reverse threading

the path back is the path forward


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the thunder of the silence. [merely-a-thought monday]

TPAC empty seats

“…a silence like thunder…”

“no distinction is made between the sacred and the everyday.”

“our attitude toward the world resonates in the objects around us.  they reveal our intention.”

(from plain and simple, sue bender)

the first day i walked into the tiny lobby at TPAC i wondered why the table holding brochures was light blue.  it matched nothing there and was a statement of a kind of thoughtless we-need-a-small-table-does-anyone-have-one thoughtfulness.  all season long i kept thinking that it should be painted black.  the very last day in the theatre, outside in the chill air, surrounded by golden and crimson leaves, i painted it.  it dried fast and we placed it back in the lobby.  still the same little table doing its job, but its new distinction mattered and it fit in the space.  it did my heart good.

with multiple bags of old mayonnaise and mustard, an old container of kale and a moldy loaf of some kind of unidentifiable home-baked bread, i finished cleaning out the fridge, an appliance i had never opened for an entire season.  clearly, others had, and the accumulation of old-ness was ripe.  i scrubbed it out and stood back to look at how neat and tidy it was.  the whole kitchen area looked neat and tidy, a new keurig replacing an old coffeemaker and broken carafe.  shelves cleaned, toothpicks that had poured out swept up, a welcoming backstage entrance for staff and artists.  moving that space up to sacred-everyday from messy-everyday did my heart good.

the last couple weeks have been nesting weeks at TPAC, moments when d and i have had the space to ourselves.   having now passed through the shoulder season, it’s empty and it’s quiet.  the 250 seats wait for the next event, the off-the-shoulders season, the next new high season.  i can feel its curiosity, its expectation.

we sat in various seats around the theatre, talking about the dreams we had when we first saw it.  getting mired in the muck of being the you-aren’t-from-here-newbies had slowed things down.  it had paused our ownership of the actual space.  eh, who am i kidding?  it brought most of that to a screeching halt.  drama, three board presidents and a reticence to consider change from people hired as change agents (us) brought the gate down before we could even start.

we discovered the word ‘glacial’ and applied it generously to the direction we were going.  we didn’t try to change a space that didn’t feel like ours yet.  we didn’t try to change too many processes.  we stopped trying to change mindsets.

instead, we embraced people.  we listened; we learned.  we set out to weave relationships where they had eroded, where tattered feelings were wrung out, where we were told no relationship could work.  we befriended those we were told would never like us.  we struggled to understand allies who weren’t so much allies.  with deep roots of experience, we led with intention, with the questions of what would be best for this space, what would be best for the artistry on this little island, what would be long-lasting and truly make the making of art – whatever the genre – foremost?

and so, it was in the last days, when it was quiet and empty that we were able to take the time to really listen to the thunder of the silence of that really beautiful space.  we strove to honor the sanctity of this art-making place.  and we intended, with every move of cleaning and straightening and re-arranging and planning and yes, dreaming, all the best things we could.  it did my heart good.

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

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big red. [not-so-flawed wednesday]

CO to WI copy

colorado to wisconsin.  with a stop in columbia, missouri.  the first day is long.  twelve hours give or take.  we drive out of colorado into kansas, which has to be one of the wider states in the journey, and head for wendy’s.  she and keith are tolerant of whatever-time-we-get-there, knowing the challenges of a long drive.  this time, it was different.

this time we weren’t in our littlebabyscion toodling along, huffing and puffing up hills.  this time we were in Big Red, a giant ford F150.  she hadn’t been driven this-far-at-one-time in years.  we were high up and felt like road warriors.

columbus gave us a couple cassette tapes to play in the player and, in planning ahead, i had brought a dozen favorites from years past (ok, the 70s are many years past.)  we played each of them, singing along.  and then switched to the radio.  it only seemed right that country music be blaring out of the speakers, so we obliged.

although we blasted cassettes of john denver, loggins and messina, alabama, england dan & john ford coley among others, i have a few favorite radio songs of the journey east and north.  one direction’s what makes you beautiful, lady gaga and bradley cooper singing shallow, toby keith’s i wanna talk about me and my new fave, billy currington’s good directions and turnip greens.  a sweet country-music story.

we were talking with jen and brad last night in their kitchen, lingering over our potluck together.  we talked about compromise and life and decisions and chance.  like everyone, david and i have had our share of each of those.  decisions sorted and pondered, and compromises, bending to the things that make life meaningful, balancing reality with idealism.  and then there’s chance.  we could relate to the story of turnip greens…happenstance changing life.   a choice, one direction taken, a turn, one click…and everything changes.  what comes is predicated on what was and what is this very second.  we second those lyrics – thank God for good directions and turnip greens.

we turned up the stereo in Big Red and opened the windows with the AC on.  somewhere along the way, we decided it was a she, for she had gently mothered columbus as he drove a bit more gingerly in recent days and she sturdily and protectively lumbered us across the country.  laughing and certain of everything and absolutely nothing, we turned this beautiful big old pickup truck toward home.

