reverse threading

the path back is the path forward


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simple question? [two artists tuesday]

these are the things we notice.  little and big.  the things we love about living two-artists-together. little and big.  the things we ponder.  little and big.

this one? an existential question indeed.  but that sweet caterpillar….

for some actual thoughts on this TWO ARTISTS TUESDAY, you might want to click here and read DAVID’S blog

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ponder life. [chicken marsala monday]

ponderinglife WITH EYES jpeg copymy poppo would sit in the chair and gaze out at the lake behind their house.  in the house before that, he would sit out on the lanai and gaze at the pool.  in previous houses, he had chairs or his workbench, where he would sit or stand and gaze, clearly thinking, thinking, thinking.

now, when you’ve gotten to 91, there’s plenty to think about, many memories, many stages of life, many ways the world has changed.  my poppo was a POW in world war II, escaping and coming back at a time that PTSD had little to no attention given to it.  the atrocities he had experienced were his alone to process, with the help of my sweet momma, if he felt that he could burden her with it.  my parents lost a child, a little girl named barbara lynn, who would be my oldest sister – even older than my sister sharyn! – while my dad was still missing in action, a little person, a part of him, he never met.  i know that as they established themselves as a family, there were challenges that befell them, joys that they cherished, times of much sorrow, small moments and large moments of laughter and goodness.  plenty to think about.

i always wondered what my poppo was thinking about, quietly sitting or puttering.  sometimes i would ask, but other times i would respect his quiet-ness. now that i am getting older, i find myself spending time quietly thinking.  memories, moments, decisions, good things, sad things, questions, things that make me cringe, things that make me laugh aloud.  i think about what’s coming up…what is planned, what will remain a mystery. i wonder.  i give thanks.  i pray.  pondering is a good thing.  it’s necessary.

each time now when i sit outside or inside curled in a chair and find myself just staring off into space, i can’t help but think about my daddy.  and i kind of feel him right there, quietly staring with me. pondering.

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pondering life is a very useful thing to do. ©️ 2016 david robinson & kerri sherwood

 


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an exact science? [flawed cartoon wednesday]

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but the real question is, what IS an exact science?  virtually nothing.

have you ever stood in your life’s moment – right now – and looked back a decade or two or maybe three and thought, “i never would have thought i’d be here/i’d be doing this”??  just a couple days ago, michele said, “if you had told me twenty years ago that i would be playing a gong for a room full of people, i would have said you were crazy!”  and yet, she had just had this remarkable experience playing for others, born of practice and study and a new-found love of the instrument.

magic is not an exact science.  art is not an exact science – in any of its forms.  science is not an exact science.  it all makes us realize that, indeed, life is not an exact science.

if you'd like to see FLAWED CARTOON

read DAVID’S thoughts on this FLAWeD CARTOON WEDNESDAY

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ummm…you should probably know that magic is not an exact science…©️ 2016 david robinson, kerri sherwood

 


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which way? [two artists tuesday]

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the moment i saw this trailmarker it made me laugh.  i was feeling exactlyyy this way, so this lightened my mood.  (yes, yes, i understand that the marker made sense, but if you flatten it out (as opposed to three-dimensional) it is admittedly funny and a little confusing.)

middle age (ohmygosh, yes, middle age) seems like a time of arrows every which way.  where we’ve been, where we are, where we are going…these questions are all different now…different from the striding times even a decade ago.  time is starting to mean something else; i recognize the scarcity of time-limitlessness.

