Oct. 7th, 2016 10:17 pm
spiralflames: (black_cat)
it's the best time of the year...i refuse to sink into grimness because of the impending DARKNESS that will really kick in once we lose an hour to the time change...but i am not a cave woman, i am living in the 21st century, and there are LIGHTS and there is caffeine! huzzah!
i've shyly started practicing, doing good work on brahms op 117 and relearning rorem's _poems of love and the rain_. which deserves more appreciation. i'm without a rudder- no lover to play for, no smart adult students to teach, no teacher. and i don't say that in a self-pitying way, either-- for the first time...damn...EVER..i'm not fighting for anyone, not fighting against anyone, not trying to prove myself to anyone. i admitted to richard in a phone conversation "i don't know who i am as a musician!" I was always trying to please someone, always the dutiful student, even when rebelling- even the act of rebelling is still working AGAINST someone, and they're more present when you're shouting "fuck you!" than they are when they say "good girl."
time to quite trying so hard to be anyone's "good girl." there are some that do that naturally. i was always uncomfortable there. i'll save the less meaningful for FB.
spiralflames: (black_cat)
lakewood autumn, mpls MN142
ok. here's the second music dream- this one came about a week after the master class dream i talked about last entry. this one was more philosophical- i woke up remembering ideas rather than events. but i've never quite thought about music this way before.

i learned: there are 3 basic kinds of music. (there would be combos, exceptions etc, but this is the main point-) and as musicians, it's up to us to decide at which frequency the music resonates- what vibe it has. if this happens and the music and the musician are in agreement, then there's a direct connection between composer, performer, audience. if this synchronicity doesn't happen, people get bored- impatient- cynical- sleepy- and all the things we've been when attending a concert.

SO: there are 3 "frequencies" of music, vibrationally- high, medium and low.

high= transcendental, celestial- brings us up out of ourselves and we are transformed.examples for me are: barber adagio. ravel GM piano concerto mvt 2. schubert CM quintet.

medium= music that has elements of more than one, moments or sections. each piece is different. most of chopin, most of beethoven. most lieder.

low= music that grabs you in an earthy, visceral way. mahler, most of it. bruckner. WAGNER.

so our job as performers- to decide where you want the piece to resonate, where in the body (chakras?) you want to feel it- and play it in a way where a listener can understand it that way as well. so- let's say something is "low frequency (root/sacral chakra.) does it stay there? do we focus on the sensuality and revel in it? (example: salome') does it get tempered by the middle frequency where intellect and emotion make sense of things? does it want to move one way or another (bernstein) or is it happy talking about us as humans and living right there?(brahms)... does it seek to transcend? (late schubert, mozart, some liszt) if so, is it successful? what about music that starts out in the ether-(arvo part, ravel?) is it less profound than wagner, who slogs away for 13 hrs before the world comes to a full stop and everything is somehow made simple in the last 3 minutes of the Ring? or more so, since it never dealt with lower basic stuff at all? and what about the mid-range stuff...beautiful and all, but which never plumbs the depths nor does it ascend past human experience? after all, is that not where most of us live our lives?

so it's not at all arbitrary- or simple- or easy- and it has everything to do with who we are either as performers or listeners at any given time, and also to do with how much "self" we invest...whose vision is it? composer's? performer's? audience? 2 people sitting next to one another at the same concert- one is checking his phone and making laundry lists- the next person is openly sobbing and wondering if she can make it through the performance without making a scene. or other things. or not.

but it's up to us. writer- performer, listener- all are important. WE HAVE TO DECIDE.
spiralflames: (black_cat)
ready for my close-up, mr dogMille...
behold my excellent boy!!
ok. don't send mental health workers to check on me, i'm really quite OK...but.. lately, my subconscious has been giving me very specific piano lessons in my dreams. i kiddest thou not. they've been very realistic, not at all fanciful (no ghosts of beethoven or other fantasy characters) and i've learned a lot. here's the first one: i dreamt i was performing in a master class given by pianist andrei gavrilov. (he's friended me on facebook, so i see his name quite often.) i was playing the mozart c minor fantasy. it starts with a slow intro in open octaves. about 3 lines in, he interrupted me....stop, stop, STOP for god's sake!!!! needless to say, i did. "really? this is all you're going to do? start again, and make me believe that not only your own life, but the lives of the whole free world depended on your making them pay attention!" Andrei can be quite intimidating when he's in the mood.
i thought, i gathered force, i felt myself concentrate into a pinpoint of white light and......
C OCTAVES. like the final tolling of the bell before heaven. E-FLATS.. everything went dark except for a circle of light containing my hands and the keyboard. F-SHARPS. i felt all the extraneous sound suck out of the room as into a vacuum. i made it about 3 lines. i was so exhausted i couldn't continue. a drop of sweat gathered on the tip of my nose and dropped on to middle c. "WHY DID YOU STOP?" he said from outside of the vacuum. "that's all i had." i replied. "it was too much work! if i were to play like that, like every note is the most important sound in an otherwise silent world, i would die!"

