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I drove from Tennessee to Philadelphia for PhilCon and my GPS, not being particularly bright, routed me through Baltimore. This song began pounding in my brain as I negotiated the ring road around Baltimore so I could get up to Philadelphia. I am proud to report, that though the outcome seemed in doubt more than once, no drivers, and no cars, were injured in the making of this song.

As is standard nowadays, this song is also available at my website under the name The Driver's Lament.

The Driver's Lament
lyrics and melody by Cat Faber 2012
mp3 here, and pdf sheet music here

   Am         C       G        Am
   Everybody here is scary but me
    Am               C           Dm      Am
   Look at how they drive; it's easy to see
         Am              Dm
   It's bad when people notice you
      Am                            G     Am
   I guess I better drive like I'm scary too.

 Am               C        G         Am
Several thousand pounds of iron and steel,
 Am              C         Dm           Am
Starting with a roar, cut short with a squeal.
 Am                      Dm
Creeping up my tailpipe while it rains;
 Am                         G       E
Swerving in a blink across several--oh that's scary!


I only wish I dared to cover my eyes
I know that in the long run everyone dies
But really there's no hurry there
Easy on the moments that make me--oh that's scary

I left the windows down on an autumn day
And suddenly could hear what the drivers say
As we dodged a reckless truck 
I heard another driver say mother--oh that's scary!



Alice Day!

Nov. 19th, 2012 02:23 pm
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Alice Day returns again; this time it's the song I wrote for the OVFF song contest with the theme "Come Fly With Me." I thought this would be the perfect occasion to write a song about an airship / dirigible, so I did.

Come Flying With Me
lyrics and melody by Cat Faber 2012
mp3 here and pdf sheet music
      C           G               F        C
Come fly with me dear--there's a sky hereabout
      F            C                        G
And I do have the kinks pretty much ironed out
         F              C                         G
And the world looks so lovely, from high on this perch
            F            C                F            G
But you'll want to hold tight, 'cause it does tend to lurch
     Am           G             Dm            G
She does tend to bounce a bit; sometimes she swerves--
      F         C                              G
It's perfectly safe, though--it's nothing but nerves.
        F             C                    F
She'll soon hold her course on a calmer accord;
       F         C        G           C
She's just so excited to have you on board.

            C         Dm          C           F       C G
   There's more to become than I knew I could be
          C            F             C           G
   And I still need a partner--come flying with me
      C            F             G          C
   I still need a partner--come flying with me!

Come fly with me dear--there's a world to explore
A thousand horizons, and always one more
An airship is perfect the world to bestride
And seek out the knowledge the distances hide
There are people and creatures we've yet to behold
Our own distant kin from the journeys of old
Cities unseen where the distant land bends
Maybe this time we can meet them as friends.

Come fly with me dear--there's a land to defend
With a foe fully equal or more to contend
Now an airship is fragile, what's light can't be strong
Her lift, and her engines--so much can go wrong.
Her crew's just as fragile it's easy to see
But I won't let my baby face war without me.
Those instant decisions, in battle hard-pressed,
Should be made by the person who knows her the best
 
Come fly with me dear--there are stars past it all
And tomorrow you leave us to answer their call.
Your parents will miss you, you know it is true
But your triumph is all we have wanted for you,
And though we are failing and too old to go,
You'll carry our engrams, will all that we know.
The technology's chancy, so check it each night--
If it gives you our love, then it's still working right! 


New Song

Nov. 1st, 2012 05:19 pm
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This is a new atheist song. It was inspired by a discussion I saw on an atheist website about the "Rainbow Bridge" poem someone's vet sent when their pet died: the gist of it being that the pet was waiting for its owner by the rainbow bridge to heaven, and that when the pet owner died the two would be joyfully reunited. The person posting about it hadn't found it comforting and wrote about "Oblivion Bridge' where your pet's atoms mix with the atoms of everything else and are re-used for new life.

