In Life As Well As The Gym, Do It Badly

                                 In Life As Well As The Gym, Do It Badly                                        

You don’t need to train and strain to make your muscles grow. You need to repeat. That’s all. If you do a thing long enough benefit comes of it.

There is no single ‘must do’ exercise that can’t be replaced with something else.   Be clever, be creative, use your noodle. You can find substitute practices that achieve the same result.

You have a bone structure that makes you better at some exercises than others: long arms, short arms, long legs, short legs: Find out who you are and don’t kill yourself trying to put toe up your nose. Look at others, learn from them, be inspired, then do it your way. Take flexibility: there will be borders you’ll never cross.   Learn about them. Accept them. Focus on your own body and its limitations.

Take your time. Don’t rush. Slow is good. Fast makes it more difficult to focus mentally take apart what is happening in your body.

Interestingly enough, there is a gene called COL5A1 which is linked to a hereditary level of flexibility. One version of the gene means you’re quite flexible, the other means you’re not. Don’t be embarrassed or disappointed because you aren’t a spaghetti or, as an older person with less active growth hormone your muscles don’t bulk up as quickly as they did when you were young – or at all.

There is a point at which you’ll stop making obvious improvements; but don’t stop practicing whatever it is you practice. The benefits become more subtle, more refined.  More energy, stability, self-knowledge. It’s quite enough to stretch what’s tight and strengthen what’s weak and notice that your powers of observation are greater than they were. Nothing stays the same. You’re either going up or you’re going down. Even when you don’t notice either.

Resistance is a good training. Good to observe, good to exploit. For example, when doing yoga poses, reach the point of resistance and wait it out, staying as long as you can. Use resistance in your daily life too. Push against tables, your knees, the door frame. There are dozens of ways to be creative using the principle of resistance.

One more thing: if you work hard all of the time, you’ll start to notice little aches, pains and tears everywhere. Be sensitive. Pace yourself. Learn when to push and when to let go – in life as well as in the gym.

Your body isn’t a machine. Rest it. Work hard but don’t kill yourself.

 

People Ask: How I Accomplish What I Accomplish

People Ask: How Do I Accomplish What I Accomplish

I can only accomplish what I do because I have time. Time is the key. I can play with it, use it as I will: sit in the bath for an hour with a paper scrap and write, dry my hair or dishes and think about an idea, follow it up.

I can make no appointments, zero obligations to the outside world — unless I want them. My selections dance around in atoms. Life is my GPS.

Going nowhere, with no pointer, still I seem to accomplish.

June 17,2015

 

2012 in review Arlene Corwin Poetry have-a-look

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

The new Boeing 787 Dreamliner can carry about 250 passengers. This blog was viewed about 1,500 times in 2012. If it were a Dreamliner, it would take about 6 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

The Now Again 2012

The Now – Again

 

What a science!  If I’m at the sink doing dishes, and if I remember the slightest thing that hasn’t to do with the dishes, my being-ness has lost that moment and gone into the past or future.  On the other hand, if I’m aware of devoting the dishwashing to, say, God,the action can indeed take place on two levels: the devotional and the active.  But one doesn’t say “devote, devote, devote..,”.  One takes that microsecond of devotional aim and goes back to the feel of the hand, the sight of the dish, whatever sense is dominating.  It’s subtle.  Senses and intellect hold the now – or should.  Desire and wish belong to the non-now; take away from the now.  (I’m thinking this through as I write – spontaneity.  But I also have the tv on.  Non-now.  Non-spontaneity.)  Subtle.

February 15, 2012

 

A’s Food Diary 2007

07.7.28 A’s Food Diary

The world may be going to hell in a wheelbarrow, but for most of us, at least those of us who are reading this (you do own a computer after all – a sign of some privilege) food choices are more abundant than ever, nutritional information more accessible.

It’s mostly a matter of training or re-training the mind to choose correctly at every food moment, and since eating goes on all of your life, you’ve loads of moments in which to practice [choosing] – from what to how to when you will eat.

Food is nice. I can’t think of a more pleasurable way to develop the character.

It’s always a balance between nutrition, cost, time, imagination and what’s at hand. This little tract is written for those who know their way around a kitchen – who have a feel for amounts and bulk and the tastes of things.

It is possible to look at a recipe and sense the taste just by reading the ingredients. It comes with time – and experience in the kitchen.

