Tuesday, September 15, 2009

More Practice

Music is one of the lodestones of my life. Had it been the only one I certainly would have ended in a very different life. I tried to leave music behind at one point. I quite genuinely believed music had nothing more for me. I wandered off into other efforts to lift myself out of here, into some other life. I had a partner. I had work. I also had a marriage and a career. Eventually, my wife believed enough in what I did that she suggested there was a way to turn my work into the completion of my degree. She was right. I sat at home night after night writing and planning and researching, following the directions that the university gave me to turn my life work into college credit. I created a document of nearly 300 pages and asked for 28 credits. I needed 24 to graduate. I did graduate. It took me 2 years, the first year to settle into what I was really trying to do and the last year to do it.

It turned out that the whole thrust of my work was over at the point that I turned it into upper division college credit by producing a post graduate level practicum. I didn’t know it was over then, but I know it now. Then I thought my work might resume around some corner I couldn’t see. Now I am pretty sure I am happy that it didn’t flower into a new life. My work to that point, in 1981 when I graduated has ebbed away. In the mid nineties music came back into my life, poised for a major intensification in 2001 when I entered my five year relationship with Frances.

In the last decade poetry has emerged as another lodestone. I didn’t have a clue that was going to happen. I have no idea if it will last. Poetry is a practice. Music is a practice. These practices are actually my work. I make my living in Engineering and I do this so I can work. I ask daily to be well placed in all of these areas. I feel blessed.

A third lodestone is my participation in AA. It too is a practice. If I don’t have sobriety I have nothing. I need to remain connected, need to serve, need to keep reverence before the Power that keeps me sober. I need to remember where I come from.

The quaternity is completed by my prayer practice. This consists of chanting and mostly solitary prayer.

More Practice

You said it is how
the world is made, that the slow
sad songs are easy
to play, while the bright
glad songs just take more practice
and are more mature.
You said I like sad
because I am afraid joy
will break me open.

What do you know of me
to say such things?

February 12, 2009 9:37 AM


  1. :) so, are you making music?
    Is it a sad song or a glad song?
    either way, i know i will love it.
    I am all ears...

  2. Oh I like this one. I like what it says.

  3. Be strong... it's a tough path of practice in all these disciplines... but resolve in one contributes to all these areas of your life... and spills over into the lives of others...

    Thanks for this... and for your candor

  4. Strong words: "I need to remember where I come from". That in itself is a prayer.

  5. Music and poetry are interchangeable to me. I listened to a DVD yesterday, a tribute to the great Leonard Cohen and it was mind-blowing and so full of beauty and wisdom. Every day is a few fresh start. Blessings, fellow traveler!

  6. music, poetry, AA, and prayer -- all connections to creation and gifts from the Power

    for me: family, my work (yes, meaningful, meaningful - if I didn't believe that I don't know if I could do it), poetry, and prayer. I am feeling the pull of painting again, and I think I'll be back there soon.

  7. Hi Christopher,

    I just found your blog and it has been a pleasure visiting. Strong and beautiful writing.



  8. Jozien, I make both but I am still better at sad songs. They give you more time to get things right.


    Gray, welcome.

    Jon, I don't know about others, but I can't do it without passion for the path. I can't simply decide. I have to WANT what I am doing. School was tough for me. It is just impossible to get me to do "A" work in a busy work class. I get "C"s where I have no passion.

    Techno, I agree. Remembering where I come from is reverential.

    Marion, As a performer and composer I cannot agree that music and poetry are the same. They use very different parts of my soul and mind and that is why I have real trouble doing lyrics. I cannot write an actual song to save my life, at least not one that isn't drivel. Where melody comes from for me is not even close to verbal. There is a huge gap. Where rhythm comes from, the same. These for me are not language skills.

    Karen. That is interesting. I needed real work in the real world and never thought that work would fit my soul in the first place. I was so lucky. I could not have guessed that the kind of work I do even existed. It is meaningful, engaging, interesting, but not soul satisfying. I survive it, even enjoy it, but I don't expect my paying work to do much more than keep my cash flow going and give me satisfaction at the end of the day. My work is worth doing, but my Path lies elsewhere.

  9. Jenny, thanks for dropping by. I visited your site and found your writing haunting.

  10. Knowing how important music is to you, I keep looking on the sidebar for a new link...maybe someday?

  11. marvelous honesty... one might say... rigorous!
    sad or glad, moon and sun, dark and light.... I got sober for all of it....emotional maturity remains my biggest puzzle and the goal of my next 24 hours which begins.... hmmm,now..

  12. I said I lived
    the long sad song
    I know how that one goes
    I will gladly
    sing the happy
    when I remember the words
    I open my mouth
    to let a trapped note out
    other times
    it falls out of my pen
    I got nothin' so
    I sing it how it is

    That is where I came from,
    I won't ever forget


  13. Robin, I am never going to be very complex on my blog as long as my phone lines only give me 28.8 kbps. The lines are old and funky. I am not willing to spend the bucks for broadband. Thus my speed connection is the 56 k at work. But then I don't have that kind of time to be posting and such.

    Harlequin, I don't know how rigorous I am but I hope I am not rigid. It is a practice :)

  14. Michelle, I am so fond of you I could just bust.

  15. to put to face
    this mask or that
    or with a pen inspire
    to dance on broken barroom glass
    or pluck a fecund lyre
    the wonder what
    each gesture {Jester} holds
    the motions of a fool
    who prances boldly 'fore the Queen?
    who feigned pretense to rule?
    in moments' silent twilight hints
    of shadows reappear
    whisper aspirations sent
    in humble murmured prayer


  16. Ghost, usually, when you give us something you say who it is from and this time you simply say GD. I have to assume you wrote this, in which case I gasp and bow, your humble servant.

    Then I think a minute on whether you think I'm a joker or not. Though indeed the Jester is closely twinned in Tarot with the Fool, and He is divine, a relative of the minor Native American god Coyote. I love it all.

    Thank you.

  17. when i sign a pome " GD" it's mine.... if i steal from somebody else, as i frequently do, i give them credit.... i should do that with the pictures too, but you can always trace them to see where they come from. my pictures are signed. if they're not signed, they're not mine..... i stole them from someplace on the internet because i liked them..... i showed you this card before....

  18. Smooooooooch!

    I didn't like to leave that on the next one :)


  19. I wonder if it would break a person open? Maybe that's why we only get to experience it in small doses, in life. Not as an ongoing state.

  20. Rachel, I wonder if joy is addictive. I know that people organize their whole lives around the intent to maximize happiness, so much so that many are sure that we all do - as even immortalized in American political life - "the pursuit of happiness" as a goal and a right.

    A mature human spirit might have a different and less direct approach to the question of what to do with a human life.

    I personally think that the purpose for being on the planet is not found in the pursuit of happiness, but more in the pursuit of a meaningful life, a life that makes a substantial difference, an improvement of some kind.


The chicken crossed the road. That's poultry in motion.

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