Tag Archives: Travel

Humility Lessons

Yesterday the people working on our car got us a rental. Our piece of junk is in our driveway at the moment because they’re waiting to get an expert mechanic in from I-forget-where. Having the rental is such a blessing, though. I was able to easily get to the studio last night, and we recorded harmony, as well as a potential guitar solo down on my song Autumn Hero. We also got quite a lot of mixing done. For those who don’t know, mixing is where you take each individually recorded piece of a song and get the “levels” or volume of each instrument or voice part right, as well as putting any effects on things.

It’s really awesome that Ken, my producer, happens to be Christian because we pray at the beginning of each session, and we always end up going on ten minute long God-is-awesome tangents. The title of the album that Autumn Hero will be on is, A Song To Sing In The Dark. It’s meant to be a musical declaration that there is always hope because the God of the universe, who is infinite and omnipotent triumphed over darkness, chaos, and death.

So why do I mention the rental car? It has tie-down straps to hold my wheelchair in place. Our regular car does not. I got in a bit of an argument with my mom yesterday because it takes a minute to tie my chair down. I am impatient, and I know that. I realized something else, though. The straps make me feel like I’m on a leash like a dog. They’re a bit of a blow to my pride. I still say that the rental, and even the straps are a blessing because I evidently need to work on humility, as well as patience.

This week we had to be out of the house on Tuesday and for a few hours yesterday because we were having some work done. We’re going up to Maine on Saturday, and we’ll be staying over for the first time. By no means is the house anywhere near permanent livable conditions, so it will basically be like camping. Between working on music, and simply being stuck  out of our MA house quite a bit this week, though, I haven’t got much work done on my book. I was hoping to work on Saturday to make up some lost time. I can obviously bring my laptop to Maine, but we’re going to have company, which means I might not get a whole lot done. I think this is another chance to let God work on me. To be perfectly honest, I do think camping out in the house will be fun.

I could have worked on my book today, but I ended up spending the whole day managing my online music stuff. It took much longer than I thought it would. It was a productive day, though, and I think it was worth the time. What I do, I do for God, not for profit. If profit comes in the end, then that’s a plus. Any creative endeavor is a bit of a dangerous business, though, because it can naturally feed a person’s pride. The other day, I was working on my book, and I had writer’s block. At the end of the day, I gave up, then an idea came to me, and I knew it was from God. I thanked Him, and I later realized that he hadn’t helped me earlier because, though I had asked for help already, I hadn’t really admitted that I couldn’t do what I was doing without His help. I’m good at writing because He gave me that talent.

The True Meaning Of Mobile Home

I just read a blog post by a friend of mine from school. In the past year he took a semester abroad, specifically in Oxford England. In the spring we’ll both be graduating and he’ll be headed to grad school. I mention all of this because his post was about disorientation. He was talking about how he has lived in so many different places in a short period of time, and now his subconscious is losing its idea of where Home is. At the end of his post, my friend posed a question which I have expanded on: what exactly is home? can you take it with you? is it a physical place? What does it take to consider a place or a thing home?

I have a small bag with several compartments hanging off my wheelchair so I can reach it easily. During the school year, it’s generally filled with pencils, pens, folded up handouts that I have yet to file away, etc. However, right now it’s filled with a lot of other things. Right now it’s filled with a small, stuffed frog that I’ve had since I was five, several guitar picks, my notebook that is slowly being filled with new and old song lyrics, my special leopard pen, and an empty assault rifle shell that was used to decimate a pineapple yesterday. All of these things have either good use or happy memories attached to them, and I wonder if in a way, that makes them home.

My family and I got home around 11:30 last night after spending a week and a day camping in Maine. It’s usually very nice to come home from camping, but for some reason, it seemed like the week went by so fast that we weren’t quite as desperate to return as we usually are. Perhaps this is because camping has become the only time of the year we see some of our relatives. My cousin Amber, who is attending Mcgill University, has spent the past three summers there as well, and has decided to permanently plant herself in Montreal. My cousin Chris is now an EMT in Vermont, though he used to live in Maine. My Mom’s cousin Eddie comes down from Bangor Maine. The list goes on.

Sometimes things are very much the same from year to year, and some years we have a whole lot to catch up on at Camp. I have been doing this since I was a year old, and I don’t intend to stop any time soon. I hope that one of these years I’ll have a wedding to talk about, or maybe an apartment or house of my own. Maybe I’ll have a job, or maybe my music career will have taken off.

My brother doesn’t really love camping, but I hope he will continue to come once our parents have no more say in it. I hope he brings his wife and kids years down the road (if he has them, of course). He intends to become a brain surgeon, so that will make things interesting, but everyone has to take a vacation, right? One week during the summer seems reasonable.

