Temenos Journal II

October 25, 2014

Stranded in Reno

Filed under: Branding,Reno,Writing & Creativity — by Genie Webster @ 9:33 am
Tags: , , , , ,

 

Stranded in Reno

Sign from Genie’s show in front of Harold’s Club in downtown Reno circa 1995

Only one person that I know witnessed the short period of time in the mid-90s when I sang on the street in Reno, Nevada to make a few bucks so that my roommate and I could buy groceries. Now mind you, I was not a kid… I was a 40ish grown woman. We needed immediate cash and that’s what I knew how to do. Susan (my roommate and only witness) was my side kick, percussionist, and promoter.

Being the good citizen that I am, I sought out a policeman on the downtown Reno beat and checked to see if singing for tips on the street would be okay. He pointed me to a spot in front of Harold’s Casino, which had recently closed, but which still had a lot of foot traffic. “You won’t be blocking anyone’s business over there,” he said.

I treated this as any gig… put on my make-up and show costume and went out to give the passersby an entertaining show and hope they would throw tips into my open guitar case at my feet. Most of my songs are finger-picked ballads and at the time I only knew two or three up-beat songs that I could strum. Since there was no amplification, I had to sing songs that were lively, that I could belt out. Well, due to poor planning, I wound up singing the same couple of songs over and over again. It was a windy night, too, and somehow that made this outdoor unplugged gig very exhausting.

Reno attracts a lot of conventioneers and bachelor parties so there were groups of drunk horn-dogs who would gawk and heckle us as they walked by. One obnoxious guy touched my arm and said, “Hey honey, are you working tonight?” Aggravated, I pulled away and hollered at him, “Of course I’m working! What does it look like??” Being brand new to Reno, I didn’t know yet that this was lingo for hiring a hooker.

After three exhausting hours, I counted the change in my guitar case and it was about $30… enough to feed us for a couple of days. But I was utterly exhausted. “This has been the hardest thirty bucks I’ve ever earned,” I said to Susan, who was also exhausted herself from banging a tambourine for three hours in the wind.

The friendly policeman who had given me advice earlier must have seen us sitting on the sidewalk, leaning up against the wall exhausted. He walked up and said, “You’d probably do better if you weren’t dressed nicer than the tourists… You need to look more downtrodden, like him (and he pointed to an apparent bum sitting on a milk crate playing terrible harmonica across the street).

My roommate and I looked at each other and nodded.

We went home and that’s when I created the “Stranded in Reno” sign above. The next night I dressed in ragged jeans and a flannel shirt and I propped the sign up in my guitar case. At first Susan objected because she thought the sign was misleading because it wasn’t true… “false advertising,” she said. She felt better about it when I explained that “Stranded in Reno” was the name of our band.

The cop was right! People not only dropped in more money, but they offered us a place to stay, and we got invitations to get something to eat. One person even stopped by to offer the use of her phone to call long distance to anywhere we wanted (that was in the day before cell phones). About 30 minutes into our show, the harmonica-playing bum came across the street and set up his milk-crate about ten feet down the street from us. “Hey, quit trying to ride on our coattails,” Susan admonished him.

We made $30 again the second night, but it only took us a little over an hour. Which proves three things: 1.) you can’t always judge a book by its cover; 2.) the way you package your product determines your perceived value; and 3.) there will always be opportunistic imitators lurking in the wings.

genieCDcover

The Susan in the above story (my best friend/biggest fan/partner in adventure Susan Cerny) inspired the song “Walk the Dream.” She died in 1997, but she was alive every day of her life. Sometimes I still feel her encouragement…..

 

 

 

 

May 25, 2013

The Gypsy Songbird Program

Filed under: Temenos Journal,Writing & Creativity — by Genie Webster @ 10:24 pm
Tags: ,

Singer / Songwriter Show and Dance Party

Genie Scarf

Rene Best musician guitarist

 

About the “Program”

My landlady Iris — a sweet lady my mother’s age who wears her white hair in a bun — was kind enough to attend my last singer/songwriter show at Unity Center. When I got home from the show and after-party that night, there was a note on my door from Iris: “My sister and I enjoyed your program.”

That struck me as kinda funny at the time… program… like, school program (that’s what we called our school musical performances). I got a chuckle out of that, but of course… it is a program.

Now– a month away from the June 22 show — I’m in the thick of designing the next program.  This show will be entirely different from the last show, which was mostly a singer/songwriter program.

This show (Gypsy Songbird) is going to be more of a vocal virtuoso / variety show, complete with belly dancers.

I’ve always believed that the visual element of a show is just as important as the audio so I designed and am in the process of making my own costume… and there will be costume changes!

Gypsy Belly Dance Costume

Yes, I will also be debuting my belly dance moves, which surprises me more than it does you. If I were my friend, I would think that alone is worth the price of a ticket. Ha!

I will be doing songs made famous by Bonnie Raitt, Joni Mitchell, Patsy Cline…. I will yodel and sing opera. Oh and did I say there would be beautiful dancing by the magnificent Beverly White Yates?

It will be a quirky program, funny and poignant with stories and anecdotes about my adventures out west.

All the proceeds will go to benefit my home church, Unity Center of the Heights.

If you can’t make it to the program, please buy a ticket or two anyway for the church.

Hope to see you there!


 
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April 2, 2013

Free Falling as Spiritual Practice

freefall

The willingness to free fall for a while is necessary when you take a leap.

Who can break through to the next level without taking a leap? No one. To be able to free fall peacefully is required in order to break out from where you seem to be stuck.

