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Mighty Uke Day, Lansing

Saturday, May 11th, 2013

Today, Saturday, May 11, is Mighty Uke Day III in Old Town Lansing, Michigan. It’s really great to have a ukulele festival here in Lansing (just a few blocks from Sticks & Strings yarn shop and Elderly Instruments).

Come on Out?
Brian and I (as The Fabulous Heftones) will be performing at the Creole Gallery Saturday at 4:45, as part of the Mighty Uke Day “Featured Performer” festivities. The James Hill concert later that night is sold out, but our earlier show is still open. The young lady who follows us, Magdalen Fossum, is a very fine performer as well. I look forward to hearing her.

Canadian Star on Stage
We look forward to seeing our colleague James Hill whose evening show has been sold out for about a week. This young man is a spectacular musician and a fine human being. We played on the same stage with James in Indianapolis, at the Midwest Ukefest, several years ago.

James is presenting some workshops at Elderly Instruments which still had a few slots open as of Friday, so you might still be able to spend time with him that way. If you play uke at all, it would be worth a try.

You May Be Surprised
If you think that Ukuleles are only for hippies, Hawaiians or 70’s performers who got married on the Johnny Carson Show, you may be pleasantly surprised at this event. The styles presented by the different acts are varied and maybe even surprising. We hope there will be warm enough weather to have a few jam sessions in the streets of Old Town. For the musicians, the jam sessions are perhaps the most fun of all the events!

Consider a visit to Old Town Lansing today/Saturday. (For those of you too far away or with conflicting schedules, you can see/hear us on YouTube. The videos were taken by other people but it will give you a feel of our style and the fun we have. (The videos by Bucqui are very well edited in particular, as is “Row Row Row” with Bosko and Honey.)

You Guys Rock!

Tuesday, April 23rd, 2013

Oh, my! What fun it has been to listen to strong music by strong women this week. You guys really were fun, bringing me music from the 60s to today.

Diana/Otterwise sent me a link to 25 Women (most young) rocking it today. I only knew a few of the names. It’s amazing and inspiring. Maybe you want to check it out, also? 25 Women Who Rock Right Now – Spinner

I still want to collect a Pat Benatar song or several, but she’s not on iTunes. I relate, as a musician who has struggled with the current system of music licensing, that someone might make that choice. I’ll get her some way or another. Meanwhile, I put her on my list because she is who started this thought process.

I’m sort of amazed at how many ways a “strong woman sound” might record. Dolly Parton, Nancy Sinatra, Sister Sledge and Joan Jett on the same list? Cool. And for most of you, the Carpenters might not fit, but it was their album I first purchased, the first band I was in love with. They are pure vocals. It was hard to find an upbeat song in their catalog, but Top of the World is truly happy and so I chose that one.

It turned into more of a “beat-full, tush-shaking, house-cleaning songs sung by women” but I’m really enjoying it just the way it is. My iTunes says the playlist is between 1 and 2 hours long. That’s enough time to get some work done, and not get bored if I have it on repeat. Yeah!

I’ve had a great day or two. Thank you very much for playing this game with me.

Here’s my Playlist:

  • ABBA – Take a Chance on Me
  • Adele – Rolling in the Deep
  • Alanis Morissette – Hand in my Pocket
  • the Bangles – Manic Monday, Walk like an Egyptian
  • Laura Branigan – Turn the Beat Around
  • Edie Brickell & New Bohemians – What I am, Nothing
  • The Carpenters – Top of the World
  • Tracy Chapman – One Good Reason
  • Sheryl Crow – All I Wanna Do (is Have Some Fun)
  • Karla DeVito – Is this a Cool World or What?
  • Heart – Magic Man
  • Joan Jett & the Blackhearts – I Love Rock & Roll
  • Katrina & the Waves – Walking on Sunshine
  • Joni Mitchell – Big Yellow Taxi
  • Dolly Parton – 9 to 5
  • the Pointer Sisters – I’m so Excited
  • Pretenders (Chrissie Hynde) – Brass in Pocket
  • Helen Reddy – I am Woman
  • Linda Ronstadt – You’re No Good
  • Carly Simon – You’re So Vain
  • Nancy Sinatra – These Boots are Made for Walkin’
  • Sister Sledge – We are Family
  • Donna Summer – She Works Hard for the Money
  • Shania Twain – Man! I Feel like a Woman!

