AHHH-Knee

[There is no picture here because during live music all other possibilities fade away]

I know, don’t burn yourself out, right? It’s been a year, and now two posts in one day? One hour really.  But I didn’t get to explain exactly why I am awake at 530 am, hair on fire (not to be confused with the Morrissey song), writing to you.

I saw Ani last night. Yes, again.  Listen, they are my little pieces of paper, Ill do with them as I wish. I was amazingly inspired and eternally grateful (as always) to bear witness to someone sharing their passion, bringing joy, in flow, or whatever you want to call it. And all the while being exceptionally gracious to rowdy fans demanding their own personalized concert experience.

A decade or so of tiny decisions brought me there. The most recent – getting tickets for this show super early while working at the venue. This happened concurrently with one of the most miserable and difficult semesters of my career. Good seats were, by far, the BEST thing to come out of that job.

I was so grateful, not only for the experience, but also that I too am a musician. That I was inspired by so many amazingly passionate artists to pick up a guitar and write my own songs. I was so overwhelmed, I scrawled a nearly-incoherent thank you on a copy of our EP, and hucked it onto the stage between the show and encore.  ME…the reluctant lion….the anti-self-promoter.  But I thought, maybe, one of my little songs will make her laugh -a humble offering for all I have received.

Welp, I almost failed gym once for refusing to play softball (take that Urban Dictionary!). I’m not even good at Frisbee. Sadly, my lefty curve defied me and buried the CD under the protruding angles of the monitor’s backside. sigh. I suppose it’s possible a crew member will pack the gift up, and it will eventually get to its intended target. In the event it winds up in the hands of the school maintenance crew…Craig, Steve I hope you enjoy it. I miss you guys.

Oh, and Ani, THANK YOU. For you. For everything. Namaste.

 

A lesson in improvisation

Um, hi there. Long time, and stuff. Seems my life has been turning cartwheels this past little while, and I’ve had to keep sticking my hands out, quite a lot, actually, to keep from landing on my head on the ce-ment. Not much time left for typing inbetween rotations. Good intentions, though, yadda yadda yadda. You’d think being underemployed would leave so very much time for catching up on one’s blog, website, practice schedule, yet to be released full length album, etc. Ah, there’s the rub. Time and no money means, more jobs and no time, and is strikingly similar to money and no time. Just without the money. Hmm.

Not that it’s been all bad, some amazing things have happened….I’ve said Yes, AND…. to so very many things this year. I first learned about improvisation from the AHH-MAY-SING (get it?) Sandra Joseph. I recently read Tina Fey’s Bossypants, and was reminded of this gem of a rule – agreeing brings possibility, negating ends a scene. It’s been a crazy ride with the tide, and now that I’ve washed up,  I’m finally back on my feet and ready to talk about it. I hope maybe you’ll come back too :)

Says Who??

 

I created this blog to run commentary about my creative process, outlets, and the obstacles that conspire to keep my authentic voice a secret from The World.  For the past several years, that struggle has mostly revolved around my band, Moosejaw Muldoon, although it has surfaced in multiple aspects of my life.

 It is also about the things I spend inordinate amounts of time loving, questioning, or learning about….weird little accumulations of information, pithy quotes and inspiring stories, and painstakingly honest reports as I inch along the path to my true self. Current steps include:  vacuuming the dysfunction from between my ears,  repairing my relationship with wonder,  and fabricating the next glorious phase of my life’s work.

Me as a rockstar

Hi, I’m Cara, and I’ll be your guide through the convoluted tangle of my synapses, as I learn to embrace this wondrous journey.

Come, stay awhile.

There is so much to talk about.

CD Release Party Announced!

Moosejaw Muldoon will be celebrating the release of their EP Local Honey on Saturday October 27, 2012 at Cool Beans Coffee House in Toms River.  The band will be playing songs from the album, and other crowd favorites, and the CD will be available for sale.

This event is absolutely FREE!

Don’t miss the pre-halloween festivities! Come in costume!!!!!

Broken. Open.

Meditation Garden at Omega Institute

The Omega institute is a magical place. My tent nestled beside a lake, in the upstate New York woods, I made my way with trepidation to the the first day of class. I was about to learn Performance, as a path to Presence.

I was nervously early, and was greeted warmly upon entering. However, until more people arrived, I made my way to the perimeter of the room, and picked a book off the library shelves.  I sat aloof in the corner, gathering  information.

Five days later I had 14 new best friends, and I had performed in my first ever theatrical musical, in front of a substantial audience.  Looking back, it seems so surreal. I performed a vulnerable piece, one I had written, without the security blanket of my guitar.  The next day, as I was leaving, a woman stopped me and asked if I’d ever considered writing for theater.  Seriously? No, I responded,  I hadn’t. EVER. She gave me her card.

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Deals with the Devil Inside (Grief, pt.3)

I admit, I used this title solely to reference an INXS song. Ah, Michael Hutchense in the 80s.  But back to grieving my lost identity.  According to the Kubler-Ross model, after the fury subsides, desperation kicks in.  Can I fix this? Can I stop this eventuality before it becomes real? What could I have done differently?

