A Kingdom Cover for Dreamers and Believers

I know I keep telling ya’ll I’m a songwriter, this thing that I have figured out about myself.  But I haven’t supplied  much proof beyond links to a few songs.  A few songs does not a songwriter make. Bear with me as I get my ideas into action, and you will have the bread of my soul laid before you as proof. Grab a chair, stay a spell.  Believers and Dreamers go hand in hand.

When my youngest nibblet, Fern was born, I bore the idea of  recording my songs as videos and uploading them to the YouTube.  Stall as I may, that has never happened.  I did make a few videos, and I posted a couple to Facebook, but the sharing never crossed over into the YouTube channel, as I did not fjord that stream.

Mostly, I found that the making of the video made me nervous. Cameras make me squeem and make me lose focus. Couple that sentiment with the gallop of children wearing requests on their tongues like thirsty donkeys, interruptions during the video taping processess were abundant.  There are frequent short takes where either I have deemed myself too mistaken to press on, or I am competing babies crawling over my shoulders, into my lap, and emitting noises that are the funniest in the world, apparently. ( I tried to upload a segment of the silliness, but had technical difficulties. )

Last night, I had a revelation.

I decided to record  the Lucinda Williams cover I have recently learned how to play.  I don’t know how to play many cover songs.

I started to teach myself how to play guitar when I was 23. I taught myself not by learning chords and other people’s songs, but by writing songs myself.  I played the guitar strings with one finger, that I would move to hit and make the right note.  Gradually that became me playing with two fingers. When someone informed me of a way to cheat,   I began playing with three fingers and chord formations that made veteran guitar players have to pause and use their musical theories to figure out what note it was that  I was strumming. I certainly didn’t know, only that it sounded like it worked. I wrote perhaps twenty or more songs using my simplified chords.

Jon Flanary taught me how to play “Dead Flowers” by The Rolling Stones with my cheating chords. That must have been when I was 27,  four years after I’d started playing and building up my song arsenal. A couple years after that I learned how to play “Greenville” by Lucinda Williams using those same substandard chord formations.

Now I play just regular old chords, and I know their names, as I’ve picked them up over the years. I still don’t know how to play a good “B” without a capo, though.  I have bones missing from my wrist that make playing a B-chord a curse worthy task.

The revelation is this. When I decided to record this cover of this Lucinda Williams song last night, after a few rounds of singing a few bars and making excuses to start over, I stopped.

I looked at myself in the screen of my computer, saw myself staring right back at me, and I told myself it was time to get down to business.  I told myself to make a change, and to stop being so dag on aware of the camera. Since I heard that a camera steals a little piece of your soul every time it takes your picture, I’ve been a hesitant participant of the lens.  I make awkward faces, I drop my eyes.  I make a noise that mumbles, “iiiidohwannaahh”.

This all changed last night, with a quick breath.  I hit the record button, sang and played without hitch, conquered the red eye.

Proudly, without procrastination, I decided to come share the video on this site, but questioned what sense it made for a person claiming to be a songwriter to have their first musical entry of their site be a cover song. While questioning the point, I ended up writing something entirely different about business school, staplers, and the moon gods.

Throughout the day I’ve considered the logic, and concluded that one reason it does makes sense to have my first foray into the video-blogosphere be a cover song is that everybody likes cover songs. They are safe, they are known. They are bridges that build a connection. They are sung in the hearts of many. They are interpreters of human connection.

I’ve explained myself well enough. You all are all hip.  This is one of three covers I can play. It’s “Learning How to Live”, by Lucinda Williams. Presented to you with real chords.  Sponsored by the Dell Inspiron.

That’s it for now. It’s bedtime in the kingdom.

Moon Alignment Action Force.

Action! I just bought my very first web domain!

The Aries moon is strong with this one.

Now I’ll need a logo.  Hold please.

This will do for now.

singlekingdomstart (2)

Good old Microsoft Paint.

In the past twenty minutes I have not only bought a website, but I have also designed a temporary logo, and have undertaken the writing of a blog post.

Punting that procrastinating policy.

Ba-boooosh!  I got a business skill sticker for the day.

Wanted: Stardust Honing Business Skills Stapler

I’ve decided today that I need to go to business school.  I need to rack up a bunch of debt, become more poor than I already am, and insert myself into a place that seems unfamiliar.  Numbers and deadlines, hosiery and telephones, oblong tables and elevators.

I don’t fancy myself a business type, but I do covet the fancy business skills that I lack. Perhaps, I just need some assistance digging the skills out and shining them.  Business school would be an expensive shovel, but  a costly twenty thousand dollar dig may motivate me to more assertively advance my creative endeavors. Is there perhaps some sort of business skills stapler out there with the capacity to attach the needed attributes for my toils? The endeavors crawl into me and creep out constantly, with no fruits to bear. I’ve got dreams to remember, but a reluctance to heels.

There is something that holds me back from producing my visions, my art.  I stew my musings in private.

I am a musician. I am a songwriter.  I have written 91 songs.  I have recorded less than a quarter of those songs.  Or, to be more clear, there are rough practice recordings, but in 10 years I have not released one damn full length record.  I was 25 when my old band, Scarlet Harlot released some overly rushed to be produced album.

