Saturday, February 28, 2015

Playing With Nothing

Arriving in the practice room this afternoon I was stumped.  Where to begin my guitar practice?  Often I have a plan where to pick up the next session, but today none.  What would I blog about today?  Again nothing.  Just blank, the proverbial empty page, blank canvas looking at me; questioning me.  So I did nothing.  Just sat.  Occasionally sipping coffee, sometimes following my breath or sensing my body.  I wanted to just do something, but I knew that  inhibiting this urge would allow the right purpose to arise.

Then I heard the melody from Forgive Me arise in my mind.  I listened and let it wind through my thinking.  At the very least this type of mental practice would aide my recall of the piece over time.  Then I heard a possible variation within the piece.  Time to begin.  Smiling as I opened my case, centered from doing nothing, and just that little spark from the beyond triggering my curiosity.  I played with the variation but it did not add to the piece so I let it go.  What to do next?

I paused and decided to hold onto nothing via the Alexander Technique.  A few moments of directing my thinking, to inhibit my habits and come into a fresh relationship with my body and mind.  My body a bit freer, I decided to stand and play Forgive Me through.  As I played I saw the photo of my parents and sister.  I played for them, touching their spirits and them touching my heart.  Playing as a form of prayer, remembrance and yearning.  I also noticed a book on the shelf that I've not opened in some time. Inspired now, I worked on sections within the piece, while paying attention to how I was using myself as I played.  I worked at keeping the AT directions alive, via inhibition and directing. 

When break time arrived I took the aforementioned book from my shelf -Surprise Me with Beauty: The Music of Human Systems by Joseph Zitt, a composer and musician.  Flipping through the book I was motivated to write five mesostics on the subject of structure.  More smiles as the juices continued to flow through me, all from the simple act of doing nothing.  An act many times which is not simple at all, but so very nourishing and sustaining.

Photo by Tj Matthews

Friday, February 27, 2015

I Will Die Tomorrow

I will die tomorrow.

One day this will be true.

What if it was tomorrow?

What would you then do?

Photo by Norhafydzah mahfodz

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Snow Like Music Touches All

Watching the snow fall I paused to look in wonder.  To touch life right here and now.  The snow comes to the earth, touches it gently yet powerfully, much like music comes to us.  Snow changes our perceptions of life; trees highlighted differently, pathways hidden while new ones are forged.  Snow falls silently, urging me to take shelter in silence.  Looking at the trees reminds me to think in terms of the Alexander  Technique - to direct my body to be long and wide, to allow my thoughts to be forward and up.  Just as the landscape changes snowflake by snowflake, life is changed thought by thought.

Suddenly the snow shifts in the direction it releases from the sky.  Hidden forces and energy displayed before me, reminding me of my recent Qi Gong practice.  Directed movements shift the subtle energies, bring new life into the system, and opens channels not perceived in the every day.  Traveling one way; then another, yet all paths leading the journey to fulfill the aim.  Blankets of white delight the eyes; shadows shifted and revealed.  Truth calling us, showing us what is real.

What if a collective moved with the unity and direction of the snow?  Giving space and freedom to it's members as they move forth and followed the true direction of the path?  What if all of our intentions were as pure?  What if we all took time to contemplate the mysteries?  Moved with such gentleness? 
Snow like music, kisses the heart and spirit.  Snow like music, embraces all within its path.  Snow like music, changes one and all.  I can not make snow, only contemplate its truth and beauty.  I can make music, let me continue the journey and play on this day, everyday.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

A Few Thoughts on Composition

First we borrow, then maybe even steal.  Are we learning?   While imitation is one path to learning composition, how about interrogation; investigation; sublimation; holding one's feeling and releasing;  or abandonment of it all.

Like playing with blocks, putting one note on top of another, and a few next to those.  A wall formed that is scaled by listening.  A window opened to new forms.  Ear lids moved by waves of sound and oceans of being.  And then we begin again.  Perhaps we question a melody or piece we have known before.  Why does it move in this direction, elicit this response?  What happens if I change a few notes, alter the rhythm?  What happens when I work in a new form?  I change, what else?  Can I allow my feelings to generate a piece of music?  Can I let it all go?  Keep asking questions?

