Tag Archives: writing

Stumptown Winter

Standard

screen-shot-2017-02-16-at-12-49-58-pm

Cold season’s sky

The color of

old men’s teeth.

Discouraging,

like poverty,

a hapless, heavy gray.

Freezing rain.

Needles piercing tattooed skin

Staggering,

Like an angry crowd’s

paralytic crush.

Then a bud,

A blade of chartreuse grass.

It only takes an infant’s smile

To excise labor’s pain.

By Stacy Alexander, 2017

The King Returneth… An Uber App Review, Capellini and A Lot of Theatre Talk…

Standard

Image

My husband, John,  returned from the 2014 TCG National Conference in San Diego last night  feeling renewed and excited, having learned a lot more about the play writing arena.  He feels that this conference really helped him elevate his endeavors to a more professional level.   He saw many one act plays and worked with some notable Hollywood writers, such as the guys that wrote the HBO series, “Hung”.

It was fun to see how this conference sparked his enthusiasm and breathed new life into his ardor for play writing.  Can’t wait to see what he does next.  He is now urging ME to write a play and to attend next year’s conference with him.  I hope to be able to do that, but since I still have another year of my grad program to do, it isn’t likely that I will be able to accomplish it just yet.

One can dream, however.

Image

Global Citizenship is one of TCG’s four core values (Artistry, Advocacy, Diversity and Global Citizenship), underscoring the organization’s  belief that the future of the U.S. professional not-for-profit theatre requires a connection to the international network of theatres, artists and other cultural leaders.   John loved how the group promotes cultural and aesthetic diversity, and learned about many  of those things as they apply to playwriting in this context.

This was a good thing.  I’m so happy that he went, and I love the fire that attending seemed to have lit under him.  His voice sounded so excited as he spoke of it all, and I was glad to hear that. Can’t wait to see what he does next.  He also got some excellent leads toward production deals for his own work.

In other news, I  had a nice meal of capellini with fresh, organic tomatoes, peppers and basil waiting for him when he got home.  I served it with some pistachio-encrusted asparagus and some of the organic zucchini that we picked last weekend, cooked  in a light white wine sauce with Hawaiian sweet onions.  I also made a nice salad of sliced tomatoes, avocado and other earthly delights.  It was delicious, and John was appreciative of my efforts.

Image

We ate slowly, sipped wine and had a lovely visit after he got home. I loved listening to him talk about his time in San Diego, and I had fun filling him in on everything that has been going on here…and no, this isn’t us in the pic below.  Just illustrating someone else eating FISH, which I, the vegetarian, never eat .

meal

While in San Diego, John tried out the UBER app on his iPhone for the first time.  He is now quite enthusiastic about it, so I think it will be regularly used during our future travels.  The app is one that enlists a network of private drivers to run a cab service that is a fraction of the cost of regular Taxis….and the experience is much more pleasant than that provided by the usual cab service, so he was happy.

Image

It is a little hard to explain exactly how this app works, but the concept goes a little something like this:  Users download the app for either iPhone or Android platforms, and then use it to signal their needs for a ride.  Within a few minutes (John reported less than 5 minutes every time he used it.) nice, shiny black cars show up to take users to their destinations.  Since the user’s credit card is already configured to the mobile app used to call for the ride, the payment and tip are both charged automatically, so no cash is exchanged.  John said service was perfect, and that he enjoyed using this app very much.

John and I both love San Diego.  We stay there from time-to-time, in our timeshare near Balboa Park, but this trip was all business, and I was busy here in Portland, so I stayed behind this time.

Image

I’m glad that he is home now.  He still sleeping this morning, and I am getting ready to make some Meyer lemon pancakes with blueberries.  The aroma will wake him, and when he wakes to the smell of something delicious on the stove, he is in an excellent mood all day…so cooking this morning, is a win-win.

