Wednesday, December 11, 2013

11:23 Wednesday Night Poem


a poem

11:23 pm, Wednesday night

Alone in the night,
Hallelujah by design
During a Celtic salt bath,
And the sweep of sorrow
When at once I realize
I am no longer bound by the melancholia
Which once defined the edges of my soul.
And liberated, I find I love Jeff Buckley like a mother!
Not like a sister or a fantastic fairy lover.
And the beautiful loser is no more;

She is gone and
I Lost her,
Though in my mind's eye
Will I always treasure
This girl who gave me
Here.

Everything ever once I thought-
I have lost!

What have I gained?

No hallmark dainty, doily, soiled
No sense of righteousness, but still
An aggrandizement of wise one's pleas,
Mourned and lost as my pink rose deepens to red.

No one warned me
I would grow up.

Threatened, sure. Hoped! Of course.

(And I thought gravity would pull me down into the waters from whence I came,
The bends shifting my breathing into a mermaid's gills,
Liberated to die an old woman in a young girl's body,
Traces of an old poem I loved long ago, projecting my hurt into the skies as I
Join my seven sisters nigh)

Why then, such tears over the end of depression?

I am sad to find myself so happy.

Okay! Now we laugh.

Take a deep breath, little poet.
You're gonna make it after all.
So for what you have left,
What god dovetails, past life to future wife,
make it worthy of your
Flaming gorgeous heart.

Sunday, December 1, 2013

LIFERS

 
December 1st, 2013


Hi everyone! Wow. It’s December. I can barely believe it. I’m sure most of you feel the same- we can barely believe the close of another year is drawing nigh! Lest we not enjoy THIS day, let’s not think just yet upon the year and where we learned, where we laughed, where we lived….

…and yet, perhaps, a little, because after all, this is a time of becoming aware of who and what is special to us and why. Why do we pay attention where we do? And with fresh perspective, where will we spend our passion next?

I have only a few days left to finish fundraising for my album, “Songs.” I am over half way there and am really grateful for the opportunity to do this! (I secretly hope I make it!) (I openly hope I make it, too!)

Something wonderful has been happening through this process of recording, mixing, working, collaborating, fundraising, publicizing, etc. You see, in a way, independent artists often think, “It’s just me doing all this work all alone. How’m I ever gonna make it!?” But as I have been working on this endeavor (which all came about in the first place because people at my concerts and performances requested it) I have learned: (Shocking spoiler alert, LOL): 

I do not live in a vacuum.

(That would be really dusty. Ew.)

The most amazing people have come forward to pre buy an album, donate $100 (even if we only know each other via the internet!), or donate a few bucks. Every dollar helps! Even if you can give $1 or $2, it helps.

Not only that! I have also shared emails with fellow artists, as well as patrons. I’ve gotten in touch with people from years ago, excited to share in what’s occurring. I have met some new people and connected more deeply with friends. This album is showing me how beautifully interconnected we all are…

Then, there is the beauty of the process of art itself.

Something that often happens to people who have been working a LONG time as artists, and almost always with a certain level of sacrifice (long hours of practice after hours of working a day job…. Donating huge portions of your day job paycheck to classes and lessons and coaching, instead of vacations and down payments on homes, etc.)…. Despite these compromises and many others, life as an artist presents other kinds of joy.

For example, there are gifts (spiritual, musical and otherwise) that come from really befriending a song. I mean really... Really getting to know a piece of music, inside and out, and then singing it again and again, discovering something new at each turn of phrase….

Earlier today I asked myself, why do life long artists, even masters like Barbra Streisand, after all this time, STILL get nervous before performing?

You know, for most, when you’re a very young artist, you just wanna DO it so bad… but after you have failed and failed and maybe succeeded a little and failed and failed and then mastered and mastered and maybe succeeded and maybe not….  And you don’t quit…. You gain a bit of maturity… and you just keep going because you LOVE it so much and it is a part of you and you it…. And you may or may not ever make a living doing it…. And you may never win a Grammy but you also never quit because it stops being about the end result and truly just is about the music…. you begin to realize a new import to what you are doing. A new honesty takes hold. The gift of this moment of music, being able to touch something eternal and divine, and letting it channel through you, hapless human though you may be…. Has a bliss and wonder all its own.

And you sing the song and the people who listen (even if it’s just you and your dog) touch something so much greater than your own idea of yourself.

And you are so blessed.

That, ladies and gentlemen, is what I am experiencing.

I never tire of the process of creating.

I feel so lucky to be living my life as an artist.

If you can help me with my campaign, I truly appreciate it. And to those of you who HAVE donated, bought an album, donated a dollar. I am so grateful. You are helping me discover anew and I cannot wait to share with you some of these explorations in the form of song.

Love, Always,

Erin

http://www.indiegogo.com/projects/support-songs-support-music-support-your-soul

Friday, November 8, 2013

PHOTOS for the COVER OF MY ALBUM!

November 8th, 2013

Indie Go Go!!!

Good Lord. It’s a wonderful thing and a great obstacle course to self-produce an album! Writing the songs, recording the songs, raising the money, doing the photo shoot, publicizing everything! I love it! But I need help. (No, not THAT kind of help.) (Um, on other thought, maybe… YES. That kind of help. But that’s a different topic for a different blog.) J

One of the ways I am asking for help is by taking a cross-survey among a few friends and family members to help me choose photos for the cover and for other artwork associated with the album!

While the answer is still out there a little- I do have the cover art narrowed down to a few photos (one leader, two potential contenders,and a dark horse)- the most fascinating aspect of this has been which demographic has chosen what photos!

ALL of my guy friends- and I mean, my gay guy friends, ex-boyfriends, straight platonic friends and all-every single guy has chosen the absolute sexiest photo among all of them as the cover.

!

Of all the women I asked, only my sister chose that photo of me... but NOT for the cover but for “some other purpose.”

My mother chose a number of photos as contenders, and of all of her choices, I would say they are really the photos only a mother could love… LOL. She chose the pictures in which I look the most wholesome. I guess I should have asked a few more ministers, perhaps. But all of her choices are very sweet, innocent, wholesome, not too sexy and not even too glamorous. I love that she still thinks of me as her little girl even as a grown woman.

MY favorite photos was also chosen by all the women either as choice #1 and 2, and was choice #2 for most of my guy friends.

I guess it’s really now a question of if I want a super sexy photo for the cover or the photo that is the combination of elegance, whimsy and vulnerability.

What do you think?


p.s. you can pre-buy an album or donate to the finishing funds campaign HERE:

http://www.indiegogo.com/projects/support-songs-support-music-support-your-soul/x/119710



Friday, October 25, 2013

When the Heart’s Involved, Magic May Blossom

 
When the Heart’s Involved, Magic May Blossom


Every once in a while I am just too smart for my own good. No, really! Usually it starts long before I notice it, which is about the time I realize the futility of life. I am dramatic so it takes me to get to that point!

I can always tell when my intellect is no longer serving me as a tool but as an overlord when I began to wonder, “What’s the point of all of this?” But then I remember that THOSE words are just a foil for fear… and it’s time to reign in my thinking mind and return to my sense of childlike wonder and naivete.

I can practically hear you among my more practical friends tsking and shrieking and sighing and harrumphing. But I say, either way, the rain is gonna fall and the sun is gonna shine. And since I can go through this temporary condition called “life” with fear or wonder (or, a combo of both), I say, why not go through it with as much joy and grace as possible?

            Here is an example of how that works for me.

A few years ago, goodness, almost ten now, back in my hometown of Minneapolis, my best friend Josh and I shared, among many things, a love of the Divine Ms M.

That’s Bette Midler, to the uninitiated.