"great." Andrei said, his face relaxing into a big grin, letting me know he actually hadn't been that pissed at all, and that it really wasn't his nature to come across like an avenging norwegian god...but just wanted to push to see if i had it in me. "now play like that ALL the time."
spiralflames: (question)

coeur de lis77, originally uploaded by spiralflmz.

The other day I was thinking about photography, and what makes someone a "good" or "talented" photographer. I was thinking that in many ways, you just have to SHOW UP..beauty and interest are already all over. Point. Shoot. Enhance with the computer, since darkrooms are no longer necessary. Pinch. Tweak. Get a good camera, if you can afford one. World changing events have been captured on cell phones.

The flower's already there. I just record it at a certain moment in time. There's no "me" included. I'm just the historian.


So now why not the same simplicity in music. Beethoven's there, perfect, already. I just have to observe, and bring my skill as an observer into my mind's "dark room" to make the silent notes speak.

My "issues" shouldn't make a damn bit of difference, any more than my "issues" influence your enjoying the lily pictures I've been posting.

Lily is perfect. Beethoven too. I don't take a lily photo, copy it, color it, cut and paste it by hand and glue it to a board so it can be really, REALLY strong.

Watch. Be there. Don't screw w things. It's already perfect.

spiralflames: (Default)
here's what i made:

heart of the forest2, originally uploaded by spiralflmz.

from this reflection:

sometimes words are not needed.
spiralflames: (Default)
here is one of my fave self-pix w/a SFX app on my droid. hehe! can i get that pissed? oh yes, i think i can :-D

Do. Not. Screw. With. The. Nan. Any. More.
spiralflames: (power)

3/18/11, mpls mn "supermoon"1, originally uploaded by spiralflmz.

something pretty important happened to me last night.

the 3rd saturday of each month is drum circle at pathways. this circle is always different. sometimes 4 people, sometimes 20. sometimes almost complete silence, other times talking long into the evening. sometimes it's sweet, occasionally profound, sometimes church-like (you know, "i didn't get much out of that, but somehow i feel better for going.") oh well, not everything can always be earth-shaking. anyway, this circle has been ongoing for over 20 years, with various people showing up and dropping out along the way, and i have been a part of it for over 4 years now. i started going when i was about halfway through chemo.

part of the time is spent in journeying- people are to remember their entrance into a scene from nature, and ask their spirit guides to give them wisdom or insights for themselves or for someone else in the circle who's asked for healing. myself, since to be honest that's not so much a part of my spirituality, i usually spend the time in meditation or just plain blessed quiet. sometimes i seem to have a definite thought about someone's question. usually, just calm. after awhile, we're to announce if we have messages for anyone in the circle.

in the "request" portion, before the journey, i'd decided to speak up- lately, i've been having a mild case of PTSD. all the time i was in the hospital and going through 2 yrs of chemo, i was a rock- on the conveyor belt, no problem, just do it, get 'er done. NOW i'm 5 years cancer free-- thank You-- and the last 3 times i've gone to a doctor, i've had huge anxiety reactions- shaking, sweating, dizzy to the point of almost passing out. this happened even when i went to my PCP to see if i needed antibiotics for my bronchial flu! when the nurse tookmy BP, it was 190/110, for goddess' sake! (after exam- 120/70, which is fine, but no WONDER i'd been dizzy, my bod thought it was stroking out!)

so i decided i'd ask for insights and practical suggestions.

timothy, the circle's leader, told me that he'd like to do a Soul Retrieval for me. according to shamanic tradition, when a person goes through trauma, parts of her soul are taken from her, and must physically be brought back. in tim's journey, he'd seen a girl in a white dress standing outside of the circle. he asked her who she was, and she'd replied, "i am nan's vulnerability."
well, that made me get weepy, since...vulnerability? oh HELL no. not only in my personal life ("you think you can hurt me, asshole? no fucking way") but during my medical crisis- i HAD to just get on that bus and ride forward, because if i let myself think of how truly terrifying it all was, i would have run away and just kept on running.

and that, of course- pushing the RUN AWAY! RUN AWAY! feelings that any person has when faced by a slobbering tiger, leads to PTSD.

so. with my permission, he came over to me and said he was going to "blow" the missing piece back into me through my Upper Heart chakra, and then again through the top of my head, so i'd really "get it." he made a cone of his hands and blew his breath hard, twice. by that time, tears were running down my cheeks big-time.

