Posts Tagged ‘San Francisco Symphony’

Bach Cello Sonata No.1

October 11, 2017

In G.

And 5 and 6 as well.

Yo Yo Ma.

That is what I am listening to.

It was an intense day and I feel it slowly easing out of my body and sliding to the floor in a big puddle.

I could slide to the floor in a big puddle.

When I need to calm down and unwind I like to listen to this in particular.

It is sweet and I find it wistful, God I miss playing the cello.

There’s a spot about 1:50 into the first sonata and I can feel the bow in my hand, I can see my fingers striding over the neck of the cello and I can feel it between my legs.

I can get weepy thinking about it.

One would suppose that I would be past it, this yearning, but somethings stay with me a long time.

I don’t know that I ever really got over the loss of playing cello.

And I have had it suggested too many times to count that maybe I pick it up again.

I think.

Yes!

Let me do that.

In what fucking time?

I could give up writing in the morning.

I could play music for my morning spiritual fix.

I could not buy a car and buy a cello.

I could go over to Roland Feller and blow my heart out on a cello.

Roland Feller is the luthier for the San Francisco Symphony.

I went once, with a friend who worked out of the Burning Man offices when I was nannying there many years ago now.

He is a professional cello player and gigs about and plays with the San Jose Orchestra.

He gave me lessons for a while and one day took me to Roland Feller.

I would have never known that there was a luthier there.

It is an extraordinary nondescript house next to the Popeye’s Chicken on Divisadero Street.

There is no signage.

You have to make an appointment.

There is a gate and a call box and it looks like some cheap apartment, well, it’s in San Francisco so it’s probably not cheap, but the door opens into this gold mine of classical music instruments.

Violins.

Violas.

Stand up Bass.

Cellos.

Oh and the cellos.

I played a few different ones and I remember one in particular, it was luscious, the sound so rich, so vibrant, it made me quiver with delight.

My friend teased me a little that I was passionate and looked as though I might be having the sexy thoughts.

I had never had a cello quite that caliber ever before in my hands.

It was exquisite.

And one day.

Well.

I have written on this topic before, I will have another cello.

I’m not there yet.

But one day.

And in the mean time.

Well.

I have my Yo Yo Ma and I have Bach.

And Debussy.

And Chopin.

Oh the Chopin Cello Sonata in G Minor.

Oof.

So good.

The Bach is my favorite, but that Chopin is glorious too, passionate and brash and stupendous.

I love that I love classical music.

I don’t look the type.

Except, well, maybe that’s not true.

I feel like I might look the type, that there’s a brazen woman cellist in my heart.

Maybe she smashes herself on her music like I smash myself with my poetry.

Maybe one day the two will get back together again.

I don’t expect that I will ever be great, I never was great, but I had heart, yes, I had great big heart and I knew it and so did my most ardent supporter–my orchestra conductor, Mister Ziegler.

Where ever you are, you meant something to me that few teachers do.

He supported me, he was honest with me, he argued for me.

He brought in my mom and my step father, the fuck (egad, maybe I need yet another inventory on the man, christ), and sat them down and tried, oh how hard he tried, to convince them to not let me quit cello.

Quitting cello was not my idea.

It was my stepfathers idea.

We didn’t have enough money and my parents, god I can’t even say that, the man was never a fucking parent to me, he was a violent misogynistic sociopath, but not a parent, had bought a house in Windsor, outside the school system I was in at the time I was playing cello.

There was no thought of a tutor, I had one actually, that my conductor had arranged with the school and I was given said tutoring for free, but to move away from the school system I would lose that.

And the school that was closest to me, the one that I would attend, DeForest, well, they didn’t have an orchestra.

Oh sure.

They had band.

But no orchestra.

They had cut the funding for the orchestra.

You should see the football stadium though, a work of art that.

Anyway.

My conductor tried to argue that my parents continuing my tutoring or that I commute in to Madison for school and still stay with the cello.

Nope.

There were words, there was fire, I could see how hard my conductor was trying to get through to my parents.

My stepfather hated me playing.

He hated me practicing.

I got lost in the cello, I wasn’t there, I was gone, gone, gone, and he wanted me present and not in my fantasy world.

He also did not like that I read as much as I did, I shit you not.

What fucking parent doesn’t want their children to read?

When I was punished some of the worst punishments were being denied those things that I loved most.

Books and my cello.