            Josh and I had a mutual friend, Sean. He was the most gangster gay dude I’d met up until that point and completely blew my mind of any remaining stereotypes. (Wait… um, at least those of which I am aware.) One day, Sean offered to take me and Josh to see Bette at the Target Center in a month.

            Um. YES!

            A few weeks later, Sean called me. “Okay, don’t tell Josh, but I had to sell the tickets on Ebay. But I’ll get replacements.” Um, Okay…

            The night of the show, we arranged to all three meet at a restaurant across the street from the venue. I arrived first, post Ballet of The Dolls dance class. I was red cheeked from the cold December night. Then, Josh walked into the restaurant. We shared that buzz of pre-concert excitement.

We waited for our third party to come to dinner, but he never showed. We decided he was probably stuck in traffic, and sat down to eat. I thought back to that phone call… should I tell Josh? I had promised I wouldn’t. It was getting close to show time and we still had no sign of Sean- or our tickets.

            Josh called Sean. Then he called again. He called again. Finally, an answer. Sean told us he wasn’t coming because he had to babysit, but we could come to Plymouth (a suburb) to get the tickets. Then, unexpectedly, we got cut off and when we tried calling back, the phone died.

            It was time to reveal what I knew.

            Josh looked so blue as I told him of the phone conversation.

            “Oh well,” he said, shrugging his shoulders up and down in an oversized blue cardigan sweater. “We can just go get coffee or something.”
           
            Something struck a chord in me, in my heart.

            “No,” I said, “Let’s just go over there.”
           
            Josh looked at me curiously. He shrugged once more.

            “Okay,” he said.

            We walked to the box office of the venue, crowded with excited concert-goers of surprisingly every age, race, color, and creed. I love the unifying force of music that can bring together very different kinds of people! Of course, it was December in Minnesota, so you had to look closely through the veneer of parkas, scarves, and hats…

            I approached the box office, M-Z. All three of us had last names beginning with “M.” Josh tagged behind, unsure of what I was doing, but watching curiously.

            I told the lady at the office our tale. A jolly gal, she smiled and thought of potential solutions. Did we have the credit card used to purchase the tickets? Could we call him and have him call the credit card number in? Finally, plum out of ideas, she cocked her head to one side and looked at us consolingly.

            “I guess you’ll have to wait ‘til he shows up with your tickets, then,” she said. She smiled.

As a side note of interest: I hadn’t noticed then, but in retrospect, and after having lived in major cities FAR less friendly and sweet than Minneapolis is in general, it’s so lovely that she never once acted like we were a burden, nor did she shoo us away immediately upon the discovery that we couldn’t get our tickets from her. As we say in the Midwestern vernacular, she was real nice.

            Josh and I slowly made our way to the front doors. Josh wanted to speed ahead but I stopped and stood still. I did not know why, but we had to stay put.

            “Come on,” he said, “Let’s go.”

            “No,” I said, “Just wait.”

            Josh sighed.

            “What for?” he asked.

            “I don’t know,” I said. “We just have to wait.”

            By now the lights were blinking to let us know the show was starting. The people in the lobby were all moving in droves into the stadium itself and soon we were a few of the only people left in the lobby.

            “What. Are we going to try to listen from here?” Josh joked, unfolding his large navy blue winter coat from being draped over his arm.

            “I guess,” I said, but still not moving, “We should go.” And yet I could not budge.

            Just then, a man emerged from seemingly nowhere, although, really, he was standing against the north wall of the lobby.

            “Excuse me,” he said, “Are you waiting for your tickets?”

            “We don’t think they’re coming,” I said. Now it was my time to shrug.

            “Here,” he said, holding his hand out. “Take mine!

            “Really?” I squealed and grabbed those tickets before he changed his mind. He looked a bit surprised, but answered,

            “Yeah. I don’t think my date is coming.”

            “Oh, thank you!” I gushed, hugging him. Then Josh said “Thank you,” and hugged him too, which seemed to really surprise the man. He smiled. “You’ll have more fun than me,” he said. He left then and Josh and ran in to the venue just as Bette’s band was striking up…We shrieked in joy as we discovered that our seats were in the front balcony, dead center.

            And Bette began her final performance of her KISS MY BRASS tour. And she was awesome.

            ...Now, I tell that story as an example of what happens when you listen to, and follow, your heart! No matter how silly and unlikely it may seem… and not to be attached to any outcome whatsoever but merely because you must you must you MUST… You cannot NOT do this thing, whether it is starting a cupcake business or waiting for tickets for a show for no reason or getting married or having kids or not having kids or starting a new career…. If it’s in your heart, there’s a reason.

            So right now, I am recording this album. It’s eclectic and varied, just like my life as a singer. It’s like a greatest hits album even though I’m young in my career! Voice and piano, or voice and guitar. Simple, beautiful, classic songs. Arias, standards, a couple originals. …

            I got a little nervous about it this morning, before I headed to the studio to work with Russ, the producer… what if it doesn’t work out? (But then, aren’t I having a blast in the meantime, raising money, singing, growing, stretching, as an artist, and believing in myself and my gifts?) What if I don’t raise the money on IndieGoGo? (Then I will come up with the money another way. There is always a way! At least 5 or 6, really!) Am I doing the right thing? (Too late to worry about right or wrong, I’m already 1/3 of the way through recording!)

            See, I wrote this blog not just for you all, but for me, to remind myself that it is time for some more faith, particularly of the childlike variety.

I am ready to be surprised again by whatever may come. ‘Cause whatever it is, my heart’s involved. And that’s why it’s scary, and that’s why it’s worth it, and that’s why there may be magic…

                                                                        LOVE,

                                                                                                Erin


http://www.indiegogo.com/projects/support-songs-support-music-support-your-soul/x/119710

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Slow Down, You Move Too Fast

Version:1.0 StartHTML:0000000105 EndHTML:0000010419 StartFragment:0000002515 EndFragment:0000010383
So, who here slows down?

I mean, really. Who here lives in balance?

(Crickets.)

Tonight I was talking to my sister on the phone, ruing one of my personality flaws (workaholism) and complaining that I need to take on fewer projects and really focus in on what I truly want to do and only do one or two projects at a time. She patiently waited for me to finish. Then she said:

“But don’t you say this and go through this every few months?”

Silence.

“Yes,” I responded.

“So can you hold on to this every day for the next seven days?”

Silence.

See, the thing is, I get so excited about things that I MUST do them ALL at once. Then I get overwhelmed and a week like this one happens. Without too many gory details- because I absolutely HATE complaining, and, well, I “say” I hate drama but apparently this week I’m getting plenty of it whether I want it or not- I have bronchitis. I have an eye infection. I lost one car and then the other just died while driving it. I got scathing reviews of one of my projects, albeit mostly rather true and therefore helpful. But it still hurts! I am practicing my tools of gratitude and asking for help and forgiveness (of self) and gumption and cuddling with Henry as best I can!

And this, all in the midst of working my freelance careers one and two, my singing career, acting career, writing career, training for a half marathon, plus a relationship, plus and plus and plus and plus.

And I don’t even have children!

And these are very lucky problems to have, because my problem is I have too many jobs. I apologize for complaining while some people are in the face of not enough work… or far greater problems than me in general.

And yet, I’m an artist. It is my job to reflect back to the culture and offer up something aspirational and inspirational (at least that is one of my intentions as an artist.) Something to entertain, enlighten, enliven. Something to give back in love and creativity.

And so with all this blah blah blah, I think, this must be a wake up call.

See, I am confronting one of my deepest, darkest secrets, one of my most insidious character defects.

I am a people pleaser.

And so in the midst of loving my projects and running around doing everything I can to support my passion, I also mix in wanting to help everyone everywhere, doing things so as to not let people down rather than because I truly want to do them, (if you think this is you, it is NOT!) (Oh my god there I go again.) (It may or may not be you! It probably isn’t. LOL.)

