Tuesday, July 18, 2017

NEW FRIENDS

     Yesterday I met with a group of gals who love writing as much as I do, and let me say, it was really wonderful.  Each of us brought something different to the table, literally.  We sat at a table in the back of a local restaurant.  Do I need to tell you what happens when a bunch of women get together?  True to form and especially because we had a lot in common, we had no trouble keeping the conversation going.  And what made it even more interesting was the fact that we were different in not only our writing styles, but also in the specific type of writing we enjoyed.
     Some were in the midst of book writing, some were into poetry and we all dabbled in the blogosphere. Since I have had Poetically Speaking since 2008, I was a good resource for how to begin and how to get noticed.  One of the women was busy finishing the second book of a trilogy she's both writing and self-publishing and brought a copy of Book One, entitled LEGS, for us to see. She also shared the expense of self-publishing.  Later, she treated us all to an excerpt from the book.
     As we all shared some of our writing, I read my poem, Penelope Pickle.  You may recall that that was the poem I wanted to turn into a children's book.  All the gals were very encouraging and the reaction was good.
     One of the gals does have a blog which is both personal, almost diary-like but uses her personal story to create a devotion of sorts.  We suggested a domain name for her blog so as to get it into the hands of prospective readers.  Our plans are to meet once-a-month and to have accomplished additional steps in our own writing process to share the next time we meet.
     Tonight's blog post is a poetic look at the day's activities.


WRITER’S CLUB
By Patty Lynn

Today I met a group of gals I never knew before,
Our love of writing joined us all, that love was underscored...
As some of us were poets while other gals loved prose.
No matter how you cut it that cake, we each love to compose.

And so we got acquainted, each sharing things we wrote,
Some wrote of things remembered, and certainly of note,
While others were devotional, profound in observation,
Still others wrote for children just ripe for illustration.

We spoke of agents, blogs and books, self-publishing, what joy,
And why a publisher is best, if we each had our choice.
For some, like me, it spurred us on to keep the process going,

Encouraging each one of us to keep the juices flowing.

For even though some hadn’t met until we met today,
Our love of writing drew us close in a very special way.
Though different in our backgrounds, we found this common ground.
A writer’s club was born today, four gals I’m glad I’ve found.

Friday, July 14, 2017

IDIOM NUMBER ONE

This week I found myself teaching someone the idiom, LIP SERVICE.  Why? The person's first language wasn't English and they had never heard the word before.  Why did it come up?  Well, this person was complaining, complaining that no one follows through or keeps their word.  So I explained that that might be an example of LIP SERVICE.  I'm sure this all is extremely fascinating but whether it is or isn't, it prompted tonight's blog.

LIP-SERVICE
By Patty Lynn

I taught a common idiom to one who’d never heard…
It used in any way at all, they’d never heard the word.
I tried explaining idioms, but I was not successful,
It fact, the more I talked of it, the more they found it stressful.

I took a breath and simplified, I asked if this was known,
The old expression, TALK IS CHEAP, now that was in the zone.
And then I took that moment to stress just what it meant
To merely make the promises but not have the intent…

To follow through, to do the job, to mean just what you say.
So often that’s the way it goes, especially today.
It seems your word is not your bond, the way it used to be,
And though I think it should be so, I seldom ever see…

That someone really is on time, the work’s done partially,
And since this has become the norm, the problem lies with me…
Because, well, I expect too much and this is what I’m told,
“Don’t fuss, relax, it will get done, don’t worry and don’t scold.”

No, I won’t preach, I won’t bemoan that some don’t keep their word,
And merely say they’ll do something and their intent is blurred.
For me a promise is just that, my words have got a purpose,
But whether I agree or not, I’ve just explained LIP SERVICE. 

Sunday, July 2, 2017

GUESS YOU CAN CALL ME DEBBIE DOWNER

I've known I was going to write this poem for a long time, but I have to admit, I've put it off as long as I could. Why? I guess I thought if I didn't write it, I didn't have to face the fact that this means so much to me.  But I have to face it, IT DOES! So, as my good friend says, "It is what it is."


IN MOURNING
By Patty Lynn

I’ve figured out the reason, just why I’m feeling glum,
The loss that I am mourning is not a common one.
I mean not everybody feels this deep, abiding loss,
Nor understands just how it feels or even come across…

An innate gift like mine, it’s true, a blessing undeserved,
A blessing like no other one that suddenly occurred.
And I was sure I’d always have this gift of mine forever.
I wasn’t owed, still God bestowed, this gift, my greatest treasure.