Cooking is, in fact a form of yoga. It even has a proper name: Anna Yoga. Since yoga presupposes and teaches focus and concentration, cooking as a form of yoga leads to spontaneity, creativity, correct judgements and a good meal. Cooking a means and goal.

If you like to eat, Anna yoga is for you. If you’d like a means to change your life, cooking might be just the answer. Food!

Bondage of Attachments 2007

07.7.2 The bondage of attachments: I read that in the Dhammpada this morning. After my morning coffee, always extra sharp and receptive, I thought, “I’m working on it, boy, (that’s my teenage self expressing it in the strongest known language) – boy, is it ever hard!)

This consumption thing, this morphine of pleasure, this burden of holding on in boredom, in anality, this heroin/amphetamine of wanting more to maintain the, the what? The time, I think. Time wants to be filled and it prefers easily accessible pleasure. The mindless kind.

I know a woman who goes to flea markets, otherwise known as flee markets, every weekend. The stairway up to the bedrooms is lined, crowded, a safety risk. The living room downstairs is tidily stuffed with ornaments, all in glass cabinets specially bought, on shelves specially built, on table tops meant for space. What comes in never goes out.

Her husband, dear man, is resigned, stoic. Accepting her ever provided layer cakes, he devotes himself to his choral group and keeps his eyes on the piano scores. “My wife likes to collect things. There’s more upstairs.”

She’s hooked. He’s drowning. He’s bone thin. She’s well rounded.

See poems:Our Times, Our Culture;Things; You Have To Be Focussed To Live In America;Things Get Dirty

Arlene Corwin’s Open-Ended Biography

Arlene Corwin’s Open-Ended Biography 

(10.3.2007 updated 10.24.2007 updated 1.3.2008 updated April 2012 updated August 2017)

 

Arlene Corwin (born Arlene Faith Nover) is an American jazz singer and pianist, poet, teacher and practitioner of Yoga. Born November 8, 1934 in the Williamsburg Maternity Hospital, Brooklyn, New York. She has two children. Jonathan Eric Corwin (born July 24. 1956 and) Jennifer Nover Council (born February 2, 1964). Mother Margy Lillian (born Brown). Father Albert S. Nover. Both were hairdressers, owning a beauty salon together. Everyone was musical on both sides of the family. Mother sang, could play some piano. Father was a gifted sculptor and wood carver.
Early Life

Started studying piano age 8. Studied voice at the famous 1650 Broadway with ‘coach’ Matty Levine. Did a little recording at aged 10 in Nola studios. (The record has since disappeared) At 12 she started studying harp with Meyer Rosen (Julliard and NBC Orchestra) and the occasional piano lesson with an NBC pianist who taught her how to read chord changes, seeing at once that she was not interested in learning classical piano.

As a child she had already sung at weddings, bar mitzvahs and for the USO, raising bonds for the wareffort. At 13, having a boyfriend who played the saxophone and who listened to Symphony Sid, jazz disc jockey whose late night show originated from Birdland, she awakened to jazz, listening to the late night show “under my blanket”. “A turning point”, she says. (Well before “Lullaby of Birdland” was put to words Arlene had written a lyric of her own – a lyric she still sings today) At 14,she was playing for a dancing school once a week. Then she got an accidental job (“slipping in on a banana peel when the singer got sick”) in a Brooklyn nightclub singing with a group. “Mom and dad chaperoned, of course”.

 1950s She began to sing regularly when again, out of the blue, an agent rang offering a job for a hundred dollars a week to play at the Mayflower Hotel in Manhattan. It was a restaurant owned by Bob Olin, a former light heavyweight world champion. “I was so naïve I played the whole evening without ever taking a break. Who knew about breaks? Why they kept me I’ve no idea.” But they did and the steady salary of $100.00 a week (which she gave directly to her mother, any other choice never occurring to her) and the experience of having to make a varied program led to her singing to the piano, and eventually to playing to the singing. At this time she was still in high school as attending the prestigious High School of Music & Art as a harpist.She graduated from Music & Art getting a scholarship to Hofstra College as a music major.Then in 1952, while still at Hofstra College (now university), she was playing on the weekends in a Hempstead, Long Island nightclub-restaurant when Slim Gaillard, who’d come to see Jack Teagarden (also working there) began to take notice of her. He started showing up regularly. There he met Arlene’s mother Margy, and the two eventually opened a jazz nightclub, the first to cater to blacks and whites. It was called The Turf and it, like Birdland had its own radio show, for which Arlene wrote the theme song “The Slim Gaillard Show“. Now she was standing as well as sitting, getting a chance to sit in and sing as often as she chose. The die was cast. It was jazz, cool jazz.