And me being me, I picked this "Oblivion Bridge" image up and used it for "why death isn't any scarier for me than anyone else."  And me having been musically influenced by Peter Alway recently, I lost control of the chorus and it did something musically weird that I don't understand, but that seems to work anyway.

Oblivion Bridge
lyrics and melody by Cat Faber 2012
mp3 here
    D         C             C           D
On Oblivion Bridge all our grudges and fears
        D          C              Em         D
All our anger and grief, all our pain, disappears
        G           D           D         C
But in tax for the crossing, it also destroys
     C              D             Am            D    Am D Am D
Our prides and our triumphs, our loves and our joys.

       D        G                G              D  D4 D
   On Oblivion Bridge, where no shame ventures near,
       F           C            C            G    G6  G
   No guilt, no resentment, no hate, and no fear, --
         C            F            Bb          G   G4 G
   I'll rest from my labors, I'll lay down my load --
         C      G             F           C   F C G G
   On Oblivion Bridge, at the end of the road.

It's as if we were born in the mountains so still
But gravity pulls us forever downhill.
Our lives, like the rain, must run down from the ridge,
Walking the road to Oblivion Bridge.

Some have turned back on the edge of release,
Waking with stories of union and peace
On Oblivion Bridge where the mind cannot bring
Its sense of itself as a separate thing.

Distant, a credible future I see,
When my death, like my bed, is a kindness to me
When I long for the rest that's as selfless and deep
As I know in the best dreamless hours of sleep.

Rejoicing in life, though I know I must die
My limited hours more precious thereby;
As I walk to the bridge, the secret I'll tell
Work hard and play kindly; love deeply and well!

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Once again it is Alice Day, the day when I put up lyrics, chords, and an mp3 for a new song. Alice Day is named for my friend Alice who originally asked me to put up some music, reminding me that there are people out there who are interested, and inspiring the current going-on-two-year burst of creativity.

This current song was inspired by the League of Women Voters and a little reading I did on the Women's Suffrage movement that sacrificed so much to get women the right to vote.  Like all my Alice Day songs, it is available from my hwaet.org songbook page

Seneca Falls
lyrics and melody by Cat Faber 2012
mp3 here

       D        A7         D         G
Five women sat talking at afternoon tea.
     D                    A
One spark a great fire ignites.
        D        A7        D          G
They decided to hold a convention, to be
    D          A          D
On women's condition and rights.
    G                            D        A
It must have seemed practically crazy to try
    D                                        A
So different their lives, in that distant July,
       D             A7          D       G
Yet a world greatly bettered in honor recalls
     D                     A      D
The Women's Convention in Seneca Falls.

They borrowed a Methodist chapel, but were
Locked out by mistake on that day.
Beth's nephew crawled in through the window for her,
And let them all in the back way.
As liberty locked from debate will despatch
A friend through the window to lift up the latch.
Now a world greatly bettered in honor recalls
The Women's Convention in Seneca Falls.

They laid out a bold declaration of rights,
And sentiments any must note,
Their measures to set the injustice to rights
Proposed giving women the vote.
One hundred people signed on to it then,
Sixty-eight women and thirty-two men.
And a world greatly bettered in honor recalls
The Women's Convention in Seneca Falls.

A fire too many times smothered, this theme
As many times leapt up anew.
But of all the people who signed for the dream,
Just one lived to see it come true.
But sometimes it happens the works we begin
Take more than one lifetime to finally win
A world greatly bettered in honor recalls
The Women's Convention in Seneca Falls




Alice Day

Sep. 26th, 2012 01:51 pm
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So regular readers may recall that I claimed for my fairyland name a phrase of music, which won an ARC of The Girl Who Fell Beneath Fairyland And Led The Revels There, which is Cat Valente's new book, coming out October 2nd, a sequel to "The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland In A Ship Of Her Own Making."

And in the process the phrase of music became a song called "Her Name" and I wrote a song about my favorite character in the first book, called "The Wyverary."

And now I have written a song called "The Girl Who Led The Revels."

