Tuesday, June 25, 2019

The Marks on My Guitar

Recently I heard a new Melissa Etheridge song called Suede, and on first (or second or third) listen I thought, I like that song.

You can hear it here at this link, if you're interested.

I like many of her songs, and even play a few of them on my guitar (which isn't marked. At least not much.). I own most of her early albums but I haven't bought a new one in quite a while.

I downloaded a version with the lyrics off of a guitar music site, which has it in Em (not sure that's quite accurate, but it sort of works).

I listened to it again and played it through with the song. I like the melody, but I don't like the words. I'm not even sure what this song is about, to be honest. Falling into suede? What does that mean? Going back to the 1960s? Is that when suede was popular?

The only words I like are these: the marks on my guitar.

And that's not enough to make a good song. It does pique my interest in writing a poem about MY guitar, though. Or maybe instead I could write about music, and what it means to me. How I like to feel the strings beneath my fingers, the quiver of the string, play with the sounds. How I like to sing when I'm angry, or sad, or happy.

I haven't written said poem but I am thinking on it. I would like it to be a form poem - I like to try those - something like a villanelle or a sonnet or even a sestina, although I'm not sure about that as sestinas are rather long (they have 39 lines). I've only written one sestina in my lifetime and it was about roses, so I suppose one could get 39 lines out of music.

Or maybe I would simply write free verse, a love letter to the sounds that have been mine since I was 11 years old and first started learning to play.

It could be that this is all I write, this little blog post, which talks about five words in a song that I thought I liked but upon reflection I find I do not. It's not a bad song but other than those few words I don't find myself feeling much about it.

At any rate, I think I shall go make a little music. It's been a long morning.

Monday, June 24, 2019

The Runaway

When I was a news reporter, one of my favorite questions to ask people was, "How did you end up here?"
I ask this because "here" is not exactly on the beaten path. It's not a mega commerce center, and just the other day there was an article in the paper about how young people are moving away and officials are looking for ways to stop what they called the "brain drain." Lots of outdoor activities might be a major draw, and we do have some industry, but nothing exceptional, really.
So I always want to know how people come to be here. Many retire here - we do have an older population - because the cost of living is so different from other areas, particularly up north. Some people have left and returned. Some love the mountains, some love the beauty of the area, some like the people.
Recently when I asked that question, I received an answer I'd not heard before.
The woman said she was here because she had run away from a domestic violence situation, and this area was a place she thought no one would look.
She said this so matter-of-factly that I was somewhat taken aback. This would be a good place to hide out, if you think about it. People generally mind their own business even if we do have that small-town mentality where everyone knows your business anyway. Of course they really don't know your business, they just think they do. Gossip is always entertaining.
I was also struck by this woman's acceptance of her situation, the easy way it rolled off her tongue. "Domestic violence," kind of like I'd say, "pass the ketchup, please." It has been many years since she left her bad situation, and I presume her acceptance of it means she's put it in her past and intends to leave it there.
Good for her. Good for her for being able to talk about it. And good for this area, for being a haven for, well, anybody. I like the idea of my community as a sanctuary, a place for folks to come when times elsewhere are bad.
Domestic violence is not something we discuss much. I don't hear whispers of "so-and-so hits his wife" - we simply don't talk about it. I know it goes on, though. And I suspect we should be talking about it as bravely as the woman I recently met.
This following information is from the Virginia Department of Social Services. They have many other .pdfs and other information available about this topic at the link.
Domestic violence (also called family violence) is a pattern of behavior and a method of control. One person dominates other household members by physical violence and/or psychological abuse.
  • If you can answer "yes" to any of the questions below, you may be in an abusive relationship which would qualify as "Domestic Violence." Does your partner:
  • •Hit? Slap? Choke? Kick? Bite? Push? Use, or threaten to use, a weapon? Prevent you from leaving?
  • •Call you degrading names? Threaten to harm you or your family? Torture your pet? Destroy your property?
  • •Keep you from seeing your friends or family? Prohibit you from using a vehicle?
  • •Force you to engage in sexual acts against your will?
  • •Discourage or forbid you to work? Withhold the family's financial information from you?
  • •Control all the family finances and accounts?
  • •Fail to provide care or medical treatment that results in injury or damages your health and safety?
The National Domestic Violence hotline offers up these rather scary statistics:
  • On average, 24 people per minute are victims of rape, physical violence or stalking by an intimate partner in the United States — more than 12 million women and men over the course of a year.
  • Nearly 3 in 10 women (29%) and 1 in 10 men (10%) in the US have experienced rape, physical violence and/or stalking by a partner and report a related impact on their functioning.
  • Nearly, 15% of women (14.8%) and 4% of men have been injured as a result of rape, physical violence and/or stalking by an intimate partner in their lifetime.
  • 1 in 4 women (24.3%) and 1 in 7 men (13.8%) aged 18 and older in the United States have been the victim of severe physical violence by an intimate partner in their lifetime.
Just something to think about while you go through your day.

