Mundane Things

After taking a break, it is difficult to get started again.  It is the Sunday after Thanksgiving.  The relatives are gone.  I am reading randomly from The Collected Writings of Joe Brainard.  He writes a diary of mundane things, what he had for breakfast, the details of sunbathing and going out to eat by himself.  For reasons I can not explain, I like to read this, more than I like reading some beautifully rendered fiction.  He writes about smoking and drinking coffee.  I am drinking coffee and eating chocolate.

I am not sure why, but it is difficult to get back into the creative spirit after not being in the creative spirit even for a day, let alone four.  Yesterday, I forced myself to wake up very early because I didn't stay out late with A. and S. and should have because J. and C. came to the club and played music to weird videos and that sounded very fun.  But instead I went to bed at 9, so I made myself wake up early and sit on the couch in the dark writing what might be some lyrics.  Then I fell back asleep until the grandmas woke up.

Later, when I was feeling bad about not staying out the night before, I thought maybe those lyrics will turn into a great song and then it will be worth it.  But reading over the lyrics, I see they aren't that great.  But sometimes, there are great surprises.

A. said maybe different art forms are just different - that people don't accept playing around with musical instruments the way we accept playing around with paint and clay because they are different. My mom suggested that most people give up on their lessons because they realize that it takes a lot of hard work and dedication and that they don't have the time or desire to include that in their lives. And many people, I suppose, take a break and are never able to get started again because so often what we encounter is so mundane.


Take a Walk to the Fox River Grottos


Join us
Black Friday
at Peabody Park by the river
for a grotto walk
followed by
an evening journey to Italy
at The 602 Club

Happy Thanksgiving!


What Is The Lesson?

Why don't we enroll our young children in weekly private painting lessons, and require that they practice painting everyday, not painting whatever they like, but painting with the proper technique so that they can learn to perfectly replicate the works of the masters?

Why don't we encourage our children to play with musical instruments the way we encourage them to play with paint and chalk and clay?

Why are we so rigid in our approach to some art forms and so relaxed in our approach to others?

What is our purpose in offering these lessons to children?

Why is it that so many of us quit our lessons at some point in childhood and never pick up a brush or instrument again?


Old Shakuhachi Woman

tad neuhaus, bass
joanna dane, shakuhachi

The old shakuhachi woman 
didn't go out much 
except to walk to the store and back.  

She'd stop and look up and squint at the sky.  
Then she'd laugh and shake her head,
slap her leg and continue on.  

How to know what she was thinking, 
she so old 
and I so young.


A Novel Novel

The writer wrote a novel novel which no one believed was a novel, 
having been stuck with one kind of novel for so long 
as to have forgotten that a novel is, by definition 

new and not resembling something formerly known or used.  


How Will You Contribute to the City Park New Arts Celebration?

sunrise to sunset
one day in may
city park
appleton, wisconsin

chalk art?
ephemeral sculpture?
monkey chanting?
deep listening walks?
improvisational soundscapes?
movement compositions?
tree stories?
percussion parade?

share your ideas
saturday, 11/15
@ The 602 Club
602 N. Lawe


Thoughts on the Delights of Suffering to Banjo Music

You know what I just wrote down here, honey, I wrote,

I've had to suffer through a lot of people suffering through my banjo playing.

Haha!  I. . . But I don't think you've had to suffer.  You. . .  I think it should be, I have delighted in the suffering that others have had whilst I play banjo.

I have delight, yeah, maybe you're right.

Yes that should be it!  I'm delighted by those who suffer from my banjo music. . .  The suffering.




Revelations That Shouldn't Be Revelations But Merely Obvious Facts

It comes to me in the middle of the night, that I have been saying "orchestra" when I should have been saying "ensemble."  This should have been clear to me long ago, since people often asked, after I incorrectly described our group as an orchestra, if I played strings.  This confused me since I had already told them it was a percussion group, but I was patient with them and replied, "Oh, there are no strings."

I was so confident in my mistake (not yet realizing it was a mistake) that they became confused, perhaps some even doubting if they themselves properly understand the word orchestra, maybe being a more general term for a group of musicians, like ensemble?  More likely, some of the people I was talking to about the "percussion orchestra" were highly trained musicians, orchestra members themselves, and knew very well that I was mistaken in calling the group an orchestra, but politely let it slide.

There is no good reason why I was misusing the word orchestra being a word I've known all my life, my parents having raised me listening to classical music performed by orchestras.

Once, when I was teaching adult immigrants English, I said that a photo of the Capital in Washington D.C. was the White House.  An intelligent Russian man questioned me, but I insisted it was the White House.  Everyone was very surprised at how big it was, all for one family!  Yes, I agreed, sadly that's how it is here in the United States.  Years later, in the middle of the night, I realized my mistake.

There is no good reason why I mistook the Capital for the White House. I had been to Washington. I had seen both buildings with my own eyes. I had been surprised by how small the White House is.


It's Crockpot Season!

  Daddy's Best Crockpot Recipes


Ribs and Brats

1.  Plug in crockpot.
2.  Turn on high.
3.  Take brats out of package.
4.  Put brats in crockpot.
5.  Take ribs out of package.
6.  Put ribs in crockpot.
7.  Put lid on crockpot.
8.  Open a beer and watch TV until done.

tad neuhaus, guitar and toy piano
joanna dane, vocals
dedicated to Johnnie B.


No Fingers Joe

No one knows how No Fingers Joe lost his digits 
because each time we ask him, 
he tells a different story.

detail from Cora L. Schroeder's "Transitions" at the music conservatory, Lawrence University


Letter to a Small Literary Magazine Calling for Submissions to a Micro-Fiction Contest

Dear Editors,

I see in your guidelines that you do not accept submissions of material previously published on-line including blogs of any kind.  While I understand why you would require this, wanting your magazine to present new material for the reading public, I believe there may be a few things you didn't consider when crafting your guidelines.

I (and certainly if I am doing this, many others are too) use the blog format as a way to organize work that is more or less finished (revisions of course are always necessary).  Before the blog, I wrote a lot and finished little, knowing that most of what I was writing did not fall into easy categories and was therefore "un-submittable".  And because there was no easy genre to assign the writing to, I found it very difficult to be organized with my writing, though I tried many things, file folders, binders, stacks, boxes, etc.  Inevitably, work would get buried, lost, forgotten.

Now, to make new work and not put it on the blog, particularly "micro-fiction"which is well suited for the blog format, becomes very difficult since I have no good way to keep track of work I don't post to my blog and because if I didn't publish the work on my blog, hoping to get it published in literary magazines, than I would never have any work to put on the blog since as we know the submission process is long, taking months to hear back about a particular piece and more likely, years of submitting until a piece gets picked up and then I would be back to where I was before the blog but with more complications being I would have to try to figure which pieces to put on the blog and which not to and how to keep track of all that.  So, posting finished pieces to my blog makes it much easier for me and leaves me more time and energy to make new work which is why we all get into the game in the first place.

In my case (and certainly, if it is true for me, it is true for many others as well) the 25 to 125 blog hits I get a day, when excluding myself, spy-bots, relatives, and a few close friends, leaves anywhere from 0 to 20 others who might visit my blog on any given day and of those, how many actually take the time to read it?  Plus, the work I would like to submit to your contest is buried so deep in the archive that even if anyone did read it, they have long forgotten.  So, you need not worry that publishing work from my blog in your literary magazine would compromise the freshness of your content.

True there are many things about your current guidelines that have not occurred to me to consider.  But these are merely the things about your current guidelines that have occurred to me that I hope you might consider.