Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Joni Mitchell is the undisputed Queen of songwriters.

The Hissing Of Summer Lawns is just one of her many jewels.

Wishing her a full recovery.

Here is yesterday's update from her website-

Joni did in fact suffer an aneurysm. However, details that have emerged in the past few days are mostly speculative. The truth is that Joni is speaking, and she’s speaking well. She is not walking yet, but she will be in the near future as she is undergoing daily therapies. She is resting comfortably in her own home and she’s getting better each day. A full recovery is expected.

The Hissing Of Summer Lawns
Joni Mitchell   

He bought her a diamond for her throat
He put her in a ranch house on a hill
She could see the valley barbecues
From her window sill
See the blue pools in the squinting sun
Hear the hissing of summer lawns

He put up a barbed wire fence
To keep out the unknown
And on every metal thorn
Just a little blood of his own
She patrols that fence of his
To a latin drum
And the hissing of summer lawns

Wonder makes it easy
With a joyful mask
Tube's gone darkness darkness darkness
No color no contrast

A diamond dog
Carrying a cup and a cane
Looking through a double glass
Looking at too much pride and too much shame
There's a black fly buzzing
There's a heat wave burning in her master's voice
The hissing of summer lawns

He gave her his darkness to regret
And good reason to quit him
He gave her a roomful of Chippendale
That nobody sits in
Still she stays with a love of some kind
It's the lady's choice
The hissing of summer lawns

Check it out-

Monday, June 29, 2015

Went to bed with zero chance of rain today.
Tons of stuff to do outside!
Woke up to familiar pitter patter rhythm.

All These Songs About Rain
Gary Allen

Well this town has closed down way too early and there’s nothing to do
So I’m drivin’ around in circles and I’m thinkin’ about you
Today I heard you got a new last name
Sure didn’t know it was gonna hit me this way
And the radio just keeps on playin all these songs about rain

Now there’s all kinds of songs about babies and love that goes right
But for some unknown reason nobody wants to play them tonight
Hey I hope its sunny wherever you are
That’s sure not the picture tonight in my car
And it sure ain’t easin’ my pain all these songs

Like rainy night in Georgia
Kentucky rain
Here comes that rainy day feelin’ again
Blues eyes cryin’ in the early mornin’ rain
They go on and on, and there’s no two the same
Oh it would be easy to blame all these songs about rain

Well I thought I was over you but I guess maybe I’m not
When I let you go looks like lonely was all that I got
Guess I’ll never know what could have been
Sure not helping this mood that I’m in
And the radio just keeps on playin’ all these songs about rain

Like rainy night in Georgia
Kentucky rain
Here comes that rainy day feelin’ again
Blue eyes cryin’ in the early mornin’ rain
They go on and on and there’s no two the same
Oh how I wish I could blame all these songs about rain

All these songs about rain

check it out

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Sadly, talking is becoming a thing of the past.

Even with all of our modern conveniences, 
that are supposed to make life easier, 
we don't have time to talk.

A Time To Talk
 Robert Frost

When a friend calls to me from the road
And slows his horse to a meaning walk,
I don’t stand still and look around
On all the hills I haven’t hoed,
And shout from where I am, ‘What is it?’
No, not as there is a time talk.
I thrust my hoe in the mellow ground,
Blade-end up and five feet tall,
And plod: I go up to the stone wall
For a friendly visit.

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Storms all night left me in a sleepless silly state of mind.

I am buffaloed.

Friday, June 26, 2015

Seamus Heaney 

My father worked with a horse-plough,
His shoulders globed like a full sail strung
Between the shafts and the furrow.
The horses strained at his clicking tongue.

An expert. He would set the wing
And fit the bright steel-pointed sock.
The sod rolled over without breaking.
At the headrig, with a single pluck

Of reins, the sweating team turned round
And back into the land. His eye
Narrowed and angled at the ground,
Mapping the furrow exactly.

I stumbled in his hobnailed wake,
Fell sometimes on the polished sod;
Sometimes he rode me on his back
Dipping and rising to his plod

I wanted to grow up and plough,
To close one eye, stiffen my arm.
All I ever did was follow
In his broad shadow round the farm.

