Sunday, March 15, 2015

Trip To New York


I took a brief break from songwriting and jewelry designing to visit my sister in New York. 

The best part about having family living all over the country is that I get to show up on their doorstep with my suitcase and say, "I've come for a visit! Move over I'm taking your bed for the week." 

Too much good food and too much fun! At least we counter balanced all the eating with soooo much walking. Now I can proudly say I've got the subway system down, except for that damn R train...











Friday, March 6, 2015

A Life Lesson From David Grey

I'm running about 20 paces behind my mom. She never stops to walk. I wonder if we are about to take a break because we finally begin to slow our pace. She shouts, "lunges!" and begins to bend her knees low to the pavement. I groan and drag myself behind her, but every time she looks back I slap on a smile and dip my body up and down like a buoy bobbing in the water. 

"Mom, hold up, PLEASE!" I yell as I power walk to catch up with her. "I need to fix my pony tail." It is the quickest excuse I can come up with to buy me resting time. 

"Here, listen to this." She hands me her iPhone with a song cued up. "Only if you listen to this." I hand her mine with the album I was listening to during our morning tortu- er, jog. 

I was listening to my favorite electro-pop artist of the moment called Sylvan Esso. I chose a song called "Play It Right", a minimal, electronic tune frosted with folk melodies. It pumps me up, has great rhythms. 

I replace my headphones now attached to my mother's running music of choice. A brassy, older man's shimmery soft lyrics sing to me. Musicians play perfect, slow-tempo'd music with a glittery Nashville vibe. 

He sings,

Tell the repo man
and the stars above
you're the one I love…

Immediately I feel my breathe slow down, and it feels like the blood running through my veins slows down as well. 

I look back at my mom. She has a goofy grin on her face. She shakes her head slightly. 

"Our music is so different." She laughs. We jog a few more steps.
"Well, we experienced a completely different run this morning, didn't we?" I say. 

Perfect summers night
not a wind that breathes 
Just the bullets whispering gentle
'mongst the new green leaves...

I notice for the first time the swaying corn stalks in the field we had just passed, rows and rows of honey-colored grains. I see the mountains with caps of white in the distance, outlining our pristine little valley where I grew up. I feel the sun on my skin. It's not blazing warm like California sun, but it's trying.

The music nudges me to live outside of myself, makes me unconcerned with my problems that seemed so important and looming just moments before. Suddenly all I care about is sharing this moment with nature, with the ever-distant wisdom of the universe.

Artwork by Henck Van Bilsen
How predictable, the rushed 29-year old listening to music that backs up her worry with her future, her doubts, her past triumphs her future battles. The beat, pumping energy into her or at least keeping it steady, to get her through the day's wars. 

The wise 50-year old woman listening to music that reminds her to stay present in the moment, to enjoy each second, to connect with nature, with life, to freakin' sit still for two seconds!

Perhaps those of us a little younger could stand to pause for a moment to remember how vast the universe is, to step outside ourselves, and to remember where we came from and where we are ultimately going. 

Honestly, Meg

Saturday, February 28, 2015

Passion's Not A Dirty Word

Remember your dream when you were a little kid? You pretend like you've forgotten it, like it's unimportant. YOUR dream. Every so often it resurfaces like a shark fin in a clear Caribbean ocean, but you pretend you only see a flutter of an eye lash. 

I know you know. 

And you're preaching to the choir, my friend. I already know why you let it go. It's the same reason I let it go (before I acknowledged it once again.)

Because you're too old.
    You're too young.
        You weren't born in the right city.
            You weren't born in the right country.
                You were born to the wrong parents.
                    No one ever taught you how.
                        You didn't have the natural talent.
                            You didn't have the time.
                                You don't have the money.
                                    You'll never be good enough.
                                        Everyone is already ahead of you.
                                            People will think you you are crazy, naive, childish, stupid.
                                                You might fail,

FAIL

      FAIL
     
               FAIL.

(SPOILER ALERT!) I just finished watching The Theory of Everything, the story about Steven Hawking's life. He is paralyzed, breathes through a tube in his throat, uses a tiny muscle in his cheek as his only form of communication, and yet he still manages to lead the academic research on Cosmology at Cambridge, wrote a book that sold millions of copies about the the general theory of relativity and quantum mechanics (fluffy subject matter, I'm sure), fathers three children, loves his wife, and continues to inspire millions daily.

And those are your excuses. Really?

Honestly, Meg

Thursday, February 5, 2015

"Love Letter In A Bottle" necklace



Click HERE to order a "Love Song In A Bottle" necklace

My boyfriend will be on tour this Valentine's Day, so we celebrated early. We had a picnic at the park and sushi for dinner, but those activities weren't the best part of the day.

On the mini road trip out to our favorite park, we popped in The National's album, "Boxer", which I had never heard before. Something about the sunset or the freedom of the open road combined with the music coming from my car's speakers brought a few tears to my eyes, which I quickly swiped away before Nick noticed. 

What is it about music that can move a person to tears? In that moment, I realized how lucky I am to be able to make music that can hopefully make other people feel the way that music makes me feel. 

