Take a look into what I see

Friday, April 13, 2007

the Next Big Thing!

Hello Everyone,

I'm making a new CD and in an attempt to pay for the project I'm doing yet another Pre-Sale! The CD will be completed by the end of May and everyone who pre-buys a CD will have their name recorded in my heart and on my website: www.jodimclaren.com.

Remember to include your address in the payment information so I can mail you a CD when it is completed! Thank you so very much!


Email Address (optional):

Wednesday, February 28, 2007

the road i want is open, open, open

sometimes it just hits me that i can live any kind of life i want to. i can dare myself into any kind of mystery, struggle, or challenge. i could explore any religion, or not explore any religion, i can talk to strangers, i can sing when i'm walking to class, i can invite people over to taste my latest stash of dark chocolate and red wine, or to sit around and talk and listen to classical music.

when i'm older i can live wherever i want to. i get to fall in love, i get to hurt, i get to feel joy, i get to be who i am. i guess all of this seems kind of obvious-- of course you can be who you are, isn't that what this life is all about? yeah, but when do you stop to actually think about it in an exciting way?? you get to CHOOSE. and the joy in that is not being worried about messing up when you realize that chances are you will be hurt in some way... the joy is in seeing what life is like when you seek out all of those curiousities that belong to you alone. those little instinctive thoughts that lead you to feeling like you found your right place in the world for the 5 minute conversation you had with someone you ran into on your way to-- wherever you felt like you should be in that moment.

and i guess thats what led me to blog this even, and it seems very monumental when these things fall into place. i think i'll dream my day into the rest of its place - next move, chai latte and a phone call home. after that class, and after that -- anything. and i know there are things that govern my activities, like time and schedules and responsibilities, but even those are things i chose to be a part of... and it sort of helps to have a next place you need to be when you're not sure what comes next.

the scariest times in my life have been times of stagnance, dizzy by the height, depth, and space of the grand canyon. but the path is always there to be walked along the edges, and that always seems to be enough to have felt a part of the expansive endlessness... to walk a measurable distance of the measureless. (the trip i took to visit krista in Arizona this weekend could inspire me for years).


Monday, February 12, 2007

The sky and concrete

What's it all have in common?


Friday, November 10, 2006

the introvert returns!

hello everyone (or anyone? who still checks this abandoned page?)

that question doesn't really need to be answered. truth is, i haven't written a blog since this summer and it wasn't until today... after an extended NF shutdown and an attempt at catching up on homework with my all-powerful day of no classes (Friday), the eventually led me aimlessly checking emails and finally to jen lemens blog (www.jenlemen.com). i wrote an email to this fantastic woman a few weeks ago asking her what was going on her life to which she responed "it's all on my blog," still i didn't read it until today! it was nice to "catch up" with her though through reading it.

this semester is trying me a little too hard. i keep reminding myself that college is supposed to be challenging and difficult and that everyone has a lot of work and gets stressed out. but when i do all of this AND carry around my extra set off information i pick up out of no where, i start to feel heavy and full of tears. all it takes is one genuine "how are you doing?" with a concerned look that knows something is wrong from a friend, and i'm torn between crying/giving some monotone answer and attempt at an explanation, or just saying "OK" and leaving it at that.

its funny because i can see right past this feeling, but its still so strong. for as much of an introvert as i am, and as much as i get in these moods when i don't maintain enough time with myself and time to reflect, at times like this i either need to disappear for a day alone or else have a long talk with a good friend... the kind of talk where i can just talk and talk and talk until i explain all the different things i've taken in during the week that i haven't reflected on, and have it be listened to.

today i was happy to be sent home from my voice lesson which i came to very unprepared... feeling very inadaquate. she asked how i was doing, or what i though specifically of my latest voice performance a few days ago where my knees were shaking and i was terrified and figity. i'm sure i hit all the notes and my italian pronunciation is getting better, but it doesn't feel good to sing in front of a group of people who are ready to critique you verbally the minute you finish.

much like my poetry class where i pass 17 copies of a poem i tried to put something important into, and read it aloud either lazily or nervously... because if you don't care how good your poem is, it doesn't feel so bad when people tear it apart. i don't really get offended so much as i just feel horribly uncomfortable.

for someone who advocates feeling uncomfortable in order to challenge and improve myself-- i think i've had a little too much. i guess the hope is that i become more comfortable in my own skin in more than a few different scenerios once i figure out how to be inside of them. hopefully the latest song i'm working on (by latest i mean... created after being sent home from my voice lesson for a much needed break) will come into a completed form this weekend. thanks to deborah loyd, i'll be spending the night in her guest room for some quality time with myself (and my guitar).


