reverse threading

the path back is the path forward


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treading water. watershed. [k.s. friday]

watershed the songbox

i don’t feel as much in-a-boat as i feel that i am relentlessly treading water.  but there was no handy treading-water bitmoji and i remember the exact moment that this bitmoji showed up on my snapchat mapping…in the middle of a lot of treading.

treading, treading.  guessing at why what-is-happening is happening – in wide concentric circles around us, tightly close to us.

i can only guess, as i type this with these two now-familiar broken wrists, that this is a watershed time.

watershed pronunciation

definition 2

and today, both valentine’s day and d’s birthday, i want to express gratitude for this man who is standing in the water with me – waves crashing over us, undertow threatening to pull us down, riptide ever present – and holding my fiberglass-cast-encased hand.  the person who is equally as perplexed at this time, who takes turns with me being alternatively flabbergasted, philosophical and soberingly pragmatic.

he continues to zip my jacket, buckle my seatbelt, paste my toothbrush, carry my music, pepper-mill my breakfast and dinner, put the ernie straw in my coffee.  he has learned the fine points of where-on-the-head to place hair conditioner, how best to tie plastic bags on my arms, what stool will work best at the piano, which wine glass i can pick up at the end of a day.  he has watched me learn how to hold mascara with two hands and pull up girl jeans by the belt loops.  he has been treading water with me as we look to the horizon.

maybe this watershed is the thing that elicits change.  at the end of 2019 i could feel it coming.  and i can now, with all authority and certainty, say that the change is not that i will, smack dab in the middle of middle-age, become a professional snowboarder.  nope.  but there may truly be things out there i just didn’t see or consider.  perhaps the things that are vexing us, stunning us, deeply disappointing us, are just the things that will propel us.  ah, if that just didn’t feel so pollyanna-ish.

this life is bigger than anyone can ever live it.  that includes us.  treading water in the watershed might be a time that forces dynamic change.  like everyone, i wish i had some prescient inkling of what’s-out-there, what-will-happen.

my perceived lack of control is maybe a misperception.  maybe that which has taken away control is conversely granting control, granting the creativity that comes with grabbing onto flotsam and jetsam in a sea that seems to be swirling.  maybe the grasping-at-straws is grasping-at-ernie, a touchstone that seems flimsy and unimportant, but which actually is grounding, rooting, and gives voice to more solid footing, less wave-action, more direction-choosing.

the watershed is here.  moment by moment we stare at it.  we roll our eyes, we yell at the angst-y details, we shake our heads in confusion, we stop and stand still and, yet hyperventilating from treading, we wonder.  we try to breathe, to center, to be in the eye of the storm.

holding hand-cast, we look forward and we guess that this ain’t the last watershed on the horizon.

 

download WATERSHED from AS IT IS on iTUNES or CDBaby

read DAVID’S thoughts this K.S. FRIDAY

freezing des plaines website box

WATERSHED from AS IT IS ©️ 2004 kerri sherwood

 

 


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the ernie straw. [not-so-flawed wednesday]

ernie straw

the ernie straw.  this straw has lived in the kitchen drawer for decades.  it served the sesame-street-zeal of My Girl and My Boy when they were little-little and has made various appearances back in the sunlit-world from time to time since then.

this summer when The Girl was here house-sitting i came home and into the kitchen to find her using it to sip her pre-workout drink.  she laughingly told me, “it’s a good straw!”  i can’t tell you how happy i was that ernie was still in the drawer when she went searching for the perfect sipping-utensil.

in the last week, ernie has become my constant companion.  positioned carefully in my coffee hydroflask or perched in my water glass or teetering out of a wine glass, ernie and i have done beverage-life together.

they say necessity is the mother of invention and, particularly, this past week with two broken wrists, i would have to agree.  stuck closer to the right side of my brain as a creative thinker (although admittedly there is quite a bit of ny-style-left-side there as well) i have had to sort out how to do things, let’s say, in-a-different-way.

i can proudly say that i can put on my socks, eat my own meal with a fork or a spoon, cut a steak (with the steak knife lodged into my RH cast), put on a little eyeliner and mascara with my LH steadying my right hand (not easy, but some things are just necessary), and type.  last night i squeezed (!) the toothpaste out of the tube and surprised d with his toothbrush pre-pasted.  in bigger news, i have played my piano four days in a row.  i have 9 fingers to use right now; my right thumb is immobilized.  but there are a lot of notes you can play with nine fingers, especially at the right angle and taking your time.

ernie and i are trying to keep a good attitude.  his curlycue-ness is pretty cute and his smile engaging.  he keeps me from feeling too sad, too limited.  he reminds me that the constraints i feel right now are exercising my creative juju (he’s a ridiculous optimist).  and he, most importantly, ties me to all the years backward, where he, yes, an inanimate object, has been a part of my life and the life of my children.

i couldn’t be more grateful to have found this life-gossamer-thread in our kitchen drawer last monday, the day i was injured.  once again, something profound and something simple –  and both remind me of what’s important.

i sent My Girl a photo of ernie in my coffee vessel.  she quickly replied, “it’s a good straw!”   yes.

thank you, our ernie straw.

