Tag Archives: haiku

“Changes” is also on my RPM cd for 2013.   One afternoon in February, I was meeting with a friend of mine, Ben, for coffee. Something we do often- though not often enough- and we were talking about our lives.  He talked about how busy he was for classes at school and planning his wedding for September and all kinds of fun stuff on the horizon.  I was talking about how I had come to screeching halt.  January seemed never ending and the first week of February I got food poisoning and was sick for 4 days!  Thank goodness I had the RPM Challenge to get back to some kind of business, because there was nothing going on.  A couple of weeks earlier, I had to bite the bullet and get a part time job.  I wasn’t making enough out in the Squares to pay my bills anymore.  Clearly, there were a lot of changes happening!  As always though, my visit with Ben was awesome.

Changes are always going to happen, that just kept ringing through my head.  I was in the shower one morning and came up with the first two lines of my Haiku.  Later on, I called Ben, struggling with the third line.  He said, “Whatever it is, make it pertain to you”  He never gives an answer, he always makes you think.  As always, it worked.  The last line – “Never lose yourself”  came to me a couple days later. He loved it!  I think we all get to a point where we want to do things at certain times that aren’t necessarily us.  I have done it and I have to live with those repercussions, anyway…. It is important to stay true to who you are, regardless.

So, now I have the Haiku, what to do for music.  I wanted to have someone play on this with me, but there wasn’t enough time.  I did the best I could to represent this being by myself.  The idea for the tune was to use chord changes to represent the changes in life.  During the second line- “Good bad or indifferent” I was going to use 1 scale and do a circle of fifths progression.  Some of it would have sounded great, some not, well you get the idea.   So, I left my mistakes in there instead.  Hopefully, one day, I can get this recorded the way I wanted to.  But for now here it is.  Please click on the link below and give it a listen.  It is also available as a free download!

Enjoy! And Thank you for taking a listen!🙂

As some of you may know, I do the RPM Challenge every February.  If you have never heard me talk about this before, I encourage you to check out some of my older posts.

“Myshkin” is a tune I put on my RPM Challenge cd this year.  It was inspired by Dostoevsky’s character by that name in his book “The Idiot”.  It took me just about two years to finish that book!  It certainly is not an easy book to read.  I would read a few chapters and then put it down for a while.  As difficult as it was for me to read it, I enjoyed it tremendously.  There is so much going on in that story, but the important part was Myshkin’s feelings for both Nastasya Fillipovna and Aglaya Epanchin.  He loved both women for different reasons and it was my impression, though he didn’t really show it, that his heart was torn between the two.  As I was coming to the end of this book- the last 60 pages or so- I could not put it down! So much happened and I didn’t see any of it coming.  That was in January of this year, it still is in my head and I still think about it all the time.  Whenever I talk to someone who has read it, I get all nutty and want to talk about it with them and it could be for hours.  “The Idiot” will always be one of my all time favorites.  In my tune “Myshkin”, I tried to portray the anguish of loving two people simultaneously.  During the middle part, I had P.R. Portales (my sound engineer) use an octaver.   It represents the two women.  I think the rest of the tune and the Haiku, will be evident to the listener.  To hear “Myshkin” please click on the link below and tell me what you think!  While you are there, feel free to download it for free!  Thank you🙂

I didn’t think I was going to be able to finish this year.  Gilda needed repair, and I didn’t have the money. All I can do is give a HUGE thank you to my brother, Kenny, for helping me with that.  I am ever so grateful! There wasn’t enough time to find musicians and rehearse before the recordings and I lost 5 days due to a cold and food poisoning.  Then yesterday, the nightmare of printing my cd cover and label.  Thank goodness for the patience of my brother -in-law, Ed. We weren’t able to print the label and cover I wanted, due to software issues.  My computer wouldn’t install his printer. After many trials and errors, we just put text on it.  Lining it up with the templates wasn’t easy. I wanted to use a sketch for my cover that someone did of me a few years ago.  Her name is Charlotte, she was here with her family on vacation, and sat in the Square and did this.  I thought it would have made a nice cover.  Maybe when I get a new printer.sketchI was also up to the wee hours of the morning waiting for the audio files Pete sent me to download.  I had to make sure they downloaded properly, it took a few hours, but it worked.  I got it out in the mail by 11:34am.   Unfortunately, I made the cd with just me.  I wanted to add other musicians to give it a little more depth and a different sound than what I have been doing, there just wasn’t enough time.  I am hoping to be able to build off this in the very near future.  I also hope you enjoy what I made.                                                     studio 1

