reverse threading

the path back is the path forward


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the box. [k.s. friday]

the box songbox

“the box: a place to put all the stuff of our lives.”  (from BLUEPRINT FOR MY SOUL liner notes 1996)

the old black suitcases store stuff.  treasured moments, all in a jumble, some decipherable, others bits and snatches of times we want to remember, so we keep these feathers and ticket stubs, notes and river stones, scraps of wrap, cards, red rock.  they proudly sit in the dining room, in a stack, their vintage scrapes and broken handles call to me each time i pass them by.  they shower me with memories and times i have passed through, moments i have lived.  i can feel what is in them.

in another box, in another place, are old dreams.  torn vestiges of paper with lyrics, a few notes scribbled in the margins of old spirals.  there are visions and imaginings, goals and undetermined outcomes.  like you, these are the things undone.  there are no ticket stubs or photos in this box; these are the things that have not come to fruition.  these are the things that beckon over and over.  these are the things that demand i consider and reconsider what i am doing today, tomorrow.  these are the things that make me question.  each time i pass them by.  i can feel what is in them.

i am reminded:

“a ship in harbor is safe.  but that is not what ships are built for.”  (john a. shedd)

these are the full liner notes:

“the box:  a place to put all the stuff of our lives.  sometimes this place really hurts.” (BLUEPRINT FOR MY SOUL 1996)

download THE BOX from BLUEPRINT FOR MY SOUL on iTUNES or CDBaby

read DAVID’S thoughts this K.S. FRIDAY

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THE BOX from BLUEPRINT FOR MY SOUL ©️ 1996 kerri sherwood

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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the first fire. [two artists tuesday]

first fire

there is something about firsts.  a novelty.  and it was no different the first night – a week or so ago – when we lit the wood burning stove in our littlehouse.  the first fire of fall.  excited, we watched as the fire got hotter and the bigger pieces of wood started to catch.  as it all started to be aflame, the chill, that a grey misty fog, an angry lake and a stormy day had created, left the littlehouse.  we sank into the new warmth of the living room, our feet up and grins of satisfied appreciation on our faces, staring into the dancing fire, grateful for its presence.  at home we have a fireplace inside, and a chiminea on our patio, but no wood burning stove.  it’s a novelty for us.

how many times will it be before getting wood for the stove and starting the fire will not be as gleeful?  how many times before we don’t just sit with our feet up and stare into those flames?  how many times before we take it for granted, this divine little maker of fire and warmth? how many times before the novelty wears off?

i once read a card i found quoting marcel proust, “the real voyage of discovery consists not in seeing new sights, but in looking with new eyes.”

because the novelty does wear off.  in all arenas, i suppose.  not just in how you see others, but also in how others see you.  suddenly it is forgotten what IT was like before you (whether IT is a home, a relationship, a community, a work environment).  instead, the novelty has faded and so has the ‘before’.  suddenly, you – in any of those places – are just a bean counter, a placeholder, and the novelty of you, for we are all novel, is no longer a matter of interest or value.  instead, all becomes black and white, the relationship of you to those places – a home, a relationship, a community or a work environment.  i wonder what we are all missing with our under-appreciative eyes.  i wonder what they are all missing with their under-appreciative eyes.  the novelty is gone.  and you have thus become dispensable, all for the lack of new eyes.  wow.  ouch.

we need take stock of what is around us and how it all works together.  before it is gone.  we need remember that -in every arena- we should appreciate each other – as if it was the first fire of the season.

read DAVID’S thoughts this TWO ARTISTS TUESDAY

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the second time we lit the stove, we weren’t quite as gleeful when the flame caught.  and the stove heated up the room a little too much, making


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crazy. [merely-a-thought monday]

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we were walking in the middle of the street and the sun was going down.  it was two days before we were to move off island.  i was suddenly struck by the comparison between two days after we arrived on island and two days before we were to leave.  three months have passed.  the whole summer.  it felt like way longer.  looking back, it went by fast.  it felt like way longer.  looking back, it went by slow.  crazy.