I think I’m ready for a work day! Thanks so much!

Rockin’ Sound for Magnificent Work

Sunday, April 21st, 2013

It’s funny how we can take decades to learn about ourselves. Self-discovery is hard. Why is it such a challenge to see the pieces of how we interact with the world?

In the last year I’ve discovered again how sound impacts my life. Sounds, their presence/ volume/ lack thereof can help me function beautifully… or not well at all.

Born this Way

My mother remembers that I reacted as an infant to minor-key music on TV (by crying), even if I was in a different room. I’ve heard that story enough that I’ve repeated it myself. I know that movies and TV do not relax or energize me, they exhaust me. I don’t watch them any more.

Last summer, when I spent 2 weeks in Montreal alone, I was there to write. Some days, sitting long enough to write was a challenge. Some days, it was pleasant and no problem.

An Aha! Moment

One day on the balcony (see above), I figured out that rhythmic sounds helped me sit still (a clock ticking in the kitchen or a lawn sprinkler outside). When the neighbor stopped watering the lawn, I first missed the sound and then realized how much it had added to my comfort level.

Why did I find this information so surprising? Why did I not imagine that sounds other than minor-key music might impact my moods? Why do I know that certain music helps me stay focused, but not that a non-musical sound (crickets in the night, morning birdsong or a lawn sprinkler) might give me comfort?

Maybe you’re not self employed as I am, but all of us want to function well during those times when getting things done is important, yes? Personal tasks, professional work, volunteer or family obligations… all of these can benefit from our focus. Driving and cooking, in particular, depend on our full awareness.

I found a few Apps for my iPod Touch* which play me some sounds I enjoy when it’s too quiet but I don’t want music. In particular, this has helped me on nights when it was hard to sleep.

Pondering a Music Mood

I sing love songs professionally. The 1920’s was a prime time for romance and sweet melodies. It was great for sentimental lyrics. Brian and I perform positive music on stage, by design. We want to help folks gain a smile, and improve their day. That’s our niche, and one my voice (and temperament) is well-suited for.

Yet, I believe that music is a sort of non-prescription drug. When we decide what music to play, we are choosing what mood we want to be in. Sentimental romance is not a balanced music diet.

For example, when I choose Michael Jackson or the B-52’s in the morning, I want to dance myself awake and get on the road quickly. When I play non-English-language African music, I need to stay focused but not be distracted with words.

Sometimes I want to walk briskly. Sometimes I need “oomph” to clean house. Sometimes I work in the yard, and need a bit of energy behind me. At these times, I wish I had more energetic music options. I’m not a rocker by nature, but sometimes I need some rockin’ music to propel me.

I Need You

So… that thought has brought me to another which may seem unrelated at first. What makes them connected is that I’m seeking a particular sound input for myself. Perhaps you can help?

I want to put together a playlist of unforgettable single songs from female rock singers, anywhere from the mid-1970s to 1990 or so. I tried to make a Pandora channel of this type, but they kept suggesting male singers. I’m ashamed to say I had many of those CDs already. It’s time for the Grrrrrls to rock my world.

I need some musical Sisters to sing me into a dance-beat mood of action. There just are not enough of them. It’s time for me to both support and get to know them better.

Here are some possibilities I’ve thought of, only the first two of which I already own. This is not a long enough list. Help?

Linda Ronstadt, You’re No Good
Alanis Morissette, Hand in My Pocket

Chrissie Hynde/ The Pretenders
Nancy and Ann Wilson/ Heart
Annie Lennox/ Eurythmics
Deborah Harry/ Blondie
Pat Benatar
Cyndi Lauper
Joan Jett
The Go Go’s
Kim Carnes (Bette Davis Eyes)
Alannah Myles (Black Velvet)

Please leave me a comment with as many song titles as you want to suggest. I do listen to the radio when I’m in my car, but they don’t give much information these days. It may be I know a song but not who sings it, or a name but no songs associated with that name.

