The days go by so full with possibilities.

I have been working on this grant proposal for my trip to Turkey for weeks now.  There were a few derailments of plans when I learned I had to submit things recorded in the last 24 months, then when the first recording revealed itself not up to par, then I got super sick, then Forrest who is helping me with this thing became super busy.

Today the Gods granted us a break, freeing him a day ahead of schedule so he could come and record and they allowed me a good head space, something vital when you record as it is like a mirror.

The deadline?  March 01.  Which means by February 28th all has to be ready, I have experienced last minute deals where suddenly something like your printer won’t work, the files won’t upload to the receiving server or some sort of voodoo to make your blood pressure rise and your nerves crackle like rice crispies.

And I could be doing all this for naught, in the sense that the proposal may not be accepted.  But in all truth it’s not for naught.  There has been many good things for me and for Forrest that have happened because of this deadline.  Pushing the boundaries, daring, creating, daring and trusting.  In short, lots of living the good life, fighting the good fight.  To dare trusting that it will all work out.  To know that all is “perfect.”

gifted hands

gifted hands

 

gifted man

gifted man

 

the instrument that came as a gift, all the way from Turkey

the instrument that came as a gift, all the way from Turkey

 

the gift of inspiration that brought the song

the gift of inspiration that brought the song

 

In a way, it’s all in day’s work and I could just brush it off as “something I did” or “something I had to do” but it’s more than that.  Every day these days, every conversation, every beautiful face, make me feel so blessed.  The sound of the bike’s engine, the sun shining day in and day out, oh how I need that light…  the hummingbirds zooming by the window, the coyotes yelping in the middle of the night, right by my window, yes, in the middle of civilization.

The day after tomorrow, all the plays will have been played with this grant, then I’ll put together the Crowdfunding site and hope with all my heart that it is successful.

This morning, as I was having breakfast looking at the latest exploits of my Facebook friends, I fell upon a video, Allan Watts.  Wow, that took me back some decades, in CEGEP St Laurent, first year student, philosophy class, we were then studying “The art of life” one of his books.  I remember the huge impact it had on me.

There he was, talking to us, “What if money was of no concern?” he asked.  He said the students they asked the question to all answered such things: ” I’d be a poet, a musician, I’d give horseback riding lessons…”  And he then said how most of us live a life we don’t want, raise our children to live lives they don’t want…  He said the most important question we should ask ourselves is “What do I desire?”  And the only thing we truly have is right now.

And I asked myself how happy I was with my life.  And my answer is that it’s not perfect, but I am staying true, so I am quite blessed.   I managed to stay true to myself, true to my wishes, dreams and desires.  True to the callings that stir my soul, even when I am not sure where they are taking me.  Like Turkey, like the saz, like music, like California, like the bike.

I am getting ready to head out into the great unknown.  I am ready to open up heart, soul, hands, mind.  I am ready to look up and say once more : “I am yours, show me the way, teach me the lessons.”   Oh the learning that will come.   I can’t wait.

a little magic today

February 26, 2013

I have this routine, I go to the Klatch, sit down, and work.  For some reason, I have grown into having to get out of wherever I am to go and  sit in a noisy cafe to drown into my work.  A sort of  isolation by  crowd therapy.  The louder the noise, the thicker the bubble.  I really get focused.

But want it or not, you meet people.  And I must say, I have come to really relish the interventions of strangers.  It is a risk they take, they open up, reach out.  99.9 % of the time it is quite special.

Earlier today, I had been sitting with one of these new friends at a large 4 chair table.  When he left I figured I better leave the table for a group to use instead of me alone so I went back to the “communal table”  A long 12 seater where lone customers like me sit side by side doing whatever they do, which usually involves a laptop and a cup of coffee.

I took a seat and next to me was an elderly couple.  They had to be well into their 70’s if not more.  They are regulars, the man always has an incredibly gentle demeanor and he always helps his wife in the kindest, supportive way.  She is quiet, does not speak much, but has a very beautiful smile.  I had met them before.  Back in 2010 when I had just been gifted Beowulf, my BMW K75.  He remembered that.  I told him a bit what had happened since then.  The new bike, the homelessness in Canada, then the meeting o of Turks in Ottawa and the following discovery of their music and the saz and how all this now brings me to this moment where I sit in this cafe, writing a grant proposal to help pay for my studies of the saz in Istanbul, Turkey.

“Oh, we went to Istanbul, a while back…  The people were so kind…  and the food was really good…” he was telling me.

“We went to Cappadochia and we went in the east, far in the East, where people don’t go, near Van… we had to have a military escort to see the historical sites, the Kurds could be attacking… ”

The conversation was really enjoyable, I told them how I have found a saz teacher, how much I am looking forward to this trip, to the learning, how fast it is coming.  They finished their drink, a tall cup with two straws and they left.

About 40 minutes later I saw them come in the cafe again, I wondered but kept working.  A moment later, her was next to me and extending a book towards me.

