Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Bible Babel

You too can converse with god on a cruise ship.

I keep getting these emails telling me what god wants me to know today. I wish they would stop. In the sender's books he tells us there are no special messengers, then he keeps giving me messages that god gave to him, for me and millions of what he calls "others". Strange. Anyway...



I am developing a new respect for the Lord (god). What a goofball! What a joker! I had no idea. Why do people make The Lord (god) out to be such a stickler for kindness and perfection and getting along and all that?

Monday I picked up a copy of a Holy Bible, placed by the Gideons, which I purchased at a used bookstore many years ago. I wanted to read the creation part again.

I began reading it, and learned firsthand that by page 5 god was so upset with god's creation that god was ready to flood it out and start over. Page 5! 1,103 pages to go... I guess I thought it took longer than that for god to realize the mistakes and want to try a do-over.

But that's not the point.

Here's the point. So there's the Noah thing, and the flood, and then the favored humans get off of the ark and start over. They agree to build a city & a big tower - whose top may reach unto heaven - in a place called Babel. Notably, when they state their intent to build this city and tower, the humans said "let us make us a name, lest we be scattered abroad upon the face of the whole earth".

So they are building away and The Lord (god) comes along to watch and The Lord (god) sees that a) all of mankind is getting along, and b) all of mankind can communicate, as in they speak the same language and c) all of mankind has agreed on a goal and is working towards it together.

And what does The Lord (god) do, according to the Holy Bible placed by the Gideons, swiped and then sold to me at a used bookstore? The Lord (god) sees that "the people is one" (sic) and " nothing will be restrained from them, which they have imagined to do."

And then the Lord (god) decides to confound the languages and scatter mankind abroad upon the face of the whole earth!

Now, that's funny! God screwed it up, intentionally! And the humans sort of seemed to ask for it - as though they knew god would jump in if they were getting along...

Of course this has nothing to do with peace, love, getting along and all those images that Lord-people say The Lord (god) is all about. It has ZERO to do with the golden rule, as I understand it.

God did not do this to sinners, god did it on page 8 of an 1108 page book to Noah's people, who had found favor with god! God had just finished wiping out all of the bad elements on earth, leaving the one good element! Then, when they start getting creative, god does the Babel thing...

Weird huh?

Or maybe not. Maybe this is what we are supposed to get around to figuring out. God is a joker, and Life is the joke - a glorious joke of course - the humour of the divine! To be taken sincerely, but lightly, with laughter and joy. And Love.

Which is why I advocate It's Time That Time Was Overthrown.


Monday, March 3, 2008

Time Overthrown - What I've Learned part I

The beginning of the Time Overthrown Tour has been a trip.

The 3rd week of January I traveled by mySelf for two days and played three Community Venue shows in the Greensboro area.

The following week Tom Proutt traveled with me. We stopped at Golden Living in Martinsville, VA for a show on the way down to Greensboro. Golden Living is a skilled nursing facility.

This past weekend, the 1st one of March 2008, the fine duo known as Tom & Emily traveled with me. We made the Martinsville stop again, then traveled on to Greensboro where we played one show Saturday afternoon and another on Sunday afternoon.

What a blast!

The message of the Time Overthrown Tour is pretty simple - Time is yours, to do with as you please. Time does not control you.

It began with local musicians in Charlottesville, where I have been busy Making Music More Accessible since 1994. The idea is ridiculously simple, to me anyway. I am one of those songwriters who has something to say, something I'd like the world to hear. I am not unique - there are millions of us. Hundreds of us in Charlottesville, each with something to say, looking for ears.

The idea is simply to create and share my music. Wherever and whenever someone would like to listen. (It's deeper than that in a way - it's about "being" the music, "living" the lyrics, for me. But we don't have to get into that now...)

For ten years or more I have been inviting Charlottesville musicians to come play in these Community Venues I have been credited with creating. (Actually I discovered them. They've been there all along. There are many more waiting to be realized.)

For ten years or more Charlottesville musicians have been telling me they do not have Time. Ten years. Not one hour. Damn. That, my friends, is a bummer.

