haiku for the day: actor

Actors are amazing. The good ones can take you far, far away to another world or to another story just by the words they speak. Imagine the voice of Richard Burton or James Earl Jones. Wouldn’t it be something to have one of those vocal giants narrating your life? “It was an ordinary day, that June 13th, until Candy burst forth from her mother’s womb. Candy refused to move on from pre-school to the first grade because her best friend, Tammy Sue, didn’t make the grade and was held behind. Such a hero, Candy was.” As the Richard Burton/James Earl Jones narration might show. With their narration, there wouldn’t be any humdrum lives. We would all be Superstars. Notice that is Superstar with a capital S.

An actor on stage
a Hamlet or a Macbeth
or even Falstaff

Uncle Bardie’s Spotlight Song: The River

Once a week on Friday, Uncle Bardie celebrates the creativity in others by shining a Spotlight on a movie, a song or a creator. This week’s Spotlight is the song, Bruce Springsteen’s “The River”.

I first saw this song performed watching the “No Nukes: Musicians United For Safe Energy Concert” Documentary. As soon as I heard it, I knew this Bruce Springsteen knew the kind of place I’d sprang from. You don’t write songs like this ‘less you’ve lived it. And I was on board the E Street Band express.

haiku for the day: thanksgiving turkey style

For a bit of time, I’ve wanted to use haiku for a story. Maybe call it a story ku. So, for this Thanksgiving, I’ve gone the extra mile and created an extra special haiku Alfred Hitchcock style. Hope you enjoy the story:

The Bird all dressed up
accompanying Miss Gravy
and Cranberry Sauce

return to the scene
of the crime when, on its first
anniversary,

with his knife and fork
repeat the dastardly deed
with a joyful glee.

The ultimate turn
around I dare not repeat
but let us just say

it wasn’t happy
last Thanksgiving when Turkey
made the feast his own.

Now the three, all stuffed
to the gills, retire for some
easy repartee.

Near 500 words: No More Comparisongs

“What are Comparisongs?” you ask.

Comparisongs are those I compare myself with. But there is no way on God’s green earth that I am going to come close to catching up with them. I am talking writers here, of course. If I was a musician, they would be musicians.

When I was young and green, I wanted to be the next Hemingway. ‘Course I didn’t have the machismo in me that the Maestro. I wasn’t into hunting or fishing or bullfighting or punching someone’s lights out. That didn’t stop me from wanting to match myself up against the Master. I thought I could write simple declarative sentences and make them sing as good as Papa did. Little did I know how much hard work had gone into those sentences.

Being Hemingway for me was like a rich kid from New England trying to be Mark Twain. That kid would not have had a chance. He might have had some Mayflower in him. He sure wouldn’t have had much Mississippi mud in him the way Sam Clemens did. And he probably would not have wanted to be a riverboat pilot either. Or a newspaper man, for that matter.

Being a Southerner, I could’ve taken on Faulkner. After all, he wrote sentences as long as the Big River. Faulkner didn’t interest me. I knew there was a story there but I sure didn’t have the patience to find it among all those sentences. They didn’t make much sense to me. The one thing I did have was some storytelling in me and it was rarin’ to get out.

When I was young and wild and had my head up my rump, I thought I had the potential to do anything literary I wanted. That was my expectation. Little did I know that there was a heap of life those writers, and others too, had lived and I had not lived it.

Along the way I took on Graham Greene and Alice Munro and William Trevor and Yasunari Kawabata. I wanted to do what they had done. Only there wasn’t nary a way it was going to happen. Sure, I could take a shot at imitating their sentences and try at the stories they wrote. But I wasn’t them, and they weren’t me. They had lived their stories. And I forgot that the only story I had to tell was my own.

What story was that? It was the story built out of my own life experiences. I was no Midwesterner who took off for Paris after suffering a war wound on the Italian front. I was no English rover who saw the underside of the world and lived to write about it. Elegantly, I might add. I was no Canadian woman nor Anglo-Irishman. I was not Japanese.

It took me a long time to lay down the expectations and the Comparisongs and take on the mantle of the writer I was to be. But this Thanksgiving I am thankful for the Journey and for those Masters who showed . And also thankful that I have reached a place in my vocation when the only expectation I have is this. To let go and sing my stories the way only I can sing them.

haiku for the day: piano

Each of us has our favorite musical instrument. For me, it’s the guitar. It covers so many genres of music. After the guitar, there’s nothing like a master on the keyboard running through Chopin, Beethoven or Mozart. And of course, I do love the violin. Especially in the hands of a Joshua Bell or an Izhak Perlman. Each instrument sings in its own special way. And together, wow.

fingers on the keys
of a piano moving
to Beethoven’s dance.