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Archive for January, 2012

Admiration from the stage – music story #3

I remember watching the movie “The Doors”, about the rock group of the same name. And there was a scene in the movie where Jim Morrison serenaded his girlfriend with a song. That scene has stuck with me for years, a little fantasy I harbor, that I may find someone who will sing to me in that way. To me that is the joy of music; poetry with a melody, the perfect combination of words and sounds. This story is a twist on the usual scenario of  the fan who watches and admires an artist – sometimes the artist can also become the fan. I am also including a poem about how deeply music touches my soul, how moving it would be to have a private audience with an artist that I admire, wanting to almost melt into them as they perform.

More than Just a Fan

Maggie saw him there in the crowd – she had just finished her first song, mumbling a quick “thanks” to the audience – she was always so nervous until she got that first song out of the way. She had her head down, with the heavy red curls that made up her hair, draping around her face. As a performer she was one of the quieter ones. She usually didn’t watch the crowd too much but he kept gazing at her, and not in a creepy kind of way but with a genuine look that pulled her in. Maggie knew that a lot of her fans identified with the music she sang; her songbook was made up of songs about love in all its different forms – the joy, the heartache, the roller coaster ride that love could be. The word that came to mind as she tried not to stare at him was captivating. This man in front of the stage, in his plain black hoodie and baby blue stocking cap that covered his shoulder length brown hair – certainly not anything fancy but there was just something about him, a feeling every time she caught his gaze. Get a grip – she told herself, as she started in on the next song. Soon she found herself lost in the music, but the thought of meeting the man in the crowd just would not go away.

After finishing her set and the requisite encore, Maggie went backstage and set her guitar down in the corner of the dressing room. Normally she would sit down and unwind a bit, gathering her thoughts about how the show went. But this night her thoughts weren’t on the show she had just played, they were on the captivating mystery man – she had to meet him! Maggie walked through the backstage throng of people that always seemed to assemble after a show – a mix of music people and those who were hangers-on – the ones lucky enough to get back there past the bored security guy. She hurried out to the bar area of the club she had just played in, scanning the crowd for the baby blue stocking hat. The club she had just played in, Cacophony, was one of the smaller venues in town. But it had a warmth that seemed to embrace music, with posters pasted up on the walls from different people and bands that had played there since its opening in the late 70’s. The diminutive size of the club made it easy to find him. There he was! She found him sitting at the bar with a friend of his she assumed, and she breathed a sigh of relief to see it was a male friend. She walked up to the bar, standing in the empty space next to him, on the pretense of ordering a drink.

“Hi – I saw you there, in the front by the stage – did you enjoy the show?” Maggie asked him, trying to stop the quiver in her voice.

“Yeah, you were great! – just like the last time I saw you play,” the stocking hat stranger replied.

“My name is Maggie – well duh, I guess you already knew that. And what’s your name?” Good lord, she was coming off like a complete idiot!

“My name is Nathan – and I really love your music,” he replied in an understated fashion; but it was so lovely, Maggie thought to herself.

“Where did you see me play before?” Maggie asked him.

“I saw you a couple months ago when you played at Bohemia – you were wonderful. But with my crazy work schedule I don’t get out as much as I’d like.”

“Well thank you,” Maggie replied. “What do you do for work that keeps you from getting out?”

“I’m a firefighter – I love what I do, even with the odd hours – it gives me a lot of free time to work on what I really love,” Nathan explained.

“And what would that be?” Maggie queried.

“Well, I write and play a bit of music myself – but mainly just for me. I don’t know that any of it is good enough to see the light of day outside my window,” Nathan told her modestly.

“Would you consider playing something for me? It’s been so long since I’ve had anyone play for me – I’ve been so busy playing for everyone else. Please, come backstage with me – if you don’t mind – I would love to hear your songs.” What in the world had gotten into her – Maggie had no idea if this person was single, taken or just didn’t care, but she wasn’t going to let him get away without finding out.

“Sure, why not – if you’re sure you don’t mind. Sometimes I think my friends get tired of having to listen to me play all the time, but I love to play for people when I get a chance. But it’s been awhile, so I may be kind of rusty,” he said in a shy and humble manner.

What a refreshingly genuine person Nathan seemed to be – so many artists seemed to be full of ego and pretentiousness, especially around other artists – as if they were always competing against each other. But Maggie sensed none of this in Nathan. She was very anxious to hear what he had to offer in the way of his music; would it fit his down to earth demeanor, she wondered?  She was hoping so bad that it would, and soon she would find out.

