reverse threading

the path back is the path forward


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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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life lessons. [merely-a-thought monday]

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you have those friends.  the ones you don’t get to talk to or see all the time, but the instant you call or text or, even better, get to be with them, you pick up right where you left off.  sometimes, those calls or visits are really long; there’s so much to catch up on.

susan and i had one of those calls recently.  the conversation ranged across a gigantic prairie of life subjects – from children to lenten service music to food to relationships to age to challenges to direction to joys to disappointments.  there’s always the inevitable “we should talk more often” and “i miss you”; times we realize how much running our crazy worlds past each other matters.  the “tuition” takes just a little bit less of a toll if we can utter the gory details to our friend, divulge our imagined vindication on whatever the “tuition” is, paint a picture – describing in inordinate detail – of each of our chronicles.

linda, infinite in wisdom and groundedness, finds humor and the wise sticking point in situations.  she has been there for me for decades, close by and from afar.  she is a model of loving steadfastness and makes me feel as if she hugged me, even if we are only on the phone.

heidi, another one of those dear people for me, always asks, “what’s the learning?”.  as infuriating as that question can be, it is a perspective-arranger.  it gives you pause for thought and invites another viewpoint.  the thing i may be obsessing on may not be the point after all.

toward the end of our phone call, susan and i laughed about all the things we were ‘learning’.  oh yes, grateful students?  well, maybe not exactly.  but we are pretty enlightened (for the most part) and we kept laughing as susan said, “yeah, all these life lessons are great, but the tuition sucks.”  we hung up with promises to call again soon.  whether or not that happens right away, i know she is right there.

because here’s the thing we can count on – in the midst of the “tuition that sucks” is that our true relationships and the support we receive from them is endless.  the conversation never really stops.  it just hopscotches from one time to the next, a life-thread of lessons shared.

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

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figure it out. [k.s. friday]

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in all the chicken-scratch-notes i have about this piece of music, i have written in the presence of a heartbeat.  the pulse that spans the entire 6 minutes 14 seconds, this heartbeat starts the piece. it is throughout the piece.  it ends the piece.  it is no accident that this composition seems interminable, ever returning to the theme; figuring “it” out often seems that way, a curse of perseverating analysis paralysis, depending on what “it” is.

i just erased what i had next written about this.  i couldn’t help but talk about my repeated use of a rising leading tone gesture in the theme, f# to g, f# to g, off the beaten major root path, but instead the path of starting on my ever-loved ninth in the e minor key, a key that resonates so often with people.  then i thought, “blahblahblah!!” geeeesh.  that’s way too much information.  so i erased it.  (yes…there were even more details before i erased it!)

i composed this at a time that was laden with things to sort, to figure out, to resolve.  it is one of the longest pieces i have recorded.  there are moments you can hear the almost-there-ness of it, but, like life, it reverts back to the initial themes, the initial questions.  and then, punctuating it, from time to time, a firm melodic gesture (f#-g-f#-e) where you can hear the lyrics in your head, “figure it out.”  much easier said than done, eh?  but our hearts keep beating.

purchase the album RIGHT NOW or download FIGURE IT OUT on iTUNES or CDBaby

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FIGURE IT OUT from RIGHT NOW ©️ 2010 kerri sherwood

 

 


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i am alive. [k.s. friday]

 

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the sun was shining in central park the first time i sang this song in public.  we were on stage and it was the conclusion of the “I AM” NYC revlon run/walk for women, an event where all the proceeds are used to help fight cancer, specifically women’s cancers.  it was stunning – tens of thousands of people gathered, unified by a yearning, to make a difference, to help women live healthier lives, longer lives, to help fight the fight.

every time i hear or sing my own song, i quietly dedicate it to a woman i know who is a survivor in the middle of this battle, in the middle of her path back to health.  my own sweet momma tops my list of women who have bravely and stalwartly walked this journey.  but i think of dear friends, relatives, acquaintances…devastatingly, too many to list.  all “bonded by the power of this dream that is i am.”

I’m different than you.

I am the same.

We are strong. We are courageous.

We are more than this disease; we are bigger than this fight.

United, we celebrate life.

it is raining here today as i write this.  the power and fortitude of the mantra ‘i am’ seems a little weaker.  it’s pervasive, this grayness.  for survivorship of disease is not limited to the blunt force blow of cancer.  survivorship spans the spectrum.  women, like me, who are survivors of sexual assault.  women who are survivors of marginalization.  women who are survivors of silencing.  women who are survivors of domestic, workplace, governmental limitations or abuse.

i listen to my own lyrics and i wonder…are we unified by a yearning?  are we truly trying to make a difference to help women live healthier lives, longer lives, fight the fight – whatever that fight might be?

download I AM ALIVE on iTUNES  or CDBaby  or purchase the album AS SURE AS THE SUN

read DAVID’S thoughts on this K.S. FRIDAY

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I AM ALIVE ©️ 2005 kerri sherwood