And so, in fact, as much as I hate to admit it, I seem to have lost sight a little bit of exactly what it is I really do want to do.

I know I love my projects, but I am forging ahead on some of them for the sake of getting them done rather than loving the process.

And that is not how I want to live my life.

When I was in India and saw that my misery was my own making, I promised myself I would learn to love life.




And here I am a few years later, finding myself in some same patterns and habits winding them selves up again for some kind of rut or failure or, in my case (sigh.) Chaos.

So what is to be done?

I am going to experiment again with a new list of things to do. This list does not shirk responsibility. Strangely I LOVE paying my bills on time and love paying off debt. But, see, a few years back some family tragedy hit alongside the release of my 2009 album. I completely slowed down. I took baths. I walked instead of ran. I worked less and maybe made less money but then ended up charging more and it evened out.

So, here I see the pattern I have and that, I bet, most of us, at least in this culture, have: workaholism, frenzy, too much too fast with little receiving of the joy of it.

Alright. So it’s time again for a slow down.

Because when I ask myself, what do I really want, and what do I really love? It’s nice when I have an answer.

How do you make time for yourselves? How do you slow down? Balance passion with rest?

Blessings and all things beautiful and passionate,

Love,

Erin    

Welcome to India II

There is a cave on the river Ganga (India part II)

filtered through time and perception- through stars and shifts of moons-
through the faint whisper of the lotus flower- through the echoes of a guitar, whose sweet strings reverberate into infinity- through the thought of making love- the softness of my fingers against my own cheek-

And the words of Anand- let pain transform you- don't let it become misery- be honest to yourself-don't let the memory become a misery-

(And memory?)

who needs memory when one has love?

who needs equations when one has transformation?

Who needs to feel pain when the rain beats gently against your heart?

And who needs fire?

I did.

The day after the fire ceremony my body began to turn against me. I couldn't eat, and then I was starving. I couldn't sleep for days and then I would be exhausted; but when I wasn't tired at all, I could sleep forever. I began to burn from the inside out. Feverish, aching. My body was transforming. The likeness of a dagger inside an angel formed in blood red directly over my heart, and later over my throat. My Samsonite hair become a noose. My dreams were wild. And most of all?

I lost it.

It burned in the fire.

Everything that "could" go wrong in my life back in the states went wrong, or so I thought. Legal situations turned against me. Checks didn't come and money disappeared. My doctor called with bad news. Very bad. Or so I thought.

And that was the gift. In regard to each and every piece of bad news, which I kept asking for again and again, there was not a thing I could do, except to ask India how I could love god more. Every surrender was the breath of hallelujah. Nothing made sense and I was wondering why I ever gave my life to the Ganga? I wanted to die. But dying was not my choice. My only choice was to learn the fine lines of latitude and longitude in my own heart, and ask again, how can I love god more? 

What it took to discover the gift-

Two and twenty of us, piled into three vans. A windy road with no safety railings, no safety belts, nausea. Winding and winding and winding, twisting and turning and the sun setting over the misty green Ganga, the moon above the high himalayas. 

We drove a good forty-five minutes until we reached a monastery. This monastery was on the banks of the Ganga, next to a cave 18 miles long underneath the himalayas. The cave had been used for thousands of years for meditation- thousands of years by humans, millions by angels. The monk in charge had not left in almost sixty years, since he had arrived, not even to go to the doctor, let alone to walk down the to the corner drug for a pack of cigarettes and some M and M's. 

The peak of fire. I fell to the concrete laid before the entrance to the cave and felt daggers in my heart. The daggers pinned me to the ground and I had to stay. My mind revolted. (You're going to die! Run! Kill yourself! Jump into the current and fly away forever! Too many reasons for being alone! Too many reasons to be alone! You must leave now!) And those daggers stabbed and stabbed and I felt I must stay at this place forever because I was locked through the impossible chains of blood and flesh. Erin sat in the back of my mind as some other being came forth, and more beings, and more beings. I became truly afraid that I was possessed, especially considering the dreams of demonic possession that had been coming and coming since the night of the fire purification ceremony- and for years and years before this trip, before I even came to California- from childhood... the dark wood of the railings of my stairs, running from malign spirits in the forest near my home, falling into the swamps and meeting a horrible mass of ash and anger...

And then Anand announced we would enter the cave.

Eyes wide like moons, my voice gone. I watched my body rise. And we were in the cave.

I felt an eternal presence deeper than anything I had ever yet felt in this life memory. My heart lifted and with an exhalation, the demons left. They were not allowed in this cave, and never again were they allowed in my being. 

I loved the cave. I loved the floor of rock and earth. I loved you, and I loved me, and I loved each and every silk thread between us. I loved the mountain for which this cave was a womb, and I prepared for birth.

Inhale. Exhale. Love. Inhale, fullness. Exhale, emptiness. Love. Seven chakras in alignment, kundalini rising, beauty, love, my heart, ancients, Babylon, whispers, tongues, secrets, the dance of Shiva, my spirit dancing in the silence, children birthing through my birth and rebirth, the christ and the buddha, in the midst of it all and in the mists of it all was this being- I thought her name was Erin- but she may have lost that name, and let herself be without identity and without idea. Beauty on fire, vulnerability leading to destruction, the phoenix? my life. In, and out, and...

Suddenly it had been hours. Everyone and everything was gone except for a flame threatening to extinguish, and the gentle cough of a monk behind me. Was I being rude? I wanted to cry for joy and shout to the Lord! To dance and jump and beat my drum and play my lute! To sing and sing and sing! I had found my home! I was never leaving! Tell my mother to come for a visit, I wouldn't be making it home for Christmas.

And the monk coughed again. Somewhere, I heard laughter. I knew then, this cave was the blessing of my birth, not my home.

A smile in my heart, and I, the daughter of gods, and the silent wife of dreams, left the cave, to bathe in a new hallelujah and be nourished by the sweet milk of the mother Ganga.


--


Erin Muir




I, the fiery life of divine essence, am aflame beyond the beauty of the meadows, I gleam in the waters, and I burn in the sun, moon, and stars. With every breeze, as with invisible life that contains everything, I awaken everything to life.
-Hildegard von Bingen

Welcome To India I

Hi there! These are a few blog entries from 2007. I seem to have lost or unpublished them, so I am re-publishing them here, because I think they are beautiful.


    
Welcome to India: India, Sept 2007, the first days.

The first day of our arrival was built upon the frenzy and excitement of getting ready, the endless flight through space and time to Delhi, and then a car ride from Delhi north to Rishikesh. Crammed six to a jeep, we had the luxury ride! The highways were amazing: villages alongside the road that look more like the sets of a puppet show in pastels and white... people sleeping in cots and cows causing traffic jams, men playing cards and drinking tea and smoking under low hanging lights next to the highway. We got caught in two traffic jams at 3 in the morning. Beautiful. Welcome to India. 

After settling into my home for the next two (three!) weeks, I met my teacher Candace, her teacher Anand, and our group at the banks of the Ganges River- the healing waters the locals call their Great Mother, the Mother Ganga. We did a meditation, and then were invited to dip our toes. The water was cool and delicious, a milky green rushing alongside the foothills of the Himalayas. I looked back at my group, wading in further and further. My heart was open, and ready... in that spirit, I dove under, completely submersing myself in the Great Mother. 

My mermaid self satisfied, I returned to the beach just in time for an explanation of what to do to prepare for that evening's puja: we would be doing a fire purification cermony on the banks of the river with Anand's family pundit. "Write down anything you wish to hand over to the river to take care of for you: anything you think you want, give it to god. Anything you don't want, give it to god. In short, write down everything you have keeping your ego and mind afloat, and give it up to the Ganga so that you might find peace in your heart. The rest will come in its own time." 