I tried hard not to be spoilery (any more spoilery than the blurb on the back of the ARC and the advance publicity, anyway.) But just in case I have hidden it behind an LJ-cut.


Alice Day

Sep. 21st, 2012 02:53 pm
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So last week I won a copy of Cat Valente's second fairyland book.

To prepare, I bought a copy of the first one, which is called _The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland In A Ship Of Her Own Making_. I had heard this one spoken of highly but hadn't gotten to it yet, and sometimes sequels are hard to understand when you haven't read the first book.

And, well, the characters in the first book are pretty cool. Actually I think "compelling" would not be excessive as a description. But one in particular stuck in my mind. So this is for my Very Favorite Character in that book.

The Wyverary
lyrics and melody by Cat Faber 2012
mp3 and pdf sheet music

    Dm                         Gm 
My mother was a wyvern and my father was a library 
    Dm                             Am
And in his halls and carrels I discovered home indeed
    Dm                                Gm 
My wings were not my own to use, but father said a scholar 
         Dm                             A7               Dm
Finds a truer freedom elsewhere and he taught me how to read.
    Dm                               Gm
My father said a dilettante knows a just bit of everything 
     Dm                                  Am
But some folks choose to specialize; do one thing very well;
     Dm                     Gm
The whole encyclopedia was more than I could manage 
      Dm                           A7               Dm
So I memorized a section and they call me A Through L.

   Dm                 Bb
   I am a wyverary, crimson-scaled and big and scary
    Dm              F                 C                  Am A
   Where I flex my talons, there the sod will split and curl
   Dm               Bb
   I am a wyverary, I'm completely ordinary
    Dm                F          C     F      Dm
   You are quite extraordinary, little human girl

My mother being widowed by a false marauding realtor,
My sibs and I decided we must go our separate ways.
M through S a governess and T through Z a soldier 
But in me the love of knowledge is an unrelenting blaze.
Books have been the treasure I was hatched to hold and cherish
I love to read their pages, see them ranked upon the shelf.
In the city Pandemonium, my grandfather is waiting
The Municipal Great Library of Fairyland Itself.

I hope he will accept me and will love me as a grandson
And will teach me to become a real librarian some day;
Since you and I must journey to a common destination,
I suggest we band together for protection on the way.
I've never seen a human; I supposed you would be bigger
But human starts with H so I have read about you.  We've
Been frightened by the stories of your wild ungoverned hearts,
But one must be a little frightening to be splendid, I believe.

New Song

Sep. 14th, 2012 04:33 pm
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I woke up with my fairyland name earworming me, alternating with another melody that I lost in the process of staggering out of bed. However by 9 am the fairyland name was turning into a song, which I have posted here. Note there is an mp3 linked at the top.

Alice Day

Sep. 11th, 2012 04:54 pm
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I wrote this one while I was working so hard on the album I wasn't getting anything posted. So I'm still playing catch-up in that regard, though I think I'm just about done. (Though I also have a couple of songs I wrote over the last two weeks, but they still need work, so...)

This is my other steampunk song.

Hydrogen Burns
lyrics and melody by Cat Faber 2012
mp3 here

     Am                     Dm
Put out that cigar! What a fool thing to do!
          Am                        E
That's a hell of a note your first day on the crew...
Am                       G        F
Every man Jack and girl Jennifer learns
Am           F               C        Am
Airship! No smoking! 'Cause hydrogen burns!

    Am                         Dm
   Hydrogen burns; that's the cause for the codes
           Am        F            Am         G
   And in proper proportion with air, it explodes.
        Am                          Dm
   You won't get two warnings; let this one sink in,
       Am                           G            Am
   Be thankful you leave with your guts in your skin!

Your uniform's not what you'd wear on the ground
You'll notice the buckles in leather are bound;
The buttons are wooden. It's not for a lark,
But all to make certain you don't strike a spark.

