An Open Letter Of Thanks To Brian Wilson

Brian Wilson Reimagines GershwinA personal post:

Today I found myself flying musically … at the public library. You see, as I mentioned in a previous post, I’ve been coming here to work and go on-line. I am desperately trying to ride a creative high and meet a personal deadline to complete production of my film, Dada Venduza, against mounting financial and personal odds. The last two days found me re-creating the feel of the film for its soundtrack I’ll release on CD and here online. For some tracks, I’ve been combining, in true dada mode, a collage of music, speech and sound effects from the film. I’ve been having a blast doing so.

Anyway, back to my flying at the public library. I was listening to the album, ‘Brian Wilson Reimagines Gershwin’, and since I’m currently hoping to put together a musical performance of Gershwin tunes … I sort of have George and Ira’s songs on my brain. Their musical essence transcends almost any any cover you might here … and provided fuel for flight.

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In Light Of A Bohemian Smile

God gave us the gift of life; it is up to us to give ourselves the gift of living well.
– Voltaire
Every moment is a golden one for him who has the vision to recognize it as such.
– Henry Miller

 

How easy is it for you to smile? Can you manage a fake one? Do you need someone’s help? Go on and give it a shot.

A few mornings ago, I looked in the mirror; it was my birthday. I’m 49 – a little older and a lot wiser with still lots to learn. Ok, maybe ‘learn’ is not the right sentiment; maybe ‘make sense of’ is. In any event, I think the older I get, the more I scratch my head over life, which no doubt might be the reason for my thinning hair! Still, compared with other male members of my family, past and present, I still have plenty of hair on my head, so I really shouldn’t complain.

Indeed, I have a lot to smile about and day by day I try really really hard to remind myself of that. If you blink though, you might miss it.

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Overcoming Writer’s Block: Because It Happens To Everyone

What a blockhead!

The truly great writer does not want to write.

He wants the world to be a place
in which he can live the life of the imagination.
– Henry Miller
One of my resolutions for next year is to write a bit more about writing, especially in terms of developing one’s creative spirit. Getting ideas and nurturing them into written form is always our main objective as writers. However, there are times when those usual soul lifting notions seem to flop about, inspiring nothing but stress, depression and lowered levels of self-esteem.
For a writer, there’s nothing worse than not getting ideas … except for maybe not getting paid! For a blogger, it’s pretty much the same thing. Face it: writer’s block happens to the best of us. Therefore, in the spirit of this season I thought I would share with you some of my own ideas stemming from my experience as a writer of various forms of ‘this, that and whatnot’.

Drones, Probes And Creative Sorts

Jump in the pigpen,
next time I’ll take my shoes off
Hit the dirt doing two-and-a-half,
next time I’ll leave my hat on…
– Brian Wilson / Van Dyke Parks (Barnyard)

 

Years ago, the prevailing wisdom was that if you traveled too far in one direction, you would eventually fall off the planet. Many years later, the ‘flat top’ hairstyle was all the rage. I’ll leave it to you to connect the dots.

Sometime over the next few months the Voyager 1 spacecraft, first launched in 1977, will cross the line separating our solar system and interstellar space. Of course, there is much conjecture over what exactly will happen once the space probe leaves the warmth of our Sun’s heliosphere and the solar winds that have egged it on along its path.

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The OK Factor

“Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma – which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of other’s opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.”
– Steve Jobs
Back in 1967, the year SMiLE was supposed to have been released, Thomas Harris (MD!) published his eventual best-selling ‘self-help’ book, I’m Ok, You’re Ok. This post is not about this book.
However, because the book’s title has passed into pop culture and the public’s obsession with ‘self-help’ ideology, I thought I’d reference it. Just as with Sigmund Freud’s works, Harris’ book, at the very least, does lay out some interesting ideas and terminology for others to build on. On the other hand, ‘Dr.’ Harris also endorsed electro-shock therapy as a treatment for some conditions, so I would approach his writings with a long ‘grounded’ pole.

Nervously Unnerved By Noxious Nothings

Hanging down from my window
Those are my wind chimes
On the warm breeze the little bells
Tinkle like wind chimes
Though it’s hard I try not to look at my wind chimes
Now and then a tear rolls off my cheek
Close your eyes and lean back now listen to wind chimes
In the late afternoon you’re hung up on wind chimes
Though it’s hard I try not to look at my wind chimes
– Wind Chimes (Brian Wilson / Van Dyke Parks)

When was the last time you stepped outside of your head? If you have never done so, I highly recommend it. It can save your sanity. Trust me.

Recently, I’ve had a lot on my mind and just simply ‘too much on my plate’. So much so in fact, that at one point I felt my head teeter to one side, listing and threatening to capsize all rational thought. I did not take this as a good sign. Distracted by the obscenity of this circumstance, I began to obsess compulsively, despite my being repulsed at my impulse to do so. It was then when an errant thought arose, plopping into my mind; it was certainly more of a ‘plop’ and less of a ‘pop’.

At that moment, I found myself standing just off to the side of my mind’s mental highway, staring in bewilderment at a seemingly endless parade of thoughts. They lewdly sashayed their way down the neural pathway, hustling each other along like an errant festoon of Dionysian Mardi Gras party-goers. Now I can ‘surrey and picnic’ with the best of them, but this scene of fervent irreverence was quite surreal. I must confess, I had expected more of my thought processes.

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The SMiLE Of A Dumb Angel

Surf’s Up
Aboard a tidal wave
Come about hard and join
The young and often spring you gave
I heard the word
Wonderful thing
A children’s song
– Brian Wilson / Van Dyke Parks

You have to SMiLE at the thought that 43 years after the Beach Boys’ album SMiLE was supposed to be released, an official version in more than one form finally came to be … on Halloween, and in the UK no less. In the United States, the release came 1 day later, on November 1st, the end of the hurricane season in the ‘Atlantic basin’.

Just yesterday I ordered the 2 CD version from the Beach Boys site. I paid extra for the version with a SMiLE T-Shirt. I don’t want to just ‘look, listen, vibrate’ and SMiLE’ I want to wear it, too!

Personal Music: Some Notes & Chords:

There was a time in my life when I would sit at a piano all day and play various chord combinations, without really knowing what chords I was actually playing. Later, I did the same on guitar. I wasn’t looking for a particular mathematical permutation of notes, but rather I was looking for a feeling, a sensation, perhaps even a ‘movement’. In musical terms, this would refer to a “self-contained part of a musical composition or musical form”. For example, on a guitar, pluck the chord Asus2 and let it resonate. To me, such forms don’t necessary come in a string of notes played across a few bars…. but rather in a single blast … a Big Bang, if you will. Listen to the seminal chord progression struck by the Beach Boys vocals in the album’s opening track, Prayer, and you’ll understand.

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