Flee As a Bird To Your Mountain

I am sitting at the desk in my room. There is a single window to my left. I rise early every day and hear life outside, but Sundays are the most still through this window. Sunday mornings are just incredibly still. On mornings like this I like to pretend it is the apocalypse – like I am the last person living in New York City, and I must fend for myself.

I am thinking about loss. (What a topic for a Sunday at 7 am. Thanks, Brain.)

Loss happens because we are alive. Loss of love, life, jobs, money, hope; the ample arm of rejection…it is a cruelly long list. But at the root of loss is Fear. Loss is a stupid plastic bobble head waving its arms on the dashboard of your ego. Fear just keeps it gripped there, hard and tight. I’ve heard the emotions associated with fear are all linked to our ancestral survival instinct (and the unknown, of course) – we still think we can’t survive if we lose our tribe. We’ll be alone. We can’t sustain ourselves alone and wild beasts will hunt us down. Today our tribe is our friends or lovers. The beasts? Well, they’re far more numerous and complex than just a hungry animal – though that metaphor is a favorite. At this point, I don’t really need to say anything poetic about loss, really – it is already made up of poetry: the writers write about it and the singers sing about it.

Some lines people feed to those who lose life or love (but they can be the same though, can’t they?):

“You will see down the road that all this was for the best.”

“Nothing lasts forever.”

“They were really sick for a long time.”

“I’m so sorry. But, you know, I’m not surprised. I saw this coming.”

“They’re in a better place.”

“They aren’t feeling pain anymore.”

“You’ll find someone else. Someone better.”

“This happens to everyone.”

“[You are, she is, he is] free now.”

“[They aren’t, she isn’t, he isn’t] your person.”

“It gets easier.”

The list is enormous and varied. They mean well. Writing these out cheapens the sentiments, I know. But somehow, loss takes away any value all on its own.

Loss is varied, strange, and irreverent.

People think they know what you’ve lost so they know what to say to you when you’ve lost it. I don’t blame them. What can you say? But I think the pain associated with loss is more secret than that. I find it to be the case particularly as an artist: people love guessing what or who your work is about – particularly in reference to loss. They want to identify and find meaning. To know. To understand. I know! I do it, too. But there are secrets to loss. Buried so low – as if in a tomb. Rest assured: loss is private, secret, intimate. It is never exactly about what you think.

Loss brings a fever. You must sit through the fever.

I read an article once that you can actually take ibuprofen for heartache. I haven’t tried it. Your brain fires the same kind of information to your body for heartache that it does for physical pain.

Loss can be expected.

Loss can be absolutely unexpected.

Loss can be kind of expected but still process like a total surprise.

It is a sideswipe no matter how it comes to you – even if you think you were the most ready, nothing quite prepares you for loss.

There is no sure way out of the emotional residues of loss but through them.

That is my treatise on loss.

Now, this is a work-in-progress I started back in the spring but, really, a piece like this begins further back than that, I guess. I have always been fascinated by and drawn to religion generally as a study but particularly Judaism. (I grew up Mormon but have since exited. Aye, me: Humans and religion. It is sticky and viscous.) I can’t say why Judaism particularly has stood out to me all these years – maybe its ancient nature? I find so much about it really beautiful. My fascination with it has been there since I was very young, and it has stuck around. It has played its little theme in my life, weaving in and out. Encounters with it have needed their own life, so I present this smaller work-in-progress for your mind-ear.

I gifted this work-in-progress for a gentle birthday. This is what I said about it at the time:

This is a compositional work in progress in movements incorporating a scripture from Psalms and three Jewish prayers and words from them. As you know, I understand very little about them, but I looked for ones that spoke to me; ones that told me a story of how things are right now. They are not literal quotes as you will recognize them, but interpretations…

 Introduction (Motif)

  1. Flee as a bird to your mountain, Psalms 11:1 (Theme)
  2. Tefilat HaDerech – rescue us from the hand of every foe, ambush along the way, and from all manner of punishments that assemble to come to earth
  3. Shehecheyanu – who has granted us life, sustained us and enabled us to reach this occasion.
  4.  Anim Zemirot – I shall sing sweet songs (Theme)

About what you’re hearing:

Motif: Sonar pings – the use of sound transmission to navigate, communicate with, or find objects (most often in water). The searching.

1. Theme: “Flee as a bird to your mountain.” I love this. I love it. It carries with it the weight of a million meanings – the symbolism of a bird, a mountain – even the word flee. The word is not run or go. It’s very specific: flee, “to run away from a place or situation of danger.”