I know what you're thinking—each town has a few:
The rules that bind others don't matter for you.
Now I'm sympathetic.  No really, I am,
But your mates and the hydrogen don't give a damn.*

Some fly and some smoke, though it's bad for the heart,
But those who do both damn well keep them apart.
Crew members might—and I'll see that they do--
Take carelessness personal, coming from you.
For those who are interested, I included this song in the June library concert, (for children) but replaced the last two lines in this verse with "Now I'm sympathetic.  No, really.  I swear / But your mates and the hydrogen just do not care."

This song can also be found at my music website www.hwaet.org/
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So Ashes of Honor by author, filker, and podcaster (and winner of a Hugo Award!) Seanan McGuire just came out.

And I had to have it Right Away. And it has Tybalt in it. I've always had this not-so-sneaking fondness for Tybalt, what can I say?
The King of the Cats
lyrics and melody by Cat Faber 2012
a capella mp3 here

     Dm               Gm* Dm
The King of the Cats has many abodes
 Dm        Gm        C      A
Scattered along the Shadow Roads,
    Dm        C         Dm      A
The entrance shows and then it scats,
   Dm      F       A           Dm
It answers to the King of the Cats.

The King of the Cats is mighty free
Keeping the strangest company.
They're all decked out in spikes and tats;
They answer to the King of the Cats.

The King of the Cats the shadow veils
And even my own cats carry tales.
They aren't much as diplomats;
They answer to the King of the Cats.

The King of the Cats with Trouble sports
His people comprise the Shadow Courts
Like ninja pirate acrobats
They answer to the King of the Cats.

The King of the Cats won't go away
Fool that I am to feed a stray
He smiles at me; my heart pitter-pats
It answers to the King of the Cats.

* this Gm is only one beat; if you can't get on and off it that fast, stick with the Dm.
For those who are interested, there are four songs inspired by Seanan's work (Oak and Ash, Art Feeds Life, Mayday and One Salt Sea) all dressed up and stepping out on my new CD "The King's Lute" available at Bandcamp.
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I wrote this one in honor of Labor Day. This is also on my website, in the Songbook section.

Thank The Unions
lyrics and melody by Cat Faber 2012
mp3 here
        D                            G 
   I'd like to thank the Unions for giving us the weekend
          A                              D
   'Cause I don't know how you feel, but I'm enjoying mine!
      D                             G
   Remember that you have them, as long as you can keep them
      A                 A7             G        A       D
   I hate to break the news, but corporations aren't benign.

     D                            G
I'd like to thank the unions for safety regulations,
   G              D          D              A
It used to be so common, to maim a working slob.
     D                               G
Now children keep their fingers and worker's compensation
 G                 D             A7              D
Pays to treat the people who are injured on the job.

     D                            G
I'd like to thank the unions for forty hour workweeks
     G                D           D                 A
I'd like to thank the unions for breaks to eat and pee.
   D                          G
I know a little history, and you should know it also:
G                  D                 A7               D
People fought and died to get these simple things for me.

     D                            G
I'd like to thank the unions for sick days and vacation
   G              D       D              A
We use to just recover or even rest and play
       D                           G
There was a time when unions were mighty in the nation
     G                  D        A7        D
And that's why we're enjoying a holiday today.

    D                           G   
If you enjoy your weekend, and work for decent wages
      G                D            D                    A
Stand up and thank the unions that got these things for you
    D                              G 
And if you have a job that doesn't offer you these features
    G                  D           A7          D
Perhaps you should be looking into unionizing too!

Political

Sep. 1st, 2012 04:28 pm
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Some people have had their fill of political observations and I can't say I blame them.  Hence the cut tag and the spacer.
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This is also in my online songbook. I don't have sheet music available there yet since I just wrote this this morning. But I should have it up in a day or two.


