KneePainNote: Not the author’s actual knee.
(Add jeans and surprised look and it’s dern close, though.)

So, yesterday, on my way out the door to a guitar lesson, as I was squatting to snag my fallen hat from the floor, my knee sent the most unpleasant spasm of pain shooting through my system. I did a slow-mo collapse onto the floor and sat there, assessing.

Good news: was not yet wearing my guitar! Bad news: pain pain pain pain pain.

This particular knee has been sending signals since Thanksgiving, when it suddenly went BLERG during a mild walk in mild weather. Ever since it’s been techy. Unfortunately, it is as clear about what it wants from me as your average 9 month old (which isn’t all that clear). Rest? Strengthening? Not to move this way?

All I can tell so far is the joint seems okay, but it doesn’t like walking. Which, in a walking city like New York, is problematic. Walking is the one thing I can’t stop doing.

When surprises like this come upon me, I confess I don’t react well. I think about all the routines I am desperately trying to start or stick to, and how disruptive this will be to them. I am not zen. I do not thank my body for its feedback. It’s feedback is lousy. I can’t tell what the heck it wants.

What I want, among other things, is to exercise vigorously every day. It calms me, energizes me, helps me sleep better, and keeps me from looking like Jabba the Hut, given my predilection towards tasty fats.

How could my knee not be on board with all that?

The knee pain subsided enough that I was able to walk to my lesson and back. (I would have happily taken a cab. You try catching one crosstown in Harlem.) But I skipped the gym, fearful for the knee. And then slept badly. And today I feel creaky, lethargic, and grumpy. There is one cure for all of that (say it with me: vigorous exercise!).

So I’m going to work out, and will try to coddle the knee and figure out What It Wants. I’m going, because I need my few fragile routines to take root. They are the best chance I have to respond with a modicum of grace to the next surprise.


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When I’m not thinking about my career, I am often thinking about food.

strawberry cupcake

A recent exchange…

ME: You know what might be the ‘new black’?

Concerned Friend:  Orange is the new black. Everyone knows that.

ME:  No: strawberry frosting! YUMMMM!

CF: Every time I hear about you talk about frosting, I shake my head.

ME:  I do love frosting. It’s a deep, abiding love. We must have some cosmic connection from a previous life. Perhaps I used to be butter.

CF: I don’t believe you used to be butter.

ME: Can you believe anyone would believe ‘I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter’ is butter?

CF: I can.

ME: Heresy!

CF: Hearsay. People believe if they want to believe.

ME: I believe I could have been butter. Or batter. But butter is better.

CF: Oh brother.

ME: He’s our short stop*. : )


*for the uninitiated…

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Bonne Neujahr!

 Another new year! Hurrah!

I wish you effervescent friendships, confidence in your strengths, joy in your body, and robust health for you and your loved ones. Merry happy 2015!

Happy New Year 2015

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Making Merry

Merry Happy Everything!

May your season be full of song.


gif by Tina Muat,

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The longer excerpt is also beautiful (and surprising to me that it comes from Camus):

“My dear,
In the midst of hate, I found there was, within me, an invincible love.
In the midst of tears, I found there was, within me, an invincible smile.
In the midst of chaos, I found there was, within me, an invincible calm.
I realized, through it all, that…
In the midst of winter, I found there was, within me, an invincible summer.
And that makes me happy. For it says that no matter how hard the world pushes against me, within me, there’s something stronger – something better, pushing right back.

Truly yours,
Albert Camus”

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The Timer Trick

I am fidgety.

I have been all day. And not the artistically spastic happy kind:


The anxious, resistant kind. My To Do list looms; I keep not checking items off.
On days like this, I feel like I’ve never accomplished anything, and never will.

In the middle of this no-accomplishment day, I trudged to a guitar lesson. It was POURING rain, it takes 3 hours out of the day, I hadn’t practiced enough. I never do.

And yet… without ever practicing enough, over the last year I’ve managed to learn to play  a new instrument. How the heck did I pull that off?!

I’m not sure. But I do have a habit which perhaps I under-value, which is to chip away at resistance, especially with long-term and repetitive tasks, by sneaking in tiny bites of work.

When I’m in that high resistance place — checking Facebook every 5 minutes, staring into the fridge, re-organizing my lists — I try to stand up, walk over to the microwave timer, and set a period of time so short I won’t resist it. 1 minute, or 2. I can endure almost anything for a couple minutes. Yes. I literally set a timer.