One thing I know about composition - I'll be back at it tomorrow.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Through the Looking Glass

Back on my Sister's Birthday I was improvising in her memory.  Like Mom, she always supported my musical efforts; she thought I was great.  Sharon seldom complained when I'd play around with feedback when my parents were out of our home.  Back during the days of oDD CamP, a piece Elegy arrived while I was thinking of her.  On her Birthday this month, I was happy when a melody emerged and began to take off as I held her in my heart.

The improvisation seemed to settle into A Phrygian, than the melody raised the F to a F#.  What would one call this scale which contains the notes of G melodic minor but my explorations focused around the A?  I posted this question to my knowledgeable Facebook friends, received an answer and encountered others approach to music.  A discussion of thinking in modes or chord tones erupted.  And I mean erupted, so many comments back & forth.  I went back to my guitar.

If one does not know the name of a scale does it matter as long as the notes played are true?

Over the next couple days, as the piece evolved I mixed up my approach by adding randomness.  Using the same sentiment but beginning with a different scale to see what was inherent in the intervallic relationships of the scale form.  By increasing the variability of the information I am examining can I increase the randomness factor to a point where the process is enhanced?  Will the turmoil induced by beginning again with a different scale allow me to approach, illumine, and expand my limitations? Certainly I was dancing on my edge.

By varying my approach and dwelling in the shadows the looking glass within my mind mirrored the information, played around with possibilities and surprised me.  A shift arrived when I found myself playing arpeggios in three.  Another shift and suddenly I found myself playing an arpeggio in 13, most of it in the low register.  This sounded so beautiful.  A few more days of looking at what was there, allowing the piece to percolate in my mind, and an ending has been found.  I've played the piece for Joann and of course like Mom and Sharon she loved it.  The working title has been Sharon's Song, but it may become Forgive Me.  I hope she has.

Photo by  Martin  Pettitt

Monday, February 23, 2015

Practicing Inhibition

 Inhibition is the space between stimulus and response. More precisely, it is the ability to stop, and to delay our response until we are adequately prepared to make it. Inhibition gives us a chance to stop responding habitually, and allows us the chance to have new and improved patterns of movement. - Bill Plake

This morning I was working on a difficult section of Turning the Wheel which quickly fatigues my left hand.  The fatigue arises from having the second and fourth fingers "anchored" on the fretboard throughout the piece.  Initially part of the fatigue may have been a result of the strain of maintaining the rhythm of seven throughout these arpeggios.  While the fatigue has lessened as I've become more comfortable with the piece, there is still a couple transitions that are problematic.

The first one comes a third of the way through the piece where the anchor changes from an interval of a sixth to one of a fourth.  As I began to review this I decided to begin with the last arpeggio before the switch and to practice inhibition in the sense taught in the Alexander Technique before making the transition.  The first three times I did this I notice a slight release in my neck and a tendency to "shorten" my right arm in anticipation.  Allowing the neck and arm to release and lengthen first, I then executed the transition gracefully.

On the fourth attempt I inhibited, allowed the release and choose to do nothing, removing my hands from the guitar.  The next effort I inhibited, did not notice any holding on and then played the transition.  Then on the following inhibition I choose to smile and then not play.  A " negative direction" arrived to play with - I am not holding onto playing this part right.  What freedom this imparted.  One more attempt to apply inhibition and again I choose to do nothing but smile.  While smiling I noticed various photo's in my practice space of friends and loved one.  Immediately I felt supported in these efforts with applying AT, but also supported in the very best sense of the word - by love.

Adding a twist of applying the inhibition before the last few notes of the arpeggio, instead of at the bar line.   This allowed me to actually make the transition "in time."  Then I moved further from the transition point, playing more of the piece to see how this impacted my use when I inhibited.  Valuable information was being processed and my choice one time was to burst out in laughter, a good liberating belly laugh.  I began the piece from the beginning and while getting close to the bar where I would pause to inhibit, I came up with the clever idea of inhibiting my practice of inhibition.  A bit of pride manifested as I chattered in my mind and of course I blew the transition.  At this time I decided it was time for an AT lie-down.

During the lie-down, I decided to continue practicing with inhibition but to let go of working with Turning the Wheel.  To allow the work that had been done to go into long term memory and revisit it in a day or so.  I moved onto working with a part of Stepping Stones, remembering to smile and not take this work, nor myself too seriously.

