Sometimes Words Get In The Way

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“Sometimes…words only get in the way.
They’re not enough, or they’re too much.”

– Autumn Dawn Leader

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Music is Therapy. Always.

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The school run rarely runs (no pun intended) smoothly. I struggled, per usual, but I got them there and got myself back to the safe confines of the four walls I live in (I’d have said “my house”, but it’s rented and our financial situation is never going to allow us to own a house…so).

Things with my health have been deteriorating. Go back to the doctor, I hear you say. I’m tired of that. I’ve tried to get better, and just get worse.

I’ve withdrawn. Even more. I avoid Facebook, with the exception of my artist’s page. It’s another outlet. I keep it for that reason; it certainly isn’t good for much else (like promoting my music, which was its original intention).

Facebook. Ugh. Society in general, ugh. But, Facebook? Let’s put all neuroses in a Petri dish, why don’t we? The never ending stream (feed…yeah, and I’m fed up) of depressing human existence. Updates about food and who’s watching what on the telly. And the endless competition for who has the best (and worst) of life’s experiences goes on. It’s fucking overwhelming.

Oh, but you will accuse me of being negative…all the while, the whisper you ignore in the back of your head agrees with me, knows I’m right.

It may surprise you to find out this post is not a rant about Facebook. Where was I?… oh, yeah, the school run was done and I was safe inside the four walls.

After a glass of chocolate milk (with added vitamins), I found myself in front of my piano (it IS mine…not rented, all mine). I couldn’t remember the last time I had played it. I felt I should do something about it. Music is therapy. Always.

I cleared the pile of stuff (clothes, kids’ toys, who knows what else) off the bench. I sat. There was a song I had written (scribbled) in front of me. I played and sang it. My voice is rusty. But, the piano welcomed me like the true friend it is. We touched each other…that’s what musicians and their instruments do. It’s a very intimate thing and surely sounds freaky and pervy to non-musos. Freaky and pervy I can be accused of (I digress), but the relationship between musician and instrument is sacred.

It’s like any other relationship. We let each other down. We please each other when we can. It’s very give and take…on both sides.

After the scribbled song, I played and sang an old favourite. Then, I let the piano play me for a while. Give. Take.

I feel just as wretched and ill as before I sat down, but I feel a little less frazzled; I feel comforted.

Music is therapy. Always.

What’s next? I don’t know. Take it a day at a time. Do what I can…let go what I can’t. And, perhaps, try to play daily, even if only a minute or two. Yeah…it’s a plan.

Portrait

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Portrait

Paint me in the colours of music: flat, sharp, subtle and bold.
Keys of black and white tell a story that is anything – everything – but.
Nothing so tidy, nothing so clear-cut…
something so imperfect and painful becomes a melody.
And chaos is just the prelude to the exquisite, the graceful madness.
A tale of sadness. Wednesday’s child.
It’s my story. It’s my portrait.
These are my colours.

© Autumn Dawn Leader 2014

Even If

As I was saying here

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Today, I had to go for a blood test. It’s a long walk from where we live to where I had to go to get the red stuff drawn. To make matters less appealing, it was a fasting test, so I had to do all that walking on an empty stomach. The good news was that my husband took the day off work to make sure the kids got to school and I made it to my appointment without fainting or anything.

After we were done at the phlebotomist’s, our first port of call was to get me a much needed cup of coffee and something edible. We did that. Then we had time just to wander around town together. If we’d had any money to spend we’d have gone straight into the bookshop.  But, window shopping in a bookshop is, for me, like the height of being teased and left high and dry. It’s a literary blue balls. Yeah, I’m being crude…get over it. You get the point.

So, we decided to go look in a vintage furniture shop. Now, if we couldn’t afford to get me a new book, we certainly couldn’t afford to get any of the cool furniture, but – for me – it’s not nearly so much of a tease; I can look and say, “Yeah, be nice”, but you won’t see me climbing the walls with unfulfilled desire.

Jamie was the one to spot this coaster (it’s a coaster, but I’m keeping it as a plaque on my piano).  He remarked something along the lines that this should be our philosophy and I said, “Yeah…it’s sort of what I was talking about on my blog yesterday.”  He counted out some change in his pocket and bought the coaster/plaque.

Sure, IF more people did care, I’d be able to afford the book and maybe even the really nice furniture. But, they don’t, and there’s nothing I can do to make them.  It is what it is. But, still, I am what I am. Thus, the beautiful things shall continue to be made whilst I have breath.

Sitting there on my piano, it will be a source of comfort and inspiration. It’s also testiment to the love and thoughtfulness of my husband who counted out pennies so that I could have a bit of visual support on those days when people’s great lack of caring is getting to me. That’s love, that is (yeah…he is awesome).

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.