Tuesday, September 27, 2011

The Art of Dreaming

In the story of Alice and the Looking Glass, there is a conversation between Alice and the White Queen, where Alice is disbelieving that one could actually believe impossible things can be done. The Queen responded to Alice as though Alice was speaking nonsense; “I daresay you haven’t had much practice,” said the Queen. “When I was your age, I always did it for half-an-hour a day. Why, sometimes I’ve believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast.”

Dreaming in general only begets impossibilities, so we’re told, and yet we continue to dream. At some point, we are shuffled into life and the harsh realities that our frivolous dreams keep us from doing what is practical and necessary for survival. Dreaming, some would say, is for children to do as they sleep. Dreaming, I would say, is a lost art that few dare to practice for a minimum of half-an-hour a day.

One of the most central pieces to dreaming is the concept of belief; It’s part of the foundation. That’s why the stress is on believing the impossible and not simply imagining it. Anyone can imagine that a plane can fly, but will we believe that it can fly. That’s what the Wright Brother’s did. If not for their belief that we could find a way to fly, it would have stayed in the imagination of our minds, and the triumph of that generation’s explorations in aviation would have been lost.

This concept is often what fuels scientists as they seek answers to the variety of mysteries in our lives, but what about for us average folks? How can we put into practice believing the impossible for our lives, our friends, our families, and our communities? You have to start with knowing where you want to go.

The Cheshire Cat makes the statement about knowing where you want to go to Alice when she asks him if he can direct her towards which path to choose. She didn’t know where she needed to go, so of course, he couldn’t direct her one way or the other. We have to have a purpose. Sometimes that purpose is innate to our being and simply needing definition, and sometimes that purpose requires that we go on some kind of journey to discover it, but it is my observation that to know where one is going, one needs to know who they are; even if it’s only a hint to start with. I think Lewis Carroll was trying to find a way for us to understand these things through his parable of Alice’s wild adventures. He was retelling a story that has been ruminating since the dawn of time, and drawing us into the heart of not only dreaming, but realizing how dreams can come true.

Now, I think it’s important to remember that though we dream, we ought not develop a rigid expectation around how those dreams come true. Sometimes the dream is a means to inspire movement in our lives. There are many, many things I have been dreaming about since I was a little girl that have not been realized yet; some of what has been realized was not at all what I thought it would be. It’s even better. It’s better because I understand more fully who I am, and can better grasp where I need to go. It may be a funny looking road to walk on, but it will be full of adventure, full of the realization of those dreams I’ve had for so long, and full of more dreams to believe in. The same is true for all of us. If we weren’t made for this, none of us would find such a value in it or fight against its devalue. So, how do we move into a place where we believe the impossible? Just start believing. Believe in who you are. Believe in who God says you are. (You read that correctly. And btw, if you’re hearing negative things coming from “God” I would venture to say you’re not hearing the right voice...He says things like, beautiful, strong, intelligent, loved, wanted, powerful, gracious, kind, gentle, humble, full of wonder, inspired, etc. Anything else is bat poop.) Get excited about discovering the mystery of who you are. It’s part of helping to discover where you’re going. Dreams are there to help us see what we could not see by experience alone. We need to practice it so that everyone in our lives can benefit from the miracles we bring from living them out.

So, I implore you, make a list of impossible things that you’d like to see happen. Post them below, if you’d like, and let’s start practicing the Art of Dreaming. I believe. I believe. I believe.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Music Monday - Favorite Movie Soundtracks

Some movies have music in the background for the sake of filling space...some movies rely on the music to help tell the story. These end up being some of my all time favorite movies. It reminds me how important every role is when it comes to telling a story. It's not just about the actors telling the story, it's about the lighting that helps to set the mood, the photography that helps show the depth and fullness of life around the characters, the direction and editing that help keep the pace of the story interesting and engaging, and of course, the music which helps to pull you into the story and help you feel what the characters are feeling. All of these elements (and more) pull together to make something magical happen for which we will pay up to $14 a person to experience with our eyes and ears. (For the record, I was told that the $3 theaters are packed these days because let's face it, if we can experience the same show and spend $14 for a ticket AND treats (or less than that even), then I'd say it's worth dealing with a full theater and a crowded parking lot. Sorry, Regal.)