Early Influences
In 1954, on the day she ought to have been attending her college graduation, she married Bob Corwin, a 21-year-old jazz pianist with the Don Elliot Quartet. Because Bob toured, Arlene began her new stage of education: listening to Don’s group while they played on the same bill as the jazz greats of the 50’s. There was Helen Merrill at George Wein’s Storyville in Boston, Terry Gibbs and Illinois Jacquet in Detroit, Bill Evans, Cy Coleman, Bernard Peiffer, Tal Farlowe,Johnny Smith John Mehagan and Billy Taylor (who had also performed at the Turf) at the sophisticated Composer in Manhattan. ” It was also a chance to see and listen to other singers of the day. New York was marvelous in those days. I saw Peggy Lee at Basin Street, Blossom Dearie at Trudy’s in the village, Oscar Peterson, Marian McPartland at the Hickory House, Sheila Jordan, Morgana King. It was THE university for me. I was introduced to Tony Fruscella, the tragic, unsung genius of the trumpet, ‘who I took on my gigs, but to whom I was actually the apprentice’ – and through Tony to Morgana King and Beverly Getz, the talented [and equally tragic] wife of Stan Getz. I feel blessed to have experienced jazz at that time. The guys would gossip about who played ‘behind’ or ‘ahead’ of the beat, bass lines, good changes, bad changes. No Music & Art or Hofstra did that. I learned almost the whole of what is now called The American Songbook. And I, I was sounding like Sarah Vaughn with a little voice.”
Hanging Around Manhattan; Not This, Not That…
Living in New York, and looking for a niche she spent time, as other musicians did, at the Musicians Union Local 802 or Charlie’s Tavern where jobs could show up. In this way, there were weeks and weekends away with big bands: Tommy Dorsey’s Orchestra under the leadership of Warren Covington, Claude Thornhill and Larry Sonn.
1959-60 a member of the original John La Salle Quartet/opened the Dick Kollmar/Left Bank New York nightclub. (In and of themselves they were important and those in the know or, who are interested will look them up).

“When you hang around New York all kinds of opportunities show up”. And so, she got a leading role in a B film called “Jukebox Racket’, wrote the score for another B film called, at the time “She Should Have Stayed In Bed”, later to be called ‘1,000 Shapes Of A Female: see IDMB (the company, called Exploit Films was owned by Errol Flynn “tall, big in every way, veins on his face, but exuding old world charm” He was quite, quite overwhelming.”

Then there was a bit part in John Cassavetes “Shadows“, followed by the lead in what has become a cult ‘beat’ musical called “The Nervous Set” by Fran and Jay Landesman where she introduced the now-standards “Spring Can Really Hang You Up The Most and “Ballad Of The Sad Young Men“, both subsequently recorded by Ella Fitzgerald, Shirley Bassey and numberless major artists. She studied acting with Joshua Shelley. “It was a time to find out who and what I was. “I was definitely not an actress. I was too introverted and none of those clothes fit” she says.

More Influences and more Not This, Not That…
In 1959 she met Johnny Burke (Burke & Van Heusen) who took her under his wing, taking her to Hollywood to demonstrate his show “Donnybrook” for Rosalind Russell and husband, producer Frederick Brisson “It was a glitzy time. I stayed at Bob Hope’s house in Palm Springs, met Frank Sinatra and his then fiancee Juliet Prowse, Jerry Lewis, Marlene Deitrich, had my own suite in Las Vegas , traveled first class, but was so introverted I always kept to myself, never saying much, definitely not participating in any of these scenes. Those clothes didn’t fit either.”

All the while she returned to the intimacy of New York supper clubs. They were the bottom line, singing and playing.

It was during the supper club period, she met Al Weissman who became her manager. She was signed to the Joe Glazer Agency and began to tour with her own trio. “Wherever I went they’d say, “You know, there’s just been a girl here who sounds like you. Her name was Barbra something. I suppose we had Brooklyn Jewishness in common. ” (She too was signed with Glazer.)

Although published by Frank Publishing (owned by composer Frank Loesser) years later she asked for the songs back because “nothing happened.” “It was a period of promise, a period I was not equipped to fulfill”.