For this Valentine's Day, I created a special necklace that combines my two loves: music and jewelry.

I found some vintage sheet music and these adorable, tiny bottles with cork lids. As I carefully rolled up each slip with a precious melody, I felt like I was literally sliding a love song into a bottle, preparing to send it out into the ocean to one of you guys!

I think these will make the perfect gift for Valentine's Day. I make each piece by hand from vintage sheet music, tiny vials, and wire-wrapped antiqued copper. 
  • Please order by February 9th if you'd like your necklace to arrive before Valentine's Day.
  • Vial is 7/8" tall
  • 18" antique copper chain with lobster clasp
  • Only 25 are available as this first run. (If they sell out super quick, I will try to make a 2nd run, but those won't make it in time for Valentine's Day.)
  • Each necklace will be gift-wrapped
  • Autographed CTR postcard included

Monday, January 19, 2015

NEW Awakenings and NEW Beginnings


Visit www.chandlertherobot.com to check out my new designs!

Nick and I attended an art show in Los Angeles the other night. As we strolled down the aisles of paintings, Nick made a comment, 

"You know, music has never made me feel the way that art makes me feel."

He surprised me by this statement, (since we are both musicians.) 

"Don't get me wrong. I love playing music and listening to music, but it never makes me feel as emotional as these paintings do."

I knew what he meant. I've been deeply moved by the serenades of Dashboard Confessional and Deathcab For Cutie, but there is something about looking at a piece of physical art, taking it in, and feeling a reaction deep down in your gut. 

My mother recently became quite the spiritual being, taking up kundalini yoga and meditation. During my visit home for the holidays she showed me the beginnings of a beautiful crystal and stone collection and explained all of their healing properties. 

I've always been analytical, always looking to reason to steer my life in the right direction, but last year's events have caused me to seek out answers in unusual places.

I promise I'm not going to get all "woo woo" on you, but if you ever need a little extra guidance, a little reassurance, some hope, a lifting of your spirits, it wouldn't hurt to add a touch crystal to your life.



Baby Aura Quartz Triad necklace



Druzy Rectangle Bar pendant with 24k Gold Electroplated Edge

According to my local crystal guru:

Tangerine Sun Quartz is known to have healing properties that "uplift your spirit, help you face life's challenges, disperse dark moods, and stimulate creativity".

Aqua quartz "soothes anger, cools feverishness, and releases stress, tension, and anxiety. It also releases negativity from emotional, physical, and spiritual battles, and creates an aura of peace".

My favorite crystal though is the classic clear crystal because this crystal is said to open a blocked or unawakened third eye and enhance one's ability to communicate inner truth. 

From wikipedia "The third eye is a mystical concept referring to a speculative invisible eye which provides perception beyond ordinary sight. The third eye refers to the gate that leads to inner realms and spaces of higher consciousness. The third eye often symbolizes a state of enlightenment or the evocation of mental images having deeply personal spiritual or psychological significance."

I can't pretend to have ever reached a moment of "enlightenment", but I can say that if I didn't pay attention to my "perception beyond ordinary sight" or a "higher consciousness" I never would have fallen in love with a wonderful man whom I probably don't fit very well with on paper, but he is the yin to my yang, the light to my dark. 

I wouldn't have become a musician, because heaven knows we don't have the most stable lifestyles. Every day is a new adventure, some people don't enjoy this type of spontaneity, but I can't live without it.

Honestly,
Meg



Friday, January 16, 2015

One Lonely Piece of Toast

I look over at Dia, and thankfully I'm not the only one with sweat dripping down my forehead. It's insane how tiny little movements repeated over an extended period of time can be so painful. While focusing on the blaring EDM music, we tuck our pelvises in, tighten our abs, and pump up our pink three-pound weights in time with the beat.

"You guys are doing great! So strong, so powerful! I know it hurts," our peppy instructor shouts over the music, "if you don't like it close your eyes." So I shut them tight. 

On my drive home from class, I pass a sad Christmas tree wrapped in plastic laying by a dumpster on the side of the road. I begin to think about the past year. I've been living out in the suburbs of L.A. When our city-dwelling friends make their way out to visit us, they always comment on the peace and quiet of our home. We have a big back yard, plenty of space, and relatively cheap rent for the area. 

I will be saying goodbye to these creature comforts as I migrate to the heart of the city at the beginning of next month. I will be living in a tiny apartment on top of an indian food restaurant. The sounds of my neighbor's t.v. drifting through the thin walls will become my new closest companion. 

I'm looking forward to a lot of changes though. I will be within walking distance of Dia, so we will be able to spend a lot more sister time together. I'll be surrounded by inspiring and creative artists of all types (all of whom I hope will help to inspire my music and my jewelry), and I'll be much closer to my friends. 

But, and this is a big BUT, my boyfriend will be missing a lot this year. He will be touring a lot and will be temporarily moving in with his band members for a time to a place two hours away from me. I know it seems like a two hour drive isn't that big of a deal. And I hate to complain when I'm sure so many of you are missing loved ones in a different country, but that doesn't mean I have to like my situation. What we all sacrifice for the sake of art...right?