First day... I guess we weren't messing around! Over an amazing lunch, the first of many amazing Indian meals, and some sweet hot chai tea, I came up with a thousand items for a list. Then, I realized that ultimately, what I wanted most of all, the reason for my being in India in the first place, boiled down to just one thing. (What can I say? I was drinking boiled tea.) That was what I would write down on that piece of paper to give up in the fire purification ceremony. I would surrender it- take the risk of losing what I thought I was or am or ever will be- and put that in the heart of the river. It's really personal, or it felt deeply intimate; but after having had proven to me time and time again that the more I lose my ego the more I gain my heart? it's not so scary to say: I wrote down that I would give my life. 

That evening, around 6 pm, we walked as a group to the river. I was dead tired and falling over, hallucinating a little bit. I couldn't think straight or string words into sentences, at least not any sentences that made sense outside of my mind. I had been awake for years, I think, at that point, with no sleep. Candace told me that was a good thing, because it would leave me more open to receiving the ceremony. Honestly, I thought I should go back to the hotel and pass out, but i just couldn't do that to myself after having come so far. 

About twenty of us gathered at a broad flat area beneath the village where Anand's Pundit was preparing the ceremony with rice, orange dye, orange flowers, fire, apples, bananas, flowers, candies, dirt and incense. I tried to hide in back as the ceremony began (so I wouldn't offend anyone but falling asleep) but the Pundit chose me to help him alongside Anand, Candace, and Anand's mother during the ceremony. 

And it began: the pundit began creating a fire pit on the banks of the river and we helped. He would chant the mantra, and then I would throw more ghee, fire, dirt, wood, etc., as necessary into the fire. I couldn't tell you what the chant was, but Pundit would sing it 108 times, and after each chant within those 108 times, he would end with "Swaha" and we would toss more into the fire. As I tossed more and more dirt, flowers, ghee, candies, wood and rice into the fire, I focused on what I was willing to give to open my soul and my heart. I didn't know exactly why or what I was doing, but it didn't matter. Then, the Pundit came around and gave each of us a blessing, purifying each of us. 

We offered the fruit and flowers into the fire and then, one by one, approached the fire to offer our intentions in the form of what we had written down on the paper. I was in another world by this point, between the smell of the fires, and the incense, and the mysticism of the chanting, and the colors; the drumming and Hindi music carrying over the breeze from town, cooling off the heat of the day, the rush of the river; my heart the only energy keeping me afloat. I felt like I was no longer on earth but somehow both in the river and in the breeze, both in my body and outside of. 

I approached the fire and looked at my paper. Then, I pressed it to my heart, asked for help, truth and clarity, and threw it in. It burned into a spiral of smoke reaching up top the stars above.

I stared at the fire for what seemed like days. I have no idea how much time passed, but I felt like my body itself was being pulled into the fire. Suddenly someone shoved something into my hand. I looked at it.It was a piece of cake, white and clean and sweet. Anand's mother smiled at me. "Eat it," she said, a Hindi cadence. I put it in my mouth and nodded, coming back to earth a little, coming back into my body a little. And just like that, the ceremony was finished. 

I stared at the river for some time then, as the fire burned down. Some of our group returned to the hotel, but I stayed until the very end to help clean, and, really, because I just didn't want to leave the river yet... oh, yes, I would have three more weeks, which was a blink and a thousand lifetimes all at once, with this river... but just then, I was home...  welcome to India. Welcome home.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Jean Harlow, French Assassins, and Dreams Come True

Well, hello everybody! Gee, it's nice to see you all here!

It's a nice and hot sunny September day in Los Angeles, and I just returned from a walk with young Sir Henry Monster where I did a little ruminating.

See, I've been working on an audition to portray the "Original Blonde Bombshell," Jean Harlow. I have been spending a lot of time watching her films, and have become fascinated with her- she was Marilyn Monroe's inspiration, and I can see why.

Jean Harlow is not just a platinum blonde diva. She's not just a sexy gal who can play everything from smart and sassy to ditzy and dizzy. She's not just a screwball comedienne, either! But boy she DID have that certain something!

And then some. You know why I like her so well? She has this core of feminine strength that lets her have the vulnerability and the sass all at once. She wasn't afraid to be a bad girl when it was called for (well, apparently sometimes she had to fight pretty hard to be not as bad as they wanted her to be! Which makes me respect her more because she wanted balance!) I really prize women who let themselves be exactly whoever it is they are- whether that is Jean Harlow, Jenny McCarthy, Melissa McCarthy, Sharon Stone, Diablo Cody, or Mae West... Tina Fey, Amy Pohler, Jennifer Lawrence, Myrna Loy, Madonna. The list goes on and on and on!

Being precisely who and what a person is unto themselves- believing in themselves- having faith in themselves- and then offering that out into the world with joy and communion- well. That's not an easy task! It's an art form. And a worthy endeavor. And my aspiration!

How lucky I feel today. For this week, between performances and auditions, I get to portray everything from a blonde bombshell, to a French Assassin, to a conjoined (Siamese) twin, to myself!

As for "myself," I am thrilled to announce a few upcoming performances and recordings.

This Saturday, I will be singing at the Festa del'Autunno at Pelican Hill Resort in Newport Beach. You can get more info here:

http://www.pelicanhill.com/Festa


I will be singing largely Italian arias and a few folk songs, everything from Puccini to Al Di La. This is one of my favorite kinds of performances! Festival-goers will get to sample food and wines from Italy while strolling along, listening to music, singers, and experiencing other delights. :)

Soon I will be recording an album of favorite hits that I sing. I have had a number of people request songs- arias, pop songs, Broadway songs, maybe even a new original song or two! If you would like to request a song, I am tallying up the votes of favorites. So feel free to email me or tweet me or Facebook me and let me know what your favorite song is. The album will be recorded in early October, and is slated for release in November.

Until next time!

Arrivederci and ciao!


BACI!


Erin

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Oh ye lovers of beauty...

Oh ye lovers of beauty,
You, who tremble with the aspens in the glen,
Who thrill as the heavens call forth bliss, pain sweet as the death of a berry, punctured, transforms into new life:
I salute you

Joy, aliveness, wonder

This is all our birthright

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Cake!!!

A New Dramedy Short Film

Starring Erin Muir
Yana Galuz
Carlo Carere

Written by Eve Konstantopoulos

Directed by Bronic Bednarek


http://youtu.be/MAsJTHHTxZM


Cake!

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

The Once and Future Us.

Here's to passing through- to meeting the love of your life- to wine, to sobriety- to ancient ruins and eternal thoughts- to stardust- to farting- to pretending not to fart- to children laughing- to arguments- to pizza- to books you have to read that turn into books you wanna read- to all night conversations- to coffee shops - to coming of age and growing old- to wayward youth that becomes your adult pride- to the way it used to be and the way it never was but could have been- to vulnerability- to the mundane, the profound, the silly, the lowdown. Here's to life, to being alive. Here's to you.

Time to Teach Passion: THE ONE

 
July 9th, 2013

Hey people!

So here I am, on a trip to the majestic mountains of Gunnison, Colorado, rewriting the screenplay version of “The One,” my one-woman show I toured a few years ago, based on the actual events of my love life. Based on.

I am currently rewriting a part of the project that is based on my high school years and even though the project is taking on a life of its own, I am reaching into the annals of both the internet and my own memory to look for what is accurate and true, and what is imagined and playful, and where the two meet and create art. Well, we can all guess that the internet and my mind are equally reliable. Er. Unreliable. Okay. Sometimes both are just outright liars.

