Greg Murat (mur-rah)
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Journal June 2004 Journal Archive Flash Poem Archive
- Thanks for the presents Sarah and for being so thoughtful always. I love you mucho.
- June 30
The phone rang off the hook last night right after I though I wonder why no one has called. Talked to Maria, Joules, Scott and Debbie, Josh, Mike and almost everyone called at once. All our friends bring home one of the reasons we have stayed here in Washington, and our family.
God is amazing and awesome. Life can be cruel. I thought about answered prayers as I was driving to pick up Josh last night. I was thinking the same as I was taking him back to Ty's house. I am so thankful for keeping Josh and us kind, loving and communicating. Josh is going to come through his hard times. I see in his eyes the awareness that comes only from getting you butt kicked by your choices and life. I know I had to be driven to my knees by a broken heart before I finally said God help me please. I feel the pain. Many of our troubles can be traced to choices. Some are just lessons in Life is Not Fair. We walk valleys and mountains in life. A valley can be a very lonely place but the mountains are still there, just like the sun is still shining just above the rain clouds. Josh, with that big, that sense of humor and all that talent will be just fine. I love him very much. When you feel like giving up, ask yourself, what would Jesus do? Don't quit is usually the answer.
- June 29
Back in the act in a new day with the sun shining outside I tackle the tasks at hand. I have seen dolphins, sting rays, all manner of exotic birds, lightning like I have never seen before and torrential tropical rain, all in the last week or so. We walked white sandy beaches in the morning and I played my guitar watching the sunset. Now that is a the kind of repetition I could happily live for the rest of my days. I have learned that American Airlines is a specialist in lack of customer service skills and courtesy amongst its ticketers and flight ignorants. But mostly I think I learned it is time to slow the pace at whatever cost so there is more room for living and loving.
I still am full of concern for Josh and want to help him bring out all the wonder inside him. It is funny when you try to remember being a certain age. You can't really because you are viewing those memories from a different perspective and besides, none of our experiences are the same to others. I do know, in the end, we need to make our own ways. That is the hardest thing about being a parent: knowing when to step aside, no matter how fearful you are for the outcome. It is a great faith builder. I don't know how people survive without being conscious of God's help in all the different aspects of our lives. Pray for protection and wisdom with time, dignity and honesty. Love them and let them go and make their own ways. That is a tough one.
It actually feels strange to be home for the first time. I think we are so ready for a change, a really huge change that I hope the feeling continues enough to lead to some action. All these elements collide emotionally and spiritually. Maybe a diamond will come from all this stuff. The beach was good for washing away all the "stuff" but when you come ashore it is all waving and welcoming you back into the fray. But the old saying is true that if you always do what you always did you'll always get what you always got.
- For about 10 days we just had some fun and soaked up the sun with Randy and Terri and then with Aileen and Kyla too. Our Fickel family is close no matter what the distance and how much time passes. Those friends that you are connected to, no matter what, are one of the best parts of being on the planet. Sharing stories of faith, hope and disaster goes better with good friends.
- Randy made a statement, or I should say asked this question, one night and I have been thinking about it a lot. Why is it that there are certain people, certain friends, that you feel closer too than your own relatives? I think we arrive in situation called families and many of us spend larger portions our lives trying to get over those situations. Blood does not mean leave so much anymore. I think the love is there but relationships to flourish require two ways of interacting. Give and take, in lots of cases, with some relatives, it isn't balanced and it isn't a good thing to be around. Time goes by and you can sometimes regain what you lost or develop what you didn't have. I think it is just a connection that happens sometimes. I have that connection with my sister Maria. Dad and I have developed ours with time. And so it goes. We are all just people after all. It is a good thing that we are blessed with the natural connection sometimes or it would be a lonely world for many of us. It is also good when reaching out is accepted and returned.