You see, I loved, yes, loved to sing, it mattered not the song,
From background music on TV where I would sing along…
To starring roles in musicals or hymns on Sunday morn,
Regardless, singing was “the thing” for which I had been born.

I know too well what has been said, “If it’s not used you lose it,”
I searched the past with heart downcast but found I’d not abused it.
Why then, I said, has this transpired, where is the voice I’ve longed for?
What have I done, why punish me, what is it that I’m wronged for?

No one can grasp the depth of this, my voice was my catharsis;
No matter what went wrong for me, just singing helped, regardless.
It’s true that in my younger days, I’d sing at different venues,
The chances, they were plentiful, these choices on my menu.

But my life changed, as years went by, performing less important.
I had the joy of Grandma-hood, so singing time was shortened,
Replaced with singing nursery rhymes and quiet lullabies,
My audience were baby boys, my payoff coos and sighs

I’m not complaining, no I’m not, I’d do it all again,
I only wish the voice I had was like it was back then.
No volume now, and if I sing I sound more like a man.
An octave lower than it was when all of this began.

And when I hear a singer who, like me, is older, too,
Whose voice maintains the same rich sound they’ve had their whole life through,
I can’t but help to mourn the loss of how my voice once was.
The joy it gave, the loss of which such sorrow it has caused.



Monday, June 12, 2017

PREPARE TO BE IMPRESSED

Tonight's post title seemed the perfect one as it concerns just how impressed I was when I attended my grandson's drum recital on Sunday.  I didn't know what to expect and, to a certain degree, I did expect to see a wide range of students, those who had been studying for a while, those who had a couple of years under their belt and, as with my grandson, those who had taken the drums for about a year.  Now it goes without saying that the drums are not particularly melodious and similarly not relaxing in nature and what began the program didn't disappoint.  In fact, when the first couple of kids began playing their 2-3 selections I had a hard time differentiating when one song started that the next song began.  But I am a supportive Grandma so there I was listening to the drummers one by one until my grandson performed.  So I heard a variety of abilities and as I said my grandson had only been taking lessons this past school year so I didn't expect much.  Until he began having an interest in the drums, I didn't realize how complicated it could be.  It's not just keeping a beat with a symbol now and then, it can get really intricate and when keeping rhythm in a couple drums at a time and differing rhythms at that, it's quite a feat.  So, without further adieu, here's tonight's poetic offering so I can share this experience with you as well.

THE DRUMMER BOY
By Patty Lynn

Today was something special and, boy, was I impressed,
My grandson's drum recital, I, frankly, never guessed…
That he would knock my socks off in quite the way he did.
He’s only taken lessons less than a year, this kid.

I wasn’t quite expecting that he would play so well.
His songs were complicated and, yet, as I could tell,
They took a lot of practice, and dedication, too.
His teacher is a good one & knows just what to do…

To motivate his students, to make them learn the ropes.
That’s why my grandson studies, ‘cause He has such high hopes…
Of being in a rock band and getting really good.
It’s obvious he loves them, and plays them as he should…

To be the kind of drummer that lends a steady beat,
Enhancing mood and message, to make the song complete.
He has an innate talent to sense just what to do.
I know he understands the fact the beat provides the glue...

That binds the song together and makes you tap your feet.
He holds the key to rhythm, the listener feels the beat,
That is, if there’s a drummer who really knows his stuff,
Whose playing is engaging and never is too much.

And though I wax poetic because that boy is mine,
Just try to understand that his playing, it was fine!
My grandsons just a ten-year-old, a ten-year-old, that’s all.
It might seem that I’m biased, but I say, “Not at all!”

He’s only taken lessons less than a single year!
That’s why I was so blown away, to me it was so clear…
That he’s got something special, a talent, that’s for sure.
My hope is with that talent, his interest will endure.

Monday, June 5, 2017

I'VE FINALLY DONE IT!

Recently I've been lamenting that I haven't written any new poetry lately and have had nothing that even inspired me to write.  When I looked at my blog list prior to this entry, I was shocked.  I haven't written a blog post since March!!  Talk about your writer's block.

So, after the day I had Sunday and the mishaps that ensued, something finally prompted me to write.
Perhaps, you will find something in this post that will be similar to something that's happened to you or perhaps it's just a funny accounting of something that's happened to me.  Either way, my hope is that you will laugh a little, think a little or just read it and find value in it.  Poetry is like that.  Here it is.

WEEDS, BEWARE!
By Patty Lynn

It’s hard for me to realize, accept the fact, the truth,
That I have limitations and I’m not as in youth.
You may think that it’s obvious, am I the last to know?
T’would seem I am ‘cause aging tends to wield a heavy blow.

