Sunday, January 29, 2006

Dear Diary,

Yesterday I decided to get a lot done. That doesn't always work, of course - you can "decide" as determinedly as you want to get things done and STILL spend the day reading junky books and taking naps...

This time, though, almost everything on the list got checked off, including the line item below, which seemed so over-confident it made me laugh as I wrote it down:
  • Write a song for the gig in Greenwich!
One of the things reading the Artist's Way made me realize: I'm creative - but pragmatic to a fault. If I feel nobody needs or wants what I can create, I won't bother creating it.

I've finessed that problem recently by inventing a project which I myself need: a short kids' book in Spanish and English to read with my 2nd graders. If it's a kids' book, of course it needs illustrations, and that means I need to learn how to illustrate. So, bad paintings galore, fun without guilt, nothing is wasted...

Well, yesterday I needed a song! My bandmate Ken Bloom is coming over tomorrow; we'll rehearse for a March 5 performance at the Bruce Museum in Greenwich, Ct. to accompany this Ben Franklin exhibit.

Our audience will be young, and most of the Colonial songs I know are no good for children, being wordy and full of boozing, sex, politics, and/or hellfire.

Since the Bruce Museum is paying us good money to fly all the way up there and do a 45-minute show, surely they deserve a song of their own. But what?

I remembered a funny Stan Freberg routine about Benjamin Franklin annoying everybody he knew with his didactic conversational style. ("Haste Makes Waste." "A Stitch In Time Saves Nine.") His friends snarl at him to talk like a normal person...

Aphorisms! I googled Franklin's sayings, printed out a batch, turned them into five verses of a song, and set them to an old Welsh tune which I torqued and tweaked to fit.

That song happened so fast I had time to try again.

When Ben Franklin was 13 he published his first broadside, about the vanquishing of the villanous Edward Teach, called The Downfall of Piracy (aka The Downfal of Pyracy). It's cute and includes PURPLE GORE!

I made up a little tune for it, edited the text a bit, and it was done.

I can't wait to sing these for Ken. It's good to know the wheels can still turn.

  • Yiddish class with Sheva Zucker;

  • Playing Irish tunes with Bob Vasile, my long-ago bandmate, for the first time since June;

  • Getting my copy of Outwitting History ("The Amazing Adventures of a Man Who Rescued a Million Yiddish Books") autographed by the author, Aaron Lansky - he's presenting a talk at my temple;

  • Giving a singing lesson, baking chocolate-chip pecan cookies, and painting lousy pictures with a friend who also likes to paint. He and I enjoy parallel play; we sit at the kitchen table with our paintbrushes just like second graders...

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