Looking better during Covid-19 to FEEL Better.
The following blog was written to be published on December 11, 2020, but important stuff intervened. Sometimes regular things in our life need to be put on hold. Our cherished dog Rose died on January 8, 2021, from her chronic primarily undiagnosed illness that captured our attention helping her function with it for 5 ½ years of the 10 ½ years given her. The political world in the USA was daily in upheaval driven by our wannabe dictator president climaxing in a near coup and now a second impeachment trial. The statistics connected with Covid-19 are papering newspapers and overwhelming the internet round the world because of their gravity. We are finally settling in with our new president and vice-president who are working with a narrow party majority in Congress to bring sanity and health.. physical and mental.. along with real plans to put economic stability back into our immediate world. The expertise of USA scientists and British scientists created several vaccines and now they are being rushed into production with emergency status to save people everywhere from the ravages and frequent death sentence that can result from exposure to Covid-19. There is now hope that we have a way to get through this health crisis before too many more people die or are left with lingering disabilities. I have not stopped writing music and lyrics but my focus has been fractured many times. Below you will find what I was set to publish December 11. At the end of this blog I have included 2 songs, one that I wrote in 2016 about Rose and the second about Rose and her sister Adelaide. When I looked back and listened to the songs, they functioned as beautiful pictures of our life with them much as film and recordings help to keep memories alive of actors and actresses and singers and musicians when they are no longer living. The songs are true valentines of love. We have lost many souls, famous and not famous at all, but each important. We must all do everything in our individual power to stop the virus from spreading and pillaging our communities.
November 26 was a get away from today day: I experienced something familiar and very nice: the preparation of an entirely home-cooked Thanksgiving meal. It was especially nice because in recent years I enjoy being an active participant helping to prepare the turkey, stuffing, cranberries, mashed potatoes, salad, and dessert. On my feet I feel pretty confident that I can do it all when called upon. Today I did most of it except the dessert before anyone got out of bed. The result was a delicious meal just like we wanted it to taste. Our Thanksgiving experience leads into my new song To Get Away From Today.
During the pandemic I started writing music at a slower pace. I actually am feeling good about taking my time and drawing out my work timeline. I like how I feel about the results and see there is more time for a song’s music and its lyrics to age and improve. It is impossible in 2020 to avoid feeling the scary decay in mental health of the community of people everywhere and to observe my own mental health fluctuating. We all have been pummeled with a lot the past year. The multitude and varied pressures have to give way so the USA can find itself in a better place. Our country doesn’t seem to be the strong stalwart beacon it was created to be and we know. The election happened and change is imminent yet lots isn’t sure.. but corrections are blooming slowly like nature does and like people do, too. After the last 5 years of a never-ending election cycle, we need to have more positive uplifting experiences instead of constant political rallies spewing hate and scenarios involving extremists and the police acting out systemic racism. Still continuing are endless government lawsuits clogging the courts while unending intelligent media reports about them fill airwaves and other media as our president spends most of his time doing little but perpetual campaigning and making up untruths while regularly playing golf at one of his golf courses. He focuses on putting his opponents down trying to satisfy the rich evangelicals who elected him but not doing much to keep people alive as the USA reels with the greatest health scourge of the last 100 years. Almost the entire year of 2020 our lives have been threatened by the Covid-19 virus. For everyone, just staying alive through 2020 is an important goal. In that context I wrote To Get Away From Today. It has the feeling of the warmth found in a lull-a-bye. It is soothing and easy to sing. In fact it was also easy to write because it’s honest. We made it through a big challenge on November 3. Now we can sleep a little easier. Hopefully worry will be replaced with competence and progress for all of us, and we will not be in a state of chaos 365 days of the year. This song assists in breathing hope back into our life using positive memories as we wait for Joe Biden and Kamala Harris to begin their steady path forward focusing on trying to make everyone’s life better with new positive outcomes and thus positive memories throwing “no, hate, and can’t” out the window.
The song intro opens with a D Maj chord introducing the music sound of climbing followed by a music sense of unrushed discovery. This theme is carried throughout the song.
To look inside
A dresser drawer
At things placed there
Like a time capsule,
And then another drawer
With new things
Too important not to save
For looking at again
In the right way.
The opening of Verse 2 is sung softly in the upper part of the octave an octave above middle C reflecting as an adult on soft memories of myself as a small boy and my precious belongings: A ceramic revolutionary soldier fitting perfectly in my small hand/A stuffed bear/Worn from going everywhere and/With a missing hand/A book I read so many times before bed/Its story locked in my head…So..sheltering me from/The events of today. Those descriptions evoke memories of when I was young and my Great Aunt in Connecticut gifting me a small soldier straight out of her attic, then memories of my Paddington Bear too much loved given to me at my birth by my aunt and kept for many many years dropping it too many times and in too many places and many times needing to return and retrieve him, and memories of being read to at bedtime regularly by mom and dad often with Dad doing hand shadow puppets in the light of my table light.. How is that for warm memories!