They walked to the back of the club and through the backstage door. Maggie’s manager, Theo, was standing there and started to say something like “who the hell” before Maggie gave him the evil eye to shut the hell up. Even though she wasn’t big news on the national scene, she had gathered quite a loyal fan base in Minneapolis, and bringing a fan backstage was sure to cause a ruckus once the news got out. But Maggie didn’t give a damn what the local music papers said, she was captivated by Nathan already. She felt like he understood her; call it women’s intuition but they had some kind of connection – she felt it every time they locked eyes.

Nathan found a chair in the dressing room and sat down, while Maggie got her guitar from the corner of the room where she had left it.

“Would you like something to drink? It’s on me – they don’t charge me anything you know.” Oh for crying out loud, there she went again, sounding like a schoolgirl with her first crush.

“Thanks, that would be great – I’ll just have a beer – whatever they have on tap that’s the cheapest is fine with me,” Nathan told her.

He was so polite, in a quaint sort of way and he certainly wasn’t taking advantage of her hospitality. “Okay, I’ll be right back – that’ll give you time to tune the guitar the way you like.” Maggie walked out of the dressing room and almost ran to the bar; afraid that Nathan might sneak out while she was away. But he was still there when she got back, in the same chair, lazily strumming away on the guitar.

“Did you decide what you wanted to play?” Maggie asked him.

“Yeah, it’s a song called I Part the Sky – I wrote it for a friend of mine who’s gone now.” Maggie sat in the chair across the room from him and settled in – and she began to hear the most beautiful melody coming out of her guitar – how could he be so modest about this lovely music? He sang out a song with heartfelt, yet introspective lyrics – not like so much of the superficial songwriting she heard, even from some of her friends. Nathan finished his song and Maggie excitedly clapped her hands in appreciation.

“That was wonderful!” she cried. “How long have you been doing this and why haven’t you tried to put your work out there?”

“I’ve been writing songs since I was a teenager – I learned to play guitar and piano when I was a kid. I guess I just do it for the sake of doing it, you know. I never thought about doing it as a career but I love to play for my friends when they let me,” Nathan said.

“Let you!” Maggie exclaimed, “They should be begging you to play! You’re good – and I’m not just saying that – would you play something else for me?”

“Alright – here’s a song I love, and I really love playing it.” With that, Nathan played the familiar notes – the beginning of the song that Maggie remembered so well, playing it so often when she was still a member of Wildflowers, the band she used to be a part of until she decided to go solo. It was a song called Moon Love, and she had written it for a lover from so long ago – it was her song of loss; her love having died two years ago. Nathan strummed the last chord and Maggie was surprised to find tears in her eyes.

“I’m sorry – that was lovely. It’s just a very personal song about someone I lost too – I miss him – we both loved the moon so much and I had forgotten that.”

“I didn’t mean to upset you. I miss my friend too – she was my best friend and funny thing is, we loved to try and find the moon at night – like hide and seek, you know?” Nathan reminisced.

Maggie wiped her eyes. “Well, enough of sad songs. You really need to bring your songs somewhere so they can be heard – if you want, that is. I’m good friends with the owner of Metronome Records, the label that released my solo album. If you want me to, if you have anything recorded, I could bring it over there and see what they think. But I have a feeling that you could be looking at a possible album in your future.” Nathan had real talent and Maggie liked to think she had a good ear for talent that deserved to be heard.

“Well, I have been recording some stuff on the 4 track equipment I have at home. It sounds a little rough around the edges, but if you really want I’ll get a copy of what I have so far. This is so nice of you – helping out someone you just met like this,” Nathan quietly told her.

Oh my God, he was so genuinely nice – Maggie was smitten! But besides that, he played such pretty music – he was a natural – why did people hide such talent away? Well, she was going to take care of that. But first, she had an idea.

“Here’s my number – please give me a call and let me know when that demo tape is ready and I’ll take it to my friend at Metronome. And before you go, would you do me one other favor?”

“Sure,” Nathan said, “what is it?”

“Would you walk outside with me so we can play hide and seek with the moon?”

Nathan gave her the most beautiful smile as she reached for his hand; Maggie knew, she just knew that Nathan was going to turn out to be more, oh so much more than just a fan.

May I?


