reverse threading

the path back is the path forward


Leave a comment

frosting and connection.

network connections

cupcakes.

and frosting.

i would talk to my piano students about practicing.  i drew a comparison of the time they spent, the way they allocated their time to cupcakes and frosting.   i would start by saying let’s talk about practicing, whereupon most of my sweet students would roll their eyes, a common reaction to the word ‘practice’.  i would suddenly switch topics to cupcakes and they would happily skip down that path, thinking they were avoiding the ‘practice’ chat.  we would talk about our favorite cupcakes and the very best frosting that could possibly earn the top spot on those treats.  and once we discerned that very-important-information, i would pose a question:

let’s say you have a small cup of frosting.   delicious, fluffy, sweet-as-can-be frosting.  it’s just a small cup – like the tiny sippy cups you drank from as a baby.  and you have a choice.  you can either frost one cupcake with that sippy-cup-full or you can frost all 24 of the cupcakes that are waiting on the counter from the oven.  which will you do?

my students, all brilliant cupcake-lovers and bright lights in the world, would sit and ponder for a second and then reply that they would frost the one cupcake.  otherwise, they would explain, the frosting would be so thin that you would barely know it is there, you would barely taste it, and it would be like there was no frosting at all.   and besides, if they got to eat the one cupcake, they wanted the one rich with frosting.  who can argue with that?

contrary to their belief that the ‘practice’ talk was over, i would clutch and shift gears back to the piano.  “if you have a little bit of time to practice and pieces of music that might be difficult to play, would it be better to hurry through every piece spending a few moments on each OR would it be better to spend that little bit of time on one or two?” i would ask (in student-age-appropriate language).   invariably they would frost one cupcake.

i believe the same applies to connection.  with the advent of the vast array of social media choices, we have applied an ultra-thin layer of frosting to our connections.  we have thinned out the time we truly spend on relationship – pure individual relationships.  we have, oddly, chosen to spend easily-addicted quantities of time and emotional energy on social media “relationships” with people we do not know rather than being in real touch with the people closest to us.  we expect those people to learn of things on outlets and from posts instead of simply telling them, picking up a phone and calling or texting them.

we are not connected to a network.  we are connected to a network.  both of these are true.

the question for me, one that i must look at as well,  is – how much time are we spending on that network, on individual people we love and care about?  is there any frosting at all?

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

meringue website box


Leave a comment

the more grateful you are, the more grateful you are. [two artists tuesday]

gratitude blanks

it is easy to have a list of things we wish for.  a list of things we lack.  a list of ways we aren’t enough.  it is easy to perseverate over these things.  things that make us different from someone else, things that make us less successful, less wealthy, less chic.  it is easy to measure yourself against others.  it is easy to fall short.

in those moments, it is easy for someone outside of you to remind you of what you do have, the ways ‘it could be worse’, the ways you are rich beyond compare.  it is easy to push back against those words, against those admonishment-reminders.  it is easy to stay in the lists.  alone.  to wallow.

but in the new tide that follows the overwhelmed sobs, the tears that cleanse but don’t solve, the grief of wishing-it-were-different, there are deep breaths of renewal.  there are realizations.  there are glimpses of beauty, the seeing of kindnesses, winks of hope.

there were rocks planted along one of the trails we hike on, positive messages painted on them.  each one made us smile, made us wonder, made us look for the next.  life-giving.

gratitude is like that.  in a time swirling with negativity, personal challenges, darkness overtaking the sun, we offer these gratitude cards.  print and cut them out (PDF link below), write your thoughts, hide them somewhere as a surprise, tuck them into a nook or cranny, or give them to people who are unsuspecting, people who maybe need the spark of your expression of gratitude.

the more grateful you are, the more grateful you are.  it’s an amazing, wondrous cycle.