Mark Twain on Writing

Standard
Image
(from Mark Twain’s scathing essay on the Literary Offenses of James Fenimore Cooper)

1. A tale shall accomplish something and arrive somewhere.

2. The episodes of a tale shall be necessary parts of the tale, and shall help develop it.

3. The personages in a tale shall be alive, except in the case of corpses, and that always the reader shall be able to tell the corpses from the others.

4. The personages in a tale, both dead and alive, shall exhibit a sufficient excuse for being there.

5. When the personages of a tale deal in conversation, the talk shall sound like human talk, and be talk such as human beings would be likely to talk in the given circumstances, and have a discoverable meaning, also a discoverable purpose, and a show of relevancy, and remain in the neighborhood of the subject in hand, and be interesting to the reader, and help out the tale, and stop when the people cannot think of anything more to say.

6. When the author describes the character of a personage in his tale, the conduct and conversation of that personage shall justify said description.

7. When a personage talks like an illustrated, gilt-edged, tree-calf, hand-tooled, seven-dollar Friendship’s Offering in the beginning of a paragraph, he shall not talk like a Negro minstrel at the end of it.

8. Crass stupidities shall not be played upon the reader by either the author or the people in the tale.

9. The personages of a tale shall confine themselves to possibilities and let miracles alone; or, if they venture a miracle, the author must so plausably set it forth as to make it look possible and reasonable.

10. The author shall make the reader feel a deep interest in the personages of his tale and their fate; and that he shall make the reader love the good people in the tale and hate the bad ones.

11. The characters in tale be so clearly defined that the reader can tell beforehand what each will do in a given emergency.

An author should

12. _Say_ what he is proposing to say, not merely come near it.
13. Use the right word, not its second cousin.
14. Eschew surplusage.
15. Not omit necessary details.
16. Avoid slovenliness of form.
17. Use good grammar.
18. Employ a simple, straightforward style.

Some old poetry

Standard
These  are some of my older poems:
We are….
pick
 
R
Two notes
Harmonious Duet
in Spirit and in flesh
Adagio & capriccio at once.
Restful at ease…but spirited
Composing our own chromatic scale
We are enharmonic intervals
Two notes…
Differing in name only
Homophony, meant to play
in unison
Intimate in character,
…yet impromptu
Timeless and classical
Yet newly composed
Playing each measure
lovingly and in tempo
A Romantic prelude
to our climatic symphony.
 
guitarkiss

heart-moon

A Heart Struck Moon

Our flesh entwined

on the altar bed.
Moonlight
gently bathes
Cimmerian shade
with lustrous alms.
of light.
and love.
A heart struck moon
Paints lace of light,
Across our mortal souls,
We kiss goodnight.
 blue angel

Pseudologia Fantastica

With mirrors

summoned from

A childhood priest,

Fata Morgana

sweeps a rusty Midas

high and away

in the cold-hearted

dry autumn air.

Calcine flames

wildfire

over Incubus’ air castles

Ere tornados blast their

cinders to the cheerless heavens.

Algonquin’s frosty smile.

Dreaming of her king’s

resplendent touch

Her inexorably

treasured taste

of gold.

I am the charred remains.

 foxfire

The Luminescence of Foxfire

The luminescence of foxfire

bathes decaying wood.

Suffused, languished light

yearning for the magic

that lives in old books

and fond familiar thoughts.

Meridian shadows can

gull a blind blue eye

into higher thoughts

that quickly drop beneath

dark forest canopies,

and eternal nights of

faintly obscuring leaves.

leafless

Season

Leafless branches reach
to the cloudy darkness of the
December Portland rain.
 pregnant

Gestation

Art waits inside my brain.

Forming sinewy
limbs to create words

twisting forth and bursting

beating with the same heart
as my own

Waiting to emerge.

