Drumming With My Daughter

If ever my various incarnations did collide, that moment of explosion and being happens in the above phrase.

Drumming with my daughter.

I started drumming at the age of 11 or 12...more than half my life ago. I did concert band, orchestra, steel drums, drum set, marching band, mallets. I even auditioned for Blue Man Group in 2004. While my audition wasn't "successful" in the sense that I went on to rock the bald cap, I call it a success. When I went into that audition, my goal was to someday drum on the stage at the Briar Street Theatre in Chicago with my personal Blue Man idol.  Guess what my audition was... drumming. On stage at the Briar. With that same man. I lived my dream, and these years later I say that's enough for me. It all worked out. After all, if I'd made it as a Blue Man, I wouldn't have moved to Arizona, gotten together with Sean and had my daughter.

Soon after she was born I put the drums away. I'd pull out sticks or hand drums occasionally, but I'd just about given up on drumming. It was part of that other life. Not to mention that any time I got the idea to play, K would freak out. Couldn't touch sticks, my electric kit, my practice pad or play Rock Band lest the kid melt down. So, I just took the few private moments I could, but moved onto other expressions of rhythm -- poi spinning, writing (which was actually me reconnecting with an older piece of myself). Yes, I consider writing an expression of rhythm. You tell a story, but the words are important, too. The flow, the inherent combinations of sounds that come from words on a page... there is rhythm there and sometimes when I edit I'm trying to see if the story sounds right. It might be something as minute as a syllable, putting emphasis somewhere else, a comma here to give the reader a pause... but it's rhythm.

Anyway. Drumming. Recently, I've picked it back up again. I started Chickaboom and my dear friend Eric donated a snare drum to the project. K, my kiddo, saw the drum last night and started running around asking me to teach her. I told her we'd do it today. She woke up and immediately asked me to teach her about the snare drum. So, for about a half hour we took sticks and played. PLAYED.

It's pretty cool to watch someone so pure, so innocent of bias or training, dive into playing an instrument. Her eyes lit up and her tongue wagged in her mouth. So excited! Too much for such a little body to contain. She drummed faster, louder and started screaming.

I know that moment. I know what she was feeling.
I wish I could bottle that wonder.
I wish I could give it to you and everyone else, because that moment was so beautiful it hurt.
But, I can't. And that makes it all the more precious.

"Come on, Mommy!" she yelled. "Let's rock out some more!"

What do you say to that?

The only thing you can do is pick up some sticks and start rocking.


Back From Outer Space

...or, as I call it, my crazy life.

So, lately I've been juggling. In August, my daughter started kindergarten, so that has opened up some time for me. Last month, a friend suggested that I audition for the PHX Percussion drumline (drummers that perform at Suns games)... and that re-ignited my passion for drumming. So, what did I do? I have decided to start a group called Chickaboom. All-female drumline, community group focused on girl-power, women's advocacy, music education and rocking the hell out! So, I spent the better part of 2 weeks creating content for a web presence. We're on Twitter, Facebook, we've got a blog and I have two other women (count 'em, 2!) interested in being a part of the performance group. So we'll see where that lands. And on top of it all, I have begun querying the zombie novel.

That's right, agents, I'm back! This time, though, I've brought with me a great book (as opposed to last year's less than stellar opus) and shuffling hordes of the undead.

So I find myself trying, once again, to figure out how to be all of me... writer, mother, drummer. Oh, and I am teaching poi again. It makes life interesting, to say the least.

Thank you for being patient. I hope to have more up on this blog, but, as you can see, I'm kinda busy with ...well... life.

Fire for Fun And Profit

So, not many of my humble readers know this, but, I'm a fire artist. In 2006 I started learning the art of poi spinning. While you may be thinking of the taro root paste Hawaiians make, poi is also a Maori art form. Essentially, put a ball on the end of a string, spin in pretty patterns. Et voila! Poi spinning.

But, Nick Woolsey can show you better than I can tell you.

After 6 weeks of training and some fire safety classes, I started lighting my poi on fire. Then, I kept on learning more advanced poi techniques while performing and acting as fire safety for various troupes in the Valley. |I got to perform for the Dresden Dolls' art brigade in 2008! I even taught workshops and classes here and there. However, in the Summer of 2008, I slipped 2 discs in my lower back, pinched a nerve and  had to stop spinning for a while.

But, now....

I'm back and I'm teaching beginner's classes.

It doesn't matter if you have the coordination of a turnip; if you want to learn for exercise, for performance or for the fun of it; if you want to learn to play with fire or to just spin unlit props; if you're 10 or 50 years old - you can come to my class. Hey, already a spinner and want to stay sharp? You're welcome, too!

Right now, classes are scheduled for Sunday from 2-3pm, however if there is enough interest, I will add a second class either on Sunday afternoons or another day of the week. Due to the nature of poi spinning, we will be practicing in my back yard, so you need to dress accordingly. (Comfortable, loose clothing you can move in, but nothing too baggy.) MEN: You may want to consider wearing a cup.

We will have water, but any other beverages are BYOB.

What to bring:
-a pair of tube/athletic/knee socks
-a pair of tennis balls
-a playful attitude

What we'll be covering:
9/19 - Basics (Holding the poi, simple spins, stops/stalls, spinner speak, how to get hit and laugh about it)
9/26 - The 3 Beat Weave
10/3 - Basic Butterfly
10/10 - Butterfly Variations
10/17 - Chasing the Sun and Reels
10/24 - Catch Up and Review
10/31 - No Class
11/7 - Review and Fire Safety Training
11/14 - Review, Spin Jam and Burn*

*The burn is optional. In order to burn you MUST have been present for fire safety training AND you must have the proper clothing. Those under 18 must have parental consent for fire activities. 

Depending on how well the class progresses, we may cover additional material. I will schedule the Intermediate class at a later date.  While we will always spend some time at the beginning of class reviewing the last week's work, you are encouraged to make it to every class. If you miss a class and want to schedule a private make-up lesson, contact me and we'll work it out.

Please RSVP with me if you want to take the class and I will give you the location info.