There’s a spot on Lansdowne Street right below Fenway Pahk’s Green Monstah. The pavement crack you avoid (for your mother’s spinal wellbeing) is covered in pigeon dookie.
I avoid this side of the street when I race-walk to the commuter rail station after convincing myself yet again that an 11-minute walk only takes 8. (and don’t wanna get kicked off the express for leaping on a moving train again.)
But yeah, the south side of Lansdowne —
It’s shady, so that means cold in winter. Uncheck.
It’s narrow, so awkward shoulder navigation with Sawx pilgrims. Uncheck.
And there’s the pigeon toilet problem.
The first time I strolled that side, I noted white-grey splats Jackson Pollocking the pavement, and though I knew it was grave folly, I looked skyward.
Just looked right on up — in case there was a fresh row of pigeons ready to evacuate on my Warby Parkers.
Luckily, the fowl ball club was scavenging Sausage Guy roll leftovers. But still. Poop on the ground? Maybe keep walking and don’t look up.
I was a deft doodoo dodger that day. But there were other times when feces found me.
One self-important pre-audition stroll in Central Park, I was saying my mantras and asking God to grant me superpowers when I felt a smatter-patter on my right backpack strap. When I noticed the dirty WhiteOut offering on my shoulder, I did have the good sense to laugh.
But yeah. We don’t walk near the doo, no no no no.
THEN — the other day I was giving my best Richard Simmons to the train (more time delusions) and saw a young woman navigating the path below the high northern stands.
Sure enough, she noticed the Columba caca, and just like I did that day, she paused. And performed a thorough rafter check.
She survived her hubris unscathed, but yeah: When there’s birdy turdy at your feet, keep your eyes groundward — if you have to get #2’d on, you want it on the noggin and not in the nostril.
Sometimes I wish there were a universal manual with clear-cut directions like —
Avoid the the Green Monstah undahbelly.
Or when you learn to sing show tunes for folks. Things like —
Give your eyes a break every now and then from that spot on the wall they told you to pretend was a person. Looks stalkery.
Most times, you need less of what you’re calling breath support.
You’re gonna need some different vowels. Well-meaning folk told you to sing like you speak, but physics says nope.
You got something you wish somebody would just TELL you how to do? Hand you the secret dog-eared manual with the step-by-step?
While I can’t help you with dishwasher repair, I’ve 💩ed plenty a bed when it comes to all things song and story (and helped several others change their sheets.)
So, I know some things.
And I’m a teachery sort, so I suffer from an incessant need to tell folks things I know.
My family loves it.
So, can you help me?
Here’s how —
Email me your voice mystery.
Hit reply, and say, “Dear TeacherDan, The singery thing I’ve never gotten a satisfying answer to is ….”
And let me know.
Noise making, audition room consternation, what am I even doing? 🤯
Send it my way.
I’ll write you back or make you a lil video that’ll scratch my unsatisfiable itch to share info.
This is for you if you’ve ever been like, “I wish I could just ASK a voicey person how to fix this and they’d answer my question without me plopping down a large slice of my rent.”
Seriously, get out your fingies and type your burning question.
And if you don’t remember anything else from today’s letter, remember this:
There’s only one you, and folks need to hear the story only you can sing.
ps Here are answers to questions you didn’t even ask me — all baking related.
The best chocolate cake recipe you’ll ever make. (It’s Ina Garten)
The best biscuit recipe you’ll ever bake. (not even from a Southerner 😲)
And more baking — a terrific last minute delicious cheaty bread recipe.
pps You wanna hear some beautiful straight-from-the-heart sangin? Look what the YouTube algorithm delivered up to me this week: “She Used to Be Mine” sung by Sara Bareilles and Brandie Carlile.
ppps And sirriously. Write and ask anything singy, auditiony, your relationship to music-y. I’m HERE for it.