21 December 2009

Music by Daniel J Hay...

I've installed PodBean podcasting service so that I can selectively put my compositions on my blog page. I don't know if I want to try and squeeze it into the FaceBook and MySpace pages or not. I may add it to some of my personal websites later. But for now, these are somewhat like sneak previews.

This first PodBean driven playback is Susan's Concerto: for English Horn, Bassoon, and Violin.

Although I have performed many of my solo works the only chamber piece ever performed to date is the Two Flutes and A Cello I mentioned in an earlier blog posting. Of the 300+ pieces lost in Hurrican Katrina in 2005 most had been choral pieces and a good number had been performed.

Among the many tasks I have assigned myself, which includes writing more childrens stories and getting them published, and composing more music, I wish to get my music published. To do so I am squeezing time in on preparing collections for print and CD. The ones featured on my blog, PeriODDically... will be part of that process.

I am interested in forming or working with one or more chamber groups to get my works performed. Currently in the northern portion of California, I could be available locally. Or, perhaps something could be arranged for long distant contact.

18 December 2009

(Book) -- The Lost Lullaby...

(Sneak preview...seeking publisher...excerpt...send links to friends...by Daniel J Hay.)

Once upon a time...(You know all the best stories start out this way. Just say, “Once upon a time,” and your story is off to a good start.)...

So...once upon a time there was a lullaby sitting in a meadow of wild flowers. She was watching a Lady Bug. First the Lady Bug crawled up a flower stem. Then she crawled across a leaf and onto a pretty yellow flower. She stopped there, to eat her lunch, and noticed Lullaby sitting across from her.

“Well, well, a lullaby,” she said after politely swallowing her salad. “What are you doing here? I have already had my nap. It is not time for my children to go 'nite nite' yet.”

Lullaby said, in a thin and quavering voice, “I don't know where I am. Nobody has called for me in a very long time.” She paused, took a very deep breath, and added, “I think I have been lost.”

“Dear, dear,” Lady Bug declared. “All mothers know a lullaby. Somewhere a mother knows your song. Maybe you just need to visit the mothers so they don't forget.”

“But I don't know where I am. I don't know where to go,” moaned Lullaby.

“My, my, little Lullaby, you are in the wild flower meadow. I think you should follow the path to the house. Check with the mother. All mothers have children. Surely they need a lullaby.

Lullaby looked happy with that idea. Smiling, she thanked Lady Bug and started down the path. After a few steps she turned and waved, saying, “Bye!”

“Bye, bye” Lady Bug sang back. And then Lady Bug crawled under a leaf and disappeared from sight.

The path seemed longer and longer with every step she took. Lullaby could not see a house but eventually she came to a large pond. There were cattails sticking up and dogwoods leaning down at the water's edge. Feeling tired Lullaby sat down on a rock that tilted towards the water. Not far away she could hear birds singing in the trees.

“Maybe I should go ask the birds for directions,” she said in a tired voice.

“Are you speaking to me?” A great big green nose poked up out of the water. “Ribbit,” croaked the frog behind the nose.

Lullaby tumbled backwards in fright at the sudden appearance of Frog. “Oh my, you sacred me,” she gasped.

“Ribbibbit...so sorry. Nobody seems to see me until I speak. I was right here when you sat down. I thought you were talking to me. Please sit down and share my rock.”

Grateful for a place to rest, Lullaby sat down and Frog hopped up next to her. He blinked a great big eyelid at her and asked, “Where are you going?”

“Oh, I'm looking for a house with a mother. I am a lullaby, but I think I have been lost.”

“Well you aren't lost now, ribbitt, but even daddy frog's know lullabies. I'm sorry, but I don't think this is where you need to be. You could ask the birds, I guess, but they are tucking their babies in their nests for naps. You can hear them singing lullabies right now.”

Sure enough, Lullaby could hear mother birds singing lullabies to baby birds. “Frog, do you know where the house is?”  ..... (the rest is hidden in the book...)

15 December 2009

(Book) -- Pooka's Story...

(Sneak preview...seeking publisher...excerpt...send links to friends...by Daniel J Hay.)

The story about Pooka is very, very long. It is so long that you do not have time to listen to it unless this is Wednesday. This story takes many, many pages to make into a book. In fact, her story is so long that I know you won't listen to all of it. So, I am not going to tell you her story.

