Friday, June 27, 2014

Singing, and Writing about Singing

I know only that I felt the impulse this morning. I awoke early with the buzz in my ear. I know that buzz. It's somewhere between an angel's sigh and a low hum. It's quiet, until I remove my attention from any other thought (traffic. the phone is ringing. rent is due soon. Oh, $%^& rent is due soon.). It is so easy NOT to listen to the hum (Oh, rapturous!) and instead let the LOUD hum of the collective human thought take over... but I choose the call of creation because I believe that by tuning into nature, or somewhere out there beyond right and wrong, or, wherever this hum will lead me today... I can at least change MY life for the better and more beautiful, if not someone else's.

Also, because I have, for most of my life, found that if I choose the hum of disconnected, random human thoughts that aren't called forth from my heart, I am very unhappy. So. Heart it is.

I am not one to believe that my thoughts are real. Oh, I can sometimes buy into them but as quickly as I can I pull out. Why? Well, I ask you, why not? Believing that your thoughts are real is dangerous because then when your thoughts change- and they will- just by dint of being alive you will learn something new. Trust me. Even the most religiously faithful to living according to "old ways" canNOT truly live that way because of the mere existence of cell phones and airplanes. Anyway back to this- when your thoughts change- or, rather, the world changes ITS thought but you only partially change YOUR thought, well then, you may just build up anger, resentment, and fear like plaque on your soul.

I don't really believe in plaque on your soul, either, but it's a fun metaphor to loosen up patterns that no longer work for me.

So talking about this and living this are two different things and for me, that is where writing, singing, and songwriting come together. Because through the act of listening, and then writing down what I hear, I get to practice dipping into the {collective} or "source" or UNIVERSE or the muses or whatever we want to call it- and then channel it into "individuality" if only for a moment. i.e. THROUGH this body and all its patterns and habits and growth.

Last night I sang at a beautiful little space off Sunset Boulevard. Charlie Chaplin's old house, in fact. It's now a light-filled wine bar literally three feet from one of the most famous streets in the world. Across the street from the Chateau Marmont and steeped in Hollywood lore. I love Hollywood, similarly to how I love literature. It thrills me, pains me, takes me on journeys and I wanna be a part of it. AND I know that it is not so much "REAL" as much as it shows me who I am at this moment by response to it.

See, this is, I think, the thing about thoughts, and life, and people, and art, and sports and politics and all the rest of it. Really, all any of it/ us is/are ever doing is showing us who we are. I am NOT conservative, I AM a bohemian, I am NOT a bohemian that doesn't use deoderant, Or blah blah blah whatever. That would be the outer personality of an Er-Bear, well, this Er-Bear anyway! I happen to know through the miracle of Google there are lots of other Erin Muirs out there and lots who identify with the nickname Er-Bear. And I know one Erin Muir at least is pretty conservative and definitely NOT a bohemian (she's military- and a very cool chick I might add!) And guess what. I look at her and I see me, parts of me. And I lose a little judgment and enter more understanding and then,

I write a song.

And then I sing that song.

Like last night.

Last night I had the most beautiful band. Great musicians. Great souls. The people who came to hear me sing are among my favorite people in the land- true friends among them- new friends. And there were moments when I just felt we were flying. I have this thing where, when it's good, I have no idea what I will sing next (and the song could be Happy Birthday!) I have no idea what I am writing next- I just let these words tumble out- and it is electrifying and terrifying and beautiful.

So something about last night- the way the late afternoon sun filtered through white curtains and white walls- the way the traffic outside would speed and then slow and people would poke their heads in to hear what was going on- the way I could look at everyone in their beautiful eyes and feel a shared moment- whether or not that was love I - well it was, really. It was all love. It was all love.

Friday, June 6, 2014

Imagine Graduation

There are so many beauties I want to share with the world, with you... I feel so full of love and creation that you might think I was pregnant. (I am not.) Well, one could say I am always pregnant with artistic ideas, songs and poems, and wishes of love for this old world. Today I am especially in love, that orange slice moon low-hanging in the sky, the Angeleno skies crippled for stars but rich with choppers. How can I be so moved in a place so unpoetic as a trash lined Victory Boulevard two blocks from three 7-11s? I don't know, but I can be, and I am, and the world is brilliant with possibility even in the urban quickening of foggy night.