Stacy Alexander
2009

 drop of blood

Poem for a poem

A poem surged
through my brain
blood though vein
dense and viscous
deep. red. irreverent.
Now it rests
on my bones
and on desert
dry , brittle. soft. gray. white.
Stacy Alexander
2009

The Perils of Songwriting…

Standard

Image

You know, I’ve always been a pretty good songwriter.  I could sit down at a keyboard and hammer something out relatively quickly, and it would be decent….not great, but decent.  However, now that I am taking this songwriting course from the Berklee College of Music, I am finding myself drift over to left brained thinking more, leaving my creative right lobes hungry for more substance.  Things are no longer flowing as easily and naturally as before.  Songwriting that was once easy for me is now more difficult as I struggle with all of these terms and the methodology behind them.  I know it will all come together as I keep going, but right now, it is challenging.  Fortunately, I welcome a good challenge.

Last week, we learned about assonance rhyme and additive rhymes.    This week, we are working with plosives and family rhymes.  Rhyme schemes and consonate rhymes.  We are learning when to use single syllable words and we are learning what makes a rhyme or thought stable or unstable.   The course is fascinating….but sometimes, I wish I could go back to my carefree way of writing that didn’t involve so much thinking about things!

Image

My country and western song, “Call Me When the Coast is Clear”  is starting to shape up, though.  If I can learn to apply all of this theory, I might actually have something!

How About Some Free Education?

Standard

stacy posturized

I am what some refer to as a “professional student,” in that I am perpetually involved in taking classes or one kind or another, whether online or in person.   I have always been thrilled at the prospect of learning.   My dance card remains filled with art classes, literature classes, how-to-make-something classes, singing classes, writing classes…… I have done this for as long as I can remember, and will probably continue for the rest of my life.  I thrive on learning,  and greatly enjoy the challenge of picking up something new.

I get up early in the morning and devote a few hours to each of my educational pursuits, every day.  It is deeply satisfying.  I really enjoy it.  Although I went the traditional route, spent a fortune and got a great college education, one does not  have to spend a lot of money to get an ace education these days.  The resources are at our fingertips.

One of the biggest reasons that people are denied education is because they feel that they can’t afford it.   Fortunately, today,  we exist  in a world where knowledge and information are readily accessible like never before.  Technology has leveled the playing field so that anyone with an interest and an internet connection can receive a world class education, and in many cases, free of charge!     Bloggers, podcasters, search engines and digital content creators of all types of have made it possible  for us to learn virtually anything we want to even if we don’t have the money  . If you want to learn anything chances are there is somebody creating content about the subject and sharing it with the world at no cost.

I don’t sleep a lot, and, in fact  work very hard.   For me, taking classes is a way to indulge myself that is wholly satisfying.  Some people get up in the middle of the night and build a sandwich.  I wake in the middle of the night and study.  For me, this is a delicious treat AND it’s calorie free!  🙂

Image

I got all of my degrees by taking classes in person on bona fide college campuses…. but since the formulation of online classes has advanced so much over the last 5-10 years, I now take a plethora of  online courses.  Some are free.  Some cost money.   My husband is a pioneer in the design and development of online education.  He writes courses for a number of educational entities , and he also teaches online…..and on campus. so I have to credit him for turning me on to this online educational world.

I started my masters degree at Brandman University in Fairfield, CA.  I am getting ready to finish up my masters degree in Psychology from Southern New Hampshire University online.  This school is accredited by the same agency that accredited Harvard and Boston College.  It is a great school and I am looking forward to starting toward the end of September.

I also take jewelry making classes, as I have mentioned previously, from Deryn Mentock (pictured below), a fabulous teacher and inspiration for my new Silverthorn Studios line of jewelry!  These are fun, informative classes, ones that I recommend wholeheartedly, because Deryn instills the skillz, folks!

