reverse threading

the path back is the path forward


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where do we go from here? [d.r. thursday]

IMG_4630

“where do we go?  where do we go?  where do we go from here?”

an empty canvas.  a roadtrip with no predetermined destination.  where do you go from here, davidrobinson?

sheet music clean

an empty staff.  a roadtrip with no predetermined destination.  where do you go from here, kerrisherwood?

artists’ journeys, rife with intersections, foist decision-making upon us in our quest to create.  simply starting is sometimes an uphill challenge.  the questions are never easily answered.  the value of what we are doing is never really clear.  or is it – the value assigned to what we are doing is never really clear?

journey synonyms according to google: travel, leg, trek, ride, jaunt, expedition, drive, outing, mush, passage, junket, long haul, circuit, schlep/shlep, digression, transit, pilgrimage, excursion, sashay, traveling, tour, pleasure trip, odyssey, trip. 

i think schlep about covers it.

where do we go from here?

we have a daily decision, a choice to “begin anywhere” (john cage) and speak to the world around us and what we see through artists’ eyes.  we write, we paint, we compose.  we either create or we step away from the canvas, the staff paper, the qwerty keyboard.  we know that nothing we do will change the world.  we know that everything we do, like you, will change the world.

where do we go from here?

last night anderson cooper’s chyron read, “meanwhile, back in the real world.”  the real world.  a world fraught with chaos, trembling with the fever of a pandemic and the disease of racism.  we, as people, turn to the sages of old for words of wisdom.  we turn to art for honest displays of emotion.  we turn to music for expressions of pain and hope, grief, despair, love, action, change, fear, questions.

questions like – where do we go from here?

Every day just gets a little shorter, don’t you think?
Take a look around you and you’ll see just what I mean
People got to come together, not just out of fear

Where do we go
Where do we go
Where do we go from here?

Try to find a better place but soon it’s all the same
What once you thought was a paradise is not just what it seemed
The more I look around, I find, the more I have to fear

Where do we go
Where do we go
Where do we go from here?

I know it’s hard for you to
Change your way of life
I know it’s hard for you to do
The world is full of people
Dying to be free
So if you don’t, my friend
There’s no life for you
No world for me

Let’s all get together soon, before it is too late
Forget about the past and let your feelings fade away
If you do I’m sure you’ll see, the end is not yet near

Where do we go
Where do we go
Where do we go from here?

(peter cetera, chicago – where do we go from here?) 

purchase this CHICAGO album

read DAVID’S thoughts this D.R. THURSDAY

their palettes website box

 

 


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contrail pondering. [two artists tuesday]

contrail

on island we rarely heard airplanes overhead.  if we did, they were small cessnas and pipers, low-wing and high-wing single engine airplanes, buzzing over the shoreline heading for the small grass strip airport.  otherwise, it was quiet. very.

lately, here, we have noticed that it is quieter than normal.  we are in what is generally an approach for the milwaukee airport and we often see airplanes overhead heading north or airplanes coming across the lake in line for o’hare, south of us.  it seems more of a rarity now to hear a jet overhead.  it makes us pay attention.  it makes us look up.  it makes us ponder.

we wonder where it is coming from, where its final destination.  we wonder how many passengers are on board.  in these times of no-travel, the contrail seems a contradiction of this time, a plane leaving its mark on the day.

in my previous life i had some time at the controls of both small airplanes and helicopters.  the jargon was language i was accustomed to.  there are languages of career.  we all have them, words, expressions, theories specific to our chosen work; we learn our spouse’s language, even just enough to understand just enough.

i’m better at the controls than in the passenger seat of a small airplane; motion sickness rules less if you are ‘driving’.  i never got near the point of solo-ing on any flying machine.  there was much to learn in ground school and hours rented on an airplane or a helicopter were expensive for an already-stretched budget.  but, stick in hand, flying a helicopter over the woods of new hampshire while employed at an aviation college there, brilliant new england fall colors beneath us, i could see how the flying-bug could bite.

and now it is quiet.  a few moments ago, while writing this, a jet flew overhead.  i stopped typing to pay attention and looked out the window.  i wondered:  where is that plane going?  who is on that plane?  do they feel safe?  are they wearing masks?  did they turn their blower off?  are they sitting six feet apart?