With some distance, I can look back both painfully and poignantly at those parts of my life. Maybe it’s the epic scenery all around me, or my own romance and drama, but somehow I feel so impassioned to make things right for that 17-year-old version of me who was so full of creativity… A 17-year-old about to make a series of really stupid and sometimes tragic mistakes. I want to go back and shake that girl, grab her by the shoulders and look her in the eyes and say:

“Don’t believe anyone who tells you you can’t do what you love. Don’t follow the advice of anyone who tells you to be realistic or practical. Don’t shut down because other people fear for your future.”

If I ever give a speech at a graduation, and I’m sure I won’t because I’m too much of an upstart, that’s what I would say.

And I would tell them that from experience. I tried to do what everyone thought was “right” and what was “safe.” I did the right thing and messed up my whole life. It wasn’t until I finally started following my dreams that everything started to work out.

II understand that people were mostly worried about me not paying rent, being broke, getting taken advantage, etc. Well, all of that happens whether you do the right thing or not. I’ve always paid my rent and I’ve often been broke, but it’s kind of amazing what happens when a person is passionately pursuing her dreams and believes in them and herself: she either makes money doing what she loves, or has other support systems in place such as a day job which she is HAPPY to go to because it is servicing her true dreams.

Why don’t we teach passion?

Why don’t we teach faith in self and the ability to listen to that small, sweet voice which directs us toward our true destiny?

And sometimes that voice is loud!!

Because it doesn’t really matter if we “make it or not,” in the end. What matters is that we were true to ourselves, to our own heart, with integrity.

So now, looking back at that part of my life, I am going to look myself in the mirror, and see that 17 year old. I am going to look her right in the eyes and say, “You have an awesome life ahead of you. I promise. Just go for it.” And, I am then going to say to my self now: “And that goes for you, too.”

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

The First Time I Made Them Laugh

 
I remember the first time I ever made people laugh.

I mean… let me say… the first time I ever caught on that people were laughing and then continue that thing!

Because most of my childhood, people were already cocking their heads to one side with a secret smile when I would open my mouth to speak. Most of my childhood, people were already nodding with curiosity, saying “Uh huh,” and then laughing just a little. In fact, whether it arose from my bad behavior (I could be a bit of a diva) or my good behavior (but I was very loving! I never meant bad!) I already had a catch phrase: “Call Me Baby.”

(This was long before Carly Rae Jepson co-opted something similar for a pop tune! When I was three, I was playing with my spaghetti and meatballs in my special big girl place at the table. Meaning, I was playing with my food with my HANDS, something my rather behavior-appropriate father HATED. “Honey,” he said, appealing to my desires as a little-girl-wanna-be-big-girl, “if you play with your food, people are going to call you ‘baby.’” I looked right at him, took a big scoop of noodles and sauce in my hand, and as I smeared that dinner all along the wallpaper, I said, “Caaaaall me baaaaby.” …

…even now as an adult, I will still get comments at family functions and e-mails saying, “Call me baby.”  …)

But I wasn’t trying to be funny then…

I was just expressing my desire to be myself!

No, it wasn’t until a few years later, with a group of girlfriends, that I realized I was funny, and then discovered the way to encourage the laughter.

I don’t remember how old we were. I’d say it was around 4th or 5th grade. There was a group of us, and to be honest, I don’t even remember which if my childhood girlfriends were a part of the scheme. I am pretty sure it was Gina and Sarah but beyond that, sadly, I do not recall. I just know there was a TALENT SHOW at our school and I was SO EXCITED because I had already done a few plays and already been on the news for different artistic endeavors and just KNEW I was going to be a famous movie star, singer and novelist when I grew up.

(Hey, little Erin, all chubby with coke-bottle-lensed glasses and funky hair that would sit properly on your head, shy with your little hands in fists in your pockets…. Guess what? You did grow up to be a singer, and an actress, and a writer! Maybe not famous, but guess what? It all turns out okay in the end. So… I’d like to tell you to relax and enjoy the journey more, but I guess maybe all that passion is what got you here in the first place, so on second thought, just keep going and know that you end up living in Hollywood and yes, you get the guy!)

Okay. Sorry, had to give a side commercial to my childhood self.

Anyway. Back to the TALENT SHOW.

My friends and I were so excited to be in it! We were thinking of all the millions of options. I think I wanted to do something like a full-blown production of Phantom of the Opera, [sic] but my far more practical chums would have nixed that pretty immediately. I was old enough to know I wanted it to be beautiful and grown up and sexy. And naïve enough not to realize I was absolutely NONE of those things. Remember my aside, from a few seconds ago, when I talked to my childhood self? Yes? No? Let me remind you by painting a picture with words.

As a kid, I had several stand out features. I was a dreamer. I was a performer. I sang and danced and played piano. I wrote stories and illustrated them myself. I spent hours wandering around the forest singing to myself and imagining adventures in great and glorious detail.

I would wake up at the crack of dawn on a June morning like this one and run out to catch the sun rise over the pond, feel the dew on my bare feet as I would wade in the tall, wet, grass, and feel this special thrill of “something’s gonna happen… I just know it.”

And were I to go home and pour a huge bowl of cereal and then look in the mirror, I would see:

Huge blue eyes, made huger and bluer, almost owl-like, by very thick horn-rimmed glasses. Hair that was unruly and unbehaving, kept short because I would never comb it enough to keep it from getting gnarled, but with a special cowlick veering off to the right. Most likely there was some kind of juice or food smeared on my shirt. I would be very tan and quite chubby, bursting from my shorts, because even then I would be on a diet (my first diet was age 8) but not realizing I didn’t look like a slim, beautiful 18 year old grown up. (!)

Okay. Again, back to the TALENT SHOW.

My friends and I, after much debate, settled on a dance routine. Although I desperately wanted “Swans,” from “Carnival of the Animals,” by Saint-Saens, which my mother would play on piano while I would dance around the living room… my friends decided on a Totally 80s song: “Walk like an Egyptian,” by the girl group “The Bangles.”

We came up with a dance routine but I never quite blended in to the actual routine. Then, my attention-needy…. Er, um… star-focused…. Uh, oh… um…. My very CREATIVE brain came up with the idea that ONE of us had to be an Egyptian, and furthermore, like the song said, WALK LIKE ONE. Also, we should wear outfits exactly like the ancients.

My girlfriends, normal-esque, cute, and sweet, said “no.” THEY wanted to wear rocker chick outfits and be the BANGLES. Duh.
Well, I had different ideas.

Performance night. The boy before us lip-synched to some rock tune. Most of the talent in my town was focused on lip-synching, apparently. The girls in my group were all done up, complete with neon colored 80s bangles and bracelets. I ran up at the end with a big surprise. I was NOT wearing an awesome lace skirt with sprayed up 80s bangs. No.

I had gone into my mother’s makeup kit and borrowed black eyeliner. I had thickly lined my eyes and drawn the little lines pointing out, like the people in the ancient Egyptian hieroglyphs. At the last minute, I got creative, and drew on a thick black beard.

But the biggest surprise, for most people, was to be my costume.

That damned 80s song commences with the tell-tale jungle stick, followed by, if memory serves, some sort of timpani or tuned bass drum on the down beat after the first measure. Well, my cohorts rushed on stage as the lights were down and I hid in the wings, staring at the cord that pulled the curtains open on the front of the stage. The lights came up and I heard the audience cough and settle in their seats again. The, that jingle stick, and the girls, stunned in the lights, barely moved. Then, that drum. Sarah or Gina, I don’t remember who was the leader, one of them, though, as they always were, nudged the other girl and they began to move. From back stage, I could see that the audience stunned them into a lesser version of themselves, a timid version in which they were no longer rockstars but little girls; no longer famous performers at a huge venue but pre-pubescent small town darlings in a talent show at the old junior high school which was dilapidated enough it was no longer safe for kids and had therefore been converted into office space only but which still had the best thrust stage in town for things like the local talent show…

I was not standing for this! I re-wrapped my surprised: a bed sheet (We didn’t have any straight white sheets so I used my mother’s peach and light green Santa Fe style sheets) wrapped around my body like a toga, and a gold hand band pinned onto my head to look kind of like the tall golden hats I had seen in the photos of the hieroglyphs. I was too late to add more black eyeliner as a beard, but in the heat and humidity of a Minnesota summer, and already sweating from stress, I could see it running in streaks as I wiped my sheet across my face to remove the sweat.

