reverse threading

the path back is the path forward


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unpredictable beauty. [two artists tuesday]

“sometimes beauty is that unpredictable; a threshold we had never noticed opens, mystery comes alive around us and we realize how the earth is full of concealed beauty.” (john o’donohue)

a simple errand. we needed to pick up some furniture to transport in big red for a friend. destination: ikea.

there is something magical about ikea. we hadn’t been there in ages and were relieved to find few people there and everyone masked properly. vowing to hopefully come back soon and browse a bit, we pulled the boxes off the shelves on our pick list. pushing our cart to the front checkout lines, david, more than once, had to re-focus me away from the enormous displays of product. iphone in hand, we wove our way through the covid-floor-circles-disney-style line, waiting our turn at the cash register.

every where i looked, we were surrounded by interesting color, repeated pattern, textures that begged to be touched. david, more than once, softly called my name from the other side of the pushcart, gently spurring me out of the threshold-of-alive-mystery-of-concealed-beauty, snapping pictures with inordinate joy. “k-dot,” he would quietly prod.

the spatulas called my name too, repeating patterns of red-mama-dear-lips making me smile. spatulas are usually not mysterious creatures, but their color, design, stacking lures you out of ordinariness, opening that threshold, the place for glitter to be seen.

it wasn’t just the spatulas, though. i was victim to the lint rollers, the stainless steel utensil holders, the cork trivets. hidden beauty everywhere. i could feel my sweet momma and poppo cheering me on; they were likewise entranced by ikea.

if safety allows, we will return. there are a few small things on my own pick list i’d like to consider purchasing. but mostly, i just want to wander the aisles with my camera, noticing the unpredictable beauty.

yes, not a bad way to spend any day. noticing the unpredictable beauty.

read DAVID’s thoughts this TWO ARTISTS TUESDAY


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these old boots. [two artists tuesday]

old boots

these old boots.  save for the laces, which were definitely in-beaky’s-book-worth-saving, these boots are now moving on.  looking at them, side by side on the deck, i could hear my big brother playing the guitar and singing, “these boots were made for walking, and that’s just what i’ll do…”

we’ve run out of everest movies to watch.  we have seen all the hollywood movies, all the national geographic movies, all the north face and eddie bauer movies and the rolex movies.  we have watched youtubes and imax-without-the-max-part.  we have sat through short home videos and a two hour and three minute go-pro video with no narration and hardly any talking.  we’ve watched k2 and annapurna and aconcagua and denali.  we have run out.

we have now moved on to the appalachian and pacific crest trails.  these boots – neither pair – were not made for that walking.  we can both vouch for it.

these boots were different.  they were more life-boots.  mine took me through well over a decade of travel, well over a decade of wholesale and retail shows, well over a decade of schlepping, lugging, driving very long distances, more schlepping and lugging.  well over a decade of practice on wooden stages while lighting and sound engineers ran cues.  well over a decade of flatbed trailers.  well over a decade of dreaming and sweating, well over a decade of highs and lows.

i’ve been attached to them.  the soles have separated from the leather uppers and wearing them would be like wearing closed flip flops, but heavy-heavy and flopping around, looking to catch on something and throw me headfirst into the ground.

i’ve been attached to them.  in some way they became part of my uniform, the same way that the black zip-up sweatshirt that no longer has cuffs or a working zipper was.  i’m attached to that too.  somehow, it felt like those kept me safe, kept me going, and brought me back home.  i suspect it wasn’t the boots or the sweatshirt hoodie.

so i’m saving the laces.  they can be used in a different pair of boots.

and i’m wondering:  maybe we should fill these old boots up with dirt and plant some basil.

read DAVID’s thoughts this TWO ARTISTS TUESDAY

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waiting. and waiting. [k.s. friday]

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on an unusual foray into facebook-scrolling, i came across a post by a friend that quoted tom petty.  “the waiting is the hardest part,” it read.  yes.  the hardest part.

i remember d telling me that arnie’s mom had an addition to the adage that when one door closes, another one will surely open.  she said, “it’s the waiting in the hall that’s hell.”

i feel like i am waiting.  just like this sunrise, there is a division of light and dark – a line you can see.  the hall.  it’s not still dark.  it’s not quite light.  it’s the in-between zone of co-existence.

i suppose we can co-exist with waiting.  we can co-exist with not-knowing.  not-knowing about tomorrow.  not-knowing where it goes.  not-knowing what will happen.  not-knowing if dark will linger or if light will overtake the dark.  not-knowing how the story turns out.

questions on the keys.  answers somewhere in-between the notes.  quarter tones of ambiguity.  i stand an arm’s length from creating.  i wait.  there is no sign, there is no clear indicator of any return-on-my-creative-investment.  the hall doesn’t provide a reason to write.  it is not a door.  it is full of question.  it is a gathering storm of hope.  it is a waiting place.

the hall is just for me.  jumbled and clear, both.  a stew of hearing all the old notes floating – thousands of them – and seeking the new ones.  lyric snatches appear on scraps of paper, waiting.  melodic gestures fall from my hands as yearning to keep-on-keeping-on falls from my eyes.

i’m trying to be patient in it.  to reconcile all the other mysteries and issues and complexities before i step closer.  to do the ‘other work’ first.  to be solvent and steady.  for the time on the bench to be worthy.

why does a composer compose?  why does a composer wait?

download WAITING on iTunes or CDBaby

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read DAVID’S thoughts this K.S. FRIDAY

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WAITING from JOY ©️ 2004 kerri sherwood


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in the gray. [not-so-flawed wednesday]

stripes of grey

grey/gray rarely has such a line of demarcation, rarely has distinctive texture such as in this picture beyond our littlehouse yard.  grey is simply gray.  it is the zone of not right/not wrong.  it is the living in-between-ness of doing life this way/that way.  it is the space of not-knowing, asking questions, learning, being vulnerable.  it can be uncomfortable.  but it is necessary.

