Train Thoughts into an Actual Update

Email Paul Brantley. Email Elia. Re-schedule with Sally Cade and Amelia. Schedule with Sally Cade and Amelia in the first place. Record Rabid Dog for Ben. Have Noriko over for dinner to discuss piano parts. Email Kate and Graham back. Call Sally Cade at 1pm to discuss kickstarter text. Call mom about how her test went. Rehearse Emptying Rooms and New York City for Alex’s fundraiser. Record Señor Magnifico chorus part for Ben to hear. Decide if a choir is way too complicated. Compose list for 1pm phone call with Sally Cade. What is my stop? Myrtle-Willoughby. Pick up coconut water for Jill. Can’t wait to tell Jill about everything that’s been going on. Text Graham back. Figure Señor Magnifico out for god’s sake. What the hell am I going to do about Goddamn Day, what a frickin mess. Get to Frankie at 3, get to Sally Cade at 12:30. Will I make it on time? At Queensboro Plaza, going to 8th st then walking west for 2 avenues… I don’t think so. It’s okay. Email Sunder back, email Mrs. Collins, email Richard, email Anita, call Dad and tell him I’ll be done rehearsal at 3pm December 23rd and will fly home right after. Call Julia, haven’t talked to her in a while. Let Ben know about my Zeroes idea. Put an update on the website for god’s sake put an update on the website. 

So many details. The loose ends are coming in all shapes and sizes without sign that they’ll stop before December 11th, well, probably not even then. Two months ago I was having coffee with my friend Amelia. Amelia is not only a brilliant videographer and visionary, but she is also an extraordinary friend. She listens and responds. It’s funny that thats so hard to find sometimes. I won’t go into the details of our conversation, but, the next morning I woke up with one thought in my mind: It’s time to find a more permanent place for my music. It’s time to gather, record and share. I guess thats what John O’Donohue means by having ‘a real conversation’ - a conversation that makes you truly reconsider where you stand in your life, opinions and desires. Thanks Amelia. And also, how COULD you, Amelia? I am more stressed out today than I have been in a good long while. 

I also woke that morning having made the stubborn decision that I would complete this project by the close of 2015. Deadlines are good, right? Ayayay. So. Making that decision in itself was an enormous step forward. The next thing to do was to find help. There were a few essential roles to fill in order to make manifest the vision that was quickly forming in my mind. The first was an Executive Producer. I knew immediately who I would ask, nay, beg, to take on my project. 

That person was Sally Cade Holmes. Sally Cade and I have know each other since 2002 when I met her at tennis practice before school started my Sophomore year of high school in Greenville, South Carolina. She was an incoming freshman, and upon meeting her, I knew immediately that I wanted to be her friend. First of all, she was a theatre girl. Hooray! But she was also just so cool, and friendly. Cool and friendly at the same time??? I didn’t know that existed in high school, so naturally I was excited. I thought perhaps a friendship was a pipe dream, but oh happy day, we both ended up quitting the team that season. Her because of Peter Pan at the Greenville Children’s Theatre and me for The Man Who Came to Dinner at our high school theatre. Admittedly, her exit from the tennis team was much more graceful and honest than my own. As I look back on it now, the clunky people pleaser from that time still exists in me, and the graceful diplomat still exists in Sally Cade. I was so excited when she auditioned for the spring musical - we’d do 3 of these together before I graduated in 2005. 

Little did I know that our friendship and shared experiences would continue when we’d spend 3 more years in school together at the University of Evansville and even live in the same disgusting, black-mold-growing, mouse infested, truly-feels-like-home-away-from-home, $150 a month house my senior year and her junior year. Even littler did I know that 6 and a half years after leaving that house (lovingly known as Memphis- Memphis shoutout!), we would once again reunite in collaboration, this time with a vision unlike anything we’d considered before. After leaving undergrad, Sally Cade happened to take an interest in producing, and it was no surpriseto me when her career began to take off. Needless to say, Sally Cade is an old friend, a good friend, a killer producer, and oh my god do I feel lucky that she said yes.

The next position that needed to be filled was that of Musical Producer. After rolling names, personalities, and work habits over and over in my mind, I finally bounced Ben Quinn’s name off of Sally Cade. Ben attended Evansville with us, he even lived in Memphis at one time (Memphis shoutout!). While we didn’t overlap for long, he left a lasting impression on me, as he is not only a brilliant musician and collaborator, but also a genuinely kind and generous person. At Sally Cade’s suggestion, I lured Ben to my apartment with the promise of Indian food and an innocent ‘help-me-with-a-couple-things-‘ plea. And as expected, he was a perfect match, and hooray, we had our musical producer. Since that time, Ben and I have been meeting regularly. His main job consists of wrangling my scattered ideas and putting them into something understandable and accessible for everyone else. It has been an extraordinary and eye-opening experience to collaborate so closely with another musician. I don’t think I’ll ever go back. 

After that, there have come many more essential pieces to this widening puzzle. But thats for another day. It took me long enough to publish this blog post as it is.

Beginnings

Alrighty. Having never written a blog before, please forgive my learning curve. As a Canadian born, Southern raised, North Eastern transplant, I feel obligated to say that my association with place is confusing enough - to make another home, now on the internet, is beyond my wildest imagination.

This is my first blog post in what will hopefully be a long surviving account. I've been writing music for several years now and have finally gathered my focus and confidence to share it in a more accessible way. This has begun an epic amount of conversations, emails and meetings. Sally Cade and I met last week at the Marlton - 'twas quite fancy, good coffee, perfect place for business meetings. I must say I felt very productive sitting amongst the business women and men. While I sometimes envy the air of security and financial stability in those environments, I secretly wonder if the 9-5ers ever long for the enthusiastic conversations Sally Cade and I were having. 

