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Archive for February, 2015

Writer’s Sketchbook: Hula o Makee

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

jason poole, accidental hawaiian crooner, molokai, pilipo solatorio, anakala pilipo, halawa valley,


Writer’s Sketchbook – a peek inside my notebook of timed writings

10 minutes

August, 2008.  I am in Hālawa Valley with ‘Anakala Pillipo.  Here!  Me!  With him!  Amazing.  I want to learn music.  To really immerse myself in the sounds of Hawaiʻi.  No… more than that.  To immerse myself IN HAWAIʻI, herself.  The songs are wonderful—they calm me down when I listen to them.  And they’re fun to sing.  But I know I’ll never be able to REALLY sing them if I only parrot the sounds that I hear on the recordings.  I need to go deep.  It’s why I’m here.  And now we’re sitting on the front porch of his cabin in Hālawa Valley.

-Go get your ‘ukulele.  I think we should do some singing.

My heart almost jumps out of my mouth but gets stuck in my throat.  It’s time. It’s finally time to start.

-Do you know the song Hula O Makee?

I’m familiar with the song. I’ve heard it on the Hawaiian radio stations that I listen to at my desk.  I’ve heard it on some of the classic hula CDs in my collection.  I’m glad because I don’t have to say No.  I can at least strum along with him.

We play it in G—his key of choice for most songs.  I have a the “Blue Bible” of Hawaiian songs for us to use as a reference for lyrics.  He doesn’t look at the book.  My eyes dart from the page to his hands to his face.  I want to impress him more than anything. To show him I’m serious about this.  And to show him I can do it.  I can hold my own.

He sings his version of the song—not paying attention to the page.  He skips some of the printed verses.

-I sing it the way we always sang it.  Sometimes the book is different.  Different places sing the song in different ways.  (He says this after we make our way through the song 3 times)

I am grateful for the chance to sing with him, but I want to move on.  I don’t like this song.  It’s not a Molokai song and that’s what I was hoping for.  It’s not what I want to be doing for very long.

-Mahalo for this,  ‘Anakala.  Can we sing another song now?

-Why do you want to sing another song?  This is a good one.

-I was just thinking there are so many songs for us to look at.  How ‘bout a Molokai song?

-No.  This is a good one.  Hana hou.  Again.

We start the song again from the beginning.  I’m frustrated.  My arms are tight.  The valley suddenly seems noisy.  Too much sound.  Too many distractions.  Tunnel vision makes the white page seem dark, the words blur to a smudge.

We sing it again and again and again.  I’m going to lose my mind if I have to do it one more time.

-This will be your song to sing.  We’ll keep going with this one.

© 2014 Jason Poole, all rights reserved



Monday, February 16, 2015

an icy draft blew across my face

as i opened my eyes this morning

checking the temperature–

a frigid 3-degrees

i wanted to close my eyes

go back inside the warm world of sleepy dreams


turning on the computer

i was  slammed with news

of death and destruction

i wanted to close my eyes

and snuggle back into the security blanket of ignorance


today i want to close myself off

close my eyes


but i hear pops’ voice in my head

“aloha i kekahi i kekahi”

love one another

and i open


we must share the aloha

we must share the warmth





Getting lost

Sunday, February 15, 2015

jason poole, accidental hawaiian crooner, molokai, project natalie, anakala pilipo, pilipo solatorio, halawa valley, writing, getting lost

When I first started working on The Big Project

I didn’t understand how

at times

I would get lost

in the mists of “I remember…”

Sitting at my desk or in a coffee shop,

I would lose track of days, hours, seasons.

It’s a good thing to go outside

even when the thermometer reads 12-degrees

to remember that I am here


that it’s winter in NYC

And after a brief walk around the block

it’s good to return to my desk

and nice hot cuppa coffee

a snoring cat

and a notebook, hungry for stories.

I remember…


Happy Valentine’s Day

Saturday, February 14, 2015

jason poole, accidental hawaiian crooner, molokai, halawa valley, pilipo solatorio, anakala pilipo, aloha i kekahi i kekahi

Aloha i kekahi i kekahi.

Love one another.

May we all share Aloha today.

Happy Valentine’s Day, gang.

Right on.


jason poole, accidental hawaiian crooner, molokai, chicago, zlmc, halau i ka pono, zentangle

Aloha gang!  Happy Aloha Friday!

I’m heading to Chicago today for a jam-packed weekend of my favorite things: Hawaiian Music, Hula & Creative Play!