At the time when I started this piece, I just happened to be revisiting some old repertoire: Bloch’s Schelomo: Rhapsodie Hébraïque for Violoncello and Orchestra. I was a freshman in college when my teacher showed me this piece. I was hooked immediately. It’s a stunning and very difficult piece. I learned a bit of it and left it, so it haunts me a little (as does Ysaÿe’s Sonata for Solo Cello, Op. 28), so I went back to it. There’s a tiny quote of it in the theme.

2. Move. Travel very far. So far that you will wear down skin on feet. There will be ghosts where you are going (brief return of the theme). It will be mysterious, vast, and maybe even uncomfortable for a long time. But not forever, and it will be alright.

3. Gratitude. When you have survived, what will you do? Tell the stories. There is an electric surge in this moment that is felt throughout because of where you have been. Then a detection of an underpinning that was once small that grew big and then small again until it became just a whisper. But it is still there. It is now a thing that makes up who you are until you are gone into the earth.

4. Finish. After all you can do and all you have done, what is left? This is it. We are as we began: “I shall sing sweet songs.” It is melancholy in nature, true, but have hope: our endings are not so often happy, but they are lived. They were loved. They are loved.

I recently read a funny thing in a cartoon about happiness:

“I am not a happy person…Instead, I’m busy, I’m interested, I’m fascinated.”

So, after all that, I will leave you with this thing I read in a book my friend lent me about co-dependency (yet another ample subject. Thanks, 7 am):

You are the greatest thing that will ever happen to you.

So, you see? Loss didn’t take that much from us after all.

 

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My therapist says…

 

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I’m On Fire – Bruce Springsteen Cover

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Compatriots,

Here is a cover. If I was to be frank, it’s to prove something to myself after a very long and taxing day – for mind and body.  Even if I didn’t actually prove anything, it is good to do. And I love this song.

I have two versions of this: a live version and a ‘tracked’ version with arco cello arrangements. There’s something nice about a simple, raw live version of something new and unplanned.

It is now 4:12 am. Why are you awake?  Why am I still awake?

EHP

I’m On Fire – live – Bruce Springsteen cover

Hey little girl is your daddy home
Did he go and leave you all alone
I got a bad desire
I’m on fire

Tell me now baby is he good to you
Can he do to you the things that I do
I can take you higher
I’m on fire

Sometimes it’s like someone took a knife baby
Edgy and dull and cut a six-inch valley
Through the middle of my soul

At night I wake up with the sheets soaking wet
And a freight train running through the
Middle of my head
Only you can cool my desire
I’m on fire

 

 

 

And here we are. It is July.

Saving the details, I’ve been back home to see my parents twice in just a few months – I have just returned, actually. My dad had quadruple bypass open heart surgery several weeks ago now – though it seems like it was just days, really. I documented various moments of the visit on my Instagram account (which is full of other interesting things, might I add, so feel free…)

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The night before his surgery was a dark and stressful one. My mom and I stayed in his hospital room. Due to major discomfort, among other things, my dad didn’t sleep much that night, so in the darkness I sat trying to remember words to songs he liked – Michelle by the Beatles, I Only Have Eyes For You by The Flamingos and others – at times like this, where a specific kind of memory is needed, it’s unsurprising how much it fails you, so I hummed a lot of the verses I couldn’t remember or just repeated the ones I could recall.

The next day, his surgery day, waiting for him to come out, was the longest day… but the week following I spent in the hospital watching nurse after nurse come in every few minutes is a blur. But I do remember fetching the cello he keeps at the house and taking it to the hospital to his room. I played for him every day I was there, minus one, and fiddled from a very large print music book called the “popular song book” which he bought for himself (my dad is an amateur every-instrument musician but has really taken to the banjo and ukulele). I opened up to this song and immediately remembered how utterly beautiful it is, and because he was sleeping most of the time, I found myself going back to this song to play again and again, over and over.

I felt like getting it out to play again today, and I was reminded all over how much I love it. So I sat in my tiny Brooklyn apartment bathroom tonight and did a quick version of it, just like I played for my dad as he recovered in his room post-surgery.

And, how is everything, you’re wondering? Well, his surgery went well – a great thing considering he was a high risk patient – but while the world of science and medicine can be a wonderful one, the world of the mind and body, in many ways, is far more vast, mysterious, and complex…and so we sojourn on, one day at a time, hoping the next will be riddled with less pain, more gratitude, more empathy and more love than the day before.

