Posts Tagged ‘writing’

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Summer Time

July 2, 2013

j1School is out and the summer has officially begun!  It’s a holiday today and everyone is out celebrating the Nation’s birthday with cottage trips, lake-side strolls and fireworks, of course. Where does the time go? (Can’t believe I’m starting to use phrases like that.) It’s incredible how you can think you’ve got all the time in the world and then suddenly realize there’s a gig just around the corner or you look through some of your old lyric pads and be shocked when you realize the date was from last year or older.

I was recently thumbing through an old notebook I carried around with me last summer, hoping to pick out any brilliant song ideas that were left cleverly, buried there. (insert snicker here.) And I came across the diary I kept when I traveled to the Azores. It was cool to read it a year later and remember what I experienced. I was still stuck with writer’s block back then and desperately trying to find my groove.  Thank goodness that’s passed – for now! Thought it might be fun to share, since I usually do with my travels.

So here it goes:

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

A very full first day in Sao Miguel. It’s been thirteen years since I last set foot on this island. I was just a kid. This island once so removed from my familiaritieIMG_0145s, now so removed from my memories of it. This place, this culture that used to stretch out its dirt roads to welcome you now presents its slick asphalt highway to get you from one end of the island to another. The main city now has its own doors (archways) to the city – or doors to the ocean depending on which side of them you are standing on.

7:20am the plane landed and it was a wonderful sight to see my favourite uncle, Nic, awaiting my arrival. Surprisingly a wave of emotion came over me as this is the first time I arrive here alone. It reminds me of the family that used to be here but is no longer as well as the family that didn’t come along this time.

It’s funny how our memories can keep our hopes and expectations frozen in another time – another era. But in reality everyone and everything moves forward. We arrive at uncle’s “garden estate” as I’ve decided to call it. Surprisingly, he no longer lives in my grandmother’s house (which is now his house but he has rented it out.) He now lives in a new property just outside of Ponta Delgada in a smaller township called Lagoa, which means lake.  And I call it his garden estate because it’s probably a full acre – if not more – of floral paradise. The long drive invites you up to the four bedroom homestead which I affectionately call “The Manor“.  All around are flowers and plants to a horticulturalist’s delight. Wild orchids, hydrangeas, hibiscus (the biggest I’ve ever seen), lemon trees, banana trees. A crop garden with rows of kale, garlic, tomatoes, exotic fruits like apple-melons (yet to try). And lastly an animal sanctuary where two geese roam free with their friends the chickens, a rooster, pigeons, rabbits, ducks, three pigs and a proper turkey to rule over them all. It’s like a mini version of Neverland Ranch without all the carnival rides!

Along the drive, when you look south, you are treated to breathtaking views of the Atlantic. On a clear day you can even see the next island over, Santa Maria. The air is fresh and swirls lightly in a welcoming embrace. The hillsides are lush and green. his man-made pIMG_1509ond full of frogs and lily pads bid you an inviting hello.

Home. There is an unspoken, settled feeling that I’ve come back home after so long.

After a neat breakfast and a brief tour, I promptly collapse onto the first bed I see and have a “nap” that will end up taking me seven and a half hours into the other side of heaven. I awake to uncle Nic’s friend AnaBela who is warm and charming despite her regular use of expletives. She instantly puts me at ease with her comedic ways and commentaries on frustrations of her day to day activities. With her, we take a quick trip into the city where new hotels now stand and a whole ocean front scene creating an Ocean Drive ambiance with an infinite row of open air restaurants lining the shore. It’s a new Sao Miguel I am seeing. Much more modern than the horse-back riding culture of when I was a child. The island always seemed to be a century behind the rest of the wIMG_1421orld but it’s clear to see that in the last two decades, the island is all caught up to 2012 with their internet cafes and ipad-toting intellectuals ordering cappuccino and downloading the latest Lady Gaga videos. This baby sister has finally joined the party of its older sibling, the main land.

We arrive back at midnight and proceed to do three hours of catching up, which always include Uncle Nic’s infinitesimal anecdotes that always leave you gaping or exploding with laughter. I’ve missed that. I’ve missed his story-telling, the sense of connection to my past, my grandmother, my family.

