Everything is feeling the severity of what will surely be known here in New England as “the winter of 2015.” We had three (or four? I forget now) consecutive Mondays that featured at least a foot of new snow. If one did not dread Mondays before, this winter has provided us with yet another reason to do so. But because we New Englanders are stubborn and ornery, this very weather is one of the reasons we choose to live here.
The weather has put a dent in my rehearsal schedules. In fact it looks like I will have attended only one rehearsal the entire month of February. Luckily a gig at a private party with Unclaimed Freight mitigated an otherwise total loss in the live performance department. I have made myself useful working on my own music to record in the studio sometime in the undefined future.
DHI published another article of mine in Doors and Hardware magazine this month: “Butcher, Baker, Door Hardware Technician: It Can Take a Village to Fix a Door”, about the eclectic knowledge and cross-trade skills often needed to diagnose and treat today’s door and door hardware issues. I’ll republish it sometime in March somewhere, I’ll let you know.
Over at The Poetry Locksmith we continue to enjoy a variety of work by Donal Mahoney, and perennial contributors Carol Hamilton, Samuel Vargo, Christopher Hivner and others have returned with more of their fine work as well. In addition we welcomed new poetry contributors Genevieve Barrons and Lana Bella. Please stop by and read these intriguing poets.
Word has it we will soon be accepting works of short fiction as well as poetry. I’ll let you know about that, too.
May your winter be filled with the Creative.
In the United States, whether you celebrate them or not, the cultural winter holidays tend to be a bit disruptive, yet the craziness of these holidays is juxtaposed with the deep and solemn quiet of winter as it exists in nature. The cacophony of birdsong gives way to the quiet chirping of chickadees as most species fly south to warmer climes. Snow blankets the land, muffling all sound. Walking in the northern forest in the winter, one’s breath seems loud.
Like the migrating birds, many of the musicians with whom I make music become scarce this time of year because they travel or are otherwise busy. Therefore it is a good opportunity for me to look simultaneously into the depths of my creative soul and my computer’s hard drive for creations put aside for just such a time as this. Even as some of my usual creative outlets are suppressed I am having fun revisiting old ideas and discovering new ones.
One of the new ones is a tune called “Shorty” in honor of Trombone Shorty.
At Eye On Life meanwhile we continue to be blessed with a steady stream of new poetry, for example, we recently welcomed poet Robert Demaree into the ranks of our contributing poets; in addition, we are looking forward to publishing more of Donal Mahoney’s work tomorrow, and sometime this week Mitchell Krockmalnik Grabois will be returning to The Poetry Locksmith as well. We are so fortunate to have so many remarkable poetic voices enrich our pages.
At Eye On Life, Rosa Farrington’s poem ” #ferguson” created a bit of a stir, attracting some comments. While our poets attract a fair number of readers, few of the readers comment, so this was new and refreshing. Over the Christmas holiday Donal Mahoney favored us with some very interesting poems as well, and what the hell I also threw one into the mix for good measure.
A note to poetry submitters to Eye On Life: please submit only works that have not been published elsewhere. The first thing I do with a poetry submission is paste the first few lines into a Google search and see what comes up. If the poem comes up on poetslovelygarden.com or whatever, I have to reject it. This goes for your blog, too. If it is already on your blog, readers really do not have a reason to read it at Eye On Life. Okay, enough bitching. On with the show – or is it one with the show? Hmmmm…
Musically I am continuing to compose and lyricize, and will venture back to the Lizard Lounge with a couple of musicians (to be finalized) from The Rubenoff Project. Two songs in ten minutes and a chance at performing a third tune in the final round if chosen. If you’re in the Harvard Square – Porter Square, Cambridge area on Monday, January 19th at around 8:30 pm, please stop by and cheer (or boo).
My second favorite tune from the Lilypad was “You Locator.” We’ll probably reprise that at the Lizard Lounge.
The Rubenoff Project at The Lilypad in Cambridge, Massachusetts, was an unqualified success in large part because of the support of the Temple Ohabei Shalom community, but also because of the joy with which my fellow musicians performed. ( If you like you can hear our closing number here.)
The Lilypad was an excellent choice as a venue for our first-ever gig. Rent is reasonable and their quality recording services allowed us to come away with a useable demo as well as some memories to make us smile. The people there are friendly and helpful and I recommend them to any group looking for a venue.
With this success behind us we will be looking at learning some new tunes and appearing at a new venue sometime in the not-so-distant future.
In other news, submissions continue steady at The Poetry Locksmith, welcoming new and familiar voices alike. Be sure to stop by and check out work by Rosa Farrington, Donal Mahoney, Gil Hoy and J.K. Durick.
As the colors fade and the temperature begins its steady descent I feel content and grateful. I have family, friends, work, music and poetry in my life, and I find that life holds ever new wonders for my amazement.
In poetry at Eye On Life, Donal Mahoney continues his long run of (nearly) weekly submissions and his canon at EOL has grown to be the longest of all our contributors. Other repeat offenders, like J.K. Durick and Erren Geraud Kelly (just to name a couple) have made EOL more of a community of poets where readers can find both the familiar and the new. We are blessed to have attracted these wonderful poets.
On the music front I continue to work to publicize the concerts I will be performing in with Too Klez For Comfort, Unclaimed Freight and my own brand new band, The Rubenoff Project. With the Project I am learning new organizational skills and more about being a leader. ‘Coincidentally’ (ha) my synagogue has been studying soul attributes through the Mussar tradition, and the section on humility was especially interesting. I have long believed that one of my primary missions here has been to learn humility. In the Mussar tradition, humility means taking up one’s rightful space: no more, no less. Thinking myself humble I have often taken up less than my rightful space, but now I learn – and this principle is reinforced when I play music with others – that taking up less space than one should is as bad as if not worse than taking more than one’s fair share. Hmm. Who woulda thunk?
It is very much a pleasure to have so much music in my life. I am very busy with it, composing, arranging, playing, organizing. For several years now I have become steadily more involved in music to the point that now I often write lyrics instead of a poem. I still write more poetry than lyrics, but the percentage of my writing energy engaged in creating lyrics has increased.
Coming up on November 23rd I’ll be playing with the Klezmer band, Too Klez For Comfort, at Temple Beth Zion for the annual Interfaith Thanksgiving Service. We’ll do a few songs and there will also be other music including church and/or temple choirs. It was a beautiful service last year at St. Mary’s Church and I’m sure it will be even more so this year at TBZ.
On December 5th Unclaimed Freight will open the show at Copperfield’s in Boston at 9:30 PM, and on December 14th I will be performing my own music with The Rubenoff Project at the Lilypad beginning at 3:30 PM.
I am still publishing the poetry of mostly others at Eye On Life, so stop by and read. We have new poetry every week.