gratitude blanks

click here for gratitude blanks PDF

read DAVID’S thoughts this TWO ARTISTS TUESDAY

boots in megaphone website box.jpg


Leave a comment

an independent dog. [merely-a-thought monday]

independent dog

jen pulled the sliding glass door open for the fourth time (within a short visit of potlucking time around the kitchen island) and we all laughed.  sweet henry and chester wanted out.  wanted in.  wanted out.  wanted in.  this is a familiar tune.  dogdog finds it irresistible to demand to go out and then not want to miss anything and want back in.  on repeat.

andrea and scott have two golden retrievers.  impeccably trained, they wait for a sign or a word to do most anything.   they are not the in-and-out-ers that dogga and henry and chester are.  i remember them as calm and happy and i vowed that one day i would have a dog as well-behaved.  this is not that day.

but dogdog is, yes, dogdog-ish.  his sweet face watches our every move, trying to anticipate to which room we might be moving, trying to assess why we are feeling what he knows we are feeling.   he doesn’t like conflict; he doesn’t like the sound of metal touching metal.  it took him a while to warm up to the ukulele (which he now loves and wishes he could play) and the piano draws him into the studio.  he won’t touch food on the counter or the table or really anywhere unless given permission, but his direct eye contact begs for a bite every breakfast.  he destroyed very few things as a puppy (well, the kitchen cabinet door and the table legs count) but de-heads every toy he is given and un-stuffings them.  he bows to all things babycat, yet loves to drag him around and taunts him until babycat asserts his ruling paw.  his aussie-ness makes him intuitively try to keep track of all people and animals in the house, a tiresome and difficult chore when one is peculiarly averse to going upstairs or downstairs.  he is quirky.

on island he was quiet.  here at home he is a barker.  i guess he knew the littlehouse wasn’t his.  he loves errands both places.  he ecstatically runs miles in circles in the backyard and certain names will make his eyes wide and his australian-shepherd-jumping-bean-dog-heart jump with glee. he clocks out of all responsibility late at night, content to quietly languish in whatever room we are in, happy to have pets and go sleepynightnight.  sweet, sweet dogdog emerges from constant-motion dog.

i don’t remember the story we were talking about around jen and brad’s island.  i’m sure it was one of tripper’s many idiosyncratic tales.  we rolled our eyes and laughed.  and brad said, “you should be proud that you raised an independent dog!”

riiiiiight.

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

paws website box


Leave a comment

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


Leave a comment

play to play. [d.r. thursday]

0006a copy

when i asked d for a summary of this children’s book he wrote and illustrated called PLAY TO PLAY he told me that the gorilla teaches the little girl the value of playing simply to play, not to win.

my son played tennis.  after growing up playing competitive baseball and soccer he decided, as people who are gifted athletically can, to “take up” competitive tennis.  he didn’t just go hit the ball around.  he dove in.  he was persistent and worked hard.  i drove him to lessons, individual and group, to high school team practices, to tournaments.  when he was in college i drove to his matches, regardless of where they were.

not familiar with the psychology of tennis, i, too, dove in, in my own way.  i read articles and books, asked questions of his various coaches.  an individual sport, tennis is a mind game and i needed to understand a little bit of what was going on inside my zealous son out on that lonely court.  indeed, sometimes it was hard to watch, hardly breathing in the stands.  when wendy wrote to me the other day that she just wanted her son’s hardworking football team to win and that she was unduly stressed, i could totally relate.  it’s your heart out on that court, out on that field, out on that diamond.   so much pressure.

a couple years ago we had the opportunity to once again see the boy play softball.  on a league in boston, that team, and another he played on, traveled all over the place to play, including paris.  they were all adults, all working hard and playing hard.  the thing i loved most about watching him now was watching him laugh.  laugh.  teasing and laughter were a part of this ball-playing.  they were playing to play.  winning was a bonus – and they actually did that often – but playing seemed to be the point.  it did my heart good.

we often forget the point of play.  we often forget TO play.  in days of great stress, days of worry and sorrow, play seems so far away.  it seems unlikely and unworthy of our time.  but i suppose it would do us all well to remember how invaluable to our well-being playing is.  how giggling or fun and games, teasing and laughter make us feel.  and how they do our heart good.