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i didn’t know. [k.s. friday]

i didn't know song box

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yesterday, the senate passed the Music Modernization Act, a complex bill that is supposed to help songwriters in these days of streaming.  as quoted in one article questioning the feasibility of pushing through this bill as is:  “…niche labels and independent musicians face either a zero, or statistically insignificant, chance of a return on their investment through streaming. many report barely paying for a sandwich with their royalties.” (maria schneider, musicanswers.org) yes. creatives are still facing a grotesque misalignment of power and income despite an effort to supposedly be “helped”.

i didn’t know, back when i released my first album, that there would be another…and another…and another…

i didn’t know how vulnerable i would feel each time i released a collection of my soul, turned into tracks of music.

i didn’t know how grateful i would feel each time i stood on stage and spoke to an audience that was there to hear this music – my music.

i didn’t know how many stores, in the early days, would carry these cds (and cassette tapes, way back when), how many times i would be live on QVC-TV, how many radio interviews i would be relishing.

i didn’t know how humbling it would feel that many people would respond to something in my music, something would resonate with them, something would be healing or heartening or touch them.

i didn’t know, through the years, how many thousands of cds would sell, how many boxes i would carry, how many wholesale shows or retail shows i would be present at or how many phone calls i (or wonderful people who worked with me) would make or receive, taking and shipping orders.

i didn’t know that the BMI royalty statements i was getting earlier would soon decline as our world and the internet changed them drastically.  the one i got two days ago for a period of the year included 59,000 performance counts and a $47.47 check.  streaming has made it unnecessary to purchase a physical cd or even pay for and download an artist’s music and so i agree with the writer who said: “streaming revenue for most independent musicians doesn’t even amount to pocket lint.” (m.schneider)

i didn’t know that the yearning inside me to compose and record more music to be released on cds would be stymied by the cost vs earnings debacle that has been created by an industry that doesn’t lift up the independent, while the behemoths remain behemoth.

i didn’t know how sad it would make me.  i didn’t know how it would change me.  i didn’t know i would keep wondering ‘what next?’  i didn’t know i would be seeking answers to where i stand as a composer.  i didn’t know my piano would call from my studio and i would ignore it, feeling betrayed by a profession that should pay my bills like any other.

i just didn’t know.

purchase the physical cd THIS PART OF THE JOURNEY or purchase a download of I DIDN’T KNOW (track 4) on iTUNES or CDBaby

read DAVID’S thoughts on this K.S. FRIDAY

I DIDN’T KNOW from THIS PART OF THE JOURNEY ©️ 1998, 2000 kerri sherwood


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enjoy the puddles. [chicken marsala monday]

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dogdog doesn’t like the rain much.  he pretty much avoids the puddles in the backyard…that is, until one neighbor or the other lets their dogs out.  then?  then he doesn’t care; all inhibitions are off and he runs like a maniac, his long aussie hair first flying, then clumping and muddy, joy joy joy on his face.

that’s probably a good lesson for all of us…inhibitions off and joy joy joy. despite the messy puddles and the bad hair day.  my sweet momma used to sign off her letters with “enjoy, enjoy!”  yes.  enjoy, enjoy.

click here (or on product box above) for ENJOY! ENJOY! products

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read DAVID’S thoughts on this CHICKEN NUGGET

enjoy the puddles nugget & designs ©️ 2016 & 2018 david robinson & kerri sherwood

 


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(y)our earth [two artists tuesday]

our earth FRAMED ART PRINT copy

leonard pitts jr. wrote an opinion column, a gorgeous essay on the moon that we read the other morning.  only it wasn’t really about the moon.   he references a short film (which we watched) by filmmakers wylie overstreet and alex gorosh called “a new view of the moon” where the two men “wandered around los angeles with a telescope…asking a cross section of passersby in a cross section of places…to put their eyes to the viewfinder and gaze upon what they’ve looked at a million times yet never seen.”  the two men found that people responded in the same way, awestruck, profoundly moved by the vision.  the short doesn’t feature the moon; it features the reactions of people as they gaze into the telescope.  leonard calls it “a hymn to our common humanity.”  a reminder that in all our differences we are the same…”we spend too much time looking down and across.”  we are, yes, tiny in the vastness – something i felt myself in writing about david’s painting FROM A DISTANCE that we chose for thursday’s melange.  “so each other is all we have.  but then, it should be all we need,” leonard writes.  our earth TOTE BAG copy

when i drew this simple graphic, i wanted to portray a uncomplicated thought.  an image unadorned with fancy-ness, but, hopefully, clear…or, at the very least, thought-provoking.  “your” earth with arrows upward, “your” earth with arrows that circle around, “our” earth with arrows that circle around, “earth” with arrows that circle around.

it is all a circle.  what we do counts.  how we help counts.  how we help our earth.  how we help each other.

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THIS IS (Y)OUR EARTH ©️ 2016 kerri sherwood & david robinson

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