I’m a little out of my expertise here, but sometimes I’m in my car and this stuff comes on. I sing along, have  a great time, and wonder… “who is this singing?”

Will You Help?

Thank you for any input you can bring to my search. I’ve wanted to ask you for far too long. I look forward to your replies.

*(My favorite iPod sound apps are “Relaxing Sounds” and “Sleep,” both by Red Hammer Software and M30 Pendulum (a metronome) by AMuseTec. I have no affiliation with either of these companies.)

Be Your Own Best Sweetheart – Nurture Yourself

Thursday, February 14th, 2013

It’s Valentine’s Day today. It’s also Self-Nurturing Day, a better idea yet. I know that this can be a rough day for a lot of people. I have empathy. I’m giving you this bouquet of flowers in thanks for being in my life!

At this time of my life, I’ve been very lucky to have Brian in my life. We are known for singing love songs, which offers us a rich choice of music.

The Joy of Self
I was single in my 30’s and I learned to take good care of myself. Being single was actually a powerful time. I learned to stand tall, to make my own decisions, to fix broken things. I bought myself a humble but lovely house, with my own signature.

If you are single (or not) today, please find something that you can do, to nurture and love yourself. Connect with those who are important to you. Find a furry animal and pet it? Take a long bath? Eat a favorite food? Make a phone call to a loved one? Put on your favorite clothes? Paint your nails? Go for a walk?

My Gifts to You
Today I hope to give you a little gift of my own. Click Here to Hear April Showers by the Fabulous Heftones.

They say that there are three sorts of Love Songs: 1) I wish I were in love; 2)  I’m in love and it’s wonderful; 3) I used to be in love and I wish I still was. The Fabulous Heftones stick to category 2 most of the time. However, April Showers is a “keep the faith” song. It’s not about love, it’s about life.

“When April Showers, they come your way,
They bring the flowers that bloom in May,
So if it’s raining, have no regrets,
Because it isn’t raining rain, you know, it’s raining Violets.

So when you see clouds upon the hills,
You soon will see crowds of daffodils,
So keep on looking for a bluebird,
And listening for his song,
Whenever April Showers Come Along.”

I love you. Thanks for being a part of my community. Please love yourself in some way today, no matter which sort of love song you might be singing.

Lansing – Cool Off with Me Tonight?

Friday, July 6th, 2012

Breaking news for Lansing Friends- I dance at New Aladdins Frandor tonight!

A/C, great food, 2 dancers. Shows 6:30 & 7:30. No cover; tips appreciated.

Perhaps you’d come out? I’d love to see you.

Brian Hefferan, Ragtime Uker – Interviewed by Lil’ Rev

Thursday, May 10th, 2012

Our friend Lil’ Rev from Wisconsin was just this weekend the headliner at Mighty Uke Day. He tours a lot, and when he’s in Michigan he often stays with us.

You could not ask for better company. He’s comfortable to be with, someone to talk with for hours. We also eat very similarly and enjoy cooking for each other when the time is available.

On top of that, Rev is a fine performer. He’s an award-winning instrumentalist (harmonica), Folksinger of the year 2004 in Wisconsin, plays many instruments extremely well, is interested in musical and cultural history and is a fabulous storyteller.

Rev’s Blog

Rev writes a blog called Fountain of Uke. Very recently he wrote a post about my Brian; in particular, his interest in ragtime music. Last year, Rev interviewed Brian on video regarding ragtime music and how he approaches the arranging and playing of the songs he chooses.

Up Close and Personal: Interview

After that wonderful Mighty Uke Day this past Saturday, I think it’s a good time to point to that article and video. You can find them here:

Fountain of Uke: In Search of a Ragtime Uker (Brian Hefferan)

If you are interested in ragtime or ukulele music and haven’t heard this side of Brian’s musical personality, Visit the Heftone YouTube Channel. Have a listen… or a dozen.