13 yr old girl standing on the sidelines? that's my young self..and about the last time i was truly idealistic and thought there really could be love in my life. vulnerable? me? not even a little bit. maybe it culminated in the early 90s when online chat brought a handful of profound, miserable, married men into my life who promised, one quote i'll never forget, that we would "always be in love, always be friends, never be alone." uh huh. one gave me an engagement ring (oh the humanity) and made a wedding date..by then the kids would be grown and he could, oh yeah, THAT little thing, get divorced. yuck.what a sap i was. and don't even get me STARTED talking about my Ex. really. don't.

silly girl, long ago. no longer- but i'd also shut down a large part of me- the healthy part that still hopes, even expects, that new possibilities can also (gasp) be good things.

but vulnerability? ok. now how the hell do i deal with that and not turn into a victim?

well, grasshopper..perhaps by actually being a grown-up...knowing i can be vulnerable, because that's really the only way new adventures happen, that i CAN still be hopeful- for myself, for love, for my healthy future, for music, for my own good work- but not be a an idiot and a SAP. being vulnerable does NOT mean BEING TAKEN ADVANTAGE OF, nor does it mean suspending responsible judgment. it was essential to not be terrified and freaked out every time i went into chemo- sometimes ya just gotta get stuff done. and i have to deal with the physical manifestations of that now. but i DON'T have to allow myself to volunteer for situations that are dead in the water before they even start. vulnerability is NOT interchangeable with VICTIM mentality or pure IDIOCY.

i can acknowledge reality and STILL be vulnerable. i don't need to shut off myself, my friends, my family, or other possibilities that might arise in my still-to-be-discovered young-nan-life. i just don't have to be so black-and-white, either/or. some things ARE scary. it's OK to be scared. i CAN go into uncharted territory. but i can also rely on myself, my spirituality, my friends, my teachers and my Own Good Brain and spirit to give me strength when i need it, and that it will be All Right.

thank you, timothy. what a gift.


spiralflames: (waiting)

nanpiano2...for duets, originally uploaded by spiralflmz.

my sister told me i have rewritten a story in my akashic records, whatever they actually are.

dream: i dreamt i was chased through hallways, up and down blocks, in and out of rooms and houses, by nazis. opening one door, seeing a nazi face, turning the opposite way...getting to the end of a hallway, feeling a moment of relief..then a door opens... yeah, regular 1940 style nazis.

note: this is in no way a part of my or my family's heritage.

after awhile, i met a woman who, in the dream, kept morphing back and forth between two women i consider to be the epitome of grace and loveliness, my departed friend marion and my current friend betsy. she/they said, you know, you can rewind this entire tape, and see that the events aren't scary at all, and that there never were nazis, it was all an adventure."

then it reversed super-fast (like rewind on an old VCR video, it all went backwards (running backwards etc...until i was at the beginning. and the same chase began- in and out doors, in and out of houses, up and down blocks...but this time i was playing, having FUN and i was shrieking- not from fear, but from joy and excitement, the way happy kids do. the same scenes, the same doors and windows- sans nazis.
patty said, "you've re-written YOUR STORY. you've actually rewritten the story of your past."


and you know what? they might NEVER have been there.

nansunset2: canvassy, originally uploaded by spiralflmz.

spiralflames: (nan2)
here's the meme where i copy the first sentence from each month in this year's EllJay. generally...life was good, and this one seems to show a bit of that. love to you all and ein gutes Rutsch ins Neu Jahr!

today: exceeding gentleness, quiet talk, good coffee, photojournalling, books, and italian dinner.

lately, i've entertained the possibility of meetings new people- new friends of the heart, new casual "hangin'-out" acquaintances, perhaps even a New Man.

evening! first, have a photo of what i love most about minnesota: flat-out APPRECIATION for ANY small gift from the Weather Goddess.

