Unitarian Hymnal Sing-along

In which Kathryn attempts to sing a different song everyday from the Unitarian Universalist hymnal, 'Singing the Living Tradition'. Earlier posts are based on songs from the Reader's Digest songbooks she found at yard sales as a child, including: 'Reader's Digest Treasury of Best Loved Songs', 'Reader's Digest Family Songbook', and 'Reader's Digest Family Songbook of Faith and Joy'. Bonus Folk song material from: 'Folk Song USA', by John and Alan Lomax.

05 October 2005

"Moonlight Bay"

It was fun working on this one a bit more in my voice lesson today. It was short enough to run through a bunch of times, trying different things.

[Happy Birthday to my incredibly wonderful and generous little sister, Beth! I don’t mind at all that Mom loves you more! Really!]

I like the process of this learning to sing (again). Until this year, every year for the past dozen or so I’ve gotten away to some sort of retreat: personal growth, or meditation oriented, and most often, I’ve done one of each. Then this year, nothing. One gathering that I loved was cancelled (and for the future has changed into a form that I can’t afford), and the other retreat was timed such that it was attend that, or my brother’s wedding, and that was a no-brainer. (Admittedly, the wedding was in the Virgin Islands, I got to go with a very dear friend, and spend time with my awesome family, so I didn’t suffer overly much there, but it wasn’t relaxation, per se.)

I missed the time away to naval gaze. Time to look inward and decide what I thought about what I saw, time to rest my tired parental brain. Time to process. I once wrote a song: “Process. . . process teaches, eat your lessons, love the process. . .” and I do love it. I know how process works, how one takes new information, makes it one’s own, hard wires it into the system, and runs with it: rejoicing, accepting, acknowledging. I know all about the watching time, where I just have to pay attention, and remember to pay attention again. I know how things I’ve ‘put on a back burner’ come to the fore mysteriously soon, get solved, or accomplished. I know what resistence to process is, and how sweet it is to break through into something that later always seems easy--if I didn’t know how damn tough it was to do the breaking. I so miss the processing this year.

So I can latch, a little, at least, onto these vocal excursions into me, into my issues around my own voice. Today I realized I’m afraid when it seems too easy. As much trouble as I’ve gotten into in the past, I distrust when it feels too good also, a little. Surely the entirely sensual pleasure I take in my voice must be wrong somehow, right? What if someone hears that? And then another part of me says, ‘Goodness, girl, just get over it! Surely you’re old enough now that you don’t care what anyone else thinks.’ And maybe, finally (for the most part, and for all practicality), I don’t. Watch me process, folks. Gory details are optional.

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At 8:19 PM, Blogger Elizabeth said...

Not Binky or Andrew here. But your remarks on process got me thinking and I want to chime in on the emerging value (for me) of process - as a noun. Whether it is practicing a new art or craft, I am learning that anything worth doing is worth doing badly. I'll inevitably do it badly at some points on the way to doing it better. And even when I am doing it well, I will still have moments, days, maybe even months of doing it badly, because that is a part of the risk-taking involved in creating something interesting. What I cling to through all the doing-it-badly is a process. If I identify a process that I can enjoy for its own sake, I think it's possible to hang in there and see where a creative project takes me.

Thanks for helping me think about this! I look forward to reading more.

drawing daily at

At 9:16 PM, Blogger Kathryn said...

I think the only thing that gives me hope sometimes is the permission to do things badly, if I'm labeling the learning as 'process'. I was way too clever growing up, and did too many things way too well on the first go. It's still difficult, but I'm working on being bold with my less than perfect efforts.


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