The Sherwood library here in the Portland area recently had a Six Word Story contest.

 A friend of mine who lives in Japan recently moved and wanted some decorating tips.

Two of my voice students and I have been having the same vocal challenges singing certain songs this week.

What do these three things have in common? Absolutely nothing, except I couldn’t pinpoint one topic to focus on in this post, so you’re getting tips re: all three! Lucky you, right?

Right?! 😊

1)  According to the library, ‘There’s a literary legend that Ernest Hemingway, while having dinner with fellow writers of the famous Algonquin Round Table in New York City, bet he could write a story in just six words. They bet not. He grabbed a pen and a napkin and wrote: 

“For Sale: baby shoes, never worn.” 

They paid up and Hemingway called it his best work.

Creativity Tip: Try writing a few six word stories.

I jotted down a few but didn’t like any of them well enough to submit to the contest. It was still fun, though!

Flow is always available. Step in.

I like that, but it’s more like a self-help book than a story.

Two bottles. Three dead. In rehab.

Descriptive, but so heavy!

Why not? It’s early. Come on!

Sounds like fun, but could have led to the preceding!

Please share your six word stories by commenting on the blog!

2) Katie and I were having a Zoom chat and she walked around with her laptop showing me the Tokyo apartment she’d just moved into.  That’s the closest I’ve been to Japan, just seeing outside the windows. Her guided tour reminded me of the time I was separated from my first husband and living in a one bedroom apartment on the top floor of a purple-painted Victorian house in Salem. That place was a haven for me during a difficult time in my life. My good friend Julanne came over to help me decorate.

I’m no interior designer, but I do enjoy beauty, and a cozy, inviting look and feel in my home. I’ve lived in everything from a studio apartment to a large farm house on two acres. My personal style is more shabby chic than sleek metropolitan. Julanne’s specialty is helping a person create a warm and beautiful home using only items already on hand.

Decorating Tip: Arrange items in different small displays by color or theme. You don’t have to have an overall color scheme or theme for the entire house, or even one room. Think pockets here and there. That idea from Julanne has served me well everywhere I’ve lived since. Here are some photos from my own homes, including from where George and I now live.

3) The theme of vocal training this week has been that sometimes awkward transition between first and second register. What goes on here is the larynx tilts as the cricothyroid and arytenoid muscles pass the control baton back and forth as a vocalist moves between the two lowest registers. It’s natural for breaks to occur, along with shakiness and sometimes pitch issues. I’ve been cast in a new musical revue show (four performances mid-May) with the NW Senior Theatre company. Both solos I’ve tried out require multiple first/second register transitions. When performance anxiety hits (which it still does for me when singing solo) and my body tenses, I experience the same thing as my students have this week.

Vocalization Tip: When moving from first to second register, be as resonant as you can possibly be. Crinkle your nose if you have to, be overly nasal, with lots of breath. Get your voice right into the ‘mask,’ or buzzy spot, as it’s often called. It will help you keep power, stay on pitch, and lessen the chances of breaking and that quivery thing.

Here’s a quick video with more information about resonance.

And here’s one about registers.

Happy creating – I’d love to hear your thoughts on the blog!

Love Your Voice & Voice Your Love,