All this is to say that I think I wasn’t completely thrilled to come home last night because in a way, Camp is home. I just read a blog post by a friend of mine discussing that particular issue: i.e. what is Home? His post came about as the result of a dream he had. In the dream, he was wandering around a familiar library in a completely unfamiliar place. The city in his dream was a strange combination of Boston, Oxford, and New York, where he has or will be living over the past several years and in the near future. He posed the question of whether or not the concept of Home is dependent on place. He talked about how so many people have no transition period between high school and the “real world,” and this results in a serious reality change that can cause real emotional damage in some cases.

One of my cousins went to a counselor a year or two ago, and he told my Mom that he learned something very helpful: there are essentially two types of people in the world: there are what the counselor called “sails” and “anchors.” An “anchor” he said, was someone who is very stable and will always be there for people. For me, this would be my parents, my brother, and a few of my friends. I know they love me, and I know I can depend on them for anything. I think it could be said that these people are Home.

I have a little pouch with several compartments hanging off the armrest of my wheelchair. This pouch is currently filled with a menagerie of things. It’s filled with my cell phone, my wallet, several guitar picks, a notebook that is slowly being filled with song lyrics, a small, awkwardly heavy leopard pen, a tiny stuffed frog toy, and an empty assault rifle shell from yesterday that was used to decimate a pineapple. My pouch is filled with different things at different times, but so is my life. For me, my pouch is Home. I always know that whatever I need at a given time is in there, even if it takes me a while to find it.

My friend asked the question in his post: can you take Home with you? It depends on what Home is for you. My house, among other things is Home for me, so in that sense no, but in other ways, absolutely. I love my bedroom, with its somewhat tacky color scheme, it’s purple and orange lava lamp, it’s multicolored pillows, its miscellaneous bookshelves, and its assortment of collected things, both worthless and expensive. Songs have been written in here, homework has been done in here, things have been celebrated in here, and tears have been cried in here. I pray in here and sometimes I eat in here. If there was a mini-fridge and a toilet I could live in here. My bedroom is absolutely Home.

I will probably always consider the house on Haverhill Street Home, even though I really don’t like living in Suburbia. I will always want to come back here for Christmas and Thanksgiving, even if, and when I have my own family, my own career, and my own house/apartment. I guess my response to my friend is: yes, Home is dependent on place, but for your own sanity, make sure you can take it with you, too.

Because in my world guinea pigs can fly!

If I Saw You In The Airport

I wrote this story after I wrote a song called “Airport Song.” It’s based off musings about what would happen if I ran into Jesus in a public place. It just happened to be an airport for some reason, and I think it works well. I haven’t really edited it much, but it’s very short. Furthermore, the narrator in the story sin’t necessarily me. She’s sort of based on me, but I’ve altered some details. Anyway, here it is.

If I Saw You In The Aairport

I was on my way to California when I met him. I had never been to California, and now I was going. I was finally going. I was so excited to see the West Coast. I guess I’ve always sort of had an idealized idea of what it’s like. I had never really left New England up until that point, and I was nervous as I checked my bags, got a hot dog and found my gate. The airport was extremely crowded on that day. It was early May, and still a bit chilly in Boston. It had been a long winter, and it seemed, or at least I guessed, that everyone was headed somewhere warm.

Finally I found a place to sit that was slightly less crowded near one of the big windows that look out over the runway. I sat for a moment in silence, rather breathless, and then, to pass the time, I dug out my phone and looked up the weather in San Francisco. Eighty degrees and sunny for the next week. Perfect. I had at least an hour to kill, so I ate my hot dog, played some games on my phone, checked Facebook and called my grandmother. Then I noticed the time and saw that I would be boarding my flight in twenty five minutes.

It was at that moment that a young man, I guessed a few years older than myself walked up carrying only a small carry-on bag with him. He looked tired, and perhaps a bit distracted, but content. When he noticed me watching him he said, “Hello.”

“Hello,” I said. “Are you looking for a place to sit?” There were several empty seats on either side of me at the moment.

He smiled and said, “Yes.”

“Well, sit down,” I said. “Where are you going?”

“I don’t know,” he said as he took a seat. “I’m waiting to see.”

“See what?”

“Who I’m traveling with.”

“What do you mean?”

“I’ll know where I’m going once I know who I’m going with. That’s all.”

“But what if you find out the person you’re supposed to be going with has already left?” I felt that I had been rather cleaver in asking this question.

“They haven’t. I’ll find them before they leave.”

“How can you be sure?”

“Because I believe it.”

It felt to me as if this conversation was going in circles. Clearly this man was crazy.