Nope. Not at all. I absolutely refuse to tell you that Pooka was a puppy with a special name. You can look for Pooka in that big book of words that tells you what words mean. Go ahead. Do it. I don't have the time to tell you Pooka means "animal spirit". When you see who used that word you will know it was a special word.

Since you won't listen to this story why should I tell you that she got her name because her heart didn't pump when she was born. Oh, and her lungs didn't give her air. And, her people were very sad.

You are not reading the book so you won't know that the house cats meowed at her. Pooka didn't hear them. Her mommy nudged her and she didn't nudge back. Her oldest and older brothers whined. Her younger and youngest brothers were waiting their turn to be born. But mommy was sad. Her people were sad. Even the cats were sad.

Of course you aren't sad because have not heard this story. You have not read the book because it is so very long. Suddenly people-daddy thought of something and you don't know what he thought. While you are ignoring this long story the people family took the tiny bundle of black fur and wrapped her in a towel.

They rubbed her briskly and vigorously just like a person drying their hair. Daddy breathed into Pooka's nose, "Puff, puff, puff." They tapped a finger over her heart, "Tap, tap, tap." In a few minutes she open her mouth and whined. She wiggled a paw. She was waving at her people and asking for warm milk. Soon she was tucked into the blankets with brothers and mommy.

Did you have to use the big word book to look up some of these words? Oh, I forgot, you aren't reading this story because it is so very long. You might not even know that there are words to be learned.

After a while all the people were sure that Pooka was warm and snoozing. They could see her lungs were working and could feel her little heart pumping very strongly. They kept her tucked into the blankets with her puppy family. Mommy kissed her over and over. Brothers rolled over and went to sleep.

If I was not trying to make this long story short I would tell you that this is how she got her name. She has a very special spirit inside of her.

Many pages and a great amount of ink were required to tell this part of Pooka's story. I am not going to waste more paper and ink. This is a very long story. You are not reading it so I can skip all of the long parts. You won't miss them anyway, right?

In the long story book I would have to tell you that Pooka had a very special mommy. Her mommy told her stories about her people. Pooka knew that mommy was named Kita. When they asked her if she liked that name she wagged her tail and yipped in agreement. Besides, the people name didn't really matter to her because she knew her puppies would always call her mommy.

Do you know that in the long story I would tell you about Pooka's brothers? I could tell you their names. Each of the four had white fur of different length than his brothers. They could have been named Longest Fur, Long Fur, Short Fur, and Shortest Fur. But they weren't. That would be ridiculous so none of them were named Fur. In the middle was Pooka with her black fur. This book is to long to spell out her brothers' names.
After a few weeks of warm milk Pooka had a big little tummy. She could sit up and look like a grizzly bear except that her ears flop over. Mommy's ears stand up. Brothers' ears stand up. Pooka's ears flop.

Yes, I know, the story is already to long to be telling you about ears. Pooka's ears do flop. When she runs they flop. Do your ears flop? Silly question to ask somebody who is not reading this story. Sorry. I'll go back to making this a short story.

Puppies grow faster than people children. Soon they get older and need their own new people families to play with. Sometimes they get to be pets and sometimes they get to work with their family of people.
Kita was a breed that protected people from little creatures and big insects ................. (the rest is hidden in the book...)

13 December 2009

Half A Can...

A few weeks back, not too many, I purchased a 24-can pack of soda (pop). It's not something I do often because I know that if I have it I'll drink it. As fate will have it, since obviously my own will power has nothing to do with it, such a purchase never lasts as long as I convince myself it will.

"Wow, 24 cans for $6.00. Hmm... that will last me a month or more," says I to self. Myself agrees with me and quick as a flash the package is in my cart, to the registers, and out the door.

Then, it sits there next to the table for a few days as I school myself to ignore it in preparation for stretching the life of the unopened box, and extending the time frame where there will still be unopened cans. A month I said, and any mature adult can stick to such plans.

It is a good thing that I don't have to claim to be a mature adult. I won't even have to explain why. Sure, the box got opened too soon, and the drinks got drunk too quickly, and less than two weeks later there was only one can in the box. I reached for it, grabbed it, and then let out a cry of anguish. I know, I know, some of you would have let out a blue streak, but I didn't. It was more along the lines of "Ahhhcckk!"

