Dancing Skulls

Hello Trick-or-Treaters!

I’m currently cringing because I’m watching the Olympic women’s downhill skiing. Eeeeesh. It’s funny – I watch it, hoping to enjoy it … and I do … mostly … but ai yai yai, sometimes I just cringe and feel so sad for those who are bombing out.

And snow injuries always make me shudder more than other injuries. I bombed out on the snow in a major way when I was 13 years old. I was sledding with my sister, Stephanie, on one of those saucer-shaped sleds. We were going very fast downhill, spinning out of control … and my memory is now blocked out – I don’t remember the trees.

My sister was OK, just landing in some shrubs. I, however, was the lucky chosen one to hit my head on a very thick tree trunk and fly about 30 feet (friends present said it was one of the sickest sounds they’d ever heard). X-rays later showed that my skull cracked like an eggshell. I was bleeding out of one ear – a basal skull fracture. I am very, very fortunate that I am alive and all right in the brain.

My mom says that music healed me. I had a hard time focusing after the accident, had impact nightmares/anxiety, and was generally scatter-brained, but I practiced the piano and organ over the following weeks and months, and she noticed that doing so “set” my brain back where it ought to be. The power of music. It’s real.

As for what I’m currently working on in music, yes, I’m in the middle of arranging my next batch of Halloween Carols™ (getting so many new ideas for more), but I’m also simply practicing the organ – must keep Bach’s “Toccata and Fugue in D minor” in my chops! And I’m having a sensational blast learning Saint-Saëns’ “Danse Macabre” transcribed for organ by Lemare:


I remember listening to this as a child and finding it so hypnotizing and mesmerizing. It made me do little waltzes until I was dizzy. And as an adult, it still makes my head swirl.

And you know what else is making my head swirl? Alice in Wonderland is almost out! It comes out the week of my birthday, so of course I’m having a tea party and will be watching it. No Un-Birthday for me!

I’m looking forward to hearing Danny Elfman’s score. And where Danny is, we can almost always count on his right-hand man, Steve Bartek, to be working on the score with him. Steve does a lot of the orchestrating for Danny’s scores … so I love them both. Magical musical men! Steve was the guitarist for Oingo Boingo, and I’ve always loved his on-stage personality – you can see how obviously skilled he is, but he just focuses on doing his thing, totally confident and content while letting Danny present the drama. Makes for a successful performance. Such a pair! And kudos to each one individually.

Happy Wonderlanding, my dear Trick-or-Treaters. I hope your skulls, too, will dance about while lovely madness dances within.

(And stay tuned for my next blog, where I will discuss “Birthday Trifle” – a maddeningly succulent, gloriously caloric, opulently layered, lavishly chocolate-y, desperately pistachio-y, savagely whipped-creamy affair.)