and i pondered:  what state might that plane be flying here from?  what are the covid-19-numbers in that state?  are people staying safe-at-home?  are there protests in that state, people who are placing everyone in their ever-widening concentric circles at risk for contagion?  are there people who are laissez-faire-individualizing this global-everyone-is-affected-pandemic, rejecting commonsense social distancing and simple respectful preventative measures? are there people making homemade masks, like here, because there isn’t enough PPE to go around?  are they wondering why the federal government of fifty states and five territories is hostage-taking necessary supplies, pitting governors against each other, encouraging a competition for lifesaving devices, blaspheming good works, eliminating knowledgeable workers, warping what is important vs not important, encouraging bracing and dangerous practices?  are they shocked and dismayed at the ever-widening inequity, the gross partisanship?  are they stunned into disbelief at the absolute lack of sane and measured leadership?  are they embarrassed and profoundly saddened?

and i wondered:  when will we go on an airplane next?  where will we go? when will we feel safe?  will everyone wear a mask?  will everyone sit six feet apart?

and i thought, as we are apt to do after-the-fact:  i should have gotten my pilot’s license.

read DAVID’S thoughts this TWO ARTISTS TUESDAY

wiwi plane website box


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joy. [k.s. friday]

joy songbox

the video from My Girl made me out and out cry.  it was just a little hello, sent from around a firepit in the high mountains after a long day of working.  and it was perfect timing.  to see her face and hear her voice was pure joy.

we walked and walked and walked.  miles from millenium park’s christmas tree and skating rinks, past beautiful ornate displays of lights and simple twinkling white branches.  in a rare opportunity linking my arm through My Boy’s as we strolled, i was filled with joy.  the loudspeaker music and dancing lights of the lincoln park zoo just echoed my delight.

as adults, the holidays carry a different set of qualities than they did as when we were children.  much pressure, oftentimes grief, maybe a slippery slope feeling of never-doing-enough, some disappointment, a measure of jealousy or envy perhaps as others-with-family-all-in-town gather together in big festive celebrations.  for those of us who work on christmas eve and christmas day, there is a yet another added layer.

we walked through the woods yesterday looking for the right branch laying on the ground.  we don’t yet have a christmas tree up.  we have other little trees – i have collected small trees through the years – but no true christmas tree.  each year in these last years, we have chosen that “tree” carefully, always something we found, something re-purposed into a christmas tree, something that had meaning.  there was the christmas-tree-on-a-stick – a christmas-tree-misfit – we cut down on the tree farm, a piece of the tree that fell into our backyard narrowly avoiding the house, a branch that had snapped off of our beloved tree out front, a star suspended over a straight trunk wrapped in lights to tease The Boy.

this year i thought about just going to a lot and purchasing a tree, thinking maybe, in the midst of the ending of a really tough year for many,  that might put me into the holiday spirit.  but i just couldn’t bring myself to do that.  we figured that the answer would become obvious, as it has done in the past years.  and it did. watching My Boy, clearly proud of the decorations of the neighborhoods north-of-downtown, agree with us about how simple, beautiful and truly elegant the white branches were, made up my mind.

last night we put the first coat of white spray paint on the two sets of branches we brought home.  we’ll finish coating them with paint later today and wrap them in white lights.  we’ll gently place silver ornaments as we play christmas music in the background.  i will miss My Girl and My Boy like crazy.  i will yearn for my parents, my brother and sister-in-law and sister and brother-in-law and nieces and nephew and all their families, david’s parents and extended family.  it isn’t the christmas of christmas-past.

but there still is magic.  those moments of joy – when everything else ceases to exist and joy eclipses it all.

download JOY on iTUNES or CDBaby

read DAVID’S thoughts this K.S. FRIDAY

milleniumparktree website box

JOY ©️ 2004 kerri sherwood

 

 


