A memoir by Robin Russell Gaiser
Digital, Print and Audio available now!!!
The bowed psaltery creates a high, haunting sound. I was surprised that one of my Hospice patients requested I play it for him over a long afternoon session. Often the psaltery's timbre is too neurologically stimulating for very ill or anxious patients. It can be too much for well persons!
How did today's audio clip of my bowed psaltery affect you?
Master Prose class begins Aug. 29th.
I am dictating the handwritten first draft of Chapter Eleven, entitled "Helmer," of my book-in-progress into the iMac. I would like to have sixty pages of OPEN FOR LUNCH ready for the start of class since every four weeks I need twenty pages of fresh manuscript for oral and written critique by my classmates and professor.
I have come to love the critique process. Usually a full hour! So helpful!
Did you or your kids get these plastic recorders for school music class? I can recall hearing the entire assembly of children, including our kids, tooting away playing "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star" on their recorders. They were thrilled.
If you look carefully, you will see our youngest child's name written on the side of this instrument, which has been lying in one of my instrument collection drawers since he was in fifth grade, a mere 26 years ago. I played a little of Dvorak's "New World Symphony, Largo" on his recorder during this audio take.
Do your kids. grandkids, even you own one of these school recorders?
Maybe you have heard or seen one of these. My late Aunt Nan sent me this Door Harp when we moved into our last house in Northern Virginia. Notice she had Dogwood blossoms painted on it--the State Flower of Virginia. Since our new home is in North Carolina I was delighted to learn that NC shares that state flower with VA.
I tune this instrument to a chord using my regular goose neck tuner. Great way to welcome guests with music!
Do you own a Door Harp? If not, have you seen one?
Pardon the out-of-tune strings but this Harp Zither or Guitar Zither, as it was coined in Germany, is well over one hundred years old and I was very careful not to push tuning since these are original strings you are hearing me play.
Sears began making this instrument in 1902, calling it a Zither #2. My great-grandmother Nora Thayer Duncan ordered one from the Sears catalogue and played it for her family as an accompaniment for hymn singing, usually on Sunday evenings.
My Grandma Char, her youngest daughter, granted my wish to inherit this treasure, recalling her mother playing it.
On her hundredth birthday ....... I surprised her by playing several of those old hymns on the Zither. There weren't too many dry eyes after that special music.
Do you see the shape of another more common instrument in the Zither? Ideas?
Starting July 6th, I am bringing you recorded music along with a photo and a story every other week about some really interesting instruments I have in my collection. I use certain of them for therapeutic music and will explain why they are effective.
For starters, I'll begin with my family's 115 year old Zither #2, as it is labeled. However, that is really NOT its name according to research I uncovered. Learn more. And of course, listen, too.
If you believe that there is value in reaching out to strangers, what might your gift be for doing so?
Most tell me that I can do this because I'm me. Probably so.
But you're you........what can you do? A smile? Eye contact? Pay it forward? Listen? It only takes seconds to reach out.
• • •
What ideas do you have about engaging in this kind of behavior with a stranger?
I have come to see that my simple gesture of asking a stranger to eat lunch with me opens up opportunities for us both that we might never have had. In other words there is value in this practice.
• • •
What value do you see in asking a stranger to eat lunch with you?
The events that comprise the chapters in OPEN FOR LUNCH have occurred over fourteen years and continue to happen.
Here's the gist: when I'm by myself and out for lunch at a restaurant---fast food, sit down, take out---I have been asking other diners who are alone, to eat lunch with me.
You won't believe what happens!
• • •
Any idea what occurs during these lunches?
I had to re-order business cards so I had them redesigned. If you look closely you will see the title (so far) of my new book in-the-writing. Like 'Musical Morphine,' this one won't let me go.
• • •
Can you read the book title? Any thoughts?
I am beginning a spring/summer website slowdown to every other week starting today! Be watching for news, special announcements and a book teaser just the same. Check my events calendar for update of my whereabouts.
Writing can be solitary except when you are lucky enough to participate in a class. Once again I am back at the writing desk in a three-hour UNCA grad. class through Great Smokies Writing Program (see it on Facebook or the UNCA website)
With this go-round I am in an eight-person Prose Master Class with prof. Elizabeth Luytens, a master teacher and editor. Twenty pages of new manuscript are due every four weeks for oral and written critique.
• • •
Any guesses what I'm writing?
PS Join me tomorrow and Saturday at Asheville Wordfest
The music I gave him that day was the last sound he heard on this earth.
So how do I do it? I carry these patients, like Doug the lumberjack, in my heart, write stories about them and share the sorrow as well as the joy with you. The saying goes: sorrow shared, is sorrow divided; joy shared, is joy multiplied.
Share your stories!