TALKING PICTURES (my blog)

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  • Leading Questions - Beth Fleenor

    Someone once told me I would never “make it” as an artist…this makes me laugh because all artists do is MAKE it…

    When I was 14 I heard Frank Zappa for the first time and knew I wanted to play clarinet in a rock band and be a professional musician – and that I wished to know what it was like to write music.

    The clarinet is my most tangible connection to possibility, fluidity & presence. It’s my friend, my partner, my mirror, and my darkest shadows – it whispers things from far in my depths, takes me out to explore new universes, and spanks my ass when I need to be brought back into the present moment.

    If I could do it all over again, I’d display my lack of knowledge in music and general ignorance in the world like giant peacock feathers, saying come teach me! (instead of years of beating myself up for things I didn’t know or do "right")

    Practice makes the process reveal itself.

    When I look at where I’m at right now, I cry in gratitude to be alive, surrounded by such greatness – such genius pouring out of every human – and then I get angry & frustrated, that we’re still stuck in some absurd hierarchy and haven’t recognized how valuable each person truly is.

    Some of my best ideas come to me walking, driving or in the shower – always in motion.

    My parents were babies who accidentally had a baby. They became an astronomer and a nurse. I became the sum greater than their parts, forged in the fire of great distances between the 3 of us.

    Fear is the flaming mirror of desire

    Motivation is to be cultivated

    As I get older, I’ve realized that there’s no destination, and yet you’ll keep looking for one, or think you’ve found it…

    In the big scheme of things, what really matters is shared experience, connection, recognition of resonance 

    I cried when…..when didn’t I cry….I’m a glorious waterfall… 

    Music has taught me that everyone has an individual voice, everyone needs to be heard, and that listening is an act of inclusion

    People ask me what language Crystal Beth is singing in, the answer is always Bethnic…that’s the only language I’m actually fluent in.

    Right now I’m interested in, celebrating & elevating connection in every form

    Discipline is foundation for total freedom

    I’m not interested in competitive or courtesy composing 

    Change is the dance 

    I chose the clarinet because it chose me 

    When I’m stuck my first inclination is to be still and quiet – this is always the opposite of what I need – to really move and make noise 

    Improvisation is what we’re all doing, simultaneously, all the time

    The thing that makes me nervous on stage is forgetting to thank/introduce someone by name- because my brain is all smooshy when I re-enter from the musical plane. 

    When I’m playing well, it feels like my lungs are 3000 feet wide and a flood of electricity is pouring through lighting up my whole body 

    If I could have made a career on another instrument, it would have been the DRUMS!!! 

    Your audience is out there, if you are willing to show yourself to be received

    I’m happy whenever I’m listening to my band. It’s true. Every time. The Boom Boom Band lights up my life, sooths my heart. Dream come true.

    Being a musician has meant really being willing to embrace myself, and the world, and acknowledge that all we have here is the experience of being alive.

    A view my greatest achievement to be survival

    The future of jazz is here to stay

    A sense of humor is important because, we are infinitely expanding consciousness, made of star goop, hooked into perception through an electrical meat suit whirling around in space on a little rock….and it’s confusing as hell to all of us, and yet we get so excited….

    The difference between playing and composing is perception of time

    The history of jazz is imminent