Friday, August 29, 2008

Friday Night at the Vail Jazz Party: Essay #1

It's been said that life is but a series of choices one makes to get to the next choice that awaits us on the next day.  We're all looking for the next spot or the next opportunity to make that choice and there are times when we find it and times when its damn near impossible to find that answer or the one choice we think is the right one.  

I'm sitting in a beautiful library at the Cascade Vail Resort guessed it...Vail, Colorado.  Why am I here.  A multitude of reasons.  I'm here because I chose to be here, I'm here because of a series of choices I've made throughout my life and will continue to make for the good or the bad.  And more importantly, I realize that whatever choice I make, unless its intentional in its nature to harm someone, will lead me to somewhere unexpected more times than not.  

A few months ago I made the choice to listen to an editor at Harper Collins when he said, go for it.  No one's done this before.  

I went for it.  

And he was right. 

No one has done this before. 

I'm writing a book no one has done before.  No, its not a full length graphic novel on the Care Bears and their fight against terrorism nor is it a vampire novel with a twist. 

I'm merely supporting the jazz community.  How I'm doing this is not going to be revealed so much here on this blog or any blog at the moment, but all I can say is that it's going well.  As for those that don't know me in the real sense of the word, I was a jazz major and musician in my previous life.  I played trumpet, lead trumpet to be specific and even got to the point to where I was quite successful at gigs etc.  Burn outs, children and other choices years later and I stopped playing.  

So, I am channeling my abilities from my musical education at the post secondary level into writing.  My new found love of whom even after almost four years, I still haven't moved past the honeymoon period.  

This brings me to tonight.  I'm sitting in a ballroom at this resort, and with some of the best musicians and most appreciative audiences this side of the Mississippi and I begin to think.  Last night, history was played out in my town.  Obama was a thunderous wave of energy to reckon with and I'll be damned if this wave of energy doesn't cause a shock that turns into a political Tsunami throughout the rest of this war between the "parties." 

He spoke of changes in all aspects of this country and essentially what is so wonderfully brilliant about Obama is the fact that he wants to bring the essence of American culture back to America.  And while being a part of this jazz party here, I see that its needed more than ever.  

Musicians celebrated posthumously, hardly able to share their art with others for the lack of intelligent expression in this country...CD sales down, jazz literally dying.  For the love of...ok, I'll end the drama.  

But what Jazz really is, is a simple conversation.  Benny Green played tonight.  He's one of the greatest piano players of our time and if I ever win the literary lottery he may have to reside to the fact that he WILL be my nightly entertainment.  But I think if every household replaced even an hour of their TV time with real, intelligent entertainment like this, we would all be in a better place for this simple choice.  Maybe because of this one choice, we could all understand eachother better and get along in a way that is uncommon now and not just because of the romanticsm of a song but because this music is conversation.  

It's the kind of conversation that provokes thought and evokes emotional outpouring of your inner self.  The kind that after a nice glass of wine you want to unwind, reach out and connect with your spouse, friend, partner etc... Sharing the moment, relaxing and connecting, an art of itself that is seemingly lost in the technology of today.  For jazz is but a conversation between the musicians.  They play off of eachother, talking to one another through thoughts that need no words and let the beauty and sensuality of sound without words take over as an intelligent form of communication that moves you beyond the normal accepted modes of love and friendship.  The technology of our lives is nothing compared to what could be if we just made the choice these guys make.  
I call for a slow movement of our own.  A cessation of the advancement and progress of technology in this sense and let the in-the-moment flavoring of jazz to take over our palettes.  This is what our country was founded upon...the ability to think and to find a medium of intelligent discussion without the prejudicial thoughts of the world. What has happened?  We have left it behind.  And who knew it better than anyone?  The slaves, the ones who brought this music to life.  They were the ones considered absent of freedom and we all, knowing now what history has brought us in life lessons feel a certain intangible guilt and innate sadness knowing the past, at least I do, but we must realize that the retraction of intelligence and the opportunistic infection of stupidity has brought the slavery of stupidity back into our lives.  We are slaves in our own right and in our own world.  It's not about race, nationality or modality, its about the lives we think we must live and do live.  But what makes jazz so beautiful and the music of America is that it transcends race, age and nationality.  It is what we stand for, or at least what we should. 

Jazz is a choice, intelligence is a choice, its what we do with these choices, as Rene Marie says, that define us. 

Stay tuned, three more days of essays to follow based on and written and inspired by live jazz. 


Warmly yours, 


Monday, August 4, 2008

Listen up!!

Friends, family and family of friends, I must pass this on and get the word out about Lisa. She's not only a great friend of mine, but honestly, I can't say I would be where I am today without her help. And that says a lot. Within a year, I've gone from being somewhat serious about a novel, to being represented from one of the most respected literary agents in NY. So, here's the message! Pass it on to everyone you know. And she's not just for writer's. Do you want to lead your own life instead of watching it pass you by? Just give her a chance. Take her for her free test drive, no strings attached, honestly...

Here's Lisa's message:::

Dear Cicily, thanks so much for helping me get the word out. I have several time slots available on my schedule, and now with yet another strike looming that will affect my husband's work, I am responsible for keeping life moving. So, to answer your question...

Who do I coach?

My poster child client is Cicily. She didn't start out as a poster child, however. She was just like you. Her novel was in bad shape, needed to be rewritten, and she didn't have time to write it. She was working a day job as a nurse. She was doubtful about her capacity and talent to write. People in her life thought it was a cute little passing hobby. I remember one of the first things she accomplished was to claim her writing space, and her writing time. Every day she would post her daily word count on the refrigerator. Her husband gradually came to see she was serious about writing. Those she was writing for, however, knew she was on fire.

Many shifts and changes followed. She got specific about the kind of work she wanted to do to make money while working on her novel and as a result, she left her day job. Her interviews with writers, artists, musicians are becoming legend, and her first writer's retreat in Vail is on schedule and full of enthusiastic writers. A relationship with a great editor, completion of her lit novel, three publishers wanting it, and now a non-fiction jazz book with so many moving parts it's mind boggling.

So now when people "Who do you work with?" or "what kind of a coach are you?" I like to say I work with people who want to be leaders in their personal and professional lives. People who want to be so inspired and in action that their visions become viral.

So that's the big stuff. Then there's the (not so) little stuff like claiming a vision, clarifying values, specifying commitments, goals and actions--and being accountable for all of it. Kick in the pants, take no prisoners accountability. Can't do the big stuff without the little stuff. In fact, I think the little stuff is the big stuff, and the big stuff is the happy result of paying attention to the little stuff.

As always, I offer a complimentary session to see if we're a good fit.
Until my new site, Humanity at Work, is up...the link below will give you a bit more info.

Lisa Gates, CPCC
Livelihood + Leadership Coach
360 Alliance Coaching
Launch a revolution in your evolution

Land: 805.969.1621
Sky: 805.448.4020