Sketches for a Christmas Pageant set in Eureka Springs, Arkansas

Posted: July 12, 2013 in Uncategorized


My dirty little secret all summer has been that I’ve been developing a Christmas Pageant. This twenty minute session was basically to take my VoiceRecorder HD iPhone app and stumble/speed through all my ideas. Please excuse the pathetically faint whistling theme in the beginning (my lungs have been compromised since radiation to the point where I was actually going to stop the track to do it again, but then said NAH, T’Hades! This is a documentation, not An Evening at The Philharmonic.) It’s not the most nimble or impeccable piano performance from me that you will ever hear either. But if you can accept this, so can I.

What makes this project particularly close to me is that I have decided to incorporate my Uncle David’s poetry. His son Matt uploaded 20+ scans of his poetry on his FTP server as a Christmas present this year. A couple of days ago, I finally decided that I wanted to print all of them out. My father’s older sister Leslie moved to Arkansas before I was born. I recall meeting them once in my life, maybe when I was about four. Enter the power of social media. The summer they finally reconnected with my immediate family, I didn’t get to meet them because I was working in New York. But they left behind beautiful paintings. And all throughout my illness, they’ve been amazingly benevolent source of support, even all the way from Fayetteville, Arkansas.

I am told that David (now deceased, if you didn’t infer) made his living as a woodworker, but from what I’ve explored thus far of his poetry, I would describe him as a philosophical humanist. He was raised a Southern Baptist, but separated himself early from its prickly dogmas to adopt his own spirituality that left no closed door to the information of the universe might have to offer. Sound familiar to anyone?

His poems are introspective and celebratory declarations of love, family, nature, etc. There is always a lesson, sometimes inconclusive, other times a special entry into the contradictions of memory.  I find that the themes of a lot of Christmas stories are about the great burden we put on our childish nature to defend us from surrendering uncontrollably to the world’s weight. This theme seemed especially evident, I’m told by my Cousin Matt, from Uncle David’s last years of kidney failure. So expect little in the way of lyrical gymnastics with tongue-firmly-set-in-cheek. This was an incredibly earnest man. And so I hope to be able to do service to his earnestness, yes, even as wayward as that might be from my often snarly defense mechanism of taking the piss out of everything to make myself feel better. (Not that it isn’t a fun and necessary human trait, it just doesn’t belong in this piece. Unless I decide to intervene with a deux ex machina and rant for no particular reason how the jocks in my high school have ruined New York City a la Penny Arcade.  Although that sounds fun, too.)

I must have been somewhere around four if I ever met him at all. My only memory of him was at a ranch in Graham, Washington and the hysterical reaction on his face from my Dad’s Epic Macaroni & Cheese Spill of ’87. (Come to think of it, it may have been someone else. All I remember is someone laughing so hard he spit out his beer. I can’t 100% remember if it was him. What do you want from me, I was four?) In any case, David even though he made his living primarily a carpenter, my Dad continues to describe of a “jack of all trades.” I’m looking forward to to talking to Aunt Leslie about what this means. (The theme of “woodshopping” + “Christmas?” Tell me that isn’t somehow signed in the constellations…)

Not going to post too many updates about it until I can get through a semi-completed rendition I can really be proud of. All I know is that it’s great to have the musical themes down, even in an unstructured, finger-blundering recording like this, which I am actually more than happy to share because I am not so hung up lately on being a technalist when it comes to manifesting spontaneity, which I would say 65% of this is. Think of this like the pre-Olympic trials. There’s a really great medal winning figure skating routine in there somewhere and you are all getting the benefit of seeing my asscrack when I fall. “The Ronettes” section and maybe the half-ass Busby Berkley themes in the last 3/4ths of the set, por ejemplo, need to t0 be expelled from the universe immediately! I know these things! What remains is the fueling desire to write a tin-pan alley number that involves a Fred Astaire impersonator losing his tap shoes in a snow machine.

It’s time to stop talking about this now. It’s fickle to the process. Everything in its due time. Like pre-ejaculation. You get that, right? I know you get that.

Okay, so this is a real statue that exists in Eureka Springs, Arkansas. Trippy.

Some say he looks like a milk carton.

  1. Matt Taylor says:

    Bravo! Truly amazing piano playing! You will be famous playing in front of large crowds very soon! I can’t wait until it is finished.

    • Ifeoma says:

      Utrolig fine bilder! Liker den rf8ffe bltntasyreken sammen med maling, Tynne og tykke strf8k, litt maling som renner. Akkurat passe tilfeldig. Likte ogse5 best nr 2. Den har energi som ge5r oppover med komposisjon og blikket til hesten.Ha en herlig helg, og he5per vi snart sees igjen :)Lena.

  2. Monnaf says:

    That’s a smart answer to a tricky quieston

  3. It’s always a relief when someone with obvious expertise answers. Thanks!

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