the illustrations in this little book are dear and the lesson important:  just play to play.

read DAVID’S thoughts this D.R. THURSDAY

Screen Shot 2019-10-02 at 4.09.09 PM

birdy feet website box

PLAY TO PLAY ©️ 2006-2019 david robinson


Leave a comment

flax brownie bites and no h8. [not-so-flawed wednesday]

hate has no home here

hunter doesn’t look surprised when we walk into greens and grains in egg harbor.   it’s really his fault.  he showed us flax chocolate brownie muffins.  we bought them.  we ate them.  we are now addicted to them.  yes, we blame hunter.  in all good ways.

truth is, though, we love the feel of the store as well.  a natural food store and healthy alternative grocery and cafe, the signs you can see on the windows tell a story about its purity.

hate has no home here and NO H8 both align with our thinking, just as the flax brownie bites align with us.  we will always choose a shop, a business, an organization, a community that is embracing over one that is not.  i wrack my brain and my heart for reasons shops, businesses, organizations, communities, and, yes, governments, are not embracing, not inclusive, not compassionate earth-dwellers.

abiding in hate-filled rhetoric, prejudicial about anything and everything, hypocritical in obvious holding-both-ends-of-the-spectrum philosophies, demonstrably unkind, gleefully vengeful, inequitably elitist.  i just ask why?

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

heart rock website box

 

 


Leave a comment

the polar antonym of hip. [two artists tuesday]

polar antonym

i would like to start with synonyms:

Screen Shot 2019-11-11 at 10.42.56 AM

and now some antonyms:

Screen Shot 2019-11-11 at 10.43.29 AM

ick.  i would much rather be thought of as “swell” than “moth-eaten” or “chic” rather than “dowdy”.  good grief.  this is full of possibilities for an emotional breakdown, an inferiority complex in the mixing bowl.

in the show schitt’s creek, moira (the ever-present, loving and compassionate mom -NOT-) is speaking to the dad (equally as despicable in his own right.)  she states that to their children they are “the polar antonym of hip”.

hmm.  is this not a defining characteristic of parenthood?  we simply cannot be hip like them.  we are not them.  our children have different hip-ness than we do; our children are swell – and will be swell – in different ways than we have ever been.

i hardly think that the well-practiced eyerolls that my daughter has given me (in my view or from a thousand miles away) are because she thinks i am “modish”.  nor do i think the radio silence in-between my equally sweet love-professing text messages to my son are because he is thinking, “wow!  my mom is supercool!”  it is part of their job to think we are un-hip.  it is part of their journey in life to think we are “antediluvian”.

it IS the circle of life.  forget rafiki and mufasa and the lions and all.  the circle of life is the circle of hipness.  you are hip until you are no longer hip.  the line is foggy and you will not be notified until it is too late.  there is no expiration date or deadline for payment.  it just happens.  the crease between your eyebrows is deep and the waistline on your jeans slowly creeps up from your hips.  un-hip.

but such is life, as my sweet momma would say.  maybe it’s time to embrace being ‘the polar antonym of hip’.

i will not be whipping out the credit card to try and stay ahead of it.  ‘hip’ is untenable.  the silky threads trailing behind it escape grasp.  my boots and flipflops and black shirts will have to be my new ‘hip’.  my philosophy of less-is-more will have to be my new ‘hip’.  driving big red and littlebabyscionwithhundredsofthousandsofmiles will have to be my new ‘hip’.  listening to john denver and james taylor and carole king will have to be my new ‘hip’.  trying to keep being an honest artist in this world of machinated stuff will have to be my new ‘hip’.  and my jeans, sitting sort of on my hips, will have to be my new ‘hip’.

and i will hope-against-hope that maybe, just maybe, my children will think, “wow!  mom’s pretty hip.”  (only even the word ‘hip’ isn’t ‘hip’.)

read DAVID’S thoughts this TWO ARTISTS TUESDAY

kdkc feet website box