1960s-1970s
In 1962 it was back to Hollywood with Al Weissman and high hopes. “I had some jobs, but never in my genre.” Back to New York. A little jaunt of songwriting with singer Dick Haymes. A short marriage of four months to Richard Robin Palmer.

Greece, Lebanon, Greece, Oxford – Yoga & Jazz

In 1966, by way of Paris, Greece (where she and husband Jim Council were neighbors with Leonard Cohen and Marianne) and Lebanon, “where I actually managed to do some television, singing jazz”,  she settled in Oxford, England for the next 18 years, teaching yoga,(“lectured and demonstrated in what must have been a hundred Women’s Insitutes, posed for one of the very first health magazines called Health & Fitness, wrote articles on nutrition, had a weekly radio spot on a little radio show for BBB Oxford actually doing Yoga on radio while describing each pose with a microphone up my nose, did a tape on meditation – it was a lot of Yoga”) and  singing and playing, being voted Best Jazz Singer in the Midlands 1972, appearing at Ronnie Scott’s three times. She did 3 television shows; a late night BBC jazz show called “In The Cool Of The Evening“, radio for BBC overseas, was invited over to Amsterdam to do Dutch radio, sang at universities around England, (“one night opposite Pink Floyd, “who were just starting out, I suppose”), the American air bases.

 She appeared several times at The Stables in Wavendon (run by John Dankworth – now Sir John Dankworth – and Cleo Laine –now Dame Cleo Laine – while at the same time giving weekly yoga lessons to a group there, (which included Dame Cleo – “a wonderful yogin”.The Wavendon All-Music Plan,later known simply as WAP “was the most stimulating and original enterprise I’ve ever encountered, pairing all kinds of musical genre. I even played on the same bill as Vladimir Ashkenazy.”  Starting in 1969 and all during the 70’s fate gave a push to the yoga side of things and Arlene was teaching yoga classes in doctor’s offices for hyper-tense, cardiac and overweight men. teaching regularly at conferences for IBM. She gave demonstrations, lectured all over for the Women’s Institute, posed and wrote for Health and Fitness Magazine (summer issue 1982) a book called The New Manual Of Yoga by Karen Ross (1973) wrote articles on nutrition, made a cassette called This Is Meditation. It was a full double life with Yoga taking half the time and singing the other half.

1980s to now
 In 1983 she once again ran into Slim Gaillard – this time in London. He asked her to appear on a television show he was producing that was to star himself, Kai Winding and Wayne Shorter. It was the last appearance she ever made in England.In 1984, finding Sweden fertile ground for singer/pianists, and meeting and falling in love with Kent Anderson, she moved to Sweden where she lives until today, performing, and writing regularly for “Live With Good Intentions” an online magazine.
Still growing, still changing

2009 and 25 years later, aged 75: a cd of her own songs for Imogen Records produced by George Reece, a concert of Johnny Mercer to commemorate his 100th birthday, poetry grown to 2000 poems (see Arlene Corwin Poetry).

August 2017 poetry numbers update: 4400 poems!!! ((t can’t be!)

2009 finds her favorite project on Google called Arlene Corwin’s Poetry, a project that started in 1949 or about 2,000 poems ago.

2010 Published: Circling Round Time (Xlibris) available Amazon.com/Barnes&Noble

2010 Published: To The Child Mystic (Authorhouse) available Amazon/Barnes&Noble

2011 Published: The Processes: Creative, Thinking, Meditative (Xlibris)available Amazon/Barnes&Noble

2011 Published: Circling Round Woman (Xlibris)available Amazon/Barnes&Noble

2011 Published Circling Round Vanities (Xlibris)available Amazon/Barnes&Noble

2012 Published: Circling Round Our Times, Our Culture (Xlibris)available Amazon/Barnes&Noble

2012 Published: Vaguely About Music (Xlibris) available Amazon/Barnes&Noble

2013 Published: Love Relationships (Xlibris) available Amazon/Barnes&Noble

2013 Published Circling Round Eros + 2 (Xlibris) available Amazon/Barnes&Noble

2014 Published Circling Round Yoga, Science, War & Cats (Xlibris) available Amazon/Barnes&Noble

2017 Published Circling Round Everything 2015-2016 (Xlibris) available Amazon/Barnes&Noble

As of 2017: 4400 poems!  (Can it be?)

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