Image

Deryn Mentock

I take voice lessons from : Aaron Anastasi at http://www.superiorsingingmethod.com.  Aaron’s teaching methods are unsurpassed.  The classes are a real pleasure, and I enjoy them so much.  I have really improved my voice since I started.  Am doing this for my own pleasure, not because I want to go back to being a professional singer.  Those days are long passed.  It just feels great to understand how the vocal chords work and how to control my breath and so forth.  Wish I’d had this information years ago.  These classes are a lot of fun.  I took the basic course.  Then, I purchased the harmonizing classes, which I’ve downloaded, but have not begun yet.

Image

More and more acclaimed universities are offering free online courses that can expand horizons and help anyone learn virtually anything they want to know…or help people hone skills that they already have.  There are a handful of  traditional education institutions that have started to embrace this trend.   One ne of the very first to do so was MIT, a world class institution where tuition would run you a mucho dinero!   However, through open courseware an MIT education is , like magic,  available to anybody who wants one.  Courses are available in engineering, management, science, architecture and a number of other areas. If other institutions start to follow suit, people who have been denied the privilege of education for financial reasons will finally have an opportunity if they want it.   Harvard, Yale, Stanford….These schools all offer free classes.  Last year, I took a course from Stanford on creativity.  It is not a class that I liked very much….very disorganized and not well put together.  I felt, in fact, that it was largely created to promote the instructor’s book….but not all of these classes are like that.  Some are just great.

Duke, Princeston, Georgia Institute of Technology…..go ahead!  Take your pick.  Choose a course and enlighten yourself today!

It’s free!  https://www.coursera.org/courses

Songwriting 101- Some Tips and Tricks by Stacy Alexander

Standard

songwriting 5

For years, when I was very young, I sang and played keyboards/guitar with a wide variety of musical groups.  ( Never was very good, but that’s beside the point.  😉 )    I’ve been a writer for decades.  One of the challenges  of being a writer back when I made music,  was writing songs.   As with most creative acts, songwriting does require a certain level of skill, so it takes practice.   There are certain thing one can do to improve one’s songwriting skills .

Here are some exercises to try, if you’re interested:

A Song Begins  With an Idea

 Each song begins with a spark of the imagination.  Anything can cause it….an event…a romance…a flower…that crabby waiter down at the local cafe….anything.   It  is natural to express our thoughts and ideas in one way or another.  As a songwriter one’s  creative outlet is through songs.    The purpose of a song is to communicate ideas to others.

Receiving song writing  inspiration can happen at any time.  I never knew when it was going to hit me….and that is just how it is.   If one stays awake, alive and engaged with one’s surroundings,  an abundance of ideas should automatically present themselves. There is never an excuse for running out of song ideas. Ideas are the very beginning….the raw material inherent in every song.

songwriting 1

Cultivate Your Ideas

 

A crucial component that can help  improve one’s songwriting ability is to develop ideas and cultivate them into songs. It can help to catalog one’s ideas by  them in a journal, or by speaking them into a recorder.  iPhones are great for this.   Ideas for lyric are as fleeting  as smoke. A system is needed to capture them.

songwriting 7

I always found that the best way to cultivate ideas was through brainstorming. Brainstorming allows one to think and expand on a given  idea.  The goal is to  build on an original thought. This, of course, leads to new thoughts which eventually leads to that final well developed concept upon which one can write lyrics.

songwriting 3

The Title is Important! 

Once a songwriter has a  crystal clear concept for a given song,  a title should be considered.  Keep in mind that the title is the primary element to any lyric because it is the song’s main topic.   It is so important to get the title right.  This  can make the rest of the writing process much simpler.   The  title should, in effect,  summarize the story that the song is about.  I remember sitting in on a songwriting session that a friend of mine did back when the film, “Children of a Lesser God” had just been released.  I witnessed how he took that title and developed it into a country and western tune called, “Children of a Looser God” that talked about tolerance.  It was such a cool song.  I was quite inspired by it.

