Sunday, September 23, 2012

"When August Becomes a Whisper" ~ It's a poem, no wait, it's also a song!

 Lake Mohawk, NJ

My poem "When August Becomes a Whisper" was first published in August 2012, on the Your Daily Poem site.  I am happy to announce that this poem is now a song too, composed and arranged by the Virginia-based band, SIGNALS.  Songwriters Greg Wilson and Dan Gutwein worked tirelessly to create a musical arrangement and recorded a track with vocals.  

This exclusive song can be heard in full at the ReverbNation site:

Click HERE to listen to: "When August Becomes a Whisper"

Signals is also on Facebook!  Visit the SIGNALS1234 fb page and "like" them to follow their latest news, album launch announcements and upcoming shows.

I wrote this poem in response to a writing prompt at a FREE WRITE session hosted by poet, Anjie Kokan, at the Delafield Arts Center (Delafield, WI).  It was an unexpected gem that day, and I am grateful that YDP chose to publish it.  The poem is inspired by the small, lake community where I grew up, Lake Mohawk (Sparta), New Jersey.  I spent 4 summers as a lifeguard on the beaches of Lake Mohawk and many summers just as a young kid lying on the beach and swimming.  I don't think I realized at the time just how lucky I was to live in such a beautiful oasis.  Lake Mohawk was small and quiet.  You saw the same people over and over again at the post office, the A&P and Danny's Pizza.  Sparta is about an hour and fifteen minutes away from Manhattan, where I spent many Saturdays taking dance lessons at Broadway Dance Center and Madame Darvash's.  I also spent these Saturdays studying classical voice at the Metropolitan Opera House.  My mother can account for hours spent in the car taking me to these lessons.  (Thanks, Mom!)  As I take my own sons to soccer games now, some over an hour away on the week-ends, I realize the sacrifices my parents made for my education, growth and artistic passions.

 Lake Mohawk, NJ

If it weren't for those summers on the beach soaking up sun, glossed up with coconut oil, and if it weren't for those Saturdays being blessed with the best dance and voice teachers in the country, I might not have had the inspiration or the skills of creative expression to write this poem.  It takes interpretation, passion and reflection to move your body the way a choreographer envisions the dance.  It also takes an artistic mind to sing an aria the way the character in that opera would have portrayed it.  It takes more than English lit. courses and creative writing workshops to write a good poem.  You also have to live.  I feel like I've lived 3 lives so far, at age 41.  I look forward to another 6.  Will that make 9 nine lives?  Good.  I have time then to finish some of my artistic chapters and start some new ones too.  Perhaps, more of my poems are meant to become songs?  I hope so.  This was fun and enriching. 

Below is a copy of the original poem:

When August Becomes a Whisper

Feeling her underwater mermaid hair
brush past her shoulders,
she finds the coldest current
and delves deeper into the darkest green waters.

Water skiers skim the vast width of Lake Mohawk,
taking with them flipbook scenes
of gingerbread houses
and beach bathers glowing with coconut oil.

She always preferred the sleepy calm
of Upper Lake Beach –
the circular stone sculpture
that served as a water fountain,
the lone raft she could swim to
and rest on for hours,
examining every flake of white paint
and weather worn groove
from summers of divers.

When the blue-black nights come earlier and earlier,
she savors the mossy green scent of her towel,
the feel of stray grains of butter yellow sand
that cling to leather sandals,
and the sound that August makes
when it becomes a whisper.

Cristina M. R. Norcross
Copyright 2012
(Published on the Your Daily Poem site on August 27, 2012)

Here is the LINK to my poem on Your Daily Poem.

Check back soon!  I plan on publishing a special interview with the musicians of SIGNALS, that you won't want to miss.  How does a song begin?  Where do songwriters find their inspiration?  What was the creative process for writing "When August Becomes a Whisper?" - I'll find out and share all of the details with you!

Peace & poetry

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

It's Not a Race

It’s not a race.

High school, college, grad school, marriage, kids, career, achievement, happiness … none of it has an expiration date; and yet, we are all rushing through our lives as if there is a deadline.  Well, there is the ultimate deadline ~ death, but I still don’t think we need to rush.  Where is my delete button?  Maybe I need to start again.  The days are as long as they are wide.  We need to savor every moment before the fading of sun each day.

The only true battle we have in life is with ourselves.

No one else is keeping track of our perceived failures and successes.  We all have a need to do well though.  It starts in kindergarten with gold stars and having our mothers say, “good job!”  Who doesn’t like positive reinforcement?  We all appreciate recognition for a job well done.   Enjoying the process and the path is key though.  How can we truly enjoy winning 1st place,  getting the job promotion, signing the publishing contract, finishing the 5K race, without enjoying the road we took to get there?

You aren’t really flying unless you are free.  You won’t be truly free until you give yourself permission.

This statement says it all.  Feeling complete, feeling successful, feeling at peace ~ all of these things are up to you.  YOU have the ultimate power to experience true happiness and self-acceptance.  Give yourself permission to be happy.

Now breathe and start your day knowing that you are loved … 

You Are Loved

You are exquisitely made.
With a splash of deep purple at the edges,
and a vibrant center –
you shine.

Like the many layered hues
of a rhododendron
with blushing petals,
you have innate gifts –
both seen and unseen.

The wind whistles a melody,
encouraging the dance of galaxies.
In unison, all of nature
follows the same, beautifully orchestrated score,
and we float forward together.

In another time
you see the outline of this day
in all of its divinity.
You smile a perfect smile,
knowing that –
you are loved.

Cristina M. R. Norcross
Copyright 2008

And you are free ...