When I hear your music

I am mesmerized

It pulls me in

I glide along with the melody

Your songs touch my soul

They sing to me

Others sing yet I feel nothing

I only feel your passionate voice

You play your guitar

Caressing so gently

I am awestruck watching

May I touch you while you play?

You stroke the piano keys

Melodies so angelic


May I touch your fingers while you play?

You breathe out the words

Full of passion

Full of meaning

May I touch your lips to taste the words?

You live and breathe

The beauty of music

Take me with you

I am carried away



I am finding lately that the more I let go of the control I feel I need to have in my life, the smoother the path of my life is. Once I realize that I don’t always know what is best for me, the Universe steps in and blessedly opens doors, sometimes even closing others. And the things that we think of as “coincidences” are really just the dominoes of our lives here falling in perfect succession. It feels good to know that I don’t have to keep such a tight grip on the reins; my soul knows exactly where to go.

Letting Go

The absolute trust

Of a snowflake

As it leaves the sky

Letting go

Free falling

Through the atmosphere

Its path unknown

Yet it trusts

An unseen guidance


It will land softly


Exactly where it needs to be

Water washes over me

During my life thus far, I have experienced water in all its forms; rain, snow, sleet, hail – all the conditions that encompass the oath of the ever faithful mail carrier to complete their appointed rounds. I was born and raised in water friendly Minnesota, lovingly described on its license plates as the “Land of 10,000 Lakes”. It makes for a stunning landscape, all those lakes, with Lake Superior calling to me with its siren song of immense beauty. But I soon grew tired of the frozen form of water, the snow that would blanket the ground each winter, and the winter of 2010/2011 was like some kind of cruel marathon that Mother Nature seemed to be running. After cleaning snow off my car in mid-April, I wrote a poem lamenting the endless winter and set my sights westward. I could now hear the ocean calling me, just like when you hold a shell to your ear and hear the roar of the waves. And I had a vision of the Oregon coast, so clear in my mind. It wasn’t pretty and sun drenched like the Southern California coast. No, my ocean was cloudy and windy, with waves that angrily rolled in, all cold and foamy. And once I moved to Portland, and made my first trip to the coast, I saw my vision revealed to me in all its splendor. Yes, there is plenty of water here, in the form of rain. And yes, there has even been a bit of the white stuff too! But as I make my way through the rainy season here, I just remind myself that all those lovely drops of water falling down are what brings the green of the leaves, the colors of the flowers, and I drench myself in the luscious color palette of this place I now call home.

Whining About Winter

The snow, the snow

The endless snow!

In December, white crystals fall

Like jewels from heaven

In March, angry pellets of white

Are shot from hell

Pristine mountains of gathered flakes

That once glistened pure and bright

Are now dreary gray burial mounds

When will the melting commence?

To reveal the earth’s hidden palette of colors

As days march triumphantly towards spring

The sun cautiously creeps closer to the earth

It dares to stay a little longer

With each passing day

Come! Stay awhile!

Don’t be shy, we implore

And the sun finally agrees

To stop hiding like a frightened rabbit behind winter

And leaps like a graceful deer into spring

Chasing the snow into the ground

It lifts up sleeping life from once frozen dirt

The Pull of the Waves

How is it that I feel

Deep within my being

This pull of the waves

A body of water

Ocean, sea

Miles away

From my body

Yet my soul

Plants its feet in the sand

And I wait

For the water to rush over me

Rolling waves

Now I float on them

Rocking in a cradle

 Swaying in my lover’s arms

The waves enfold me

A wet, salty blanket

Drifting off in a daydream

Blissful remembrance

Of how the water


The Changing Moods of Water



Changing forms

Liquid drops of rain

Flakes of snow

Blanket of fog

Billowy clouds

Icy sheets on the river

Water floating upon water

Seared by the sun

Water warms

Water melts

Fondled by winter’s breeze

Droplets cease to fall

They hang suspended

Moments frozen

Tousled by the wind

Waves leap and cavort

In fits of rage they destroy

Yet water is liquid life

Nourishing our bodies

Quenching our thirst

It mimics the goddess Kali

A bearer of life

A destroyer of life

When made aware of its duality

We gain respect for water

And it’s ever changing moods

Up to the challenge

I found a fun thing for us writers – a 100 word challenge presented by Julia’s Place blog site. The idea is to write a story using only 100 words from a weekly prompt. This week the prompt was “you bought her what” – intriguing – could I do it? Well, I did it! So thank you Julia for a new exercise in writing.

