Let’s Talk About Music

Thanks to My English Cup of Tea for inspiring this. Before I started writing full time, I was a registered music therapist, working for fifteen years in nursing homes and other facilities that served senior citizens.

I understood and still appreciate the power of music to heal. Even today, music relaxes me when I need to unwind and motivates me when I need to get up and do something.

When I ran across Kathrins’ musical tag, I decided to give it a try. Here are my answers to the questions provided on the site.

 

What sort of music do you like to listen to?

 

I enjoy classical, jazz, and some standards from the 60’s, 70’s, and 80’s. I also like a little contemporary music once in a while.

 

Do you play an instrument? What is your favorite instrument?

 

I play piano and guitar. Although I no longer work as a music therapist, I still visit nursing homes and other facilities from time to time and play my guitar and sing for the residents. I like the guitar’s portability, but I can do more with the piano.

 

What is your favorite quote about music?

 

I’m not sure where this came from, but I remember it being the theme of a concert I attended years ago featuring a college choir along with a children’s group sponsored by the YMCA. “Music is the doctor.”

 

Who is your favorite singer/musician?

 

My favorite singer is Linda Ronstadt. I read her autobiography a couple of years ago. She had an interesting life. “Heart Is Like a Wheel” is still one of my favorites. I don’t think it was as popular as her other work, but it echoes my sentiment after my husband passed.

 

Who is your favorite songwriter/composer?

 

I don’t have any favorites here. From Beethoven to Joni Mitchell, I don’t think any one is better than another.

 

Who is one musician or composer you secretly like but won’t admit?

 

I don’t have any, and that’s the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, so help me God.

 

If you had to get stuck on a desert island with only three works of music, what would they be?

 

I would choose songs representing different turning points in my life. Simon and Garfunkel’s “El Condor Pasa” was on one of my first eight-tracks when I was a kid. It was the first song I sang for a talent show, accompanying myself on the piano.

Barbara Streisand’s “Songbird” was one I listened to frequently during my music therapy internship in Fargo, North Dakota. At the time, my supervisor didn’t think I would be successful as a music therapist. The song echoed my sentiment.

I Want to Spend My Lifetime Loving You” from The Mask of Zorro was a song my late husband and I enjoyed listening to together while snuggling. Even today, I’m amazed that a man wanted to spend his lifetime loving me. You can read more about this in My Ideal Partner.

 

What kind of music do you dislike?

 

I hate heavy metal. It grates on my nerves. I also don’t like modern atonal classical music. It sounds more like noise, but then again, one person’s noise is another’s music.

 

Now it’s your turn. If you have a blog, you can answer the above questions there and link to your post here. Otherwise, you can share your answers in the comments field. Either way, I look forward to hearing from you and wish you many more happy hours of music listening.

 

Author Abbie Johnson Taylor

We Shall Overcome

How to Build a Better Mousetrap: Recollections and Reflections of a Family Caregiver

That’s Life: New and Selected Poems

My Ideal Partner: How I Met, Married, and Cared for the Man I Loved Despite Debilitating Odds

Click to hear an audio trailer.

Like me on Facebook.

Sunday Best: Third Thursday Poets Meeting

This past week, my Third Thursday Poets had its regular meeting. For two hours each month, we write, share, and critique. We take turns facilitating, and the person in charge gives a homework assignment for the next session.

Since I was in charge last month, I gave the assignment for this month. I got the idea from Writing Poetry (Second Edition) by Barbara Drake, the textbook for a correspondence class in poetry I was taking from the Hadley Institute. The prompt was to write a six-line poem, using the following instructions.

 

Line 1. Write a line, a sentence, with a color in it (or two colors).

Line 2. Make a one-line statement about a town.

Line 3. Say something about a time of year, a season, or the weather.

Line 4. Finish a sentence that begins “I wish.” Line 5. Say something about a friend or a famous person.

Line 6. Finish a sentence beginning with the words, “Next year at this time.”

 

When we do these assignments, we each make copies to pass around and read our poem aloud. When I read mine, everyone thought it was funny, and no one offered suggestions for improvement. I guess that goes to show that you have to have a sense of humor about these things, and that there are times when a poem needs no improvement. Here’s what I wrote.

 

MY HOMETOWN

 

With blue sky, white clouds,

Sheridan, Wyoming, is the place to be

in summer when the sun shines,

far away from Donald Trump,

where Bill Cosby fades into the sunset.

Next year, I’ll be where I am now.

 

Now it’s your turn. See if you can write a six-line poem, using the above instructions. As you’re writing this, follow the instructions and don’t worry about it making sense at first. You can always go back and revise after you finish it.

Please feel free to share your results in the comments field. If you prefer, you can write about the best thing that happened to you this past week. In any case, I look forward to hearing from you.

 

Author Abbie Johnson Taylor

We Shall Overcome

How to Build a Better Mousetrap: Recollections and Reflections of a Family Caregiver

That’s Life: New and Selected Poems

My Ideal Partner: How I Met, Married, and Cared for the Man I Loved Despite Debilitating Odds

Click to hear an audio trailer.

Like me on Facebook.