Musicians without an hour to play for an eager, appreciative audience. My heart aches for these musicians. Hence...

Time Overthrown! Give Time back to the musicians. Help them remember. Help them wake up to the truth that Time is theirs to do with as they please.

The Tour of course is a learning experience - I knew that going in. I know I don't know it all, just this thing Alice told me about Time. So I am going in with an open mind.

Yesterday, we played at a place in Greensboro, a very well-appointed senior community that has retirement living as well as assisted living and nursing care. After the show one of the younger residents came out to chat - I'd guess early 50's, maybe even late 40's. He's in a wheelchair. I don't know why. Early in the chat he sort of stopped the conversation in that awkward way when someone said "How you doing?" in that generic greeting sort of way, and he said that he was doing okay, but "really didn't want to be here". He meant the senior home I reckon, and likely the wheelchair.

But I was struck by the commonality of the phrase - the sentiment. "I'm doing okay... but of course I'd be better off if I wasn't here."

That would describe most of the musicians I know who don't have Time to play in Community Venues. They long to be elsewhere and are miserable in their "here-ness". "Here" to them, is a town with hundreds of "other musicians" with whom they "compete" for very few performance slots at a very limited number of "legitimate" music venues. The competition is of course to become "the next Dave" or something, by following a dated and clearly floundering traditional music model.

Then this nice gentleman told Tom how much he liked his guitar playing, as a lead in to "I used to play guitar", and went on to imply that the wheelchair coincided with the end of guitar playing as he knew it. Awkward again, for none of us knew if it was a direct physical disability that kept him from playing. Of course we all wanted to encourage him to play if he could.

Then he said the magic words... "I suppose I should pick it up again, but..." He shrugged, and his voice trailed off in that sort of "what would be the use" direction.

On the way home I brought it up in the van. I told Tom and Em that I wondered what he did with his Time. He obviously can play the guitar if he chooses to - he told us that. He led us to believe it would bring him joy. We'd witnessed the joy that our music and sharing had brought to the residents, and I cannot help but think that if he'd learn to play and share music with his friends at the senior home, and even others, well... what then? For him, I mean. Would he want to "be here" if that was going on?

And this morning I woke up recalling that I personally have never seen a guitar player in a wheelchair. Seems like there'd be an opening in the market, for sure. Then I wondered if they even make wheelchairs that would accommodate someone holding a guitar, which opens the possibility of another product/marketing niche.

Anyway, Emily told me that I did not know what his situation was really like, and maybe I shouldn't just assume that his attitude has something to do with his situation, or at least his attitude towards it.

She's right of course. I don't know everything there is to know. But I know this.

He has lots of time on his hands. He is physically able to play the guitar. He doesn't want to be where he is. Music allows him to transcend where he is.

I can't help thinking of the musicians in Charlottesville, somehow. They don't even have wheelchairs, but they tie themselves down with dozens of reasons why they cannot play music, and why they do not like being where they are.

I can't help thinking it's time that all sorts of ideas are overthrown. Mostly alot of the ones I've held for a LifeTime...

Unleashing Time Overthrown

CD Release / Time Overthrown Tour

The CD has arrived!! The official release date for It's Time That Time Was Overthrown is March 15th, 2008.

We've begun the Time Overthrown Tour, which is running in conjunction with SongSharing On Tour 2008.

CD pre-orders are being accepted - email me thru the Grasping At Laws website. Pre-orders will receive a signed 11 by 17 full color poster as well. ($18.50 includes shipping)

I am very thrilled with and proud of the CD. Everyone involved did an exceptional job - the artwork turned out really great - I am just thrilled. The record would be nothing without the dedicated input of my musical friends that support my efforts to Make Music More Accessible. I'm so completely honored to know these folks, and to get to perform with them, and have them on a record with me.

I hope you'll give the record a try, and if you like it I hope you'll buy a copy to share with a friend. Some of the proceeds benefit SongSharing, as with everything I do musically.