My get-away is an upstairs attic space. The Bridge describes it:
It’s an upstairs place
Where I can sense
A world without tension,
Where feeling good exists,
Not just an idea
At this point the song’s music changes. Now it has a wistful sound and is more rhythmic with lots of smaller and shorter arpeggios. The vocal music spaces give the instrumental music places to breathe both seeming to inhale and exhale freely. To emphasize A World Without Tension I used an interesting D half diminished chord in the right hand with a #5 and 9th/E in the bass. This is the first time I depart from the chord structure: [DMaj, AMaj, C#, Bmin/B, Dmaj/A, Bmin/G, DMaj/F#, DMaj] that I wrote for the verses and choruses. It does perk up your ear and temp you to want to know what the rest of the song will be like. I emphasized good in the phrase Where feeling good exists when I sing the Bridge through. I wrote the beautiful upbeat music referred to above for the last 3 lines of the Bridge because those words are my wish for the coming New Year. We must try to push away the current year that needs to be forgotten for one Where feeling good exists/Not just an idea/So.. palpable. From this point on the rest of the song builds with a sense of hope and has an upbeat bass feel. The musical interlude into Verse 3 proceeds with a nice classical feel. Verse 3 continues to build with a feeling of hope and there’s a smile heard in my voice while singing about more recent memories. Crescendos not only in the music but also for the lyrics accomplish the feeling described. The chorus of the song sings of the refuge I have found and the simple things that became treasures and the warmth I feel because of them. Because those are the words of the chorus those qualities and simple things are sung about 3 times. Treasures, warm feelings and memories can keep us going and can inspire hope. The chorus was written to have a folk song rhythm like that sung in an Irish pub or played on a solo guitar so I varied the chord structure a bit and gave it a more emphasized bass than the verses to help move the song forward.
..and the Outro describes how I feel about the upstairs place. It begins with some beautiful musical notes and a statement articulating that it is my perfect place. The music here is descending using sparsely spaced arpeggiated chords: GMaj7, GMaj, Ami7/A, GMaj/B going to the DMaj where the song’s Intro began because I am walking down from where my perfect place is. I end the song the way it started with a D Maj chord. This time its form is DMaj6/low D in the bass of the piano. The sustain pedal allows the chord to ring and quietly fade out.
I need this place to come to because it is my place for refuge.
My perfect place,
An upstairs attic space,
To be my refuge
To get away from today!
For getting away from today.
To Get Away From Today focuses on the warmth and opportunity for escape that good memories and storytelling bring. Reading the first and third paragraphs in this blog and also after reading the one following this one, it is clear there is a lot around to bring us down. Despite those things music can pump our heart and fill our lungs and rejuvenate our face so that our mouth and eyes express hope. Please now use your earphones and listen to To Get Away From Today.
2020 shaped by a virus and the craziness of a man and his enablers became and continues to be a rough ride. From data tabulated at the beginning of December 2020 more people have died from the virus than all the Americans who died in WW2. The number of deaths from the virus tabulated thru April 2020 exceeded the number of Americans who died during the Viet Nam War. Every day now the number of people dying from the virus equate to the number of American deaths on 9/11 again and then again and again. Some will say that US involvement in WW2 (1941-1945) was a worthy cause to save the world’s people from several mad men. This time military heroes are not liberating people from a frequently assured death sentence. Rather, our political leaders, like mad men from that other time, are rolling people of all ages on gurneys right to their death not caring a bit about the lives being lost or them being young or old with a life yet to live or finish. They do not care about the lasting effects on people who are fighting off the disease and who survive. Our president and his team failed to care enough to try to prevent the virus from taking hold in the first place by obtaining and using adequate prevention supplies and tracking techniques.
I did not want to write a song about my rage over the deaths of so many. Instead, I wrote a song about how I am able to find a place to escape from the horrors of our days like the Frank family found and then try to bet on hope. Once again please listen to my story in D Major about my need to To Get Away From Today. With the work of many scientists developing new vaccines and new presidential leadership we are poised to rise above and beyond our current destiny.. slowly returning our world into a more normal one..maybe even finding that sweeter world again sung about in my new song. Listening two times will bring the song’s message home faster.
Tonight is Hanukkah and Christmas is 2 weeks away. This year the usual holiday season seems out of place but not its true meaning. We have our gifts: our freedom, our being alive and the ability to protect our health, the feeling of love between our family of humans and pets, our ability to work even if that exists only at home, a new president and vp inspiring loads of possibilities, a vaccine coming to fight off the virus, a warm place to sleep with food to eat, clothes to keep us warm, and the prospect of all the above improving in a near time. We must be thankful and appreciative for those gifts that we don’t need to wrap up then give thanks and show respect to the powerful and loving one watching out for us.
Chag Sameach and Merry Christmas and A Happy Holiday to each of you celebrating in your own personal way,
December 11, 2020
This blog begins its 7th year of existence. Writing it fills me with confidence and provides a forum for me to communicate and demonstrate my ability to write and compose music for you and myself and the larger world. Music is a major part of who I am and how I express myself.
Thanks to all of you for your loyalty!! jk
Rose..With Her Loneliness Is Far Away (2016)
Watch Rose sing And The World Goes ‘Round (2012)
I Just Want To Be With You And Where You Are (2016)
Covid cases on 02.07.2021: 105,394,301 worldwide 26,547,977 in USA (:(:
Covid deaths 2,302,302 worldwide 455,735 in USA (: (:
To help stop the awful downward spiral get vaccinated and then help others get their vaccine, too!!
THANK YOU, GEORGIA! You gave back to Joe and Kamala and their team lost opportunities!!!
Thank you Broadway people. You helped make the difference!
I love you all! jk