the most growing i have done has been in the grey zones.  the times when i did not know, the times i made mistakes, the times choices were confusing, the times devastated by life events, the times moving forward meant tiny baby step by baby step, the times i was vulnerable.

last night there was an artist, an author, at TPAC who spoke of vulnerability.  he said that vulnerability leads to gratitude.  it is the path to grace and mercy.  i agree.

i would add we can never know, or even approximate, what someone else is feeling without being unguarded ourselves.  we can never know the unanswered questions, the struggles, the amorphous-ness of life without the grey.  we can never create without the grey – for an artist languishes in grey, if for no other reason than to seek the color within himself.

read DAVID’S thoughts this NOT-SO-FLAWED WEDNESDAY

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ducks in a row. [two artists tuesday]

ducks in a row copy

i am a list-maker.  i come from a long line of list-makers so dna is definitely involved.  with the layer-cake of jobs that comes with being an artist – performing, visual, any kind of artist – lists are a necessity.  i use paper calendars, old spiral notebooks with kirsten or craig scrawl on them, pa pads that my sweet poppo made, composition books.  sticky notes, pencils, highlighters and sharpies rule my office-supply world.  i am analog.  and i love having all my ducks in a row.

we were on our way to hike late one afternoon when we encountered these ducks.  walking the crack in the street, all in a row, i heard in my ever-present-soundtrack-mind, “quack, quack, waddle, waddle, quack, quack, waddle, waddle (from an 80’s mcdonald’s commercial – watch for 0:54).”  they seemed unperturbed by our approach.  we stopped to let them pass and get safely to the side of the road.  i’m positive i saw the last one carrying an office max bag.

read DAVID’S thoughts this TWO ARTISTS TUESDAY

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the power of words. [d.r. thursday]

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and the wily old story fox told the pack, “words are like magic, misused they are tragic…”   (Lucy & The Waterfox – by David Robinson)

and the wily old story fox told the pack, “words are like magic, misused they are tragic…”

NOT ALL OLD FOXES ARE WISE LIKE THIS.

Lucy & The Waterfox

LUCY & THE WATERFOX, a beautifully illustrated story for children and grown-ups about believing, following your own path and the power of words.

click on the book above or here to purchase the book LUCY & THE WATERFOX on amazon.com

read DAVID’S thoughts this D.R. THURSDAY

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LUCY & THE WATERFOX ©️ 2004 david robinson


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we jump anyway. [d. r. thursday]

without risk close no lines copy

i searched for quotes about risk.  there are a plethora of them out there.  then i realized that maybe the best one for today was already there – no good adventure is without risk.  there are no guarantees in life.  we all know that.  nothing that says if you do this, that will definitely happen.  the ifs-thens are not absolute.  the ifs-thens aren’t even, well, iffy on occasion.  and sometimes there’s no chance in hell that an adventure, an experiment, an endeavor will work out.  we jump anyway.

in this anniversary week of THE MELANGE, we’ve done a great deal of looking back at our jumping.  those jumps reach much further back than just this past year.  as two artists living together, two artists working together, two artists laughing and breathing and arguing together, we have experienced lots of falling-into-the-water as we’ve gone.  our individual artistry output pre-dates this year by decades.  epic moments of success are conjoined with moments of missing the next rock in the stream (see CHICKEN MARSALA sketch above to see what that looks like.)  but, even knowing that – by reverse-threading now – in looking ahead, at all the mystery of that, we jump anyway.

nothing worth doing comes without hard work.  no good adventure is without risk.  there are no guarantees.  all wise words.  all daunting.  we jump anyway.

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read DAVID’S thoughts this ANNIVERSARY MELANGE D.R. THURSDAY

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THE MELANGE ©️ 2018 david robinson & kerri sherwood

images in THE MELANGE ©️ 2016-2019 david robinson & kerri sherwood

CHICKEN MARSALA ©️ 2016 david robinson & kerri sherwood

 

 


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i already have them.

fullsizerenderbeing an artist means many things to many different people, but the one thing that i am certain of that is unifying among artists is that there is a budget. hmm…a challenging budget. not a lot of space to splurge sometimes. and other times, maybe some space to splurge. but always an awareness that, although art forms are the things that people gravitate to in times of bliss and utter grief, in times of celebration and quiet, in times of unity and division, in times of conversation and reflection, these ways of making a living are way less sure (understatement) – in a budget kind of way – than most others. and so this is how we live. always aware.

he said he was about to click on the “buy it” button and complete the purchase online when he noticed an additional $10 administrative fee. it made him reconsider; it made him think of other things we might do/purchase/pay for/experience with that extra $10, not to mention the whole purchase price.   and so, he thought about it and, reluctantly, he stopped and cancelled his order.   he seemed sad to tell me this story and prefaced it with an apology. he was ordering flowers. online. to be delivered on valentine’s day. which, might I mention, is really a made-up holiday. (why shouldn’t every day be treated as valentine’s day? i choose him each and every day, not just as my valentine on valentine’s day.)

this morning he brought the newspaper along with steaming mugs of bold coffee when he woke me. we sipped coffee together and chatted as the sun moved into the sky. i found his homemade valentine’s day card that he had tucked inside the paper and felt my heart beating as i read it, tears easily coming to my eyes. it was exquisite.

knowing how he was feeling about the story he had just told me, i asked him what kind of flowers he had been ordering. “daisies and one red rose,” he said.

there’s no need to receive these at our front door. i can see them.

they are the daisies from our wedding and a long-stemmed red rose – the traditional flower of Love – the very thing that he shows me every day, in so many ways.

i already have them.