In most cases, the title ends up being the main hook that one will find in the chorus.  A good devise to use is to highlight the title by repeating it a number of  times within the song.  There are a lot of different positions where one can place the  song title.   Just play around with it.  One good place  is at the end of the chorus….or at the chours’ beginning . Another is at the end of  all the verses. It’s up to the writer.

songwriting 4

Tell  a Story

 

Every good song should, at some level, tell a story.  There are specific elements that a good lyrical story should  have.

First, a plot is absolutely necessary.  It doesn’t have to be complex and long.  It just needs to portray  the characters with some kind of tension or conflict, such as unrequited love…and perhaps a solution can be found…or hopes for a solution…that will resolve the conflict.

The lyric needs a real reference point as well.  It can be told from  first person, second person or third person. Once the songwriter decides on the point of reference, it should be kept consistent.  In most cases, one should avoid switching the reference point unless the story is about more than one person speaking from different perspectives.

I don’t know if you have noticed this or not, but  good lyrics progress through time in some way.   They have a beginning  point.  Then, something happens in the middle and finally, there is an ending point.  The writer can change any and all of these elements to emphasis certain aspects by shifting around with the order of the time periods.

As  the song’s story line is developed, the songwriter should  make certain  that each and every  line  is written to support the song’s  title.  If a line is written that does not, in some way, support the title, it should be removed.   Can you see now why the title is so important?

songwriting title

Paint a Picture with Words

 

This painting imparts the emotional feel to any music and  is what makes music such an astonishingly pithy art form. One should keep in mind the difference between telling or saying something  and showing the listening audience what one means. Telling is a stale, academic means of expression. Showing paints a picture in the listener’s mind’s eye.  This makes each song more vibrant, and memorable.

songwriting 8René Best musician

Rewrite any Story into Lyrics

 

Good lyrics follow specific  patterns that include a number of lines per verse and chorus.  The meter is the number of syllables in each line.  Every  line has a repeating meter.  This is what creates the song’s rhythm.

It can help  to work on a  melody line at this point,  to help match the song’s  lyrics to the musical patterns that have evolved.   A lot of  songwriters believe that the lyric should come first, and that can work.   However,  if one  has a melody already composed, the songwriter’s job is to write lyrics that work with the melody.  When a melody already exists,  it helps the songwriter to understand which  syllables to emphasize.

Develop a Rhyme Scheme for the Lyrics

 rhyme

As  lyrics begin to take shape and develop a  structure, the writer should keep in mind that the  human ear enjoys the sound of rhymes. There is a lot of bad, bad rhyming poetry out there.  However, rhymes are good when it comes to writing songs.  Most, but not all, song lyrics have specific patterns that rhyme.  The most frequently used position  to place a rhyming word is logically at the end of a line. Here are some rhyming  pattern suggestions:

  1. Each of  four lines rhyme
  2. The first and third lines rhyme
  3. The second and fourth ones rhyme

Of course, this is not a hard core rule.  There are, in fact many other possibilities.  There are merely some of the more popular rhyming patterns that songwriters use.

We’ll Cross That Bridge When We Come To It….

musical bridge

 In songwriting, the word, “bridge” takes on a whole new meaning.   Most contemporary songs  have at least three different sections that consist of the verse, the chorus and the bridge.    The bridge is a good place to insert a little twist  for interest.  It can contain a new melody and rhythm for an uneven number of bars, or a slight twist in the lyric.  One can compare it to the crisis at the end of the second act in a riveting film.  A rule of thumb to keep in mind when writing songs it that each section, the melody line, the chords, the rhythm and the words are different from each other.  Whatever you write in the verse should not be included in the chorus nor in the bridge.   Whatever is written in the chorus should not be also written in the verse or  in the bridge.

Refine the Song

refining

Sometimes, it helps to set a song aside and to just walk away from it after working on it for awhile.  It is a rare occasion in which one can write a song from beginning to end on the first try .  Rewriting lyrics polishes them up and adds additional insight into the project.