Saturday, July 22, 2006

sidewalk inspiration

what a wild week. i think working at 530 and 6 in the morning a few days in a row is definitely very difficult! and it's worn me down quite a bit, or i should say i've been worn down lately (owning the emotion rather than being a victim of it), and today all of my tiredness/inability to focus at work resulted in spilled milk (literally-- a whole gallon spilled on the floor!), a bad headache, and the desire to curl up and sleep for as long as possible.

but... my mom has been researching cars because our van is just about ready to die, so i got home today and just as i'm falling asleep, she asks if i want to go buy a new prius with her. i felt bad because buying a car is supposed to be exciting, but the last thing i wanted to do was sit in a car dealership and talk about airbags and tires. so i met her half way and dropped her off at the dealership.

before i go on... i have been noticing how much more inspiration lies inside of me since reading some things by henry miller about writing. one of his quotes that especially stood out to me is this:

Every day we slaughter our finest impulses. That is why we get a heart-ache when we read those lines written by the hand of a master and recognize them as our own, as the tender shoots which we stifled because we lacked the faith to believe in our own powers, our own criterion of truth and beauty. -Henry Miller

I love this so much because it's true! I can't say how many times I get the most random impulses to write something down or to play something on piano or to write an email or call somebody. And I probably follow through with about half of those things, but the more open I can be do follow them, the more faith I have in my own decisions... I mean, and that's all just coming from my impulses, things that are already inside of me that I just can listen to and trust a little. It's funny because being "impulsive" has such a negative connotation, but it seems like it does not only sow negative regretful decisions, being "impulsive" by which i mean... allowing those delicate impulses to be lived, can result in insightful or compelling pieces of writing and art. Henry Miller also said that "The truly great writer does not want to write: he wants the world to be a place in which he can live the life of the imagination. No man would set a word down on paper if he had the courage to live out what he believed in." And he goes on to believe "The art of dreaming when wide awake will be in the power of every human one day. Long before that, books will cease to exist, for when men are wide awake and reaming their powers of communication (with one another and with the spirit that moves all men) will be so enhanced as to make writing seem like the harsh and raucous squawks of an idiot." The man is a little extreme, but there's a lot in what he's saying!!

And what he's saying really puts a whole lot of hope into humanity, and especially into humanity that is willing to access their creativity to make a change in the world.

And here he is, a writer, saying that writing might seem like "harsh and raucous squawks of an idiot" who's essentially too wrapped up in a world he creates on paper to change the actual world.

Now when I look at this and think about songwriting-- it's all so similar. I tell people I'm majoring in english and minoring in music, and there's no glamour in it really because people think-- so what? What are you going to DO in life? read books and play music? I mean... music can definitely just seem like squawks of an idiot sometimes. i think lately i've really been feeling how hard it is to do this, to write songs and to work so so hard to get shows together and get people to show up just so i can stand in front of them and pour out some of the hardest things about myself and about life that i've come to realize. do i really have to be that low to feel understood in the world?

And then people say "you did a really good job," and i say thank you... but I can't really understand what about my performance was good, what made the other person like it.... did it make them feel a certain way? did they feel understood? did it just sound nice? was there something i said that stood out... and why?

You know... when I read books I like the aspect of feeling like I'm reading these things the author never talked about. It's like getting the inside scoop, getting whats REALLY there and not having to push away the surface stuff to get there... it's just THERE described very precisely. I love these kinds of books because I feel understood by the author or the character, and I feel like I'm getting something that no one would ever get unless they took the time and opened this book.

I guess there's just so many places in life to dig... and keep finding more and more and more. There's an abundance of meaning if we can search for it.

Songwriting is my method of digging into myself, and I think its important to dig elsewhere, and also to improve ourselves and help our community -- global or local. It is my sincere hope that my improvement starts with my music, and my self-reflection... and that maybe others will feel welcome to investigate themselves too.

In the midst of feeling all of these things, someone was able to tell me that what I'm doing with my music is something others should hear and see... and this person is working really hard in Beaver, PA to help make sure some other people do hear about me and what I'm doing. And when I understood that THATs why he wanted me to perform at his bookstore, I just got this whole realizatioin that what i'm doing does matter, and says more than the personal stuff i'm saying in each song, it says that i'm willing to make this my life to try to make my life better and make other peoples lives better because i believe in this... and i never was able to look at it in that way until David put it the way he did on the phone today. So I really appreciated that lot.