And then it was time for my entrance….

I moved onto the stage quickly, thrusting my arms into the zig zag pattern of the Egyptians on the wall, and indeed, in my mind, began to “Walk like an Egyptian.” From the moment I moved onto stage, arms thrusting, makeup smearing underneath my crazy huge glasses, sheets slipping…

The audience ROARED.

I stole one brief look at my friends. One of them had eyes wider than saucers. I imagined somehow she thought this was a good thing, me dancing in a bed sheet. The audience laughed as I rounded the girls and doubled down on my commitment.

I moved even jerkier, faster. I got my head into the game and I am sure I began to look more like a chicken jerking her head forward and back than an Egyptian, but what did I care? The audience was responding and something in me knew: “Do it more. Get more serious. YOU ARE AN EGYPTIAN!”

I was a nerdy kid who had done her homework. So I said, “I am Nefertiti!” and moved front and center stage. The audience howled as I moved to point my arms at THEM! To my horror, the sheet slipped half off, revealing my black and white diagonally striped bathing suit underneath. They laughed even harder. I moved faster.

And then, as quickly as it had begun, after all those weeks of preparation, it was over.

After the show, my mother came to find me with my sister Laura in tow. The look on her face was one of surprise. I think none of us knew quite what to think of what I had just done, what we had just done. My part in the performance had been… unusual. I was not like anyone else, in that I hadn’t been pretty. Nor appropriate. But I also had not been timid, nor shy. In real life I was VERY shy. But something about that stage had created this other Erin, this other me who just KNEW the audience didn’t want to watch little girls be little girls. They wanted to watch little girls transform into EGYPTIANS.

A lady walked up to me with her kids in tow, one two three four. She had a huge grin on her face. She put her hand on my shoulder.

“You’ve got guts, kid,” she said, laughing. “You’ve got guts.”

Shy again, I looked down at the floor and felt my cheeks flushing red. I wasn’t sure what she meant. I knew I was chubby. But I knew I had made her laugh…

I don’t remember if my friends were happy with the evening or not, but I am sure it was quickly forgotten as we gathered at the Dairy Queen for dilly bars. Later that night, standing in the front yard, staring at the stars as they twinkled in the sky, I smiled at God. We had a secret together, God and I. I could make people laugh. And I was gonna find a way to make use of that. And I knew in my heart, God was laughing, too.

Monday, June 10, 2013

Learning from the Cat Lady!

So there is a lady in my hood- secretly called the Crazy Cat Lady- and often Henry and I walk by her house which has a gorgeous flower garden in the front yard. As Henry stopped to do a bit of business, and then I paused to clean it up, this woman came out and told me how much she hates dogs. She was flanked by two HUGE and gorgeous cats: a calico one the left and a fluffy white cat on the right. She made a point that she hates dogs because they ruin her (perfect) yard. I instantly apologized and told her I would be sure Henry NEVER stopped at her yard again, and that I didn't realize it was a problem because I always clean up after him. She dropped her fists from her hips and said, "You can see up and down the side of the yard where the dogs have ruined it." Honestly I couldn't see what she was talking about, but I tried to see things from her point of view. So I said, "I am so glad you told me. I had no idea and I'm so sorry it's been such an issue! Thank you for telling me." She smiled and nodded. Henry and I moved on........ .......... .......... What I like about my story is that (although i still don't know her name, I should have said, "I'm Erin, I live just down the street and I am glad to know you," but I honestly wasn't that aware yet......) just some kind interaction is all it took to remove the animosity. She still dislikes dogs, but I am no longer an enemy and I will respect her wishes about her yard. I can only imagine the amount of energy it must take to freak out about every dog in the neighborhood. Next time I'll find out her name so I don't call her Mrs. Cat Lady. ;-p We're all learning!

Sunday, May 5, 2013

The Great Gatsby 2013

“So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past.”

When I was in high school, I entered a contest in which I wrote a thesis about "The Great Gatsby;" then, and now, it is one of my favorite novels of all time. What I had going for me even then was a past laden with secrets and a voracious appetite for books, poetry, philosophy, art and music. I remember that my piece focused on the book's battle between Manifest Destiny and the Old Guard. The tightly controlled and linguistically beautifully littered novel has so many things to write "about" that people still grow uncomfortable talking about, writing about, and "figuring out" this novel. I never try to figure anything out, and never have, which is why I think I am able to enjoy the sorrowful sweetness of this novel, for I somehow knew, even as a 17 year old, the pain and glory that exist ever at once in the very act of being alive. I guess I was never a true intellectual but always a poet, even when reading or watching movies.

I saw Baz Luhrmann's "The Great Gatsby" last night in a special screening at the LACMA...

First of all,

Go see it. Go see it for every reason you do and do not want to see it. Celebrate yourself when you see it, for you are a product of this movie and the movie is a product of you.

Caveat: I think Leo is our greatest living actor after Daniel Day Lewis. Caveat 2 was my admission about my wax nostalgic on the pain of loving this novel. Caveat 3 is that I love Baz Luhrmann's "Strictly Ballroom" and "Romeo + Juliet" is one of my favorite treatments of that play on film. What I am trying to say is this: I am this film's target market. I was so excited when I was invited early to this movie that I jumped up and down. Several times.

My friend thought, after the movie, that it would not be well received: that it doesn't cater to the masses, (what? Jay-Z and his folks did the soundtrack!); that the frame of the film, using Nick Carraway's voice to create a character didn't work for him nor the movie (my friend is the opposite of the masses, by the way); that the editing was odd and the script was bad.

I disagreed completely. But recall what I said above: I never try to figure anything out. I feel about Fitzgerald the way I feel about Rumi. It isn't so much that everything can be completely intellectually compartmentalized and understood but that it can be expressed and received like those "boats against the current, borne ceaselessly into the past," which is the last line of the novel and a beautiful way to experience it. We are not different than the jazz age, even if the hipsters and the hip hoppers of today are the flappers and the jazzers of nearly 100 years ago.

The book was not well received at its time of publication, so I have read, although now, those of us who romanticize it (like me!!!!) defend it as one of the great American novels. I do this because it somehow blends what is great about America (the ability to dream, to create from that dream, and to do it for love... or fantasy) while exposing and shading in, deftly as a painter, a few harsh truths about America (a history of violence and racism, a love of money and greed, a self-entitled arrogance) while yet battling against the "old world" which America was/is trying to escape (and which it has also now become) in which those who "have" use the marketing myth of simple family values to maintain power and in which no matter how hard one tries, "new money" or "new success" is always one misstep away from crucifixion (tweeting about Justin Bieber being gay whether or not he is without regard to the fact that he is also a person, tearing Brittney Spears apart for going through a crisis when the girl needed help- WE build these people up and prop them up and create the mystical status they enjoy and then angrily tear them down saying "I don't pity them for being young, rich and beautiful," when WE were the ones co-creating them.)

You see, the Great Gatsby is all of these things.