Cello was first to go.

“Put it away and go clean the bathtub,” he said.

The the books were taken.

I don’t know what I did, I mean, I have absolutely no recollection of what I had done to deserve the grounding to my room one weekend, but he was diabolical.

I had no problem being grounded to my room, fine with me, I won’t have to look at you.

I’ll read, thank you very much.

But.

Oh my fucking god, the man had removed every single book I had in my room, everything was gone, it was stripped.

Thank God I had one underneath the mattress of my bed.

Fucking stashed my back up drugs thank you very much.

So.

It wasn’t much of a surprise, after the cello was taken and my stepfather and my mom left the orchestra room with me sadly in tow, that once we moved to Windsor I was to be denied academic access as well.

“She’s too proud, she needs to be humbled, she’s not allowed to do it,” he told my mom, who had tried in her own way to get him to give his permission to sway him.

I was trailing behind in the snow walking down Windsor Road in the middle of a cold ass night listening to them argue about me and the invitation I had been given to join an advanced English class-accelerated and an accelerated math class.

I didn’t care so much about the math, irony, I was actually able to attend that, I think my mom might have had a hook up or something with the math teacher now that I look back, but the English was resolutely denied.

I can feel rage in my chest when I think about that.

“Too proud, she’s just too fucking proud.”

And maybe I was.

Pride goeth before the fall.

I have been humbled in many ways, but I still like my books and I still love listening to cello.

And I am beyond proud of how I grew and became the woman I am today.

Despite the horrendous odds against me growing up.

I got out.

And you can’t put me down.

Nope.

I will not be ground down.

I will thrive.

I am thriving.

I am alive.

Happy.

Joyous.

Motherfucking.

Free.

And yes.

Proud.

 

 

 

 

You’re Like A Female Version

June 7, 2016

Of Peewee Herman.

Um.

Thanks?

Hey, Carmen, Peewee Herman is hella cool.

I mean.

Hello.

I may get confused with a hipster at times, affinity for coffee with notes of butterscotch and stone fruit, the one speed whip in the garage, the numerous tattoos, the arty glasses with the wood frames.

But.

The fact is.

I like glitter way too much to ever be a hipster.

Unless they suddenly make glitter in aged wood paneling or something ironic like that.

I also have a pink riding jacket for my scooter and um, heh, my helmet has not only glitter but stars and yes, I did, I have appliqued star stickers on my scooter that I put on myself.

Shut up.

So.

Heh.

I could see what he meant.

And I was flattered.

I mean, really, I haven’t been compared to many famous people, although a legend in my own mind, I don’t have that much claim to fame.

I like to think that I am.

But really.

I am just crazy old me.

“Don’t forget me when you’re famous,” he said to me last week when I saw him and told him about the podcast.

I still don’t know what the hell that means.

I suppose that I will be recorded and to that extent I have been practicing a little.

I love the sound of my voice, except when I hear it recorded.

Ugh.

Then.

Seriously.

Ugh.

Although, I heard a friend’s little guitar riff on his facecrack page and found myself making up little lyrics to it.

I’m not a singer, but I can carry a little breathy tune.

I shared that with my friend who I went to the Paul Simon show with, my vocal abilities, or lack thereof and his response?

Fucking golden.

“That never stopped me,” he replied.

Dude.

That’s right.

But.

I don’t play an instrument, even though I did play cello once upon a time in a land far, far away.

Wisconsin.

And there are days when I think, I should pick that up again.

In what time, Martines, in what time?

But, I do.

I love the sonorous voice of the cello and the prickly velvet thrum in my heart when I have been with an instrument that I connect with.

I had a friend who once took me to the luthier that all the San Francisco Symphony Orchestra uses, he’s a cellist with the San Jose Symphony, and the smell.

Oh.

So delicious.

The wood and the rosin.

The sounds.

I remember, still, it’s been many, many years, picking up a cello and the feeling of it nestled between my thighs and the weight of the scroll against my neck.

I remembered the feeling of the strings under my finger pads.

I pulled the bow across the C string and hit an F# and just about cried with the pleasure of it.

Heh.

Yeah.

I know.

It’s been suggested to me a lot to pick it back up.

And I digress.

A lot.

The Peewee Herman thing had me pause though.

I look like an artist.

But often times feel like I’m not quite the potential I am supposed to be.

That I haven’t done enough, I’m not prolific enough.