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rug. [two artists tuesday]

the rug

once upon a time, a geometric rug found its way onto our doorstep.  it was carried in and put in the dining room, where all rolled-up geometric rugs go.  it was The Boy’s rug and it would wait for The Boy to come get it.  Rug waited and waited.  until one day, The Boy came.  Rug got excited.  it knew it was going to go with The Boy and be his Rug.  but The Boy gathered all the other large boxes in the dining room, which had become a holding ground for deliveries, and Rug heard him start his car and drive away.  Rug panicked, thinking perhaps he had done something wrong, perhaps he wasn’t wanted.  and so he sat, sad and alone, the only delivery left in the dining room, all rolled up and despondent.

until one day when we came home from the island.  we walked in, carrying boxes and bins, unloading them in, of course, the dining room.  there, leaning up against the cabinet, was Rug.  sorrowful, lonely, dejected, left-behind Rug.  i looked at the label on Rug and saw that it belonged to The Boy and so i assured Rug that we would bring him home.

like all other weird things we seem to get ourselves involved in, we decided to take the train to deliver Rug to The Boy.  we could have driven directly to his door in the big city, but for reasons hard to comprehend, we picked up Rug and carried him onto the train.  all three of us disembarked from the train and Rug and i looked at the gps on my phone.  a beautiful day, it was only 2 miles to walk to the front door of The Boy’s place.  and so, off we went.  happily scampering down the sunny sidewalks of the city, a big triangle grin on Rug’s face as he anticipated his new home.  we took Rug into a grocery store and rode up and down on an escalator, adventuring together.  back on the street, people gawked at us walking with Rug, for it is clearly not often enough that people take rugs for a walk.  when at last we got there, The Boy carefully unpackaged Rug and laid him on the floor, next to the new couch and under the new coffee table.  we left Rug to uncurl and went to lunch.

in the pouring rain, walking the two miles back to the train, we talked about our next adventure.  and we hoped that Rug was adjusting well.

PLEASE read DAVID’s thoughts this TWO ARTISTS TUESDAY

laughing website box


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you are beautiful. [merely-a-thought monday]

you are beautiful (chicago)

i remember heidi telling me about a conversation she was having on a mother-daughter weekend with her sweet mom, among other mothers and daughters.  they were sipping glasses of wine and started listing some of the things that were disconcerting to them about themselves.

we women (and men) have all done it.  we are sitting smack in the middle of a society that puts great value on appearance and youth, rather than the wrinkles of wisdom, the not-perfect-shape of having children and nurturing families, the heart-showing-on-our-face that has learned great empathy through the years, the grey hair of hard work and compassion.  and so we complain about the obvious changes we are going through.

i have looked in the mirror numerous times and thought,  “wait!  hold on!  that is NOT how i look!”  followed closely by, thinking, “it must be the lighting!  good grief, why do they use these dreadful florescent lights?  where are the soft white light bulbs?  what about indirect lighting?!  haven’t they invented soft focus mirrors yet??  umm,  i prefer my photos over-exposed, thankyouverymuch.”  we are hard on ourselves.  understatement.

instead of recognizing the beauty, the light in our eyes, the smile lines on our faces, the brow of concern, we list to the negative.  we do not look like the photoshopped version in the magazine; we cannot measure up to the three-or-four-decades-younger version of even ourselves.  life changes us.  why is it so easy to minimize ourselves and so difficult not to maximize what those changes have brought?

heidi’s mom interrupted the conversation.  she gently stopped the flowing list of self-deprecating complaints.  and she said, “you will never be more beautiful than you are right now.”

we passed this spray-painted graffiti in chicago.  i grabbed the phone out of my purse and tried to quickly capture it.  my finger blurred part of the image and i ruminated after on how i had ruined the photo.  and then i realized that no, indeed i had not ruined it.  for that blurry flaw in the photo would remind me (much better than were it not to be there) that we were walking fast down the sidewalk on the opposite side of the street, trying to capture the photo inbetween lots of traffic, laughing and excitedly on our way to see The Boy.  that blurred sixth of the photo – a photo that was not perfect –  would remind me of that day, imprinting in my life right then, the reminder timely and empowering.

you are beautiful.  right now.

read DAVID’S thoughts this MERELY-A-THOUGHT MONDAY

onthedeckstepsWI website box

 