The original recording of this song, which appeared in Disney’s Cinderella in 1950, is most beautifully sung by Ilene Woods – what a voice.

A Dream Is A Wish Your Heart Makes

In the style of a Brooklyn bathroom

A Dream Is A Wish Your Heart Makes (The Brooklyn Bathroom Version)

Le Rêve (La Vie En Rose)

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I was recently dreamed about. A friend wrote me to say they had a dream about me playing my cello on the top of an amusement park ride at a fair – I didn’t get their permission to retell this, but…but…I’m not really giving anything away…am I?

I wondered later, “What would I be playing on top of an amusement park ride at a fair?” For whatever whimsical, stereotypical reason, I imagined an amusement park ride in Paris. Do the French have super tall rides like we do in America? Because I also imagined it being on top of a very, very tall ride – atop the tallest ferris wheel? (Taller than the one in London, even). And somehow, like in the movies, the sound would magically carry throughout the entire place and it would be stupidly idyllic and wonderful and there would be no death, loneliness, or sadness… just a moment in sound.

I also mainly chose this particular song because I miss my dad. He’s a champion for the classics and songs with tunes you can walk away singing. Right-o daddy-o.

Recorded over a bit of time, and very quietly, after everyone and all the dog(s) were asleep…I underestimated the range this song covers…it goes as low as low can be – a key must be selected very, very carefully – but the awkwardness of the register works on all fronts as I wanted that “this is uncomfortable” feeling. I mean, playing cello on top of a tall, tall amusement park ride? Thrilling. But uncomfortable.

Good night, fools.

e

La Vie En Rose

words by Mack David (french by Edith Piaf)

music by Monnot/Louiguy

The Thick, Round Swan Maiden Pancake

The Thick, Round, Swan Maiden Pancake

Skirts and Pants - Emily Hope Price

Skirts and Pants – Emily Hope Price

I have been doing such weird things the past year, and I’ve recently discovered some (probably obvious) things. I have wanted to post for a long time. I have put it off for various insecurities and procrastinies.

Without further ado:

1. The Sprints. I get The Sprints. I start things with a full magnum force or get obsessed with something and then just stop mysteriously. The Sprints! Maybe you get The Sprints, too. I’d wager my dad is like this. I know many people who are Marathoners – they find something and stick with it until the bitter end. I get The Sprints.

Examples of recent Sprints:

a. Drawing on my iPad mini (see above). I never thought I could draw. And to save money I made my own crappy stylus out of an empty pen, tin foil, and a Q-tip. Technology!

b. French. I took French in high school and college. I really like it, but I’m lazy. So I am doing a sprint. It’s fun to remember what I use to know.

c. Exercise. These Sprints are ongoing until I die.

d. Letters on my typewriter.

e. Books. Any book. I read the introduction and the first chapter with intense focus. Occasionally reading it multiple times. A few books which have fallen prey to a Sprint:

The Brothers Karamazov (fascinating introduction)

Zealot by Resa Aslan (great intro and first chapter!)

Deadeye Dick by Kurt Vonnegut (fascinating first 4 chapters!)

f. Various musical discoveries including musicians, songs, and instruments.

 

2. I am an Introvert (gasp).

 

3. Life. It’s good and awesome.

Perhaps this sounds a bit cliché. But recent personal events have warranted such a learning experience.

A friend I loved very much passed away in August. Her husband is a friend I love very much, too. I think about both of them every single day.

Show love. Tell people you love them today – don’t wait until tomorrow or next week or the next time you run into them. Today.

Being alive is good and awesome.

Bodies are good and awesome.

People, friends, and family can be so good and awesome.

Movies and music are so good and awesome.

Even the hard things are so good and awesome.

 

Well, those are some things I have learned in the past month.

With that, I present today a reading of some fairy tales I recorded for some friends for fun during a section of The Sprints. These are a study on me playing two different characters reading stories. One has a really bad british accent and the other a random american accent (who happens to not be very good at reading stories). Both of which were GOOD AND AWESOME to do (even though my british friend Sophie, who has a real british accent, says this is pretty bad…but I think she kind of likes it anyway).

The Thick, Round Pancake from “Fairy Tales: retold by Bridget Hadaway” 1974 Octopus Books Ltd.

The Swan Maiden from “Fairy Tales: retold by Bridget Hadaway” 1974 Octopus Books Ltd.

 

 

I like you.

Have a great day today.

Unicorn City Soundtrack Release Today

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That’s correct! You read right!

