“Tell Me What You Pay Attention To and I Will Tell You Who You Are.”-Jose Ortega y Gasset

This morning, the singing of the birds beckoned me to rise from my bed and start the day on a positive note. As I rose, I thought about the interview I saw last week on Oprah’s OWN station with Oprah interviewing the writer, Sue Monk Kidd. In 2002, I read Kidd’s, “The Secret Life of Bees” and loved it…didn’t love the books that came after. Recently, I read her latest book, “The Invention of Wings,” which I really enjoyed, but not as much as “…Bees.” Anyway, I thought of what Sue Monk Kidd said in the interview…to paraphrase, she said, “We become what we pay attention to.” I’ve been thinking about that since I heard it and trying to be more positive in life…instead of focusing on minor aches and pains or inventing “what if” scenarios for things that may never happen. I’m focusing on what I am grateful and thankful for. The singing of the birds inspired a quick haiku this morning:


I heard singing birds
Calling my name to join them
So I rose and did.

And now, just as I finished printing the haiku, my wonderful husband just put on“Looking into You: A Tribute To Jackson Browne” CD with Don Henley and Blind Pilot singing, “These Days,” yes, so thankful. “Well, I’ll keep on moving, things are bound to be improving, these days.” (Jackson Browne)

We become what we pay attention to…yes…music always helps…we just listened to Roseanne Cash’s newest album on vinyl, “The River and the Thread” and we give it a thumbs up, especially “Etta’s Song,” which I can listen to over and over again. It’s a beautifully produced album, just the pureness of Roseanne’s clear voice and the clarity of the instruments and her wonderful musician husband/arranger John Leventhal. We are also looking forward to listening to our newly acquired, “Quiet About It: Tribute to Jesse Winchester,” which we’ll listen to later. This cd was released in 2012. It was so very sad to learn of Jesse’s death. He was a beautiful songwriter and had such a lovely presence on stage.
My readers…I have been checking in to see what’s going on in your blogs and am enjoying all that I read. I hope to return more vigorously to my blog. I am thinking of using a new WordPress theme and perhaps when my son returns from India for a vacation in June, we’ll work on it together. He is finishing his first year of teaching in India and has one more year to go. From there who knows where he’ll go, but he’ll go. Just this morning, when we saw each other on Skype, he said he has amazing parents and he is who he is because of his upbringing. Music to my ears. As a parent, you do what you do and hope something sinks in and you don’t expect any thank yous or accolades, but my son is always giving us applause…this from a kid who didn’t like reading or writing and went to school to socialize. It’s heartwarming hearing his hopes, dreams and the absolute confidence he has in himself. He said he and his girlfriend have a 5-year plan…it’s great that they are doing all of this traveling now before children and mortgages, don’t you think? My daughter is doing well in NYC; my mom is hanging in there and for over 90 she’s doing great! My hubby recently retired, but is continuing to work at his present job 2.5 days per week…there are still bills to be paid and improvements on the home to be made and then he’ll fully retire. It’s so wonderful we live in the same town where he works. Now that the nice weather is here, I am doing my daily walks in the park and paying attention to everything I see there. I want to become what I pay attention to. Ah…now Jimmy Lafave is singing Jackson Browne’s “For Everyman,”
“Everybody’s just waiting to hear from the one
Who can give them the answers
And lead them back to that place in the warmth of the sun
Where sweet childhood still dances
Who’ll come along
And hold out that strong and gentle father’s hand?”-Jackson Browne

I remember Linda Loman telling her sons, “Attention Must Be Paid,” and I never forgot that line from Death of a Salesman by Arthur Miller. Willy mattered to Linda and wanted him to matter to their boys as well despite Willy’s shortcomings. If we become what we pay attention to, perhaps we have to look further into someone to see their goodness and pay attention to that instead of all of the “what ifs,” and “what coulda beens.”

NOTE:  I had a lot of trouble printing this posting the way I usually do!!!!  I usually take my word doc and copy and paste it using the “comic sans” font and it usually looks very nice and the hyperlinks work out well, too. Well today, the print looks so plain when I paste it and none of my hyperlinks came out…I had to insert them on the blog itself. If you understand what happened, please advise…Thanks!!!!!

 

 

“I Am a Lonely Painter. I Live in a Box of Paints.”-Joni Mitchell

Happy 70th birthday to Joni Mitchell…one of the BEST. She has been a loner all of her life and as a  young child was sickly and unfortunately for over 10 years now, she has been quite ill and really can’t sing anymore. I was saddened to read that she has a disease I’ve never heard of before, Morgellons Syndrome that she herself has said, “Western medicine says this doesn’t even exist, it’s a psychotic disease. It’s not.”thestar.com music

My dad and my brother, in 1972, went to the Carnegie Hall Box Office…those were the days when you could just easily purchase concert tickets at the box office…and bought 2 Box seats for me to see Joni Mitchell. I must’ve been in college on that day and they did me a favor…my dad was always doing nice things for me!  Jackson Browne, a very young Jackson Browne, opened up the show. 

Of course, Blue remains my favorite album…it’s a favorite of many, that I know!!!!!  

Joni Mitchell, like Dylan, is an artist…she paints her poetry, her feelings, her surroundings and herself through both music and art.