A Perfect Pair

Mom grabbed the next present from the pile on the floor next to her; the gift was from my sister.  She unwrapped it and opened the box, her eyes sparkling like the lights on the Christmas tree. “Oh my Jenny, it’s beautiful!”Yet I gasped in horror as I whispered under my breath to my sister, “You bought her what I bought her!” But as Mom opened my identical gift, she said with such heartfelt grace, “Oh Julie, it’s perfect! Now I have another sweater to wear when the other one is in the wash.”

Music of the streets – story #2

Like most places in winter, my city is quiet, her streets not so full of people. I miss the sounds of the street musicians, the buskers, as I walk in the rain. I can’t blame them for taking a break during the inclement weather. But I am assured in the coming months when the rain abates and the sun shines, that these wonderful troubadours will be on the street corners, in the parks, serenading all who pass by.

Dreams of a Busker

To busk means “to entertain by singing, dancing, or reciting on the street or in a public place.”Henry Dewar was a busker, and he entertained on the street by singing. Busking is a profession that really isn’t a profession but more like a volunteer position that struggling musicians find themselves in when trying to become noticed. If one is lucky, or good enough to be noticed for more than a few passing seconds, there may be a bit of pay involved. But more times than not, being a busker is just putting on a free show in whatever locale is available for whoever happens to walk by. Actually, it was Dylan Jameson who was the busker – that was Henry’s busking moniker. He had decided that Henry was a totally inappropriate name for someone who sang songs like the ones he wrote, full of heartfelt meaning, sprinkled with an idiosyncratic nature at times. He arrived at Dylan in a clear cut tribute to Bob Dylan, the most famous of buskers. And in keeping with the whiskey theme attached to his last name, he chose Jameson instead of Dewar. And besides, he much preferred a shot of Jameson over a shot of Dewar’s any day. Not that he should have known the difference, since he was only 20 years old and not quite legal drinking age. But who didn’t drink before that time anyway? Only dorks and geeks and nerds, and he wasn’t one of them, although at times he felt like one. But when his friends passed around the bottle of whatever they could find in their parent’s liquor cabinet while they were out of town, Henry gladly took a swig. The warm glow of  whiskey or whatever was in the bottle he held in his hand  took away all the insecurities and especially the voice of his mother, asking him once more when he was going to put away that silly guitar and find a real job or go to college or really do anything but play music. Henry would hold the bottle in front of his face and speak to it, pretending it was his mother and that he actually had the courage to tell her, “Mom, I’m not going to college and I am going to find a real job – a job as a musician – I just wish you would believe in me, but it doesn’t matter because this is my future, this is my dream and it is going to come true because I believe in me.” And with that he would take an extra long swig and wait for the liquor to fill him full of the golden glow of that belief.

Perhaps out of respect to Henry and his dreams, maybe he should be referred to as Dylan from this point on. Oftentimes an artist in bloom requires a new identity, even when that new identity continually gets slathered over by naysayers, like Dylan’s mom. Like most moms she meant well, and as a single mom she meant even more than well. She worried about her son, as she watched him try out different hair styles and different hair colors, ranging from blue to green to the jet black that he seemed to have finally decided upon. And couldn’t he just cut it to a more respectable length, above his shoulders at least? How would he ever get a decent job with long, stringy, black hair? And his clothes, well she couldn’t complain too much, he certainly didn’t spend much of her money on his wardrobe. Dylan’s closet was only half full at best; a few pairs of well worn jeans, various t-shirts in plain colors or those with different bands or musicians on the front, and a meager collection of hoodies for the cooler weather he endured while playing outside in the Portland, Oregon winter. It was all a struggling musician needed as far as clothes, but Dylan’s mom envisioned him in business attire, at the very least in a button down shirt with a pair of dress pants and shoes that weren’t made of canvas. She hated to keep nagging him but she couldn’t stand the thought of her son, her only child ending up like his father – living in some remote seaside town on the Oregon coast in a rundown ocean weathered house, still chasing the artist’s dream, still trying to make a living out of driftwood he found on the shore. When they had first married she found it charming and thought it was just a phase that he would grow out of and learn how to properly provide for his family. But that never happened and now Dylan’s mom painfully watched as her son began to travel down the same dead end road, with the same glazed over, starry eyed dreams as his father had followed.

