Dear

Dear: (adj) beloved or loved

Not feeling rushed.

The chill of confidence that occasionally soothes my fears.

Breathing deeply.

Watching from a distance and seeing something kind before my eyes.

A fine meal that was easy to fix and settled well in my belly.

A friend who tears up when they describe their love for me.

Me, when I likewise produce the tears.

Waking up with a sense of divine inspiration, not certain where it came from.

Thinking of someone who needed to be well-thought-of.

Discovering the last of something I fancy on the grocery shelf.

Allowing myself to rest in my accomplishment.

A joy that leaves me shaking with gratitude.

Late-night whispers from little children trying to fall asleep.

Cutting open a melon and finding it ripe.

Being remembered.

Knowing that something horrible has been forgiven.

Cool water splashed on my face.

The first bite of steak.

The last bite of steak.

Knowing that life is not one perpetual highway, but rather, a series of blessed stepping-stones that allow us to travel on without sinking into the mud.

These are things that are supernal, which I embrace and hold dear.

Dance

Dance: (v) to move one’s feet or body, or both, rhythmically in a pattern of steps, especially to the accompaniment of music.

There are just some things that demand more than sitting and watching.

I don’t like to sit and watch people eat. Matter of fact, I find it to be notorious.

I don’t like to sit and watch a sports event for too long. After a while, my imagination and my waistline grow together.

I never liked to sit and watch two people making love. I don’t get it. Making love may be the supreme example of the term, “user friendly.”

I don’t like to sit and watch church. If you really are in a mood to worship and you think there are matters that are praise-worthy, why would your choice be solemnity?

I don’t enjoy sitting and watching the sunrise. It was never meant to be a visual show, but rather, an invitation to get off one’s ass and start the day.

And I don’t like to sit and watch music. I used to hate to go with friends who wanted to watch someone play a piano or guitar or sit and listen to a singer.

Music was created to be moving

  • Move the heart with emotion.
  • Move the soul with inspiration.
  • Move the mind with ideas.
  • And move the body with beat.

Thus the dance.

The Bible is full of examples where people became overcome with emotion, music, spirit and thanksgiving—and started to dance.

And that is Middle Eastern style of dance, which is a lot of whirling and twirling. Yes, Temple, at one time, was an aerobic workout.

Dancing is when we confirm to those around us that we can still be moved by a melody, a beat and the possibility of excitement generated through a song.

 

Dame

Dame: (n) a term used to reference a woman

They build corrals so horses won’t escape.

In doing so, they are admitting that the horses don’t really want to be there. Apparently, the beasts aren’t impressed with a barn and three meals of hay a day.

They want outta there.

To a horse, a stable is a prison. (Or what you might consider unstable.)

Corralling seems to be one of the favored activities of our current world. I don’t think there’s a sentence I could write that someone could not ardently peruse to discover offensive material within.

Why? Because we’re not interested in cleverness and inspiration. We’re only determined to establish our entity by critiquing the thoughts of others.

I can’t keep it straight.

I thought calling a woman a “chick” was extraordinarily out of whack, until some teenagers explained to me that it was “cool, cute and even kind of sexy.”

I guess it’s still incorrect to refer to a lady as a “broad,” unless you’re doing it as a bold compliment, like: “That Senator from California is one tough broad.”

Of course, there are words that are offensive.

The use of the “c word” for a woman is incomprehensible.

I don’t like “bitch”—but women will turn around and call themselves bitches. (I suppose that’s the same thing as when a black person wants to call himself the “n word.”)

I just don’t know.

I’m lost in the desert here without a canteen.

So the word “dame” is not only nasty, but it’s also so old-time that it makes you look like you fell off the turnip truck on your way to market—not only prohibited, but Grandpa-like.

Now, normally we extol things that are traditional as having lasting merit, but in this case, “dame” sounds like the language of the Bowery Boys (and of course, nobody knows who the Bowery Boys are anymore.)

Don’t get me wrong. This is not a lamentation.

I find it intriguing to keep up with words that have flow, character and veracity.

But every once in a while, I’m like that stallion that finds out where the corral begins and has a hankerin’ to take a leap over it.

Czerny

Czerny, Carl (Proper Noun): Austrian composer, especially of exercises in piano technique.

Although it is insistently repeated, I question the premise.

Is there anyone who is honored just to be nominated?

It is a gracious way of losing–and every human being should have that speech—a humble reaction ready to go for those occasions when it’s applicable.

But I am not so sure Mr. Czerny envisioned himself being the well-known composer of piano exercises for students grumbling their way through the keyboard.