Brian’s Music Box Rag CD

A few years back, Brian put out a CD of himself playing rags and marches on many types of banjo, from the tiny banjo ukulele to my Heftone bass “banjo.” He calls this project the “Heftone Banjo Orchestra.”

The CD cover for the project can be seen at right. He had me take photos of him in his tux holding different instruments, before and after a haircut, with and without glasses. He then used photo imaging software to make it look like an ensemble. (We get requests for this Orchestra to play at events from time to time.)

You can click the CD cover image to see the photo a bit more closely. If you would like to listen to the recordings, read the liner notes or download the tunes for yourself, Click Here for the Music Box Rag CD information page.

Mighty Ukulele Fun

Wednesday, May 9th, 2012

Saturday we spent much time in Old Town Lansing, for the Mighty Uke Day event. Ukulele players and fans took over Old Town for the day and it was wonderful. Here is one participant literally playing and singing as he walked down the street:

Aside to Knitters: Can you see that the middle person (Tonya) is carrying her ukulele in a purple felted uke case? It was made from the ukulele case pattern on Knitty.com. She received it as a gift.

You also can’t see her rainbow socks and rainbow shoes. We had a nice time chatting about the many joys of color. (Even her ukulele is purple with sparkly glitter on it. Really. I made a friend.)

Many Ukulele Joys

There were a few open mic events, some afternoon featured performers, several workshops, two showings of the movie “The Mighty Uke,” a collectible ukulele exhibit, an art gallery with a ukulele builder “in residence” and an evening concert.

I took maybe a few hundred photos. In the end, I don’t have time to edit and upload many.

A Photo Tour of the Evening Concert

I love backstage photos. Here are Brian Hefferan, Lil’ Rev and Steve Szilagyi rehearsing before the audience came in.

The audience spilled over into areas not expected to need seats. We ran out of chairs. People sat on benches and tall stools and at least 2 sat on the floor (in front of the first row, so they were good viewing seats anyway). Check out this crowd! This is the back of the room:

The front of the seating area (Ben Hassenger, the mastermind/ organizer/ promoter of the event, is on stage):

Lil’ Rev, our friend and master performer from Wisconsin, was the headliner of the evening concert. Here he is holding the audience in the palm of his hand:

He’s riveting. Not just an award-winning musician, but a powerful entertainer. It was a very fine show he put on.

Our friend Gerald Ross plays ukulele and also lap steel guitar. (He just released a new CD, Swing Ukulele.) Gerald played before Rev went on. Here he is:

We (The Fabulous Heftones, Brian and I) played before Gerald. Here we are:

Brian’s brother Mike took dozens of photos of us, for which we are grateful. Musicians move so much, and there is so much equipment on stage, that getting a non-blurry/ unobstructed photo is nearly impossible. You can tell what we look like here.

A Video of Our First Song

Ben Hassenger, the maestro of the event, took a video of us singing our first song, “Yes, Sir, That’s My Baby!” It’s on YouTube. I’m linking the photo below. Click on that image. or the previous text link, to go to the YouTube page for it.

(NOTE: If you find it stops and starts as you try to listen, just let it finish in hiccups and then hit play again. It’s likely to play smoothly the second time, as long as you don’t leave that web page in between the plays.)

Come Hear Us Next Saturday?

Picture yourself at one of our shows? Are you near Lansing, Michigan? We’re playing at Altu’s in East Lansing this Saturday. The show starts at 6:30 and ends around 8:20 or so. It’s our home venue, we are looking forward to it. (Disclaimer: Altu, the owner, is my dearest friend… but we met at the restaurant. I kept going there because the food was so good.)

The food is magnificent… no junk. It’s all made by hand, nothing comes from a big foodservice gallon can at this restaurant. For example, each onion is  cut one by one, inspected before use (no pre-chopped food in plastic bags). They peel fresh garlic… no canned or powdered garlic here.