Tonight was a beautiful evening. I had the privilege of performing as a guest singer at the high school graduation party of a young man who has cerebral palsy. While that may be the first thing anyone notices about him, it is certainly one of the least of his defining aspects of life. Throughout the evening, everyone shared in toasts and in conversation about this young man's joy and zest for life. He gave a speech himself (through the use of a computer tablet that he types into and which then "speaks" his words) that was so wonderful. He shared with us all how important he thinks education is, how important it is to read and communicate and share music. He told us never to give up, that you can do anything you want if you put your mind to it, and that to remember that no matter what, "Life is beautiful."

There is another reason that this moment held SO much meaning for me:

Most of you who know me, or have read my blog at all, know that in my teens I struggled with eating disorders, depression, thoughts of suicide and even went through various therapies and rehabilitation to overcome those issues. It was a long road, but I succeeded. I am today a very happy, healthy, positive woman who knows how to live life fully. I want always to be giving back and to help others in need.

And by the way, when I say it was a long road, well, the time may be relative, but it was a lot of work on myself and my attitudes toward life. It wasn't an intellectual decision to "get better" that did the trick, although that was part of it.... it wasn't something that I just one day decided to "get over." It took a lot of work, meditation, spiritual transformation, prayer and miracle (in my case, at least.) But I get it, I do, and I am living proof that, as Shakespeare said through Hamlet, "use can almost change the stamp of nature." Meaning: change your thoughts, change your life. (Thanks, Wayne Dyer!)

So, when I was at my worst point in life, when I thought it was not worth living anymore (but I didn't want to hurt my mother that deeply,) and I had just left college and being a music major and was stuck going to shrinks and group therapy and living at home and trying to come up with any reason why I should go on living, there was a TV show that I watched with my sister. This show made me laugh and laugh and laugh. In fact, it was one of the only things in life that I looked forward to at that time. It sustained me for quite some time, until I could get up enough on my own inner sense of courage to get back to my life. I can't say that it saved my life, because what saved my life is part mystery, part family support, and partly my own inner need to fulfill my life as a singer/ performer/ writer. But I can tell you that this show was one of the ONLY things that made me happy.

So, flash forward to years later. It was around 2012, or 2013, when I met this boy with cerebral palsy. I met him because he was a fan and then friend of a dear musician friend of mine, and soon, he would also listen to my music as well. It was months before I learned that his mother was the star of that TV show I loved.

One day, at a concert my friend was hosting, I ran into her. She said to me, "Just so you know, my son listens to your music on YouTube every time. Sometimes five, six, seven times a day." I didn't have the courage to tell her then- and I still haven't had the courage, but maybe an opportunity will arise and I will be able to say to her- how amazing it is that SHE HERSELF gave ME so much joy at a time when very little made me happy, and now it is an honor that I get to give back to her child. The fact remains that I almost didn't make it in life, I almost didn't go on living, (the stories of how and when I neared death will be saved for another time, or perhaps never, because they are not heroic nor to be glorified, but shared only with the intention of healing other hurt hearts...) and this is perhaps one of the most amazing gifts from the divine; a connect-the-dot from her heart to my heart to her child's heart through time and space... how could I have known while living in Minnesota all those years ago that I would someday be able to give back in 2014 in California? How amazing is this life? How wondrous these unseen events, this blue orb in the heavens spinning with so many delights! Oh, if only we can stay a little bit longer than we think we should, just to see the light dazzle in another's eyes, the song linger in all our ears. For if I had done the deed and had not lived, I would never receive this moment, this "proof" that it was all for some very important reason that each of us was put here on earth.

The young man said it himself. Life is beautiful.

As some of you know, I am currently singing as Cynthia Lennon in a new musical about John Lennon and Yoko Ono. Sometimes I think about John Lennon and all the good that I know and all the less than great (I am loath to say "bad") that I have learned and I think, we are all just trying! We are all so human. And then a moment of purity comes along and I feel that hope I discovered as a young girl, sitting down to play my mother's favorite song at the piano when I was about ten years old; the song with which we closed the evening tonight, that everyone joined in and sang along with, whether they were 6 or 60, in a wheelchair or walking, man or woman, parent or child....

Imagine there's no heaven
It's easy if you try
No hell below us
Above us only sky
Imagine all the people
Living for today...

Imagine there's no countries
It isn't hard to do
Nothing to kill or die for
And no religion too
Imagine all the people
Living life in peace...

You may say I'm a dreamer
But I'm not the only one
I hope someday you'll join us
And the world will be as one


I hope you are so inspired to bloom where you grow. Make your music, bang your drums, cook and sing and write and paint and run and jump for joy. I love you.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DVg2EJvvlF8