- June 26
I wish the cares that are waiting at home would fizzle into mist and blow out to sea. Josh's stuff, the missing car, the fried computer. Those things are just events occurring that we don't have any influence on from here. The warm gulf water and sunshine, the company of friends, the quiet times are so healing. I am ready to bag it all and move down here to Florida and make a new start. No mystery dream just something new and different. We will see how we feel when we get back. Life is so precious and it gets smothered by the pace that we keep so much of the time. Since no matter how well we play the game, no one gets out alive, more time for living would be a good thing. I am grateful for the freedom to chose where to live and worship. I am thankful for all our freedom. Thank God for the many ways he blesses us and keeps us from day to day. God bless every soul in the harms way of war.
We had the company of a Snowy Egress this morning. He was drinking water from a cup and once he speared Randy's hand with his beak because Randy wasn't dishing out the hot dogs fast enough. It is like being in different world down here. I like it a lot.
- June 25
It seems once again that time has wings. It is hard to believe we are almost done with our stay here in Florida. I haven't been able to reach Maria as I lost her e-mail so if you read my journal, little sister, e-mail me right away so I can call you. We leave on Sunday so I hope we can work something out. I would like to know a little more about Tampa as that seems to be where a lot of work opportunities are. The sun and the beach and the heat all seem to agree with both Andie and I. We heard an excellent steel drum player at a little place called the Pavilion. They have music all day and all evening. The cool part is music ends at 10 PM so it makes for an early night. I know it would take some time to get established so I am looking forward to doing the research. Time to download more Andie photos so more later.
- Last night Aileen called some friends from Ohio who are staying in town. We ended up with about 14 people we had just met all singing and partying down at the beach. It was great fun. We had a circle of strangers in various degrees of intoxication echoing the words to Boody Wah Scoody. It was one of those moments that will remain to bring smiles on some future rainy day.
- Andie and I are both in first rate shape to take over for Rudolf the Red Nosed Reindeer because we have glowingly red sun burns on our noses. Andie has taken many magical photos of our trip and I will post some of those soon.
One more full day here and then it is homeward bound. It will be over too soon.
- June 24
I swam in my linen pants and tee shirt today as I am a bit sunburned. It was good to talk to Sarah yesterday but her news was sad. Dead computer. Call the funeral parlor. Don't stress Sarah, we will fix it or not. Just don't fret. This is such a lovely spot and it reminds of the happy time we spent at beaches when I was growing up. Hour after hour swimming and playing in the sand. Randy and I were talking about the joy of seeing the beach come into site after you have been driving a long time and how thrilling that is and was. Andie is so happy in the water. She stayed in this morning when Randy and I walked back up to the house. It is tub water warm and so refreshing. I came back in about an hour and saw her pretty head bobbing around in the waves. There was a big smile on her face. Now she is looking at houses again and making notes. I like when she is happy.
We sat on the beach till after dark last night. Andie was playing drums on the guitar case, Randy was playing the cooler and Terri was shaking the beer bottle shaker. We were singing away with Island Songs. Aileen ( Terri and Randy's daughter, and her daughter, Kyla, showed up today and are beachin' right now. So that's it for the crew of the Minnow, here on Gilligan's Island.
- June 23
Here in Clearwater Beach enjoying the company of friends and the lovely beach and sun. I am not going to say a whole lot about the trip other than it took twelve hours to get here from Seattle, our luggage was lost and the customer service rep said it was a good thing when I said we would never fly on American Airlines again. Enough of that. We have had lots of good good, hours of swimming in the Gulf of Mexico, lots of laughter and relaxation. We are searching the classifieds for work and houses. We met a musician in one of the many Tiki Bars and he said there is tons of work here and in Tampa. The want adds are filled with jobs and houses aren't unreasonable so We are really looking at future possibilities. Andie is in heaven in the Gulf and swims for hours every day. If we could just find jobs that would allow for all this leisure time we would be set. We miss our family and talk about everyone each day. We would love to bring the whole crew down for a vacation. It would be wonderful.