Sunday, June 23, 2019

Sunday Stealing

Sunday Stealing

1. Are you a happy person?

A. I'm a strong, resilient, thoughtful, smart, kind, caring, and decent person, but "happy" is not generally an adjective I use to describe myself.

2. What is happiness for you?

A. Being safe, secure, and untroubled.

3. What do you think is the color of happiness?

A. Blue. Or maybe purple. I suspect it is different for everyone.

4. Can money buy happiness?

A. It can buy health care.

5. Is happiness a state of mind?

A. To some degree. I think it is also influenced by environment, diet, the echo chamber of the mass media, and chemical make up.

6. What are three things that make you happy?

A. Holding my husband's hand, reading a book, writing a good article.
7. Does having a pet make you happy?

A. I don't have a pet. I enjoyed having pets when I had them but they are not essential to me.

8. When was the happiest time of your childhood?

A. I was happiest when I was in school. I loved school.

9. Can you be happy if you are rich?

A. Yes, of course you can.

10. Do you think happiness lies within you or does it depend on other people and external things?

A. I think it's a combination of things. See above. Questions are a bit redundant, eh?

11. Are single people happy?

A. Yes, of course they can be.

12. What is the effect that animals/pets have on people to make them feel happy?

A. I understand petting an animal can make people feel calmer.

13.  Can you be happy if you are poor?

A. Yes.

14. What is there to be happy about in today’s world?

A. The sunshine, the sky, the flowers, the fact that you're alive and not dead, the squirrel on the fence post outside my window, the fact that I have a friend coming over for lunch.

15. How happy are you compared with your friends?

A. I think most of my friends are happier than I am, or least, they don't tend to brood as much as I do. But some of my issues come from medication I take, so it's an outside influence.

I encourage you to visit other participants in Sunday Stealing posts and leave a comment. Cheers to all us thieves who love memes, however we come by them.

Saturday, June 22, 2019

Saturday 9: Venus in Blue Jeans

Saturday 9: Venus in Blue Jeans (1962)

Unfamiliar with this week's tune? Hear it here.

1) Like the dream girl described in this song, Sam is wearing jeans as she composes this Saturday 9. Is there a lot of denim in your wardrobe?

A. There is some, yes. And I have on a pair of blue jeans right now. Not Gloria Vanderbilt's, though. I never could wear those.

2) Jimmy Clanton likens this girl to the Venus de Milo, the ancient Greek sculpture made of marble and now on display at the Louvre. Is there any marble in your home?

A. I don't think so.

3) He refers to his girl as "Mona Lisa with a pony tail." The Mona Lisa is also at the Louvre. What's the last museum you visited?

A. The local museum of history.

4) This girl is so awesome, she's the 8th Wonder of the World! Without looking it up, could you name the other 7?

A. Nope. Natural Bridge here in Virginia used to proclaim it was one of the Wonders of the World but I don't think it is. I would guess they are the pyramids, the Coliseum in Athens, the Sistine Chapel, Stonehenge, the Grand Canyon, and . . . I don't know what else. Now let me go look it up.

I didn't do very well. Of course I also discovered there is an old list and a new list, so who knows, really.

5) Jimmy Clanton spent his entire professional life behind a microphone. After he quit selling records, he began spinning them as a DJ. Do you consider the sound of your voice one of your better qualities?

A. No. I can sing ok but not as well as I once did, and I have a good southern twang when I speak.

6) At age 80, Mr. Clanton still performs. He averaged an appearance/month in 2018. Some of his fans were surprised that he has let his pompadour go completely white. Do you color your hair?

A. I do not. It's salt-and-pepper, although every time I have it cut it appears my hair is more gray when the hairdresser is finished.

7) In 1962, when this song was popular, Americans were reading about 5-year-old First Daughter, Caroline Kennedy, and her pony, Macaroni. Tell us about a pet you had when you were very young.

A. We had two Dalmatian dogs, Prince and Princess. I think they were both run over by the milk truck.

8) Decades later, Caroline Kennedy was the first woman to serve as US Ambassador to Japan. Have you ever been to Asia?

A. No.

9) Random question: When talking among themselves, who do you think is more open and honest about sex -- men or women?

A. Women.


I encourage you to visit other participants in Saturday 9 posts and leave a comment. Because there are no rules, it is your choice. Saturday 9 players hate rules. We love memes, however.

Thursday, June 20, 2019

Thursday Thirteen

Here's a list of 13 instruments I have played or tried to play. The guitar is the one I am most successful at, but I do not consider myself a virtuoso or anything. Just a decent rhythm player.

1. Guitar

2. Steel guitar

3. Bass guitar

4. Flute

5. Piccolo

6. Recorder

7. Harmonica

8. Piano

9. Organ

10. Accordion

11. Violin

12. Saxophone

13. Ukulele/guitalele

I could also add clarinet and dulcimer to this list.

How many instruments do you play?

Thursday Thirteen is played by lots of people; there is a list here if you want to read other Thursday Thirteens and/or play along. I've been playing for a while and this is my 609th time to do a list of 13 on a Thursday. Or so sayth the Blogger counter, anyway.