Photo by Andre Bohrer

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Eliminate Useless Assumptions

Most of our assumptions have outlived their uselessness. - Marshall McLuhan

Perhaps the greatest one for me to loose was I can't.  For years this held me back.  Assumed I could not play guitar as good as my heroes on the instrument, so why make the effort.  Easier to do nothing.  What a loss.  Years of finding peace and comfort through the instrument.  Years of holding back.  Not any more.  Let go of the mask of I can't.

So much of excellence is of course, the art of elimination. - Robyn Scott

What assumption of yours has outlived their usefulness and needs eliminating?

Saturday, February 21, 2015

When Snow and Notes Fall

I was watching a beautiful snow fall this afternoon.  Thoughts about practicing guitar arose and were countered with - I did have a good practice this morning.  True, but I was in a great place, which is always a good time to practice.  Besides I thought I could practice looking out the window as the snow fell.

And it was beautiful - watching snow without concern, while playing.  Can I release the notes as effortlessly, beautifully and uniquely as each snowflake?  Just as the snow cascades from the sky, may the notes release from my guitar with rhythm and space amongst them.  May they blanket the ears of the listener as gracefully as the snow caresses the trees and grass.  May my notes resonate after they have landed continuing to inspire, change, and add to the life of the listener.  May I be as silent as the Heavens from which the snow and music descends.

Photo by Rabiem22

Friday, February 20, 2015

Make a Fresh Choice

The most important thing is the thing most easily forgotten.
 Brian Eno 

Reading this Oblique Strategy of Eno's today I first thought of the Alexander Technique.  How easy it is to drift from action to action without considering how we are using ourselves.  The relationship of the head and neck is the "most important thing" and even when one has experience with AT it is still easily forgotten.  Why is this?  Years of habit built up with a lack of awareness of how we move.

With focused active direction of our thinking before we act, change becomes possible.  Over time the act of directing our thinking becomes a useful habit.  As we experience ease and effectiveness in playing our instruments, injuries heal and our sound improves, the motivation to continue applying AT increases.  But it all begins with waking up again and again and incorporating the technique. 

Old habitual patterns of thinking and use lurk within our complex brains.  With just a few mindless acts they awaken and the struggle continues.  So I pause, inhibit my impulse to do, direct my thinking and either perform the action, do nothing, or make a fresh choice of doing something else.  Lately this making a fresh choice has become a bit more difficult.  I'm not sure why, perhaps I think I have arrived at some level of "good use" that is sufficient.  Perhaps, a bit too much focus on the guitar  and forgetting that how I do one thing is how I do everything.  So if I inhibit and choose a different activity I'm still working with how I use myself and this will transfer to the guitar.  Maybe it's time for a lie-down.

Photo by Ace Bonita

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Go Ask Alice

To see a World in a Grain of Sand
And a Heaven in a Wild Flower,
Hold Infinity in the palm of your hand
And Eternity in an hour.
 William Blake

What level of awareness and insight would this take?

I don't know Alice nor do I know where wonderland is so I have to learn to work within the confines of the mundane.  So I find my breath, sense my body and practice being in the moment.  When I can extend this to the guitar, magic happens.  Or is calling it magic, discounting the work involved?  Rather perhaps life is happening.  Tapped into the flow of energies guiding us, if only for brief instances for this guitarist provides the juice to keep practicing.  Again and again, night after night and practice after practice.

Every now and then I hear something in a note or a phrase and like Alice I know I'm growing.  What commitment to cultivating my awareness do I have?

 Photo by Mark Hillary

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

What If?

What if I did not pick up my guitar tonight?

What if I only stayed with the known?

What if I truly allowed freedom to blossom within?

What if everyone stopped the pursuits they care about?

What if I stopped questioning myself?

Time to make my splash no matter how small.

Is it time to make yours?

Photo by Sonny Abesamis

Monday, February 16, 2015

The Bridge

A bridge begins with a thought, a need.

A bridge is engineered, not haphazardly tossed together. Drawing on and adding to the knowledge and practices of those who have come before, current practitioners inspire those still to come.

A bridge provides safe transit to the other side.  A way to navigate over water or difficult terrain.