This film is so gorgeous, you're going to want to see it just for the spectacle. It is not only a more fully realized expression of the novel than we have ever seen on film before (I've even seen the black and white Alan Ladd film noir version) but it also taps into "our" "modern" jazz age, hip hop, in a manner that is at once effacing and at once inviting. The art deco designs and dresses and suits pop forth from the screen even without the 3-d effects.... and with an incredible score and soundtrack that is almost too emotionally controlling, featuring everything from Gershwin and Jack White, to Beyonce and Sia, to Beethoven and Kanye and Jay-Z. Luhrmann is a great one for the decadence of the novel....

But the real reason to see this movie- for all that snow globe of art deco imagery, of artsy decadence, of beautiful writing and words poetically expressed against a lush visual backdrop.... for all that INCREDIBLE music and ironic use of racism and outright use of race still prevalent today... for any pensive look from Carey Mulligan as Daisy and Joel Edgerton's (I AM a fan, remember) explosive control, like the US bombing Nagaskai, performance as Tom Buchanan..... for the amazing contrast between color, and its broad painting of the haves and have nots.... for Isla Fisher's almost painful yearning to become a part of new America....

Is Leo.

He is, quite simply, an amazing Gatsby. He is vulnerable, and frightened, and smooth and handsome and glorious all at the same time. He is devious and innocent all at once. He is always laughing and crying just under an obsessive surface, and if at time the obsession comes to bear almost too much, in this film, a special treatment of that obsession slowly unfurls as we learn about his dream of freedom and creation and love and ardent faithfulness to that dream and to that love. And at once the love isn't the love of Daisy and is, Gatsby himself is within and without as is Nick Carraway (the narrator of the book and movie, played by Tobey Maguire), and the love of Daisy is almost more a placeholder and impetus for a love of creation.

So I'm perhaps not cynical enough to explain why my friend didn't like the movie. Maybe I just don't want to go there. After all, I saw the film among fans of the book who dressed as flappers for the occasion. I think there are those who are too smart for their own good and they die angry alcoholics not realizing the beauty of the world, or worse, realizing the beauty of the world and writing about it and yet feeling isolated and alone in a world which "values things rather than cares about them," to quote another Fitzgerald work which I cannot remember but know only the line. It's a beautiful spectacle and I loved the music so much I want to buy the soundtrack.

I think you should all go see the movie, because despite what my friend says, it DOES take something beautiful and literary and prepare it for the masses of 2013. And it exposes a lot about us and a lot about love, just like the beautiful novel. AND. And. And. It is one of Gatsby's great parties, really, to which you are invited to come watch... And it is a HELL of a lot of fun!

Thursday, May 2, 2013

The Dali of Dreams

...Last night's dreams were blog-worthy....
   
          ...I dreamed that I was in a car being held up by a random person, he seemed like a gang banger from the way he dressed. I his my purse under my sweater but he saw my beautiful gold wristwatch and said, "That looks like a nice watch." I tried to tell him that it wasn't, that I got it for $10 at the bottom bargain clearance sale off of QVC.com but he walked around the car, smashed the window and pointed his gun in my face. "Give it to me," he said. I handed it over and went to surreptitiously grab my iPhone when he said "where's your money?" I shook my head, "no," wondering why no one was calling the police.  A few more gang members surrounded the car and one of them was GARY OLDMAN...

               ...Gary Oldman looked at me and said, without an accent by the way, sounding almost more like Brian Cranston in Breaking Bad, "Give me your money." I handed over my purse. "Look," I said, pulling out my wallet with a picture of my niece in the front see-through pocket, "Don't take this, my passport, or this my social security card, or my iPhone. I'm on my way out of the country...." He hit me in the head with his gun. I blacked out...


                    ...When I came to, I was in a police station, sitting next to Gary Oldman. They were arresting all of us. No one could explain why I, the VICTIM, was being arrested and thrown into ail with the very gang members, and Gary Oldman, who had just robbed and assaulted me. The officer in charge of me was a very beautiful blond woman, beautiful in a 50 year old lawyer, Murphy Brown kind of way. I asked her why I, the victim, was in jail. She said I could talk about that later. I said, "At least let me stay close to this fool. He has my passport!" I nodded at Gary Oldman. She shrugged and said, "Sure."...

                         ...The jail we were put in one was more like an old 19th century hospital. There were no cells, no bars, no locks on any doors, and all of the cops were rather kindly, matronly ladies. I screamed and shouted at the Blonde Officer in charge of me, and she just continued to shrug. "Where was my lawyer?" I asked. I ran through the list of attorneys I knew, mostly all entertainment attorneys specializing in contracts. There was my childhood friend, who was some sort of County Prosecutor. But I figured I'd call my massage client, the most famous attorney I knew, because he was friends with Arnold Schwarzenegger and therefore knew more people and had more money to break me outta this joint...

....The announcement came over an old-school speaker system that it was time for bed. I looked around and there was no bed. "Hey," I called out to Blonde Cop Lady, "where's my bed?" She shrugged and said, "You'll have to share with Gary." Gary and I looked at each other with deep consternation. "Fine," I said, grabbing the full-length body pillow. "This goes between us." He started crying. "I need that body pillow for my rest," he said. I sighed. "Here," I said. "Take it." He smiled and said, "Thank you." "Hey," I whispered, "Where's my passport and my phone and my money!?" "I hid it in a special place where no one can find it and when we get outta here I'll take you to it and give it back to you."...

          ...The next day, they put us to work. My job was in the pantries, sweeping up rat poo poo. The rats were hanging around as well. They were bold, in fact, almost friendly. Anyone who knows me knows I have a deep fear of rats. Deep, strong, visceral, practically debilitating. These rats were so friendly it drove me nuts. They were of every color: brown, black, white and gray. They pooped everywhere. Everywhere! The only way I could keep myself from going completely insane was by singing...

               ...Later, my Blonde Cop Lady came up to me. She was wearing a sort of Oriental peekaboo wiggle dress and lots of eye-liner. It dawned on me she was Rebecca DeMornay. "I heard you singing," she said. I nodded, yes, miserably washing down the pantry floors once again. "Can you sing 'A Tisket, a Tasket?'" I nodded, yes. "Like Ella?" she pressed. "Yes," I said, practically in tears and nauseous from the fear of rat disease. "Great," she said, "Come with me."...

                    ...Michael Bloomberg was getting married for a consecutive marriage in Central Park. They brought me to the stage in front of thousands and thousands of people. I wore a dark purple wiggle dress. The microphone was like my old school 1930's style Shure Super 55. I leaned into the microphone. The band started. "A tisket, a tasket, a brown and yellow basket," I began. The crow went wild. Really. REALLY REALLY REALLY wild. They starting  cheering and I just kept singing and swinging...

                         ...My next appearance, my national TV debut, was to be on a Reality Television Competition called "America's Top MILF." As the finalists, showing off their fashion designs from the most recent competition category "Haute couture hiking and breast feeding outfits for the Modern Milf" and they announced the finalists for the next category (the gal wearing just the shorts and suspenders part of lederhosen, she was also Australian and had very large breasts... well, she was lactating anyway) I came out and sang "If I could turn back time" by Cher. The Crowd went WILD....

... ... ...

...
...

I awoke with a start. it was 7 am and my alarm was going off. Henry was already stretching in a perfect down dog. It was Thursday morning. I felt hung over even though I haven't had a drink of alcohol in years. It had all been a dream! Just a... frightening, bizarre, and yet wonderful dream!

I decided to share it with you all here on the public intergalactic interwebs because anyone who knows me will know that it features my two biggest, most irrational fears (Wrongful Incarceration and RATS) and my biggest DREAMS (singing in Central Park in NYC to thousands of fans who actually WANT to hear me sing, singing on television, hanging out with Gary Oldman- I mean, Immortal Beloved and the Professional, for goodness' sake!).