The Unicorn City Soundtrack is up on Bandcamp,  iTunes, Amazonand all over the internet as of TODAY!

Huge thanks go out to the director and producer of the film Bryan Lefler and Adrian Lefler, my partner in crime James Frazee and his band from way-back-when: Stinkbomb, and all the bands and musicians I worked with to make this possible: Thank you Sam McCormally, Libbie Linton, Anna Vogelzang, Señors of Marseille, Plume Giant, Pearl and the Beard, Jocelyn Mackenzie, and many more…

This soundtrack wouldn’t be released today if it weren’t for the thousands of people who have demanded it through social media and email – thank you for speaking up and supporting us!  Thank you, thank you!

Track Listing:

1. “Temptress” by Sam McCormally, Emily Hope Price, and James Frazee
2. “Melee In A Former Life” by Emily Hope Price
3. “Glenn” by Stink Bomb
4. “Born In The Wrong Universe” by Emily Hope Price
5. “Heart ‘n’ Soul” by Senors of Marseille
6. “Voss’ Breakfast-Chicken Epiphany” by Emily Hope Price
7. “Dressing Up for Death” by Libbie Linton
8. “I Heard My Throat Crunch” by Emily Hope Price
9. “The Canonization of Ida Elliot” by Anna Vogelzang and Emily Hope Price
10. “I Challenge You To A Duel” by Emily Hope Price and James Frazee
11. “Jumbo Slice” by Ugly Purple Sweater
12. “Just a Game” by Emily Hope Price
13. “Fool Hall” by Plume Giant
14. “Take Her To Safety, Stop For No One” by Emily Hope Price
15. “Let’s Roll” by Dream Team Laser  Beam (Jim Altieri, Jocelyn Mackenzie, and feat. James Frazee)
And for those of you just aching for it… since I’ve gotten so many emails about it… here are the lyrics to “Temptress”:

TEMPTRESS (lyrics by Emily Hope Price & Sam McCormally)

You are my fever
A heat beneath my bones
I won’t escape it, my skin’s as thin as those
Who’ve come before, all lost, but suffer for the greater good

You are my temptress
why can’t you see I’m busy? I am working!
stop bothering me
and take a key in case you need to come back

and I can smell what you’re cooking and I can’t look away
I’m nearly torn from my moorings by the rattle and sway
And I’m walking through fevers that you’d love me to keep
But just because I can hear you doesn’t mean I can’t sleep

And you want to believe that you can tempt me, no no no

You are my slumber
You’re luring me to sleep
But, I’m not tired! I’m wide awake I’m fine
I’ll hold the line, got something in my eye
There ain’t no way I’m sleepin’.

You are my cayman
You’ll care more when I’m gone
Teeth like a sharp noise
Bite down, I’ll be in two
But more to half, to hold
Now baby, isn’t that worth something?

Oh, oh, oh, oh, I have named it, I can identify
But, oh, hard to break it as you are to deny
And you’re walking through fever’s that I’d love you to keep
I will, but remind you that this burning runs deep

And I want to believe that you can tempt me,
And I want to believe that you can tempt me,
And I want to believe that you can tempt me, no, no no

LET’S ROLL! (lyrics by Jocelyn Mackenzie)

Welcome to Unicorn City. This is your world…

I was cruising down the astral plane,
Heard a freaky wizard calling my name.
He was decanting a spell that’d send me straight to hell
But I don’t front, cause this is Dawn of Days.

I get my hands on some coveted brain juice,
Bring it down to the party where we break loose!
It’d take a Succubus or a Beelzebub
To beat this potion cause it’s 80 proof.

Let’s roll to the party like we rolling polyhedral dice.
Let’s roll our D11’s not once, not twenty times, but thrice.
Let’s roll with the punches from our mortal enemies and foes.
Let’s roll, creatures, let’s roll!

I meet the beastliest of Beast Lords,
He shooting laser beams like oh my God.
So I retaliate with my psyonic death stare,
But I ricochet to the floor.

So I entice that dude with some turtlebuds
And the shining glitter tassels of my luscious duds.
He falls into my trance where we begin to dance
Now we rocking this mortal’s club!

Let’s roll to the party like we rolling polyhedral dice.
Let’s roll our D100’s not once, not twenty times, but thrice.
Let’s roll with the punches from our mortal enemies and foes.
Let’s roll, creatures, let’s roll!

We gotta roll down to the area where all the cool kids go.
We gotta get there, we gotta get there real fast cause we’re rolling, we’re rolling the dice…
Polyhedral dice, baby.
Yeah.