Sampson napping on his favorite rug

Sampson napping on  his favorite rug
happy, happy, happy

Friday, October 26, 2007

Running For Prez ...

I was recently notified, by my musician pal Bluebarry (with whom I often discuss politics), that we have a new and highly-qualified 2008 presidential candidate! Imagine how thrilled I was to hear this news! The candidate is smart, talented, good-looking, a great statesman and communicator, and ... most important of all ... very honest. No, I'm not talking about Bluebarry (although he's very nice).

I'm talking about his dog, Mickey (Bluebarry lovingly nicknamed him Stinkbomb). Mickey invited my dog, Dixie Lee, to be his running mate and future VP. Of course, upon learning about this, I realized that Dixie would greatly prefer the top slot -- and she is beautifully qualified. But Mickey did throw his hat in the ring first. Anyway, I hereby announce the candidacy of this dynamic, awesome team -- Mickey Faust and Dixie Lee Landau!

New Songs!

It's always an emotional and exciting time for me when I write a new song. Each of my originals (there are dozens) is a part of me; they are like children. I think of the oldest ones as adults, some of the others as teens, some as kids, and the newest ones as toddlers and infants. A couple of months ago, I wrote a song which is, essentially, about me; it is named Is She Calling You and is a fusion of jazz and latin. All of my songs have either bits or lots of my bio or fantasy in them -- but this is the first song that directly refers to me. One of the customers at Catino's, where Bill and I gave the song its debut, likened it to the Santana sound. I have a recording of it available.

Friday, October 5, 2007

Come To The Sea

The Italian folk song, Come To The Sea, has been very much on my mind in recent days and weeks. It’s a delightful melody and is on page 36 of the sequential music book I use for my beginning piano students.

The lure of the sea is something I grapple with on a rather consistent basis. I mean, I grew up in a Connecticut town where the beach was 30 minutes away from my house; for the past 20 years I’ve lived in land-locked Knoxville, Tennessee.

I had last driven to the South Carolina coast in August of 2002. I was traveling alone, so it was a majorly grueling drive, with two brief gasoline and restroom stops, and dining on bottled water, bananas, and crackers while behind the wheel. It felt like a magnet was drawing me along the road. Still, it took almost nine hours to get to my hotel destination at Surfside Beach. When the ocean came into view, I was ecstatic, even though exhausted.

This time, I had reserved a house (on the beach) back in June. This past week, all arrangements carefully having been made, I made the trip again. During this trip I was accompanied by Jerry and my dog Dixie. Poor Lance (my truck...please see earlier posts) had to stay home, as he’s now quite elderly and it wouldn’t have been wise to put him to that test again, so I rented an SUV. It was a 2007 Chrysler Aspen (very nice). I did all the driving, while Jerry helped with the navigating and road sign alerts; also, he paid for the gasoline, which was a big help. Dixie lounged in the back seat, tethered with her car restraint harness, but very comfortable for the most part. This time there were three brief stops and then a bit of confusion toward the end of the journey, due to some unnecessary route numbers that had been inserted by both Mapquest and Yahoo computer maps (on the way back home, I just followed the traditional paper map and there was no confusion).

Eventually, when my last nerve felt about to be shredded, there it was: the vista of the ocean and my beach house!

Someone once told me that he was terrified of the sea because it is so "hungry". There is no argument that the sea is relentless. I think that’s what I admire most about it. It is so purposeful. That steady roar of the surf is music to my ears – at once, lilting ... and fearsome. I well understand the emotion behind stories told and written about the sea, over the centuries. The sea encompasses every possible mood from blissful little ripples as the smaller waves break on the beach during low tide ... to the absolute fury of the incoming tide. At all moments, it is full of power, wonderful ions, mystery, and the secrets of life.

I had wondered how Dixie would behave in an unfamiliar house and with the constant sound of waves rolling in, particularly after such a long car ride. I’d wondered if she would panic at the sight of the ocean. She is a remarkably intelligent dog (as a visit to my website will reveal to you) and she adapted very well from moment one. She accompanied me into the water, though rather gingerly. She was especially interested in the sensation one feels when an incoming wave comes onto the sand and then recedes, pulling the sand out from under human or animal’s feet. It didn’t seem to unsettle her as much as it intrigued her.

The ocean did weave its spell on me again, wrapping me fully in its cloak of energy and reaffirmation. Its music still plays in my head. Now, back at home, my piano echoes the sentiment: Come to the sea. Come to the sea.