i lost one of my very best friends from elementary school, junior high and high school last week.  kenny was brilliant and funny and courageous and a really good person.  together with his twin richard and i, we were often thought of as “triplets” in school, mostly because we were all platinum blond kids growing up.  i haven’t seen kenny for many years.  the last time i can remember was having coffee with him at the atlanta airport; he was an airline captain and based there so we met when i flew through with a tad bit of a layover.  he was thrilled to catch me up about his beautiful wife and son and he joked about how long it took him to find her.  even though i saw him rarely, there was something about knowing he was in the world that was comforting…a piece of my long-ago-past that i could still talk to or text with, maybe see from time to time, who knew me when i was little, when i was a preteen, when i was a teenager, when i loved calculus.  i tried to explain this to d…when certain people who connect me way back to my roots are no longer present on this earth, it is as if i can feel the earth tilt on its axis; it wobbles.  and nothing will ever be the same.  i can’t get to ken’s service, but i hope to carry with me – always – a piece of kenny and our growing-up history.  i hope to honor him somehow.

and the next time i wonder “which way” in angst, i hope to stand still, right where i am.  time is not unlimited.  i don’t want to waste it.

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 which way products ©️ 2018 kerri sherwood & david robinson

 


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the right place.

allLoveCountswe were on a serene lake…no waves, barely a ripple. the oars sliced into the water next to the canoe with hardly a whisper, the loons in the distance calling. the gunshots in the distance rang out over the still lake and startled us; the loon answered. i counted the number of times in a row the gun went off…not sure why i was doing that, but hoping that it would make more sense if i knew how many times i heard a gunshot. i asked later if there was a firing range nearby and was surprised to hear that there wasn’t. i’m not aware of any particular hunting season right now, so i am guessing that someone was just out there…somewhere…firing a gun just to fire a gun. the juxtaposition of absolute serenity and gunfire was unnerving. it seemed that northern wisconsin wasn’t the right place for that.

we hike there often. we take the blue trail with dogdog; it’s about 4 and a half miles the way we go. we know it well now, but every time we go we delight in the changes each season makes, the changes the weather makes, the changes we can see, smell, touch, hear. we often hear gunshots reverberating out there. i guess there is a firing range somewhere nearby. so people gather to ‘practice’. not having grown up around guns, i wonder what they are practicing for as i hear a rapid fire of shots, something that doesn’t sound like the measured shots of a hunter.   a state park doesn’t seem the right place for that.

my beautiful son is gay. also, he was on the high school and college tennis teams. also, he likes v-neck fitted t-shirts over round neck. also, he used to love ramen noodles. also, he was a fantastic pitcher and an ace shortstop. also, he doesn’t drink the bottom inch from a 2 liter bottle of soda. also, he loves chocolate chip cookies with mint chips in them as well. also, he was the only one in his fraternity who could drive a stick shift. also, he likes to be at the airport well ahead of his flight. random factoids. none of these define him totally as a person. all of them (and a whole lot more) make him who he is.

i remember the day he called me to tell me he was gay and that he was in a relationship. i don’t know if he was nervous or anxious about it, but i suspect that many young men and women have anxiety about telling their loved ones of their orientation. now, i don’t remember having to call my momma years ago to tell her i was heterosexual. why would that be any different?

i cherished his trust – his knowing that nothing i felt about him would change. his choice of who to be in relationship with was just a part of him like his choice of cookie. it changed the picture in my head of the future, but it didn’t change my support of him or my excitement about his future or my love of him.

they – young men and women – were in a bar. in a vacation destination town – orlando, florida. i would anticipate that there was much laughter, much talk, much dancing. maybe there was an expression of physical attraction between people there – a public display of affection. i hope so. i cannot wrap my head around the kind of hatred/discomfort/bigotry that would push a person to take a gun and kill people. shots rang out. people (sons and daughters of moms just like me) died. the surrealness of an individual’s hunting season that had opened at this venue make my blood run cold. a gay bar isn’t the the right place for that.

i am the very proud mother of a gay son. and i, like all mothers, want to believe that he has the freedom to be who he is as long as he is not harming anyone else or himself – just like my rule for my daughter. there is no right place for this kind of maiming and killing. i want to protect them both – my girl and my boy. i try to trust the world around me, around them. i pray for them to always be safe.

and i ask – where is the right place for that??

 


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319,954. first quarter 2015.