Now that ack sound is reserved for one can being sticky from having somehow sprung a leak. Or at least in the past such an ack would have sufficed for a can in that condition. In this case I should have used half an ack, as in "Ahck!" for there was only half a can in the box. Yes, the top half of the can was there, but the bottom was missing.

A bit on the strange side of things I'd say. Should I return it to the store, or call the producer and threaten a large settlement lawsuit for having upset my mental balance? Ah the money sounds good. So I went for the money.

Yep, at $6.00 each can of drink cost me $.25 (not counting the sales tax) plus the CA CRV $.05 fee to make me take the empties to the recycle center to get a nickel back. I went for the big money. I wanted that nickle back. So I took it to the recycle place and they refused my nickel because the half can was not a can and therefore could only be scrap metal at about $.01 a pound (or pretty near to that price.)

They wouldn't accept my plea that the can obviously was worth the nickel because it had never been opened. The tab was still flat, the hole still sealed. It even bore the CA CRV enstamped  to indicate it is worth a nickel. Drat, I shouldn't have gone for the quick money I should have asked the store for a refund and then offered the can on ebay since the missing edge did sort of kind of look a bit like a religious icon facing an Elvis icon, and used that for proof of its existence, to sue the producer for millions of dollars. I guess I feared that officially they would discover I was housing a newly discovered metal eating termite.

Instead I stealthily slid the partial can over the bottom of another can and held up one red can top and said "One." With sleight of foot I bumped the basket to make it sound like I dropped in the red can, and with sleight of hand I flipped it and showed the attendant a black can and said, "Two." With more sleight of foot I banged the basket in a tumble while dropping the can in, and it swirled away into the mass of other cans. Then I said, "ten cents, please."

I slipped my new dime into my pocket, walked back to my truck and drove the return 38 miles, changed one flat tire, and got home in time to pop a cork for dinner.

12 December 2009

Veteran and Humane Care...

One of my contacts has a contact that I thought I recalled having seen and/or photographed so I clicked on the button to view their profile. From the picture I couldn't be sure if I had or if I had not met or photographed them, but I noticed where they worked.

I am moved, deeply moved, by human care of animals -- and more so by our mistreatment of them. It bothers me a lot.

So I sent the following mesage because this person works at an important humane care facility. A new friend I hoped, and that was based upon the pet theory that my dogs have always upheld. If they like somebody then I'll probably like them. If they mistreat my dogs I don't feel inclined to respect them or include them in my biosphere. Well, being a friend of a friend, and being friended by animals she is befriending, should be a pretty good vote of confidence. Now I haven't mentioned her name because I didn't ask her to let me write this. But some of you know her and if you don't you can choose any humane society individual to befriend.

Anyway, long winded that I am, here is my message to her:

"As a veteran, this past year I've been thanked by a number of people for serving. Its good that the current new vets are thanked although I wonder why it took so long to remember the other vets.

However, I wanted to thank you for taking care of those animals that have often seen the bad side of humanity. Please tell your co-workers that many of us are thankful because there was nothing else we could do to help.

When the police in Fort Worth told me there was nothing they could do about the man beating his dog I was shocked. I hope that the good you and others in humane care can do outweighs the evil of so many pet owners.

Again, thanks."

And in response I got a great note when all I was seeking was to add a worthy friend link. She replied:

"First off, Thank You for your service. I am a former Marine Reservist and my father was a Disabled American Veteran in the Air Force.

Secondly, thank you again. It is folks like you that keep folks like me doing what we are doing. Some days it seems we are outnumbered and overwhelmed, but we continue to preach animal welfare and responsible pet ownership. I believe education is the key. Yes, there are those out there that will abuse an animal just because, but there are more that do it unwittingly... They just don't know any better.

There are laws that need to be changed and updated and made easier to enforce, and that is where we need to start.

Thank you again for your support and well wishes. It makes it easier to do what we do knowing we have people behind us!"

You may note that I only told her I was a veteran. I didn't mention that I am a disabled veteran and that I served in the Air Force. That, to me, is some coincidence. You may ask why I even mentioned that in the first place?

I find it easier to write things even in messages that have lead-in to the topic. Even more so, if the reader is a stranger or an unknown recipient. It sets up a comparison that can be related to. In this instance that opening comparitive subject just happens to fit her father, and herself.

So this total blog is not about Veteran Care as some may have expected. That in itself is a touchy subject. Nor is it about just Humane Care. But, after I got her response I realized that I had material for a blog that could touch on two subjects I favor.

