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Music will set you free – or is it just me?

March 23, 2009 at 12:05 am

Chocolate cake and music. All in one night. Could it get any better than? I suppose a flute of the bubbly would have “iced the cake” so to speak, but if I had to pick just one of these gifts of life, it would definitely be music.

Last night I got to do what I love best. Play music. Sing for friends. Harmonize old favorites. Jazz, Joni Mitchell and Beatles. And, with people from 20 to 60. Maybe 70.  What that does for my soul is…well…it’s the closest thing to freedom that I know. Please don’t choke on my corn, it’s true.

I love my  job. I love books. I adore working with gifted authors. The challenge of bringing their work to the attention of the masses is rewarding. It’s a wonderful livelihood. The best job in Florida.

But, the music. Ever since I crawled onto the piano at age three, I knew what I was here for. It’s just that life has a habit of getting in the way and pushing the music to the bottom of the list.  Or is it me? The exhaustion from work stress, personal stress and the new brand of universal stress leaves little energy left for anything, never mind music. Barely room for a martini.

But the little voice in my head says, “you are so wrong.” That is the very thing that replenishes energy. Music is the soul’s salve and spirit’s elixer. It’s medicine that we (I) should access more regularly. Talk about  carrying all the answers inside of you. For me, it couldn’t get more literal. 

Bring me my guitar, put me in front of a piano and ask me for a song. In return you’ll get my heart. If you feel more joy than I do, I’d be surprised.  And, if I can harmonize a tune with another songbird, I am officially bliss bound.

I write this post as a reverie to the magic of music. I also write this to share something that my friends Gopal and Radha Bello are involved with – “Interplay Jazz Camp” (sounds like Band Camp, but is really better),

Held in Woodstock, VT, at the end of June, it’s a music-centered week of nuturing mind, body, soul with some pretty impressive characters.  Check out the camp’s head guy, Fred Haas (who I got to jam with last night btw – him playing sax while I played piano and sang):

A Senior Lecturer at Dartmouth College, Fred Haas teaches Jazz Improvisation, Jazz History, Music Theory, Saxophone, Jazz Piano and directs several jazz combos. Fred also teaches saxophone at the University of Vermont and he is the Founder and Director of Interplay Jazz Camp, a week-long holistic jazz workshop that integrates meditation, yoga and natural foods to enhance creativity and support a relaxed approach to practicing and performing.It’s for beginning to advanced improvisers and vocalists

Did you read that? YOGA, MEDITATION, NATURAL FOODS and MUSIC – if I don’t go, stop reading my blog and give up on me. No, really, it’s a bit close on the calendar, but wow, what an opportunity. If you can go, do report back with the goods.

All of this was made possible by my dear friends Gopal and Radha Bello who hosted a bunch of musicians at their Florida home last night. These are two people that you’re going to hear from in the book world in short order. Yogis, counselors, teacher, and big walking hearts are these two. The real deal.

As soon as I figure out the technology, I’ll post something musical of my own here on KWTB&B.   I think we’re due for a little more of the “Beyond” part of this book & beyond blog, don’t you?

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My neighborhood Teradactyl

March 22, 2009 at 3:00 pm

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Rainy day woman

March 21, 2009 at 1:25 pm

 

today

today

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You tell me…

March 20, 2009 at 6:59 am

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Guest Post: What Do I Want to Be…Now That It’s Hard to Be What I Wanted to Be When I Grew Up?

March 19, 2009 at 12:00 am
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MacDuff will never have to reinvent himself. He will always have one career: being a cat. I, and a lot of my friends, might not be so lucky. 

See, nowadays, with people getting laid off faster than you can say “because of this downturning economy,” jobs in the careers we do have, or used to have, or were trained to have, are drying up. And for a lot of us, those jobs have gone the way of the rotary phone. Who’d a “thunk” it?

What a shocker! Never in my wildest dreams did I ever envision a world where big-name daily newspapers were dropping like dominos and bookstores both big and small were living on borrowed time. I always thought that writing was a profession with a lot of possibilities. There were always magazines, newspapers, books, p.r. corporate newsletters, advertising…something you could make some money at. Today, a lot of those avenues are gone…or so overflooded, people are actually writing for free (as in the Huffington Post.) And now, of course, with the internet, unfortunately, unless you are a top blogger, the career of “writer” isn’t valued as much because everybody does it. Good, bad, indifferent…everybody writes. So it’s not just a handful of people who’re competing for the reader’s tired eyes….it’s the whole world..and the whole world’s blogs and websites.

So whereas the question used to be: “What do I want to be when I grow up?” these days I have to ask myself, “What do I want to be now that I am grown up and can no longer be what I wanted to be when I grew up?” Or, simply put: “What else do I want to be? And what else can I make a living from?”

It’s a loaded question. But one you could have some fun with (in between crying in your beer over your dwindling 401-K). Let’s see, if I wanted to reinvent myself…..maybe I could study to be a blimp operator (and get to see all the football games for free), or a personal trainer…and get my exercise for free (and get paid for it). I love animals, so I could study to be a vet’s technician, and pet all the puddies all day long (and maybe get my cats’ medical visits for free). I could study bartendering (and get my drinks for free–that would save me a lot). Or maybe I could study to be an airline pilot, make a dramatic landing in the Hudson River, save over one hundred people, then sell my memoir for $2.5 million.

Or maybe I could just study to be a cat…and get everything for free.

Hey, this reinventing myself might not be so bad after all.

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