Dylan liked to think of the buskers in Portland as a family of sorts, a community unique onto themselves. They were like the Impressionists from 19th century Europe, who came together to put forth their art that was so misunderstood at the time. Of course there was a vibe of competition among the buskers, how could there not be? They all wanted the same thing, to be discovered and catch that elusive fame and success, to sing for more than just the passing people on the streets. But they encouraged one another, and listened to one another. Sometimes partnerships were formed and other times they were broken. But there was an unspoken rule of no backstabbing or stepping over another to achieve their time in the spotlight. Many times precious guitar strings were shared, as well as information leading to a treasure like find of really cheap instruments for sale. In Portland the Willamette River divides the city into east and west, and Dylan knew most who played on both sides, although his home turf was the west side. Those on the east side would proudly proclaim that their area was “the real Portland”, with the hip and quirky bohemian flavor that most musicians seemed to thrive in. But as Dylan would come to find out, serendipity didn’t choose sides of a river, it went both east and west.

The battered and duct taped black guitar case stood in the corner, like a soldier waiting for its assignment. Inside the case was Dylan’s most prized possession, the Yamaha acoustic guitar made of light brown wood, covered with stickers of all sorts from the different bands around town who gave them out, to one from Jackpot Records, his favorite record store in town, to one proclaiming “Keep Portland Weird”. The precious guitar was a gift from Dylan’s father, on his 12th birthday, when his father was still around. His father understood him, he understood the musician in him, and he understood Dylan’s need to follow his passion. It is exactly what Dylan’s father had done, followed his passion, even though it had cost him his family. These days Dylan didn’t see him very often and talked to him even less and missed him even more. But life wasn’t always easy or what we thought it should be, as his mother reminded him time and time again.

“I’m out of here,” Dylan shouted to his mom as he grabbed his guitar case, his coolest pair of sunglasses, and a bottle of water for his busking session, this time down by the waterfront of the Willamette.

“Will you be home for dinner?” his mother shouted back.

“Don’t plan on me,” Dylan said as he walked out the door.

“I never do,” his mother muttered under her breath.

It was Saturday, and that meant the Saturday Market was in full swing. It was a perfect summer day and Portland was full of visitors who made it a point to visit the huge weekend gathering of artists that they had heard so much about. It was a different energy than the artists who showed their work in the Pearl District, which was much more upscale and catered to people who bought expensive works of art that transformed their homes into art galleries themselves. The artists of the Saturday Market were more of the arts and crafts feel, many of them creating their works as a hobby and not as their profession. But during the summer months when the crowds were full and fierce, the tourists gobbled up many of the unique treasures offered and the artists fared well. Many different varieties of food were also offered, as well as different types of music being played everywhere throughout the market, and there were even break dancers once in awhile who moved like taffy being pulled, to the sounds coming from a nearby beat box. Dylan made his way to the market by first walking through the nearby Farmer’s Market that was also held every Saturday. He could hear the echoing strains of the sax man as he neared the site of the Farmer’s Market. Dylan wondered how long the old man had been playing on that same corner; his saxophone a dull gold color now, but the notes still coming out clear and bright. He stopped to listen as he heard the moaning melody of the blues being played. When the sax man finished, Dylan shoved a dollar into the glass jar he always had, the one with the sign in black marker that said, “Bless You”. “Thanks son,” the old man said with a tired smile. The sax man was the only one that Dylan gave money to; he kind of felt sorry for the old guy. But he never could find the courage to ask him about his life or his experiences as a long time busker; at times he was afraid of what he might hear. Dylan moved on to the park outside of the Farmer’s Market and spotted his friend Tyler, playing his brand of heavy rock music with his cheap electric guitar and amp that he hauled around town.

“How goes it man?” Dylan asked him.

“Not bad, I’ve made a few bucks but it’s mostly head banging highschoolers coming to listen. What I really need is the music people to come, you know? Not just a bunch of wanna be kids.”

The “music people” that Tyler referred to was every busker’s dream, that someone of some importance from the music community would take notice and tell someone else of some importance and so on and so on, and then they would be discovered.

“Yeah, but don’t forget about all the attention you get when a crowd gathers. And don’t forget about your fans,” Dylan reminded him.

“Yeah, well alright. Where’re you headed?”

