Close your eyes and, then, you’ll be able to see…

wordsofautumn

In an interview when Adele was asked about her weight, she replied with:

“I don’t make music for eyes, I make music for ears.”

Amen, Sister. Exactamundo! That’s how I feel about it, too.

I am not here to look at, I am here to listen to.

Music is for listening to. The package it comes in shouldn’t matter in the least.


Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. However, appreciation of music is, thankfully, not only above, but also far beyond, the visual and the physical. Taste in music should never be influenced by personal taste in physical appearance. Music is spiritual in nature (at its core).

Close your eyes and, then, you will be able to see it.

“Well, Autumn”, you quip, “why then bother to make videos for your songs if you aren’t interested in engaging the visual?”

I never said that I wasn’t interested in engaging the visual: video can help to illustrate a song. But, I believe a good song (delivered by a good artist) doesn’t NEED a video to explain it. It should be able to tell its own story without the use of any pictures accept for the ones it inspires in the imagination of the listener. Video can be a good tool to help tell the story, but it shouldn’t be relied on soley to sell a song. And, it shouldn’t be used to show off the looks of the singer. If you just want to show off your politically correct body, become a model.

Music (and making music) is more important than the physical.

It is (so much) deeper.

So, good for Adele. What she said. Although, I would go just a bit further and say this:

I don’t make music for the eyes; I make music for the ears and for the heart.

An Interview with a Songmistress

Check out the recent interview I gave to Josh Taylor at Unchartered Streams about my career in music, songwriting, leading worship, my creative process and being an indie artist. I was very happy to give the interview and hope people find my answers entertaining, insightful and enlightening.

“Interview with Autumn Dawn Leader”

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I still have HOPE and a PROMISE

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Last week I made the very hard decision to go back on medication for depression. This was not an easy thing for me to do, because I so detest the side-effects of antidepressants. But, the time had come to either do something or to go to bed and never get back out of it.

Since we cannot afford for me to have a stint in the hospital or for me just to go to bed (we can’t afford for my husband to stay home from work to take the kids to/from school, or to come home from work every single time I have a breakdown and am crying hysterically down the phone), it was necessary to do something.

So, yesterday, I bit the bullet and went to the doctor. I was officially diagnosed with severe depresion (scoring a 24 out of a possible 27 – the higher the score the more severely depressed you are) and was given the prescription.

My attitude to it is this: I know how I am supposed to think, I know what and how I am supposed to think, but my brain will not work that way; it needs some serious help. This is the first step to getting better; this will open the door for me to be able to make myself think the way I should think. This is the first step – on  a journey – to better days.

Yesterday morning, in my quiet time before getting out of bed, I felt God give me this verse of scripture:

Come back to the place of safety, all you prisoners who still have hope! I promise this very day that I will repay two blessings for each of your troubles.Zechariah 9:12 NLT

I am a prisoner of depression. But, I still have hope, and I have God’s Word; His promise of blessing.

No, I’m not happy that I’m on an antidepressant that I know, while it’s helping, will affect me in ways I do NOT want to be affected.  But, I have hope of deliverance, from both the depression and, eventually, the crappy side-effects of the medication I have to take in order for me to cope with my every day life.

Hope is not synonymous with wishing. Real hope is not the same thing as wishful thinking. The difference between hope and wishing is as much as the difference between a dream and a fantasy: the former is inherant with power and possiblility while the latter is just smoke and sandcastles.

I still have hope. And, I have a promise which keeps that hope breathing.

I’m Partial To The 5th One Down (a rant)

I saw this posted on Twitter today.

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Oh, I would certainly use number 5 on a regular basis.

It has to be my biggest social media pet-peeve (after poor grammar and bad spelling, that is): women talking about how much weight they have to lose and those gym/exercise nuts (in their asinine attempts to disguise their vanity and insistence to conform to media’s and society’s standards by calling it “fitness” or a “health kick”) who post (brag) about every run and every single workout as if it’s some blinkin’ virtue.

Poo of the bull! You are are full of it.

You are fishing for attention and it’s no more about health than it is about an elephant. Get real. Stop deceiving yourself and everyone else (well, you’re obviously not fooling me) and admit it.

Then, after you’ve done us all (including you) a favour (called it what it is and have stopped bombarding the rest of us with it), go on and “enjoy” that legs, bums and tums class, if you want to. Just keep the bovine excrement (about health and fitness) out of your statuses and remember that no one but you (and, perhaps, your personal trainer) care about a blow by blow report of each and every time you exercise!

Rant over…well, for the moment anyway.

A Private Audience

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This afternoon I sat down at the piano and played and sung some of my songs, for myself.

Not rehearsing. Not working on new arrangements. Just enjoying the music, the lyrics and – yes, I’ll say it – the sound of my own voice.