Screen Shot 2015-09-22 at 5.12.43 PMbmi, one of the major music royalty companies, sent me a statement and a check which i opened today. happy to be a bmi artist, i was grateful to receive the check; i read it first, a natural human reaction. then i pulled up the statement.

my original music had 319,954 plays in the first quarter of 2015. that is: between radio, tv, internet, music program companies, my music has been spun over 319,000 times. in one quarter of a year. now…that sounds like a lot, doesn’t it. one of my big questions these days about my music is – is it relevant? well, apparently, it must be. and so this is reassuring.

now, you would think that would equate to a decent royalty check, the ability for an independent artist to make a living. this is what i made per spin (an average…i am a bit of a math geek)….are you ready? i made a whopping $00.00079 per play. that isn’t even NEAR a PENNY. so let’s see. that means that the total of 319,954 plays has NOT netted me enough to:

1. buy a decent basket of groceries
2. even pay half of my private health insurance premium
3. pay for my dog to have 3 months of heartworm preventative medication and flea and tick preventative medication
4. pay my one-month cell phone bill
5. contribute to half of the mortgage payment
6. pay the minimum payment on my master card bill
7. pay the amount of my monthly parent plus loans for my son’s college fees
8. pay an hour of an entertainment attorney’s time
etc etc etc

it would just cover the electric/gas bill.
it would pay for life insurance.
it would cover a month of car insurance.
it would cover the cat food.
it would cover the water bill.

but. it will not cover any combination of these bills. and, as i pointed out above, there are many it won’t cover at all.

and that brings me to value.

what is the value of music? and, if it is relevant, why is so little value placed on it? how many places have you been, events have you attended (weddings, funerals, dance parties…what would those be without music?), commercials you watched on tv, movies that inspired you, moved you, disturbed you – how would those be without a soundtrack? how many moments have you cherished that would have changed dramatically withOUT the music in that space of time? what does it do to your heart? and how can we place so little value on that?

there were a reported (mind you, this is what is reported, not what is the real total) 19,974 plays on the internet of my original music. this netted me (wait for it) a grand total of $3.61. yes, you read that right. $3.61. i could not even treat you and me to a starbucks for that. i couldn’t even get a happy meal for that. and yet, 19,974 people/entities listened to the music i conceived, wrote, recorded, paid for a recording engineer, mastering engineer, piano technician, miscellaneous equipment, yamaha had a piano delivered to the studio, purchased upc codes and copyrights, had a graphic designer design a cd format, ordered and paid for replicated cds and print art (jackets, tray cards), paid ups to ship boxes upon boxes to the office, paid for marketing materials, paid employees to market and distribute, drove thousands of miles and carried hundreds of pounds of boxes of cds to play concerts, perform at wholesale, retail shows and stores and do radio and tv interviews, uploaded over 200 tracks from 15 albums to itunes, and see that pieces have found their way onto the internet in ways i can’t put my finger on…..i needn’t go on….i’m sure you get the point…. in the days of physical cds and brick and mortar buildings, and even in the days of just itunes downloads that paid artists, there was a chance at treating you to BOTH a happy meal AND a starbucks. but now…..

and so. the music. it’s relevant. and it has value. but who is missing out in this equation??

a few weekends ago i performed for an important event. as with all work, it took preparation and commitment, practice and heart to make sure that my performance supported the event. after it was over, many people commented on how touched they were by this music. one gentleman asked me, “when you aren’t playing music, what do you really do?” really???

i am 56. there is a lot of music left in me to write, record, perform. how do i justify continuing to make this music when each piece that reaches the ears of another living soul pays me less than a penny? do i hope for sheer luck? for an overnight itunes download sensation? or a youtube that goes viral, heaping advertisers at my doorstep?

these are potent questions. what are the answers?

how can i (afford to) live and keep making music? how can i (afford to) live and not keep making music?raw-1

www.kerrisherwood.com

itunes: kerri sherwood