NASA Image of the Day

Saturday, January 31, 2009

Art as Healing: Singing as Extension.

One of my dearest friends is an art therapist, and having watched the slow and methodical progress of overcoming pain, through visual art, of people like her clients, whose great desire is to give voice to their healing visually, it is something to see why, how, and for what ultimate purpose the "art" - be it rough or fine - is made.

Singing is an interesting extension of that ideal, in an age when music therapy is now a recognized and accepted discipline within the greater parameters of art, proper. In an age of "developing idols", we remember the recordings of our own experience; the well-loved rough rumbles of Tampa Red, perhaps, the smooth silk of Sinatra, the trills and thrills of Dolly Parton, maybe, as representative of an experience, and a handling, of the gift of the material itself. As an artist, we explore, in our way, and in our means, the experience and the "story" of a song, too, sometimes, if we are courageous, and willing to do so, to better understand, perhaps, those who have sung it before - even, perhaps, when the experience is unfamiliar, or unknown to us. Singing a K.D. Lang song, then, might mean understanding a particular artist's take on something: singing material normally sung by someone else, allows us to live, for a moment, in the performance perspective, momentarily, to try and better understand why and how those who have sung it before us, might have sung it in just the way that they did. It is a man singing a woman's song; a woman singing a man's song. Ultimately, it is just a song, with words and lyrics a malleable kind of paint, to the creative.

It is sometimes, too, less about "polish" and more about connecting; contrarily, the perfection of an Ella Fitzgerald, complexly handling, with effortless dexterity, musically, material handled quite directly, and without artifice and a dearth of technological addition, by others, seeking a purist kind of invocation of a real sense of awe, in ourselves, at natural ability. Perhaps, then, from a coaching standpoint, when we truly love the art medium itself, we become more impatient with the unburnished perfection, when that is being sought, or the rough edge and rumble not quite achieved, when that is sought, too. But, ultimately, unlike the "Idols" created by companies with a particular agenda, it is the "making of the thing" - and our encouragement of each other to continue to do so, which continually produces uniqueness in this, and other disciplines, and the continuing idea of "artistry for life", not "idols for a moment". This is a very different ideal, for very, very different reasons....

The world becomes a place where one song is a different story, in different hands, with those connecting to it, in a way that is unique to them, for different reasons: it is the essence and the reason, ultimately, for artistry beyond the release, and the need to express, which it has satisfied, momentarily, in the artist. It is being, at its immediate, and spontaneous, its most exuberant, its most controlled, its most perfectionist, and most instant, best. It is life - and that is a beautiful thing...

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Hushed and Trembling Hope

Oh, see, amidst the scurry of the day,
And chores and times - and moments in a row -
That instant...just a stolen moment....
Hand over smile, awash among the throngs,
Celebration, given, taken, hoped for, all those gone before,
amongst the lulling song;
And yet, Still
As if sweet spring had peeked around the corner,
Onward, Hearts!

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Mists of Ice

Droplets crystal, glimmer bright
and see beneath the water's light
Amidst the twinkling stars above
You are a special, unique love.

Liquid Desire of the Ages
Sung and spoken amidst pages
Long, and still bright lit amongst them all
You would not, could not, will not Fall.

I can but speak of moments dear
When hurt and pain and those not here
Were, holding in our hearts and minds
The same small light of loving kind.

And yet, in sharing this with you
They live and breathe, again, renewed.
Perhaps these moments, then, quiet, calm, and real
Remind us both at last ....we feel.

Saturday, January 17, 2009


The sigh of breath froze in the air,
A cloud of comment, hushed.
If I'd said aloud the warmth,
Perhaps we would have ignored the ice around, among, and within -
And laughed at winter's sleeping....
But I did not.
I only closed my eyes, and opened them again,
To watch the cloud drift near your imagined form,
Warmed, in my mind's eye, like some great lion,
Nuzzling me expectantly in the
Having suddenly been awakened.

Jan. 17, 2009
D. Nevills

Saturday, January 3, 2009

2009:To Hope, To Dare...To Dream Again.

As 2009 begins, amidst the harbingers of war, the frustrations of nations determined, and intent on protecting themselves, their way of life, and their people from destruction, without losing the very sense of identity and freedom which other nations have both envied and withheld from their own, it is telling that our sense of possibility is tied into a changing view of ourselves, of who we think is capable - and why. It is possibility, and audacity in the face of regression, repression, and recession, and the very daring that not only suggests hope - but creates it again, in the minds and hearts of those shared, shining lights.

In a world sometimes bent on crushing progress, destroying understanding and tolerance, withering a sense of growth and kindness after the incessant violence of wars which do nothing to lessen the glamorization of war, and preserve the old ideal of "returning to normalcy" as the mission's heart, to hope - nay, to dream again - must be something that we celebrate about our determination, as 2009 brings in a time of challenge. We're up for it.