“I’m gonna set up down by the Market, by the waterfront. A great day like this brings everyone out and hopefully the music people will be out too.” Dylan was thinking about all the famous musicians who had been discovered playing on the streets, like Bob Dylan of course and in more recent times there was Beck. To Dylan it was not just a pie in the sky dream, to be a famous musician. Music was his passion, his life; it was the only thing that he wanted to do. But reality had begun to sink in lately, the reality of being unemployed and living at home, and along with that was the constant sound of his mother’s voice reminding him of this. But for now he just wanted to find his favorite spot by the waterfront, under the shade of a tree and play his heart out to whoever wanted to listen.

With the guitar case in one hand that held his most prized possession, and a half empty bottle of water in the other, Dylan made his way out of the sprawling grounds of the Farmer’s Market and turned north towards the Saturday Market. This event took place in the area known as Old Town, a part of Portland that was a bit grimier than others, but Dylan loved the feel of the area. He made his way past the many booths set up, where people sold a hodgepodge of arts and crafts; everything from soaps to nuts, jewelry to junk made into treasures. Every type of artist opened up shop, with art done in every imaginable medium. Dylan always thought of it as the perfect showcase for Portland’s strong art community. And mixed in with all that was for sale were the musical offerings, from those who were asked to play on the small stage set up by the food area, to those who were uninvited, like Dylan. But there was a level of tolerance for all the buskers; they never seemed to be harassed by the police for playing their music. Dylan weaved his way through the throngs of people gazing at the dazzling array of arts and crafts offered until he got to the waterfront area. He had a favorite spot, a corner with a large oak tree that provided him with much appreciated shade on the hot summer days. It was one of those hot summer days and Dylan was glad to see that no one was sitting there. He sat down on the grass and laid down his guitar case. Opening it up he gently lifted his guitar out, and also found his cheat sheet of lyrics and chords to the songs he had been working on lately. Dylan had discovered his mom’s record collection from her youth, and he was surprised to find that he actually liked a lot of the music his mom used to listen to. His favorite of late was The Slider by T. Rex, and he had been working hard to perfect the songs from that album. He strummed through the six strings of the guitar, one at a time, in an effort to make sure he was in tune. One last gulp from the water bottle, a check to make sure his guitar case was opened and close at hand to any passersby who would want to throw some money in, and on with the cool white rimmed sunglasses – he was ready. Dylan got into the place where the music came from; a place where he could feel the joy of singing and playing the music, a place where he seemed to be in a world all his own. So it came as a surprise to him when he looked up for a second and saw the woman standing there in front of him. She looked old enough to be his mom but she was into the T. Rex song he was playing. When he finished she clapped her hands excitedly and said, “That was great! And you even remembered to shout out “rock!” in the right place.”

“Thanks,” said Dylan shyly, “I found this album in my mom’s record collection – it’s a great album, like a classic, and one of my favorites.”

“When I was in high school I remember hearing T. Rex on the radio, but all they played was Bang a Gong.  I didn’t realize until years later how much other great music they have. They never really got a fair shake in the US,” the mom-like lady replied.

“I’ll play you another if you’d like,” said Dylan and with that he launched into Spaceball Richochet but kind of faded out towards the end.

“Sorry about that,” Dylan mumbled, “I’m just learning these songs.”

“That’s okay, it sounded great. And by the way, my name is Sharon Waters. I’m actually here for a reason – I work for Aberrant Records and we’re hosting a kind of “battle of the buskers” called The Buskers Ball. We got talking one day about all the great music we hear on the streets but realize how hard it is to get noticed and catch a break. So we’re having a talent show of sorts at the Roseland Theatre in two weeks. Here’s all the information about signing up and other details. The winner will get free studio time with a producer and engineer provided, and Aberrant will press the cd and distribute it. But even if you don’t win, there will be plenty of Portland music industry people coming to listen, and the possibilities are endless!”

Dylan didn’t know what to say, with this opportunity just falling into his lap. “Thanks, I’ll be there!”

“I’m counting on it,” Sharon said as she moved on to find the next busker to bestow good fortune upon.

Dylan spent the next two weeks feverishly practicing and perfecting his music; broken guitar strings became a common occurrence and he bummed new ones off the other buskers when he could. According to the small white piece of paper he got that fateful Saturday, he had to go online and register his name, so of course he registered as Dylan Jameson; and each person got one song, one chance to show what they’ve got. Since the lady from Aberrant liked his T. Rex material so much, he chose a song off of The Slider to perform. He had some original material; songs he had written but he wasn’t sure how they would go over – better to play a cover that people would recognize. He could play his own songs after he got the ball rolling and found a record label to put his stuff out there. But for now, his hopes were on this Buskers Ball, hoping against hope like all the others that they would be noticed or even better, be the lucky winner.