I was a nuisance, tripping, falling,
Yapping always. But today
It is my father who keeps stumbling
Behind me, and will not go away.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Howard Nemerov 

Unable to get into the Monet show,
Too many people there, too many cars,
We spent the Sunday morning at Bowl Pond
A mile from the Museum, where no one was,
And walked an hour or so around the rim
Beside five acres of flowering waterlilies
Lifting three feet above their floating pads
Huge yellow flowers heavy on bending stems
In various phases of array and disarray
Of Petals packed, unfolded, opening to show
The meaty orange centers that become,
When the ruined flags fall away, green shower heads
Spilling their wealth of seed at summer’s end
Into the filthy water among small fish
Mud-colored and duck moving explorative
Through jungle pathways opened among the fronds
Upon whose surface water drops behave
Like mercury, collecting in heavy silver coins
Instead of bubbles; some few redwinged blackbirds
Whistling above all this once in a while,
The silence else unbroken all about.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

2 photo writing prompt with a catch.

The title of the song, story or poem is "second chances".

Have fun!

Monday, June 22, 2015

In Bed With A Book 
Mona Van Duyn 

In police procedurals they are dying all over town,
the life ripped out of them, by gun, bumper, knife,
hammer, dope, etcetera, and no clues at all.
All through the book the calls come in: body found
in bed, car, street, lake, park, garage, library,
and someone goes out to look and write it down.
Death begins life’s whole routine to-do
in these stories of our fellow citizens.

Nobody saw it happen, or everyone saw,
but can’t remember the car. What difference does it make
when the child will never fall in love, the girl will never
have a child, the man will never see a grandchild, the old maid
will never have another cup of hot cocoa at bedtime?
Like life, the dead are dead, their consciousness,
as dear to them as mine to me, snuffed out.
What has mind to do with this, when the earth is bereaved?

I lie, with my dear ones, holding a fictive umbrella,
while around us falls the real and acid rain.
The handle grows heavier and heavier in my hand.
Unlike life, tomorrow night under the bedlamp
by a quick link of thought someone will find out why,
and the policemen and their wives and I will feel better.
But all that’s toward the end of the book. Meantime, tonight,
without a clue I enter sleep’s little rehearsal.

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Still Together Worlds Apart 
                                         Walt Sample                                          

Pain filled eyes crying please set me free 
I could not deny my best friends groaning plea 
Vets silver needle bringing liquid relief 
I rubbed his head fighting off punches of grief 

Closed the trailer door on thirty seven years 
All I’m haulin’ home are memories and tears 
Turned the silver handle latched it shut 
Carried my saddle to the front seat of my truck 

Empty trailer broken heart 
Still together worlds apart 
Empty trailer broken heart 

Rubbed my eyes wiped my cheeks turned the key
Prayin’ Jet’s in heaven runnin’ wild and free
Emerald green pastures legs shod with gold
Ruby halter deep blue creek always cold

Empty trailer broken heart 
Still together worlds apart 
Empty trailer broken heart 

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Early this morning I was ordering tubes of paint on line searching for colors with the consistency and texture I was after. Came across this review-

"I have ordered colors from Schoenfeld in Düsseldorf, as there were some colors which I couldn´t get here…the picture with the potato eaters is not good in some details…I should have had a better result with the Schoenfeld mineral blue that I have now , instead of the old one."

- Vincent van Gogh

Potato Eaters
Vincent van Gogh 

Wow, Vincent, thanks. Good to know.
Need some mineral blue.

Made me want more.
What else did Vincent recommend?
Did some research.

Van Gogh was born March 30, 1853 and died July 29, 1890 at the young age of 37.

Van Gogh was born in Holland.

He was supposed to follow his father's footsteps and become a pastor. And while he didn't follow his father, he didn't start painting until he was about 27.

Van Gogh painted his most famous masterpiece, Starry Night, while residing in a mental institution. 

Vincent only sold one painting during his lifetime.

He painted approximately 900 paintings in only about 10 years, that's amazing!

When he was a child, Vincent had to walk past a tombstone with his own name on it on the way to school- the tombstone belonged to his brother with the same name who died as an infant.

Vincent was good friends with another famous painter, Paul Gauguin. 

The story of Van Gogh cutting off his own ear may have actually been false as new evidence suggests it was his friend, Paul Gauguin who cut his earlobe off.
Paul Gauguin said Van Gogh attached him with a razor.......

Van Gogh has painted over 30 self portraits of himself between 1886 and 1889. Narcissistic much? 