“I’m not crazy,” he said as if he knew what I was thinking. I figured since I would be leaving in a few minutes that it would be at least interesting to continue the conversation, and I would have a reasonable, not-rude excuse to cut it off if it got weird.

“Alright. I didn’t say you were crazy,” I said patiently.

“You were thinking it, though. Where are you going?”

“California.”

“Have you been there before?”

“No, I haven’t. It’s sort of a little present to myself. I just graduated college.”

“Congratulations,” he said, so sincerely that I was actually touched by this over-used, uninteresting word.

“Thanks… Have you ever been to California before?”

“A few times. I’ve been just about everywhere for my work.”

“Really? What do you do for work?”

“I guess you could say I’m a teacher.”

“Like a traveling professor?”

“In a way.”

“What do you mean?”

“Well, I don’t get paid because I don’t charge my students. I hardly ever spend a whole lot of time in one place, and I’ve never been tied to one institution. All I ask is that people listen, think about it, and spread the word.”

“How do you live if you don’t get paid?”

“I live off the charity of others.”

“Why?”

“It’s part of my teaching. I want people to be kind to one another.”

“I’ve never heard of anyone like you.”

“Are you sure?”

“Pretty sure.”

“Then you’ve misunderstood.”

“Misunderstood what?”

“You’ve misunderstood what you say you believe in.”

I was silent for a moment. I was very confused at this point, and my plane was leaving in just a few minutes, but for some reason I didn’t want to leave. I wanted to know more.

“You’ll miss your flight,” he said, once again reading my thoughts.

“That’s alright… I’ll catch another.”

“I’m glad. I like talking to you.”

“Thanks.”

He was silent for a moment, then he said, “If you could go anywhere, where would you go?”

“Right now, somewhere warm. Anywhere warm.”

“What about Africa?”

“Maybe.”

“Have you ever been to the desert?”

“Well, once when I was very little, but I hardly remember.”

“It can be beautiful, but also unforgiving. I spent a long time in the desert once.”

“Were you lost?”

“No, but I did a lot of thinking. Things were different after that for me.”

“What do you mean?”

“I guess you could say I came into my own. I knew what my purpose was.”

“And what was that?”

“To make the world better than it was before. That’s what my teaching is all about.”

After a moment I asked, “Do you know where you’re going yet?”

“Not yet, but I’m getting an idea.”

We sat in silence for another minute, then I asked, “Would you like something to eat? I’ll buy you something.”

“Alright. Thank you. I appreciate it.”

“Great. Do you like pizza? I saw a pizza place around here somewhere.”

“I’ll eat anything. Pizza sounds good.”

We walked over to the pizza place, and I bought him a couple slices of pizza and a bottle of ginger ale for us to share. When we got back to where we had been sitting we discovered that our seats had been taken, so we wandered around the airport, looking to see where all the flights were going. During this time we didn’t talk much. It didn’t feel like we had to. For some reason I felt very comfortable around this man even though he was a bit strange. I led the way as we walked from one end of the airport to the other. The whole place was very crowded and noisy. There were people standing in long lines waiting for food and sitting around talking about where they were going and what they would do when they got there. I wondered if my new friend was listening to any of these conversations. I didn’t understand what he was looking for in his mystery traveler, and I eventually thought that it might as well be me.

We sat down near a random gate. The flight was leaving for Nebraska in an hour. I thought about buying a ticket for this flight, but dismissed the idea as frivolous.

I asked my friend, “Would you like to go somewhere with me?”

“Yes, I would.”

“Okay. Where should we go?”

“You decide.”

“Well, where haven’t you been?”

“I’ve been just about everywhere. Where haven’t you been?”
I laughed. “Everywhere. I mean anywhere. I’ve hardly left New England.”

“How about Istanbul?”

“Alright,” I said. “Why?”

“Because you haven’t been there.”

“Okay. When should we go?”

“Tonight.”

“What if there isn’t a flight tonight?”

“There will be. Don’t worry.”

“How do you know?”

“It’s meant to be.”

“You wanna bet?”

“No, I don’t.”

“We don’t have any hotel reservations or anything.”

“That’s alright. We’ll manage. We’ll find a place to stay.”

“You’re crazy.”

“A lot of people think so.”

“We haven’t packed the right stuff to go all that way,” I said, looking at his small bag, and thinking of all my luggage, which was now on its way to California.

“Don’t worry about that. You don’t need a whole lot, really.”

I laughed. “Alright. I’ll go with you to Istanbul. Just don’t let me get lost.”

“I won’t. Just stay with me.”

“Alright, but what about my stuff? I missed me flight to California.”

“I’ll take care of it.”

“Really?”