Songwriting Isn’t Rocket Science

rocket

Try not to over-think when writing.  Do not dwell on minute details.  Try to establish a flow.  Just get something down on paper.  Then, go back and refine gradually, changing a word here and a line there.  Songwriting is not rocket science.  Once a person gets on a roll, it can freely flow and become something pleasant….or dramatic….or whatever the songwriter wants.

Have Fun! 

fun

Have fun with your songwriting.  Try not to take yourself too seriously and just go with whatever comes to mind in the moment.  You may surprise yourself!

If I Were in Your Novel

Standard

A shout out to my friend, Kev, who sent me this question.    If you are a writer,  or thinking about becoming one,  I think it is a good question to ask when you are doing character sketches.  Here is the question and my own answers:

  .                   .    

“If I were to depict you in my novel, what 20 characteristics would you have?”

 

blue user pic

  • I must have fresh flowers in my house at all times.
  • Lemon water is my drink of choice….preferably with Meyer lemons.
  • However, I also drink a lot of coffee and exotic teas.
  •  I do not speak in ambiguous terms.
  • I generally speak softly and am quiet and introspective.
  • I listen more than I speak.
  • I am a Scorpio and the majority of my friends are Scorpio.
  • I’ve seen fire and I’ve seen rain.
  • I attract loud, rambunctious, intelligent and funny people.
  • I have a titillating and delicious secret….and speaking of that…                          René Best guitarist
  • I laugh a lot.
  • The number of beautiful shoes that I own is probably illegal in some states.
  • I meditate….every day…several times a day.
  • I have a penchant for the Japanese aesthetic (wabi-sabi).
  • I am a devout vegetarian and (am told)  a great cook.
  • I rarely go anywhere without my camera.
  • I am a grad student at Southern New Hampshire University
  • Guitarist Guitar Guitarist Guitar Guitarist
  • I work many, many, many, many, many, many, many, many hours a week. MANY of them.  Many.      
  • I tend to arrive late and leave early.
  • I am also attracted to the midcentury modern aesthetic and my living room reflects this.
  • I am an intelligence junkie.
  • I am an enthusiast of the excellent book and/or film.
  • I do yoga. …not well, but I do it.
  • Dislike speaking on the phone….except …well….never mind.
  • Seldom sleep.  It’s a curse.
  • Am politically active.
  • Have a documentary project, a novel, a cookbook and a book of poetry in the works.

Ok, Kev….write your story! 😉

I Married a Playwright….

Standard

Image

Ok.  I lied.

Well, half  lied anyway.  First, and of course, I did NOT marry William Shakespeare.  In fact. I married no playwright at all…..at least my husband was not a playwright *when* I married him.  He was then, and still is, a brilliant writer and college professor.  However, I am now pleased to announce that after 6 years of hard work on this particular piece, he has just completed his first play, “Love Me, Fuseli”  What’s more, he gave it to me for my birthday, with the following dedication:

Dedication:

To my loving wife, Stacy Alexander,
who taught me the most
about what a woman wants.

The play is about Mary Wollstonecraft, the  eighteenth-century British writer, philosopher, and advocate of women’s rights, her lover, Henry Fuseli,  a Swiss painter, draughtsman and writer on art, and, of course, their friend, William Blake. …and everyone knows who he was.  🙂   The play focuses on the love affair between Wollstonecraft and Fuseli and a lot of the political things they were involved in at the time….how Mary put up with endless B.S, all in the name of love.  I have read bits and pieces of it through the years, but only now have the completed manuscript.  I have yet to find the time to sit down and savor it, but I know it will be great.

I just took John out to dinner at Wafu, to celebrate.  We had a feast and felt…well…festive!   He is now sending the play out to various distributors and producers, trying to get a deal.  It is a long, arduous process, but I, for one, am just happy that he finished it.

Hats off to Dr. J.E. Freed, folks!