Neil Armstrong
lyrics and melody by Cat Faber 2012
mp3 here  

     Dm             Bb          C         Dm
Neil Armstrong, professor, and flight engineer,
    Dm          F          Am      
And astronaut, daring the void
     Dm       C           F           C
But pilot in bold on the list must appear
         Dm          C         Dm
For the air was the home he enjoyed
   Bb                     F          C 
A child in the clan of a government man
         Dm            C           F   Am
Took to flight like a bird to the air
          F               Gm         F          C 
He could fly through the chaff on a wing and a half
    Dm       C         Dm
Without any need of a prayer.

           Gm                    Dm
   On the scale of the sky even species must die
           Gm                   Dm
   For mortality's all that is sure.
        Gm                        F 
   Generations have gazed up the path that he blazed
              Bb                     Dm
   Where his footprints beyond us endure.

Stark in the path of descent they were seen;
The boulders lay jagged and cruel.
He landed on manual, all systems green
With forty five seconds spare fuel.
In a trip that compiles a half-million miles
Humanity's colors were shown,
In a time when the whole NASA mission control
Sported less CPU than your phone.

What it is to set foot on a world not our own
And look out at our planet below
There are only a handful of people who've known
Will the last living memories go?
So wink at the moon, in the hope someday soon
We'll return to the trail of the bold;
And we'll travel unfazed on the path that he blazed
And leave new footprints next to the old!

The folk who fly out where the meteors go
As Neil would be first to remind
Us, are raised on the shoulders of thousands below
And their manifold efforts entwined.
But whatever may last of the bones of the past,
Humanity's children can say
In the dust that is strewn lies our mark on the moon
When the oceans have boiled away


Alice Day!

Aug. 23rd, 2012 03:35 pm
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It is Alice Day again. These are coming faster than usual because I built up a backlog while I was working on the album and didn't have time to put things up.

Normal
lyrics and melody by Cat Faber 2012
mp3 here

        Dm                C                     Dm   F Am
If you think men own the planet, buddy, think again;
 Dm                         C               Dm   F Am
This is your reminder that women outnumber men.
     Dm               C             F       Am
The nation's face is female, it is quickly seen
    Dm            Gm           Bb        Am
We may not be the average—but we're the mean!  
 Dm              Gm              Bb       Am
Pointing out the obvious should cause no wrath;
     Dm           C           Am    Dm     F Am
It's only simple honesty and basic math!

People write and talk as if most of us were male
But more of us are women- yo! Observation fail!
Wake up and smell the coffee, just a fool ignores
A majority who's tired of the thankless chores.
We don't need to explain or to apologize;
Humanity beholds the world through women's eyes!

Women are mainstream; women are where it's at.
And lots of us are special too, but not because of that.
If you plan to walk in public, then you've got no choice
You might as well get used to a soprano voice.
We haven't any call to hide behind the scenes
We're the new normal; that's what normal means!

We're over half the population and so it seems to me,
It's a strange imagination makes us a minority.
We'll just be taking over, in the normal biz;
We're not a special interest; we're the way it is!
If people holding power want to scream and shout,
I say we knock them over and we toss them out! 
This song was inspired by some of the things that came up during the Readercon mess and also some of the reactions to and of women becoming more visible in the atheist and skeptic movements.

This song is also available at my website songbook.

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Okay, two things.

First, I have a new web site up at www.hwaet.org. It's my music site! Here you can click on "Songbook" in the header and find all the songs I've put up for Alice Day--thirty-four songs to date! You can look things up alphabetically by title, or find the latest few that you missed--or the earliest ones that you didn't know about. I have lyrics with chords, mp3s, and in many cases sheet music. The I Promised Eli mp3s are also all available in one place, if you missed out on that CD. And of course it links to my Bandcamp site, where my latest CD is available in physical form or as downloads.

And, since I have rather a backlog of new songs I didn't post while working to finish the album, I have a current Alice Day post as well:

Alice Day
lyrics and melody by Cat Faber 2012
mp3 here
 Em                    D
From its cocoon a new song is cajoled
     G        C             G          D
The listener warms it, its wings to unfold
   Em                      D
Beginning bedraggled, yet flourish it may
     G          D       B      Em
The sky is the limit on Alice Day.