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

old suitcases website box

 

 


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laugh. [k.s. friday]

creativity is not always a serious thing.  songwriting isn’t always serious.  today we offer you the attempt we made on washington island to record our brilliant and profound song SITTING HERE IN THE SUN.  we understand, with 7 takes, if you can’t bear to watch it all.  and we understand if you are underwhelmed by the song (not to mention the angle of video recording) – when you finally get there.  but right now – at the very beginning of a new year and a new decade – we are thinking maybe the laughter is the most important song of all.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

jaunt over to DAVID’S blogsite to see if he added anything esoteric to my meanderings

for real recordings, go to iTUNES: kerri sherwood here

www.kerrianddavid.com

 

 


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guide star. [d.r. thursday]

hotel art

last night we watched cnn’s broadcast movie about linda ronstadt “the sound of my voice”.  a star in every facet.  as we watched , we revisited times of our lives – times when the music we listened to was simpler, less engineered, less auto-tuned, less machinated, less acrobatic.  it was music of melody and harmony, stylistically less thickened by tracks of extraneous stuff.  it was indeed purer.  linda ronstadt, now in her 80s and dealing with the effects of parkinson’s, particularly on her voice, was a powerhouse raised in music, surrounded by music and who, with generosity, graced us all with her music for decades.  her voice goes on.

we are attracted to simpler.  simpler melodies minus the gymnastic riffs and with simpler production, simpler paintings with great depth or color or message.  we are analog; there’s no doubt about it.  and as we watched a john denver christmas in aspen the other day i found myself yearning for that simplicity, john denver’s voice – both his writing voice and singing voice – effortlessly clear.

the common thread of less is more.  it had impact on us, on our art forms.

when d was messing around in the studio recently he painted these very simple elements that often appear in his paintings:  a star, a flower, petals. it’s not natural for him to paint without a figure.  i imagine he was experimenting, paring down.  i would liken that to me recording a song on the ukulele.  it’s not natural for me to record without a piano.  but experimenting is good and paring down is an exercise.  especially in times of mostly-quiet easels and mostly-empty lyric sheets.

linda ronstadt’s story is one of unparalleled success and a great number of layers of experiment, a constant delve into another style of music, always paring it down to dedication to her absolute love of singing.

in the midst of all the layers, all the experimentation, all the paring down, all the silent canvases and hushed keys, we find our guide stars.  and we go on.

read DAVID’S thoughts this D.R. THURSDAY

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christmas 2019 website box

©️ 2019 david robinson, kerri sherwood

 

 

 


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waiting. and waiting. [k.s. friday]

waitingsongbox.jpg

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

ks website header

read DAVID’S thoughts this K.S. FRIDAY

their palettes website box

WAITING from JOY ©️ 2004 kerri sherwood


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holding steadfast. [k.s. friday]

holdingsteadfast songbox.jpg

it is against the odds that this tree clings to rock and doesn’t topple into the lake with a great splash and float away.  instead it stubbornly holds on, a steadfast intention.  the rock, the basso ostinato.

at a time when holding steadfast seems mightily important, i wonder about the questions we have been asked.  will you stay?  will you leave?  will you love it here?  in the midst of all the infighting, are you going to give up? will you hold on?

the answers may not be directly related to the actual intent of those questions.

will we hold on?  yes, we will hold on.  we will hold steadfast to our integrity.  we will hold steadfast to the reasons we came here in the first place.  to make a difference, to bring ideas and change, to apply that which we have learned, studied, experienced over at least 80 combined years of work, higher education and profession.  to be honest and transparent and collaborative.  to try and instill a sense of working together into a community divided by narratives too numerous to list.

will we hold on?  yes, we will hold on.  we will hold steadfast to our belief that people should be kind to each other, that people should not work around others nor should they undermine others, that people should instead lift each other up, not drive stakes into another.

will we hold on?  yes, we will hold on.  steadfastly.  to honoring art, the driving force behind this initiative.  to honoring creativity and the blossoming of beauty and wisdom, staunch tenets of artistry.

will we hold on?  yes, we will hold on.  steadfastly.  to believing all is possible.

but, in answer to the real intent of the question asked us….will we hold on?

we will not hold on if others cannot join us in what is real, what is truth, what is most important.  we will not hold on in the fire of pettiness or shameful self-serving underhandedness.  we will not hold on, holding still while others take turns throwing rocks at us, at the real goals of this place, if those are indeed about art.

the answer to the question is not up to us.  we can either cling to the rock, holding steadfast or we can topple, with a refreshing splash, into the lake and float away.

download HOLDING STEADFAST from BLUEPRINT FOR MY SOUL on iTUNES or CDBaby

read DAVID’S thoughts this K.S. FRIDAY

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HOLDING STEADFAST from BLUEPRINT FOR MY SOUL ©️ 1996 kerri sherwood

 


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three graces. [d.r. thursday]