 

 

Saturday Song: We Shall Overcome by Joan Baez

In light of events in Charlottesville, Virginia, last weekend, this song offers hope that maybe someday, we can overcome bigotry and hatred and live in peace. The name also happens to be the title of my first book. Despite all the violence in the world, I hope you can have a great Saturday.

 

 

Author Abbie Johnson Taylor

We Shall Overcome

How to Build a Better Mousetrap: Recollections and Reflections of a Family Caregiver

That’s Life: New and Selected Poems

My Ideal Partner: How I Met, Married, and Cared for the Man I Loved Despite Debilitating Odds

Click to hear an audio trailer.

Like me on Facebook.

 

Dumbest Thing I’ve Done by Cher’ley

What’s the dumbest thing you ever did? When I was a kid, I followed the wrong person in a grocery store. With limited vision, this wasn’t hard to do.

We’d recently moved to Sheridan, Wyoming, from Tuscon, Arizona, and I was about twelve at the time. It was winter, and while shopping in a supermarket with my mother and younger brother, I spotted a figure about the same age as my mother wearing a red coat with hood just like my mother was wearing. After I followed the figure up one aisle and down another, my younger brother, who was about five, seemed to appear out of nowhere laughing and said, “You’re following the wrong person.” The figure turned, and after the hood was removed, I realized it wasn’t my mother but an elderly man, who chuckled as my brother and I hurried away. Having a visual impairment can be a pain in the anatomy.

Now read Cherley’s story and share your own dumb things in the comments field.

Writing Wranglers and Warriors

This Blog  by Cher’ley Grogg

Fashion woman portrait

Over on the SDL Facebook wall, Dan Pearce asked: what was the most hilariously stupid thing you’ve ever done?

He got 24 favorite answers. Here are 3:

  1. I stopped at Hollister and inspected one of the sweaters on their mannequins. Only it wasn’t a mannequin. It was a guy waiting for his girlfriend to finish trying on clothes.
  2. When I was pregnant with our oldest I once waited for more than an hour for my husband to pick me up from work. I called him, madder than blazes that he hadn’t come to get me. After listening to my upset he very calmly informed me that I had the car.
  3. My mother, not wanting to lose my dad in the crowd at Disneyland, stuck her fingers down the back of my dad’s pants. She gave him several affectionate bare skin pats. Of course, my dad saw what…

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Thursday Book Feature: Writing past dark…

Writing past dark: envy, fear, distraction, and other dilemmas in the writer’s life

By Bonnie Friedman

Copyright 1993

 

In this collection of essays on the writing life, the author, through stories of her own experiences and those of others, explores such topics as envy, distractions, and success. She talks about attending a writing school and how it didn’t help her. She asks the question of whether or not to write about someone you know and reflects on the loneliness of the profession and the need for perfection. In the end, she shares how she was affected by one story being accepted for publication by The New York Times and a string of rejections that soon followed.

I was compelled to read this book because of an upcoming appearance by the author at one of my writing group meetings. Because her writing can be abstract, parts of the book didn’t hold my attention. Her comparison between writing and the Biblical story of Abraham sacrificing his son to prove his faith in God was, to me, absurd.

However, I found most of her stories interesting, like the account of how her parents reacted when they read a book she wrote about them. It made me think of my own memoir. I’m thankful I didn’t have anything really bad to write about anyone in that book. To learn more about My Ideal Partner, click here.

 

Author Abbie Johnson Taylor

We Shall Overcome

How to Build a Better Mousetrap: Recollections and Reflections of a Family Caregiver

That’s Life: New and Selected Poems

My Ideal Partner: How I Met, Married, and Cared for the Man I Loved Despite Debilitating Odds

Click to hear an audio trailer.

Like me on Facebook.

 

Breaks Are Important

Thanks to Linda Hasselstrom for inspiring this. Linda runs a writers’ retreat facility in South Dakota. In a recent post, she shares how one of her clients showed her the value of taking time to enjoy what is around you. She and this client have a point.

Recently when I returned home from entertaining at a nursing home, my plan was to take a nap, walk on the treadmill for half an hour, then finish a blog post and schedule it to go live in a couple of days. However the afternoon was sunny, though a bit windy, and a dip of salted caramel ice cream from the stand in the park called my name. I decided to skip the nap and walk to the park for that ice cream. That way, I could satisfy my craving and get my exercise in at the same time.

It was wonderful to sit at a picnic table near the ice cream stand and watch people come and go while enjoying my treat. After days of ninety-degree heat, I appreciated the cool breeze that rustled my hair and threatened to snatch my extra napkins.

It only took me about an hour to walk to the stand, purchase my scoop in a dish, eat it, and walk home, probably less time than if I were to have taken my nap and walked on the treadmill instead. When I returned to my computer, ready to finish my blog post, I was refreshed.

What do you like to do to give yourself a break and enjoy your surroundings? I look forward to reading about it in the comments field.

 

Author Abbie Johnson Taylor

We Shall Overcome

How to Build a Better Mousetrap: Recollections and Reflections of a Family Caregiver

That’s Life: New and Selected Poems

My Ideal Partner: How I Met, Married, and Cared for the Man I Loved Despite Debilitating Odds

Click to hear an audio trailer.

Like me on Facebook.