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west of the i. [d.r. thursday]

county sketch copy

one of the cool things about living in kenosha is the ability to easily get to two major cities – milwaukee and chicago.  we drive up to milwaukee to putter around, go to the art museum, walk along the river in the third ward, go to antique shoppes.  we usually take the train to chicago, driving south a couple towns for more frequent schedule choices.  we walk the streets of the city, find places for coffee or glasses of wine, attend national geographic live events or a play or concert, visit with friends.

but we are actually less city people than we are outdoors people.  and so, more often, we will head out – west of the i – and take a drive out in the county.  in next-to-nothing we are surrounded by farmland, breathing in the scent of rich dirt in fields that are turned over for planting, some yielding early croplings*.

in also next-to-nothing time, david whips out his sketchbook and pencils to capture the really gorgeous patterns in these fields of green.  (these words make me think of the stunningly beautiful song fields of gold.  if you haven’t ever heard it, please take a few minutes right now and click HERE.  you will be glad you did.)

just a sketch, but a reminder of the moments we passed these fields, talking or listening to music, singing along or simply silence in the car.  a breath of fresh air, a drive to rejuvenate, maybe a hike on a trail to restore us – all west of the i.

read DAVID’S thoughts this D.R. THURSDAY

browse david’s gallery – a breath of fresh air, a few moments to rejuvenate or restore you

drc website header copy 2

coffee cups in scion website box

©️ 2019 david robinson & kerri sherwood

*yes.  technically, ‘croplings’ is not a word.  but i could not resist it.  this stems from my love of the word ‘seedlings’.

 

 


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loop. [merely-a-thought monday]

loop copy

i went back to take this picture.  i’m not quite sure why, but the word “loop” on the steps struck me as funny.  truth be told, it was a piece of information; on the metra steps in chicago it was directing us to the train that would take us toward the loop.

there was this time we visited My Boy in chicago.  we took the train down, got off at the ravenswood stop, and walked what seemed-like-miles dragging a rollie-bag behind us with all the ingredients for pasta and homemade sauce.  after a fun day together, we dragged our now-empty suitcase back to the train and waited on the platform for the train home, unwittingly sitting on the wrong side of the platform.  it was a mere two minutes before the train came that we realized our error and ran down the stairs, down the sidewalk, across the street against the traffic light and back up the other set of stairs to the right platform.  it was comical, i’m sure.  we couldn’t even pretend to be cool-calm-collected-experienced-aloofly-confident passengers.  we were total geeks, running for the train, laughing.  i’m sure there were signs (we saw them our next trip down) but we hadn’t noticed.  and so, the word “loop” on the steps made me laugh.  “northbound” on the steps would have helped.

music-in-its-written-form is kind of like this.  there are directions all over the place:  repeat signs, time signatures, words like coda, DC al fine, DS.  it’s a confusing mess for the newbie.  our ukulele band navigates this all the time now; we use lead sheets in lieu of just chord-and-lyric sheets.  we cheer each time we end the song at the same place and at the same time.  for the seasoned musician, these directions are run-of-the-mill; for the music editor, these directions save a lot of space and paper.  for the ukulele band, which now pays attention to these bits of directive material, it’s like writing “loop” on the steps.

it’s all just one big lesson in following directions, isn’t it?  i guess the key is laughter.

read DAVID’S thoughts on this MERELY -A-THOUGHT MONDAY

roger's park feet website box copy

 

 

 


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rogers park. [flawed wednesday]

Roger's Park Feet

on the platform at rogers park

we didn’t give it a second thought when The Boy told me that he was going to be traveling to the rogers park neighborhood of chicago. of course we were going.  we got out the metra train schedule and looked at the sunday trains from waukegan to rogers park, looking at our google maps to see where the restaurant we were meeting him at was located and how to get there from the train station.  we will literally trek anywhere if My Boy or My Girl are going to be nearby (or even far) and we have a chance to see them.

we jumped off the train at rogers park and made our way through the streets, enjoying a nice walk, through residential and commercial areas.  we turned down clark and then devon and had lunch at uncommon ground, a place known for its rooftop organic farm.   when he had to leave, The Boy suggested that we go tour loyola’s lakefront campus before we headed back to the station.  we were glad we did; the area was beautiful and we liked rogers park.

