Archive for the ‘wisdom’ Category
I always became the main character of any book I was reading. Their Eyes, however, spoke loudest.
I found Their Eyes Were Watching God at age 16, after school, with Ms. Wyatt’s Forensics Club preparing to recite an excerpt where Janie, the main character and her Nanny were in the kitchen talking about getting married. I remember giggling at the dialect mostly because I understood it. The words actually gave me clues on what my grandmother and other old folks had been saying all my life. It never occurred to me that this was oral tradition captured. I had only seen this type of written dialect after reading pages of Alice Walker’s The Color Purple against my mother’s approval. I had prepared to deliver the passage but never did; instead I recited The Ballot or The Bullet speech by Malcolm X. Ms. Hurston’s wit in that section never left me though.
At age 20, my friend Kika and I went to the college book store to purchase this novel because Ms. Guilford had required that we read it at Bowie State University. I had not read it from finish to end and would not have that Freshman year in Towers Hall, had not Kika and I sat in the dorm room flipping pages together taking turns to read aloud, one page at a time, to be sure we understood and aced our assignments. What a bonding experience in friendship, almost like Pheoby and Janie. Reading this was great on so many levels. We developed a healthy habit of studying and being a book club before its popularity. We fell in love…with Teacake, with the porch and the people who seemed like my uncles, aunts and neighbors. Oh and the ending! The surprisingly thrilling ending had us turning pages silently enthralled. The poetry of Zora Neale Hurston and her character, our kindred sister, Janie had us put our shoulders back three inches more and lift our heads in victory. We marched with a million men that same year in DC with that spirit.
Just a few years ago, as I began to grow and experience more, understanding and revealing more of who I am in my career and as a woman, I turned back to the pages of Their Eyes Were Watching God as I do with most of my favorite books, only to identify specifically with the pain and eventual triumph of Janie Crawford. My project had already begun. God has its way of making perfect, the time for everything. If left in my hands, I would have released my project Songs for Janie two years prematurely.
This morning I am at my table, with today’s wind knocking around window parts in my house and clashing melodies with the chimes on my porch, relishing in the moment and the timelessness of Life and Creation and Art. All one in the same.
How remarkable a novel published today 75 years ago, resonating like voices in a large and empty chamber!? A novel written when my Grandmother Ruth was 10 years old, and I keep finding parts of myself in the masterpiece…watching God.
I am sitting here on the floor making an attempt to write while getting asked if I like a routine from a six year old fake guitar playing performer. She’s a true performer though. I told my children to give me a minute and I can give them all some attention. One minute. Its Friday evening, wrong time for blog writing. I think I should share a little more with you though.
I’ve had the most amazing week. Yesterday was such a highlight in so many ways. I met with a brilliant mind about a new electronic music project, added another verse to a song I started with the coolest musician, and used my voice and creativity ALL day.
Since June, I have been singing at Georgetown-Lombardi Cancer Center for patients, staff and guests. It is one of the most unique experiences to share my voice as a way to ease, sooth directly and for this specific purpose of facilitating healing and helping patients manage their well-being. It makes me think even more about every song I sing, what I say and how it moves each person. Since then, when I sing whether in the studio or on stage, there is something else that happens in me. There’s more purpose behind my voice for me and for whoever hears it. I feel enhanced. For Lombardi, I’ve chosen songs that are melodically calming, positive or upbeat and lyrically light. Yesterday, I sang Euphoria, Blue Skies, Amazing Grace (He looked beyond my fault), and Night in Tunisia along with some other tunes. An array of thoughts enters my mind as I see people close their eyes and just listen. I feel awkward accepting their compliments because it’s not entertainment. I hear thank you and gladly welcome it, with a thank you right back to them for allowing me to give. This experience is so complete.
Every time I start to panic about not finishing, not completing, not having enough, I go back to take a look at how far I have come. Here is a clip from an early summer month recording at the Sweet Spot Studios with Federico Pena and Nico Laget…I have had many days of ecstasy in the studio. So through moments of uncertainty, I remember my sessions and purpose filled work. Take a look in…
Yesterday, I traveled with one of my best friends to the Virginia Musuem of Fine Arts to “get away” and visited Picasso’s art. What was intended to be a short adventure turned into a life changing experience. The vibrations were so extraordinarily high in the place; I really feel changed and priviledged to have experienced it. I will attribute some of this connectedness to art to TM, which I recently started practicing and my Wisdom course. Well we arrived ten minutes before the musuem closed and were the only two in the musuem with all the guards and no pressure to hurry through. For a Friday night, they were so welcoming, I must say. We stayed for two hours. My friend says, “This only happens with you Tami.” Picasso, breaking all the rules, yet symbolizing peace, being a creator, all this inspired me. His art gave me a deep love, “a rumbling joy“.
Check it out The Picasso Exhibit for yourself if you are on the east coast http://www.vmfa.state.va.us/Exhibitions/At_The_Museum/At_the_Museum.aspx
You want instant gratification? Boil some water and pour in a cup of oatmeal. Better yet, peel a banana and enjoy eating it. Don’t be a songwriter or musician. You will experience overtime with no pay. You will get the satisfaction of listening to a complete work over and over again in your own player or force people who hop a ride with you to “listen to this.” No one else may ever hear it or get it. And somehow it will become your lifeline. You will not want to do anything else but work on a song or collaborate with a musician or create a new project for your life’s purpose. Put on the slow cooker.