I began seriously writing music in 2011. As part of the 3rd year curriculum at the Yale School of Drama, we had a class with the wild and wonderful professor, Joan Macintosh, called Actor Generated Work. This class essentially urged the students to self-generate, to write, to devise, to dream on one's own accord, without needing permission, or a phone call from someone higher up the figurative ladder. It could easily have been entitled: The Artistic Drought: Survival 101. My first year in New York City was just that, and indeed, what I thought was time wasted and dry, yielded so very much. So very much. 

While plenty of trial and error still left me feeling a continuous beginner, music continued to bring me just as much, if not more, joy. So. Onwards. I begin the process of producing and recording at last. I simultaneously look forward to and cringe at the clunk that will inevitably be a part of this endeavor. Luckily, I'm good at surrounding myself with people that are much smarter than I, and that teach me to love art and the cloudy mystery of it all again and again. Here's to the unknown. I suppose having a place is overrated. The playwright Dipika Guha says it so well:

'My paintings - they're not

like roses. Never 

understood still life. No 

life is still.'

Heart Pie

Act One:

Dark. Night. Light. A woman walks onto an empty stage. 

She maintains the empathy of the world. I feel the pain that is inside of you. Pour. Pour. Water pours. Water flows, knees bend, water rises. She sits. She looks out. The pain of the world rests in her belly, lava rests under its cracking ceiling. She hears a bell ringing. Female voices. In the distance. They call. They call. They stop. Silence. The woman kneels on the ground. Her heart is full. Radiation sweeps across the Pacific. Coming for the masses. Coming. Coming. Her heart swells. It swells and swells. And then.

Music. She stabs into her chest. She cuts around, around, around. Her heart resists, it grasps to her bones. She reaches in and digs. She ungulates. She digs and digs. She gets her fingers behind it, her heart swells, she tears it out. Beat of music as she slams it down on the ground, she presses, she kneads, she kneads, she needs, she takes out a roller and she rolls. She rolls and she rolls, she flattens, she flattens and flattens. She slowly slips her fingers underneath the flattened thing. It bubbles flat. She throws it high in the sky like a pizza, a pancake, a baseball, she spins it on her finger like a basketball, she lays it on the ground. She weeps, she weeps and wails, she weeps and wails, she pushes her tears and her wailing and her pain and the pain of the pain of the pain of the world onto the bubbling swelling flattened heart. She rages, she rages and she roars, she rages and roars and rips the ceilings from their beams, she shoves her raging onto the heart, the heart is filling as her roaring rages onto its roughness. At last she laughs, she laughs and she wails and she wails with laughter as her laughter leaps out to join her raging and her weeping, her laughter leaps and she lunges to catch it and cram it on to the plated flattened heart... That is enough... She closes it up into a pie. It's a pie! She opens the oven and puts her pie in and presses ‘ON’. She sits. She waits. She waits and waits. She waits for a moment and another moment. Her waiting bores her so she tries to do something fun WHAT’S FUN? BING! Her heart is done! It’s done it’s done oh what to DO?!!!!! Take it out take it out! OOO! It’s hot hot ooooo its hot! Shove it back in. Shove it back into the hole in my chest. I breathed out the pain of the world and I put it into a pie and I baked it and now I have to put it back into my chest but this time it’s baked. It’s warm. Ouch it’s too warm! It’s hot! OUCH! HOT! HOT! Sew. Sew it back in! OUCH! HOT! It swells. It swells. I sew it back into my chest and at last it is sewn... But... It swells! The pain and the anger and the love it swells, and as it heats together, it mixes and it seeps and it heats and heats. It heats my chest and now my arms, and now my fingers and my hearted heat stretches out through my finger tips and shoots across the world out over the water to the side from where there is light. It touches the light and travels back in the water. The heat of my raging, wailing, leaping heart roars into the waters and is evaporated up into the clouds. It swarms through nights and days and then thunders down a lightening bolt through the Arctic and breaks the sea in half. The world splits in two and as one side floats away into space, the other half flames and begins to burn blazing brightly like a sun. It grows brighter and hotter than the sun of all the suns. Its hot like the hot of the hottest heat my hairs stand up towards the heat of that sun started by that heart and all the galaxies bow down in wonder at the brightness and the brilliance of this sudden celestial sight. Then, it quiets. The blazing quiets. It stops and suddenly turns around and looks at the water to see its reflection. When it sees it’s halved blazing body, the burning world weeps. As it looks at itself in the water of the water of all the water ever watered, it weeps sweet blue tears and the tears dampen the burning fires of its broken, scorched, world body. The world is wet. It slips over itself. Its sidewalks dark with damp. It walks through itself with a heavy hat and mourns the days of its burning and wails for the loss of its other half, the love of its love of its life. All has burned from its burning. I too have burned. I too have blazed till my ashes muddy the wetness of my world. My ashes stain the shoes of this half-world as it walks through its half-self in this universe whose sun has been put to shame by the sudden burning ascension of an orbiting servant. Now that sun is back to its rightful rule. To be forever haunted of being overthrown again. But this world sits quietly in itself. Nevermore will it challenge. Such burning is too painful. It thinks back. How did I get here? How? Ouch. Ouch. I think it began with- Ouch. Heat. Hot. The source is gone but the ash remains, staining my half-worldly shoes and filling my nose with the sweet pie smell of the world’s chemical combustion.