reverse threading

the path back is the path forward


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tomorrow. lettuce and erle. [k.s. friday]

THIS erle cover

one of the gifts i received for my 60th birthday this week – an envelope with seed packets of lettuces in it, dirt and manure.  on the outside of the envelope of seeds was this:

“to plant a garden is to believe in tomorrow.” (audrey hepburn)

early november. moab, utah.  i was standing on the precipice of a vast and deep canyon and was filled with wonder.  My Girl encouraged me a bit further out, a bit higher.  she was right to push me.  the gorge inches away, unforgiving, i didn’t lose my breath until the very edge.  but i breathed in so much more.  i felt like ME. me, in my old hiking boots and ripped jeans, a couple black layered shirts and a vest, fingerless gloves linda made.  ME.  the air of the high desert mountains seemed to fill me and, as i stood there, pondering my very existence in this place, i felt renewed.  a meeting ground, i could feel all the yesterdays that brought me there and the tomorrows that stretched forward.  it is a spiritual place.  she was right and i tied my heart to it just as she had predicted.  the sun and i were each merely a tiny piece of the enormity.  we watched day end and shadows paint the canyon walls until dark filled the void. we laughed uncontrollably.  i cried.  no matter what, the next day – tomorrow – would come to that place and sun would spackle the walls until it would -again- be light.

THIS will be the next album cover.  in some tomorrow time.  i wish to bring burning sun and immense canyons into that project.  mountains and Spirit and old boots.  a bow to yesterday and to tomorrow and the place inbetween.  the air in me.  i don’t know when or exactly how.  i just know i need to somehow make the chance.  i need to stand on the very edge, once again.  it matters not whether i am relevant in these times.  it just matters that i plant it.  lettuce, here i come.

read DAVID’S thoughts this K.S. FRIDAY

thank you to old friends who called or texted or FB-messaged me this week.  i can’t begin to tell you what you mean to me. with love.

www.kerrisherwood.com

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erle. ©️ 2019 kerri sherwood

OLD FRIENDS REVISITED from RELEASED FROM THE HEART ©️ 1995 kerri sherwood

 

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missing. [k.s. friday]

MISSING song box copy

it comes in waves.  in less than two weeks i will be 60.  i’m not a consumed-with-my-age-person, but this particular birthday is proving me different.  without any prompts, i find myself sorting through my life, the six decades that lead me to right now.   memories flow in and ebb out like the tide on a surfboard of emotions.  trying not to resist, i ride the wave as it brings me growing up times on long island…my nuclear family all together, all alive, gathered in our dining room on abby drive or up in the catskills in a rustic state park cabin….bike hikes and carvel….simple times of arguing for john denver over bob dylan….time walking or sitting or playing frisbee on crab meadow beach…late sunday morning mc-arnson sandwiches or waffles and ice cream around my sweet momma and poppo’s table in florida…the time of building the first home i ever bought, a big choice for us as a young couple…the sheep farm in new hampshire….moving to wisconsin away from family and the challenges that raised…celebrating the amazing birth of our daughter and son and watching them grow into the people they are….recording my first album and what that meant….letting go of the day-to-day mothering as my children became adults and still being an every-single-day mother….balancing the impact of good decisions and bad decisions….times of intense grief….choosing love….starting over….wondering what is coming next….

the inner monologue chronicles through all of these years…i sit in quiet watching the slideshow in my mind’s eye and ponder.  what was most important, what is most important, what will be most important.  what it all means.  and it’s clear most of the time.  the people who have surrounded me, who have loved me, who i have loved.  the people i am missing – and will always miss – as well as the people who are right here.  the times i am missing – as well as the times -moments- i could miss right now were i to be too engrossed in something else.

on the album RELEASED FROM THE HEART, the track that i selected to follow MISSING is called CONNECTED.  because it all stays a part of the vast ocean that is each of our lives.  the missing and the now and the wondering, all part of the whole.  all waves to ride.

theocean

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MISSING from RELEASED FROM THE HEART ©️ 1995 kerri sherwood

 


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untitled interlude. [k.s. friday]

untitledinterlude songbox.jpg

“…sometimes you just need some space in between.  a few moments to think.” (liner notes)

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time to sort, to ponder.  a breath.  in music, it’s used in between verses and choruses, a time for an instrumental, a time for a pause in lyrics, a pause for thought.

right now feels like an interlude.  space that is falling between the verses, it’s quieter with more pondering.  it’s a time of figuring out, a time of ‘what’s next?’  not every interlude is comfortable, but that space in a piece of music, in life, is a time that can be rich.

as mozart said, “the music is not in the notes but in the silence in between.”