You will not die if you practice free falling in your mind. No one gets hurt and if you imagine the feeling and vibration of free falling vividly… that’s as effective of a practice as bungee jumping or sky diving.

When my former husband and I came to the decision to divorce, we decided to commemorate the event by taking sky diving lessons and jumping from a plane. I can honestly say that yes, I experienced physically free falling from 20,000 feet up in the sky… but I knew I had a parachute. I don’t think it’s really free falling if you have a safety net.

Free falling is letting go of any attempt at control.

Free falling is emptying your mind of all thought.

Free falling is riding the wave while becoming the wave.

This video gave me a whole new perspective on free falling:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VlUNevsIgE4

January 23, 2013

New Year, Start Again

new beginning

There’s something about graduating to cronehood that really lit a fire under me to just take over myself. Something has come over me. Is this the menopause power surge I’ve heard about? I’ll take it! I’ve taken over my life and I’ve made some resolutions which have been pretty easy to keep so far.

I have resolved to…

1. Continue to reach out to my disconnected loved ones, without expectations. Reconciliation is inevitable… sooner or later… in every relationship without exception.

2. Keep writing. So far, so good.

3. Do not over-commit your time. Schedule time so you can recharge your batteries. Make that recharge-time your top priority… only to be trumped by family emergencies, mandatory work, or (in my case) a chance for spontaneous romance 😉 Seriously, I’m doing much better at knowing my limits so far this year, accepting that I’m not willing to burn the candles at both ends anymore. That’s for younger people.

4. Do not overspend. Save a cushion for unexpected trips to the vet. Or new tires. (I haven’t done so well on this one but at least I have new tires and a washer & dryer at last!). But… must now pull in the reins since Sweetie Pie is going to need a tooth extracted ($$$).

5. Drink more water. 

6. Attend ACIM study group weekly. I had been so faithful to my weekly Study Group in Reno for eight or so years… Then I lapsed for a year when I got to Cleveland and got all involved with Unity Center’s choir and music. I could do one or the other, not both. I chose choir because that was where I was needed. Now, since the New Year, I’ve been back on course with the Course and I’m staying on course because I’m resolved to do it. It helps me think more like God. Which brings me to Resolution #7.

7. Think more like God. 

December 1, 2012

What if you knew today was your last?

This is one man’s story about how he changed after he survived a plane crash. I’m so glad he’s sharing his story and so am I….

 

October 18, 2012

She Let Go

She Let Go

She let go. Without a thought or a word, she let go.

She let go of the fear. She let go of the judgments. She let go of the confluence of opinions swarming around her head. She let go of the committee of indecision within her. She let go of all the ‘right’ reasons. Wholly and completely, without hesitation or worry, she just let go.

She didn’t ask anyone for advice. She didn’t read a book on how to let go. She didn’t search the scriptures. She just let go. She let go of all of the memories that held her back. She let go of all of the anxiety that kept her from moving forward. She let go of the planning and all of the calculations about how to do it just right.
She didn’t promise to let go. She didn’t journal about it. She didn’t write the projected date in her Day-Timer. She made no public announcement and put no ad in the paper. She didn’t check the weather report or read her daily horoscope. She just let go.

She didn’t analyze whether she should let go. She didn’t call her friends to discuss the matter. She didn’t do a five-step Spiritual Mind Treatment. She didn’t call the prayer line. She didn’t utter one word. She just let go.

No one was around when it happened. There was no applause or congratulations. No one thanked her or praised her. No one noticed a thing. Like a leaf falling from a tree, she just let go.

There was no effort. There was no struggle. It wasn’t good and it wasn’t bad. It was what it was, and it is just that.

In the space of letting go, she let it all be. A small smile came over her face. A light breeze blew through her. And the sun and the moon shone forevermore.

~ Ernest Holmes, founder of Religious Science

I get it. That’s what this story is all about, and also the song at the end of this story: Room For You

 

October 11, 2012

Knowing something by heart

To know something by heart is to be confident that you have memorized the technicalities of a thing… whether it is the lyrics to a song, the words to a script, the rules of the road, the words to a prayer, etc.

If I know a song by heart, then I can trust my ego to get out of the way and let authentic soulfulness be expressed, through my instrument, which is my whole body. Sometimes I accompany myself with a guitar.

If I know a prayer by heart, then I can let my thinking fall away and let authentic soulfulness be expressed by my openness to what is Real.

 

On rehearsing

Filed under: Art,Temenos Journal,Writing & Creativity — by Genie Webster @ 3:24 pm
Tags: ,

We study. We analyze. We experiment. We step away. We woodshed.

We rehearse.

And rehearse. And drill. And experiment. And rehearse.

Why? Because we want to be totally prepared and confident when it’s…  showtime!

It's Showtime

July 7, 2012

Leap! How to think like a dolphin….

I just finished the first chapter of the much-anticipated book by one of my favorite authors Dudley Lynch….

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vZXCUCacK1A

Leap! How to Think Like a Dolphin, & Do the Right, Smart Thing Come Hell or High Water

http://www.braintechnologies.com/leap.htm

Related: https://temenos2.wordpress.com/2011/06/19/on-the-strategy-of-the-dolphin/

 

June 4, 2012

Forgive Your Mother’s Dysfunctional Mother

I never claimed to be a perfect mother.

But I was a better mother to my daughter than my mother was to me. My mother was a better mother to me than her mother was to her. And my daughter will be a better mother to her daughter than I was to her. It seems that as we evolve, each generation is better at parenting than the last.

Hopefully, we are contributing to the betterment of civilization as a whole by our generational evolution within our families.

Let us forgive the ones that made mistakes before our all-knowingness came to rule our worlds.

 

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