Looks like i've gone a little overboard with impulsively writing my own thoughts down without "slaughtering" many of them at all here in this post. I guess what I meant to write about all along is how I was feeling sort of lost again as an artist, or discouraged, realizing how much work it is and how rare it is that someone gives me that kind of feedback i received today-- or even the outward action of setting up a show FOR me, and asking me to branch out and try performing 5 hours away to see if i can bring/reach an audience out there.

so tonight i went to little italy to eat at amicci's with my mom, italian food was just the kind of comfort i needed, and my mom had never been there so it was nice to be able to show her little italy. when we were walking around after dinner there was an artist on the street, an old man painting, so i went over to talk to him (and my mom, embarrassed and afraid to talk to him because "then you have to buy something," stayed on the other side of the street and waited). I asked him how long he'd been painting and what mediums he used... and if he made a living okay doing it. "since i was 4, and now i'm 63" "all of those are ink" ... "yeah i make a living, every weekend i'm out here." I asked how he got to be so well known and he said he just put himself out there a lot "and never get discouraged" he said... "you just keep trying and showing people what you have." and without explaning this whole explanation i have here in the blog... that little bit of advice hit home. especially coming from a man who's been drawing/painting for 59 years! i mean.. he didn't get discouraged enough to ever give up, and there he is on the corner every weekend still... just hoping people like his art enough to buy it, trying not to get discouraged. strangers have a great way of meeting you when you need them. i'm very thankful for that.

and i'm looking forward to the shows in beaver next weekend! all of this is really pushing me to grow as an artist in places that are difficult. i don't complain because no one is making me do this, it's just a very big part of my life.

thanks for reading all this.


Tuesday, July 18, 2006

testing, 1, 2

yeah.. i wrote a post last night and my computer died on the spot, without warning, erasing the entire post... i took it as a sign that i should get to bed, because it was getting late.

i began to appreciate the extra time that summer gives us today. i realized there's a lot i need to do, and usually having a lot to do (personally and emotionally and financially) results in stress because there is usually ALREADY a lot to do... but in the summer time, i can spend a lot of time on things and not feel like i'm neglecting school work or hanging out with people or whatever it is... because there's a whole lot of time in the day! and a lot of days!

i woke up this morning with an intense urge to go to the library. that's when i remembered i needed to do a lot of work on my computer... researching different programs, figuring out what would be best for me to do in the next 3 years of college. i want to be a songwriter, so the decisions i make about what types of classes or programs i get involved in should really be ones that will help me acheive my dream. it's not always possible to do everything out there that would benefit me, because of time and money, but i'm glad that i'm looking into it all and that i have the time to really sort it all out.

when i started to do this this morning, i was feeling very down and lost. thinking all the things that would be good for me to do aren't actually feasible. part of my feeling lost comes from not having enough faith inside me that things will work out if i try to do all i can to make music and learn how to become a better musician... i start to feel like maybe i'm not cut out for all of this, maybe i should just chill out a little, and not get so bogged down about this huge emotional battle that surrounds having a dream that is far away. but of course, like all disney movies taught us, life is all about going for it. i can say that i've come around and now feel positively enough to be writing all of this out because the day had quite a big turn of events.

i still don't know exactly which programs i'll be doing, but i know that i could potentially go to martha's vineyard for a semester to record/write songs/take classes on the business end of things and the artistic side of songwriting and connecting to an audience or market. i could go to south africa for a semester, and the classes look really interesting. it all just takes some manipulation of my schedule and maybe some summer classes, but hey-- if i could be receiving that amazing of an education, i'm willing to do a little extra work to make up for time spent having a blast in other islands/countries.

when i was soul searching and internet searching i came across tom willett's website (www.tomwillett.com), he runs the martha's vineyard program and is a good friend of my dads from a long time ago. this website was sort of a strange collection of insightful quotes and authors saying things about creativity and artists... and i got so drawn into it. i bought a book on half.com that he recommended on there by picasso, it's letters he wrote to his brother. then i went to the library to get more of this author henry miller. he had such incredible things to say about writing, and freeing the world by enduring pain that transforms into art, and consequently freeing yourself of the pain through creativity and feeling accomplished. it all really hit home with the idea of songwriting, and i felt very understood just by reading it.