yesterday, it was lovely outside and i had the day off- i actually have saturday and monday off..rare. so of course i felt the need to go on a WADT...a weird-ass-driving-trip.

and i want to do a HUGE shout out to dr matt boente, my surgeon. he saved my bacon almost 5 yrs ago.

last weekend, a minor miracle, and this isn't a phrase i use lightly.

this weekend, i went to my first "con" - CONvergence2010. 4500 people in a hotel, many of them in costume, attending classes and panels and workshops and parties and performances. 4500 people HAVING FUN. fun!

i got dumped... by my oncologist :-D went in for my official five-years exam. afterwards, the np said "well i guess we won't be seeing you again...we don't keep people around once they reach 5 years."

why, she says with wide eyes, such a coincidence, because in november i WILL be releasing a CD, if all goes well. chart-topping? errrm....not.

i need to quit acting like a feeble 12-yr-old around my younger sisters.

so amazing...last tuesday, i was gifted with one of the most amazing sunsets all summer. it was also 70 degrees F and i was coatless..on november 8th, in minnesota!

last night: about 10 inches of snow. and, as only those who used to hang out in chatrooms In The Day, those are REAL inches, not AOL inches...

spiralflames: (MM)
today i met a former student for coffee. we hadn't seen one another for a year or so, but i'd sent her an email about my CD. she asked "so is this music like the last concert you gave?" i said, no, "totally different...8 classical songs, 3 native american stories, and some poetry read by a friend of mine who has a james earl jones voice."

she said, 'wow...if you'd asked me a few years ago what kind of music you'd have on your first CD, i NEVER would have expected that..."

love it when i can still summon up the unexpected :-D

spiralflames: (Default)
so amazing...last tuesday, i was gifted with one of the most amazing sunsets all summer. it was also 70 degrees F and i was coatless..on november 8th, in minnesota! it was like the universe was saying, ok kiddo, enjoy it NOW.....

because today (nov 13) we got 8 inches of snow and driving to the suburbs for saturday teaching was HORRIFIC. and i didn't take any "first snow" photos..just didn't feel the love.

so now..am home, warm, dry, fed, and have (gasp) turned the phone off. life is good..wishing you the same.

cd pimpage

Nov. 9th, 2010 12:08 am
spiralflames: (path)

I've sent notes to those on my f'list who've said they'd like to buy a copy of the CD that's been obsessing my life the last few months. if you haven't heard from me, message me privately here and i'll send you my email address and info. ta!

(more later)

first bare tree... (done), originally uploaded by spiralflmz.

spiralflames: (wise_words)
what: art/craft/jewelry/photo/textile/treats/CD release

where: spirit united church
3204 Como Ave SE
Minneapolis, MN 55414-2808

when: sunday, nov 7@ 5-8 PM

why: a portion of the proceeds from this event will go to the minnesota angel foundation ( http://mnangel.org )
which gives financial assistants to individuals and families touched by cancer.
Cover of the CD

[livejournal.com profile] elisem will have her wonderful jewelry there, and [livejournal.com profile] laurapalmer813 will have photos and other items (IF she gets back from her current road trip in time) my wonderful sisteroftheheart [livejournal.com profile] samtosha is sending a wonderful shawl! myself, i will have photos, photo cards and this CD, which has obsessed my time as of late. y'all come!
spiralflames: (seasonal)
thanks for the halloween card and kind words! it TRULY made my day!!
lakewood autumn49, mpls MN- sfx
spiralflames: (sweet)

shady oak park1a...lily pads, originally uploaded by spiralflmz.

1) moment of coolness: i mentioned to my sister something along the lines of that i thought i was psychologically 'stuck' on my time in the hospital 5 years ago. she responded: "yeah, look at you now, 6000 photos later." it's true. my Flickr page just went above 6000 photos i have shot, edited, categorized and labeled. and i consider that something i do on a merely casual basis.

2) i have half a bottle of good vodka, and i will finish it over the course of the next few weeks. i usually don't keep booze in my house- or junk food. tendency towards the Extreme...i mean, i AM the only person i know who opened a sheet music account at schmitt music and charged two steinways.

3) i am the only person of my age i know who still squabbles with their siblings. i've been so sweet (read: wimpy) for so long, that standing up to anyone in that family causes seismic ruptures.

4) for me, familiarity does NOT breed contempt. it breeds, and nurtures, and brings to maturity, security.