Sometimes, when I'm alone in our house, when he leaves for band practice for a couple hours, I try to practice what it will be like when it's just me. I practice being spooked by wispy reflections in the mirrors and windows at night. I practice cooking for one: one egg, one cup of tea, one lonely piece of toast.

It's times like these, I think about my aerobics teacher with her tight floral leggings and her perky pony tail telling us "If you don't like it close your eyes." So I shut them tight.

In my guitar lesson today there was one little lick that I couldn't quite master. My teacher showed me a whole-step bend on the fretboard with my first finger. It HURT!

My guitar teacher said, "It's okay", smiled and gave my knee a paternal pat, "You're getting stronger."

I imagine when I'm laying in bed in my new apartment, as I settle in to fall asleep, I'll swat the empty space beside me and attempt to ignore the sirens and the artists' laughter in the street as they stumble home. I'll remember  

"Close your eyes if you don't like it." So I'll shut them tight.

When I wake I'll greet the soft hum of the t.v. from next door with a "Good morning" because my man will be off creating art on an avocado farm two hours away. I'll get dressed, turn the key in my lock, and as I leave I'll remember, "It's okay. You're getting stronger."

Honestly, Meg

Sunday, December 14, 2014

I Finally Found You... Again.

I once knew a girl who wanted to be in love more than anything. For a few years she searched for love as hard as she could. She went to all the places she thought love might find her. She dressed herself up, and smiled, and waited patiently at first, and not so patiently later. She saw other people in love and tried her best not to envy their happiness.

Each night she would set a lovely table by herself with a single lit candle and a glass of wine. She would let the loneliness wash over her. Many nights she would feel sad, but she never let go of her faith that someday a great man would come and find her. 
 
When he did find her, they wasted no time falling in love. They spent every waking moment together, learned the answers to all the questions that a person in love ought to know about their lover. Everything and anything they did felt like a marvelous adventure.

One night, while they lay quietly by the fire, watching the orange and yellow flames dance and sputter, she pulled his arm tighter around her waist, because she knew what this night would have been like without him. She would never let him go.

I feel like that girl, but not with love, but with passion. I've been in a pop band for a large portion of my life, and when that band broke up, music lost its magic. I watched the singer of the band take off like a shooting star, and in her light, although it was brilliant to watch, I couldn't help feeling apprehensive about continuing to play my guitar alone.

 
After that, I didn't know how to spend my days. Although, the guitar was once an instrument that fulfilled me, I was unsure if it still could.

I spent a few years searching for a new passion, for that thing I was put on earth to do. No matter what I did, I couldn't find it. 
 
I was like a man in his mid-life-crisis, except for going for exotic women and fast cars, I tried more quiet activities like knitting and gardening. I tried writing fiction. I tried cooking and salsa dancing.

I went to all the places that a person looking for their passion would go. I dressed like a person looking for their passion would dress.
 
My boyfriend, exasperated by my efforts, offered me some advice:
 
"Stop searching for it." I felt like he was trying to reign me in, like worried parents holding on to their two-year-olds' human leash at Disneyland.
"But, then I'd just do nothing all day."
"So, do nothing all day."
 
So, I did nothing all day. 
 
After a few months of doing nothing, and the dust swirling around my gut settled, I decided I would take a guitar lesson.This instrument used to bring me a lot of pleasure. Maybe it would again? 


Photo by Philip Toshio Sudo in his book Zen Guitar.
 
I walked into a music store by my yoga studio. A kind frenchmen asked me if I would be interested in trying out a lesson from the "guitar teacher of the stars!" I think he meant stars like Elvis, but I imagined in that instant the stars up in the night sky, and since that image seemed right to me, I told him, "Yes, I would."
 
After I took a few guitar lessons, I found a blues cover band to play with on Craigslist. (Are you beginning to see the tiny baby steps I took to find my passion again?)
 
I promised myself I would only continue an activity if it felt right. There is a difference between feeling "wrong" and feeling "afraid". When asked to take a solo in the blues cover band, I always felt "afraid", but I knew that that wasn't the same thing as feeling "wrong".
 
Once, I started on the path that resonated with my soul, I was handed opportunities. Calls from friends of friends asked me, "Would I like to play guitar for Hilary Duff on Good Morning America?" or "Would I be interested in playing guitar for Kate Nash, the British pop-star, in downtown L.A.?"

During the previous years, while I searched for my passion, no one called me for opportunities like this. I believe when you align your thoughts with the right passion for you and open up your chest to receive, the universe somehow knows you're ready.
 
Today, I am working on a song by Jimmy Hendrix called "Little Wing". My guitar teacher taught me how to play this song because he said it would "impress people". I know that this isn't really important in the long run, but I have to admit that sometimes it feels good to show off just a little. 
 
When I play the song, painstakingly pressing down with my left fingers with the lightest touch to make the notes sing, and strumming with my right hand smooth and easy, I think it must feel like that friend of mine who laid by the fire with her lover. My whole body is purring with this instrument leaning against me, because I've known what it feels like to be alone, to not have it, to be searching for it.

I'm never letting it go.

Honestly,
Meg