Randy is busy on the phone everyday with work related concerns but he is having some fun too. We went to a dance club a few nights go and danced for hours. It was R&B music so we were making the moves. I could hardly get up the next day. It is great exercise, dancing. I feel like I am at home in the climate. It just feels good to swim through the air to me. Humidity is my friend. I have played some music on Andie's little Taylor but no time so far for writing new songs. We will see what happens. Love to all from the Florida sun.
Thanks for the great books Sarah Maria, you are always so mindful of others. I love you, Papa.
We are parked in the big plane at Abileen Airport and hanging out. We didn't really plan on going to Abileen but what the heck. We thought we were going to Dallas and then on to Florida. But hey, we've had some yogurt and some raisons so we will probably be okay. Kind of makes you miss the days of bad airline food. At least it was filler. So this is the first adventure of this type. We seem to have adventures with flying wherever we go. Let's look back. There was the hurricane in Cozumel. The take off on Oahu when we watched our bags sitting all alone in the middle of the field as we flew away. Today, at my brilliant suggestion, we checked our carry-ons so who knows what that means. It was so packed at the airport we barely got on the flight and we had to face the day without Starbucks. That is the worst part. Where will it end? Who knows?
- June 18
I am talking to my daughter Sarah about doing new recordings of my songs in a theme based manner. I think I am about done with the studio stuff. I am tired. I have a life's work in songs waiting to be archived. Otherwise I will be taking them with me when I leave the planet, or I guess I should say, they will be leaving the planet the same time I do. There is one exception to that scenario. Kathy and Dale have the most extensive collection of live Greg Murat music and maybe someday they will be the care takers of my quiet legacy. Friends like that help me to keep playing even when I get discouraged. Sarah is suggesting a box set of Greg Murat. I love her so much, she really knows her Papa and so often says just the right thing.
- I sat outside with Josh tonight and played guitar. It was nice because it is almost always me listening to Josh but tonight we played for awhile together. It was healing to my heart. He is a great player and a good person. I love spending time with him. I love him a lot too. I am really rich and blessed in the things that matter. I thank God for that and for my life, even the times when I wish it was all done.
- June 17
What new adventures are waiting today and tomorrow? I look forward to finding out. This has been a full meal deal of a week. Highs and lows abound. I had a great session with Bill on his project and he sang Eternal Love beautifully. We did do the computer shuffle at Mike's studio. I hate when gremlins climb into the software and make things go hay wire. But we stuck it out till we got a good take.
I won't say that the days I spent on Joules CD were wasted, but I wish I could have them back so I could work on projects that I can complete. Lessons, always lessons. You would think that by now I'd be done with wishing for things I cannot have. Joules is a fine artist and I hope things work for her future. I hope she does something with these recordings. It was a great show. I will be deferring future projects and sticking to working mostly on my own music or helping selected artist's with a clearly defined plan . It just don't work otherwise. But C'est La Vie.
I sure enjoy having some time during the day to do things for home, studio and family. It is nice to have some quiet alone time to reflect on this life. It is so beautiful here in the sun. It becomes an oasis around our home in the summer and a sanctuary of peaceful green. It poured down rain last night. It is funny because there wasn't a cloud in the sky when we went to bed. I left my car windows down and now my car seat makes a squishy sound when I sit down. Well, it makes for a cool ride to town.
- June 16
Well, a few days away from the rat race and I don't even look at my laptop. It is an incredibly beautiful Washington day. We are quickly approaching a much needed time away in Florida in the company of our friends, Terri and Randy. I am looking forward to doing a whole lot of nothing but playing my guitar and soaking up some sun. The sun isn't really my friend anymore. My skin doesn't much care for it, but I will look out from the umbrella and watch the waves. I am so weary from worry and I need to learn to abandon that state of unconsciousness. I have spent so much time thinking about other people's issues I am not sure I even know who I am anymore. Manolito mentioned a young man named Casey who is coming to the studio to do some tracks. He said he is young and full of hope. I think I almost remember what that is like. Liz has a saying on her door that says "You can't achieve what you don't pursue." That sums up this point in my life. Dreams get the left overs after all is said and done and looking in the refrigerator of life right now, there's nothing to eat. It's just a day and today the skies aren't the only thing that is blue. But I am like the weather her and in fifteen minutes that could all change. Dream a little, love a lot.