Suffice to say, how many of these fucking blogs have I written?

Over 1800.

There’s something prolific happening here.

And maybe it’s just me being kooky and dressing funny.

But really.

It’s just me.

It’s just how I like to be.

The glitter, the heart on my sleeve, the poetry that falls out of my eyes.

I may not have the degree of fame or fortune or whatever it is that I think I’m supposed to have to be considered a successful artist.

But.

I create.

That’s the thing.

I was thinking of a shred of lyric from one of my favorite Paul Simon songs, and not one that most people would quote from either.

It’s from “Hurricane Eye,” from his album “You’re the One.”

You want to be a writer/but you don’t know how or when.

Find a quiet corner/use a humble pen.

And I tell myself that everyday.

I am a writer.

I have my quiet corner.

I use my humble pen.

Fuck.

Thank God I got to Walgreens today.

I was almost out of ink in my last couple of favorite pens.

The last couple of times I was in the store they were out of my favorite and man, it makes a difference, just like the quality of paper that I like when I am doing my morning pages.

I hate those decompostion notebooks with a fervor.

Yeah.

I know.

Ecologically friendly and all that.

But the quality of the paper is shit and it feels like crap when I write on them.

Nope.

No thanks.

I prefer Claire Fontaine notebooks from France.

Or.

When I can’t procure those.

The college ruled glitter notebooks in bright turquoise, silver, and hot pink from Safeway.

Heh.

Yeah.

I told you.

I can’t be a hipster.

I love glitter a little too much.

I don’t have to be anything, I don’t have to fit any category.

I can be the girl, or woman, should you so prefer, who wears flowers in her hair and cries a lot.

“Dude, that’s what you do,” my friend texted me back when I told him that I was in tears half the Paul Simon concert.

I do.

I do, do that.

I sort of leak with gratitude and happiness and joy.

Even when I experience shame over things I can’t control, at least I can forgive myself for that, or self-loathing or self-deprecation, I am learning, slowly, oh so fucking slow, that this is ok.

And after all.

These words are not my choice.

I am the conduit.

I am just dead light pushing crystal spun sugar into the veins of the universe.

I am just the channel through which the words move.

And I cannot tell you.

I cannot tell me.

Why this beleaguered life.

Why on my knees.

I still.

Love.

Love.

Love.

This tumult, this strife.

The promise of every day that breaks.

Across my face, the grey morning light.

The sun sequestered in fog.

The call of the day.

The fall of God.

Into my lap.

The kisses freckled on my skin.

The rapture of song.

The life within.

That small quiet voice.

Always there.

Even when I am hoarse with tears.

There are still flowers in my hair.

And my heart upon my sleeve.

It’s tattooed there.

Lined in the liminal.

Luminous.

Lustrous.

Love.

Of all that is.

Which.

Is.

In the end.

Just.

Love.

 

 

 

And A Very Merry Christmas

December 26, 2014

To you.

The day is winding down.

The tree is slightly askew.

But I bought it that way, don’t fret.

My nod to a Charlie Brown Christmas tree.

Or a “humility tree” as I learned when I was up in Anchorage; where, yes, I was given the opportunity to place the one and only little red bulb on the bent bough.

One of just a few memories that popped into my head as I reflected on my day and watched the surf pound the sand.

Yes.

I spent Christmas down by the sea.

Not all of it.

Although, I suppose I could argue that I did, considering how close to Ocean Beach I live.

My guy had obligations that took him out of the city today, so I made the big Christmas dinner last night: bacon wrapped baked rib eye w/blue cheese butter and pomegranate reduction, garnished with garlic mushrooms and pomegranate seeds; tossed salad with romaine hearts and black olives, cherry tomatoes, and organic radishes; baked Japanese sweet potato with sea salt and whipped butter; baby asparagus with shaved parmesan cheese and prosciutto; and last, but not least, marscapone infused with cinnamon and nutmeg and the last of the season persimmons and medjool dates stuffed with Roquefort blue cheese and topped with strawberries.

Yeah.

I roll like that.

Notice, if you will, because although I don’t bristle when folks exclaim, “oh my God!  What do you eat if you don’t eat sugar or flour?” that I did not make a thing that required said ingredients.  I always find it funny that, I must not eat well if I exclude those food items or things that have those food items in them.

I eat damn well.