I actually was able to record in a studio.  That was pretty cool.  We had three sessions at Hamilton Hall and it was a lot of work, but fun work!  Pete was very patient with me, as I did many takes.  He gave me some good input and did the mastering.  It was great working him. I hope I am able to work with him again when I get other musicians.  It was also pretty cool to do a Haiku based from a photo my friend Diana sent to me (that can be found in my previous post) along with all of the Haiku I wrote and track titles.  I also want to say a big thank you to my friends and family who were very encouraging along the way.  This is my 5th Challenge and I think it was the most difficult for me.  I love when February 1st comes.  It gets me out of the long January funk and back on track.  I love The Wire for starting this (I think) 8 years ago.  It is amazing to see and hear all the music people create in such a short time. Please go to the RPM Challenge site, and see what others are doing. There is a link in my blogroll to the right.  Yes, it is difficult and sometimes can be stressful.  But you come away with something that you never thought you could do.  It is amazing, people sign up from all over the world to do this! It is fun to hear all of the different ideas they come up with.  Again, check it out sometime when you have time, thank you!

FinishedCD pic

During the first 10 days, I didn’t feel very productive.  I had done a lot of research to figure out certain scales and/or chords to get an authentic sound, and in the first 10 days only had 3 progressions written.  Also, I had been sick for several of those days.  I was feeling very discouraged about not getting my Challenge cd finished.

In the last 10 days, I feel I made up for that. I now have 10 Haiku written and 10 progressions down.  I have worked very hard and continued to look up certain scales and chords to match what I am saying in the Haiku.  I have 5 based on literature, it kind of became a theme after my first two.  The other 5 came from various places or thoughts I had.  I would like to share all ten of them–

1,  Myshkin, the Poor Knight/ Heart torn between two women/ Tragically, lost both

2.  24601/ All he did was steal some bread/ He is, Jean Valjean

3. On a Knight’s errant/ To honor the Peerless One/ With his trusted Squire

4. Poems, short stories/ A master of the macabre/ Mysterious death

5. Gollum and Precious/ Together for Centuries/ Consumed by Passion

6. She’s from Canada/ Now living in Australia/ The Orange Blossom

7. Warm soft summer rain/ In the Squares of Savannah/ Gilded by the sun

8. Cafe barista/ A cappuccino in hand/ Frothy heart on top

9. Changes will happen/ Good, bad, or indifferent/ Never lose yourself

10. Glorious sunshine, On a chilly Winter day/ Chase those blues away

Number 10 is a Haiku based on a photo by my friend Diana.  We have done a couple collaborations in the past and I asked her if she would send me a photo and she did. To see more of her work, click on Life Thru Blue Eyes  on the right, in my blogroll.


Now that I have all of my progressions and Haiku written, all that is left, is to record.  I had to take Gilda to shop (today) because there are all kinds of leaks and she is very difficult to play (A huge thank you to my brother for helping me with that!). Also, I have to do the album cover work and then I can send it off.  In some ways, this time of year is my favorite time of year. This is my 5th RPM Challenge and it sets a fire under me to come up with new ideas.  It is most helpful, especially after the long, cold month of January.  I am looking forward to seeing the end product of this project.  I hope you enjoy it too!

When February 1st finally arrived, I was ready to get started on my new Challenge cd.  I went right to work, looking up scales and progressions that are used in Russian music.  The first Haiku I wrote was in reference to Dostoevsky’s, “The Idiot” —

Myshkin, the Poor Knight,  Heart torn between to women,  Tragically, lost both

I wanted to use scales that Russians use.  I was even able to find pentatonic scales so it would fit in with the confines of Haiku Jazz.  I got started right away on chord progressions, using Georgian triads that I also found.  Since I have not written progressions in a few years, and haven’t really had to think of transposing, I did all the progressions in my key. I transposed them and a few days later, realized I did it backwards.  Are you kidding me?  So, I did it all again, in a simpler form.  I still feel I will improv my part over the progression.  In my mind, it seems like a good idea, I guess we’ll see.

