hello and cello!

 

Hello blog!

Well, it appears I’ve got JewelWing.net up and running!  Almost mostly!  I do stil really loathe the WP CMS, but at least I found something that I can work with – and that has music players and podcast players when I want them, and allows for embedding from other audiobook/podcast/music streaming sources if I’d like that.  So…all in all, a win!

Which is to say, I claim victory over a brand-new-to-me CMS and shall now do a victory dance, although you don’t get to see it 😀

Why did I create another website?  Well, IvyTaraBlair.com was very much intended for my audiobooks, and I wanted to have a business name that covered more aspects of what I do. 

I’m a musician, I’m a photographer, I dabble in podcasting – though I must admit I’m very hiatus on them right now!  I started podcasts because I was between books, whereupon *three books in a row* descended upon my extremely grateful head, absorbing the past 7 months!  I produce my own audiobooks – thus am an editor and producer as well.  I am going to be producing an audiobook for Cinnabar Press – which published Not My Ruckus (so so so amazing a book, seriously guys – LISTEN TO OR READ NOT MY RUCKUS BY CHAD MUSICK.  It’s just…a book that will devastate you and yet you’ll want to come back to it and celebrate with it. okay, parenthetical freak-out over!) – and, again, audiobook producing is very different than audiobook narration, so that’s a new category, too 🙂  In the year of the pandemic, i finally relented and let myself start to use twitter as if I’m a real human, rather than using it to put out 5 posts when I have an audiobook release – so there’s been a goodly amount of tweeting!

And on top of all of these things, there are upcoming projects that will *also* be featured here, that aren’t strictly audiobook related.  Basically?  I expanded the scope of what I wished to put under one roof – and thus JewelWing.net 🙂

Just like I haven’t been much of a twitter person until recently, I haven’t been much of a blog person in aeons.  And I thought, well, as long as I’m creating a website that is no longer only an Audiobook Portfolio Site…I might as well start blogging again, too.  We’ll see how well I can keep up with that!

I have even considered doing some, well, lets say ‘light weight vlogging’ ??  I’m a semi-professional photographer, so I have the gear I need to do a reasonable vlog; the question is, how much would Ienjoy that?  I really don’t know!  So I think I’m going to try it and find out! 

….oh my… a thought – vlogging in my very Apocalypse In Progress hair 😀  Which consists of a #2 clipper attachment LOL  I go from ‘cute velvet silvery head’ to ‘fluffy silvery dandylion head’ depending on how recently the  clippers have been employed!  Alas, I want my haircut back.  I am lucky enough (unlucky enough?) to be in vaccine phase 1b rollout, and my jab is scheduled for a couple of days from now – so gosh, I guess haircuts are something that I can do without endangering anyone!  ….time to stop applying clippers to my head and let my dandylion fluff grow out!  ANYWAY – video!  I think it will depend a lot on a project coming up that might work well with video.  We’ll see 😉

So, yes!  Many things!

Since I haven’t written much about me (previous site being focused on audiobooks only, I kept my posts related to that…and then they got lost in a site-collapse LOL), some factoids!  I have a border collie I adore, two grown children I adore, a spouse I adore, and 3 cats who make all of us laugh all the time.  I am not allergic to the humans, but I am allergic to all of the animals, alas!  But if I don’t fur actually on my face, and if we keep air purifiers running, I can co-exist with all the furry critters, which is good because they make life so fun.

I live in Montana, where the offleash border collie friendly hiking literally surrounds us in every direction.  Collie and I go hiking all the time.  Hiking got a bit interrupted after I got covid last year, cause damn that thing wipes you out even if you have a ‘mild’ case (mild was still the sickest I’ve been in 25 years).  But I love to hike, and I’m damn lucky to live a stone’s throw from All The Hiking.

