Sunday, June 10, 2007

The Jazz Singer

Gail, Gail, Gail.
I just listened to your sample MP3 clips, and what can I say other than "Girl!"


We're all familiar with the question, "what do you want to be when you grow up?"

We put those questions to children quite often...

Fireman? Doctor? Astronaut? Airplane pilot? Teacher?

My sister and I would stage mock plays when we were little, whenever we were at our grandparents' house. Old drapes were our gowns, and lampshades were our Audrey Hepburn hats. We'd announce ourselves from outside the room where the adults were gathered talking, run in and say "Tah DAhhhhh!!!!" then proceed to act out some story or fashion show. I think at some point we spiced things up in the designer wear category by digging deeper into Grandma's bureau. She had a real collection of older bauble type jewelry that she never wore. And she was very modest and kept most of her private things, concealed. I have to say she was a really good sport when we'd model wild outfits pieced together from hers and my grandpa's wardrobes. Aside from the collection of hats, scarves, and Coty makeup, we'd dash out, sporting headdresses made of her whalebone girdle and "evening wear" featuring her very robust and utilitarian 18 hour bra.

That was about the extent of my sister's and my stage careers...

As a child, I was also horse crazy. It really hasn't gone away, it's just mellowed a bit. It started before I was even able to walk. My first toy was a stuffed donkey on rolling wheels, and I wore that thing out. Then on to the plastic horse with springs on a metal frame. I "rode" for years that plastic steed. Then came Breyer horse models, Marguerite Henry books, Walter Farley, horse care guides, tack stores. No REAL horse, mind you, but as close as I could get to them. Horse barns (there's no better smell than that and saddle leather to a horse lover). If I couldnt HAVE a horse, I still made up games as if I did. We raced (ran) and I was really fast. We jumped hurdles. I lined up outdoor garbage cans and would jump then re-enacting National Velvet (as would my equally horse-crazy best friend, which is how she ended up taking a spill and spraining her ankle).

I told my parents emphatically I wanted to be a jockey. As in the petite riders of very swift and very large thoroughbreds. This went on for years, despite the fact I'd never yet ridden a horse or been taken to a racetrack. By the time I was in fifth grade and was the tallest girl in my class, my parents broke it to me, somewhat gently, that I had already surpassed the height of the taller horse-racing jockeys in the business, and was likely to keep growing.

Despite my attempts to slouch down in my seat and wear flats, I still grew. So my dream morphed to horse breeding. I would own and operate a horse farm. (I just knew this in my heart...there was no doubt. I even had the names and breeds picked out, and was working on the bloodlines).

This, of course, has not happened, but look where having a love of the country life has brought us now :) Look how many titles we've had and how many hats we've worn in the journey. I think our kids would panic less when faced with the question of what they want to "be" if they realized that no one single hat defines a person nor keeps a person in a static place.

Now in my forties, I'm surprised to find how many of us who've had to do many jobs we've not particularly liked, usually from necessity, still find outlets to continue growing in the areas that energize us. Whether it's writing, singing, entertaining, gardening, being outdoors, sewing, knitting, painting, playing an instrument, raising animals, baking, etc there are some things that begin to unfold simply because of the freedom and joy we feel while trying them.

I applaud all our attempts and all the things that bring us joy. I applaud the folks who try things because they CAN and WANT to...for the joy of it, and not necessarily for their profit potential or having to be a virtuoso. I can't dance for the life of me, but I love to try. And I love (ok, I can hear the snorts, lol) belly dancing music. I even enrolled my daughter and me a few years ago in a belly dancing class together (talking about "making a memory"..hahaha). Let's just say she has more natural ability than I do in that area, but I still love it. I love so many other things. Maybe I'll get a chance to do some of them, maybe not, but there are a thousand things to try, and do, and love.

There was a line in Chariots of Fire that went something like this:
In response to the question put to the champion runner of "why do you run?" his reply was "because when I run, I feel God's good pleasure."

I've always taken that to mean, rather than fulfilling others' expectations, that there are some things we are BORN to love doing because they are a part of our very individuality. And when we do them, we feel joy simply in being who we ARE....soaring in the things that bring us joy, or even trying new things we wonder about.

I have a real friend who is one of those remarkable women you can pick right back up with, even after months or years, without missing a beat mid-conversation and automatically connect...and especially laugh. She has a full career, is strong, original, and intelligent and takes time to savor the things that bring her joy. She is an adventurer in inspired cook, passionate organic foodie, and the real thing when it comes to die-hard girl talk. In short, she's perfected real friendship.

That's one of the reasons I'm so delighted for her now, as she branches out into a new avenue of discovery. Among being so many other things, she's a remarkable jazz singer. It has become for her an area that gives real range of expression to so many of her inner worlds...she's singing publicly now (others are discovering her fabulosity!), and it's a pleasure to listen.

For a brief introduction to Gail, and to hear her interpretations through song, there are a couple of clips on her page at If you're in her area, hearing her live is a rare treat :) I think she'll have a CD out this fall sometime.

Great for listening to as you, or we, are doing the things we LOVE, as well...

Here's to what brings us those feelings of discovery and those "runners' highs" in our lives...and the doors of continued possibilities standing ajar.


Hey, Gail....

"....Tah Dahhhh!!"

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