Didn’t he listen to the music of Johann, Amadeus and Ludwig and think “I can do that?”

And then, perched at his piano, in the throes of a creative tornado, he writes a musical composition–and those who are deemed learned and astute decide it is worthy of being dexterity studies for tiny, childish fingers.

What does that feel like?

We all know the situation—let’s not be insincere.

No one who ended up getting fifth place in the “Homemade Apple Butter Contest” cleared a spaced on their wall for the lavender ribbon. No—it was prepared for the blue.

None of us sign up for a race, train for it, stretch, exercise and eat good food just to end up clumped in a pack of seven or eight people at the end, who are just grateful to have crossed the line.

Aspiration is a good thing.

But we must realize that inspiration is needed as much on the ground floor as it is in the penthouse.

funny wisdom on words that begin with a C

Cusp

Cusp: (n) a point of change

I suppose I might come across silly if I were to claim that such moments are accompanied by tingles and chills. I am speaking of those occasions when inspiration, mercy and creativity converge and place us on the cusp of a new beginning.

It is a reason for living better.

Of course, the purpose for living is just to enjoy the planet and be saturated by the beauty and grace of our humanity.

But there are times when it seems we are touched by a more supernatural image, which gives us license to step out of ourselves and into a new frame of thinking—transcendent of our mediocrity.

I often do not know that I am mediocre until I encounter such a cusp of divine energy.

I may go along for weeks, months and even years, settling for something, until one day I am gently smacked on the side of the head and stimulated to believe that different choices can be made, and bear much more fruit.

I will go so far as to say that if I’m not in the midst of one of these supernal transitions, I often feel vacant of purpose.

I start thinking that life is only offered in shades of gray.

It is the duty of those who desire a prophetic voice for our generation to encourage us with possibilities instead of dooming us with sameness and damnation.

So I will tell you:

We are on the cusp of a great awakening.

Prepare yourself.

Don’t be found among the dull and the sluggards.

There will be a light. Follow it.

funny wisdom on words that begin with a C

Comment

Comment: (n) a verbal or written remark expressing an opinion or reaction.

Having abandoned journalism, many forms of etiquette, courtesy and basic grammar, the Internet continues to pass along ideas from people who refuse to accept the fact that others have a creative bend and require consideration.

Somewhere in the past two decades we have lost the true definition of commenting. Let me begin by telling you what it is not.

A comment is not you offering an opinion. In other words, if someone writes an article stating that the President of the United States is a great historical figure filled with virtue, a comment would be on the writer’s approach, delivery, information and process in drawing conclusions. A comment is not jotting down, “Idiot, moron, and son-of-a-bitch” with multiple exclamation points. (A single exclamation point is supposed to express great passion. When I see two, I perceive stupidity.)

Commenting is letting folks know how what they had to share, think, or even a meal you prepared was received. It is not replacing their input with your dogma–feeling as if this resolves the issue for all time.

Often my children recommend a movie to me. If I watch it, I offer the following comment:

“I can see why you liked it. Maybe I wasn’t in the mood for this movie on the night I watched it, but I did not garner the usual impact or inspiration that I normally enjoy from a flick. It is certainly the kind that I normally do pursue, but this particular one left me cold. Maybe it’s because I don’t understand what the writer and director were trying to communicate.”

This is commenting–a blend of honesty and humility allowing the person who has shared to leave the house without fear of being gunned down by a maniac.

I welcome comments.

I make errors.

But I do not give you permission to ravage my material simply because it busted out the walls of your mental one-room sublet.

 

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Briefcase

j-r-practix-with-border-2

Briefcase: (n) a flat, rectangular container, typically made of leather

Mine was an old, cheap, black variety, torn places all over the fake leather, with bent hinges.

It was my briefcase.Dictionary B

I carried it officiously, thinking it made me look…well, I guess, important.

When I began writing my first novel, I made sure that every time I stopped typing (yes, this was back in the day when we actually used typewriters) every page was placed meticulously, nestled into my briefcase of safe-keeping.

I was so proud.

I had actually written maybe a third of my first great American manuscript when one night, somebody broke into my van and for some inexplicable reason, stole the knobs off my radio–and lifted my briefcase.

I didn’t have anything in there except the first draft of this work and some pictures my kids had drawn of sunsets and oddly-shaped horses.

It was totally useless to the person who stole it, but to me it was gold. I felt like I had lost part of my life.

The idea of having to start over again to regain the energy and thoughts already spilled out onto paper seemed extraordinarily arduous, if not impossible.

