Mel Powell’s Lullaby ~ What Babies Hear From the Womb

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I was about two years pregnant and poised at the concert grand in a modern music salon-style recital in Los Angeles. It was 1993 and my belly doubled as an elbow rest while performing the world premiere of the first two of what was to be a series of twelve of Mel Powell‘s Preludes for Piano. As far as I know, the anticipated ten never materialized, except for perhaps in sketch form in one of the many stacks of composition notebooks he left behind. Mel’s work was based in atonality and serialism, but my usually active unborn baby was motionless throughout the demanding performance.  Continue reading

Surviving Driving Teens

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“What’s behind you?!”

I was fifteen and it was Mom’s recurring test from the passenger seat of our 1976 Peugeot during my repeated attempts at honing my driving skills. She came equipped with a notebook, the notes of which I never saw. The intended use of the notebook became clear in conjunction with the question. It was to block my perspective of the bumper parade by flinging it helter-skelter over the glass of my rear view mirror, measuring my surveillance prowess. More common, though, were the persistently optimistic attempts at boring a hole in the floorboard while pumping the phantom brake.  Continue reading