The Home Office

Standard

Do any of you work from home?  If so, do you have friends and family members who ignore the fact that you do, in fact, actually WORK when you’re at home?   This is often the case with me.

I own a content company and also do freelance writing for a number of agencies for whom I ghostwrite books, magazine articles and any number of other publications.  One day, I might be writing an article for the tourist bureau of the Seychelles Islands, and another day, I might be writing about various types of brain exercises for an article to go in a psychological  research publication.   On other days, I might be recruiting writers from the Philippines to write massive bulk articles for a Russian university or I might be writing catalog descriptions for a Chinese gem supplier.  I never know what each day is going to bring my way, in terms of writing.  What I do know is that I spend many, many hours sitting at my computer working….and working hard!

Image

My office is very simply furnished, void of clutter, and is conducive to concentrating on work. Outside of the shot, I have many, many, many books stacked neatly on shelves.  Yeah, this office is milk toast….but so what?  It’s where I work.  It isn’t where I live.   I spend many hours in here each day.  In fact, as I write this, it is now 3:07 a.m. and I have just finished the work I started yesterday morning.  However, certain friends seem to think that because I work from home, that I have different rules than if I worked in an office outside of my home.

One friend will call, and I’ll tell her straight away that I have lots of work to do and can only speak briefly.  She will completely ignore all of my direct statements of, “I really must go now…” and will talk…and talk….and talk….giving me the blow by blow descriptions of her failure at love, the details of her pets, her travels….and many things that should be left unsaid.  REALLY?   Would she do this if I still kept an external office in an actual office building?  No.

Please listen to me when I tell you that I am working.  I really AM working.  Try it sometimes.  You might like it!

Songwriting

Standard

Image

I was reading over my Facebook status updates this morning, and I realized that some of them were quite lyrical and beautiful…or had the potential to be, with a little tweak here and there.  I began to jot them down and realized that I had a number of good lines to use in my song writing endeavors.  Here are some of them:

Listening to songs of hope

Hauntingly honest and so beautiful

It gets better from here….

Can you see where I’m going with this?   I miss making music, and haven’t done it in a long, long time.  When I lived in Houston, I had a gorgeous concert grand piano that I got from ZZ Topp’s (then) manager, Sam Taylor.  We sold it before we moved to Massachusetts, and it is a decision that I truly to regret.  I replaced it with a small Yamaha electric piano that I could hook up to my computer and Garage Band …but alas, I really need to take a course in how to use Garage Band, because I do not find it user friendly at all!  Meanwhile, when 2 year old Ingrid began to display signs of being a real music lover, I moved the piano over to my daughter’s house so she would have ready access to it.  I found myself without any way to play or write music, so I decided to break out my old guitar and brush up.  I was never a very good guitar player, by the way.  When I played in bands in my youth, I either only did vocals or I played keyboards.

I started practicing my guitar, but made very little progress.  THEN….Ingrid knocked it over and broke it, which means that it will go into my “I must make a mosaic out of this…” stash, and I recently bought a new Takamine…acoustic electric….a beautiful little guitar.  I decided to enroll in an online guitar course, and I am studying and practicing diligently.  One of the first things I learned was that I needed to “unlearn” a lot of things I had been taught previously.  They were wrong.  Now that I am learning to play correctly, I find that it is coming along pretty easily.  I mean, guitar playing is not rocket science.  Right?  I’m having fun and learning a lot with enthusiasm.

The online venue where I found the lessons is called, “Guitar Tricks” (http://www.guitartricks.com).  The whole thing is laid out very nicely and categorized by level of expertise, type of playing…electric/acoustic/blues/jazz/rock/folk, et al….Each lesson has a video, but is also typed out, so for a person who has ADD as severely as I, this is great.  I can go back over things when I forget, and when my attention strays, I can switch from one learning mode to another.

Playing, singing and writing are something that I now do just for myself.  It brings me great pleasure and I have a good time doing it.

That’s all she wrote.