Hanging out on the page with my uke.

I used to have words.  I used to have them to spare, but it seems as though life has moved beyond the grasp of my language.  The muse has shifted.  This is no a bad thing, but it makes me sad.  I wish I could write again and not feel like I was wasting my precious time.   I wish I could allow my thoughts to meander through my mind, caught up in the 0’s and 1’s of this digital page, but every time I sit to speak, I ask “for what”.  I must have a purpose, as if expression was not enough.  I must write to the assignments I have to hand in.  I must surf toward research.  Is it wrong to call everything research?  Is it wrong to think that everything I read and write will be a part of my educational experience?  Is my time online considered hanging out on campus?

And there I go again… slave to studies.  Even a meandering thought brings me back.  It’s not that I don’t think it’s all-important and enjoyable.  Otherwise I would not be here, but I must make room for myself to be whole.  Rounded.

Have I mentioned how much I love the ukulele?  I enjoy carrying it as other women carry their purse, though I need to get a hard case as the zipper is getting bad.  I love pulling it out on the bus or in a line.  Quiet enough to be heard by the people in your immediate vicinity but never really loud enough to be annoying, even when you’re just learning to play.  I spend time making silly songs about the places I live, and I collect songs wherever I go, cataloguing tradition in a book that was born old.  And somewhere in that book is me.

I can’t remember where “hanging out on the page” comes from.  For me, it was my English 215 course at Augustana with Pam Chamberlain, but since then it has become a part of my mind. Was it Joan Didion or Julia Cameron that reminded me to “just be” with myself and my words?  If it wasn’t, dear reader, I apologize for the misquote, though I have no qualms about directing you to these two lovely ladies.

I would like to thank @intrepidteacher for his inspiration in being honest in my blog.  It’s not just a place for academic thoughts and posturing. It’s a place to be myself and to be whole.  I hope you like the songs! #moreukelove


4 Responses to “Hanging out on the page with my uke.”

  1. Pam Chamberlain Says:

    Great post. I look forward to more. (And beautiful photo!)

  2. now that I have a blog and actually put something there, I can finally comment here =)

    I feel the same way – I have assignments to complete, things waaaaay overdue that need writing and reading, but I’ve always wanted to blog. and put myself out there. but there was FEAR. putting oneself out there also means letting people see it and say things about it and… and… auuugh!

    you and @amichetti have been instrumental in making me actually take the step. I’m glad you guys pushed me and supported me – I feel SO good to have that first piece of me out there.

    I agree with @intrepidteacher about being honest. it’s hard for me to be anything else, especially in my writing. thank you for your honestly, and you shall always have mine.

  3. Congratulations Les! You have broken my uke free of the dust and cobwebs that it had reluctantly been collecting on my nightstand!… Much to sleeping Alanas dismay I might add… I love how practiced you are at putting yourself out there. I use the word practiced because I know that just because you can do something with ease it does not mean its easy. I can play a song with energy and procition in my room but, with the thought that there may be someone home my voice lowers and my fingers stumble across the strings. Im working on it… Oddly enough, the confidence to speak up has increase proportionately to the ineptitude of my instructors. With a measly 500+ hours in my trade I am catching them on miss information, contradictions and asking questions that they dont have the answer to… Its fun! Now if I could only bottle those moments and take little sips when I need a boost! If it were only so easy!

    • onepercentyellow Says:

      So happy that I got you to get the uke out! #moreukelove! It’s such a disarming instrument. When you take it out no one really expects much. There’s a great site http://www.ukulelehunt.com where there are some great arrangements for the uke. In particular I’d look at the difficult version of Rise by Eddie Vedder. It’s actually quite simple on the chord side, just a little complex in the strumming pattern.

      Thanks for the props on being practiced. It’s exactly that… when I decided before my birthday that I want to become what I call a ‘musician’ I started carrying my uke everywhere, just like other women carry a purse. I play on the bus, as I wait in line, in the taxi, even as I walk down the street sometimes. The coolest part was meeting these Israeli guys in Rishikesh who gave me a series of chords to jam on. Many of which have now become songs. Here they are for you or anyone else who is interested in picking up an instrument…
      Bm A G A
      D G A
      A F#m Bm E
      F C7 Bb F
      Em D Am
      Bm G D Am

      As my friend Joanne said, just spend some time with the chords, getting to know them in various combinations and strumming patterns, then start talking about what’s going on around you. Suddenly you have a song!

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