A year and a half ago my band released an EP, but even that is three years old.  Yeah. It took  a year and a half after the recording sessions to release the album as an EP.  To be fair, my band was rolling and recording and ready, when I zapped into super secret hermit mode upon finding out I was toting a baby bomb.  Stopped recording. Stopped practicing.  Stopped everything. Unplanned pregnancy equals freak out time. I froaked. (yes.)

But, still, that is just an excuse.  I’ve had hundred of them. Like: I don’t have any money to start this. Or: I’m really sad.  And: It’s not perfect yet, it’s not ready. Also: I’m having a kid. Then: I’m having another kid. Yes: I smoked too many cigarettes, and my throat hurts.  Excuses, excuses.

Would going to business school rid me of the procrastination? Is there some sort of insertable drive I might acquire where I stop the excuses and continue a vision through to a fully explored path?

There is some button that I just don’t have.  I am a damn dreamer is my damn problem. And I’m okay with that, is my other one.  Does business school provide one with some sort of hammer or rope with which to exact a swing of upward mobility? Is there some ladder I can scale to reach the next level of continuous motivation to achieve my dreams?

Perhaps I should just get a payday loan, risk the interest on that junkie, get a bunch of money and record a bunch of albums and publish my children’s book.   Would the interest on a payday loan be of enough motivation to me  to right my wrongs and ring my mid-life bell into productivity?  35 is mid-life, y’all. Should I go business school? Or get some seedy loan? Should I start a letter writing campaign?  Start a youtube channel?

What the hell am I waiting on?

I have a job. I work for great people. It’s not a job that I will advance in;  the advancing of position has never been of much importance to me. I’m not that type of personality where I need the best job with the best money. But realistically, I could use more money.  Because. I don’t have health insurance.  I can’t afford it. I want it.  I need it. If something goes wrong with me, I’m gonna die.

I don’t feel like I’m poor, but I am.  I have great talents that could make me less poor, if only they were asserted.  I want better for my daughters.  We are not at the bottom of the barrel, barely. We budget and make do. But, there needs to be a change!

When do I start? Who’s in charge of pressing the start button?

Me?  Yes. Me. Why haven’t I hit it yet?  Maybe I’m about to. Is there some strange moon tonight?

Ho-boy. I looked it up. Yes. Yes, it’s the stars.  Always the stars!

The moon is in Aries.

I’m born on the last day of Pisces.You know what that means, right?

In astrological terms, if you’re born on the last day of a zodiac sign, you’re born on a cusp. Meaning, that you are strongly influenced by the next zodiac sign but you’re NOT the next zodiac sign. Pisces are dreamers, engulfed by emotion. Aries are do-ers, riddled with ambition.  Technically, I’m supposed to have some Aries traits up in my mix, somewhere.  They were prevalent in my younger life, but long since laid dormant. My Pisces particulars are evergreen.

Tonight, them traits are on alert. I am beaming. I am scratching at the bit.

I kid you not, my steady gears are turning, I feel a wriggling, I feel a jump coming.  I mean, seriously? SERIOUSLY?  Today I began to think about something that I HAVE NEVER EVER CONSIDERED.  Business school!! Business school???   Cutthroats and stressors, brown noses and bitches.

I don’t need business school to do what I need to do.  You don’t need business school training to just begin, do you?  Follow through is an exertion that does not require a life ladening loan.

You just need the moon to come round right. Right?

Dear Moon, don’t you go. Glow, glow down here. Dear Moon, you got a hold on some soul up there. Dear Moon, could you  phase me to the next stage of my life?  Dear Moon, I got a ladder, gonna climb up to you. Dear Moon, I got a rope, gonna tie on to you . Dear Moon, would you swing me on into the light?  I’m a shadow to shine over, I’m a shock of a shell.  Dear Moon, you kept beaming, lives been through hell. Dear moon, if there’s a man in you, would you please be mine?

House & Heyday

I didn’t get that big old house I put a picture of on here.  Naw, man.  I was put off from the moment I saw that the cellar door was rotted off, the screen door was busted to pieces, and there was 1983 blue carpet terrorizing the floor.  Since 1918 is a long time to be a house, and though I enjoyed the slanted playhouse like closets, and underlying charm the house was breathing, I found the price too steep for the problems the house was facing.

First off, the first floor toilet had a sink in its lap.  I don’t know how any overweight person would have ever managed to sit on the pot with their whole bottom touching the toilet seat. There would have had to of been some sort of leaning, having to use the sink as an arm rest to squeeze a dimpled bun on that there john. The prospect for having a place to rest a pillow whilst pissing in my rallying heyday may have seemed a plus, but I’m a lightweight infrequent drunk nowadays, and find no ironic desire to pass out on the potty.