In fact, I’d say it’s just like that, you don’t see it’s a challenge
And then one day you’re gardening and “poof” you lose your balance.
You’re standing upright and you reach a bit to pull a weed
Then there you are you’re toppling spread-eagle, yes, indeed!

That’s how it was just yesterday, so glad to tend the garden
I reached to grab that darn ol’ weed, I mean I barely started
And there I was, leaves in my hair, mud on my jeans & shirt
I guess I’m glad that if I fell, at least it was soft dirt.

So there I was disheartened, sure, I checked for injuries
Then had to face the task at hand, to get up gingerly
Now to the young a simple task but to us older folks
To us it’s monumental this, and even fear evokes.

Why fear you ask, well, I’ll tell you, this motions far from simple
I have no kneecaps so you see, now that’s a brand new wrinkle
You’ve got to sit, then to your knees, then push-off to a stand
Then right yourself, keep balancing, at least, that’s what I planned.

But, as they say, things often don’t end up the way we hoped
Although I gave it all I had, my “standing” was revoked.
That’s right, I fell back down again, took out part of the hosta.
I wanted to sit there and cry, you know, it really stops ya’.

I took a moment, analyzed, thought out where I went wrong
Proceeded, then, with new found strength and then, before too long…
I made it up, I stood my ground, and, yes, the worse for wear.
My spirits broken just a bit but, “Weeds, you best beware!”

Friday, March 10, 2017

IT'S BEEN AN EDUCATION

     For those of you who know me, you're aware that my husband had a complicated and involved laminectomy and fusion of his lower back on January 9th of this new year.  You also know that I haven't posted to this blog in almost a month.  That's been due to the change in our household, that is, my new role as "chief cook and bottle washer."  But, of course, that's a light-hearted way of describing my new and exclusive role as caregiver and cleaning lady and shopper and chef...and the list goes on.  But, as they say, pay back's a b----.  By that I mean, I've had my share and then some of surgeries in our 15 years of marriage and, to say the least, it was my turn.  I confided in many of you my concern with being able to do what I knew I would be the case, and the situation was as I expected.
     He's making progress daily and has begun "helping" with anything that he's able to do but we're a long way from normal.  He is determined, motivated and dedicated to everything that his doctor and physical therapist has laid out and if anyone's going to have a favorable outcome, my husband's the one.  I'm very proud of him and all he's done and continues to do to aid in his healing.  With God's help, I'm convinced he will finally get the result he's hoped for.
     I guess this is my way of explaining why my posts have been few and far between but tonight's an exception.  I felt I had to write a poem about the past two months (it was 2 months yesterday) and give a poetic accounting of it all.

THE REALIZATION
By Patty Lynn

I knew he did a lot to help, a lot to keep things running,
A husband who is rare, indeed, his contributions stunning.
For I was blessed, I knew I was, and never took for granted
The rarity I had at home, some couldn’t understand it.

My husband there along with me, we kept the household going,
But he did things apart from me, without my even knowing.
The garbage magically was gone, a new bag in its place.
Recyclables were emptied, too, it’s like they were erased.

From vacuuming to clean-up, the deal we figured out…
Was I would cook, but clean-up was what he was all about.
And that’s the way we handled things, each one would do his part;
Yes, each of us performed our tasks, each doing it with heart.

And then his surgery took place in early January.
I thought that I prepared myself but truth be told was wary…
Of how it all would be for me, if I could just plain do it,
The things I do and all of his, I couldn’t just refuse it.

And so the morning after he had had the operation,
The things I could, I did ahead, again had admiration…
For all the things he used to do but now they fell to me.
With every task the truth was clear, I certainly could see…

That I depended on his help in everything each day.
I prayed that I could take it on, that God would find a way…
To give me strength to do the job, to maximize my part,
To care for him and do what needed doing from the start.

Now two months past, he’s healing well, and trying to contribute.
Improvement, though it’s slow, he’d say, his progress has continued…
To show he’s better every day, his confidence is showing.
There’s something to be said for that, and how he feels in knowing…

That this was what he had to do, so many things were tried.
They worked but only for a while, the long-term was denied.
Unless a change in structure and relief of nerves so pinched,
The final judgement’s yet to be, but he was so convinced…

That this was it, the only way, so now what’s left is this:
Determination, exercise, and a man who never quits! 
Each day I see that he will do whatever is required. 
That's why it is that I believe he'll get what he desires.                                                   


Saturday, February 18, 2017

AL JARREAU'S PASSING

TWO PEOPLE IN THE SAME PLACE AT THE SAME TIME

This past week saw the unfortunate passing of Jazz great, Al Jarreau, just a few days after he had announced his retirement.   Situations like these are always sad, particularly when we associate anyone’s foray into retirement as a long awaited time of relaxation and freedom. 

