Monthly Archives: February 2010

One Second

One Second

I wrote this song about a dozen years ago. The idea was already on my mind when the incident that propelled me to write the tune occurred. I saw a terrific episode of Homicide where Vincent D’onofrio’s rather belligerent character was pushed during his rushed, morning commute to be pinned between the platform and the train. It took an hour (with commercials) to find enlightenment and peace during conversations with Andre Braugher’s character, then finally die. I was in tears towards the end. Because, it only took one second for someone to decide his fate. It was just so unfair. He was minding his own business, yet didn’t appreciate what he had until it was taken away. The fundamental message of that show stayed with me long after it aired. Life seemed so precarious. It is so easy to be stymied by that realization.

Several weeks later, I was to find out a guitar player I knew was walking out of a convenience store. He was struck in the eye by a BB gun pellet shot from a group of kids that were horsing around. There was a chance that he could lose his eye, but it was definite that he would no longer see out of it. As I rode the train home, I drew parallels between that show and this real life incident. The lyrics just evolved from there as I wrote them in my head. When I got home, I went straight to my guitar and fleshed out an idea I’d already being toying with, then sang along with the chords. The core song was written within an hour, if memory serves. I haven’t had such a fluid and organic songwriting experience since. (The doctors saved his eye, by the way.)

Now, to the recording. I dusted this song off recently and decided that this will be the song I take to the studio this year and sell on iTunes. I recorded this with no editing, so it is rough and lacking needed EQ. No matter for these purposes, as first and foremost, I am working out what I want to do for the final, more professional recording. I also need to work on my vocals, perhaps make them less “pretty,” but definitely stronger and more crisp. The lyrics are an important aspect of the song, and I don’t want to deliver them rife with mondegreen fodder. My voice used to be my strongest instrument, but age, life-long bad singing habits, and a major illness has changed that. Weekly vocal lessons are helping me to take that back.  

I got an ‘A’ in my art marketing and self-promotion class, believe it or not. I like to talk things down so that you’d expect the worst but be pleasantly surprised at the end. Just like doctors do!

Anyway, I hope you enjoy, and feel free to leave your thoughts and opinions about it—good or bad (but be gentle.)

“Why can’t you see one second, as a grain of sand? It weighs so little in the palm of your own hand.”


Ask Again Later

Ask Again Later, Oil on canvas, 18" x 24"

This piece started out as a fairly light-hearted assignment while in art school. My friend and I were given instructions for our next oil painting assignment—bring in random objects, and put them together to create a solid and interesting composition. I brought in a magic eight ball, a hardbound book, the stuffed (baboon? monkey?), an artificial rose, slinky, and green bottle. My friend, of course, brought in the remaining objects. We had a good time setting it up by experimenting with multiple variations to somehow eke out a theme to it all. We settled on what you see here.

I enjoyed painting it for the sheer technique of it all. Nothing pleases me more in painting than to capture the sparkle of metal and the luminosity of glass. It was eminently satisfying to gyrate my hand to suggest the coils in that favorite toy from my childhood. The fluffy fur of the stuffed animal was fun to paint, as well. I had to reel it in a bit lest his hair reach the top of the canvas. With a flick of the wrist—Whoosh whoosh! I’ll admit, the playing card annoyed me a bit. It has also come back to haunt me, as my current piece has two of them in it. That’s the last time—playing cards are dead to me.

I was left with a very interesting painting to gaze at, and based on the response, it is a crowd-pleaser. I struggled with the title, as even after spending hours on it to the point that I could close my eyes and picture all the details and nuances, I could not put my finger on what it meant.

But really, does a painting have to mean anything specifically? I have no desire to paint something pretty, nor do I want my titles to be inapplicable or non-descript. My biggest fear, outside of fading into obscurity, is that a potential buyer’s biggest quandry would be to acquire a swatch of the living room rug to see if the painting complements it. Bah!

So came my husband to the rescue—Ask Again Later. Do you see why he called it that? I don’t even recall how that message came about. Was it there when I set the ball down, or did I decide subconsciously that it was the best answer to put there? Regardless, it is a near perfect title, and I must publicly give him props.

If you are left bewildered by what you see, but want to know the artist’s intent, ask me again later . . .

. . .  and again, and again . . .