Sunday, July 18, 2010

LYRICS: Your Great Design (An Artist's Prayer)

Came back to revising and refining this song tonight, first begun in '08. These things sometimes take time to find a clearer direction. Or maybe it's the writer who first has to find a clearer direction.

Your Great Design
(An Artist's Prayer)
words and music by Kay Pere

My heart is a parchment. My hand holds a quill
I dip this pen, quiverin', afraid the ink might spill, ...the ink might spill.
I long to draw you to me, Great Mystery within.
Move my hands, move my heart, guide this pen, my pen.

Though I try to sketch the future, only Your hand turns the page.
You erase the stains and smudges of my past mistakes.
So I ask, please, grant the wisdom to know where to draw the line.
And provide a clearer vision of Your Great Design.

The pattern of Your stillness rests upon my open book.
A still life of Your Spirit shines wherever I might look, ...if I just look.
Great Artist, who arranged the stars and fashioned each small flower,
My hands and heart are Yours to move in the quiet of this hour, ...this quiet hour.

Though I try to sketch the future, only Your hand turns the page.
You erase the stains and smudges of my past mistakes.
So I ask, please, grant the wisdom to know where to draw the line.
And provide a clearer vision of Your Great Design.

Only You can grant the wisdom to know where to draw the line.
Only You provide a vision of Your Great Design.

©2010 Kay Pere ~ Effusive Muse Publishing

Sunday, June 14, 2009

SONGWRITING: Awakened by the Muse

I was awakened by the Muse at 5:00 this morning (after getting to sleep past midnight last night.)

Grabbed bedside pencil and paper, diligently wrote down the stanzas in my head. But the Muse insisted I get up and go to the piano.

Now I'm online researching Greek mythology for lyric content at her request.

Ignore her and she goes away to pout. Don't want that.

UPDATE: 20090615
This was one of those rare songs that essentially wrote itself. Two double verses plus a chorus (AAB AAB form), multiple layers of meaning, literary references, chords and melody, all came together within a very short time.

As soon as I'm able to play this song fluently enough, I'll post a rough recording and put up the lyrics.

I want to shorten the distance between song creation and proliferation, not worrying so much about having "radio ready" recordings before letting songs leave the nest for the first time. Trying to short circuit perfectionism and keep it real. I want to open a window into the process as it happens.

Heed the the Muse!

Thursday, June 11, 2009

PREPARATION: Clearing Clutter

Clearing away clutter provides the physical and mental space to spark the next creative explosion.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

New Rule: The Ordinary Rules

Haven't posted here for a very long time.

Most of my useful computer time for the past month or so has been focused on getting my recording studio rearranged, up and functional again, then getting work done for a very patient client.

Or I've been distracting myself from the frustration of the studio rearrange by endlessly checking email or Facebook, or reading news online, or reading other peoples blogs, or indulging in random websurfing.

For some reason I'd gotten all self-conscious about always needing to say something here that would be super meaningful, which sort of misses the point of living the Quiet Little Life--that meaning is found in the ordinary.

So I'm back, to resume writing about the ordinary stuff of daily life.

And I resolve to post here even if it feels vacuous to do so.

I hereby give myself permission to be banal, insipid, stilted, awkward, or . . . whatever else it is I'm afraid of being.

I absolve myself of guilt if I write but don't include illustrating photographs. Similarly, I intend to remain guilt free when photos appear without annotation.

Whose blog is this anyway?

Who made up all these rules about how it's supposed to be done?

Oops. I did. Or at least I bought into them.

I'm an artist, darn it! I live the creative life, right? Why can't I uncreate rules--especially the ones saying that things always have to be fancy-pants, intensely interesting or . . . (gasp) creative?

Today, I rip away the ratty old cardboard rule-box, step beyond its stale confines, and begin again.

New Rule: The Ordinary Rules.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

INTENTION: Mid-Winter Stirrings

The snow is falling outside today.

Inside I've taking steps to plant the things I'd like to see begin to grow this Spring. Nothing particularly exciting, really. Like the first unseen stirrings of seeds and sap beneath the frozen earth, the actions I've taken are mundane though crucial to what I hope will follow.

Yesterday, I installed Adobe Photoshop 7.0 on my iMac--my primary computer now--and began doing graphics work there instead of on my old Mac laptop.

The addition of a title image (header) at the top of this blog is one result. The other is a similar new header on my Sound Krayons Music blog.

[In the past, I've only had an early version of Photoshop installed on my old Mac laptop. It was cumbersome to edit images there then move them over to the new Mac for use on the web and in documents. This upgrade opens up new creative and business possibilities, things I've been hoping to do for a long time. The old Mac is too old to connect easily with the internet.]

