The combination of a bad cold & a music bent has kept me from HG Poetics. But it's curious how blogging gets to be part of your extended self. The word blog sounds vaguely biological.

Like many, or more than most, I've had my difficulties integrating various interests & ambitions. Music remains an undeveloped talent, and writing an unfulfilled ambition. The new technologies, however, seem to encourage or empower amateurs like me.

This can be seen as both positive & negative, I guess. Sometimes we want roughness & authenticity & immediacy, rather than the cult of "clean, tight" music, the seamless, impenetrable aura of professionalism. Then again, sometimes we want that perfection & power, the refinement which comes from a lifelong nurture of talent.

I started piano lessons when I was 6 years old. This was about a year after I started begging my parents for lessons. My mother played piano & flute; my father has a good singing voice. I took lessons til I was 14, and went pretty far with it. I won 3rd place in a state competition when I was 13. Then I started losing interest, to the chagrin of Mrs. Elledge, my teacher.

I started playing guitar when I was 15. I started in on harmonica at 17. I was playing in bands my senior year in high school. Then in college, I pretty much dropped it again - until I dropped out of college, & hit the road, connecting with old high school bandmates & others. Ended up playing on the streets & elsewhere in San Francisco, Denver, NYC (this was in the mid-70s). Went over to England to apply for the opening with the Rolling Stones (Mick Taylor's former spot). (I've told that story before!), played in little coffeehouse bands around London for a few months.

Then when all that came to an end I went back to school. Dropped music again for almost 10 years. Was encouraged by fellow library worker (Jim Chapin) to take up harmonica again, and have played in various jug/blues/country bands with him since then (late 80s). Am learning about "podcasting" partly in order to advance the recording of what we do (the "K.C. Moaners" - Jim, Colette & me). Jim is a very fine musician, a kind of homegrown Hank Williams, who can play & sing hundreds of traditional tunes.

- But I see now how so much of what I've been able to do, in writing and music, is based on those 7 years with Mrs. Elledge - that hour every day practicing at the piano. Tone & tempo, expression & pacing... learning to write is as much a matter of training the ear, as it is learning grammar & hermeneutics.

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