i wondered aloud about three months from now.  i did the math on my fingers and said aloud, “what will two days before the end of december be like?  what will have happened?  what will we have accomplished?  where will we be that day?  how will we feel?”

this period of time has been pretty fraught.  with more than i can, or wish to, list in this post.  in the multiple simultaneously ever-spinning plates of life, there has been more than one wobble, more than one plate off-balance.  it has made me wonder, “what, pray tell, is going on?”  it all has seemed a bit crazy.

as a person who just wants to bring idea, passion, joy to jobs, i’ve been diving to avoid spinning plates as they seemingly veer off course, as they spin outside the gravity of what actually feels important, as they go haywire, as they head to strike the floor.

“you don’t have to be crazy to work here.  we’ll train you.”  a familiar hyperbole or idiom of sorts.  maybe that means this:  we’ll try to waylay you so you never get to the real work.  we’ll ask you to make change but will rail against it.  we’ll try to undermine or undervalue you.  we’ll try to withhold information and still expect you to function.  we’ll try to put boxy definition and constraints on the art you are attempting to create.  we’ll try to grab the stick under the spinning plate and wreak crazy.

or

maybe it means that you will endure all these things.  you will encounter havoc-wreaking and you will encounter messes.  you will find others in the ‘here’ who will stand by you and spot you as you plate-spin.  you will find your sisu and you will stand in the integrity of the work you are doing.  you will survive, outlasting the crazy.   and, you will, in the end, do some good work. crazy good.

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

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before and after. galena. [k.s. friday]

galena songbox

your toes curl.  your breathing is shallow.  adrenaline rushes.  your legs are a little shaky. your hands feel tingly.  butterflies in your belly.  you are on the edge.  in that tiny place between before and after.

i gingerly walked to the edge of the canyon, my daughter encouraging me.  at the moment i stood there, feet firmly planted, no guardrail, nothing between me and canyon wall, my heart slowed down and i breathed in both the enormity of the moment and the taste of both before and after.  my girl and i laughed, loudly, the sound echoing across the vast canyon.  and then, it was after.

i sat at the piano, ready to record this first piece GALENA of the first album, 24 years ago, savoring the safety of before but ready for after.  at the edge of the put-it-all-out-there canyon, i walked onto the stage, brand new cds in the lobby, ready, with quivering knees and boots that gave me confidence.  and then, in what felt like a minute, it was after.

now, many album and stage edges later, many life and love moments later, many work and play split-seconds later, i wonder what the next after will be.  i can feel the edges; i can see them.  i’m aware of my toes curling.  my breathing is shallow and adrenaline rushes.  my legs are a little shaky and my hands feel tingly, butterflies in my belly.  there is a canyon beckoning.

moab edge locator

purchase the album or download on iTunes or CDBaby

read DAVID’S thoughts this K.S. FRIDAY

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GALENA from RELEASED FROM THE HEART ©️ 1995 kerri sherwood

 


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contrast principle. [two artists tuesday]

contrast principle

we are living the contrast principle.  the elementary-school-workbook-page-which-one-doesn’t-fit principle.  that can actually serve you well or it can be the bane of your existence.  i’ll allow you to decide which one you think it is for us.

we are not from here.  we do not have roots that go back a generation, two or three generations, seven generations.  we weren’t born here, nor have we been coming here for decades on vacation.  this is a new place for us.  we chose to come here.  and we came here out of great and positive intention.

when i first saw the ad for the position we ultimately accepted, we got excited and were instantly full of ideas and possibility.  with our backgrounds, our education, our professional experiences, it seemed a perfect fit.  with our artistry, our passion, our zeal, our energy, our ability to facilitate positive change, it seemed a perfect fit.  but that assumes a “fit” and it assumes trust and it assumes the best of the contrast principle.

