I wrote a new poem last night/today titled REUNION. I feel it is in final form and will be sending it out very soon.  I am prepping material for my anticipated feature at Casa Azul in Grand Coteau, LA in April (National Poetry Month) of 2010. I know it is a ways off but I want to generate new material for this reading.  I rarely read a poem twice publicly. It is a commitment I have made to myself and my short term goal to produce new work.

I am listening to Radiohead KID A and feeling naturally buzzed on this fine music.  FYI: my modus operandi often is to write the night away, but it’s not a workable plan for every night.  But if I am fired up to write I have no choice to obey the muse.

~Mom Rock~ the coolest thing ever.

I am sleepless considering songs I want to learn on the guitar.

Currently I am learning several from Sticky Fingers: “Wild Horses,” “Moonlight Mile,” “Dead Flowers” and “Sister Morphine” and a couple other Stones tunes… some Bob Dylan: “One More Cup of Coffee -Valley Below” and “Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door.” There will be more Dylan sought, I’m sure. Some Lucinda Williams: “Drunken Angel” & “Essence” so far, and, “If It Makes You Happy” by Sheryl Crow.

Yeah it makes me happy. Got a problem?

The list above is incomplete and I am adding more songs every day. A stripped down “Satellite of Love” by Lou Reed and some VU tunes, too, and maybe a few of PJ Harvey’s. Some that I’ve listed I’ve already learned or have just begun working out. A few I chose just this morning. So I will be busy for a while.

I don’t want to get bored. I want selections that mean something to me. I’m keeping it real and keeping it neat. I have a punk-pink pocketed folder in my guitar case with the printed out songs. Handy!

I practice every day and night. Often an hour stretches unnoticeably into hours. I am working my voice too. I love that I quit smoking. My singing has improved. I’m still discovering my sound, so no public appearances, unless you come over to my house. There is a $5 Cover.

It’s cool that when I play in bed while Dean is asleep, he seems to go into a deeper sleep—he sighs as if the wracking storms have cleared. If I was bothering him he would not hold back in telling me so–so I am not bothering him. No, no—he is pleased that I have rediscovered a passion and I’m being creative. Now if I turn on the light! Yeah—that would piss him off. So I softly and not so softly play/sing songs I know by heart, and/ or do exercises, improvisations…mess around with chord progressions that sound cool…and work my rhythm; generally explore so that I better-know my instrument.

I am playing the same “Mystical Blue Moon” acoustic guitar I bought back in the late 80s (not a brand just what I call it) and it has held up well. Well, it was stored for 18 years in a soft-lined hard case when I wasn’t playing.

All those years…I held the music in my body until it almost turned to dust. Playing sweet chords released a wellspring of joy in me. I’ve found my musical path again which makes me very happy, so it can’t be that bad.

I gave Mad my old electric, a “Phoenix Electra” (Japanese Fender copy) and she really wants to learn but she has had so much homework nearly every day that she is burnt out or out of time in the evenings. We will work some time in for her to practice. She is so overwhelmed this school year!

I am seriously considering buying a new/gently used electric for myself, a small amp and an effects pedal if they still have those things. It’s been so long since I’ve browsed a music store and technology has evolved. I might check pawn shops and music stores that sell second hand instruments. I’d really like a clean Stratocaster and a modest amp. Nothing fancy, just a workable rig with a solid feel and clean sound.

Rockin’ Momma Out



Under the Spell

When I was seventeen I got an electric guitar for my birthday.  A friend taught me a few chords and I was rocking & rolling.  I played faithfully for three years.  After I married, with so many big changes I let go of my practice and fell out of my groove.

About two weeks ago I bought new strings for my acoustic and my electric guitars.  My daughter wants to know what I know.  After I teach her what I know she might take private lessons.

I, however, am playing everyday again, learning new songs, and writing some too.  It feels so amazing. The joy is back!  After a great session of practice, during which I picked and strummed and sang I feel so at peace and serene. I feel lighter, unburdened.  It is miraculous.  I pick up my guitar several times a day, and I am eager about it in the way I was when I began. I hope that feeling lasts.