Vincent was known for eccentrically wearing candles on his hat so that he could paint at night.

Actually, Francisco Goya is credited with inventing the candle hat for painting.

Vincent van Gogh

900 paintings in ten years and only selling one.....

I totally understand why he pushed Schoenfeld paints.

Friday, June 19, 2015

Found this article by Gary Ewer very informative. 

Packed with good hook ideas.

Check out Gary's website. 

1.Rhythm hook. This is a hook that establishes a beat/rhythm combo upon which the song is built. This was a favorite of Stevie Wonder, who started several of his big 70s hits that way (“Superstition”, “You Haven’t Done Nothin'”, “Boogie On Reggae Woman”, etc.) But this can work just as well with today’s style of songwriting.


◾Start by keeping a beat (tap your foot, or slap your knee)
◾A rhythmic hook needs to be short, so sing (improvise) a short 4-or-8 beat rhythm that grabs your attention.
◾A chord progression that accompanies the hook will also need to be short, so create a 1-or-2 chord progression that sounds good when repeated. (e.g., C-Fm7, C-Bb, C-Eb, etc.)
◾Create a bass line where the end of the line connects smoothly back to the beginning. This line needs to have a catchy rhythm, but doesn’t need to be (maybe even shouldn’t be) the same rhythm as the other instruments.

2.Intro hook. While the rhythm hook uses a combination of various instruments, an intro hook is usually a melodic idea that gets established in the intro, then repeated over and over, appearing, then dropping out. Good examples: “Smoke on the Water”, “You Can Call Me Al” (Paul Simon), “Moves Like Jagger”, etc.


◾Improvise a short melodic idea (4-to-8 beats long) based on a strong, catchy rhythm.
◾Focus mainly on notes from the pentatonic scale (for example, in C major, use the notes C, D, E, G and/or A).
◾Create 3 separate chord progressions that will successfully accompany the hook. Those 3 should be able to serve as verse, chorus and bridge progressions.
◾Allow the hook to appear and disappear as your song progresses. Intro hooks are great, but can get tiresome if the listeners hear it all the time.

3.Background Instrumental Hook. When you think of Bob Dylan’s “Like a Rolling Stone”, you’re as likely to think of that catchy organ bit that happens in each chorus. U2’s “With or Without You,” which has that great chorus hook, also has a great instrumental hook: that immediately-recognizable guitar lick that happens throughout. Instrumental hooks are, in my opinion, one of the most important and under-utilized devices in a songwriter’s toolbox.


◾With your song complete, create a short 2-to-4 beat lick on guitar or keyboard that has a distinctive rhythm, and that can be accompanied by most chords in your chosen key.
◾Concentrate mainly on using it in the chorus.
◾Works well in combo with other types of hooks.
◾Fit it in and around chorus lyrics, rather than on top of chorus lyrics. In other words, don’t pull focus away from the singer. Let an instrumental hook act as a kind of “answer” to a chorus lyric.

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Reading Late 
Jesse Graves 

We walked between the ponds at World’s Fair Park
the first night we knew something definite had hold of us,

conversations reaching not much beyond favorite bands,
least favorite jobs. We had not held hands.

Nothing existed of our daughter, not yet a nameless dream,
or the years we chased snakes out of the baseboards

in the house by Sapsucker Woods, driving home late
to find deer on their hind legs foraging our bird feeders.

This book we write together keeps me turning pages
deep into the night, re-reading the chapters on eloping

to Charlottesville, eating boiled crawfish at Mardi Gras.
Tension rises through pages about devotion and doubt,

as the main characters grow steadily beyond our grasp,
suspended from the hidden strings of this love story

that opens in such a beautiful setting, develops with so much
indirection and suspense, I can’t stand to put it down.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Stop The Games  
Walt Sample
Bullets never climb the ivy 
It’s safe high in the ivory 
Silver spoon silk tie justice 
Know it all fat cat smugness

Nothing ever changes
But the names and faces
We the people take the blame
Come on lets join together stop the games

Movin’ pawns around the world 
Deadly games with our boys and girls 
Like a vampire they need blood 
Fuels fat egos like a drug 

Nothing ever changes
But the names and faces
We the people take the blame
Come on lets join together stop the games

Golden tongues tying hollow words 
Ropein’ us like a lemming herd 
Feedin’ us happys and hopes 
So we give ‘em power and votes 

Nothing ever changes
But the names and faces
We the people take the blame
Come on lets join together stop the games

We the people take the blame
Come on lets join together stop the games

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

I thin his is a nice reference chart.
Almost all of the words are conversational.