- June 11
We shot some pictures last night up at Mark Dodge's lovely home in Camano Island. He and his wife Vicki have studios in what used to be a four car garage. I listened to some jazz tracks that Mark had recorded. Excellent sound is what I heard. In the studio you can look out over the bay. It is magnificent. I felt like poo so I am not real optimistic about the photo shoot. I look forward to doing it again outside with the water in the background. We need to jump on the wagon and whip out a CD. Finding time is the biggest challenge for everyone but Mike. Since he is a fireman, he has huge blocks of time off work and is going stir crazy with energy to throw into the music. With some careful planning we will pull it off.
It poured rain so hard this morning I couldn't see out of the windshield. That is a bit of a stress creator when you are in thick traffic. I feel like I am in a dream since I caught this virus. I have my own inner fog. It is like wading through water, everything seems slowed down. It is like someone increased the power of gravity and everything including the air has grown heavy.
It seems like it was just Friday a few breathes ago and now here it is again. I think of all the things I want to share with Andie and all the time I want to spend and a week goes by doing all the things that don't matter in the big picture. I want more life and I want more time with my wife. How do I make it happen is the question? As I ponder that thought the day goes zooming by. She is ever on my mind and she is not feeling well now and that makes it even harder to be apart for the day. More time with my lady, that's the prayer I pray today.
- June 9
I slept a whole hour last night. One hour. I just lay there awake, still feeling too funky to get up and go into the studio and too wound up to sleep. I think a lot of it was due to the continuing question of how do we help Josh? This sticking it out is so much harder than walking away. I think the person who owns and operates the landscaping service A Cut Above should get some therapy and possibly be prosecuted for taking employees to bars, drinking with them for hours and sending them on their way into their cars afterwards. The owner, Mike, also has some serious verbal abuse issues but he is almost out of the picture. Josh has had some interesting encounters in the cold world that should wake him up to the family that loves and believes in him. We all have our own walks though. I keep coming back to that. I get to the point that I hate the affect alcohol has on so many lives. Stealing souls in the name of fun. So much is done under the influence of alcohol that would not have occurred otherwise. In a guide to mixing songs that I recently read, tip number four of fifty was lay off the booze. That is really true in the studio. So much time and money is wasted on getting wasted. There is an almost indescribable joy that comes from performing music. Anything you add to the equation just takes away from that natural high. It takes away from the honesty of a performance too. It is real to get nervous before singing, strength comes from facing those fears sober. I respect those musicians who do not rely on alcohol to give them their spark. That spark naturally comes from spirit and from our hearts.
- If Andie and I can just overcome this virus we will be off to Florida in just over a week. We will be hanging out with our Fickel friends, Terri and Randy. What do we plan to do? A whole lot of nothing but relax is what is on our planner for those 10 days. We will make it, we will make it.
- June 8
So there I was, minding my own business when this virus jumped me from behind. It has been riding piggy back for a week now and it is getting very old. Now I hear Andie start to sniffle and I think, oh no, you do not want to go there. I remember when, after reading The Stand, I would catch a cold and I would be sure it was Captain Trips and the end was near. The imagination is both a wonderful and a terrible thing.
I had breakfast with my friend, Don Quijano, this morning. It is always enjoyable to talk to Don. He was telling me about a class on critical thinking and I thought that might be an interesting study. I would like to learn more about how we process thoughts. It might help me gain a better insight into myself and others. When it comes to my thinking, I often feel like a ship without a rudder caught in a storm. A ship with the sails still up. I get blown all over the place with little or no direction. Free thinking does help with the creative process because there is an openness that lends itself to receiving new ideas. However, sometimes you have to wade through a lot of muck to get there. I am preoccupied with one idea today though: I want this "cold" to go away.!
