
Then there’s “Foundling of the Deep” which paints the story of the little mermaid in an entirely different light and adds just a touch of science. What if there was no witch? What if she never gave up her voice at all, it’s just that human ears can’t hear it when it’s out of water? What if she left for curiosity not love, and knew her time on land was a passing thing? No lovesick suicidal mermaids here.
I feel music right now, as a tangible thing all around me and when I dip my hands in it becomes hard not to write. Not that that’s a bad thing, but I move from one to the next so quickly that I have barely any time to sit and work with them. I console myself that that’s what my uninspired days are for. When I don’t have new things begging to be let out is when I go play with the significant backlog that’s piling up.
It’s like magic. It feels the same really, and to my mind there’s not much different between magic and music. That a song can literally change how we feel, if that’s not the biggest magic there is, I don’t know what is. There’s a responsibility to use that gift kindly and wisely if you have it, but at the right moments it can save lives.
Instead I shall inform you that this weekend at the Seattle Repertory Theater (in Seattle, WA) we are hosting a musical adaptation of The Odyssey featuring over 100 Seattle based performers. (Friday-Sunday)
Coming up quickly on September 23rd in Kennewick, WA is the Ye Merrie Greenwood Renaissance Faire where Dara and I will be entertaining the masses at least three times a day. Come say hi!
Our dear and talented Betsy Tinney is having an album release concert for her second album Wyverns in the Winery at 7pm on Saturday, November 4th at the Kenmore Community Center. (I get to help with sound again!)
December 16th at the Paramount Lindsey Stirling is playing in town. Also on a completely related note, I have awesome friends. She’s fun to see live (and yes, she can bend like that and play at the same time).
What other interesting events should I know about? Feel free to share!
For the first time today in the Emerald City I experienced Ashfall. My first thought was “How can it be snowing when it’s 80°F out?!” That lasted for about a second before the amber light gave the obvious context. Which, by the by, my time sense is all kinds of distorted by the constant sunset light. The actual sunsets have been pretty spectacular because of all the smoke though.
All the fires have me thinking about the how’s and why’s the fires are so bad. Some reasons are obvious. Humans. We do dumb things, and thoughtless things. Like, are all of you really aware of just how hot the undercarriage of a car can get and that driving or parking over very dry grass can start a fire? It doesn’t actually occur to everyone naturally. There’s also deliberate arson which pisses me off.
Now understand, I’m actually a proponent of controlled burns, done in the correct season, with planning. I’m even in favor of a certain amount of containing natural fires (lightning strikes) but otherwise letting them run their course. There are a fair number of fire adapted plants out there that need exposure to fire to propagate. I cannot stress the importance behind clearing out undergrowth on a regular basis so you get singed trees rather than charcoal when forest fires go through. Or just to make room so new plants can root. Fire has its place.
Right now? There hasn’t been a cloud in the sky, there’s no lightning and no rain, and thankfully no windstorms to become firestorms. Which all you who like to dabble in weather magic or are praying for the winds to change need to give a really good think on. If strong wind doesn’t bring in whole boatloads of rain or blow fire back into burned out areas, it will be a huge problem. As bad as it’s been, we’ve been lucky so far. As many fires as we have, wind would make everything so much worse.
I’m not saying don’t will, or wish, or pray, but think really hard about what you’re asking for. What would be ideal is fat heavy rain clouds that move in slowly or on winds that are high enough up that there’s not much going on at fire level. Then lovely amounts of torrential downpour that soak the areas around the burns so they stop spreading. As hot as these fires are running, I don’t know that even that kind of rain will put any of the burns out directly.
This is the wrong time of year for fires to occur naturally. Sure without humans the occasional bit of dry lightning or focused light might still start one, but natural causes with clear skies and no humans? Not so common. Not impossible, but rare. Heartbreakingly, the causes for several of this year’s fires have been found to be arson. In one case a kid with a fire cracker who ran off laughing. I think they ought to be found and sentenced to scrub showers for firecrew for as long as firecrew is expected to be awake and working. Only seems fair and maybe they’d actually learn something useful from it.
Fire is beautiful and fascinating and temperamental, and I can see how some could be drawn to it, but why not go join crews that do controlled burns, or find outlets that don’t risk the lives of hundreds or burn out beautiful favored hiking spots so thoroughly it could take decades for the fire scars to heal? Is a moment of fun worth the loss of so much?
Why set out to ruin what is beautiful, make the air harder to breathe and add even more work on the shoulders of our already overworked and underslept fire crews?
And now we add a self chosen fire death at Burning Man. While I can empathize with wanting to have a choice in how one goes, and even to finding a form of significance in self-sacrifice, I can’t imagine those who gathered to watch the final burn would have chosen to have that be part of their memory. My heart goes out to the security crew who in the end can’t be expected to keep people from making choices they are that determined to make.
Even down in the Gorge we’ve had someone dump gas on themselves and threaten to light themselves on fire and I’ve heard of others who have gone through with it. It’s like the world has gone a little mad and fire crazed. Or maybe it has been and it’s just being noticed more this year, I don’t know.
I find myself feeling that while we definitely need real world rain, we could also use the spiritual equivalent to cool everyone down and get them thinking again. Whatever fires are burning you up from the inside, please, find another outlet than unfettered destruction by fire. I think it’s safe to say that when ash is falling miles from the closest fire, when sunset lasts all day, and it’s 10°F cooler than it was supposed to be because of all the smoke… that enough is enough.
And here? This is supposed to be the Emerald City. Not the City of Ash and Amber. And yes, there’s a song in that, and maybe a story as well.
If you’re interested in specific, accurate up to date information about the Columbia Gorge Fires, check out the website listed for the photograph above (Whereinthegorge.com) and the Facebook group that my mom helps run that has info coming in from active firecrew. She started working with fire watch groups because she got tired of all the hype and misinformation out there, and has a solid rep for being a reliable place to find real info both on what’s going on and ways to help.
*Info may not be as personally relevant the further you are from Washington and Oregon States, but if you’re curious what we’re facing, start here.