MAM: July 2, 2018: A Waterfall is Within

I don’t know exactly when I wrote this or the circumstances, but it seems pretty descriptive of so many points in my life. Enjoy!

A waterfall is within,
But drying up before my eyes, I weep dry tears, I fear I am falling out of faith, I fear I am falling out of grace, I fear grace was never here.

Beating my head against a brick wall of my own sin, breaking through every barrier I have put in my way, endlessly tripping down the same path, when will it end?

I fear I may never be able to win this war, I lose battle after battle, I fight with no ally, I fight alone, I fight within, I fight myself to sleep and grieve with every broken promise made to myself and the ones I love.

Is there an end, a way to win, is there a battle I may be victorious in? Never alone will I win, never alone can I conquer myself, I am too frail, too deep in my own flood of desires and passions. I am consumed.

I am faltered, I am weak, I am weary, I have fallen. I can’t get up from this pit, I am endlessly lost in this grave, underground but still walking, dead but still breathing, I need help, I need life.

I need forgiveness, I need strength, I need a Hand to lift me up, I need to turn around, to make my way back to joy. I cannot win my battles alone, I cannot fight my struggles inside, I must bring the war into the open.

Lead me on, Spirit. Be my shield and my sword, be my horse that carries me through the sea of deadly temptations, wielding their bloody axes, hacking into those without You, killing those who mock You, not knowing of Your might.

Lift me up, turn me away, send me running far out into the open, far away from the death that is within me.

Forgive me, cleanse me, heal me, cause my heart to be apologetic, cause my life to reflect You, cause my mind to dwell on You, cause my body to desire You.

I have thirsted, I have drowned, I have hungered and been gluttonous with that which is deadly, I have been arrogant and I have been smashed to bits.

But my life is faith, my walk is delicate, my desires are few, for I am fulfilled by my salvation, I am lifted up and guided through hard times by the Spirit who is greater than I.

I am nothing. God is Everything.

Music and Art Monday, June 25th, 2018: A New Song

I had an urge the other night to play guitar. This is not an urge I have very often, since I got so out of practice with the instrument that I get annoyed by it. But since I had the urge I rolled with it.

I even wrote a song.

Yep, it’s literally been years since I wrote a song. At least that’s how I remember it. So I decided I wasn’t going to get up from the table until I had something written. It’s simple and not very eloquent but I kinda like how it turned out.

I’m a little surprised at how hard it was to get out. I guess years of slacking off will build that kind of rust on a mind.

The wife’s out of town, so I was a bit lonely. But the words really aren’t about her, well, not entirely anyway.

Here are the lyrics:

I met a girl with a rebel heart,
She looked to me for a brand new start.
She told me she’d never part,
But now she’s left with her rebel heart.

Now I’m less a man inside,
Feeling just like I died,
When she left me and I cried,
Oh I cried.

It took us years to get a start,
Built a life despite her rebel heart,
She told me she’d never part,
But now she’s left with her rebel heart.

Now I’m less a man inside,
Feeling just like I died,
When she left me and I cried,
Oh I cried.

I may have deviated a little here and there and the chord progression isn’t perfect. But without further ado here is a link to Rebel Heart:

https://d.tube/v/driptorchpress/h7sd1inc

Music and Art Monday, June 11th 2018: Evolution

Sometimes I am a bit hard on myself. OK, much of the time I am a bit hard on myself. This goes for all things performance related. Life is performance based. We all strive to perform the best we can, at whatever we do, and sometimes we tend to beat ourselves up if our performance does not match our expectations.

Some things are easier to compare than others. If we are lifting weights we can see progress from lighter weight to heavier weight. If we are running we can watch our mile times shrink. Other things aren’t so tangible. Some things are so gradual that we hardly notice the change at all.

Painting is one such thing. Skill growth is so gradual that you won’t see changes over a short span of time. But if you look back you will see drastic differences.

Nicole, Acrylic on Paper, 2016
Nicole, Oil on Canvas, 2018

Or you may see no difference at all..

After the Bath, Acrylic on Paper, 2014. My first painting.
The Room, Acrylic on Paper, 2017

Sometimes you just have a change of perspective.

Fine Cigars, Acrylic on Paper, 2016
Fine Cigars Revisit, Acrylic on Paper, 2017

Sometimes your details get sharper.

Selfie, Acrylic on Paper, January 2014
Selfie, Acrylic on Paper, June 2014

Frequently you change the way you see yourself.

Self Portrait, Acrylic on Paper, 2014
Self Imposed, Acrylic on Paper, 2016

The evolution of our abilities isn’t always linear or perfect. We ebb and flow in our talents. Sometimes we meet our own expectations, sometimes we fall short. But we should always keep going…

Music and Art Monday, June 4th, 2018: Sorry About the Voice

Just because a few people liked it the last time, I decided to go ahead and attempt a couple more songs. My voice has not been the greatest the past few weeks, I’m blaming allergies, and my guitar playing is… Well… Ha…

But here goes:

First up is one of my favorite Gillian Welch songs, “Tear My Stillhouse Down.” It is probably the best one of all of these so you can probably just watch it and then skip the rest 😉

I’m kidding… Or am I?

Yes, those are reading glasses. I am going blind in addition to losing my voice…

Next up is John Prine’s Spanish Pipedream. This song contains what is perhaps my favorite line in a song, at least out of a John Prine song. See if you can figure out which one:

(WordPress has decided I have too much media, so I removed the video and uploaded it here.)