Now, performing for a crowd is one of the biggest delights in my existence. When I’m not doing it on a regular basis, it isn’t long before I feel a piece is missing; I appreciate every opportunity I am given to do what I love doing. It’s more than “entertaining”. While I believe that the songs I write and I sing in my shows are good and that my voice is unique, powerful and moving, I don’t know if, honestly, “entertaining” is the right word. I kind of think if I’ve merely entertained an audience, I haven’t succeeded in what I’ve come to do. Not that there is anything wrong with entertainment…it’s just that music is soooo much MORE than that. Or, it can be so much more than that (because music is spiritual in nature). However, if someone has come for nothing more than to be entertained – and that is all they receive – so be it; I don’t think you’ll be disappointed (at least, I hope not), but I always endeavour there to be more there…to touch deeper, to go further, to leave fingerprints on the fabric of the soul which is beyond the ability of entertainment alone. And, when I listen to music or go to a concert, I am always personally disappointed if all that happened was that I was entertained.

So, today, it wasn’t about a little distraction (escape) from the relentless frustration of my (crappy) day, to come aside and amuse myself for a bit. It might have started that way, but it ended with feeding my soul and lifting it above the muck and mire (that’s the real power of music). These are songs with substance. Some are sad. Some are hopeful and comforting and encouraging. Some are prayer. All are honest expression. And, as I sat and played out the sorrows of the day, I was both performer and audience – and it was nothing so small as entertainment: this was important; this was therapy.

Take “The Bear’s” Advice

wordsofautumn

I saw this today on Twitter.

I immediately “favourited” and retweeted it.

And, I think it applies to blogging, too.

If I start to water me down just so I can get a few more followers, then shame on me! When I begin to care more about the statistics of my blog and tailoring it to reach a certain demographic or making it palatable to a wider audience, it is no longer an expression of myself…which is, generally, what this blog is about.

So, my advice to new bloggers? Take a page out of mine and @Laughbook’s book and be true to yourself.  Blog like nobody’s watching, reading or judging. Just blog!

Learning Curves

Voluptuous is a good word.

The Oxford dictionary describes the word voluptuous as:

adjective

  • (of a woman) curvaceous and sexually attractive.
  • relating to or characterized by luxury or sensual pleasure:long curtains in voluptuous crimson velvet

The word, when spoken or read, immediately conjures up the idea of fullness – a veritable bursting with pleasure; indeed, the idea of the word is that curves give pleasure! How delightful.

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It’s a small (small but powerful) shift in thinking that takes me from seeing myself as fat, lumpy and frumpy to seeing myself as our word du jour.

When I see myself as the former, I walk with hunched shoulders – an outward display in my posture of how I am feeling at that moment about my appearance. It shouldn’t be important. It isn’t, but it is. It is.

On those rare occasions I have a more positive attitude to my body image, I stand up straight and tall (like when I sing – which is, for me, a most voluptuous experience) and, regardless of what anyone else’s opinions might be when they see me right then, I am quite pleased with the curves.

It’s about learning to accept the body I’m in right now. Not what it used to be. Because, I can’t get it there again. That’s a realm to which the door has shut forever. I’m not going to starve and exercise for hours on end. I’m not going to disguise vanity and call it a health kick. You heard me.

Most days, that acceptance is exceedingly difficult, to say the least (and there are days when it is impossible). But today… today I am…

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voluptuous!

Glass? What Glass?

Daily Prompt | The Glass asks us that old chestnut:

Is the glass half full, or half empty?

Well, after some thought, I’d say, it depends on the glass.

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Take this glass here. This glass is half full of delightfully taste bud tantalising ginger beer. Mmmm, delicious and refreshing.

But, we’re not talking about literal glasses and what fills (or doesn’t fill) them; we’re talking about (sigh) life.

Perhaps I shouldn’t be writing about this when I’m depressed. But, the Daily Prompt prompted me. So, here I am.

I have an ex-boyfriend who used to say to me, “Autumn, your problem is that you always see the glass half empty.” My response always was, “What glass? There isn’t a glass!” I was being very cynical and negative, yes. But, I was also disappointed by his use of the tired and, in my opinion, incorrect analogy.

I know, I know. Hard to believe me being negative and opinionated. And, sarcastic.

You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; you anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. – Psalm 23:6

So, first of all, it isn’t a glass; it’s a cup. And, it isn’t half anything; it’s full and running over.

At times it (life, the cup) is full and running over with misery (like when the husband is ill and the kids are misbehaving and one realises their dreams are only fantasies and you are overwhelmed and drowning in the sucky-ness of life).

There are times (such as, when you are doing what you love, you have an appreciative audience and you feel as though there is yet hope; like when your husband gives you “that look” that defies logic because you know how time has ravaged you; moments when your kids make you laugh with their humour and warm your heart with their love) when the cup is full and runs over with wondrous delight.

Most of the time it’s a swirling, whirling, overflowing mix of the good and the bad together. But, it is never empty, and it is never half empty or half full. It may be full of emptiness sometimes, but it is not in the nature of life to be half anything.

That’s just the nature of the cup.