Time to walk the dog!

love,

Erin E, 'the Dali of Dreams'

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Moonchild and Friend: A Sonic Study of a Morning Walk Playlist

 Note from the artist:
Every morning I walk Henry and every morning my iPod plays a "random" Playlist from among a gazillion tunes. I love how every morning there is a sort of theme linking the tunes together and so I am posting the songs as they pop up, along with my thoughts (or no thoughts) about each tune.



Amanti io vo se dire - anne softie (scattered rose petals) (deep breathing.... Calm thyself.)

The day - moby (dang I love moby... Kills the pain... Henry chasing after pigeons and the twirling of wrapping and unwrapping the leash around me)
(A haze, a smoggy spring. Thinking of the pain of the people, sending a wish) (I will be right here til all the pain just disappears) (its Easter time. That's for redemption.)

( Haha! Next song)
A Chant for Easter.... Alleluia Pascha nostrum- Milan records 1997- (I swear my phone is bewitched) (walked past two middle aged men kissing.)

A song for me- M83 Moonchild
(Gonna hear the future now, my children in the ethers) (this world is too rich to talk about, only music fits at a time like this) (a homeless young man in the lavender and sage) (this, too, is somebody's Moonchild) (smiles) (henry plays) ("i was in love with the voice... But all I heard was the echo and the light.")

If only to knock hipster off the bottom of my résumé...

And for .. fun....

Cher! Dove l'amore. Yesssssass.

(Unabashedly I Lllllllllluuuurrrrrve Cher! I have seen her live three times. She is amazing and gorgeous and funny. And she is in some of my favorite movies ever, most importantly, Moonstruck. So my playlist is still so connected!... Halfway through our morning walk, a theme is emerging.)

(Dance remix!)

(Oooooooooh. I have been craving the movies the next tune is from!)

An Ocean Apart by Julie Delpy

(Sorry- dropped my phone for a second as Henry chased after an unsuspecting skater.)

(An ironic return to the playlist...)

Black Butterfly, ahem, by, uh... Me.

Oooh! Bon Iver. Blood bank.

Yeah! The sexy voice of Muse....

Oh, man. Everything in life is worth it when you listen to this next tune:

I'm old fashioned, Coltrane

Just enjoy for a bit-

Okay! Back to a different kinda fun rounding out the list...

Are you ready?......

Shania!!!!!! Whoooooooooot! Any Man o Mine!!!

Yeah! I like it that way!!!! Shimmy! Shake! Make the earth quake!

(Last minute entry as I walk in the door- Mon Couer S'ouvre a Ta voix, from Samson et Dalila!)

Sunday, March 3, 2013

The Mirror

 
Sunday afternoon, 1 PM.

The north part of “The Valley,” suburban Los Angeles. CA.

So I'm walking Henry on a bright sunny day. I have just returned from a voice lesson and a long chat after that lesson with a lovely fellow singer-songwriter about how to make a difference in this world: Whether through political protest? Or is it better to be making songs that change people's hearts? Maybe by changing my own heart to become more open; or whether or not being certain of my ideas (when it comes to things like, for example, torture, is really the best way to improve the overall situation for Humanity) or… instead…. to listen with the mind as open as when one listens to a symphony, or a jazz composition, or a Top 40 pop single.... As all of these pieces of music are wildly  different from one another, but they are ALL music…

And so here I am, ambling down Victory Boulevard,  holding my iPhone in my hand like a shield, when a man, probably in his 50s, wearing sweatpants, a baggy T-shirt, and a do-rag notices me. Now, this is the sort of person I go out of my way to smile at because I guess he would not be expecting that. He would not be expecting me to smile a friendly smile of: “Hi there, fellow human, I see you.” I think that, because often when I have NOT smiled at my fellow human being, they let me know, one way or another, I am behaving like an uptight white lady. So, not so much because I care about whether or not I’m uptight (mostly I’m not) or white (definitely am) or what they think of me (maybe just a little) but because I want to extend humanity and kindness even in the smallest of gestures, I smile. He walks past, ignoring me, but then I hear:

"Excuse me," he says. "Excuse me."  I turn around to face him. There is an edge to his voice, a sort of edge which puts me on alert… But I am dedicated to growing past my history and growing past my prejudice.  Not every dude on the street wants to hit on me and not every person should be avoided. And yet to be honest, as a lifelong single woman who has taken care of herself, I have learned to respond to men in this fashion with a sense of heightened awareness.

"Yes?" I answer, smiling. Henry tugs on his leash in the other direction.

"Is it America or is it me? Am I losing my mind?” he asks, throwing his free hand in the air, gesturing toward traffic. "Am I losing my mind, or is America changing?" I nod, yes, and smile like Mona Lisa. Either or both might be true.

"So it's not just me, then," He says, pointing at traffic now with his finger. "America is really changing."

Silently I ask God to help me speak to this man who is clearly troubled in his heart. I err on the side of listening.

"Now it ain't just black folks in the shelters," he says, gearing up, "It's all folks. White, black, Hispanic. All folks are losing their houses, and all the people are down here in the trenches and America's going off the fiscal cliff. And nobody wants to look at you. Nobody wants to look you in the eye. Nobody wants to smile and they sure don't want you to smile at them. Everybody's angry and mean and unkind and ain't nobody holding each other's hands."

I nod. "I guess we have to be the example," I say searching for something to say to help this man who is so burdened. I don't want to tell him I don't agree with him because that seems unfair given my apparent background and relative freedom and his apparent background.

"I'm tired of being the example!" He is shouting but he seems ready to cry.

I want to reach out to hug him but I'm afraid he will take it the wrong way and I don't have time to kindly explain I'm not romantically interested ... Again my prejudices are coming up, and yet, I feel that history and that prejudice and silently admonish myself or my fear.

"I'm a musician," he says, "I'm always the example.  Always. I’m always up there onstage, making you happy, making everybody smile.  Just like actors and actresses. But I am tired. At least if we're all in this together can't we hold hands and be in this together? What about Martin Luther King Jr.? But nobody wants to be the light, and they sure don’t want to see my light shine. Nobody wants to hear what Martin said. It's like their light ain't shining so they have to push mine out too." He stamps out an imaginary light in front of him. Then, he stops, stares out into the street for a moment, and then looks back at me. Through his shaded glasses, I see his eyes softening.

He shrugs, reaching into his black plastic bag, pulling out a 40 oz. bottle of beer.

"And I don't even like drinking," he says.

"Then all I can say to you," I say, smiling, and really truly meaning my words, "is God bless you."

He cracks open the beer.

"If people like you and me are down here, what hope do we have for the rest of America?"  He nods at me, a silent 'good day,' and walks away.

I watch him walk away. I wonder what on earth I could say or do. I begin to dictate the story into my phone so I can put it up on my blog, because it’s all I know to do, because maybe someone in his position will read this and know I do care, at least, I really do care, and I have hope. I have a lot of hope. Even moreso, I have faith. Really, I do. And so we can know, somehow, we are not alone. And I think it is important to be honest about my responses too, about being scared because I don’t want to get harassed but that I am willing to try not to assume every dude on the street wants to harass me, because while it’s minor compared to the pain of losing your house or your family or your belief in life, it’s also something we might as well be honest about too. And together we can overcome our fear- like Martin said. And I want to be honest. And I want to hold hands and be in this together. And I’m scared, too. And also I want to share all this, so I can see that while my fear can be helpful, i.e., I don’t need to be foolish, it is also something to use- rather than be used by- to be of greater service to love. So that I don't get tired of being an example, even if only for myself.

Why? Because…. Because I’m alive. Because I have Henry. Because I’m a musician, too. Because the wind is blowing. Because the birds are singing. Because there are children playing. Because that man and me? We are the children and we are “leaning out for love, and we will lean that way forever.” And I am grateful to him for being my mirror.

Love,

Erin