One, the longer our military personel are out and away the lower our national respect and concern gets for those individuals. And as many of us know, in previous military clashes our veterans were ignored, disdained, and sometimes forgotten. This time they aren't. Not YET. Please don't forget what they serve nor forget that they do serve.

Two, the many shelters and humane care facilities in our country are often understaffed, and under funded. Animals under human control can suffer many of the same mental and emotional traumas that we humans do. They also suffer physically from mistreatment. Be sure to have all pets spayed/neutered. And remember that you can help with even the smallest donation of money or time.

So two birds in the bush with this blog and now you can listen to them sing.

11 December 2009

Nutritional Data (for real)...

Do you read the label on the food products you buy? They put them there to help us help ourselves stay healthy. What you find on some of them should warn you off of ingesting the contents, but most people glance at part of the label and then just chomp chomp or chug chug.

At the bottom of this blurb there is a link to an intriguing site about nutrition. Why would I have an interest in nutrition? Well its actually three fold, or maybe only two fold with a twist or an extra wrinkle. Maybe there are no folds which certainly is best for my waist, right?

In 2004 I was diagnosed with diabetes which as we all know is a metabalic disorder characterized by abnormally high glucose levels in the blood. Yeah, the blood sugar stuff. As a matter of fact my glucose level was so high it was off the emergency room's meter, off the hospital lab's test chart, and had to be diluted to come to a number. Whew....and I was laying on the bed in a flimsy robe in a freezing exam room suffering severe cramping in the bottoms of my feet while they tried to figure that out.

Hence I had a thirteen hour overnighter at the hotel Hospital. In that time they ran three insulin IV bags through me, gave me several handfuls of little tables, and not only injected me in the ole tum tum, but had me inject me in the ole tum tum every two hours.

Then they sent me home because I had no insurance and told me how to take the pills and change my diet. BOOM! instant diet change. Two years later, after numerous evaluations I was told I did not have diabetes.

Now, either the first diagnosis was wrong or the second set was wrong. I don't have diabetic symptoms any more, but I used to. Am I cured? Its a miracle! Its my guess I was, am, are, is, borderline diabetic so I continue to stay fairly faithful to my diet. "Faithful" brings up another topic that I'm not going to bring up. And I'm not going to tell you all about my diet either.

I'm going to tell you why I'm even discussing this. You see, one thing I did was immediately switch to a grain/seed breakfast nearly every morning. And, I'm nearing production of this particular mixture for resale. So there is a reason to be tellling you about it, and about the nutritional webpage I started out leading you with. You can order Daniel's Power Cereal at http://bit.ly/6dEWto .

That page is loaded with the nutritional details of so many things that it will be odd for you to try one that they a haven't compiled. Wanna go see? Of course you do. Just visit http://www.nutritiondata.com/ and know that I am not associated with them in any manner. (Isn't that how you state there is no financial gain for me to have you go there?) Go ahead, try Alfalfa Seed. Yes, of course, you've always wanted to know the nutritional value of that tiny little seed that grows up to be cut down and bound into bales for feedinf four legged farm critters.

Not only will they have the food-label style of information but they have wonderful color charts of the values for most foods and ingredients. I've checked all the ingredients of my Power Ceral mix and got information on most of them. I didn't find any complete data on Flax Seed or Hemp Seed, but there is info on Flax in other forms.

So what is this Power Cereal mix? Its my own personal blending that I eat nearly every morning and is about as quick to fix as instant oatmeal. Oatmeal is good for you, you know, but my blend is even better, and you can always add the oatmeal to it. How's that for a useful product?

I'm not going to tell you, dear reader, (Like that personal touch?) the exact ingredients and quanity of each here because that would be, well, just giving it all away. But I am going to try and sell by mail-order, fairly soon so you'll probably see an announcement flash by -( see announcement flashing by? )- and then you can take a look yourself.

The twofold and threefold mentioned are that I lost 30 pounds in the first six months of my diet change. That change was only three things, my ceral mix most mornings, no fast food meals, and no more sugar in most instances. I wobble in my keeping to the no sugar and no fast food meals, but still, almost six years later, stick to my cereal. Yeah for me!

If you have health problems - FIX your diet.

( This blog edited 12/13/2009 to include links to Daniel's Power Cereal at http://bit.ly/6dEWto )

09 December 2009

Plumber For A Day...