Come, but remember that music so new
May still have a fair bit of growing to do,
The lyrics may change or the tune go astray,
That's just how it happens on Alice Day.

Lyrics as fresh as a lyric can be
You're first in the hearing, well, first after me.
Sometimes the music I barely can play
You won't get perfection on Alice Day.

Here's where the music is squirreled away
Wildflowers grow in a ragged bouquet
Wonder emerges from fingers of clay
Into the morning of Alice Day.



Alice Day!

Aug. 16th, 2012 03:23 pm
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I'm declaring it Alice Day today. Because really, this song has waited long enough; I was too busy with getting the album ready and getting ready for ConFluence and then relaxing, but Now Is The Time. Also there will be more songs coming.

Drying Line

lyrics and melody by Catherine Faber 2012
mp3 here
     D                                       G
The flowers are blooming and the weather is fine;
     D                                A
I'm hanging my laundry on the drying line.
    D                              G
It gets me out before the day has run,
    D                          A       D
To spend a few minutes in the morning sun.

      G
   I don't have to pay the power company
        D                                      A
   For something the sun would like to do for free
              D     A              D    G
   There's a robin singing like a clarinet.
           D                G              A       D
   If the wind would do my washing I'd be totally set.

I hear a solar oven isn't hard to do;
The sun can bake potatoes and can simmer stew.
I went and googled for a good design;
I'm just getting started with my drying line.

There are solar heaters now you can install
That will heat your water as I do recall;
It cuts your power bill and there's no doubt,
It will still be working when the power goes out!

Maybe someday if it's in the cards,
I'll have solar panels, and the whole nine yards--
But while I'm saving till I have enough,
I'll just get started with the easy stuff. 




Alice Day

May. 8th, 2012 05:42 am
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We're also overdue for an Alice Day post, I think.  I've had this one on the back burner for a while, which makes it easy to put up.  The Seneca Falls song is coming but I'll have to record it, and I don't know that I'll have time to do that this week.

I Am Like You
lyrics and melody by Catherine Faber 2012
a capella mp3 here

         D                     A
We are alike, in strength and need;
     G                 D                  G               A
The tears we shed are salt; if something cuts us we both bleed.
               D                 A
Our lives are dear, and all too brief,
    G                  D             D         A      G
We both reach out for happiness; we both must suffer grief.

 A            D                A
   I am like you, you are like me
              G              D                           A
   With our spirits held in common, in our shared humanity.
                  D                A
   We can choose love, instead of strife,
        G               D              G    A        G
   And work to bring together what we value in this life;
A             D
   I am like you.

We can give pain; we can give mirth
We can give comfort, love and knowledge, as a measure of our worth.
We live our lives, and take our shot:
Let's make this life the best we can, in case it's all we've got.


The world is wide, the sky is old--
Fairness, freedom, care, these fragile values I will hold
Our mayfly lives can heal or kill;
Our choices here define us as a force for good or ill.


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But it's a three-fer, which is new.

First, I promised a melody for Salt From A Dead Woman's Table by ysabetwordsmith. 

Since she wrote the words I will just refer you to the link above.  The a capella mp3 for Salt is here.

At the time I wrote it I had the first half of the poem and tweaked it fairly severely to bring it in at a length I thought my (science fiction convention) audience would tolerate.  I have plans to try to condense the whole thing to perhaps twice as long as the current version, but I had a science fiction con last weekend and bookended this weekend with recording sessions and had maker fever really bad in the week between so I'm behind.

Next, I finished up a new song on the way to the con.

A Child of Enlightenment
lyrics by Cat Faber 2012
a capella mp3 here

The treasure alike of the bold, and the risk-averse
Science tells wonders, exceeded by none.
I love the vastness of time, and the universe;
Fantasy's lovely; I play it for fun.

   Humanity's spirit our times have seen heighten
   Meant fairness, compassion, and freedom avowed.
   I am a Child of the Age of Enlightenment,
   Curious, passionate, joyful and proud!