ThreeGraces.JPG

i don’t purport to understand every painting of my visionary husband.  if i ask him what a painting is about, he posits a question back to me, “what does it mean to you?”  in normal conversation, this kind of question-question response is not troubling, but in husband-wife conversation it is slightly irksome, one of those times where you gently roll your eyes at your partner and sort of hope that coffee grounds find their way into the bottom of their first cup of coffee the next morning.  ok, so maybe not, but it is from a little bit of laziness that i sometimes want him to just TELL me.  instead, groaning, i take a tiny step back away from the painting and let emotion take over.

the title of this painting THREE GRACES suggests (from research) the goddesses of things such as “charm, beauty and creativity”.  a wealth of goodnesses, a wealth of possibility.  an appreciation of every little gesture, every honey bee, the creation by others of a world of wonder and challenge.

in our world today, we first cover our disbelieving eyes with hands of despair. we look to the heavens for guidance. we ground ourselves, one hand firmly planted for balance, the other on our foreheads, thinking, thinking. we seek to find answers, ways for charm and beauty and creativity to thrive.  and the elusiveness of peace.

click here to view or purchase this painting in david’s online gallery

read DAVID’S thoughts this D.R. THURSDAY

HH coffee cups website box.jpg

THREE GRACES ©️ 2012 david robinson


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unleash the power of your crayon. [chicken marsala monday]

unleashthepower WITH EYES jpeg

on my piano in my studio is a teeny sign with a big message.  it reads, “if you asked me what i came into this world to do, i will tell you i came to live out loud.” (emile zola)   it’s a reminder – a reason for being.  true for each of us, it’s unleashing the metaphoric crayon of our creativity, our thoughts, our knowledge, our gifts, our voices.

there is an extraordinary amount of power in those crayons..the place in the middle that we open…the heart from where our concentric circles start rippling out…where the crayon meets the page, the song is composed, the painter paints, the activist writes.  “loud” (for the sheer sake of being loud) and “out loud” (simply having a voice) are two vastly different things.  and, if you are paying even the least bit of attention at all to world events, we are privy to both in our lives these days.

after living all this life so far, i hope now that the crayons i pick will help to ripple out things that are good, things that consider others, things that are not hurtful, things that are fair, things that are kind.  the power of a crayon unleashed that is “out loud” not “loud.”

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read DAVID’S thoughts about this CHICKEN NUGGET

CHICKEN MARSALA MONDAY – ON OUR SITE

if you'd like to see more CHICKEN...

unleash the power of your crayon ©️ 2016 david robinson & kerri sherwood


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what’s for dinner? [flawed cartoon wednesday]

archaeologistfordinner jpegBIG copy

recently, while perusing facebook (which i actually don’t do all that often) i came across a post by My Boy.  he had made homemade ravioli for dinner.  wait!  what??  homemade ravioli???  now, this requires making pasta from scratch as well as stuffing it with a delicious tuscan sausage mix.  just sayin!  this is the same person who, long ago now, used to be able to live on honey buns and swedish fish.  he has amazed me time and again with his creative cooking and the photographs he has sent of yummy meals.  one day he grilled shrimp out on his deck for dan and me and d.  just as thoughtful as the birthday he made me mac and cheese after a long evening i had spent volunteering, but, i have to admit, much tastier.

the first time My Girl made us dinner we had gnocchi and an excellent sausage sauce.  i hadn’t had gnocchi in years – since i had it with the hot chics in montana – and her recipe immediately made it onto our ‘what-should-we-have-for-dinner’ list of possibilities.

these are the same two human beings who would ask, ” what’s for dinner?”  now i find myself asking them.  funny how cooking creativity blossoms in each next generation.

if you'd like to see FLAWED CARTOON

read DAVID’S thoughts on this FLAWED CARTOON WEDNESDAY

FLAWED CARTOON WEDNESDAY – ON OUR SITE

what?  archaeologist for dinner again???  ©️ 2016 david robinson & kerri sherwood


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make time for clouds. [chicken marsala monday]

maketimeforclouds WITH EYES jpeg copy 2

the crystal clear water was cool around my feet, cold actually.  the current pulled at my flipflops, necessary –  for the rocks below were slippery and i didn’t have the cool sandals My Girl had on.  the hot-hot high altitude sun blazed into my hair; it made me think i should have worn that new packable hat i got last year.

i scanned the horizon, a 360 of mountains and trees and sagebrush and blue-blue sky.  and this river.  going on and on.  as far as i could see, it meandered through the landscape i was reluctant to leave.

and i stood in the water.  never-minding the feeling of almost-numbness of my feet.  because in this moment, i could feel.  the very hot of a brilliant sun, the very cold of snow-capped mountain runoff.  this time of cloudless sky and the murmur of the river.  this time of being with my daughter.  this time of dreaming and imagining and creating scenarios in my mind that would allow me to stay in this very spot.  this time of (in this case, metaphoric) cloud-gazing.

every good cloud-gaze creates a story.  every good cloud-gaze builds a memory.  every good cloud-gaze gives you pause to breathe.  it’s the same with your feet in the river, your blanket on the beach, your chair in front of the bonfire, your boots on the trail.  make time, i say.

if you'd like to see more CHICKEN...

read DAVID’S thoughts on this CHICKEN NUGGET

CHICKEN MARSALA MONDAY – ON OUR SITE

make time for clouds ©️ 2016 david robinson & kerri sherwood