If you don’t want a full meal, they also have all-fruit (plus honey) smoothies. Frozen berries, banana, mango… no fillers, no corn syrup or ice.

Want dessert? Their ice cream comes from the highly-regarded MSU Dairy store. Even their iced tea is spiced in house, a real treat. Whether you like meat or veggie meals, mild or spicy, there is something for everyone here. Read about Ethiopian food here, if you are curious.

We’d be delighted to see you this weekend if you feel like a little night out on the town. If you like autographed CDs, we will bring some with us. However, there is no cover charge, and no expectation other than hopefully a smile on your face!

Thanks to Regina Fry for taking this final photo, at Altu’s, during a previous performance there. Love you, Regina!

Danced the Night Away

Tuesday, May 8th, 2012

Friday I danced as Eudora, with Maryam (both of us from the Habibi Dancers). We danced at a locally-owned Lebanese restaurant, New Aladdin’s. Excellent food, excellent people.

Dance is not just the movement. It involves music, presentation, costuming, performance, interaction with the audience and more.

Dancing on a stage is very different from dancing next to diners at tables. I love the proximity to my audience which happens in the restaurant. I love the ability to interact with diners. I love the community environment.

…and I love how family friendly it is. Here Maryam dances with a young relative.

The little one was charming. At one point she twirled so hard that she fell. She didn’t mind at all.

The food was a work of art, too. What a glorious way to celebrate many artforms at once. What a good way to celebrate my city Lansing, and our community!

Mighty Uke Day in Lansing, this Saturday!

Friday, May 4th, 2012

This Saturday is going to be a good deal of fun, my friends! The Mighty Uke movie has returned to Lansing. To celebrate, Lansing’s ukulele community is going all out!

Here is my post from last year’s Mighty Uke Day Events.

This year has even more going on. There are events all over Old Town Lansing. There is a ukulele exhibit at Elderly Instruments, an art gallery show, an open mic at Sir Pizza, two showings of the movie, and an evening concert. There will also be some ukulele workshops. It’s a very full day. Click below to check out the

Mighty Uke Day Web Page

Many of the events are free of charge.
Workshops, movie and evening concert have admission fees.

To read an article about the day, from the Lansing City Pulse, Click Here.

There are five acts in the evening concert, including us.

The Headline Act is none other than Lil’Rev from Wisconsin!

Rev is an award-winning musician. He was Folksinger of the Year in Wisconsin, and won some Hohner Harmonica honors.

The first time I saw Rev perform, he was alone in the middle of a full-size stage, sitting in a chair stage center, surrounded by different instruments. He’s such a fine storyteller, music historian, multi-instrumentalist, and overall performer, that he held several hundred people in the palm of his hand. He’s a treasure.

It’s always a delight to see him in a smaller venue, where he tends to interact with the audience during the show. I highly recommend an evening with this fine artist.

Opening concert acts include:

The Fab­u­lous Heftones (Me and Brian) – Early 1900s Retro Love Songs and Fingerpicked Ukulele
Mag­dalen Fos­sum A Gifted, Youthful Entertainer
Ger­ald Ross – Jazzy Instrumentals
The Ukulele Kings – Fun the Ukulele Way

Please consider joining the festivities. It is going to be a wonderful time!

Events: Entertainment in LoveLansing

Wednesday, May 2nd, 2012

Oh, my… It’s truly spring now in Lansing, Michigan . I’m sitting on my porch typing this. I’m watching bicycles and basketballs go by as I drink in the green and the sunshine. With the warmth, options of things to do in my corner of the world just increased.

Dancing at Wanderer’s Teahouse

If you are new to my blog, I am immersed in many artforms. Last Saturday I accompanied two dancers from the Habibi Dancers troupe (I’m a member) at the Wanderers Teahouse in East Lansing.

We are a nonprofit organization, and part of our purpose is education. Wanderers asked us to come out and do a lecture/ demonstration. I spoke a bit of the history of the dance, and also took my camera. Zurha and Najida performed. Here they are mid-dance.