If you have read my blogs you will recall that I am not a mechanic. I do well with tools but don't know a motor from an engine.

Unfortunately for me, plumbing is a similar category. Again, the tools are no problem and I have most of what I need. However, spending a couple of hours bent over working on frozen pipes, or on my knees repairing somebody's haphazard under-sink work leads to a severe increase in the pain level of this body.

It isn't a bad body for a 52 yr old with years of accidents and worn joints. And it was never a bad body, just average physically and not pro-sports. It has had its moments. Good moments. I ignore the bad moments.

Back in North Warren Regional High School I was on the wrestling team. Most times I was JV because I couldn't beat long legged Ralph and his long legs during the weekly wrestle-off for the Varsity spot. He was just probably better than me, but I did wrestle varsity in one very important match. Before I can go on about plumbing I just have to relate this match.

Ralph didn't make weight the night we wrestled Belvidere (I think). He was a few pounds over, or sick, or maybe he didn't want to face the undefeated state champion. I can't remember his name, and I should because he went to Blair for a post-grad year. I'm sure I met him on the mat again during my short-lived Blair wrestling career. But its been more than 30 years and I have forgotten some details of those ages. (If somebody can refresh my memory I'll edit this and correct it.)

Anyway, Ralph didn't make weight and I was moved to the Varsity team. This was only my second year of wrestling. Just a mere sophomore. Suddenly I was matched to the undefeated state champ who was a senior with many years of experience including preschool, gradeschool, junior high and high school, and dozens of wrestling camps.

He was good. I didn't win. He was very good. And, although I lost on score, I was not PINNED by the state champ. A proud yet somber moment for me.

I remember being stuck in a back-bridge unable to see anything except one light on the ceiling and the time clock ticking down from 1:04 in the third and final round.
Tick...tick...tick......tick...........tick...............tick and each moment took longer and longer.
He was unable to break my bridge, you know with feet on the mat, bent over backwards to top of head on the mat, twisting and turning trying to toss him off, trying to stay up so he couldn't get my shoulders down on the mat.

The referee warned him about delaying, and I think I got a point on the second warning...but that could just be wishful thinking. Eventually the time ran out before I collapsed. He had the win. He was still undefeated. I was JUST a two year JV wrestler that he couldn't pin.

This was the only match my father ever attended. And there was a very cute girl on the cheer leader squad that I wanted to ask to the next dance. (She also later attended Blair Academy.)

So why tell you about this? Because it is proof that the old body was never that bad, and still isn't all that bad. Yet, bending over working on rusted, corroded pipes behind the tub, or kneeling and working on fouled up plastic pipes under a sink -- they just don't fit me.

However, the work got completed. The leaks are gone and everybody is happy except for my back, my neck, my knees, my knuckles, and my pet gorilla.

Uh, sorry, there is no pet gorilla. And there was no plumber's crack either. So the body is still holding up even when I have to be the plumber for the day...

08 December 2009

Twitterbration With Milla Jovovich...

It's December 8th, 2009 and the followers of the Milla Jovovich tweet have surpassed 100,000 individuals. In celebration Milla and her tweet friends held a celebration that may last for 24 hours.

As part of the celebration everybody is asked to donate to one of two charities. A dollar each would be great for the them. And if you are not able to do so, just do something nice for somebody. Its a great idea and I'm proud to have followed along - how about you.

You can follow Milla's tweet thread at @millajovovich and join in the cheers, the fun, and pass along a few bucks to charities. As Milla's tweet said, "i'm going to make my donation now to both batteredmother.org and savethechildren.org hope u can donate to 1 of them as well!" And bear in mind that Milla and friends planned this while she has been on a movie shoot.

To the best of my understanding Milla is not associated with either organization, and in fact asked for suggestions. A great many people made suggestions and did some research and these two were chosen as part of the ongoing Twitterbration. However, if you have a favorite please do donate to it. It is hoped that with over 100,000 followers making donations right now that a substantial amount of donated funds will become available to these organizations.

Lastest word in the tweet is that PayPal seemed to be down. Hmmmm.... an overload of donators?

And here is a link to a video Milla upload with thanks to all the followers who donated. http://twitvid.com/5F16D

06 December 2009

Lemon Squeezed...

What do you do with a blog posting that is empty and won't allow itself to be deleted?

Apply lemon juice to it.