So at 3am we finally decide that we’ve got seven more days ahead to continue catching up.  And after biding each other good-night I am off to enjoy and much earned, full night’s slumber. Tomorrow will be another adventure, I am sure.

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Day 90 – Hora Loca!

July 18, 2010

What a weekend! Last night’s gig was a great way to end a jam-packed week. It was a wedding gig, as I mentioned before and I’d never done a gig so fun that I didn’t mind staying a little longer. I have a few Venezuelan friends but I just forgot how these people can party. I say this with much love when I say you Latinos are CRAZY!

The evening was an interesting night of observation for me. The whole night was just filled with having a good time. There was Jack Daniels flowing freely and your choice of Cuban cigars to go around. Everyone was happy and dancing up a storm. I can’t remember the last time we’ve been able to pack the dance floor like that! It made me realize that we, in North American, have got absolutely no clue on how to live life. I mean really LIVE!  Take in the joy of the moment.

One new thing that I learned is that it is tradition in Venezuela to have something called Hora Loca at wedding receptions. Hora Loca means Crazy Hour. It is a time during the reception when everyone’s eaten, had a few drinks and are in full party mode when a traditional Merengue song is played and people in the wedding party break out all kinds of Carnival-type gag costumes. Everyone, including and most especially the bride and groom, put on crazy pimp hats, oversized sunglasses, butterfly wings, fake noses and even butts and dance up a storm. That’s considered the official inauguration of the evening’s festivities.  I was giddy with awe and excitement at how much fun everyone was having. Everyone got in on it from the parents of the newlyweds to the grandparents and neighbours. The whole lot! They even had streamer string cans and everyone was spraying each other with it. It was shear madness in the most joyous way possible.

I still can’t get over how beautiful the whole event was. It was an outdoor affair with the reception being held in a tent in the backyard. Not just any old backyard. This property was surrounded by a beautiful wooded area and the tent was set up to look like something out of a soap opera wedding. Someone said to me that they felt like they were in an episode of Days of our Lives and at any moment someone would come busting in to announce that they were carrying the groom’s baby. Of course that didn’t happen but it gives you some idea of what the set up was like. It was enough to get the imagination going. Very lavish yet simple in its staging.

It was a beautiful night with beautiful people. Every single person at this event was just…….. hmm. There are no words to describe the amazing energy I felt last night. We were all there – whether working or attending – to celebrate. These people made it feel like it was more than celebrating a wedding but it was celebrating life in general. Something we do very little of here.

Although, I thoroughly enjoyed it more than any wedding I’ve ever played at, I do have my fatigue limits. These guys could have easily partied full on until the sun came up but a few of the neighbours were already threatening to call the cops by 1 am so at that point we wound it down. Not to mention we still had a two-hour drive back to the city. But as we packed our gear, the thirty or so people who were left hanging around found themselves a boom box and the party continued. They broke out more cigars and I even saw a few people jump fully clothed into the pool. Did I forget to mention there was a pool? Yeah, this was a party right out of a night at the Playboy Mansion – only difference is everyone kept their clothes on.

Even though it was tough to keep my eyes open on the drive back, we made it and I was able to crawl into bed by 4 am. Needless to say I’m in a kind of useless state today but feel oddly happy. Anytime, I get to observe that kind of fun in a pure state, it leaves me feeling great. So many song ideas floating around in my head. Perhaps once I’ve had some time to settle in to the day, I’ll try to get some of them on paper. I’m excited about writing again. The more entries I write, the more I can feel my mojo coming back, so to speak. In fact, one of my dear friends has asked me to help her write a book about her life’s adventures. (She’s travelled the world and has had some pretty cool experiences.)  I’m very pumped about that.

Thanks so much to all of you that read my thoughts and continue to give me encouragement. No mater how silly, frivolous or serious the topic, if it stirs something in you in someway, that in turn inspires me to write. I’m feeling more and more alive by doing it. Being able to combine my two passions: music and writing is the most nurturing and euphoric thing I’ve experienced in a really long time. It actually helps me to feel like I’m somewhere in this existence of nowhere in particular.

Thank you so much.

Love you all dearly:)

Nowhere Girl