May 19, 2017

What If...Putting It Out There

Welcome to...

     The Magic of What If

(Musically Inclined, Chocolate Fueled)

Hello, lovely people!

In an action that feels a bit risky to me, I'm opening this month's edition of What If with a poem. I wrote this piece maybe three years ago. Re-reading the poem today, it rings true for me now as it did then, in circle-of-life ways: I'm still ornery; I'm learning again how to stand on my own feet (this time in a work sense); I'm again figuring out what it means to lean on friendly arms (yay, Bridge Builders!).

Sharing this piece is a What If moment for me: What If people think the poem's bad, or cheesy, or too personal or not personal enough?  

Or maybe, for someone, What If these words are just right, for right now? So, for you, that person, here goes:


Today is Not Yesterday

When push comes to shove,
I often find myself on the receiving end 
of stubbornness:
My own resistance to change,
to life’s attempts to rearrange 
my tidy kingdom.
I swat away helping hands:
demands, however gentle they may be,
wear like sandpaper on my skin;
thinly veiled reprimands
issued from soul to self:
“Don’t be so needy, so greedy.
You can stand on your own two feet,
Yes, but once I’ve learned to stand,
there is no shame
in leaning
on friendly arms
the harms of bad relationship
are not to be found here.
Today is not yesterday.
I am more than I was.
We are settled in space,
a kind of lovely sweet grace,
that embraces this new be-ing.
Full of gratitude,
Wishing for latitude to be granted
from and to my ornery self
I sit in silence and take it in.
My life, all life, hard won.
I will not will it away - 
no matter how tempting the old ways.
Today’s a better place

and only just begun.

I'm curious: what poems have made an impact on *your* life? How are you sharing your hard-won knowledge with friends?

Then. This month. This month has been, WOW, so jam-packed full of experiences!

We went mountain biking, you guys! I am only now mostly recovered from the bruises gained thanks to running into walls and trying to use my knees to steer. I am still enthralled with how fun it was! Many thanks to my partners-in-adventure for getting me onto the track at Ray's Indoor Mountain Bike Park: Carl Shotwell, Susan Berneike and Jen Kramer (all Bridge Builder classmates).  

Imagine a triumphant "Rawr!" accompanying this photo:

Then, continuing in the literary vein, we had a Little Free Library-centric experience during our Bridge Builders session yesterday, including painting Little Free Libraries to be set out in the Slavic Village Neighborhood of Cleveland (pictured here, classmates Rebecca Cook and Daniel Luketic),
and attending the dedication of another Little Free Library at the Warner Girls' Leadership Academy.

Slavic Village has been designated the first Little Free Library Neighborhood in the U.S, pretty cool. 

Margaret Bernstein of WKYC Channel 3 is a huge advocate of literacy; it was a thrill to work alongside her yesterday.

And - in the spirit of Putting It Out There and What If, say hello to: Patreon! Patreon is a modern way of supporting artists as they create new work. I'm looking at making a Patreon page as a way to encourage me to do just that! I have an idea about how this process will work, but as astronaut Mark Watney says in The Martian*, "They say no plan survives first contact with implementation."

I'll unveil the Patreon page and ongoing things being created in the June issue - in the meantime, please let me know what you might be interested in seeing/hearing more of: music, poems, house concerts, bad drawings, serenades, improv or singing workshops; any something-I've-yet-to-think-of-but-is-making-your-brain-explode kind of ideas.

Up next: Friday, June 30, I'll be singing with the Cleveland Chamber Choir, premiering composer Sam Guarnaccia's orchestra/choral work, "The Emergent Universe Oratorio" as part of the International Jesuit Conference in June at the Maltz Museum Silver Hall Auditorium. You can find tickets and details here, just search for "Emergent Universe Oratorio": Go Hear New Music!

Music segment for this issue: Larchmere Porchfest - Saturday, June 17, 2017 
Porchfest is an opportunity to hear a whole bunch of bands over the course of a day, and to explore the Larchmere neighborhood here in Cleveland. I'm a little biased, as I live in the neighborhood, and would recommend it to anyone. It's fantastic, and it's FREE. Maybe I'll see you there?

Chocolate: This month's chocolate story centers on...a book! CHOCOLATE: The Consuming Passion by Sandra Boynton.  A friend, knowing my proclivities, loaned it to me; I highly recommend the book to chocolate fiends everywhere for both its adoration of chocolate and Sandra Boynton's cartoons and hilarious sensibilities.

And, because one must have some of the real thing whilst enjoying the aforementioned read: go visit a Malley's Ice Cream Parlor! Four of them exist in greater Cleveland, in Bay Village, Lakewood, Mentor and North Olmsted. The perfect place to enjoy chocolate, ice cream and Sandra Boynton's charming book!

May's Random Thingy:  Brick Ceramic + Design Studio

Started by Valerie Grossman, a 2012 CIA grad, Brick is a fully operational ceramics studio and gallery, and a strong part of the Waterloo community. Val herself creates gorgeous pieces, and she's incredible at bringing out the best in others via her classes. (Sweetie and I plan on signing up for a Date Night class, soon.) For more info on Brick, go here: Make Stuff!

Thanks for reading all the way to the end, and stay tuned for the next issue of The Magic Of What If, arriving in your mailboxes sometime during the week of June 19!


That's a not-so-subtle nudge to go read The Martian - it's legit hard science fiction (as opposed to purely speculative), and damned funny.

Visit my performer page on FacebookLiz Huff

Connect with me on LinkedIn