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“We thought you could enjoy this, I know you travel light but you might like this.”  It was a photo book of Istanbul, I was flabbergasted.  How thoughtful this gesture was.   I opened it up and it had really beautiful photos in there, I was totally digging this.  Then he said:

“Oh and here…”  he had a worn envelope in his hand.  ” When we went, they told us to give $2 dollar bills as gratuities, so we got a whole bunch, you can probably use that…”

a19

 

The envelope contained a thick stack of two dollar bills…

“Huh???”  was about as much as I could come up with.  They said goodbye and left me there confounded.

“What the?!”

I said, looking at these things in my hands.  I actually had never seen a $2 US bill.  Now I had a stack of them that had just been handed to me by a stranger and his sweet wife.  I pulled them out.  At the back of the stack the very last bill looked different.  It was blackened, really old, worn, with a piece of aged scotch tape on it.  I looked closer and…

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The year on it…  well, it was the year I was born.

Try to explain this one…

 

Motion Forward…

February 23, 2013

These last weeks have been focused mainly on getting together a grant application for the Canada Council for the Arts for an artist grant to go study music in Istanbul Turkey.  The deadline is March first and what I need is to fill out an application.  Write in 750 words what it is I am going to do.  Put together a budget.  And I need 3 pieces of music to represent me, the project and what I do presented in either in video or recorded format.

I had plans of recording with Forrest in January.  I was really wanting to be organized and do this early.  We were waiting Forrest and I to hear from the person who had offered help and nothing was coming forth.  Finally we learned that there had been some serious health related family issues and that this option was out.

Came February.

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A good 10 days ago we set up and recorded the 3 songs in a church.  This  picture is me on Arkadas heading out to the recording session, I have the saz on my back, the guitar on the back of the bike, a mini amplifier in the saddle bags and the cables…  A friend called it the musical Ninja and I like this!

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A few days later when we sat down to listen to the fruits of our labors,  I heard how it sounded I knew it wasn’t good enough…  Forrest had done an outstanding job with adding percussion parts but my playing was not up to par.  Gulp. Here  we now stand past the middle of the month.  Pressure rises…  Yikes!  Forrest is now really, really busy working a FT job and having to juggle gigs and rehearsals at night…  I need these songs by the 28th…

Came February 16

I’m sick like a dog.  Obliterated.  There is no way I can do anything….  Pressure keeps rising, yet there is nothing I can do but try to rest.

 

Came February 21st

a10

Last night, Forrest had the afternoon and evening open.  We set up in my bedroom.  One microphone, the laptop, Logic (recording software) and I get the saz.  I am still dizzy and weak from this brutal flu bug.  My muscles are just a bunch of inflamed tissue, my hands are stiff…  But I have to do this and thankfully Forrest is a very generous and patient being.

a12

After a few takes music is starting to emerge from my sorry body.  Huston: we have a take!  I put down the saz and do a vocal, thankfully, the flu did not hurt my voice other than lowering it.  I sing.  It works.  Then Forrest records doumbek and a couple other percussion instruments.  We have a song.

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So… two more to go…

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Forrest is busy wall to wall until the 27th… when we will record again and hopefully magic will occur.  I now have 5 days to woodshed the songs so that I am able to shine next Wednesday…

 

I do trust that all comes in good time and that all is “Perfect” but this is, I must admit, this wall of a deadline fast appoaching is  unnerving!

In case you don’t know,  the reason for all this hoopla over a grant application is this :

 

I am heading overseas for 9 months, to Turkey, to study the saz and Turkish music!  The grant would help cover travel costs and subsistence costs.

I dream of going over there, finding a motorcycle, ride from France to Istanbul, study for six months and go for discovery trips on the bike, with the saz.  A kind of logical segue from what I have done since 2010.  Of course with my gypsy life, I have not really been one to accumulate riches so to help make this come true I am also preparing a Crowdfunding project.

 

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In March I will have the presentation ready on RocketHub, I will let you know. There are rewards to be had for the level of donations and It will include the download of my yet to be released new album “Beat it to Pieces” Yes, the one that many have been waiting for for so long. This will be your chance to get it first! Crowdfunding is about getting people excited to be part of something. If you believe in the cause, please share my project around with your friends and your network, every little bit counts. It is so incredibly exciting. I am barely touching the ground.

I found a teacher in Istanbul, the rest is all yet to materialize.

 

In order to raise funds I am also trying to sell whatever I have that I am not using.  I was thinking of IO, my 83 Suzuki GS 750 ES that is sitting at a friends garage since December 2010.  I thought of selling it for parts.  Today I tried to put it up on Ebay and I could not do it…  a strange sort of internal ” don’t do it”.   Here it is in all its glory…

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I will follow my gut… I am sure there is a reason, there always is one.

 

On this I say goodbye.  Talk to you soon.