A bridge from artistic practice to practice, can provide a way to navigate through the resistance, past feelings of fear, inadequacy or not good enough. 

A bridge requires maintenance, as does the bridge builder.

A bridge is beautiful.

On this day, I am grateful to be a bridge for my ancestors.

Photo by Dave Bloggs007

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Wander For Life

                  Wandering creates the desert - Edmund Jabes

A melody awakes the fingers to find her, inviting the nomad to follow.  Entering in the mystery of the sands of time, a rhythm arises taking the melody to a new dune.  Still, barren, huge moments of lost wonder.  The next note is found, teasing the throat of the composer for more fluid motion.  Notes arriving everywhere like sand in boots.  Dunes arising, obscured by the sun, changed by the wind.  Where is the note which points the nomad home? 

A new space, an odd rhythm - like an oasis providing sanctuary for the melody to expand.  The nomad overhears the lilt of foreign tongues, shadows embellishing the search, stress brought to the form.  Phrases of freedom and foundation arrive from the ocean of fire. With thirst quenched and
 desire strengthened the nomad can not remain in the oasis.  Knowing safety is an illusion, a step away, toward and in the sand is taken.  Another dune arises.  A sandy cliff of possible inspiration or a desperate view of the desert of the unknowing. 

Looking back at the footsteps traced in sand, where to turn, when to turn?  Sound bleached to its essence, be this a song of sorrow, forgiveness, hope or love.  Block the glare and be not immune to beauty.  Listen to the silence of the sand harmonized by the shifting winds, taking in the brilliant hues of sunset and opening to the cool whispers of evening.  Tread softly, nomad, with ears wide open.  Follow the flux, prodding the movement and rupturing stasis.  Listen.  Listen to the wander. 

Reach for the edge of the boundaries with your heart's ear.  Soar within the sands, embrace the heat of the search, and with parched tongue sing again and again.  Respect the scorched bones of other nomads, learn from them and remain in motion.  Seize the journey because life itself depends upon your work.  Be a nomad in search of truth.

Photo by H. Adam

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Heart Strings

Music should go right through you, leave some of itself inside you, and take some of you with it when it leaves. - Henry Threadgill

Sounds like the action of love to me.  As a musician do I cultivate the ability to play in such a way that the heart is stirred?  How might this be?  Do I have a connection with my own heart might be one answer.  Do I have a connection with the listener?  Do I have a connection with something greater? 

May I have the discipline to develop these connections today and always.  If not music, may I at least bring a little love into our World.

Photo by Xanna Ziskey

Friday, February 13, 2015

Daily Practice

What I do each day as I practice life.

Journaling - an effort to inquire what goes on in my life, in my mind, even in my feelings.  Sometime also a diary.

A morning sitting meditation with my wife, often twice a week with a group.

Qi Gong.

Pausing throughout the day to connect with the various practices in my life including the Alexander Technique.

These days a long walk.

Guitar practice/playing.

And for reasons I'm still not entirely sure of a publishing.  One of the things I'm learning with the daily blog is that just like any other practice I've undertaken, some days are better than other.  Life truly is very good. 

All of these practices nourish, inspire and guide me.  They inter-are and connect within me and connect me to the world at large. May you find those practices that do the same for you.

Photo by Wonderlane.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Structure or Cage?

I can't understand why people are frightened of new ideas. I'm frightened of the old ones. – John Cage

Since I retired last May, I have played with a form of poetry Mesostics introduced to me in the work of John Cage.  My poetic efforts have been using the term Structure on most days.  Several Mesostics arising on many days.  Why the obsession with Structure?  Many recently retired people I spoke with before I retired told me this was the most difficult part of retirement for them.  How to structure their day.  A part of me was not overly concerned as I have certain practices, pursuits, and activities in place not dependent on my professional life.  Actually they inform and guide my life; the profession was to pay the bills.  Still in leading up to retirement I thought about how I would structure my days when the confines of business life were no more.  Now I have experimented and continue to develop and explore this structure of refining my life.

Isn't structure a type of cage?  Delineated boundaries; keeping one focused within a certain area for whatever the reasons - music, life, art, business, and on and on.  What's happening at the edge of the cage?  What happens within the limited view I have from within the cage?  What happens to the caged?