Exactly! Since it was seen as place holder with no text in it and obviously was a mistake glaring with strobic effect, the solution is to Edit It Into Lemonade. This particular blog entry is now being squeezed and twisted, juiced out, and teased into something fruitful.

This container is now filled with something useful instead of just announcing to the world that it was a mistake. Now it is sweetened to taste and can be poured into your routine with some assurance of sparking a smile or chuckle.

By the time you see this posting it has undergone a unique metamorphosis. It is no longer a creepy-crawly bug-like burp on the screen. With this final sentence it takes wings and flies in gentle spirals to its rightful position within the blog as an acceptable entry.

(Book) -- Henny Penny the Singing Rooster...

(Sneak preview...seeking publisher...excerpt...send links to friends...by Daniel J Hay.)

Once upon a time, a very long time ago, there was a chicken named Henny Penny. She thought the sky was falling and began a long journey to go tell the king about the falling sky. Of course, she was mistaken as you can clearly see. Go outside and see if the sky has fallen.

It hasn't.

However, this is not the story of Henny Penny of "the sky is falling" fame. No. Not her. This is the story of somebody else who just happened to have the same name. Yes. It is the story of Henny Penny. (Remember, this is a different Henny Penny. Okay?)

Now, since Henny Penny didn't live a very long time ago we have to start the story over. So...

Once upon a time there was a rooster with a magical voice. His name was Henny Penny. It is true that most of his friends thought his name was really the name of a hen, but since his parents gave him the name, well then, it must be a name for a rooster. People who came to visit at the farm where he lived might laugh at his name, but once he stood up and fluffed his gleaming feathers out, puffed up his chest and sang ?awk-a-doodle-doo? at them they stopped laughing.

Everybody praised Famer Dan for his wonderful rooster. The first awk-a-doodle-doo they heard caused them to admire the handsome Henny Penny. Why, if Henny Penny had been a king they would have bowed to him. Many people came just to hear Henny Penny singing his rooster song.

That's right, his rooster song. If you ask around you will find that most people say roosters crow. That just isn't right. Roosters are not crows. Maybe some roosters sing so poorly that people think they sound like crows, but not Henny Penny. In fact, Henny Penny had blue ribbons and gold medals from many contests because he sang so well. So, no, he didn't crow, he sang.

If you remember, we said that Henny Penny was a rooster with a magical voice. When he sang at contests and sang to the visitors at Farmer Dan's farm he didn't use his magic voice. The magic was very special and had to be saved for his job.

Yes, roosters have jobs. They are supposed to sing every morning and every evening so that all the animals and all the people on the farm know when to wake up, and when to go to sleep. Some people use an alarm clock to wake up and then just guess when to go to sleep. But all the best farms use rooster song. And at Farmer Dan's farm they used Henny Penny songs. They did not know that his song was magical but they knew he had a very fine awk-a-doodle-doo. Just ask anybody ................. (the rest is hidden in the book...)

05 December 2009

Naming Music...

When I start composing a piece of music it usually is because there is a melodic phrase POUNDING between my ears. Most instances there is no name for that music so the piece gets started with a number as the file name.

When I switched to using Finale for scoring I started using Opus numbers so that I would have a convenient way of naming files. Up until Hurricane Katrina I had just over 300 pieces of handwritten music stored in my lockable file box. When the box was stolen I started numbering at 313 to be sure there was no overlap of the earlier pieces. There was a slim hope that the filebox would be recovered and I didn't want to renumber later. I actually think 307 was the last piece prior to Katrina, but the memory is questionable.

I have recovered the first and second pieces I wrote. They were both written at Blair Academy. "The Hermit" for Oboe and Strings has never been performed although the computer playback is great. "Two Flutes and a Cello" was performed at Blair by myself and classmates Louise Ewing and Donald Blocker. (I have mentioned this before.) At least a few of our classmates were actually at the Headmaster's home for that performance. Not an exciting name for the piece, but it certainly was descriptive. As a tidbit, the only other piece I have written which is named for the instruments it uses is "Trombone and Timpani, with Piano and Strings".

Three other pieces, "Sarah's Trumpet," "Horn March," and "Brash Brass" have different stories. Both Sarah's and Horn were written for Recorder although the Sarah in question was actually a trumpet player and both are now stored on my computer with brass voices instead of Recorder. Brash Brass is an eighteen-voice brass piece that was written for a Dallas Symphony contest but due to illness was not completed in time to meet the deadline.

