14 October 2010

Throw It Away

I worked hard today. It feels good.

I read (and am re-reading) "The War of Art" (Steven Pressfield/Grand Central Publishing) and the book's teaching has grabbed me
shook me
slapped my face and kicked my ass.

And then embraced me, in that way that only deep, organic truth can.

In the language of the other compelling transformative agent currently driving me (and enlivening me), Landmark Education, I AM "touched, moved and inspired" by Steven Pressfield's writing AND by the message he brings.


today I showed up for myself. Got busy. Paid attention to my work, i.e., read all email and responded to most of it (including acceptance of a performance invitation for this Sunday); posted two Events on FaceBook; and did an hour of Internet research following up on suggestions received about the Petaluma Situation.

The Petaluma Situation bears capitalization on the basis of how thoroughly my day was devoted to it.

I did a playshop presentation at the Petaluma Unitarian Universalist Fellowship at the end of August. It was a lot of fun for everybody--but no one had more fun than I did. Not many weeks afterward, I was asked if I was available to facilitate a longer version playshop and my fee.

Of course I'm available. But what is my fee? I spent a few days in consultation with friends, drafted a proposal and sent it off. Over the next few days a few other friends weighed in on the topic recommending fees that far outstripped what I'd finally decided on. I felt a twinge of "damn! I undercut myself again!" but I got over it. They agreed to my conditions without modification.

A month has passed and yesterday I received an email from a church member. She was in attendance the Sunday I presented the 20-minute playshop. At the opening and offertory of that service I sang from my Rumi Songbook (working title for a developing catalog, about five songs currently, of Rumi and Hafiz poetry set to music). The woman wrote asking for song sheets of "my" songs for the choir; they are hoping to sing the songs during an upcoming service on poetry.

I don't have song sheets. Or, at least, I didn't have song sheets yesterday. I spent four hours today transcribing a song. I wouldn't have believed I could do it. But I did.

Still, the money part of the thing dangled. Do I charge for this? How much?

My friends' opinions ran the gamut. I was glad I asked them; having a variety of input enriched the decision-making process.

Someone mentioned I would need permission from the author/translator. I'm using Coleman Barks' The Essential Rumi (Castle Books). I looked for him on Facebook, hoping to drop him a line of inquiry. I couldn't find a portal. So I Googled him and landed at a website for Maypop where Barks says:

Please feel welcome to share with me your
comments, questions, and requests.

But be warned. I will probably NOT reply to your email, letter, or phone message, or acknowledge receiving it. This is not from a lack of interest or warmth, but out of necessity. I find that I cannot do my writing work if I try to respond to every message. It is the too-many-things-going-on-at-once situation of a Middle School Band Concert Day. By my next birthday (April 23, 2007) I will have used up the Biblical allotment (70 years). Rumi's complete Masnavi (six books, sixty-four thousand lines of poetry) looms over me as the work I need to be doing, rather than chatting the day away on email.
But I left him a note anyway.

Within the hour, I received an email from him granting his permission to use the translation without charge. We exchanged four or five more short amiable messages. As if email correspondence with Coleman Barks' was not excitement and gift enough for one day, the last email of the exchange resonated at the same timbre as The War of Art and set me to the current blog post. He wrote:
So you have to give them away too. It's insidious.

His words reminded me of Abbey Lincoln's song. I found it online...and cried as I listened.


  1. You just all about bizness! Love that the book contributed. Very cool, chatting with your new friend, Coleman. He's deeeeeep like a river! Thanks for hipping me to Ms Abbey. Gorgeous.

  2. soooo glad to know that you're tcb-ing and that your outreach to coleman barks was so immediately successful. good sign! know the song by ms. abbey, started singing it back in my novice cabaret days decades ago w/a piano/bass combo, have since sung the song more recently arranged for voice/kalimba (a-minor) and it is always well-heard and well-responded to. often remind myself of its message. thanks for the utube link. how marvelous that our light beacons are being kept brightly shiningly alive in that way!

  3. oh. whether or not you "throw it away" (give away your song sheet, that is), NOT BEFORE COPYRIGHTING IT!


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