we work to create relationship, to mend the crevasse between arts organizations and between groups of people, to structure and build community and let the arts rise.  we brainstorm and read and study – new initiatives, data of the past, stories of success and stories of failure.  we strive to re-commit each day, choosing to step past the rifts, past the dysfunction, past the you-don’t-belong-here-ness of it all.

because we did choose it.  we chose to be the daisy in the field of black-eyed-susans.  we chose to be the new in the old.  we chose the contrast principle.  it would just be nice for it to be a tad bit easier.

read DAVID’S thoughts this TWO ARTISTS TUESDAY

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 the daisy in the black-eyed-susans © 2019 kerri sherwood & david robinson


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constellation. [merely-a-thought monday]

constellation poem.jpg

at night, if the weather is clear, with the backdrop of waves lapping at the shore, we look up and see the milky way in the night sky.  it makes us feel tiny.  tiny in a vast world.

we string happy lights about our home, inside and out.  they are the simplest of holiday light strands, eensy white lights on green or white cords and we use them year-round.  one white light alone barely lights a space, but together, a constellation of tiny bulbs, the illumination is magical.  one alone.  all together.  it makes a big difference.

we are working in a place that is divided.  the division is deeply rooted and exacerbated by stubborn attitudes and time.  we must “string the stars together” to bring hope; we must “sing light in common song” to move forward.  community must prevail over a schism of proportion.  no place can truly be beautiful without stringing together.  we have our work cut out for us.

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fair isle books is one of the sweetest spots on this island.  a breath of fresh air with warm ambience and overtones of the joy of learning, this little shop is owned by deb, whose heart is gigantic.  outside her shop is this plaque, a snippet of a poem ‘constellation’ by wisconsin poet laureate bruce dethlefsen, a presenter at the washington island literary festival in 2013.

how fortuitous that this poet should capture in a mere 33 words the work that is to be done.  we are not alone, each of us on this tiny-planet-in-the-vastness.  though seemingly individually strong, we are indeed actually weak.  we must link arms, act in community, string together, work collaboratively.

division doesn’t create more for each on the sides of the chasm.  it creates less.

collectively, we can create boundlessly.  our constellation -together- creates hope.

we have our work cut out for us.

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

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act well your part. [not-so-flawed wednesday]

act well 2

“act well your part.  there all the honor lies.” (alexander pope)

this feels like a life mantra.  a reminder that no matter what you do, where you find yourself, who you are…to do the best you can, to be the best you can.  no spoke is uncounted.

the moment i heard this line i took out a scrap of paper and a sharpie and wrote it down.  it so resonated with me that i could feel my heart beating in my chest.  i thought of all the times i tried to do the best i could, to be the best i could, in every role….partner, daughter, mother, sister, friend, artist, colleague, sharer-of-the-planet.  and i thought of all the times i didn’t do the best i could, i wasn’t the best i could be, in every role….partner, daughter, mother, sister, friend, artist, colleague, sharer-of-the-planet.

i wish, at every turn, someone had repeated this to me.  good turns.  poor turns.  turns that i can account for, that have intention and educated thoughtfulness.  turns that i shrink away from thinking about, that are spontaneous, ill-conceived moments, that have no grounding. turns that were reactionary, that stole safety, stole time to patiently stand in the fire and think.  turns that i did not make, that felt too scary, too risky, too alone.  and turns that i should have made, that would have tied me to the earth’s gravity and kept me steadfastly feet on dirt.

i wish, often now, as i look back over last week, last month, last year, the last decade, my whole life, that someone had repeated this to all human beings.  as we stand in the turns we make, the decisions we decide on, the actions we choose…were we to judiciously filter them through “act well your part.  there all the honor lies” we would be reminded that it all counts.  the ripples spread.  the pebble we throw will, indeed, touch others.

just as others will count on us to act well our part, regardless of any part’s so-called import, so too, do we count on others to act well their parts.  standing together.  thinking. recognizing.  choosing.  moving with wisdom.  every spoke counts.  there is honor in each one.  for a wheel without spokes…..

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

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