Monday, June 15, 2015

Great article about Billy Joe Shaver. 

Billy Joe explains how to write a country song. 

How to Write a Country Song
JUNE 12, 2015
By Malia Wollan

“You don’t have to be from the country to write a country song — but it helps,” says Billy Joe Shaver, who started songwriting as a boy in Corsicana, Tex. Shaver, who is now 75 and lives in Waco, sings and plays guitar, but his lyrics are better known coming from the mouths of other performers. Willie Nelson, Kris Kristofferson, Johnny Cash, Waylon Jennings and Elvis Presley have all recorded his work. In the 1970s, Shaver wrote a number of anthems in the rougher, less-polished-than-Nashville subgenre called outlaw country.
Geography matters, but authenticity matters more. “Country is honest,” Shaver says. Your lyrics should tell your story; no matter how dull it may seem to you, it will be novel to others. “We’re all born different, that’s what we got in common,” he says. While lyrics don’t have to be 100 percent factual, they should be based in the particularities of on-the-ground experience. “Even someone from Manhattan can write a country song,” he says. You might start a song with a single word or image. Let it roll around inside for a time before you put it down on paper. Once you feel confident you’ve got something worthwhile, test a song’s viability by writing the lyrics out longhand, then “go through it just like it was a letter being sent to someone you really love.”
Allow for melancholy. “If you feel down and you write that down, most of the time it is going to be a country song,” says Shaver, who likes to call songwriting the “cheapest psychiatrist there is.” Many real-life misfortunes turn up in his songs — his mother’s abandoning him as a boy (“Georgia on a Fast Train”), for example, or the time he shot a man in the face outside a bar in 2007 (“Wacko From Waco”). He has composed songs with his son, the guitarist Eddy Shaver, who died of a heroin overdose in 2000, and he has written about the sort of tumultuous love that led him to divorce his first wife twice and marry her three times.
After you have your lyrics, call in the musicians. But first, “mash everything down,” mull every phrase and rejigger every rhyme until all you have left is the heart of the thing.

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Good Sunday morning to everyone.

My friend Olivia Frances is one of the five finalists to open for the 
Blue Sky Riders. 

Please follow the link and vote for her.
Many thanks!

Hers is a video of Olivia.

Saturday, June 13, 2015

Delivery Man
The Cruel Sea

Whatever you want
I got it by the dozen
I got it by the pound
Gimme a call
I'll bring it round

It don't look so good
In black and white
Don't believe in what you see
It don't matter what you do
Don't matter you say
It's all in the delivery

Yeah, yeah
I'm the delivery man
I do what I can
Yeah, yeah
I'm the delivery man
I deliver

Well, I can bring it to your door
In the middle of the night
You can have it all
I will get it right
Get it right

A direct
4 I P
AC/DC, baby

Friday, June 12, 2015

It Is Raining on the House of Anne Frank 
Linda Pastan 

It is raining on the house
of Anne Frank
and on the tourists
herded together under the shadow
of their umbrellas,
on the perfectly silent
tourists who would rather be
somewhere else
but who wait here on stairs
so steep they must rise
to some occasion
high in the empty loft,
in the quaint toilet,
in the skeleton
of a kitchen
or on the map-
each of its arrows
a barb of wire-
with all the dates, the expulsions,
the forbidding shapes
of continents.
And across Amsterdam it is raining
on the Van Gogh Museum
where we will hurry next
to see how someone else
could find the pure
center of light
within the dark circle
of his demons.

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Writing prompt.

What lies over the hills?

Is that steam from a lake?

Will you have enough water to make it?

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Just discovered Matthew. Blew me away. Check out these lyrics.

Empty Road
Matthew Good

Throw away your anger
Throw away the sheath
Charge and spike your heavy guns
Because that ain't no kind of belief

Dream of where it left you
When you were still too young
To know the difference between the faith in your heart
And the politics of looking dumb

It's all I know
This empty road
It keeps me looking for a place in your heart
It's all I know
Said brother are you weary?
Said sister are you safe?
Has this world got you thinking
That it ain't nothing but jailers cage?