Then I’ll see how much laundry I can fold in that 1 minute, or how many dishes I can put away while the kettle boils. I’ll practice one song while lunch heats up, or, if I’ve given up and turned on the TV, run scales during one commercial, to see if I can lure myself back to practicing.

My favorite timer trick is to do a task I dread but just for the duration of one uptempo song. Clean as much kitchen as I can in the 4:54 of ‘Billie Jean’, or file papers while Taylor Swift Shakes it Off. Sometimes I get into it, and keep going! Sometimes, not so much.

And in that fractured, stumbling way, over time, things get done.

I’d be curious to hear how you keep yourself going. Because let’s face it: self-discipline runs out. It gets exhausted from 12 hours of pushing yourself, 7 days a week. At least it does for me. I need timers and tricks. It helps me keep going as a solo independent artist.


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New directions


Beautiful blog readers, hello!

Betcha thought I dropped off the edge of the earth!

(Good news on that front, actually, if you’ve been in a coma since Galileo: the earth is round. So we’re safe! Well. Not from danger in general, but from that particular peril.)


I took a little pause after posting daily during the campaign, and during the pause I’ve been reflecting on what I think about, and what I’d most like to share with you…

What I think about, most of the time, is my career. Sometimes I focus on the fun parts, sometimes it’s the business work (usually not as fun), sometimes it’s tangential bits, but let’s face it: being a professional musician is, as Kathleen Edwards says, “a 12-to-12-to-12 job”. It doesn’t leave time to pursue other interests.

What I’d like to share with you here most is a rounder view of my life than you’ll get from Facebook or Twitter. I try to be frank on those sites as well, but it’s tougher in those formats. It’s easy to highlight just the shiniest parts.

And yes! there are amazing experiences, trips to cool places, VIP moments, perhaps even occasional glory. I get to see far-flung friends and fans in person, which I love. Some days a fan tells me that something they heard from me moved them, or transformed their day. That makes my whole week.

Mostly, though, there’s a lot of uncertainty. I suspect some of the challenges I grapple with are ones you are grappling with as well. Work-life balance. What Next questions. How to handle discouragement, and comparison. How to feed my creative well, how to keep from  depletion, and, when I inevitably fail, what to do when it’s run dry.

So I’m going to try writing more about those thoughts.  We’ll see where it takes us.

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Reason #1

Step into the TARDIS with me, won’t you, and let’s go back to September 25th, to the final moments of the crowdfunding campaign…. [cue music]

It was down to the wire! $860 to go! $640 to go! $410! $225! $115! $55! And then suddenly WHOOSH! we were over the wire, and into the Land of the Stretch Goals, as the participation continued through to the very last hour of the campaign.

The campaign closed at midnight Pacific time, with 82 funders and $6,755 raised.


I think that is absolutely astounding.  We did it together! Without hiring a crowdfunding expert, without having a staff of five dedicated to the cause (that’s apparently Indiegogo’s recommendation!), without a penny of marketing budget to spread the word.

It was just you and me, kid. (And those other kids.) THANK YOU. You are all amazing.

So here we are at the final reason:

Reason #1 to contribute to my crowdfunding campaign:

Because you already did*!


*What’s that? You say you didn’t? You still can! Visit the campaign page, pick a Perk, and use PayPal to send that Perk amount to (PayPal also accepts credit cards). I will include you on the Wall of Thanks and make sure you receive your Perk soon, just like the rest of the funders!




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Happy New Year!

Happy New Year! (L’Shanah Tovah!)

It’s a beautiful evening for the beginning of Rosh Hashanah  (Jewish new year). This coming year will be 5775, whose symmetry I find utterly delightful.

Though I’m not of the tribe, I still think it’s an excellent holiday. For one, apples and honey are involved. (Mmmmmmmmm.)


It’s also a chance to turn over a new leaf. Maybe you’ve been putting off a few things. It’s okay! It’s a new year! You can start over!

So in honor of the two days of Rosh Hashanah, I give you Reason #2 to support my crowdfunding campaign:

because you can start out your new year by helping to launch a new album!




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It’s not just a candy bar

Reason #3 to support my crowdfunding campaign:

Because you believe in all for one and one for all.


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