5) i am starting a new "arm" of my teaching biz. more on that later.
spiralflames: (spiral)

self portrait...lonely bench, originally uploaded by spiralflmz.

i'm mostly keeping this for the "review"..my friend ivan had the following to say about this self-portrait:

"I just now stared closely, quietly, unblinking, at your new profile photo. Its magnitude is easy to overlook! It is loaded. It is loaded with "meaning", direct, abstract, metaphoric. It's beautiful, it's profound, it's sad, it's proud and ultimately, triumphant. Nan, your eye, what it sees, what it communicates, w...hat it shows us and what it tells us, is a story, what it gives us, is an experience, an experience that gives us a glimpse into your life in a way that words cannot! It is as complete a self-portrait as I've ever seen!"

i'm pretty amazed- not only by the gracious words, but by the effusiveness of this man who doesn't usually say much. to me, it just goes to show that just like in music, it's what the observer brings to the experience that turns it into a rich, complete experience. i've finally gotten the answer for the "if a tree falls in the forest w/nobody around, does it make a sound?" question. A: sure, but an incomplete one.

i'm so honored by this friendship.


Aug. 7th, 2010 03:22 pm
spiralflames: (freedom)

rockford, MN...steeple, originally uploaded by spiralflmz.

i got dumped... by my oncologist :-D

went in for my official five-years exam. afterwards, the np said "well i guess we won't be seeing you again...we don't keep people around once they reach 5 years."


i was amazed..i'd thought they'd check me out once a year...but nope. she said they'd see me once more, since this is 5 years from my surgery, not 5 years from the end of chemo.

and then i'm done. i fucking beat the crap out of stage IV ovarian cancer.

i'm overwhelmed, literally, with gratitude. i've been crying off and on all weekend.

spiralflames: (question)
all i want to know is:

why SO OFTEN do i need to end a conversation by thinking "shit...i shouldn't have been so honest/direct/intense." why do i ALWAYS feel that i need to 'dial it back', that i have somehow, once again, overstepped my boundaries (i hate that word- it's too present and too glib, and why do YOUR boundaries suddenly turn into MY boundaries, and why are YOU always the one who sets them, and why do i then turn into the proverbial bull in the china shop? why can't i have what *I* think is a pleasant conversation about IDEAS and suddenly find that the other person has taken it personally and feels totally threatened? am i THAT damn threatening? i LIVE for people to give me new insights- i LOVE when i go "oh really? i've never heard about THAT before..."

why am i constantly made to feel like a fricken FREAK when i talk about MUSIC, when people CONSTANTLY seem to feel they can blab for HOURS about things *I* don't give a crap about (sports, 99% of their kids' activities)


damn. i've just landed back in high school...didn't i have journal entries like this when i was 16?

lakewood, mpls MN...shadows2, originally uploaded by spiralflmz.

spiralflames: (scenery)
dialogue w/ bob laudon, a former musicology prof, age 89. i was to go fetch him and help him do a few errands, which i do on occasion.

bob: (answering phone) "laudons!"
nan: wie geht's? (how's it going?)
bob: "immer etwas muede" (always somewhat weary)
nan (in english) ohh..i'll try to be gentle today then."
bob: "just be honest."

they ARE the Greatest Generation.

he's working on another volume of poetry and also writing a scholarly book on the symphony from berlioz to liszt. and today he needed to get a new mobile phone because his old one had bitten the dust. 89, dudes and dudelets. 89.

have a lily.

starlily1, originally uploaded by spiralflmz.


Jul. 24th, 2010 03:59 pm
spiralflames: (freedom)

all right, let's try again...i tried to look someone up and aced my firefox. bits and snippets:
this week i sent in for submission guildelines for _the art of healing_, an art/photo/textile exhibit at the penny george institute for healing. http://www.abbottnorthwestern.com/ahs/anw.nsf/page/ihh_home to see if they might be interested in my photos. also wrote to Spirit United to ask about using their facility for my art/craft/CD release party in the fall. my sister's MIL is donating a quilt. this is awesome. then i ALSO asked Spirit United if they'd be interested in having me as a guest speaker next year, speaking about my healing journey.

time to start giving back. it'll be interesting to see what comes of any of it.
tomorrow i have my first rehearsal with Shiny Young Soprano...cannot WAIT. yay!
and i am totally endorphin-stoned, for all the right reasons. ;-D
life is good. wishing you the same.
lake calhoun blessed sunset3, 7/24/10


spiralflames: (Default)

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