The next two I really wasn’t sure about. I love both of these but I definitely didn’t do them justice. Plus I think maybe the keys are not quite what they are in the originals.

Well… They won’t load. So I guess you were spared. 😀

I hope you enjoyed these. Or didn’t. Either way, here they were.

You can tell me in the comments. 🙂

Music and Art Monday May 21st, 2018: The Finished Works, New Works, and a Song For Good Measure

I finally finished my trio, here are the results:

I didn’t even notice the fly. Argh…

Hobby Lobby recently opened up in town, so guess who’s playing with oil paints? This guy!

Here is the first little bit of it:

Of course the kids had to paint:

The master at work…
“A Bird That’s Flying”
“A Zebra” or “A My Little Pony”

And just for a little filler here’s a song I wrote a billion years ago, somewhere I have a recording of it, but for now you’ll just have to settle for the lyrics:

Billy Joe 3/25/01

Billy Joe’s life was shattered when she was seven years old,
When her mother came home and she was told,
“Your daddy ain’t comin’ back no more,
Last night they found him drunk dead behind the general store.”

And she grew up thinking he was gone,
She never asked why at the break of dawn,
She’d seen him leave with a lady in red,
The morning before they said he was dead.

She’d seen him drunk many nights before,
But had never seen him leave from their front door,
There’d never been a night she hadn’t “fallen”,
When the man she feared came callin’.

Her mother said, “It’s okay honey”,
Told many stories to make life funny,
But he’d come home late at night,
Loaded up drunk and picking a fight.

She always said that she loved him,
She’d never think to even leave him,
Even after all those black eyes,
All the nights Joe could hear her cries.

But one day he was gone,
Packed up and left at the break of dawn,
Found himself a lady in red,
All mother could say is “He’s dead.”

South Alabama’s a lonely place,
All alone at night with her pale face,
Joe lies in bed every night,
To sleep with all the whispers she couldn’t fight.

Her mother had flung herself off a bridge one day,
The sheriff came all he could say,
“Your mother’s died of a broken heart,
Life moves on and has given you a fresh start.”

Billy Joe’s life was shattered when she was seven years old,
When her mother came home and she was told,
“Your daddy ain’t comin’ back no more,
Last night they found him drunk dead behind the general store.”

If you like any of my paintings or pictures feel free to pop over to my Artpal store here.

Music and Art Monday April 23rd, 2018: As Promised

Well, as promised, although a week late, I finally sat down and recorded a few videos of my rusty guitar playing.

First up are two of my favorite John Prine songs: “Take the Star Out of The Window” and “Paradise”. You can definitely tell that I am rusty.

And here are two originals from almost 20 years ago. I was not the best lyricist back then, and I probably haven’t played these for 10 years. The first is called “Hold Me To Your Side” and the second is “Blue Bob Blues”. It was not written about my wife, I swear it.

It was fun taking a trip down memory lane, even if it was a bit bumpy.

Music and Art Monday, April 2nd, 2018: Art and Ennui

It has been awhile since I’ve written one of these. But I’m inspired, despite the fact that it is Wednesday night.

I just finished watching a biography of Eva Hesse. I had never heard of her before Netflix decided I needed to download her biography. While the art wasn’t exactly my taste, the life was certainly one of interest.

What is it about the slow, tedious times in life that inspire creativity? Why does it seem like the best artists are the ones who can capture the worst of emotion and pour them out painstakingly into works that last generations?

I will never be well known. Netflix will never tell you to download my biography (man, would that be boring). But I’d like to think that just a bit of me gets captured in these random spurts of activity driven by the slow and mundane hours of life.

Perhaps by the end of this week, before this appears on your screen, I might even pick up a paintbrush again and have more to show than just a series of long-exposure selfies.

Stay tuned, this feeling may not last…

Music and Art Monday, February 12, 2018: Soundtracks

How many times have you heard a song in a show or movie, only to have it get stuck in your head until you watched the show again or at least satisfied your brain with a listen on Spotify? Such is my life lately.

This past week was “Anyone Who Knows What Love Is” by Irma Thomas. I got sucked into Black Mirror by Netflix’s great marketing. I swear this song is the only song they got permission for. It shows up in so many episodes you can’t help but wonder what exactly are the writers trying to communicate with this choice? Are we to assume all episodes of the show take place in the same horrific universe? Eek.

Before that it was yet another Netflix show, Stranger Things. The unmistakable sounds of the 80’s make this not just one of the most listenable soundtracks but one of the most memorable as well. It makes for particularly great driving music. And if you are the passenger you can enjoy Spotify’s “Stranger Things Mode”. Oooooo….

Ok, so it’s just a flash light… booo

The last song that gets stuck in my head all the time is the very first song from the movie Youth. Not only do they shove you right into the singers face for the first three minutes of the movie, they play the entire length of “You’ve Got The Love”, thereby placing it squarely in your subconscious, only to come back weeks and months later begging for a re-watch. While listening to this on Spotify I actually discovered the rest of the soundtrack is pretty darn good as well. Even the song sung by cows. If you never watch the movie (which you should) you should at least give the soundtrack a spin. Cows people, cows…

Sir Michael Caine directing cows in song, does it get any better than this?