Well child there ain't no worries
And child it ain't no thing
Because this world's too old to hate you
And too young to give up spring

It's all I know
This empty road
It keeps me looking for a place in your heart
It's all I know

Give it a listen:

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

I got a kick out of these.

Five Famous Authors and Their Strange Writing Rituals
Stephanie Ostroff

Routines keep us focused when we start drifting off course. They snap us back to reality and remind us that yes, we can do this. The words will come to us. Turning to a familiar writing ritual can help us find balance. Most authors have that one thing they do, even subconsciously, that sets the tone for a solid writing session.

Sometimes it’s as simple as creating the right lighting in a room or hearing songs from a favorite album. It’s the difference between churning out pages of your best work and wasting an afternoon staring at a blinking cursor.

 At times, these rituals are taken to an extreme. Some of history’s most celebrated authors swore by unusual and bizarre rituals. It’s possible we owe many great pieces of literature to the fact that they were so meticulous in maintaining these strange habits.

In honor of the writers who embrace their quirky routines, the Writer’s Circle is highlighting a few of the oddest rituals practiced by famous authors:

1. James Joyce
Crayons, a white coat, and a comfy horizontal surface. These were Joyce’s essentials. The author of Ulysses found his words flowed better while lying flat on his stomach in bed. Since he was severely myopic, crayons enabled Joyce to see his own handwriting more clearly, and the white coat served as a reflector for light onto the pages.

2. Maya Angelou
Most writers can’t afford to check into a hotel when the urge to scribble hits, but for Angelou, it’s the key to great writing. In the wee hours of the morning she’ll book herself a room with a special request: all distracting wall décor must vanish. Armed with a bottle of sherry, a deck of cards, some legal pads, a thesaurus and the Bible, she’s spent hours crafting prose in this carefully constructed environment stripped of almost all inspiration.

3. Truman Capote
The creative genius behind In Cold Blood, Capote was a superstitious man. His writing rituals often involved avoiding particular things. Namely, hotel rooms with phone numbers including “13,” starting or ending a piece of work on a Friday, and tossing more than three cigarette butts in one ashtray.

4. Ernest Hemingway
In stark contrast to James Joyce, Hemingway was a firm believer in standing while writing.While working on The Old Man and The Sea,he followed a strict regimen: “done by noon, drunk by three.” This entailed waking up at dawn, writing furiously while standing at the typewriter, and eventually making his way to the local bar to get inebriated.

5. Joan Didion
Didion holds her books close to her heart—literally.  When she’s close to finishing one, she’ll sleep beside it in the same room. “Somehow the book doesn’t leave you when you’re asleep right next to it,” she said in a 1968 interview with The Paris Review.

Monday, June 8, 2015

A Parrot 
May Sarton 

My parrot is emerald green,
His tail feathers, marine.
He bears an orange half-moon
Over his ivory beak.
He must be believed to be seen,
This bird from a Rousseau wood.
When the urge is on him to speak,
He becomes too true to be good.

He uses his beak like a hook
To lift himself up with or break
Open a sunflower seed,
And his eye, in a bold white ring,
Has a lapidary look.
What a most astonishing bird,
Whose voice when he chooses to sing
Must be believed to be heard.

Sunday, June 7, 2015

Since it is getting humid and finally feeling like summer. I welcome in the mid 90 degree days with a nice cold Sunday poem. I love the word blueblack!

Those Winter Sundays
Robert Hayden

 Sundays too my father got up early 
and put his clothes on in the blueblack cold, 
then with cracked hands that ached 
from labor in the weekday weather made 
banked fires blaze. No one ever thanked him. 

I’d wake and hear the cold splintering, breaking. 
When the rooms were warm, he’d call, 
and slowly I would rise and dress, 
fearing the chronic angers of that house, 

Speaking indifferently to him, 
who had driven out the cold 
and polished my good shoes as well. 
What did I know, what did I know 
of love’s austere and lonely offices? 

Saturday, June 6, 2015

"I long ago lost a hound, a bay horse, and a turtle-dove, and am still on their trail. Many are the travelers I have spoken concerning them, describing their tracks and what calls they answered to. I have met one or two who have heard the hound, and the tramp of the horse, and even seen the dove disappear behind a cloud, and they seemed as anxious to recover them as if they had lost them themselves."

Henry David Thoreau

What is Henry David really saying?

What do the hound, horse and dove represent?

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