My Performance this Coming Friday

This Friday (May 4) I’ll be dancing  as Eudora, with dancer Maryam. Maryam is a classically-trained dancer, just beautiful from the tips of her fingers.

The location will be New Aladdin’s Restaurant in Lansing’s Frandor shopping center. (It’s between Sparty’s and Apple Jade, not far from the video store.) This is a locally-owned restaurant, full of good people and good food. They offer many Lebanese/ Mideastern dishes as well as adventurous smoothies and fresh-squeezed juices.

Show Times/ Details

There will be shows starting at 6:30 and 7:30pm, lasting about a half an hour each. There is no cover, but tips are most welcome.

It’s a family-friendly spot, where children often get up and dance with us. A great night out.

Here I am dancing there on a previous Friday. The child was fascinated by my shiny costume. She was so much fun to dance for!

Oh, Yes! The Costumes!

For those interested in costuming as an artform, this costume is completely handmade. The troupe to which I belong, Habibi Dancers of Lansing, made it as a group project for my Christmas present this past December.

It was totally a surprise to me. That skirt is a full circle of flowy fabric, and the bra and belt were cust0m-made by troupe members to fit me exactly. The necklace and earrings were also part of the gift, as were many other pieces I did not wear that night. It was INCREDIBLE, and an out-of-the blue surprise.

Late next week I’ll be dancing at a school cultural-awareness event with the troupe. On that day, we will be wearing more “folkloric” clothing (rather than what we call “cabaret” which you see above).

I’ll have one of the other dancers take a few photos of that costume and show it to you. More incredibleness, I assure you. Also made by hand, for me, as a gift from other dancers. I’m humbled.

Lansing folks, I’d love to see you come out to the show. Join me?

Straight to Happy

Saturday, March 17th, 2012

LynnH wearing Colorama Shawl, singing at East Lansing Arts Festival 2011

Derek Sivers was the founder of CDBaby, an online music outlet for independent/indie musicians.  He has since sold the business and written a book, and is generally a fascinating and intelligent writer. I just read an interview of Mr. Sivers. In it he says:

The purpose of money is to trade for things that make you happy. So if you can bypass money and get directly to the happy, you’ve saved a lot of trouble.

Love that. Happy I’ve got these days. I wish the same for you.

(Yes, he is assuming that basic needs are taken care of… food, shelter, clothing. Just the same, I once bought things to make me feel better. Now that I’m happier, I have relatively few impulses to pursue “retail therapy” these days.)

Photo: Me wearing a Colorama Crescent shawl… designed by me, knit by Diana Troldahl/Otterwise (a designer in her own right). I was playing on stage at East Lansing Arts Festival, with Brian. It was a good day, speaking of “directly to the happy.”

Jen Sygit TONIGHT at Altu’s

Saturday, February 18th, 2012

Award-winning songstress, Jen Sygit, is singing at Altu’s Ethiopian Cuisine in East Lansing tonight. This is a do not miss event. Please come, I’ll be there:

Jen is a dear friend, but I knew her music before I met her. Here are a few of my favorit Jen Sygit Lyrics:

“I come from a town where the stop signs are bored…”

“Landlocked and waiting for your ship to come in.”

She’s brilliant. You know you want to come. See you then.

Self-Nurturing Day

Tuesday, February 14th, 2012

Today is Valentine’s Day. It’s not an easy holiday for many. I encourage those I love… single or not, to use this holiday as a self-care, self-appreciating day.

Stand tall and be gentle with yourself. Have a special cup of tea, linger in a bubble bath rather than taking a quick shower, add vanilla or cinnamon to your oatmeal today. Little things add up!

That said, at this point in my life I have found myself in love with a very fine human. Brian is a great partner in so many ways. We live simply but happily, in a modest city with good people around us.

I knew who Brian was, years before I knew his name. He performed 1920s songs with his ukulele and I loved the music. If I saw that “the ukulele guy” was playing,  I’d show up at the concert.

We married over 15 years ago. Around that time, he taught me how to play the Heftone Bass. I was a trained singer who had played guitar in my teens. Bass was just the ticket.