- June 6
Such a sunny day outside this fine Sunday. I made it through the double gig weekend playing both Provinces and Cafe de Paris Friday and Saturday. Retirement has a certain sound of appeal to me. I get so weary. It is the irony of it all that running on fumes I go out and sing and somehow I am renewed. This weekend was a blur due to this funky illness. We are soon to be one less member in the household since Josh will be leaving on the 15th. I am not sure where he will be going but it is time for him to go out and conquer the world, or at least face it. I wonder why there are walls in life between people who love each other. I think it is because we get so bent on being understood that we don't take the time to listen and learn someone else's perspective: to gain some understanding of what it is like to be them. Here is a challenge though, what if if you are intent on listening and the person has nothing to say. To put it in the common vernacular, that sucks. There is a very old Murat song that says "you go on your way and I'll go on mine". The tune is called " Life is just like a Kick in the Pants Sometimes". And you know, it is. Sometimes there is nothing you can do but let it go. Let it go, let it go. Just about everyday there is an opportunity to practice that exercise. This day is no exception.
- June 4
So the creeping crud has invaded my body. I could describe everything that hurts and how, but to simplify I could just point out that my feet don't hurt. I think the neighbors are getting used to me screaming every time I take a sip of water or tea or anything else. Several hours spent waiting at the doctor's office yesterday, didn't do much to brighten my spirits. I haven't been to the doctor since we went through the cleansing program to rid ourselves of parasites. I have been having the signals that it is time to go through another cleanse. I just waited a bit too long and this is what I get. Ugh! It is not a party. Being sick changes the view for a while. It seems like everything has slowed down. Yesterday There was a car crash directly behind me on the freeway. In my rear view mirror, I watched what looked like sparkling flowers floating down. As I saw cars skidding sideways, I realized it was bits of windshield. Once again the angels were watching over me and I continued on my way, moaning and groaning as I went. I wrote a little satirical jazz piece while heading down the highway. It is called When You're In Love. It is a Johnny Darko type look at love with the melodic structure of a Jazz Standard. It is in the key of A flat with major 7th chords, 7 flat 5's, sharp 5's, diminished, all the good jazz stuff.
These are the first drafts lyrics but the balance of the song is done.
Is this love? Is this love?
It's a car crash, it's a night on the town.
It's sobriety, it's another round.
It's lost in space, it's homeward bound
Is this love?
It never leaves a thought for yourself
It doesn't regard your heart
You can't seem to think of anything else
Is this stupid? Is this smart?
Is this love? Is this love?
It puts words in your mouth then takes them away.
Picks up the tab, then makes you pay
It's time to g when it's time to stay.
Is this love?
Is this love? Is this love?
It's a slap in the face, it's a barrel of fun
It's the end of the race, it's the starting gun
You won't be finished, at least till you're done
Is this love?
I would love to hear Diana Krull sing this tune.
Extra verse (gotta have them, you never know).
It's crystal clear and confusing as hell-It's a brand new day, it's the final bell
Where will it all end, who can tell-is this love
- June 1
My how it rains and rains. It is clear and clean in the air and the plants are loving it. What will the summer bring? Andie reminds me we are going to Florida soon with our friends Terri and Randy. That seems strange to be going to a part of the state I have not seen before now. We will have to make the drive up north to see Maria and John and the rest of the clan in Orlando. I have enjoyed the time I spent there in the past, but it never really felt like home. If home is where the heart is then it doesn't really matter what state I find myself. Just to be at peace and have some down time will be very good. I am surprised I didn't play much in Arizona. I usually play all the time we are on vacation. A few days off is usually good for at least a few new songs. Ah, to simply have more time to create. Well, I take it when I can. Andie is sitting next to me editing a movie as I tap away at the laptop. The studio is like a fluid space, ever shifting to find the most comfortable and functional set up. I am spending a little more time at the piano as I am laying down string parts. So many sounds, so little time. But I do love the time I have to make music. And there is no place like home to do it. Home, wherever it happens to be.
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Greg Murat (mur-rah)