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

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baby steps. [k.s. friday]

BABYSTEPS songbox

i’m glad my sweet momma saved these, my first soft leather pre-stride-rite walking shoes.  they hang in my studio and are a literal reminder that everything is accomplished by first taking baby steps.  leaps are optional.  long jumps, ridiculous.

as we embark on some new adventures, i keep reminding myself of this.  regardless of age, the idea of learning new things can be daunting and exhilarating, both.  we step  with commitment and with a willingness to bend and be fluid like reeds in the wind.  we hold fast to past lessons and apply them generously where they fit and we recognize when new wisdom will serve us better.   we step confidently and tenderly.  both.

my beautiful niece chose BABY STEPS as the piece that started her wedding on the beach.  the wedding party all walked barefoot through the sand to this music as we witnessed and supported heather and brian starting their new journey, one baby step at a time.

it all starts with baby steps.  one tiny footfall at a time.  speed matters not.  it’s all forward motion.

purchase RIGHT NOW CD or download on iTUNES or CDBaby

read DAVID’S thoughts this K.S. FRIDAY

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BABY STEPS from RIGHT NOW ©️ 2010 kerri sherwood

 

 


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the curious. [not-so-flawed wednesday]

blessed are the curious copy

my niece (well, technically d’s niece) posted this on instagram.  she and her husband, a pastor, are missionaries and have done pure and amazing hard work in the world.  she encountered this sign on a mirror in cairo, egypt while they are out gathering information to make a decision on their next placement.  i can’t think of two people more curious about others and the lives that people live outside our country; they have done impactful work and are seeking the next location where they can make a difference.  this sign must have felt like a sign to her – a reinforcement of their choices, their passion, their dedication, their direction.

it would be my guess that the moment you cease being curious is the same moment that you cease learning.  curiosity takes guts.  so does learning.  and adjusting.  at any age, we like to think we know.  and yet we don’t.

when my sweet momma entered assisted living, she was, quite understandably, apprehensive.  a person who adored her own home, but yet loved to converse with others – all others – it was hard for her to adjust to a new place outside of her own place, a new rhythm, new people, new things to do.  but she had great courage.  and she participated.  confused on lingo, she called to tell me that she was going to “taize on chair” but what she really meant was she was going to “tai chi on chair”.  and she liked it!  i was speechless with respect for her ability to try and learn new things, even at 93.  she was curious.  she kept asking questions.  she kept learning.  she kept having new adventures, albeit small adventures.  it mattered not to her that these adventures were not staggeringly earth-shattering.  what mattered to her was that it changed her.  it made her grow and think.  it made her try something new.  it made her braver.  it made her even more curious.

like hannah, like my sweet momma, i hope to stay outside the box.   to try new things and walk to the edge.  to look to others for inspiration.  to ask questions and listen to the answers.  to trust being curious.

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

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little did i know. [merely-a-thought monday]

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when i was in junior high i wrote a piece for an english class titled “old age is not a disease.”  i’m pretty sure if i searched high and low for it i could find it in a bin somewhere, but, suffice it to say, i have other things on my docket to get done and, heaven knows, i don’t want to even attempt to go near those bins.

when i was in junior high i’m quite convinced that i would have thought 60 was “old age”.  as we know, it’s all relative.  you know, “60 is the new 40” or (i’m hoping) some such faaabulous idiom.

when i was in junior high i’m betting i thought that life slowed down at 60, that people did less and rested more.  little did i know.

when i was in junior high i would think i, errantly, believed that getting older also meant less engagement with unknown things, less learning, less involvement.  perhaps i assumed that getting older was a time for fewer challenges, more relaxation, less thinking, less new.  little did i know.

when i was in junior high maybe i thought that most people who were older thought inside the box; their lives and their activities were conservative and tight, protected and quiet.  little did i know.

when i was in junior high it would be my guess that i thought most older people were secure, maybe retired, with essentially predictable lives and not much to really worry about.  little did i know.

when i was in junior high i’m sure i, like most junior-highers, looked at people who were 60 and thought, “wow!  that person looks old!”  i probably never considered how their spirit played into their look, how life experience added to their wise eyes and kind smile.  little did i know.

