Thursday, November 23, 2006


Happy Thanksgiving to All!

I'm most thankful for the simple things, like being able to enjoy the colors and sounds, tastes and feelings of everyday things.

I'm thankful for my mind and my health.

I'm thankful for someone I love to share my life with.

Wishing you all a year ahead filled with many reasons for giving thanks.

Monday, November 13, 2006

Quantum Leap!

Tonight, I started editing a song we recorded about a week ago up at Ascension Studios.

I'm learning to use MOTU Digital Performing. I spent 3 hours in one sitting, editing the vocals and trimming other tracks while learning, experimenting with the mix. Still much to do.

It's been a goal of mine for a long time to learn this. Knowing how to use this program puts the power in my own hands to create the balance of sounds I imagine. Very exciting!

I feel the way opening before me.

Friday, November 10, 2006

Lady of Shalott - Takes Charge

Today I took a long awaited trip to the Wadsworth Athenium in Hartford, CT. I spent the entire day there looking at paintings and reading descriptions. Bliss!

One painting in particular captured my imagination, The Lady of Shalott (1886-1905), by William Holman Hunt (1827-1905), based on the poem (1832) of the same name by Alfred Lord Tennyson. The story originates in Arthurian legends.

The image resonated so strongly that I copied down the description from the wall nearby and on my way out, several hours later, bought a postcard of the image, though no replica does justice to the intensity and impact of the full-size painting.

The caption reads, in part, "illustrates a poem of the same title by Alfred Lord Tennyson (1809-1892) based on the romance of King Arthur and the knights of the round table. For Tennyson, the story suggests that young love, nurtured in the imagination, must some day come into contact with reality. Hunt, however, interpreted the poem as a moral warning against straying from duty. [The painting] depicts the moment when the Lady of Shalott, doomed to weave tapestries from mirror reflections, glances out of the window to gaze directly at the gallant Sir Lancelot. The mirror cracks. Chaos and confusion overtake her sheltered existence and her work unravels."

Before I write more about my own reaction to the painting, I will read the original poem.

Just in glancing at the text, one phrase catches my eye:
"I am half sick of shadows," said The Lady of Shalott.

She wants love. She longs to be a part of the world she watches indirectly.

I wonder what magic has bound her there, dooming her to weave images from reflections of the world outside her window.

I’ve chosen to look reality directly in the face. The mirror of my romantic notions has cracked. I deal with the chaos. I'm ready step beyond the confines of an artistic life lived apart.

Very little may change visibly as a result, but I will know. The journey from this point forward will be one of my own choosing. This is the only way to break the curse.

Women often feel bound by duty, creating what we feel we must as reflections of other people's lives. This poem is cautionary.

Lancelot, the hero. The Lady of Shalott has not seen him and fallen in love. She has glanced outside her window and awakened the hero within herself, though she sees it contained within another. She falls to a curse she knows only as a vague anxiety (She knows not what the curse may be, And so she weaveth steadily). Because she has not taken care to weave her own fate beyond that moment, her work unravels around her and she dies before reaching her destination. But isn't she beautiful. God have mercy upon her.

In the painting at the Wadsworth Athenium, she is consumed in the moment with untangling herself from the threads of her tapestry. She appears confused, turned inward, unable to step over the frame of her weaving out into the world beyond, even as birds take flight around her and Lancelot rides away.

In the poem, she finds enough strength to locate a boat, paint her name on its prow, get in and release it to flow in the river. Beyond that, she is passive to her perceived fate. She does not row or steer. She lies in a trance, a seer not a doer on her own behalf. She dies, singing a mournful song, drifting at the mercy of the current, known in the end only as a lifeless body with "a lovely face" and no proper name.

I will not share her fate.

A curse holds no power except that which we give it.

©2006 Kay Pere - Effusive Muse Publishing

Tuesday, November 07, 2006


Word for the day: throwing.

Throwing out old music educator magazines I'd been saving for the articles, some since 1998, after tearing out just the parts I wanted and filing them. My bookcases are beginning to have room for more important things. Much more to do.

Throwing a pottery bowl today on the kick-wheel out in the barn, doors open looking out on gray sky, green lawn and almost leafless trees beyond. Just as I finished the bowl, the temperature started to drop, from 60F earlier to 53F, the wind and rain came. Brrrrrr. I was damp from the water and clay. Had to clean up quickly, hurry inside and take a hot shower. I'm a wimp when it comes to cold. Really need to check out getting that propane heater and lights.

Getting ready to throw my hat back into the business marketing/promotion ring at another level. I've begun learning to use Constant Contact in preparation for sending out a monthly e-newsletter. I'm still several steps away, but the goal is in sight.

I've been thrown off a bit the past few days. Haven't heard from friend who was out on the road, going through a tough time. I hope she's OK.

I really need to take a day to throw caution to the wind and go out on an adventure myself. I've been delaying, not sure why.

PS - A clarification. I'm actually recycling all the old magazines. Three paper grocery bags full, so far.

I'm a fanatic when it comes to recycling. I pick through the trash here at home to find things that others didn't take the time to put in the recycling bin. The thought of recyclable and reusable things going to the landfill really bothers me. I'm sort of weird that way.

Same thing for wasted food. Very little gets thrown away here if I can help it. Scraps either go to the cats, if they're meat or dairy, or into the compost pile if they're plant matter or eggshells.

I thought about saving the magazines for collages, but it just felt better to make a clean start this time.

©2006 Kay Pere - Effusive Muse Publishing

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Completion / Reflection

Late fall. This is the time for quiet reflection that follows, and precedes, intense activity.

It's been a hugely busy fall for me, a giant project recently completed and awaiting response. It's also been a time of repeated illness--colds, laryngitis, fevers, allergies--fortunately over now. The two, combined, left little time for contemplative writing, outside of the occasional journal entry or email sent to friends.

Gaia Luna has been put to bed for the season. Its protective circle is closed for now. The harvest is over, except for a few herbs remaining until the first hard frost comes.

My pottery tools and supplies have been brought in from the Art Barn. I may still use the kick wheel on days when the weather is warm enough. A propane heater and overhead lighting for the space are being considered. They might enable me to work out there even when the snow comes. It's a drafty old barn, though. I don't know if any heater could warm it effectively. The only way to find out may be to try.

Now that one big project is behind me (or the launch pad phase of it anyway), I'm beginning to look toward harnessing that energy to reach other goals.

Before I proceed, though, I need to take time to capture the many ideas and competing goals circling in my mind these days, to listen attentively for what they might tell me.

It’s imperative to write down my goals, ideas, and wishes as they occur. Certain ideas arise only in specific circumstances. I’ve set traps for these, all around the house, built from stacks of blank 3x5 cards and piles of sharpened pencils. I ensnare ephemeral intentions, transcribing them as they coalesce, quickly, before they can evaporate into a fog of recollection and a chalky residue of regret.

I’ve tried writing these things down in long lists, on pads of paper, in composition books, or in my Palm software on my computer. These lists quickly become outdated, stagnant.

3x5 cards seem to be a practical solution. I can add to them flexibly, prioritized them tactilely, spread them out in front of me to examine in a variety of groupings and chronologies.

My growing deck of cards is a computer-free, 3-dimensional database of ideas, in keeping with my preferred, off-the-grid, web-like creative process.

This time of reflection is an important preparation for the next cycle of activity, in the time before it begins again. Perhaps it will add depth and meaning to my creative work.

Action will follow again when the time is right, when I make the choice to move ahead, or when the next idea comes and chooses me to give it life.

(c)2006 Kay Pere -- Effusive Muse Publishing