Our reason's imperfect, but fair in its storage
In logical thought old responses enmesh,
Due to our spirit's odd manner of origin,
Rising in stages from animal flesh.

All of our senses are partly conceptions,
Models constructed by part of the brain.
Enjoy your imaginings; test your perceptions;
The truth is a grail we can hope to attain.

Fantasy's fun to observe and to reckon,
To pounce on and stalk like a plume from a hat,
But geniune mysteries kindle and beckon,
As secretive scrabblings summon a cat.

Fie to the folks who may cry it as treason
Enlightenment's child, I will try to be fair,
But I trust observation and logic and reason:
Facts on the ground trumping castles in air.

And *next* I was reading about Steampunk and came across a comment to an essay that said (roughly) "We have bitten the apple of knowledge."  And I noticed it scanned, and boom, the next song came pouring out over the next forty minutes or so, though I did go back and refine several verses and lines later.  This song is a capella too--it just didn't seem worth struggling to balance voice and mando when I already had two other songs to record today (and did some recording this morning too.)

Song of the Makers
lyrics and melody by Catherine Faber 2012
a capella mp3 here

        Dm                  Am
I have tasted the apple of knowledge
        Dm                          Am
I have gnawed it right down to the core
         Dm           F             Am          C
And the seeds that I save, you may plant on my grave
         F                   E
Because all I am craving is more! (MORE!)
       F          C           Am
To discover, construct and explore.

            Dm                     Am
   Give me lever and fulcrum, the wedge and the wheel,
            Dm                      Am
   Give me fire, the gear, and the screw,
            Dm                  Am          G
   Give me iron and copper and good honest brass
       Am            Dm           E
   And I'll give my best back to you
      C           G             Am
   Expanding the things you can do.

And now I am barred from the Garden
But the child who can walk doesn't crawl
I will stand, I will run; when my shovel is done,
I'll come tunneling under the wall.
I will fly without fearing the fall.

Knowledge has never come easy.
Creation itself has a cost.
Every offspring we gain, born of body or brain,
May be blessing, or bane, or just lost;
You won't know the line till you've crossed.

You must pull yourself up by your bootstraps
When your pedigree says you're a whelp.
Climbing out of despair isn't easy, or fair,
And no purebred will care how you yelp,
But a good block and tackle can help.

In leather or velvet or silver or oak,
In circuits or rhythm and tone
As we dream and we make for creation's sweet sake
So the apple we take for our own.
Maker, you aren't alone!

Whuf.  And I'll try not to get so far behind again.

New Song

Mar. 31st, 2012 02:20 pm
catsittingstill: (Default)
It's Alice Day again.  I wrote this slightly over a week ago--inspired by some Buddhist thought, though I think I took it in a different direction from what they had in mind--and played it for Mary while I was visiting last weekend.  She came up with a wonderful arrangement, and we even recorded it.

Given that the piano and mandolin parts and Mary's vocal harmony had been written that afternoon, and the whole thing was recorded from floor level on my side, I think it came out reasonably well.  

All Things Pass 
lyrics and melody by Cat Faber 2012
arranged by Mary Crowell (piano, vocals) and Cat Faber (mandolin)
mp3 here
a capella mp3 (melody only) here

 Dm D9 Dm        Am     Dm
Winter snow and summer sunshine;
 Dm              F
Green to golden fading grass
 Dm     F        C     Dm
Autumn leaf and April flower
 Bb        Dm   Am          Dm
Seize the hour; all things pass

    Dm              C
   It's a truth as clear as crystal
    Dm             Bb     Dm
   And as hard as broken glass;
   Dm                Gm         Dm
   In this life the things you favor,
    F          Dm      Am         Dm
   You should savor.  All things pass

All of us will drink of suffering;
Heart and body fill that glass.
Grief may burn you like an ember
But remember; all things pass.