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

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187. [not-so-flawed wednesday]

187 box framed copy

i had no idea how much i would love designing.  through the first ten years or so of album covers, i watched.  i sat with my dear friend 20 as he designed so many of my CD jackets and tray cards.  i learned a lot.  not about how to use photoshop or illustrator or quark but i learned about balance and clean design and how to “see”.  so when we started designing for THE MELANGE, that part came more easily.  the photoshop part?  well, that had a bigger learning curve (as does website designing.)  manipulating images and navigating programs without real directions can be a challenge, but i was up for it.  lots of learning.

the thing that really surprised us was when we looked at each of our society6.com stores this week and literally counted our product lines.   there are 187!  187 lines created across the five stores.

187 product lines later, i look back in wonder.

mugs and laptop covers, tote bags, prints and cellphone cases, beach towels, shower curtains…not to mention leggings.  in the course of the last year, i have designed between 50 and 60 pairs of leggings.  leggings with morsels of david’s paintings, leggings with graphics we have designed or photographs we have taken, leggings with words of wisdom, leggings with punchlines, leggings with lyrics.  i was a leggings-designing-maniac.  i think about even just these leggings designed, available on an on-demand site, and think – we could have all those made and just sell them ourselves.  we could sell those designs elsewhere – to a company that already produces leggings.  we could open a shop with all these products – interesting, different, artistic, not mass-produced or mass-purchased.  we could…  there’s no telling what we could do.

i asked david if he knew how many blogposts there had been in this MELANGE year.  he had already done the math.  we each posted 260 posts, totalling 520.  that’s more than a few words, more than a few thoughts, more than a little heart.

immeasurable energy has been devoted to these designs, these blogs, to this MELANGE.  here – at the one-year-old mark – we are astounded by the amount of time and effort this has all taken.  and we look back in wonder.

what has been the reward?

there is no way to underestimate the power of i/we-can-do-this.  the sisu of sticking it out, meeting the challenge, staying in the game, learning.

THE MELANGE is celebrating one year.  but we are celebrating so much more than that.  we look forward in wonder.

if you'd like to see kerri sherwood.. copy 3

if you'd like to see david robinson.. copy 2

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if you'd like to see more CHICKEN... copy 2

if you'd like to see FLAWED CARTOON copy 2

read DAVID’S thoughts on this ANNIVERSARY MELANGE NOT-SO-FLAWED WEDNESDAY

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THE MELANGE ©️ 2018 david robinson & kerri sherwood

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

 

 


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knowledge. [not-so-flawed wednesday]

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an unnecessary display of knowledge…we all have been around this one way or another.

i once received a christmas letter that was about 2-3 pages long, single-spaced.  it was from a long-ago friend from elementary school and i was pretty excited to see her name on the return envelope.  i looked forward to hearing what she was up to; we hadn’t been in touch much since “the olden days” and i was happily curious.

so i opened the envelope and settled in to read her news.  it took less than a few seconds to see that this was not about fun stuff that she, her family and extended family had done through the year; instead it was a report – although she included a flowery description of their home in a california beach town, there was a wordy review of books she had read, a detailed, verbose list of accomplishments at work.  there were no anecdotes about family or, for that matter, any talk about family.  i’m still unclear about whether or not she has children.  her language was untypical, conspicuously intellectual verbiage.  it felt pointedly like a display of knowledge.  ick.

we’ve all been subjected to this.  in writing, in person, on tv or podcasts, on facebook or twitter. it’s definitely eye-rolling territory.  my daughter – The Girl – has perfected eye-rolling and i have used her technique from time to time in an effort to deal with the after-effects of such displays of knowledge.

although i am aware of and respect that you have accumulated vast knowledge through the years, i believe i mostly want to know what you think, how something makes you feel, what your story is, how you participate in life with others.  that will tell me what you know and, with gratitude for you and the unique gifts you bring, i will learn from you.

as human beings, it seems like gaining knowledge is our job.  sharing knowledge is our gift.  displaying knowledge is a whole ‘nother thing.  and so unnecessary.

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

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