Anyhoo... here are some of my favorite movie soundtracks in no particular order:

Braveheart - by James Horner
The Matrix Trilogy - by Don Davis & Various Artists
Garden State - by Various Artists
Juno - by Various Artists
Selena - by Selena
Walk the Line - by Johnny Cash & June Carter (performed by Joaquin Phoenix & Reese Witherspoon)
Once - by Glen Hansard & Markéta Irglová
Last of the Mohicans - by Trevor Jones & Randy Edelman
The Passion of the Christ - by John Debney
10 Things I Hate About You - by Various Artists

Oh how I love those sounds! Happy Monday to you all!!

Sunday, September 18, 2011

They March To Their Own Beat - Favorite Drummer Stories

Ladies, put your hands up if you ever wanted to marry a drummer!!! They seem dangerous, your parents probably wouldn't approve, and it just sounds like fun, right?!

I think there are a few drummers this might be true of, but every drummer I've ever met/worked with hasn't exactly been the bad boy imaged by the likes of guys such as Keith Moon (of The Who) or Tommy Lee (of Mötley Crüe).
The truth is, most drummers are a bit anonymous, as parodied in the mock-umentary movie "This Is Spinal Tap." And let's face it, if you're in a metal or rock band at all, chances are you've got quite the personality no matter what instrument you play. At any rate, drummers seem dangerous cause they hit things for a living (without the injuries incurred by a fighter of some sort), the things they hit are loud, and they can be a bit independent, but they are the heart and soul of sounds from hip hop to rock and roll. The only musicians I would say hold the record for being the most anonymous by category of instrument are bass players, and they work rather closely with drummers by holding the rhythm section together for our audio-based enjoyment.

All that said, I thought it would be fun to share some of my favorite drummer moments. For the record, I'm going to use alternate names in these stories to protect the anonymity of these people...unless any of those former musician friends want the credit and then you can email me permission and I'll use your real name...for a small fee...JK.

• A lot of drummers hit hard. It takes practice to learn how to let the drum stick hit the skin of the drum and A: Not leave a dent in it. And B: Not hit the rim of the drum at the same time. Or the side of the symbol either. This acts like a knife, chopping away at the stick. One of the bands I was in during my high school years, happened to experience the shredding and subsequent breaking of a drum stick in the middle of the performance. This was a pretty common thing for "Stevie." We were a ska band. We played songs at an incredible rate of speed with a hep, yes, hep, full of energy. Normally, "Stevie" would lose his sticks around his drums when they broke and he'd quickly reach for a new one in a pocket attached to his drum kit. This time, however, he was heavily invested in the aggression of the moment and when his stick broke, I felt something fly past my face with a hefty force. It barely missed, and it's a good thing it did, because it was the sharp end of the broken drum stick and it nearly impaled my head. "Stevie," shocked but still filled with adrenaline, did what he always did and grabbed a new stick and flashed a sheepish look towards me, but I couldn't understand why until after the show. Apparently, he not only broke his stick mid song, he decided it would be "rock & roll" to throw it into the crowd before realizing how dangerous sharp, broken wood can be if thrown as hard as he threw it. He, of course, apologized, and we played a lot more shows after that...without impaling each other.

• Have you ever seen Mick Fleetwood, the drummer of Fleetwood Mac? Fantastic drummer! A bit of a kooky seeming fellow. I once played with a guy who seemed to have a similar kookiness. This "Mick-alike" is probably one of the best drummers I've ever played with. He seemed to live in what musicians call, the pocket, but with a kind of finesse & abstract timing that put Stewart Copeland (of The Police) to shame. He also builds drums. Not surprising considering how well he understood tonality and the importance of it in drumming. I learned an awful lot about rhythm from this guy. Especially since I had the privilege of playing with him more often as a bass player than a guitar player. At any rate, my favorite thing about playing with "Mick-alike" was that when you looked over at him to do the whole, "hey, how's it goin'" thing during a song, he would throw in some crazy, off-beat, accent to see if you'd follow. If you caught it, he would challenge you to another. If you didn't he would laugh...and challenge you to another. All in good fun, of course. It felt like you were actually "playing" with each other, much like Improvers do.