”I sing my sorrow,” she likes to say, ”and I paint my joy.” ”When you are writing, you need to have a kind of chaotic mind for stimulation,” Ms. Mitchell said in a telephone interview after returning to her Bel Air mansion in Los Angeles from the opening here. ”Painting is a completely different mental process. It completely clears my mind until I get to the point where I have no thoughts. I get the same charge from juxtaposition of colors as I do from juxtaposition of chords.”James Brook, 8/2000, Arts Abroad, NY Times

An early influence on Mitchell was the great composer, Rachminoff and she describes in this wonderful interview with

Richard Ouzounian,Theatre Critic, just before a tribute concert this past June: “Rachmaninoff made a musician out of me. His ‘Rhapsody on a Theme by Paganini’ was the piece that sent me into raptures,” she said about the aching music the Russian composer created in 1934 as he entered the last decade of his life, reflecting on his past as Mitchell does today. “It spoke to me. To me, it was a tender entreaty for the misunderstood.

 “Why did that appeal to me? Because my mother never ‘got’ me. She wanted me to be something that I wasn’t and I always seemed to be pleading with her for understanding. I couldn’t be the sweet, obedient child she wanted. That wasn’t inside me anywhere.”

Well, Joni, your fans got you and you got them.

I would suggest you read the entire Ouzounian interview here and the James Brook interview here

Speaking Through Music

“It takes a very warm person to say the things that this song says. And, you know, it’s plain; it’s not difficult. You don’t have to be a scholar to understand it.”Ray Charles ON Jacques Brel! (Song referred to is “Ne Me Quitte Pas” or in English, “If You Go Away.”)

Two wonderful songwriters, one French, one American share this day in common. Jacques Brel died today in 1978 and Jackson Browne was born today in 1948, same year as my brother, May he rest in peace. Both men composed beautiful thoughtful songs; both men had their own way of using their music to voice their concerns about the world; both men had a way of singing that is distinct.

I remember seeing “Jacques Brel is Alive and Well and Living in Paris” at the Village Gate, probably sometime in 1969. I couldn’t get over the songs, the singers, the messages that Brel was conveying. This was Viet Nam War time and Brel’s song, “If We Only Have Love,” which he wrote during the Algerian War, echoed the sentiments of the 60s “Flower Children” and activists who marched against the war. I was one of them. Brel stopped visiting the U.S.A. as a protest against the war so it was quite a celebratory night when I saw the show again, but this time at Carnegie Hall to honor the 5th Anniversary of the show. Jacques Brel literally jumped on stage from the audience near the end and took his just applause from a wildly enthusiastic appreciative audience. It was called “Homage a Jacques” to celebrate the man and his music.

“He’s (Jackson Browne) a tender troubadour with a fierce social conscience, whose message speaks loud and clear through his simple and often poignant lyrics. The stories of lost love, melancholy, despair and hope still ring true decades after many of his songs were written.”Jim Moret, Huff Post Entertainment

Jackson Browne is alive and well and living in California, still performing, touring, writing beautiful songs. I used to see him at anti-nuke rallies along with Bonnie Raitt. I first saw Jackson as the opening act for Joni Mitchell at Carnegie Hall. In those days you could get tickets right at the Box Office and I remember my dad and my brother driving into the city to get me the tix. No scalpers and no online scalping. This was 1972. Jackson and his guitar…unplugged; ditto for Joni; a magical night. I do have

some fave songs: These Days, For a Dancer, Fountain of Sorrow

 

Allow the music to speak for itself:

 

 

 

 

 

 

GREAT Advice from a Pro!

This morning I saw that radiatingblossom.wordpress.com had visited my blog so I visited radiating blossom and saw this poem. Thank you! This is such great advice, a great prayer or mantra or however way each of us wants to make use of these wise words. Happy Monday Everyone! 

Write it on your heart

by Ralph Waldo Emerson

 Write it on your heart

that every day is the best day in the year.

He is rich who owns the day,

and no one owns the day

who allows it to be invaded with fret and anxiety.

Finish every day and be done with it.

You have done what you could.

Some blunders and absurdities, no doubt, crept in.

Forget them as soon as you can, tomorrow is a

new day;

begin it well and serenely,

with too high a spirit to be cumbered with your old nonsense.

This new day is too dear, with its hopes and invitations,

to waste a moment on the yesterdays…

On another beautiful note, on this date in 1997, Jackson Browne released his album: The Next Voice You Hear: The Best of Jackson Browne

This is a wonderful collection of so many gorgeous songs. I love Jackson Browne. Enjoy some songs from this collection:

 

 

 

On Caring for Our Elderly Parents

One person caring about another represents life’s greatestvalue.”-Jim Rohn

Watching our parents age can be quite difficult as their bodies take on new challenges that as a child, a mature child, an adult child with a family of one’s own, we have no control over. It’s sad. I am lucky that my 89 and a half year old mom lives nearby, less than 5 minutes away in her own home. She has no nurse, no companion, no one coming in to clean or prepare her meals. I am grateful to be in good health and able to address her needs, so far. If my mind wanders to “What if…” scenarios, then depression can easily set in and rearrange my gestalt. So…what to do? Put a smile on my face, put one foot in front of the other, take my morning walk, kiss my husband good morning and believe in the promise of a new day. This land of aging “was made for you and me.” Last night I watched the Woody Guthrie 100 Year Celebration at the Kennedy Center on PBS with so many great folksingers, my generation and younger, so, to lift my spirits and perhaps yours, here’s a great collection of folksingers singing “This Land is Your Land” with Ramblin’ Jack Eliot, Jackson Browne, Judy Collins, Nora Guthrie, Tom Morello ( a real activist that Woody would’ve been very proud of!) John Mellencamp, Ani DiFranco, Sweet Honey in the Rock and more: