Category Archives: Writing

Longhorns and Margaritas and Getting Lost in Texas (…Airports)

Personal matters in my family have taken me to Florida four times in the past three months. Each time I fly down I end up in a different stopover city. I’ve seen Minneapolis (…airport), Detroit (…airport), Atlanta (…airport) and today I am in Houston (…airport) for three and a half hours. Not enough time to go downtown, but is it fair to say I’ve been to Texas?

On my adventure through this gargantuan epicentre, I took the airport shuttle (a mini sky train) from my landing terminal A to my departure terminal C: a trip and a half in itself cuz this place is BIG.

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Got lost and had to back track through terminal E – aka shopping mall where they have the occasional departure gate – a couple of times before I found my gate tucked into a corner of the airport, I think.

Now I am plonked down in a poofy chair overhearing a VERY disgruntled toddler informing his mother that he doesn’t want to be sitting still. At least I think that’s what he’s saying. Sounds more like “MYAH-MYAH-MYAH-MYAAAAAAAH-MYAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHH”.

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The shops are filled with “Don’t Mess With Texas” and “Longhorn” and “Houston, We Have a Problem” memorabilia. Posters advertising margaritas (state drink?) And there is an awesome toy store dedicated almost entirely to astronaut games and gadgets and junior size gear: a plush astronaut helmet tempts me so hard. if only I had remembered to exchange more cash before coming down this time…

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Oh, did I mention the giant guitar?

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7 weeks (49 poems in 49 days) – Day 7

LONG DISTANCE

Hello? Hello?
Anyone in?
Please call me when you have the chance
Or message me or whatever.
A little “I love you and I hope you’re okay”
Would go a long distance
To bridge you and me.
Glad it is warm where you are
Glad passion brings you heat
You are songbird who follows her song
Just like me.
Here the buds are cracking open the trees
Bare their branches, longing for breeze
I am clothed in spring
I am down to one layer
I am risking the cold
To tell you this.
So please, when you have the chance
Remember, sweet bird, call for me.

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7 weeks (49 poems in 49 days) – Day 4

THE COLD

Pyjama pants, cranky pot
Sneeze into my sleeve.
Little piggie eyes the blanket
Coddle me, if you please
Oh the wretched rap-rap-rapping
My aching head, one big squeeze.
Life is a baker that wields its rolling pin.
Tomorrow I’ll rise with the buttery sun.
But today I’m flat out, flaked out
Today I’m staying in.

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7 weeks (49 poems in 49 days) – Day 3

LUCID

As the crooners croon
And the lovers sigh
As the stargazers moon
Under dark summer skies
Thanks for the memories
Thanks for all that
Thanks for the presence
Though at times I forget
You bring gifts to my body
We are branches that bend
We are supple and hearty
As we dance in the wind
You make light of my tinder
I am flammable when wet
My lungs are on fire
You are my cigarette
My crooners’ lips
They are streaming in song
Your telescope slips
Into absolute dawn
With skin that is milky
You are way beyond cream
And if I am lucid
Then you are the dream
And if I am music
You are the beat
If I am fire
You are the heat.

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7 weeks (49 poems in 49 days) – Day 2

DAY 2

When a baby is born
Before their eyes open
Before their necks are strong enough to support their heads.
Before they separate their fingers, when they wave only fists.
When their mouths are agape
In tiny red circles and giant gummy cries
They wail relentlessly
For food, for warmth
For sleep and to be dry.

Babies do not give thanks
Babies take nourishment.
Babies do not give thanks
Babies take comfort.
This is biological, an imperative
Survival of the species
That we be loved until we can feed ourselves.

We grow into our gratitude
We grow into our red blood cells
Our eyes grow open to the existence of others.
We grow into our relations
And we grow heavy, like fruit.
That is why we fall in love.
That is why we baby talk our lovers.
That we be nourished, that we be comforted.
For this we give thanks.

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7 weeks (49 poems in 49 days) – Day 1

RAIN

Blue glowing taxi cab driver GPS lights up the
Interior sending silhouettes out into the night.
On the side streets of the city where the motion is
Humming, sounds of cars and streetcars and motorbikes
An ambulance and a firetruck tag race pass by.
Sirens call flash lights of superheroes and
Rattle of twigs start up on the neighbour’s eavestrough,
I can step inside at anytime

To where it is warm into a hallway overflowing
With winter boots and cowboy boots and
Dancing shoes and daytime shoes and slip ons, slippers and spring in our step
Into the rustling of bedsheets and gentle sighs the sounds of
Sleeping beauties upstairs, I do not live alone.
This belly full of spicy tuna and bites of leftover apple pie
Two glasses of red wine and a tumbler full of water.

The rattling of the eavestrough
Grows into a plop-plopping on the ground
Giant drops of spring rain and distinct circles
Leave their silhouettes on the pavement.
It is raining, it is cold and

I am under shelter.
I am thankful for the stillness of a place called home.

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Blue Valentine

Blue Valentine

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Heart’s up

Love!

Love!

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More Than A Hero – find lyrics here!

Pre-orders and thank you CDs have all gone out to those who backed the making of the album during my crowdfunding campaign. As promised, here are the lyrics from the album…

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Click HERE to read the lyrics.

And be sure to leave your thoughts about and interpretations of them in the comments sections. I’m curious! :) xo ke.

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Here’s hoping your St. Patrick’s Day is *SPECTACULAR*

Hope your St. Patrick's Day is *SPECTACULAR*

(These were a gift from the lovely and talented songstress, Rosemary Phelan! I love ’em.)

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And now, some Valentine’s Day poems as rejected by Hallmark…

Roses are drying / Violets are pressed / I’m taking you out for pizza / I think you’re overdressed.

Roses are red / Violets are blue / I love you like a library book / that’s three weeks over due.

Roses are red / Violets are shrinking / When I asked you out / What ever was I thinking?

Reddest are thine roses / the violets, a most brilliant hue / do you want to read my poetry? / PLEASE say that you do…

Roses are red / Violets are blue / I have a crush on your friend / but I’ll settle for you.

Roses are red / The flu isn’t fair / If you barf in my bathroom / I’ll hold back your hair.

Roses are grumpy / Violets are a grouch / Quit hogging the bed / Or go sleep on the couch!

 

Hope you’re having a fine day full of love!

xo Karyn

#ValentinePoemRejects

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This Is Not A Boring Day

Sometimes the astrologers DO get it right.

I am currently at the Vancouver airport on a three-hour stop over en route to Toronto. Sitting outside the terminal, on this brilliantly sunny day flipping through The Province reading the comics, doing the sudoku puzzle, checking out my horoscope…

Turn on your images to see a photo: "This Is Not A Boring Day"

Friday we start rehearsals, and Monday I go into the studio to spend the next couple of weeks finishing up the tracking for the new album!!!!! There is a dreamlike quality to entering the recording process. After months of writing and prep work and requisite administrative to-do lists, I ought to pinch myself that in less than a week from now, I will be standing in front of a microphone articulating my emotional reaction to the new creations.

And even though I am severely underslept… a bi-product of my loathe-to-pack that kept me up until 3:30am last night… Yes, I AM feeling alive! And, yes! I’m loving the experience!! I should head back to that newspaper and get caught up on politics, on religion. Or maybe I’ll just read my book, The Piano Man’s Daughter by Timothy Findley, and enjoy the foreign country he has created inside the written word.

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Yo Ellis…

Q: Haven’t heard from you in a while. What are you up to?

A: Back in BC after an amazing Ontario tour and a few days at the Rooster recording studio working with Don Kerr on the new album.

Now I’m here on day two of the Artswells Music Festival in Wells BC. The town is bustling alive with people, and music spilling out from buildings and people sitting on various patches of grass. I’ve removed myself from main street to chill out for awhile before meeting up to play some percussion and do some singing on Dave Newberry’s set at 8pm at the Tempest Church just up the street. I played at that venue this morning; the acoustics were amazing. It is gonna be fun to sing a little “Rock Bottom” and bang on the tambourine tonight.

Yesterday marked the ending of an amazing four day songwriting workshop, which was also held here in Wells. Dave Bidini and his band (Don, Paul & Kevin) were our trusty and brilliant facilitors/teachers. 18 writers + Dave and co. spent 7 hours a day in a room hanging out with a bunch of freshly written songs… teasing them apart, getting at the meat of the tunes. (Thus the need for the chill out this afternoon.) I am *deeply* inspired to challenge myself to craft better songs whenever/wherever I can. During the songwriting course I finished a new tune called “More Than A Hero”. Rock ‘n Roll! And definite album material. I have already had the opportunity to try it out live twice in front of Artswells audiences, and the song seems to be well received.

“If Harrison Ford had been on board
On the day you threw your keys out the window.
And if Johnny Cash had hid your stash
Would you have needed to make a crash landing.
Or would you still be flying?

I think it’s gonna take… more than a hero
I think it’s gonna take… more than a hero
I think it’s gonna take… more than a hero
I think it’s gonna take… more than a hero
to save you from yourself”

I also started writing a murder ballad (of all things!) this week about the daughter character “Lavinia” in Shakespeare’s play “Titus Andronicus” (Shakespeare’s most maligned play, and a terrible tragedy. Not sure I even dare read it. So I’ve been Cole’s Notes-ing it on the internet.) The tune is spooky, and I love it. I’m thinking I need to finish it because it would be a fine addition to the new record.

Q: Yo Ellis, are you ever going to finish that Shooting Star video any time soon?

A: Yes! Next week I finally have a breather from touring and recording and festivaling. First thing I’m going to do is sit down and edit that sweet little babe. Till then, it’s All things Artswells! See yah. xo k.

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Here are the Shooting Stars! [Photo Gallery]

Yesterday the last DVD arrived with footage on it for the Shooting Star video. Okay, I can tell you right now this is will be AWESOME FUN editing together the stuff that came in. The creativity and sense of wacky is GORGEOUS! Since it is probably going to be a few of weeks before I have a chance to finish the video, let me share with you readers some snap and screen shots from the submissions. A little taste of why I am so excited about this project! :)

Starting with… David F. from Thorold and his crew from Lake St.Peter (Ontario), who were the very first folks to send in footage.

Turn on your images to see: David, Andy and Leslie Cowpokin' in Lake St. Peter, Ontario

David, Andy and Leslie Cowpokin’ in Lake St. Peter, Ontario

Not only that, but I found this familiar face included in the files David sent me. Washboard Hank heard about my project through David I presume? – here he is… wearing full bells ‘n whistles!

Turn on your images to see a photo of The one and only Washboard Hank winding up.

The one and only Washboard Hank winding up!

Turn on your images to see another photo of Washboard Hank and his (cow) bells and whistles.

…to play his (cow) bells and whistles.

Next came footage from Guido T. & Conny S. This may have been the furthest footage traveled to get here – all the way from Dusseldorf, Germany! (Later, you’ll see a submission from Solingen, Germany too. I’ll have to double check the distance in google maps.) Here is an example of horse power not only under the hood, but behind the wheel too.

Turn on your images to see: Pony On The Autobahn (With Fuzzy Dice)

Pony On The Autobahn (With Fuzzy Dice)

A few days later, I received a memory stick full of footage from Toronto. Tania, Diane, Oscar, Shannon, Bella and Ken scripted several colourful scenes… an entire song’s worth… filmed them in a park in their “one-horse-town”. The memory stick included on-the-set photos too. Here are a bunch, starting with some shots of fabulous artwork by Oscar.

Turn on your images to see this drawing of a Sky Full of Stars!

Sky Full of Stars! (by Oscar Sza)

Turn on your images to see the drawing: Blazing Trail of Star

Blazing Trail of Star! (by Oscar Sza)

Turn on your images to see Chalk Drawing

Chalk Drawing (also by Oscar!)

Here is the whole gang (minus Tania, who is behind the camera.)

Turn on your images to see Parade in the Park

Parade in the Park!

Some close ups of the feature actors:

Turn on your images to see: Giddy Up Horsie Ride

Giddy Up Horsie Ride ~ Shannon & Bella

Turn on your images to see: With that awesome hat, Ken could also be called Oblio :)

Ken! (who with that awesome hat could also be called Oblio :))

Turn on your images to see Diane On The Set of The "One Horse Town"

Diane On The Set

Then I received this lovely postcard in the (e)mail, It’s from Guido O in Solingen, Germany…

Turn on your images to see: This was taken last November when I played there at Tom Bombadil's in Solingen

This was taken last November when I played there at Tom Bombadil’s in Solingen.

Next, Kat Leonard sent me some fabulous footage of her dancing around the stage one afternoon (By the way, Kat & I were co-participants in the blogging challenge I did this winter!). Here are a couple of screenshots:

Turn on your images to see: Kat Dance #1

Kat Dance #1

Turn on your images to see: Kat Dance #2

Kat Dance #2

Then Tania A. sent me some cool abstract footage of stars being lit up by a spot light and also a short clip of a pinwheel spinning. Here are some still captures of the shining stars:

Turn on your images to see: Tania's Glowing Star #1

Tania’s Glowing Star #1

Turn on your images to see: Tania's Glowing Star #2

Tania’s Glowing Star #1

A few days ago I received the penultimate submission from Laurie in Lilloet. That’s right folks, we’re home on the ranging with a bonafide cowgal and horse. [And yippee-yi-yeee, I used penultimate (meaning: second-to-last) in a sentence!]

Turn on your images to see: Laurie and her horse

Laurie and her horse

Turn on your images to see: It's to the range she's bound!

It’s to the range she’s bound!

Turn on your images to see: Beauty!

Beauty!

Yesterday I received the last submission. A delightful scene in which Jay F. dances around in his hallway. He also included this still photo on the DVD:

Turn on your images to see: Jay Showing Us The Words To Shooting Star

Jay Showing Us The Words To Shooting Star!

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UPDATE: July 2012
Luckily for me, I’m a dawdler. I still hadn’t edited the video by the time I started my tour of southern Ontario this summer, so I was able to receive one last submission. After a fine and fun House Concert in London Ontario, I was talking with my host – Joanna – about the video project. She showed me the amazing, sparkly footage of her daughter, Talya, dancing with an aunt at a wedding. I asked if I could include it in the Shooting Star video, and she said yes! :-)

Screenshot from the HMVP Shooting Star video featuring Talya and her Sonia Aunty

Screenshot from the final video ~ Talya and her Sonia Aunty!

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And there you have it! Horses, dancing, shooting stars cows and cowbells. Sheer awesomeness. Thanks again, I am so thrilled with what was sent in! And I can’t WAIT to see how it looks once everything is edited together.

So give me a few weeks here… I am thinking of editing the video while I’m on the train traveling across Canada in early June. [Aside: Once again I am taking part in VIA’s OnBoard Musician Program playing music on board in exchange for passage. Pretty sweet deal! When I’m not playing shows, eating or staring out the window at the prairies, I’ll let the rhythm of the wheels on the track evoke the gait of a horse. Hopefully inspiring some good creative editing.]

Okay. Give me a few weeks to post then. Till then… Wishin’ you far! :)

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Hopping Back On The Ol’ Hobby Horse

Random Thoughts Buzzing Around My Head Right Now

A bit of downtime happening here in my personal blogosphere. Maybe it is a much needed rest after the mara-blog-athon of this winter’s blogging challenge, where I lived and breathed this place. Although I am definitely proud to be crowned winner of the Canadian Social Media Blogging Challenge, turns out a girl needed a breather come spring.

Maybe it is the lulling effect of this gorgeous, warm weather we are having this May. Right now I can hear the chirp of birds echoing through the forest behind my house. (I can also hear the buzzing of mosquitoes waking up from their winter slumber. Less chirpy, that sound. *sigh*) But other than the bugs, wow… it has been stellar these past few days.

On the other hand, it could be the result of all the non-blog writing I’ve been doing lately. I seem to be existing in a vortex of deadlines for grant proposals, cold call emails and other administrative blah blahs. Ugh. In fact ~ ladies & gentlemen ~ right now I should be finishing up another proposal that is due this Friday – I am hoping for travel funds to return to Europe this fall. (Fingers-crossed please!) But, alas. I am not writing that. I am writing this.

Images of Mosquitoes

You could also look at these as bird food.

I know there are plenty of words out there / in my brain, but sometimes sitting in front of my laptop type-type-typing depletes me. Ever have that sensation? It is a weird, hollow feeling, and I simply cannot string two words together. Marshall McLuhen’s Medium is the Message. Maybe staring into a lightbulb (aka my computer screen) for hours is turning my brain to mush. A moth drawn to flame… zaaaap! (How meta… writing about how I’m having trouble writing!) What I really need to do is to stand up, step out into the yard and rub my feet into the freshly mowed grass. Reading a book and/or listening to music helps too.

Speaking of reading, I have been sitting outside on the front deck of my house catching up on my friend’s blog about her coast-to-coast bike trip across Canada. A gift to herself on her 40th birthday, she started out in Ucuelet BC two weeks and a half weeks ago and as of yesterday she had reached in Castlegar BC. Lucky for us, she has been diligently (and hilariously, in an understated sort of way) documenting her travels. I am inspired by the hugeness of her adventures! If you like bicycles and courageous women, you can follow Kate’s journey too by visiting her blog here: katebikes.wordpress.com.

Image of a Hobby Horse

Hobby Horse Fact: “Baron Charles von Drais patented the hobby or dandy horse in France in 1818. The hobby horse was a forerunner of the bicycle and was introduced into England in 1818 by coachmaker Denis Johnson, who took out the British patent.” No pedals. You propel it with your feet.

My bike’s still in Toronto, so I will only be hopping on the ol’ hobby horse figuratively today. Instead I will tear off my socks and go for that toe-hugging coolness of the grass that I mentioned earlier. Clear my brain. Get this darn proposal written…

PS, if you yourself need a little dose of chirping birds chirping, here is a lovely 9 1/2 min. video I found on Youtube through a random search. I didn’t upload this, but it sounds close to what I’m actually hearing (a little more rambunctious, perhaps.) I thought I’d share it with you to give an idea of what my day as been like so far and so that you can have a breather too!

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Here’s A Pretty Ribbon On That Blogging Challenge Wrap!

I logged in to Facebook early last week to discover the little earth icon in the navigation bar all lit up and a roll of “congratulations” in my newsfeed from fellow bloggers. And that, my friends, is how I found out I won the Canadian Social Media Blogging Challenge that I took part in this winter. Woo hoo! Social media in action.

I Never Was a Prom Queen, But…

Image of Two Bathing Beauties With Prize Cup

Imagine the trophy is a dozen roses and the hat is a tiara.

Given my love of all things shiny and my diva-esque nature, I immediately pictured myself among Pageant Queens accepting a bouquet of nailpolish-red roses in my arms, grinning cheek-to-cheek. Less Courtney Love, but still mascara running down my face** as I tearfully accept my sparkling tiara and sash ~ blowing kisses to the countless readers who have made my blog what it is today!! **This from the fact that the challenge was based on the book: Music Success In Nine Weeks!

Hahaha! But seriously, I am super glad I took part in the challenge, and I am honoured to be selected as its winner… thanks Songwriter’s Association of Canada (SAC) and thanks Ariel Hyatt for putting on this first ever Canadian version of the Music Success In Nine Weeks Blogging Challenge. A most excellent way to spend the start of 2012. And as it turns out I didn’t even have to wear a bathing suit to win the fabulous prizes.

Queen For a Day, But This is No “Royal We” Here

I’d like to send warm fuzzies out to my fellow participants for doing the challenge with me (with a special shout out going to Lily Cheng, who not only blogged with us but also facilitated the challenge. Thanks Lily!) We spent a concentrated nine weeks tackling topics and tasks related to social media. Collectively we set up a pretty substantial Canadian corner of new Facebook & twitter music accounts. We got comfy with Youtube and rss feeds – and then we blogged about it so that our fans could join us on the journey too.

PS Speaking of Youtube, you should totally subscribe to my channel! I started a “Homemade Music Video Project” during the challenge: my goal is to make homemade, no budget videos for all of my songs. Me editing them and everything! (There are three so far and more on the way.) Other fun stuff you can do: sign up for my mailing list, follow me on Twitter and like me on Facebook. Hurray! Phew… is that… it?

Sixty of us started back in January. Out of that emerged a core group of about twenty singer-songwriters who stayed in to the end, supporting each other through the weekly to-do list. We had (and in fact still have) an active Facebook group where people shared their successes and their challenges of the business and posted information and support for each other. Several genuine friendships started through this challenge that have extended beyond the end date. I still pop into the group quite regularly to see what everyone’s up to and to soak up some extra love when I’m feeling out of sorts with my workload. The DIY model says we are autonomous in exercising creative and administrative control over our work, yes. It is also clear that the “social” in social media truly drives us humans. We need connection and community to thrive.

Vintage Photo of Three Bathing Beauties With Ukelele

Maybe that is one of the reasons blogging is so perfect in this day and age of friends & fans spread out across the globe. An artist’s blog is personal and self-directed and, yet it can be highly interactive too. Online connections are sometimes maligned as shallow, and for sure there can be a Pollyanna-ish-ness that can drive me nuts sometimes. However it seems to me that online relationships when properly nurtured can be pretty darn real too.

The Take Away

As songwriters, we are all-the-time creating narratives for ourselves and others to sing. But when it comes time to write ourselves into the world… that same creative glean can get muddied. (Okay, this might be a “royal we”.) One of the biggest take-aways for me from doing this blogging challenge was the shifting away from an emotional space of passive want: hoping someone will “discover” me [my music] and moving to that of an active space. Blogging is active. It is constructive. It is also relatively inexpensive to do. As a bonus, blogging is creative. You don’t need a record label or Billboard approval to share your thoughts and your work. You just need to trust in the strength of your creativity and your ability to connect. That, and a bit of time to jot it all down.

The Other Take-Aways

… are pretty awesome too! I look forward to talking with Ariel about the ten-week Cyber PR campaign. Can’t wait to find out what’s in store once my music goes out directly to her network of bloggers and podcasters. Will my work connect on that scale too? Thanks, Reverbnation, for their contribution to the amazing prize list, too. And I’ve already had a skype meeting with Dave Cool of Bandzoogle to discuss building a second website for my little indie record label, since I’ve already got www.karynellis.com (come visit!) I’ll let you folks know when the new one is up and running too.

Okay. Now… THAT’S a wrap of the blogging challenge. But, folks, you can be sure my musings will continue on. If you’re reading this somewhere other than on my blog — Letters To My Editor — do pop by for more posts. You can also subscribe while you’re there to get my upcoming posts directly in your inbox.

Till next time!
Karyn

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Missed the original postings? Here is the complete set of links to all nine weeks plus a pre-challenge warm-up:
Warm up: Does Anybody Ever Win These Things
Week 1: What The Mayans Can Teach Us About Setting Goals, Or…
Week 2: Hold the door, this elevator is going up!
Week 3: Home Sweet Homepage
Week 4: Social Media and the Theory of Everything
Week 5: Music Videos Are Not Dead! They’ve Just Gone North For The Winter.
Week 6: I’ve Looked At Blogs From Both Sides Now
Week 7: Poor, Poor Baby
Week 8: How much IS that doggy in the window?
Week 9: And That, Folks, Is A Wrap!

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Hey, guess what?

I WON the blogging challenge! Sweet! And prizes too! Read all about it here: http://musicsuccessinnineweeks.com/blogger-challenge.

(Not sure what I’m talking about? Click on WRITING > MSi9W3 in the navigation bar. It’ll take you to a week-by-week blog about the challenge.)

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And, so, um…

Ever had one of those days when you just don’t know what to say…?

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One Minute Moment: Always Nice To Get a Friendly Send Off When You Go On Tour

Busy these past few days sending out emails, booking a tour in Ontario in June/July and sending out early feelers for another European tour at the end of the year. Got me thinking about one of the very first times I went out on the road… the thrill, the glamour of setting out on day one.

Found this 60-second clip from a tour that Ann Vriend and I did in 2005… 2006…? We are on our way to Sudbury!! Um… after the bank, after Long and McQuade… and after fanfare from friends and friendly arm waves from the guy on the roof!

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Wanna Make A Snow Angel? You Gotta Let Yourself Fall

This week I found myself thinking about nostalgia. Well, not so much thinking about it as sensing it ~ it is a visceral feeling like I am repeatedly stepping into a second-hand shop in Toronto’s Kensington Market ~ and every time the door opens the delicate scent of incense wafts over me. Now I am stretching out on my futon in the attic bedroom of my first apartment, sun streaming in the window. Particles of dust are lighting up like twinkling snow.

With the blogging challenge now officially over, I set myself the task of filming / editing the next video in my Homemade Music Video Project (you can read more about the project here.) For number three in the series, I went back to my 2005 album Hearts Fall and picked Angels In Snow. Emblematic of my mood and the unseasonably warm late winter/early spring all across North America, I chose a song about longing, love and the end of winter – of “early spring thaw cracking”.

Image of Karyn Ellis jumping from the roof of the tomato house. Screenshot #2 from the music video.

There I go jumping into nostalgia again.

Unlike the rest of North America where spring is kicking in full force, forty minutes from where I live – in the sleepy town of Wells British Columbia – there is still plenty of snow. Surely this is where fairy tales are born: in a setting ideal for ice queens ~ winter gardens full of pacing tigers and white roses. The population of this town shrinks to around 100 in the winter months, blooming again to 300 in early summer when the actors come to work in the nearby historical town of Barkerville.

And like Gretyl finds the frozen garden, I reentered the song Angels In Snow… my 2012 face singing along with my 2005 voice. (Hey! Seven is one of those fairy tale numbers, non?) I remember that youthful flutter in my chest – the dizziness of falling – best approximated by falling backwards into a bank of snow. Wearing no coat, no mittens. Making snow angels and feeling the icy cold clutching at bare hands and running down my neck. Watching snow flakes adrift in air and on eyelashes in the brilliant afternoons of late winter.

Image of Karyn Ellis making a snow angel. Screenshot #1 from the music video.

No stunt doubles or snow machines were used in the making of this video.


With Dizzying Certitude, So It Comes

In addition to (or perhaps as a subset of) that fuzzy warm feeling, this week I have also been awash with something akin to shame. Like butterflies, but the manic kind. Internal logic runs along the lines of this:

Me 1: Ah! This will be fun. I’m going to make a video for my song, Angels In Snow…
Me 2: That old thing? Shouldn’t you be spending your time writing something new instead of rehashing old songs?
Me 1: It’s a perfectly good song!
Me 2: Why didn’t you make the video when you released it? You had your chance. That window has shut. It’s catalogue now, baby.
Me 1: Wait a minute… Youtube didn’t even exist back then. Beside, I just discovered how much I love making videos!!
Me 2: Too bad, so sad! If you didn’t write the song this morning, how can you *truly* call yourself an artist?
Me 1: What, there’s a time limit on creativity?
Me 2: Gotta be fresh, baby.
Me 1: You’re a spoil sport!
Me 2: You’re cheating!
Me 1 & Me 2: You are! You are! [point & pout]

(etc, etc and so forth)

And so comes the poignant feeling that I somehow let the opportunity pass me by and that there is no catching up with time. <== That’s where the shame slips in. Tell me, what is this strange impetus to always be making something up-to-the-minute brand new… new… NEW!?! [Cue Tom Wait’s song, “Step Right UP!”. Now there’s a man who can ride the nostalgia wave to a tee.]

It is the ebb-and-flow of these periodic bouts of being deflated. But hang on now… isn't deflation the same as exhalation? Just a part of the breath cycle. So I did it anyways. I made the video.

And here it is…

Watch: Homemade Music Video Project – #3 – Angels In Snow

(Thanks: Kate Sulis, for helping with the filming. And Judy Campbell, for letting me tromp all over her Tomato House.)


Next week: Hibernating Bears
Look for my next blog update Monday March 26th.

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Filed under Music, Short Essays, Winter, Writing