“Yes. Do you trust me?”

“Yes,” I said after a moment. “I do.”

“So it’s settled then.”

“Yes.”

Super Happy Obsession Type Things

I looked at my music page on Facebook a minute ago, and realized that I am now up to 70 “likes.” Of course a large percentage of these people are close friends and family, but you know what? 29 of them are people I don’t even know, which is super cool! Since a lot of you guys who follow my blog are interested in my musical shenanigans, I thought I’d ask a favor: if you’re on Facebook, would you mind going to my music page and hitting the “like” button? You can totally ignore anything I say, but sometimes I post pictures or YouTube videos or random happy things that you might be interested in.

Here is the link:
Katie Rose Curtis Music

In other news…

I played an open mic on Friday (Valentine’s Day), and I met a very nice young man by the name of Nate. We got talking during intermission, and we’ve decided that we’re going to do a musical duo! Last night Nate came to my recording session and put a viola track on my song “Passenger,” which can be heard (without the viola, unfortunately) here:

We’ve actually done quite a lot of work on it since I’ve uploaded this video, but at least you’ll be able to get a sense of the song.

Nearly all the tracking is done for my album, but there’s still quite a bit of mixing to be done. It’s almost time to start planning for the CD release party, which I’m very excited about. I’m thinking about having it possibly in Portsmouth New Hampshire since a large percentage of my fans are Maineiacs. Then again, it could end up being anywhere between Portland and Boston.

In terms of actual work that still needs to be done, almost all of the songs are finished or close to finished, but they need a little extra help from Brian, who works at the studio and plays keys, or Nate on strings.

I’m really hoping at some point to have a music video made for my song “One,” which is essentially a love peace and harmony manifesto. I don’t really have any great ideas for it yet, but if I get it professionally done (which would be ideal) I’ll probably have to save up for a while first. Hopefully I’ll make a bit of money from the CD release and iTunes sales.

I also really need to look into copyrighting this stuff as soon as it’s finished.

Realistically, though, getting out and performing more will be the most difficult part of this whole package at first. I don’t drive, and I can’t have my parents drive me all over creation all the time. Hopefully that problem will be somewhat solved if Nate and I end up performing a lot together, but getting from point “A” to point “B” is less of a problem than having help with the restroom once I get to wherever it is I’m going.

Another concern is balancing my last year of college with making sure I get out there and perform as much as possible. Ideally I’d like to get signed to a label because that should be a help with expenses and could help solve the travel problem. I have a lot of research to be doing in the next few months, but it’s all very exciting.

Something that I always have to keep in mind is that I’m doing this project for God, and I’ve been praying that he leads me through it and leads me with it. I also hope he will use it to lead other people to him. A long time ago, when I was just learning to play guitar, I asked God to help me have success with music and in return I would use it to glorify him. That deal seems to be working out quite well, so I’m thankful for that.

Because in my world guinea pigs can fly!

Northbound

It’s raining. Sometimes I think rain is a sign of good luck. It always rains when I do an open mic. I usually pick a few dates per month to perform, and it invariably rains on those days. We’re leaving for a week to go camping in Maine tomorrow. Camping in the rain is awful, but the forecast looks good for tomorrow and the rest of the week. We have a few super fun plans for this trip. The first thing on my list is to go to my uncle’s house and learn to shoot a gun. It just seems like it could be fun. I would probably never own one, and I’m not exactly a fan of hunting, but just shooting at targets or something seems like it could be enjoyable. It’s just something I want to try.

My brother and cousin and I are planning to organize a Capture the Flag tournament. Whichever team wins 2 out of 3 games will win. We’ll have one game at night and one during the day and we’ll have a tiebreaker if we need to. Most of my mom’s extended family comes, so we’ll have plenty of people to play.

We also do a mile swim every year. I’ve only made it all the way a handful of times, including last year. Of course I’m going to shoot for it again this year. I’m usually the last one to finish, but I think the trick is to take it slow. It’s not really a race; we just like to see who can make it the whole way.

I’m also organizing a talent night with another cousin. We did it last year for the first time, and it actually turned out okay. It probably would have been better if the weather had been nicer. Last year was specifically a jam night; meant for musicians only, but this year we’re doing a talent night to hopefully get more people. There are plenty of odd people with odd talents at camp, so I figured we’d get everyone we could. I think our other mistake was that we were trying to get people to sign up ahead of time, but this year I think we’ll just do it free-for-all style. Last year the rangers let us use the amphitheater where they show movies on Saturdays and Thursdays. They show a lot of Disney movies, which is fun. I made my cousins watch “Chicken Run,” and I think they’re still scarred.

Because in my world guinea pigs can fly!