As Dylan walked down Burnside Avenue, guitar case in hand, he neared the Roseland Theatre and saw the lineup of others just like him. Wow, there must be every busker around from east to west, he thought as he took his place in line. He was so nervous! He had never been on a stage before; this wouldn’t be like playing outside, now he got to play inside in a proper venue. The line slowly snaked towards the backstage door. Dylan felt the nervous anticipation and started singing to himself – would he get up there and forget the words? He wished he could take his guitar out of the case, right there in line to make sure he remembered the chords. But after two weeks of constant practice he felt like it was second nature, the song he had picked to perform. Now he was up to the door – he could see the table set up where everyone had to sign in and get all the new details about what was going to happen and get the number that they had to wear so the “judges” knew who they were. Kind of like a talent contest, kind of corny and kitschy but hey, it was a chance to strut your stuff that may have never happened in a million years so Dylan was willing to play the game. Now it was his turn – “What’s your name?” the lady at the table asked. “My name is Dylan Jameson,” the old Henry Dewar replied. He got his number and found himself in the backstage of a real club, a real place to play. And as he moved around the backstage area, and found himself looking at the stage where he would be playing, he realized that his dreams, the dreams of a busker, had a very good chance of turning into his reality.

Age is just a number, that I don’t always remember

I have a friend who’s birthday is in a couple of days, but for the life of me I really don’t know exactly how old she is going to be. I know it’s 40- something, and does it really matter? I’ll probably ask her, she will understand. Now if she were in her 20’s, I would imagine my inability to remember her exact age would be considered a slight in our friendship. But honestly, when asked my age, there are times when I start to do the math in my head before I can answer – take the year it is now, subtract the year I was born and recall the month it is too, to figure in if I add another year or not. And I’m not slow on the uptake, I’m not losing my mind, not just yet anyway! But at this stage of my life, 50-something, age really doesn’t mean a whole heck of alot. All I know is that number one, I am glad to be getting older. I most certainly do not want to relive the days of my youth in any way, shape or form. Who wants to make those mistakes all over again? No, I am gathering what they call “wisdom”, and it is very good to have. And number two, I like the eras that I grew up in, and do not wish to be a young person in the new millennium – I’m used to my old ways, thank you very much! And number three, I can say with all honesty that I am not afraid of death. I may be a bit leery of the process of dying – does it hurt? I hope it is quick and painless, what we all wish for. But I believe that life goes on after this “life” on earth, so what is there to be afraid of? And from what I hear, it’s a pretty cool place too. So I welcome each year that I can add on, more wisdom, more experiences, more love and life to gather here until I find out what’s on the other side of life.


The blooms in the blue vase


Softness of the petals


But still bright

With color

Some hold their heads high

Others become weary

Heavy and drooping

Leaves fade

From youthful dark green

To the yellowing of age

Transition of form

Yet within each bloom

Life continues to radiate


Poems from my inner child

My first few poems were born from a tidal wave of emotions coming out, after going through some major life changes. But as I began to heal and started to feel more alive, I wanted to play with the words, not just use them as an outlet for my troubles. So one day I was thinking about my car, my amazingly reliable, always there for me Honda Civic (which I had named Little Car), and out came the words to a poem about my friend made of black metal. And I found it coming out in rhyme, with a rhythm like the jump rope rhymes I remembered from my childhood. My inner child had revealed herself! On another occasion, I was thinking of favorite foods, things I really crave at times, and realized they all begin with the letter C. Voila! Another tiny, simple and childlike poem, just for the sheer fun of it. Who says that all our writing has to be deep and profound? A bit of silliness is needed every now and then to remind us how to play, even in our writing.


Little Car


Little car, little car

You and I, we go so far

Traveling near or traveling far

Having fun no matter where we are

The road ahead looms large and long

But you and I, we sing our song

Of taking a chance on roads unknown

Then coming back to our sweet home

Without you I fear

I would have to stay near

And not venture to places

Where I can meet many new faces

So I thank you always

For taking me all those days

To new places I’ve longed to see

Traveling onward – just you and me!

The Letter C

Things I love

That begin with C




Cheese and


There it is

Nothing fancy

Just some things

That I


Beginning with



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