• Once upon a time Bob Dylan's son Jakob Dylan put a band together called "The Wallflowers." (Oh how music trends through the ages...also it was in the late 90s) Through some random circumstance the drummer for this band ended up coming to the youth group I was a part of as a youngster, and spoke to 500 high school kids who could say they heard that song about Cinderella and something about a car with one headlight. He spoke about his life. He was very genuine, and humble, and a little bit nervous to speak in front of so many people...especially high schoolers who hold rank for judging what is cool and what is lame. *Note the sarcasm. Anyway, I happened to be a part of the worship team at the time and our youth pastor asked if Mr. Wallflowers drummer would play drums for a song or two after he spoke. The short story here is that I got to play bass alongside the drummer of the Wallflowers when I was 16 or 17, which, by itself is pretty cool, so I'll end this story here.

• It's not often that any musician really finds their own voice on their instrument. This is especially true for drummers. I could rattle off a number of bands where the lead singer is the only person we'd know off the top of our heads. That said, there are bands whose uniqueness is founded in each player having their own unique voice; bands like U2, Colplay, No Doubt, heck, even Fleetwood Mac! Each musician stands out by themselves, not just in personality, but you'd know it by the first strum, first hit, or first pluck. I had the privilege of playing with a drummer, who found his own voice on his instrument. This name I won't hide. His name is Richard Lee Jackson, from Enation. Richard is an EXCELLENT drummer. He has a great sense of timing AND musicality. He doesn't just play a beat, he creates a beat. He settles in it and tells a story with it. One of my favorite moments with Richard was when I was playing bass for Enation and we were writing a song called "Perfect Display." The parts Richard and I came up with were fast and furious. So fast and furious that halfway through, when my forearm and fingers were aflame from plucking at the speed of sound, that I noticed the strain on Richard's face. It was like he was sprinting and doing push up jacks as fasts as he can...at the same time. By the end of the song, he was sweating pretty good, and he had to stretch out his forearms and legs...I think there may have even been something about a muscle cramping in his leg, but I can't remember. All I know is that it was awesome and stands as one of my favorite drummer moments.

I have a lifetime more that I could share, but I won't...cause that would take a-whole-nother lifetime to do so...and I'm too young to spend it on a couch, in a sitting room, without a cane and dentures in an effort to retell it to you now.

Happy Monday!

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Dear Mr. Bernanke and Co.

Upgrade, Downgrade, GDP It’s all a foreign language to me!

When I was a junior in high school, my chemistry teacher warned us all that gas would be more than $2 a gallon soon. This seemed impossible and irrelevant to a bunch of high schoolers who had just begun driving. We knew nothing about how the world of oil worked, nor did we care. Not to mention, we all had disposable incomes and low, affordable gas prices. As far as we knew, gasoline had always been .89 cents a gallon. Oh! How I miss those days!

Friday, September 2, 2011

Feature Friday - One Way To Save A Life

"I'll take care of your orphans. Your widows can depend on me." Jeremiah 49:11.

I once sat next to a woman on a flight who had taken in her grandson because his father had disappeared long before his birth, and his mother was unfortunately hooked on drugs and incapable of taking care of herself, much less a child. This woman had shared with me the difficulties of caring for a child who has never known the comfort of his mothers arms, or the encouragement of his father's words. Children well loved grow into adults who love well.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

It Happened Upon This Morning's Entry

Ahhh, the randomness that exists within us all...

Here is some of the randomness working within my brain. Please, feel free to share yours.

Happy day to you!