There certainly have been a lot celebrities that have died lately some have hit us harder than others, usually because we associated them with a memory they had a part in, a movie, song, even a phrase that stuck with us, etc.  But when Al Jarreau death was made public recently, it hit me harder than just another celebrity’s death.

This event brought back memories of my seventeenth year when as I had just graduated from high school and told myself that what I really wanted to do with my life was to try my hand at becoming a professional singer. I knew my chances were slim but I told myself that if I never tried, I would always regret it. So, knowing that the first step was getting a demo made, I looked through the telephone book (some of you know what that is) to find a recording studio, find out the costs and someone willing to help me make it.

Now, I’m sure I made a number of calls that day but that part’s a bit hazy. What I do remember is making a call to the Dave Kennedy Recording Studio and actually speaking to Dave himself.  I explained my situation to him and found him to be open and willing to make my request a reality.  I did tell him that I didn’t want to waste his time or my money if I didn’t have “what it takes.” Dave understood where I was coming from and offered a way for him to give me an objective opinion of my talent prior to jumping in head first to the time and expense to make a demo.

Much to my surprise, he told me that his group had a gig that evening at the Y and said if I wanted to sing a couple of numbers with the band, he’d give me his honest opinion as to whether the expense of making a demo was worth my while.  I remember being blown away that even though he didn’t know me, he was willing to let me sing with his group but knew it was an important step in determining whether or not to move forward.

You’d think I would have been nervous that night, a man and group I knew nothing about and singing a song or two with them, but I remember not being worried at all.  After they were done with their set, Dave gave me his stamp of approval and laid out how he could bring the cost down for me.  He told me that if I had to hire studio musicians and pay an hourly fee to rent the studio, it would be “big bucks” and given that I was a recent high school graduate, he knew I would have a difficult time footing the bill for such endeavor.

His solution was to use something called “Music minus One,” in essence a record that had a full-orchestra accompaniment minus the voice.  He explained that we could go in the studio and the orchestra accompaniment would be playing in a set of headphones and I could add my voice which he would record.  That was a great idea and one I whole-heartedly went for.  I’d have a full orchestral sound with minimal cost, something that I could readily handle financially.

 A few days later, after hours and hours of practice, I went into the studio and recorded one ballad and two up-tempo numbers.  He also provided me with a list of Recording Companies so that I could start submitting my demos as soon as they were made.  I was beside myself when Dave called a few weeks later to tell me my demos were finished and I made an appointment to come to the studio to pick them up.  We sat down in his office and he explained that demos were not like regular records, they weren’t made to play more than a couple times.  If they were, the quality would suffer as the grooves would widen with each playing.

During our meeting, Dave was called away unexpectedly but he said he’d be right back.
It was maybe 10 to 15 minutes later when he returned obviously upset with what had just transpired and I asked him what had happened.  It was then he said he was kicking himself because he had arranged for a talent agent to come to his studio to hear a young Milwaukee singer who he felt had exceptional talent, someone Dave had told the agent he needed to hear.  The audition with this record company’s talent agent was all set to begin when Dave told the agent, “Wait till you hear him.  He’s another Johnny Mathis!”  That’s when the agent said, “I don’t want to hear anybody who’s like someone else.  I’m looking for someone whose talent is unique!”  The young man wasn’t even given the chance to sing because of what Dave had said.

I‘m not sure if I asked what the young man’s name was or whether Dave volunteered it, but the young man’s name was Al Jarreau.  For many years I would periodically think of him and wonder what became of him, whether or not he pursued a singing career or not or if that time in Dave’s studio was the end of his career.  Then one day in the 80’s I read that a guy named Al Jarreau had recorded the theme song for a new TV show called Moonlighting, starring Bruce Willis and Cybill Shepherd.  I loved that show and in learning that Al Jarreau did the theme song I felt, in some small way, that I knew him.  Silly, I know, since we had ultimately only been in the same place at the same time but never met.  In the years that followed, his name and records came up occasionally but as he was primarily a jazz personality, I didn’t hear him often.

So that’s my Al Jarreau story.  Still, a death is always sad and his life was cut short.  He was only 76, four years older than I’ll be this year and that always hits me hard because I feel like I’ve got so many years ahead and things I want to do. 

That’s probably what he thought.