I am rebuilding my practice primarily on my acoustic because I want to build my hand strength and finger strength.  The tips of my fingers are hard now that calluses have developed from playing everyday for the past two weeks! 

I think playing guitar is a bit like breast feeding. (Wait! I know that incredulous look you have on your face!  Don’t stop reading!)  At first, it’s downright painful to press with enough force soft fingertips to wires, and similarly the first few days of breastfeeding are quite challenging as the baby sucks already tender breasts, but after your fingertips/nipples toughen up you don’t give it a second thought.  If you’ve breastfed or played guitar you know it’s true.

My next lesson will be to teach myself scales, so that I can rule the neck! RAWR! I need guidance on this so if anyone has any advice, I’d be much obliged.

Speaking Out: Arts in Louisiana

I am a poet/wife/mother and have participated in arts outreach for many years. The outreach work has been life-changing and healing for me and hopefully for the people I have served.  DAF Louisiana Division of the Arts grants have been the primary funding source for these programs.

Festival of Words directed by Patrice Melnick, and funded by a DAF Louisiana Division of the Arts grant, addressed community needs in Sunset and Grand Coteau. As one of the contributing artists, I presented a storytelling workshop to economically-challenged elderly and an in-school poetry reading to students. The response was overwhelming. The aims were met with great success. Something very important, motivating and transformative occurred through our endeavors.

Recently, I served as lead writer for the Acting Up in Acadiana‘s “Play. Music. Heal.”—a theatrical piece where actors, musicians and writers are exploring the notion that music has the potential to heal across socio-economic and cultural lines. This project received funding from DAF Louisiana Division of the Arts grant. Part of our discovery has been that art; music specifically, has the power to heal the psyche, raise self-perception, bring communities together and lift us to our greatest selves.

The human creates to survive. If we stifle creativity our culture withers. If we do not cry out at this time, we may be on an irreversible path. The effects to our state if the severe cuts to arts funding that Governor Jindal proposes go through could be devastating culturally and economically.

We are an ingenious people—we “make do.”  But when you “gut” the arts, specifically programs that serve at-risk communities, you are cutting not only jobs of the artists, administrators and staff but you are cutting off people from people. Cultural tourism is the second highest industry in Louisiana. I would guess the industry employs thousands, or more, people.

The arts provide personal empowerment. Teaching-artists offer the tools to self-express creatively in theatre arts, music, dance, literature, visual and conceptual art, folk art, and so on. With these cuts, the individuals and communities who are in the most need may be the first and most devastated victims.

Art is a lifeline. We learn who we are through creative expression and by witnessing it. Through art we become more than ourselves. I am resolved to fight for my life as an artist and for the hope of new creators in Louisiana.

Come for fire, come for water.

Saturday, December 13, 2008
2:00pm – 4:00pm
The Steeple Vue Gallery
Across from Russell’s Food Center
Arnaudville, LA
Petite Festival of Words at FIRE AND WATER
An Informal Gathering of Poets reading at The Steeple Vue Gallery in Arnaudville, LA to be held in conjunction with “Le Feu et l’Eau” Rural Arts Celebration (Fire and Water Festival)

The reading is being coordinated by Patrice Melnick, director of Festival of Words and the Reading Series at Casa Azul Gifts in Grand Coteau, LA.

Featuring:  Bret Bernard, Sam Irwin, Clare L. Martin, Patrice Melnick, Bonnie McDonald and YOU. 

Yes, you are invited to participate in the Petite Festival of Words.  Bring along a poem or short story to share.  For more information, call Patrice at 337-662-1032 (leave message if no  answer.)

Fire and Water

Patrice Melnick from Casa Azul Gifts in Grand Coteau invited me to read along with a few other poets at an “informal” reading she is putting together in conjunction with Le Feu et l’Eau Rural Arts Celebration (Fire and Water Festival) in Arnaudville, LA on Saturday December 13th. I think our reading will be from 2 PM to 4 PM. Not sure of the exact location yet, but it will be in Arnaudville.


More soon…I think I should write a poem employing the words “fire” and “water” for this occasion—like I haven’t already!