Friday, September 11, 2009

It's About Time - and How We Use It

As a young kid, I was smitten with rock'n roll, the usual favorites, most of those now classics, but I was always fascinated by jazz. One brother played boogie, and has continued that passion throughout his life. My other brother had a great record collection of traditional jazz - Jelly Roll Morton et al - and New Orleans blues. Growing up with it, I naturally enjoyed it and still do, but my young brain back then craved a newer, more sophisticated sound.

And then I heard Dave Brubeck.

With his totally new take on time as it relates to jazz (the use of 3/4 as counterpoint to the conventional 4/4 beat, for instance), he stunned me. Since then, for me, cool jazz, particularly the sounds from the Fifties and Sixties, is the only kind.

I've seen Brubeck perform live twice in my life, decades apart - once in Australia (we hung outside his hotel for hours, just to get a glimpse of him and went to the airport to see the group leave), and once here, in Toronto. I've loved a lot of other jazz over the years, but Brubeck remains the one who changed my musical tastes forever.

To achieve anything worthwhile from life, we are urged to simply turn up. Dave Brubeck has been turning up at his piano for over sixty years. Perfect use of time, as I see it.

He's to be honored at the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts on December 6 (coincidentally, his 89th birthday!). I'm so proud of him, anyone would think we were related.

After battling some Avoidance Demons that had me in their clutches for the past couple of weeks, and who laughed at me as time dragged almost to a standstill (it's all relative you know, and can speed up or slow down), I've started the new book. Forgive Boadicea's appearance once more, but I'm feeling hugely triumphant.

Summer Must End is probably only a working title right now, and I'll tell you if and when I stamp it with a permanent name. Come to think of it, your agent could force you to change your title anyway. Did you know that? Anyway the outline is good, and I have a lot of ideas for the plot which are still inside my head at this stage, but the characters are more or less ready in the wings. I've set it, for a complete change, in an area very similar to where I live now. I knew I didn't move to Brighton for nothing.

Naturally, I have the last line for the ending. Couldn't start without it.

I've completed two good chapters, or 5500 words, and I have that bug well and truly back - the one that doesn't let me sit anywhere except at the computer for more than ten minutes. I'm once more shifting impatiently in my chair in the living room at night, ostensibly watching TV, but longing to turn the computer back on, even when I've been writing for hours during the day. Over the past two weeks, grouchy and impatient, my time has been used cleaning the house, watching the BBC, cleaning the house some more. Lousy use of time. I wasn't even writing in my head, which would have been fine. Never mind. Tempus fugit again. My house will be neglected and full of dustbunnies, but I'm writing. Now there aren't enough hours in the day.

I became a grandmother again early this morning. My fifth grandchild, and third granddaughter, was born to my son and his wife in England, a sister for their first daughter, who just turned five. I have no deep words of wisdom to add about this because I am in stunned awe of it all, once again. I'm teary-eyed, overwhelmed, and utterly delighted. Practically speaking, it's yet another indication of my time here, I suppose. More proof that I turned up.

Have a great weekend.

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Quotes to Consider

"If you would not be forgotten, as soon as you are dead and rotten, Either write things worth reading, or do things worth writing." ~Benjamin Franklin

"Well behaved women rarely make history."~Laurel Thatcher Ulrich

“A ship in harbor is safe, but that is not what ships are built for.”~William G.T. Shedd (1820-1894), theologian, teacher, pastor

"It is common sense to take a method and try it. If it fails, admit it frankly and try another. But above all, try something." ~Franklin D Roosevelt (1882-1945), 32nd U.S. president

“Adopt the pace of nature: her secret is patience.”
~Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882), essayist, poet, philosopher

"Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover." ~Mark Twain

"You miss 100% of the shots you don't take."
~ Wayne Gretzky