I was also hesitant to live on Florida Street.  Everyone knows that the state of Florida is the oddball burden of the South, and the street of Florida in Greensboro is the same in that it has had a reputation in years past to be a bit of a bungler.  When I first came to college in the city in 1996, a third year student warned me not wander that road, it was the heart of danger in its neighborhood.  Years, however, have softened Florida Street slightly, and Glenwood has grown into a vibrant, artistic,  multicultural, centrally located, affordable conglomerate of houses with ghosts of history in them.  It was not the reputation of Florida Street that chased me away from residing in the house, rather, it was the noise and traffic that maraud the asphault on that path on a daily basis. The city buses, the school buses, the bus stop dwellers, the boomboom big tire cars, the high pitched crotch rockets.  I told myself three years ago I never wanted to live on a bus line again.  Buses are squeaky and they run at unenthusiastic early hours. Florida Street is too bussy for my all encompassing approval.

The strikes on the house could empty a pack of matches.

Billed as a four bedroom house, the house was more like two and a half bedrooms. The “bedroom” on the main floor was a walk through room with two doors, one which led to the living room, the other to the entrance hall.  It was included as part of the path to the kitchen from the front of the house.  There was no closet in it.  There was also no closet in “bedroom” number two upstairs.  Couple that with the fact that bedroom number two was the width of a full size mattress, no wider, and the length of two mattresses laid end to end, and you’d have yourself three more strikes.

With my mind made up and knowing this was not the house for me,  the realtor bumping his head on the stooped door frame as he showed me the bathtub-less, shower only, upstairs restroom reinforced my decision. I was taller than the realtor, and I would have cursed myself every time I bumped my head on that door  frame had I decided take up residence in that hole.

Plus there had to be lead paint on and mice holes in the walls.  House that old? For sure.

The grout in the bathroom tile had seen way less dirty days.

The front fence entry was falling over.

The porch swing was raised too high to climb into easily.

The yard was sticks, rocks, and mud.

The windows were old and would have let all the expensive gas heat slip out without so much as a whisper of warning.

The kitchen was possessed by a stained and oddly cornered oven. There were gaps in the cabinets. There was no dishwasher.  There was no place for a table. I was scared to look under the sink.

The price was delusional.  I wouldn’t pay more than $600.00 a month for a place in such dire need for  revamp.  Centrally located or not.  Just because something  is cute on the outside does not mean the  inside holds an inviting chamber. I should know that from my dealings with men.

It’s easier to run from a terrible cute house than a terrible cute man, though. It’s plain to see the insides of a cute house, but there will be trouble discovering the make up of a man.

Anyways. I ran from the house. It’s not me, house, it’s you.

I found a newly remodeled three bedroom house in the same neighborhood for 85 dollars less per month than what the Florida Street house was going for.  It’s not as big a house, it doesn’t have much of a yard. But it’s clean and cute inside and out.  I packed seven boxes today.  I’ll be moving round July 15th.

I will miss being close to my Mama and Daddy, but feel relief that I am actively ridding myself of this sense of my life in stall mode.  I’d dropped everything to figure out this whole single mama kingdom, and I hope to gain a part of myself back with this move to my old town. Happier days, are you sure to come?

Message In A Bottle: Lucinda Williams


I ran across this Lucinda Williams video a few minutes ago. She comes out and blows her opening number because her capo is in the wrong place, and she’s singing in a higher key, and she can’t figure out what exactly is the problem. Her techie has to tap her shoulder and tell her that her capo is in the wrong place.

This has happened to me on a couple of cheek reddening occasions (with the exception of a band mate pointing out the error instead of a techie) and this slip of Lucinda’s made me feel validated. She messes up, blows it off, rocks it out. Yup. That’s how it’s done.

Lucinda Williams is one of my favorite rock and rollers, and I’ve often thought I should try to sell her some songs. If I knew how to go about doing that. Anybody out there know how to go about doing that? I have some swell songs, I promise.

If I were to write a message in a bottle to Lucinda Williams, and throw it in the river, this is what I would say…

“Dear Lucinda Williams,
If this message that I’ve pushed in this bottle and thrown into the Tar River has reached you down in New Orleans or wherever you are, well I might say that I have finally had a change of luck, and perhaps the thoughts in my head were made to be more than just thoughts.

Hi! !!!  How are you doing? I hope you are smiling, and I hope you like this bottle?? I thought it fanciful enough to be endearing and strong enough to withstand the trip downstream . I didn’t really want to give the bottle up, I’ve had it for years, but I thought, what the hell…Lucinda will like it.

So. I really like your songs and the way you sing, ma’am. I’m a singer songwriter as well, and I think I have some songs you could go to town on. Do you ever think of dead people talking to you when you sing? I get Kurt Cobain and Whitney Houston for some reason cheering me on in my head when really getting into the act of singing and playing. You know that spirit you get into, right?

Anyways, Lucinda, I don’t wanna keep you too long. You never heard of me, and I know you got thangs to do. And I don’t know if you ever get songs from other sources. But if you do, and you feel like giving this single mama a shot, I got some songs for that. Like lots of them. And I could use the help.

I hope you have very fine day, and I hope this message in a bottle somehow finds away into your heart. I’ll look to the birds for your reply.

Super,
Suzanne.

So, yeah.  Splash.  Start floatin’, bottle.