I’m an avid cyclist.  I got a leash attachment for my bike this spring!  And Wish the collie is learning to trot next to the bike, it’s really fun!  We won’t be able to bike in the truly hot weather, but spring and fall I’m really looking forward to puppy biking 🙂

I’ve been a photographer for a couple of decades, primarily candids and big outdoors-y things.  Photographs will undoubtedly show up here 🙂

I’m a breast cancer survivor, and a very fortunate one.  It was caught early, it was surgery-ized completely, I didn’t need chemo or radiation, and it’s about the most common ‘survive till you’re 85 and die of something else entirely!’ variety of breast cancer.  Was it scary?  Probably.  Did I focus on that?  Clearly not!  It’s still something I’m processing, even now a few years after.  Cancer – don’t get it, kids.  0/10 experience, do not reccommend! 

I have a whole host of conjoined comorbid illnesses that are boring to recount, but suffice to say they add up to constant fatigue and very intermittent functioning.  About the only thing I could be is an audiobook narrator!  Because I record in my home studio, and can always make it across the house and sink down into another world in front of my microphones.

And how the heck did I end up BEING an audiobook narrator??  Man, there are probably a thousand paths to this strange work – but mine was pretty much ‘shot out of a cannon, straight line to current location.’  I’ve been recording myself since I got a tape recorder as a little kid.  Rapidly I appropriated a second tape recorder so that I could sing harmony with myself and record that LOL  I have recorded books for friends, for myself, and eventually someone said, ‘Tell me again, why aren’t you doing this professionally?’  So I jumped in and started learning the ropes of the actual biz side of things – at which I am just not good LOL! 

But what I most wanted to find as a narrator, was a small press that I could work with consistently.  As I began building a catalog of audiobooks, I sent auditions to all kinds of small publishers, and just got nowhere with it.  I knew my narration style was off the beaten track, and that wasn’t going to change, so after a while I just…decided to stop wanting, and simply to wait and see what happened.  And what happened was a pandemic; and suddenly we were alll communicating online, and so I decided to use twitter as it’s meant to be used – to interact, to make connections, to comment on the world and have conversations about it.  Out of that came an author who handed me two quick books in succession and champions my work whenever he gets a chance (THANK YOU PHIL!!), and, at long last, a small press as off-beat and questing as I am – Cinnabar Press.  I am so fortunate to have been found by them, and to have their steady confidence in and celebration of my work.

But Ivy, I hear you saying, why are there cello photographs at the top of this post??

Well, one thing I was avidly for years was a cellist.  And then something happened, and i stopped playing.  But recently, cello started calling my name again.  I never thought it would; I sold my gorgeous beloved cello and bow to a young man on his way to conservatory, and was glad my custom made instrument was going into the hands of someone who would play it for a zillion hours.  I was sad, but for whatever reason, cello was simply ‘over’ and I just didn’t think much about it.  I could hear cello music and enjoy it, I could see cellists playing and enjoy that (have you seen Apocalyptica play?? go watch a video, dAMN!).  I simply felt no draw toward it, and that was okay.

And then…the other day I saw the video of Yo Yo Ma playing cello in the waiting room of the vaccine clinic where he went for his second vaccination – what an amazing and generous man Yo Yo Ma has always been! – and a switch flipped in my head, and Cellist became an ‘I’ identifier once again.  So I had the fantastic fortune to find the fantastic sounding cello in the photos up there, just *exactly* the cello I want, right when I went looking for it…and now it’s on its way here.  To me.  For me to play.  Cello has come back to me.

Will you ever hear cello audio files posted here as Yet Another Thing Ivy Does (!) ?  I don’t know 🙂  I’ll have to re-learn everything about playing, and I know for certain I’m not in the same headspace – former headspace being performing a Dvorak concerto – which I adored, don’t get me wrong! but conventional performance is not at all what I’m drawn to right now.  So we’ll just have to see whether cello shows up on here.  I  strongly suspect it will, but I have only a vague idea in what form that might be.

 

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