This was not a discreet stage for me.  Maybe because of the constant flurry of activity in my mind, my natural cycle of brain activity, I just bargained on a parallel mind track.  Every so often, seemingly out of nowhere, a voice would tap my story on the shoulder to ask, ”Do you think, maybe, you should’ve worked harder on your personal statement?”, or,  ”Could you have filed for a re-vote after your delayed grant project finished, so it would be included?”

I struggled with things I could’ve done differently, moments I could have given just a drop more…should I have initiated an appeal? I had a decent case, but  I was so tapped out I couldn’t spend another second fighting for votes in the wake of such an unceremonious rejection. At one point, I was beseeching my bewildered department chair for advice on pursuing a Ph.D. Really? Was I clinging that desperately to my identity as an academic?

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Anger as Motivation, or, Grief pt. 2

This post returns us to the story of the past year of my life.  After the initial shock and denial  over being refused tenure, I became very, very angry.   My new friend Righteous Indignation took aim at the Dean who voted down my packet, my department chair for going on sabbatical before I finished the process, and my senior colleague for putting his promotion packet in at the same time as mine.  Next, we roasted the corporate University model, the Governor for the his budget cuts that pushed my grants back, the politics of the administration, and the entire model of Land Grant University System for not being able to keep up with societal changes.

Cal Lightman Looking Angry (Lie TO Me)

I defended myself, my decisions, and my work to anyone who would listen.  I was venomously sarcastic, and somewhat less than attentive to my regular duties.  Now, I was happy to tell everyone that I lost my job – “Can you BELIEVE what they did to me? After all  I ‘ve given in the past 6 years?”  My indignation trampled right over my initial denial and embarrasment.  No one needed microexpression training to tell how I was feeling. Over and over, I was told it was their loss.  That I’d find something better. And I was reminded that I really didn’t even like the job all that much… which brought up another fiery furnace of fury.

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Ain’t it the truth?

So another highlight of Bamboozle was meeting one of my Jersey Band Heroes….again.  Dramarama put on a great show, and John Easdale walked up and down the aisles after the show, engaging with the fans.  He even stopped for several photos, including one with 2/3 of Moosejaw Muldoon. Gracious does not even begin to describe his demeanor.

Moosejaw Muldoon with John Easdale

I first met John Easdale at Surf Stock, when Matt Pinfield was still at 106.3 (WHTG), and 106.3 was still a real radio station. He was leaning against the bar at the Surf Club, and I still wasn’t quite old enough to drink.  After bestowing some awkward, yet devoted praise upon him, he charismatically played down the compliment.  I followed with “Well, you’re a better guitarist than I am”.  He replied,  ”Then you aren’t practicing enough”.

Turns out, he was right. Within a few years, I could play and sing just about any Dramarama song.  I thought of that while we were talking, and resolved to put at least one cover in our set.  Perhaps meeting him again was a reminder that I needed right now, poised on the cusp of major changes in all areas of my life.  Living is to keep practicing. Who’s to say it ain’t takin me too far?

By the by, the spirit of  WHTG lives on at Altrok.com, and as an HD2 stream on WBJB 90.5 Brookdale Public Radio.  Universe save the radio.

 

photo by Jen Wolny

 

Utterly Bamboozled.

Bamboozle Logo

I’m still tired.  I thought we took it fairly easy, showing up around 4, staying until the fireworks.  Of course the foot, train, and car traffic added some time to our commutes.  Overall, it wasn’t the most amazing festival I’ve ever attended, but it was well handled, a boon for Asbury, and there was some great live music. Oh, and it was on the beach in my favorite NJ city. Can’t beat that.  If I had to summarize, I’d say:

  • Go see the Foo Fighters live. Seriously worth the entire ticket price. The most mindblowingly amazing two hours of the festival.
  • Festivals inspire great cover choices:  the Foo’s paid tribute to Pink Floyd and Tom Petty, Brand New did Nine Inch Nails, the Gaslight Anthem covered Teenage Wasteland… and those were just my personal favorites.
  • I’m all for DIY, but a show is not a kid with a laptop. Dramarama, the Foo Fighters, Bon Jovi, Brand New, and the Gaslight Anthem all proved live rock is not dead – and they all appeared to be having a blast playing.
  • Local Bands have more heart: Dramarama, the Gaslight Anthem, and Bon Jovi all talked about Asbury, and how great it was to see it re-emerge as the soul of NJ.

Until next show, we return you our regular programming.  Check the vids on YouTube-all the cool kids capture and post their memories these days.

 

Tribes

The summer sun got up early, and so did I.  I should still be asleep, after a late night train ride home from Bamboozle.  I can’t say I was in it for the music last night, but it was totally worth hanging out on the beach with old friends, getting free swag, and taking in the spectacle.

I’m more excited about seeing the Foo Fighters tonight. And of course, spending a beautiful day on the beach.  Something about a music festival draws me in, even when it doesn’t really reflect my musical tastes.  I enjoy watching the way music brings people together.  Whether or not I personally was entranced by Skrillex, it was fascinating to watch a crowd that was totally into what he does, the same way I will be at the Afghan Whigs reunion show in Asbury this fall.  The same way I’ve been at so many shows in my life, part of a tribe, a community of some kind, brought together for a common purpose.

I am sure I will have more to say about that after the entire festival. And I’m sure Ill have more to say about being a part of this community, although we seem, upon first reflection, to be fairly different.  Maybe that’s all part of the magic.