Posted by: leslieellissing | December 21, 2010

Merry Christmas Everyone

My new friend Journalist Melanie Hulick, who did a wonderful story on me back in March, has included me in her Christmas wrap up – if you click twice on the image it becomes big enough to read! How fun. Thanks Melanie, for fitting me in  –  between cookie batches, work, snow and husband. I send you great thanks! xxxoooLeslie

Posted by: leslieellissing | December 5, 2010

Nothing for a Year?

Isn’t that interesting? I hustled like crazy to launch my new web site and the two new blogs and posted my last entry here in December of 2009…and that was that. Nothing for a year.

Well, not really nothing. Actually I’ve been square dancing with too many somethings all year and before I knew it was do-si-do, spin your partner round and round and…oh, lookie there another year is gone.

Since we are talking about a year, here, I’ll tell you about it in brief but detailed notes.

January started off slowly, as I think all Januarys should. After all the Holiday Hoo-Hah, it’s best to rest at the top of the year.

In mid-winter I embarked on the heart-breaking journey of shutting down my dear Aunt Joan’s life and even now 11 months later, I’m not through. No task has ever made me feel so incredibly arrogant in assuming I could take over someone else’s affairs and put them all to rest; But, I guess someone had to do it when she took a turn for the worst last November and, since she had asked me to, I felt obliged.

The Insurance claims needed to be filed and re-filed and re-filed; the credit cards needed to be canceled; the car needed to be sold; a Lawyer needed to be retained; there was OOOOooooodles of paperwork that needed to be sifted through and again insurance claims that needed to be re-filed. The house got sold. The stuff got packed and, once again, I bowed my head to the passing of a childhood home; a memory and a person with whom I have been in tight allegiance since I was first able to breathe. Only this time, I get to watch her die by degree. Sometimes I wonder about mercy.

In February I ramped up again with songwriting, voice overs, auditions and singing; both live and in studio. Writing with young artists, seasoned writers, hit writers and new friends is a blessing and I love it anyway I can get it (well, mostly). Songs at 11.

In early Spring Robin Ruddy and I made some fantastic demos of some of our new songs at  her and Larry’s fabulous Parlor Studio. The sessions were…well, sessions, but the results very uplifting. This is the time on Sprockets where we pitch and pitch and pitch. Fingers crossed.

I did several live gigs with Todd and Casey; started performing live with Robin Ruddy and Holland Marie and had a great time doing rounds with Judy Rodman, Jon Robbin, Alex Call, Chip Martin, Jim Parker, Janet McGlaughlin and Ron Wallace.

Casey and I sang on the Grinders Switch Radio hour, opened for Jimmy Fortune in Virginia, IL and I sang “My Heart Will Go On” for an audience of uniformed vets in Austin, TX and got a standing ovation before the song was even over.

Over the year we played in Louisiana twice, Illinois, Virginia, Florida, Alabama 3 times, Tennesee, North Carolina 1/2 dozen times, Texas, Massachusettes, Arkansas, a bunch of times in Nashville including a fantastic late show on St. Patrick’s Day with Todd and at Bjoro Haaland’s 25th anniversary appearances at the Norsk Hostfest in Minot, North Dakota.

Casey and I finally got a new roof which they finished at 5pm the night that the great Nashville Flood storms started in May and I felt like somehow I was being looked after. But then 2 short months later, we lost our sweet kitty boy and my companion of 13 years when his little body asked to be released. I still miss him every second. And so go the ups and downs; feelings of gratitude and loss. C’est la vie.

As I was catapulted into Fall, and just in time for weeks and weeks of out of town shows, I suffered a hard-drive perfect storm that destroyed every file I’ve ever had; songs, recordings, photos. And, I realized how spiritually valuable my work is to me and that I was willing to pay whatever it took to get it back. It was all recovered though I’m still recovering from the bill!

On a recreational note, I managed to sneak out of town to visit my dear old buddies in Denver, CO, Beth and Randy; and on a “girls weekend” with my friend Alex in Atlanta for an antiques fair and many adult beverages…oh and a movie tavern. Recreating is fun; who knew???

I auditioned for dozens of spots on “Army Wives”, “Drop Dead Diva” and on and on and finally I landed a small role in a feature film called “Firebird” which I filmed in October. It was a fantastic guerrilla-style shoot that was fun and, with any luck, I won’t end up on the cutting room floor.

I danced like I was a kid again on a number of occasions to the ConSoulers’ soulful and funky sound, even when I was the only one on the dance floor. It’s so great to move with no thought or anxiety as to where you’re going; just around and around…hey, why not? I’ve got plenty of Advil.

I managed to get my tree up for the holidays, which was once again a most sweet journey through my life told through ornaments. And, while I thought things would be slowing down in December…it doesn’t look like it’s going to happen.

It’s been a roller coaster of a year. Highs and lows and not much in between but in writing this I’m reminded that last New Year’s Eve I said to myself, “In 2010, I vow to be engaged in every second of my life. I want to feel so alive that I drop into bed each night without another ounce of energy for another anything”. Careful what you wish for. Being so alive is not for the faint of heart.

Posted by: leslieellissing | September 14, 2009

I Wonder As I Wander

The Summer has come to an end but it feels like so much more than just the beginning of Fall and the end of the dog days.

Over the past few months I have been working on so many multilevel projects, I have almost lost track of what detail or what vendor is for which project. I have hacked away daily at the obstacles, disappointments and growing actuals – why do we even bother making budgets? But I’ve almost completed all the projects: new CD, new video, new t-shirts, new website, 2 blogs and each of these has taken intense focus and energy.

At the same time there have been many beginnings and endings: New songs have been written and new co-writers have entered my life; 2 babies have been born; we lost some friends and we’ve seen one ravaged by drugs; Aceman is out of the woods (that’s a miracle right there); I started a book idea, ended a friendship that was eating away at me, spent healing time with my family and watched with a heavy heart as my brother left with my magnifi-kids for a year in Rome – all of this over the summer.

I feel weary and reflective at a time when I should be ramping up for the next phase. My problem is I don’t have a clear sense of what that will involve or what is right around the corner.

And so I wonder as I seemingly wander – Christmas letdown from the flurry of activity and a sense of insecurity about what I’m about to face. If there was ever a time to surrender, it’s now.

This always happens to me, though. I think of it as the”calm before the storm” or the “making way for the new” where I quietly mourn the loss of all things familiar and once again prepare to blindly move through new terrain, unsure of what to expect. I clean out the old thoughts, attachments and habits to make way for the new energy I have been whipping up to move in and sweep me off my feet. Interesting that it should happen at the most dramatic time of new beginnings.

Goodbye dog dayz. Welcome Autumn.