Fortunately for me, a friend who had been retyping the material had kept her old copies. Therefore, all of the inspiration which had poured from my heart was salvaged.

Once I received that reprieve from the prison of my fears, I gained a little sense of humor about the whole affair.

I wondered what the thief thought when he pried open that briefcase, thinking he might find treasure, and discovered 102 pages … of poorly-typed novel.

 

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Belittle

Belittle: (v) to make someone or something seem unimportant.

Dictionary B

Those who belittle be “littler” than them belittled.

More and more as I age, in a season when conversation is salted with pepper, I realize that the absence of legitimate talent causes us to attack contributors out of a fear that we, ourselves, are nothing.

Even when I find myself being cynical, I realize it’s because I am jealous of those who have received attention, while my efforts have been relegated to the position of backstage storage.

We belittle because we be “littler.”

That’s the truth of the matter.

There isn’t a great idea ever hatched in the mind of a mortal that has not been forced to endure the ridicule of the ignorant.

It is why we suffer from a dearth of inspiration.

It’s not because the inspiration is unavailable. Those inspired lack the emotional armor to survive the gauntlet of the unrighteous condemners.

It is too bad that goodness is plagued by sensitivity–because for it to gain voice, it needs to escape temporary damnation.

I swear to myself that I will never belittle again. And then, because of my insecurity, I attack in order to protect my ego.

When it’s over, I feel bad.

But unfortunately, the moment has passed, and the chance to embrace beauty has been scared away … by my beast.

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Bassoon

Bassoon: (n) a bass instrument of the oboe family with a double reed.Dictionary B

If the goal of every endeavor is to gain fame or money, then we will end up doing very little in our lives–for fear of ending up with something that fails to deliver the goods.

I learned this early.

I made a decision to pursue things that made me happy, giggle or feel inspired. Whether other people found them to be equally as inspirational or entertaining was only secondary to my deep-rooted concern for entertaining myself.

In the process of chasing that philosophy, I found myself in Tennessee working with a partner to begin a symphony in a town that probably was completely uninterested in even learning how to spell the word.

Intelligently, we held our first concert very near Christmas and because of that and the basic human nature to be curious, we had a huge attendance, which seemed to bode well for the project.

I was so excited about the event that I wrote a special composition called Christmas. This particular piece of music began with a sprightly bassoon solo, establishing a bouncy, joyous melody which to me personified the uncontrollable anticipation of a child at Christmas.

We hired a bassoon player who just happened to really love playing the instrument. He didn’t get to perform very often in Tennessee, since there isn’t a high calling for bassoonists among the populace. So when he discovered he was going to get to play this delightful ditty, he practiced and practiced–and by the time of the concert, he literally exploded the musical magic off of his double reed.

When the audience heard the tune being played, they giggled like school children because it was such a pleasant representation of childhood memories.

I love the bassoon because it cannot hide its true personality. It is a growly, jubilant tone foretelling of grandfatherly wisdom … with just enough mischief.

 

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Audience

Audience: (n) the assembled spectators or listeners at a public event, such as a play, movie, concert, or meeting.

dictionary with letter A

You may speculate that they are spectators, but the word “audience” literally means that they are there to listen.

As listeners, they are not compelled to feed your ego nor respond to your whim.

If the person sharing is not willing to communicate clearly, or provide a balance of entertainment and inspiration, then he should be prepared for the audience to take its ears elsewhere.

That’s a simple fact.

After many, many years of sharing, performing, presenting, or whatever word you prefer, in front of hundreds of thousands of human souls, I will tell you that I have never come across any gathering that did all the work for me.

Some are friendlier, and some are like a Wells Fargo safe which has to be cracked meticulously in order to find the treasures within.

With the introduction of YouTubes and Internet blogs, there are many fledgling artists who think that having ten thousand “likes” or a million hits is a passage to success.

It is not.

There are three things that tell you that you’ve reached your audience:

  1. Do they get quiet when they’re supposed to get quiet?

Noisy is easy. Getting people quiet is an art.

  1. Do they want more of what you have and are they willing to commit either their time or money to confirm that devotion?

It is a fickle day we live in. The 24-hour news cycle has turned the American attention span and the allegiance of the American audience into the actions of a housefly at a July 4th picnic.

  1. Are they leaving the performance, lecture or interaction a little different than when they came in?

America is desperately searching for answers, while simultaneously pretending that such data is unnecessary.

Solve a problem–save a soul.

It’s really that easy. 

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