On the 4th, I came down with a nasty cold.  I didn’t understand that, as I had just gotten over strep from a week before.  I hadn’t been sick in three years then I get a one two punch.  And that isn’t the worst part, I also got food poisoning!  So, from the 4th to the 8th I was pretty much laid up. I lost some valuable time there, but I am not daunted.  On the 9th I got right back to work, with a progression for a Haiku I wrote in reference to “Les Miserables”–

24601,  All he did was steal some bread, He is- Jean Valjean

I wanted to start with these two first, I think they are the more difficult ones, due to the research I did on them.  Now I am able to get to work some of the other Haiku.  I gues being laid up wasn’t a total loss, it did give me time to create another one–

Cafe Barista, A cappuccino in hand, frothy heart on top

I have a couple more I had before I got sick, but I will talk about those as I do them.  I still have 5 more Haiku to write, find a couple of musicians to play with me and space to record this in. It could be I do them solo, then go back with other musicians and layer over my part.  We’ll see what happens.  For now, it is off to my work station to get busy!🙂

Thank you for following along!


The RPM Challenge is coming to a close in a couple of days.  As I said in my last post, it has been an emotional ride this month.  Some of the Haiku I wrote, I knew were personal.  There were a couple that were obvious when I wrote them, but there were a couple I didn’t realize that were until a few days after I recorded them.  A couple hit me like a ton of bricks and it has got me thinking about things.  I don’t know if I can explain, but let me tell you- this RPM Challenge has brought out something in me.  For better or for worse, I don’t know which yet.

I still have one more to record and I will be writing that Haiku today and hopefully be getting it recorded tomorrow and shipped out on Wednesday.  I have all of the liner notes and album cover work and label done, except the addition of the last tune.  I was able to get the latest recording done on Friday.  I wasn’t sure that was going to happen with the weather, but it stopped raining late and we were able to get o the garage and record “Streetlamp”

The last tune I am doing is to a friend who sends me inspiration packages and before I moved away, I always went to to pick up charms, or a special pencil for writing, or something to that effect before I started any project.  This year, without even knowing what my plan was, sent me a book of poems by one of my favorite poems!  The Haiku Jazz I am doing for her is my way of saying “Thank you”  I am hoping to have that posted in a couple of days.

In the meantime, if you haven’t heard my new tunes you can hear them here–    The new ones are the first 5 tunes, enjoy! And Thank YOU!

It  has been a busy week!  I was a little worried about getting this Challenge cd done on time.  With the set backs I was having  and the weather, I didn’t think I would get there.  Wednesday night, with my friend Alexandra’s help, I was able to get three more tracks down.  I only have 3 to go and I have 2 of the Haiku written, I just need one more Haiku and then I will be done.   As I have said before, this project is a little more difficult but I am finding that some of it is my best work.  Some of these tunes I will re-record, as I don’t the the quality is quite up to par.  On some of them, there are some mistakes, and I want to make it just a little better before I post them for purchase.  In the meantime, I will post a couple of these for your listening pleasure here,

One of them “Two Crows”

Two crows, side by side

Face each other behind shrubs

Together in death

This one is personal to me.  Last year year  that was exactly,  what I saw as I was walking to work one day.  I stopped and look at them for a while and wondered how they came to be there.  It was pretty powerful.  I was actually on the phone with Alexandra when I saw these and asked her what it could mean.  We never did come up with anything.  Anyway, while I was recording it, i was playing what my emotions were during the time I was looking at them.  It wasn’t really going anywhere.  Alexandra made a suggestion to tell a story.  So the story is,there are two crows flying around and they are happy and in love and having fun.  Then they fall together and leave this world and then I am sad when I see them laying there together.

“Persian Princess”

Liquid libations

Served by a Persian Princess

Always with a smile

This one is about a friend who is a bartender in Savannah who is half Persian.  The beginning of the tune has her pouring the drinks and then it goes into a Persian-esque sound. I am using a Persian scale for that part, something I have never done.  Then I change it to a bright happy sound to represent her demeanor as she is working.  I found it good enough to put on this cd, but will re-record this one for the future cd.


Though loved ones leave us

Memories of them remain

But still, we miss them

This one is personal too.  In three months I lost 2 people dear to me.  Alexandra’s mom and my sister, Jackie.  This one I did not post yet.  Not sure I will until I put up the cd. I was not able to record this in the garage and it doesn’t have the sound I prefer.  So this one will be re-recorded as well.  Anyway, this one starts happy, remembering all of the good times we have with our loved ones.  Then it gets a little sad as our hearts ache as we miss them.

I find myself going on a little journey as write these Haiku and as I come up with the music for them.  This cd and the music on it, has been an emotional ride, and at times just down right difficult.  As I mentioned earlier though, I think it is some of my best work.  I hope you think so too!

Thank you for reading post and listening to my music!

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