And the stars that seem eternal
As they burn consume their mass
Though the darkness they're defying
They are dying. All things pass

Take the joy that living hands you
Raise a toast and drain your glass.
Notice life's inspired invention
Pay attention.  All things pass.



New Lyric

Mar. 22nd, 2012 08:39 pm
catsittingstill: (Default)
I guess this requires some explanation.  Ysabetwordsmith had a poetry fishbowl, where she let people make suggestions about what they'd like poems written about in her "Path of the Paladin" series.  I had only read a couple of poems in that series, but suggested "what if a paladin's god asked the paladin to do something bad?"  Ysabet wound up writing a poem/story to that prompt, and sent me a "prompter's copy" of it.  The poem is called "Follow Your Heart" and is available here.

When someone "buys" or "sponsors" one of her poems it becomes available for general reading, so there are many poems in the Path of the Paladin series available on her Serial Poetry page here that you can read to see if you like this kind of thing and would like to become a sponsor.  She has a number of series going; they're in alphabetical order and Path of the Paladin is slightly under 2/3 down the page.

 (Gailah is the goddess the main characters, including the eponymous paladin, follow.)

A Matter Of The Heart
lyrics and melody by Catherine Faber 2012
sponsored by janetmiles and elisem on LiveJournal
mp3 here
a capella mp3 here

Some things emit a single tone, when fashioned very well--
The finest crystal goblet or the clearest silver bell,
The lute that hums in sympathy, where its partner sings,
Though only voice, in melody, swept across the strings.

And thus the music of a God may find a human throat--
A heart that chance, or passion, tunes to voice One single note.
And thus the doings of a God, admired or impugned,
Reverberate in willing hands devotedly attuned.

   Heart of salt and iron, tolls a woeful tone
   Drawn to blood and bitterness, barren as a stone.
   Give me a companion, who rings a merry peal,
   Who bears a heart of starfire, and of meteoric steel.

Spring and life and healing, the direction that you stray
And so you walk with Gailah, who is also drawn that way.
The kindness and good sense you speak, your heart the source thereof
Are unintended echoes of her words of strength and love.

   Heart of salt and iron, tolls a woeful tone
   Drawn to blood and bitterness, barren as a stone.
   Give me a companion, who rings a merry peal,
   Who bears a heart of starfire, and of meteoric steel.

The echo is what matters here, and thus it isn't odd
That paladins of every sort resound to every God.
Responding to the note we tune our nature to impart--
Devotion, like our lifeblood, is a matter of the heart.
*I am also going to try a little crowdfunding and see if it will work for songs. Here's my idea. If people want this turned into a song and back it up with donations (via the PayPal button in my user profile or send me a private message to make other arrangements) totaling, in this experimental case, 20$, I'll write a tune and put up an mp3. Several people clubbing together to make the donation happen is fine if that's how it works out. An additional harmony can be purchased for another 20$. Sponsors will be listed as "sponsor" or "patron" unless they prefer to remain anonymous. You too can be a patron of the arts, and at a surprisingly reasonable rate.

I am writing a lot of lyrics at the moment. (I wrote one the day before yesterday which I have yet to put up, this one last night, and another one this morning, for example.) If someone is interested in sponsoring this lyric, it goes to the head of the line, gets a tune and an mp3. Such interest also lets me know that the song is well-liked and might be good to put in a concert set and/or future album. If you are too broke to sponsor in full or in part, my head is easily turned by flattery. Songs with donations are first in line but songs with sufficient flattery can be next. If the lyric gets no interest, whether it goes farther or not depends on how many songs I need for the next album and how well I personally like this one as opposed to other ones. Make sure your favorite songs don't miss out!

New Song

Mar. 14th, 2012 03:23 pm
catsittingstill: (Default)
So, this is the new song I wrote about _Crucible of Gold_ by Naomi Novik which came out a week ago.

Since the song is about a society's attitude about the proper relationship between dragon and human, which turns out to have some bearing on the plot, I'm going to put it behind a cut in case it might be considered spoiler-y.

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