Challenge Day Twenty-One

Life is beautiful and messy.

Other people hate Mondays. I love them. I haven’t worked Mondays on a regular basis for several years now, so that’s probably why; Mondays get to be my transition day from the weekend to the week, and nearly every Monday ends with dance church, so it literally can’t be all bad. Today felt more like how other people describe Fridays: a scramble to get things done so you can just relax. It was a good Monday/Friday.

Daily Challenges

Intimate Time
CookingToday’s Menu: I started the day with some cottage cheese and pears, along with some toasted brioche slices; I snacked on chips and string cheese for lunch; Monday night dinner is pizza!
Reading (Poetry)Out of Research Into Reveries” by Mai Der Vang is visually striking, and casts a sharp light on the difference between “objective” science and more human impulses, like philosophy. I read it several times and still only feel like I half understand it.
Reading (Fiction)The characters in The Poisonwood Bible have gone through some significant transformations, and it is very compelling to be along for their development. It’s very much like watching kids learn new things, except it’s very sad, because the Congo at the time they’re there was a rough, tough place.
Reading (Nonfiction)To give me some context for my fiction, I read today about the Congo, specifically Belgian Congo and the period of fractured independence that came after, known as the Congo Crisis. It’s all very dark and brutal, and you can read about it yourself if you’re interested, but it’s too much for me to unpack right here.
MusicI did not play music today, but I absolutely, 100% will tomorrow, as part of my songwriting challenge. More to come….
Postcard Poem
Today I decided to involve my community in the poetry process. I took little strips of paper to the studio with me tonight, and asked my fellow dancers to write on them. I then took these strips home and arranged them to create an “exquisite corpse” poem. Since some suggestions were long and others short, I decided to divide my lines roughly by length, which meant breaking some of the offerings up, and piecing them together with other bits. It turned out strangely beautiful:

Life is beautiful and messy.
Power – energy sparks in a
frustrated night; I am so in
love with you. Rise up!
Point your toes. She bathed
herself in glitter (how many
pugs could I hug if I could
hug a pug?) The strands of
her hair grace my shoulder.
In your loving gaze, I find
myself free.
– Sarah Reebs (featuring
Divine Monday Night Crew)
Trash Pickup Sigh. No trash today, my schedule just didn’t match up with Howie’s. Also the weather is shit. Also my body hurts. Excuses, etc.

Today’s Challenges

Dance class tonight was really hard. I love it, it’s my centering space and those are my people, but tonight, it was a struggle to get there. If I hadn’t been doing this project, and if I hadn’t planned to do my exquisite corpse poem, I would probably not have gone. But I did, and I’m glad I did. My body really, really hurts, and I’m not excited about going to class again tomorrow, but my heart is full. There’s no substitute for my Divine family.

I have one more day left in my abs challenge, thank the gods. (I say that, but I do feel stronger in my core, and they’re not as horrible as they were the first time, so I may do some abs going forward, just not like, a lot.) One more day, though, I can handle that!

Despite the fact that I have not been playing music for the last few days, today is the first of my seven-day songwriting challenge. I have given myself seven days to write a song, which I have never done before. This seemed like a reasonable idea when I had it, and now it feels borderline ridiculous. But, here we are.

I didn’t really know where to start, so I did a search for “how to write a song” and, thanks to the Googs, I came across this great blog post called “How to Write a Song in 6 Simple Steps.” Handy, no? The steps are not actually simple, but they are described simply, and the page includes exercises, examples, and resources. Oh, and there are 6 steps, which works perfectly into my 7-day challenge. The way author Rory Seydel broke it down, the first four days are for organizing yourself and brainstorming, the fifth day is for expanding ideas, and the sixth day is for finalizing the song. I will ideally use the seventh day to record anything that didn’t get created in the first six days, and put it all together so I can share the song.

I will be using a variety of tools that we have on hand to create my song. Technologically speaking, I have Garage Band and a program I have never opened called Logic Pro X for creating sounds. I feel most comfortable finding chord progressions on my ukuleles, so I’ll start my jam sesh tomorrow with one of those. I will likely start exploring the melody with my voice, since I can play uke and sing at the same time, and it’s easier than trying to pick out the notes I want on a piano. At the moment, I really like the idea of finding sounds on all of my stringed instruments (cello, bass guitar, baritone and tenor ukulele) but we’ll see what happens.

I am not 100% sure yet what my song will be about, but when I first conceived of this challenge, I wrote “protest song” in my notes, so I feel like it should be a protest song. I have lots of things to protest, and so I started by freely brainstorming the things I’m angry about right now. It’s quite a list. The concepts that resonate loudest with me right now are centered around my experiences as a woman, and that feels like the arena in which I have the most authority (politics and war and stuff also fire me up, but I don’t feel totally equipped to do those topics justice right now; I gotta start with what I know.) So, I guess my song will be a protest of the patriarchy, I just don’t know quite exactly how yet. Stay tuned!


  1. Beth says:

    I love the idea of sourcing lines for the poem from your community (I had never heard of exquisite corpse before.) And I really like the way it turned out 🙂

    1. Keep Right says:

      Isn’t it neat? I got the idea from Abby (of course), who did one at her birthday party this year. I’m probably going to do it again, maybe with my Facebook friends this time (keep your eyes peeled!)

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