Then today, I successfully transferred a song file for the first time from MOTU Performer on my old Mac to Digital Performer (DP) on my iMac.

[Again, I'd done all my MIDI work in the past on the old Mac without the benefit of digital audio available in DP. After some trial and error, I was able to move the files from the old Mac by doing a "Save As" MIDI to a flash drive first, then opening in DP on the iMac and doing a "Save As" a DP file to the desktop did the trick.]

Blah, blah, blah technical stuff...

Like the big bale of seed starting mix I bought yesterday and hauled from the car to barn this morning, now I'll need to move all my old graphics and Performer files from one computer to another before I can use them in this new environment.

This sort of thing--to my mind--is the dry, lifeless part of the creative process.

I get discouraged because this part of the process seems to come so slowly. I thought to myself, yesterday, as I scooped buckets of compressed potting soil from the bale and dumped them into an empty trash can:

Are this year's flower and vegetable seeds planted and growing yet? No.

Are the recycled pots from last year cleaned and ready to set in the sunny spot? No.

Do I have everything I need to get things going? No.

But today I have made one very small dent in a very long process.

One small bucketful at a time. Peat moss fibers flying in the air landing on my skin, smelling fresh earth for the first time since last fall. These are the tangible promises of things to come.

No guarantee that weather or pests or health will cooperate in the months ahead, but on this one day for this short time I've done my part.

Similarly, there is no guarantee that I'll reach my distant creative goals, but on this one day for this short time I've done my part.

With these small, unglamorous efforts--work on my computers solving one small problem at a time, repetitive work to prepare for planting--the things I visualize creating and sharing will have some chance to flourish.

One small bucketful at a time.

(c)2009 Kay Pere ~ Effusive Muse Publishing

Monday, January 26, 2009

Sharpie Luggage

2 hours to wait in an airport + 1 silver sharpie marker + 1 cheap carry on bag = TADA! Art on Wheels

Would have done more but the sharpie was already mostly used up and ran out of ink. Will pack a fresh one for next time.

As it was, I so focused on what I was doing that I nearly missed the boarding call for my plane.

While I worked (played), the public address system intoned repeatedly:

"Attention airline passengers. Increased security measures require that all passengers maintain close personal contact with their items at all times. Unattended items will be promptly removed by law enforcement personnel. Additionally, report all suspicious items or activities immediately to airport personnel. Your safety is our priority."

Close personal contact with my items? Hmmm.

Though I certainly was attentive to my carry-on bag, did this qualify as a suspicious activity?

Got some funny looks as I sat on the floor scribbling on my bag, but no one reported me.

(c)2009 Kay Pere ~ Effusive Muse Publishing

Friday, January 23, 2009

Turntable Turns the Tables on Time

I've just returned from a trip to California for a family visit and work on a special project.

I dug into the stacks of old 45s, 78s and LPs we listened to as kids.

Took my ION portable USB turntable and converted childhood memories into digital audio files (wav and m4a), complete with all the nostalgic crackle, pop and hiss. We played those records by the hour, way back when.

The turntable is durable and lightweight, fit easily into my carry-on bag, raised no eyebrows passing through airport security, and was easy to set-up when I arrived.

When I got back, I found an amazing website that has dozens of Kiddie Records and their associated artwork (jackets, books, etc.) from the mid 1940's through early 1950's available for free download.

[I should make it clear that I wasn't around to hear these records when they were new. They belonged first to my older brothers, my parents and grandparents--already scratched and well loved by the time I came along.]

What does all this have to do with the creative process or living a more contented life?

It's all about reclaiming the vividness of happy childhood memories.

Creative art making is dependent upon the ability to tap into childlike playfulness and curiosity at will. What better way to access this mindset than to revisit joyful times from ones distant personal past?

For me, the pull of these old recordings was irresistible. As I played them I found myself wearing an unsuppressible smile. I finally had to get up and gave in to the urge to dance around.

For me, living a contented life is all about enjoying what is. Happy memories from my childhood are things that will always be mine to enjoy. They cost nothing and offer a guaranteed high.

They also have the added benefit of helping to free my creative work in the present.

When I revisit the things I enjoyed as a 5-year-old it becomes impossible for me to take myself or anything else too seriously. This sort of time travel enables me to approach my art with the spontaneity and fearlessness I felt back then. I can transport those feelings into the here-an-now on the scratchy strains from an old 45.

Now if you'll, please, excuse me. I'm going to go listen again to my favorite well-worn recording of "I'm a Little Teapot," then the "Hukilau" song, followed Guy Lombardo and his Royal Canadians playing "Stumbling" (link to an original piano roll MIDI file).

(c)2009 Kay Pere ~ Effusive Muse Publishing