And I did as well tonight, with  my guy back from his trip, but simpler so that we could actually eat before it was too late.

Tonight we had breakfast for dinner: scrambled eggs with garlic crimini mushrooms, asparagus tips, a bit of left over prosciutto from last night, parmesan cheese, paired up with chicken apple sausage and yogurt for the man, and marscapone cheese for me, with strawberries and blackberries.

My guy also got toast.

I bought the tiny little loaf of SemiFreddi’s at the store yesterday.

Perfect for slicing up some toast and using some organic small vat butter.

And yes, I talk the talk, but I can attest to the quality of the food not just because I ate it, but so did he and he washed the dishes too.

Good man.

Good God damn.

I am a lucky girl.

I thought today, again, as I walked down to the beach with a blanket and a book that a dear friend had given me for Christmas, my lunch (left over salad from dinner last night and an apple–I can’t eat like I did very often add to that I had oysters and tartar the other night and the Absinthe burger–no bun–after the symphony on Tuesday night, I have eaten well and richly for this week), dressed in love’s trappings–flip-flops on my feet, a light sweatshirt and a sundress, adorned with some sunblock Santa left underneath the Christmas tree.

I have had a lovely week.

I really have.

Even when my head has gotten in the way.

I was able to step out of if, do some writing, do some inventory, and get readjusted really fast.

I know that the holidays are the holidays and that I treat them as such, just another day I get to have on this planet.

Just another moment, yes, layered with memories, but just another day of opportunity to practice love, service, gratitude.

This is water.

The surf crashed, the waves unfurled with all the winter magnitude and majesty of Ocean Beach and I held the small book in my hand and was quiet for a little while.

My friend had gifted me David Foster Wallace’s commencement speech that was published in essay form, “This is Water” and I had read the book in two sittings, perhaps fifteen minutes each, between last night and this afternoon at the beach.

This is Water

Contemplative Christmas by the Sea

I could choose to see the garbage in the dunes and be unkind in my mind about litter bugs, or I could look at it as a sort of point of focus that brought all the beauty of the sea and sand and ocean together.

Sometimes when I see something ugly I have to choose a different perspective to appreciate what I have.

I could grouse about the tourists who couldn’t wait to get off the beach and take their 7-Eleven pizza box with them.

Or I could be grateful that today, instead, I choose to feed myself well, organically, and lovingly, and with kindness.

That I took time today, despite it’s Christmas, because it’s Christmas, to do laundry and put fresh sheets on my bed, to meditate, to write, four, no six! Six pages long hand.

That I called people I love and left messages and that I just showed up for whatever the day was going to give me.

That is the gift.

The amends.

The way of living that I take, or try to the best of my ability, to take daily, to live a honorable and will lived life.

Yeah, Christmas can throw it all into high relief, the gift buying, the special foods, the racking your brain over what so and so would like, the juggling of everyone’s schedule, sending gifts out, parties, dresses, expectations.

Oh, expectations.

Or, as someone said to me recently, “white girl problems.”

I had some and I let them go, drift away on the sand and the tide and the sea and I paused as they danced into the air on the backs of the speckled brown wild plovers dashing in and out of the surf, and I said, goodbye, I don’t need to see it that way and the world tilted, the shift happened, the perspective changed.

Gratitude.

Mile and miles and miles of it.

For my family, my health, my little Charlie Brown Christmas tree, for getting to go to the San Francisco Symphony with my honey for the Charlie Brown Christmas special, the lights of City Hall all festive and bright as seen from the roof top balcony of the Symphony building.

Christmas in San Francisco

City Hall San Francisco

Grateful for beautiful silver earrings from my boyfriend in the shape of wings, that remind to be angelic, sweet, gentle, with myself and the experience.

Grateful that my grandma and my uncles headed up to Anchorage Alaska to see my father, so that he was not alone on this Christmas.

Grateful for my sister and her family and my mom and her partner down in Florida being close.

For though I was alone part of the day, I never felt lonely or lost or out to sea when I allowed myself to see exactly the gifts that I have in my life.

And oh, there are so many more than the ones listed, they are just a drop in the bucket, a speck of foam on the cusp of wave unfurling out at the shore.

My life, my love bucket full, my grateful heart, my friends, and family, and employers, and fellowship, my boyfriend, my perspective, a blessing.

Graced with gratitude for it these gifts.

Merry Christmas to all.

And to all.

A very good night.


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