Names for my music generally come to me as I am completing the work, or later when I am rehearsing it. Some of my music has remained numbered and hence, unnamed, for years until the feeling that I knew the name I wanted came over me.

On the other hand, I do have pieces that are named from their very first note. Some of these are the four piece Blue Ridge Mountains Water Music, Sorcha Lawhir, and Shasta Snow Light. At a guess I would say that maybe 30-35% of my music compositions start out with names.

On the other hand, some are actually renamed because the music evolved as it was being written from the concept the name originally portrayed. Some had names applied for competitions and then renamed when I didn't win, and others get renamed to fit or to honor individuals such as "Susan's Concerto" for Englilsh Horn, Bassoon and Violin or "Bodil Diesen" who is the maker of two of my Recorders. And a few still bear the "Ode" titles with a number because I couldn't remember the original purpose of the music.

So is there an art to naming music? Most assuredly, but it is exercised differently for each composer. As a larger portion of my works are for solo performance it would be repetitive to name the piece for the type and number of instruments. Just a number for a name doesn't feel right to me. But still, at times the name is nothing more than a convention because it gets attached to the music that has been struggling to get out of my head.

One thing I promised myself was to never name a piece for the key it was written in. As an example, consider a Dance in A-minor; once it get's transposed it is no longer a Dance in the original key. So at least I have one restriction in my naming process even if the others all more closely follow gut reaction.

04 December 2009

Submitting Query To...

The process of submitting email query letters to literary agents or publishers is just as fraught with potholes as is the snail mail process. I have to say I don't enjoy getting rejections, but then, who does.

Some of the agents/publishers make good use of the email process while others seem to have that process glued down to the stack of snail mail piled in the corner.

As an avid researcher, digging and delving into every topic that interests me I do watch a FEW blogs. Too many of them would be way to much information, tiring, and ultimately both boring and a waste of productive time.

One blog I watch is that of Nathan Bransford of Curtis Brown, Ltd. After having determined that Nathan was a good potential literary agent for my Grandpa Jester story I sent the email query.

Sadly, Nathan didn't feel the way about Grandpa Jester as I thought he might. So, I received another rejection notice. However, I must say that he has what appears to be a nice way of handling it and does not ramble on about how the story doesn't fit the genre, or the author should have paid attention to the categories this agent is interested in, yada yada yada.

Nathan merely thanked me for submitting. And then excused himself as not thinking he was the best agent for my work. Although this query led to another plodding step, it does put me closer to publication because I now have one less agent/publisher to go through -- therefore, I must be closer to finding the correct one.

Whoppeeee! Uh, sorry about that. Did you feel the tension release? Okay then, back to the writing, the reading, the joy, the fun, SNAP... ooops my pen broke.

03 December 2009

Henny Penny...

We had a rooster named Henny Penny when my children were young. He would dance around your feet, drag a wing like he was injured, and if ignored would bat your legs with his "injured" wings until you picked him up. He liked to be hugged and would tuck his head under my beard and go to sleep.

I remember this because I was given an idea to write a story. The idea came from a friend to whom I was telling about the rooster in my story The Lost Lullaby. So I did research on Henny Penny and learned that the oldest stories about Henny Penny came from a time when he was a hare, or a rabbit. But the stories in England were of a hen named Henny Penny, also known as Chicken Little.

I have lost a great many of my memories but they tend to come back when jarred loose by similar thoughts, or hands on experience, etc... It is difficult at times to feel normal. Heck it is down right nerve wracking, but as with all problems it is something to overcome and to deal with.

Back to the friend and The Lost Lullaby... she suggested I expand on the rooster. She then told me about the rooster they'd had (until recently) named Henry. So off I go working on a new story...

This story is about a grumpy rooster who won't let anybody go to sleep because he doesn't want them to know he can no longer wake them up. I chose to use the name Henny Penny even though most people expect that to be a woman's name, err... a hen's name.

Since I am actively trying to get my books published via traditional publishers, via literary agents to them, and by author paid publishing, I think I'll take this story and run a different route and use Print On Demand.

That would give me three channels of potential publication. It is also one of the channels I am perusing for publication of my music. (Arrrggghhh, got a reject notice today on the music.)

Factoid: In some areas chickens were known to have gold in their crops. Yepper, tiny little Chicken Nuggets.