Thanks to my good buddies at Zen Life & Meditation Center and Hālau i Ka Pono, I’ll be sharing workshops and a concert–with the dancers of Hālau I Ka Pono sharing some hula!  Right on!

The schedule is as follows:

Zen Writing Workshop

Friday, Feb. 6th (7:00-8:3o pm) and Saturday, Feb. 7th (9:00 am – 4:00 pm)

Join me for a day of creative writing play!

You’ll generate rich material in your notebooks that can be used for stories, essays, poetry and songs.  We’ll write together in a supportive community –  in companionable silence – and the have time for sharing.  And we’ll have brief periods of meditation interspersed throughout the day to refresh and renew.

Writing practice has been a beacon of light in my life.  It’s meeting your mind on the page.

Weʻll have fun with other like-minded people on the writing path.

The Warmth of Hawaiian Mele and Hula (Song and Dance)

Saturday, Feb. 7th (7:00-8:30 pm)

If you’re finding yourself going a little stir-crazy with winter weather, come and join me along with Hālau i Ka Pono – the Hula School of Chicago – for a warm and exceptional evening of Hawaiian fun and beauty.  And there will be a group participation dance, too!

z e n t a n g l e ® Workshop

Sunday, Feb. 8th (1:00-4:00 pm)

I’m excited to be returning to offer another Zentangle Workshop in Chicago!  This easy-to-learn meditative art form consists of simple strokes of the pen, drawing structured patterns and creating beautiful and unique works of art.

People all over the world are tangling!  Here’s you chance to learn more about the Zentangle Method and spend some relaxed time making one of a kind art together.

**For more information and to purchase tickets, please click on the link HERE.**



Aloha, gang!

I’ve been open about my struggles with being “stuck” when it comes to writing.  And the more that I’ve look at other areas of my life, I see that I’m “stuck” in a lot of places.

So what do you do?

You find a way to deal with it, to break through the stuck-ness.

I took a HUGE step this year and signed up for an online art class, 2015: Year of the Spark!, lead by two creative art-geniuses, Carla Sonheim and Lynn Whipple.

I am a very timid (reluctant?) visual artist.  As a kid, I had a traumatic experience in an art class that lead me to put away the art supplies for nearly 30 years. (You can read about that by clicking HERE.)

Right before the new year began, I read about this awesome online art class and I had a crazy reaction, a mixture of feeling terrified and excited at the same time.  Kind of like when you look at a roller coaster.

And a little voice inside my head said, “THIS is something you need to do.  You can use a different medium to challenge yourself.  You need to learn to let go.  You need to learn to play.  That’s how you’re going to get UNstuck.”

I took the plunge and signed up.

And I’ve loved the online classes.  I’ve loved being a part of the supportive online community of artists all over the world.

The other night, Carla and Lynn (and Carla’s husband, Steve) came to NYC and hosted a “Spark Get-Together” for the NYC-based members of the class.

The other artists were brave and shared their sketchbooks.  I wasn’t quite ready to do that.

I did something else:  Before the get-together, I emailed both Carla and Lynn and asked them for the first 5 words that came to mind when they thought of the word ART.  Then using those words for inspiration, I wrote a song, We All Need The Spark (The Spark Song).  I was still writing the song up the last minute before the get-together.  In fact, I finished it on my trusty ‘ukulele while sitting in a karaoke room near Grand Central Station, where we all met up.

After pizza and art-sharing, we headed into Grand Central Station, right in the historic main terminal, for our Group Art Exercise. (Note: the thought of creating visual art–on-the-spot and in front of other people made me want to hide.)

But I was spared from the drawing.  Instead, they surprised me.  They asked me to sing my song.  And while I strummed and sang, the other artists used their “wrong hand” (their non-dominant hand) to draw 2 portraits of me, one of my head and torso and one of my full body.  (What?!)

Wow!  Talk about a surreal experience!  Singing a freshly-penned song in Grand Central Station while artists draw pictures of you!

Steve, who’s an amazing artist himself, captured the whole thing with his camera and put together one heck of a video.

I dare you to watch it and not smile.

When you see how much fun these incredible art adventurers are having, you’ll wanna join in.

And you can!  Spots are still open in the class.  You can find out more by clicking on the link HERE.

We all need the spark of inspiration to help us break through our stuck-ness.  We all need to play.  And we all need to remember to have a little fun.

Right on.

**How do YOU break through your own sense of stuck-ness?  Drop me a line.  I’d love to hear from you.