Now, we sing as “The Fabulous Heftones.” We do love songs almost exclusively, most of them from 1900-1930.

It’s said that there are 3 kinds of love songs: 1) I wish I was in love… 2) I’m in love and it’s great… 3) I was in love and I’m not anymore; I wish I was still in love. We concentrate on the 2nd sort of song. There are good songs from the 1920s which fit the other categories, but we don’t sing them in our act.

We were on the radio on Friday. The DJ/host asked us if we maybe ramp up the romance a little more for Valentine’s day.

It was a reasonable question. Really, though? How much more could we ramp it up? These old songs are so well crafted that they speak for themselves.

If you’re in Lansing (Michigan), we will be performing twice Tuesday. Neither performance has a cover charge, and both are excellent locally-owned businesses with quality products. Perhaps you’d enjoy coming by?

3:30-5:30 Foods for Living (East Lansing, very near Okemos)

6:30-8:30 Altu’s Ethiopian Cuisine (East Lansing, near Frandor)

If you won’t be coming by for either concert, you can still hear us by listening online or downloading the music file to your computer. Our “Moon June Spoon”  album has not only music files but chords and words! Just cllick Moon June Spoon.

3 New Gratitudes today

  • Brian
  • Music
  • My Heftone Bass, made by Brian’s father. It was a gift. It gives me and other folks pleasure.

How to be an Artist. Really.

Sunday, February 12th, 2012

Go into the arts. I’m not kidding.
The arts are not a way to make a living.
They are a very human way of making life more bearable.
Practicing an art, no matter how well or badly,
is a way to make your soul grow, for heaven’s sake.
Sing in the shower. Dance to the radio. Tell stories.
Write a poem to a friend, even a lousy poem.
Do it as well as you possibly can.
You will get an enormous reward.
You will have created something.

–Kurt Vonnegut

Wow. ColorJoy, the blog, began because people kept acting like I was creative and they weren’t. They wanted to sort of put my creativity on a pedestal and make themselves more distanced, rather than creating, practicing, creating again.

Person after person said “I don’t have a creative bone in my body.” Everyone had a sibling who was the creative one in the family. I had a sneaking suspicion that they were selling themselves short. They said they were were not “Artists.” I felt they might be.

I believe that cooking, gardening, raising children, creating welcoming social spaces and many more activities are creative. We don’t have to perform or make pretty things which hang on walls, in picture frames, to be an artist.

It makes me sad to see that so many people distance themselves from the idea of creativity. While they are adding new herbs to a recipe, they tell themselves they are not artful. I wish I could express the feeling I get in my gut when I think about this.

I want to broaden the concept of art, not make it smaller and rare like a diamond. I imagine it as a rainbow which makes everything around it more colorful and special. Some rainbows are not as perfect as others, but we appreciate them all.

Every person has some sort of creativity in them. If you give 100 people a beige cubicle in which to sit all day while working, 100 of them will make it a little more theirs, at least by putting up photos of people or things they love and appreciate. We are driven to decorate and to nest. This is only one example of self expression.

I call it creativity. I call it art. Thus my blog theme:

ColorJoy. Art as an Everyday Attitude.

What sounds fun to create right now? Would you like to work with sound, words, color, flavor, relationship? Crayons, kazoo, vegetables, cinnamon, yarn, telephone call?

Can you imagine doing it imperfectly and calling it good, as our esteemed Mr. Vonnegut suggests? Can you give it a go and believe that doing it, doing it at all, is the perfect part?

What will you do creatively today? I assure you, it’s worth the effort. Yes, you do have the time.

Thanks to REVUE Mid-Michigan for finding this quote.

Three New Gratitudes (Day 8 of 21)

  • A spacious, light-filled bathroom with claw-footed tub.
  • A sink that has a stopper to hold water and which drains effortlessly (just over a year old, and still a daily joy).
  • The paint trim colors inside our house… soft aqua/turquoise and lavender. I’ve had these colors in 3 homes now, and they feel so joyful.