six sundays later a beautiful young man had flown out to chicago from new york to pursue his doctoral degree at northwestern university.  he moved into a place in rogers park and, four hours after he arrived, took a stroll on clark street to buy hangers at a local store.  this aspiring student – just 25 years old – the same age as MY Boy- got caught in the crossfire of two men.  he was shot and killed.  a mere four hours after his full-of-dreams arrival.  i don’t even know what kind of flawed earth we live on when a mom has to learn that her child, following the direction and hard work of his life, has lost his life.  my heart breaks for her.

indeed, my heart breaks for every mom, every parent, every human, who has been touched by needless, unwarranted, tragic violence in this world.  such despair.  where is it safe?

on google maps, there is a small exclamation mark with this caveat:  “use caution – walking directions may not always reflect real-world conditions.”  i never noticed it before.  it’s quite the understatement.

Sign at Loyola - Thoreau

painted on a wall at loyola university in rogers park, chicago

 

read DAVID’S thoughts on this FLAWED WEDNESDAY

feetonmetraJULY2018

rogers park. ©️ 2018 kerri sherwood & david robinson


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ks friday

i used to spend a lot of time driving across the country to wholesale shows where i would represent my cds and sell to stores everywhere that stocked music.  the world has changed since then and not only are there less boutique-type shops with original work (inexpensive copies have taken over), but there are few shops that actually sell physical cds.  in this world of downloading (read: streaming, but don’t get me started on THAT subject) it is hard for a proprietor to invest in anything they aren’t sure will fly out the door.

when i drove east with a vanload of boxes and merchandise, i would pass a lake called meander lake.  i looked forward to these signs and the view of this lovely lake through the trees.  the word “meander” conjured up images of every time i had taken the time to do just that:  meander.  on a back road, on a trail in the mountains, in the woods in a state park, along the lake, through a magazine or book, or in my mind’s eye.  i am a meanderer.  i believe i come by it naturally; my sweet momma loved meandering…any day she would suggest a car drive or a bike hike to some distant spot, meandering on the way.  she wasn’t afraid of getting lost; for her, meandering WAS the meaning in the time spent.

sitting at yamaha artist services in nyc i had a list of titles i had collected, words that had spoken to me or touched my heart.  “meander” was on that list.  with “record” on, i simply ‘played’ the word “meander.”  the amazing “fine” ken orchestrated this piece back in chicago, bringing in musicians to add tracks.

sitting next to me right now, david just listened to it.  the richness of that orchestration wrapped around me and i was back on I-76, jotting down on a scrap of paper the word “meander.”

MEANDER from the album AS IT IS track 3 on iTunes

MEANDER from the album AS IT IS track 3 on CDBaby

read DAVID’S thoughts about MEANDER

 

 

 

MEANDER from AS IT IS ©️ 2002 kerri sherwood

 


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dr thursday

editedcityscape morsel jpeg.jpgthere is maybe nothing that says “cool” more than a bass player.  upright bass or electric.  they have a certain air, a je ne sais quoi, that just quietly and intensely says ‘phat’.  phat definition

jim is like that.  he was the throw-anything-at-me-and-i’ll-astound-you bass player on a couple of my albums.  such a great sound.   he’s a top-shelf musician and i’m proud to have had his playing as part of my recordings.

bassplayer sharpenedhighercontrast.jpg

the bass player, 24″ x 48″

this painting makes me think of jim and also of several of The Girl’s and The Boy’s friends from high school.  they were bass players in jazz band (and every other band that our district offers) and they rocked the house.  many of them, like jim, are in chicago now and i hope they are playing and still rocking the house.

 

this cityscape morsel comes from david’s painting the bass player.  when i was photographing the full painting, i kept zero-ing in on this morsel….the city at night.  i love the fun of it, the color, the chaos.  designing products with this morsel was a blast!  i got lost in the possibilities.  just as you can get lost in the night in this city.

CITYSCAPE MERCHANDISE

THIScityscape LEGGINGS

 

cityscape PILLOW

 

 

cityscape TOTE BAG

 

cityscape MUG

 

cityscape IPHONE CASE

 

DR THURSDAY (DAVID ROBINSON THURSDAY)

melange button jpeg

check out DAVID’S thoughts on this DR THURSDAY

cityscape ©️ 2018 david robinson & kerri sherwood

the bass player ©️ 2002 david robinson