so my morning impulse to go to the library finally made sense at about 430 in the afternoon, when i went to get a henry miller book.

also... when i was feeling very lost in the morning, it was weighing on me a lot, and i really really wanted to come to some sort of conclusion for myself. so i decided to fast for the morning. i just drank lots of water, and i really wasn't that hungry because my mind was so occupied thinking other things.

the time seemed right to eat after i went to the library... i stopped by pepperjack's to drop off fliers for my show at the daily grind this thursday, and bought a sub. i remembered stuff written in sidhartha about fasting and how it made him feel good because it was this spiritual thing... so i gave it a shot, and i'd say the day worked out nicely. when i got back, my advisor from lewis and clark called my house (i had written her an email asking questions about this program in martha's vineyard), it was so nice of her to call me over the summer, when she's not even going to be returning this fall, just to explain to me what credits would transfer, and her opinion of what i should do (basically, go for it if you want to). it was just the amount of clarity i needed.

there's still a few things i want to get done, and i definitely can't wait to read this book, but lucky for me there is plenty of time. i feel better already.

daily grind show: thursday aug 20th, 6-8pm, 8180 Maple Lawn Blvd, Fulton MD, 20759. www.myspace.com/jodimclaren.

i've been practicing a lot, i'm hoping to make this performance especially meaningful and powerful. hope to see you there.


PS- i'm getting a new cell phone (i lost my old one for 3 weeks now), so soon people can contact me again! this is good news for all of us. :)

i can't wait to spend more time with my friends this summer too! they're such great people. :) peace for now..

Sunday, May 21, 2006

community.. and making this summer matter

Welll, the more I talk/listen to people, the more I have to think about! So last night, Rach and I had a classic night together... which involves a comfortable couch/bed, and lots of laughter, maybe a tear or two, and the best conversations to fit both of our needs. everyone's got things to talk about when you're willing to just... open up! and talk about those things you might think about during the day, or feel. so something thats been coming up a lot in conversations with my mom and rach and others, is community! gosh how i love love loove the idea of it.

and i suppose that's why i'm beginning to brainstorm (something that is not done enough by our intelligent minds for these important life matters) ideas for making a community I care about and I feel is contributing to people who need it, or are willing to contribute to it. we live 20 minutes from downtown Baltimore, a city full of life, andd full of poverty and lack of life, and we live 45 minutes from the nations capitol, which has it's fair share of homelessness, crime, as well as beauty, success, and power (all those government buildings and what happens inside them). well that is a huge huge starting point.

a smaller, but still big, starting point for community is through churches like Cedar Ridge or The Church in Bethesda, one of which my dad started, and the other one that was started by Rob Kang and a group of great people.

And getting even more microscopic, but still blossoming with lots of opportunities and connections, is my house, me, the people I know who care about the world and themselves. how could i possibly experience community this summer in somewhat rural laurel maryland?

today i heard a great sermon by the new pastor at Cedar Ridge all about community, and taking risks, and what keeps people from taking risks (fear, laziness, being the victim, blaming others). I believe it will be available online through streaming mp3 at: http://www.crcc.org/converse/talks.htm, from May 21, 2006 sermon (it's not up right now, but it will be).

it got me thinking of ways cedar ridge could connect with the community more, and when i kept going, it got me thinking about my own personal life. after taking a poetry class with Mary Szybist at Lewis & Clark college, i developed a love for poetry and trying to express life through images. i would love to have a group meet at my house every week who would be dedicated to write a poem or two and we would all read eachother's poetry, and make suggestions... and also cook a meal together, and if we have musicians, maybe have a concert as well. This would take people who are interested in writing something, dinner could also be a place and time to sit and talk about important things if writing isn't exactly where people want to go with thoughts.

i'd want to meet some people i've never met before, or never gotten to know that well, and open this place up for some new discoveries to happen.

i'm also going on this road trip... which is so incredible because i'm connecting with a lot of people in my surrounding community to find places to stay/people to meet on our trip to Asheville, Atlanta, and then Biloxi, MS for relief work from hurricane katrina.

this blog is just part of the brainstorming going on, and i'd really like for these ideas to materialize in some delicious meals, conversations, poetry readings, house concerts... anything's possible! let's start talking about this, get in touch with me by email if you're interested - settle4more@gmail.com

i'm looking forward to the opportunities out there this summer,