My habits form a cage.  My thinking.  My knowledge and perhaps more importantly my lack of knowledge.  How will I approach understanding my cage?  That of another?  Why does the notion of being caged put me off balance?

Time for a walk.

Photo by Paul's Lab.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015


Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Commitment to a Challenge

As described in the post Fail Forward from Sunday, the new piece, Meco, was performed for Joann on Sunday 2/8/15 without a known ending.   I worked with the piece throughout yesterday and at 7:55 pm EST found an ending. Fortunate as I had another performance for Joann scheduled at 9 pm.  Technical issues with the execution of the piece need to be worked out.  Through the power of commitment to a challenge a new piece was born and I continue to learn about the guitar, music, and myself.

And just so the Universe knows, I'm open to another piece arriving this week.

Photo by Tjololo

Monday, February 9, 2015

Will I?

Will I ever play that note again? Any note?

Then best I take care of how I play.

Photo by Ted Van Pelt

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Fail Forward

How to come up with a piece in 24 hours?  Something about having to produce on tight schedule with a deadline provides  creative juices.  I made a quick decision to work with the Phyrgian Major mode that Curt Golden used in a riff a few days back.  Found a beginning last night and a couple places to explore further, before we left to attend a spirited performance by Tia Nina last night.

While working with Meco this morning I have extended the beginning, have a few ideas floating about and a possible ending.  Time for a walk to allow this to settle.  Then back to work.  While the sparks of creativity continue to amaze me, I know that it is the ongoing persistent efforts that bring any piece home.  Showing up day after day, doing what is needed.  I've yet to find a shortcut.

At 9:30 pm I played the piece for my wife.  I did not have an ending, but knew that one might appear during the act of performance.  The end did not appear.  C'est la vie.  But the challenge commited to was honored and there is a good beginning done.  Another performance has been scheduled for tomorrow evening to bring this failure forward.

Saturday, February 7, 2015


The challenge was given to the course in Tepoztlan.  Since I'm participating at a distance, I received the challenge late. Still I made their challenge mine.  Learning and a new piece will come into being. I'll fret and push, but I'll have a new solo piece ready to perform by Sunday night.

The journey may be coarse, wild; and the obstacles thick, but Meco will arrive. 

Photo by Rui Orenlas.

Friday, February 6, 2015

Standing, Just Standing

I stand before my guitar in reverence, for those that have come before me.

I stand before these craftsmen that instruct me, hoping & working to approach their diligence.

I stand in awe of the Creative.

In humility of all that is.

Of all I do not know nor understand.

I ask for help.

Photo by Jon Martin.

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Keep On Stumbling

In the brush doing what it's doing, it will stumble on what one couldn't do by oneself.
- Robert Motherwell

Same holds true for fingers and why improvisation is important.  The mind can lead, as does the heart; but many times it is that stumble of the fingers that finds the chord or notes the mind would not choose.  Keep listening to the stumbles.  Plunge in.  Expect nothing, but listen.  When it's there, be grateful.


Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Opportunities to Cultivate Freedom

Freedom is not given to us by anyone; we have to cultivate it ourselves. It is a daily practice... No one can prevent you from being aware of each step you take or each breath in and breath out. Thich Naht Hahn

During my morning sitting, I came into a relationship with my body.  Developing this relationship can take many forms.  This morning as I sensed my body, I began using the Alexander Technique directions.  Using these simple thoughts of allowing my neck to be free, my spine and back- long and wide, my shoulders wide, and my legs long to introduce freedom in my body.  I moved on to other aspects of my sitting practice and then towards the end of the sitting the Alexander Technique arose in my mind again.  Soon I will be standing.  How will I arrive there?  This is a basic activity we do every day, move from a seated position to standing.  This is also an activity addressed in ATclasses & lessons to illustrate and facilitate freedom in our movement.  The next question that arose was "how many times today will I get out of a chair?"

No idea.  What if I set myself the task of pausing before standing; come back to a relationship with myself, utilize the AT directions and move to standing with awareness?  Might I then step into more freedom throughout my day?  So far I have remembered twice and am soon to rise again, hopefully with awareness.  I'll leave a comment at days end as to how often I remembered.  There is no right answer.  The practice of cultivating of freedom, waking up in any moment, is what is pertinent.  Do to the nature of interbeing, as I cultivate this freedom, it will spread.

