Do you ever look into the deep green shadows of a primeval forest and wonder what those secret depths hold? Do you like to write about your new and inventive discoveries while sipping a glass of fragrant wine? Do you enjoy the creative process? Then I hope you will stop a spell, enjoy the adventure, and travel with me as we imagine the possibilities...

Sunday, October 14, 2012

On the Road in Georgia

There are several things I experienced and learned from my weekend trip up middle Georgia. Besides the indescribable joy of reuniting with my Junior High School best-friend, Kathy, I have to mention the intense pride and gratefulness I felt seeing all the farmland. Cotton, corn, tomatoes, Vidalia onions, legumes, strange grasses, and what I think were sweet potatoes. Then there are the farm-stock – donkeys, goats, horses, cattle. There was one big bruiser of a bull who had his own pen. My red jeep was the only vehicle on the road. The bull-to-end-all-bulls turned his great head as I slowed down to 20 mph to get a good look at him. I did not stop. I heard somewhere that bulls don’t like red. This one was every bit as big as the Liberty I drove.

I do wish that the farmers would label their fields in big enough signs so motorists can read them: Tomatoes, onions, red beans, rice, sausage – you get the point. Very helpful for the ignorant traveler, i.e.: me.

Camouflage is a neutral color. I saw brown camouflage mid-calf pants worn with an expensive looking white knit sweater-set. The top was edged in crocheted lace. The woman was easily in her late 50s, early 60s, her long silvery-white hair pulled back in a black barrette, makeup applied exquisitely to her beautiful face. Another man wore his Real-tree with a red Cardinals t-shirt, another wore green Vietnam-style camo with a Pittsburg Steelers shirt. Did you know that Deseret storm camo goes with a pink tank top? I could go on and on, but the consensus is that camouflage, whether worn by men or women goes with everything.

Next observation: In Moorehaven I saw a car. One. Everyone else had a pick-up truck, Jeep, or some sort of 4-wheel drive. Outside the Moorehaven Country Store was a humongous deer strung up ready for butchering. A man proudly stood next to the deer with his bow and arrows front and center, chest pushed out, camera ready. Across the street the local feed store pronounced on a hand-lettered sign that bags of deer corn are available. Guess it worked.

In the middle of no-where, a house, front porch filled with rocking chairs, perched amidst rolling cotton fields. A good 100 yards from the house, five-feet from the road was a covered wood-plank stand with honey lined up in various amber hues, a sign read: Honey, honor system. Take your honey, leave money in box.

I passed a yard full of every imaginable kind of appliance in various forms of rusted and broken-down manner that could be found. The front yard was not visible. A sign painted in red with at least a four-inch brush proudly announced “broken appliances for sale: cheap.”

Some of the towns held their pride high with clean streets, washed store fronts, and old southern houses painted and beautiful. Others looked like they were going to erode back into the red clay and never be seen again. I felt really sad for the last ones – they are on the way out, and unless someone in those towns decides to take a hand and spruce them up, they’ll be swallowed back into the antediluvian forest and forgotten.

I stayed off the major highways – rode the streets less traveled, drumming my own way across Georgia, singing rather-off tune to whatever song my I-pod threw at me. The air was clean – no industrialization, no smoke from vast lines of cars. With the sun-roof back when it wasn’t raining, I could smell fresh-turned earth, scent green-growing things breaking free of the soil and reaching to the sky. Sometimes I knew when the cattle areas were nearing, but it was the clean scent of critters out in the fields, munching grass and lipping water from small ponds.

Rushing to go someplace leaves out so much of the pleasure. Getting there, to me, is at least half the fun, and hands-clenched-tight-on-Interstate-traffic-packed-roads is not my idea of fun. It is hard to imagine that I drove twelve hours since Friday night, and pulled into my driveway at 3:30pm on Sunday refreshed and ready to write.

Both Baggins and I had a lovely time: going, visiting, and coming home. Seems we also brought back a trunk full of inspiration. Thank you to the state of Georgia, thanks Nicole for planning such a fun party, and thank you, Kathy for being my friend and for being older than me.

Imagining the possibilities,


Saturday, May 19, 2012

Where is the Music?

There is no music. However, I can fix this problem, and do. 

I cannot think without music. Cannot breathe, smell, feel, see or even write. Without tunes floating around me, I do not exist. I need the deep, passionate pounding of a throbbing bass drum, the light taps of the snare, the soul haunting humping of hands on bongos and congas, and the crashing cacophony of cymbals pushing up the hairs on my arms. It’s hard to stay away from those Zildjians, to remember to sprinkle them throughout a song like flakes of red pepper perking up a meal, or exclamation points spicing a story. I’d rather smack the shit out of them. Use them like lightning during a summer heat storm until the air smells of electricity and toes curl.

Then there are notes that weave around the drums. Give me a guitar and heart-rending riffs, the passion on the face of the artist painting with fingers on the long necked electric guitar, pushing notes deep into wood, the other hand plucking strings hard and hot, drawing out pieces of my soul. I’ve seen musicians caught up in a musical moment, eyes closed, body wrapped around their instrument or the mike while they spill out their guts to the audience, drawing everyone in, welcoming us to their world of love, heartache, laughter and tears.

I’m a bluesy girl. No doubt about it, and a belly-song is what I love – a song so full of life that it clenches my belly and ties me in knots. Add in a big bull or bass guitar to swing the deep dark tones that keep my heart beating, and a sweet sax to pull it all to heaven, and, if luck holds out, a singer who puts words to life and shares with me, the listener, a bit of their soul.

There are, of course, options available for my ever-present music addiction, and I do use any method available to get my music fix. Everyone has their favorite. Mine? Live music, hands down.

Get up. Get dressed. Go out. Listen. You won’t regret it. See, no matter how loud the IPod, radio, television, stereo, it cannot have the immediacy of live music. Try it. Pick a venue. In Tallahassee we have so many opportunities to listen to music and watch musicians play their own songs as well as old favorites that I cannot even begin to name them. Yes, I have my special places I go to listen and write. If you search in your town, you will build up a list of places to go. Most venues for live music are not expensive. Many bands play for tips, or, as one of my favorite groups say on their tip jar: Bail Money. Get to know your local musicians. If you have children, show them the beauty and passion of live music. Let your kids know that music comes from the heart, from hours of practice, sweat, fun, and real people.

Who knows? You may find the plot for a novel on one of your musical outings. You could walk in to the bar where the NQH (not quite human) hang out and hear the White Circle Blues Band. And when the moon is in full bloom, and the night calls, you might want to walk in the deep southern swamps and pine forests searching for a Critter-Splitter – or not.

But what ever you do, listen to the music.

Imagining the possibilities,