Photo by Tom Landretti.

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Doing the Work

Yesterday was very productive for me.  I had many personal items to address.  All of these took longer than I anticipated as is the nature of life. After dinner I had a brief nap with the intention of putting in my 2 hours of guitar work afterward.  I was awakened from the nap by a friend in need. I was happy to respond but did not arrive back home until 9:15 pm.

After a snack and brief conversation with my wife, I went to work at 9:35 pm. I had made a commitment to practice guitar two hours a day while participating with The Orchestra of Crafty Guitarists XI - Preparation Course at a distance.The first hour was relatively easy.  After a five minute break I resumed, looking at the clock and feeling sleepy. At 10:55 pm I paused to do an Alexander Technique lie down.  Oh did my body need this, want this, and then the urge to crawl into bed was so so strong.  At 11:05 pm I was back on my stool.  I asked the course for help.  It did not seem to be arriving so I struggled, rationalized and refocused constantly; only to be distracted by my body and now my feelings.

Then with 20 minutes to go, I had a thought to look at an old score I found cleaning up last week. This score represents an idea I've not been able to complete. The working title is Corvus and dates from 2011. This is revisited about every 6 months.  I can not find where to it wants to go, but I love what has unfolded.  While refamiliarising myself with the notes and structure, energy arrived from the course and from the piece.  Through I mistake, I saw the potential for where Corvus might take off.  After putting away the guitar, I was exhausted.  I then had trouble falling asleep. C'est la vie.

Photo by Magnus Franklin

Monday, February 2, 2015

Performance as a Learning Experience

Last night before I was practiced, I reflected on the gig at Electric Maid  to see what I could learn from the experience. So much happens in a relatively short period of time of a gig.  Interpersonal, intrapersonal, musical, and practical.

Wearing a hat can be useful for a gig.  Saturday night was frigid and the venue on the cool side.  I kept my hat on as I did my sound check and almost immediately adjusted it to keep a stage light out of my eyes.  Two reasons that night, but to keep my eyes free was a real plus.

As happens frequently I sped up the first piece of the set.  The energy of being on stage, ready to go just goes from my nervous system to my hands too intensely at times and on Saturday I had to hold on for the ride.  In the future why not practice the first piece at a tempo quicker than I intend to play, but at least then I can be familiar with the piece at a faster tempo.

Something that I learned from Curt Golden a long time ago paid off Saturday night.  I'm not one to talk between pieces, yet for some venues this is expected and it is another way to relate with the audience.  After I composed the set list a week ago, I looked for the opportunities within it to share something about the pieces and then I rehearsed these thoughts.  Curt pointed out how he'll spend hours refining a musical phrase and then think he can just get up on stage and talk off the top of his head.  Having a sense of what I wanted to say added to this performance.

Have an extra battery at all times.  I thought I had learned this one, but then I would not be listing it here.  When I took my tuner out of the case it was dead.  Where was that second battery I had bought last time?  Fortunately Clint the guitarist from Uncle JoJo let me use his.  I did have my tuning fork but very hard to hear in the venue.

Deciding to drop a piece from the set during the has repercussions that were unforeseen and palpable.
Overall the performance felt strong and engaging.

Photo by Sonny Abesemis.

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Slowly I Turn

The old Vaudeville skit - Slowly I turned ... step by step ... inch by inch just flashed into my mind.

This is how change enters into my life - slowly, thought by thought.  Am I directing those thoughts? Thoughts come and go, many of them unnoticed.  But when I slow down, observe the flow of thoughts, and interject what I want or even need to be thinking, well then life gets interesting.  Possibilities open.  Habits now stand a chance of being redirected.

Beyond slowing for the various moments of our life when we pause, I need an ongoing slowing to watch and direct those thoughts.  To step out of the race to check items off the list and ponder, even evaluate what, how, I am undertaking an action or process.  When the what is guitar related, I have a clear sense of directing the how, but in this afternoon's practice I found myself asking why I was pursuing a certain exercise.  When I clarified the why, the internal struggle relented.   This was accompanied by a slowing down of thinking; better focus on what I was doing. 

However this remains a process, not an event.  Step by step ...