 

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UNTITLED INTERLUDE from RELEASED FROM THE HEART ©️ 1995 kerri sherwood

 


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divine intervention. [k.s. friday]

divine intervention song box.jpg

divine intervention. from whence it all comes…

right at 2:08 in this recording is an ambient sound.  it is a sound that my producer and i deliberately decided to leave in the recording, an audible sound of divine, a tiny punctuation in our project from across the barriers of physical being-ness.

we were recording remotely on one of the northwestern university stages, ken (my amazing “it’s fine” producer) having built a small studio off in the green room, separate from the stage space where the piano was.  everything was moved or padded so as to avoid interruptions or rattling or vibrations or overtones, anything we didn’t want included in this solo piano album.  it was a tedious process and we recorded straight through a twenty-three hour stretch.  with me were items – totems of a sort – to keep me company as i recorded this first album.  one was a stuffed animal i had given my beloved big brother during his chemo treatments, three short missing-him-years prior.

divine intervention was the last piece up.  the last piece of the very first album i was recording, released 23 years ago november 11 on my sisu music productions label.  teetering on that balance point, no idea of where i was to go next or what would become of this album, i was emotional and exhausted, determined and vulnerable.  i spoke words of prayer and began the next take of this piece.

at 2:08 i heard a sound.  it sounded like an old wooden screen door closing, but i didn’t really know what it was.  i was sure, however,  it would be on the recording since i could hear it on-stage.  i kept going anyway, thinking we’d go back and re-record the piece. when i finished playing, tired tears in my eyes, i walked into the green room to find ken standing in astonishment.  there was an empty can of pepsi in that little studio, one i had put in there and secured by towels deep onto a shelf.  at 2:08, the can somehow moved out of the spot it was nestled in and clattered onto the floor.  the sound.  even without listening to the cd i can hear this sound in my head every time i play this piece.

we listened back to the raw recording.  sure enough, it was there.  and so was something else.  a feeling that somehow, some way, the divine interrupted.  intervened with a small nod.  perhaps it was my big brother, in jest, stopping by in the middle of the last take of the very last piece of my very first album, to make a little noise.  perhaps it was something else.  either way, we knew.  and we left it in.

i still have the can.

15. divine intervention (3:16):  the feeling i have about this whole project.  there really isn’t any such thing as chance.  those who are just on the other side sometimes help us to sort and place the clues of our life’s story. (words from released from the heart jacket)

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DIVINE INTERVENTION from RELEASED FROM THE HEART ©️ 1995 kerri sherwood


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in transition. [k.s. friday]

in transition song box.jpg

in pondering what to write about this piece,  i took out the jacket for the album RELEASED FROM THE HEART.  my first full-length album, released in 1995, an hour of my original solo piano compositions, i dedicated it to my big brother wayne who i had lost a few years prior, but whose presence i could feel as i worked on this project.

in the jacket notes, next to this piece IN TRANSITION, i wrote “many changes for many around me.  changes give us time and impetus to sort through (and feel) the stuff of our lives – the transitional time.”  that would explain the minor, a key that invokes going inside.

i guess i will have to defer back to that.  it’s no different now than it was then.  there are still “many changes for many around me”.  i would have thought that things would feather out on the change seesaw, maybe leveling out a bit.  but now, 23 years later from those moments of recording remotely on stage in an auditorium at northwestern university, i see that life continues to be fluid, change continues to happen, we still have to sort and feel and go with the flow, we are still learning, growing, changing, we are ever on that seesaw.  still in transition.

 

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IN TRANSITION from RELEASED FROM THE HEART ©️ 1995 kerri sherwood


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chicken marsala monday #3

fallingdown WITH EYES jpeg THIS COPY copyevery summer i break one of my two little baby toes.  every single summer.  last summer alone i logged tons of miles on my $2 old navy flipflops as a result.  i even talked about it on this blog.  what did i learn?  in particular, what did i learn THIS time as opposed to all the other times?  i learned to either 1. slow down a little  2.  watch where i’m going a tad bit more  3.  never go barefoot.  the thing is, i’m pretty sure it will happen again.  i’m still learning.

i haven’t fallen off my bike in quite some time (and hope not to cause these days it will hurt much more than it used to) but i can relate in countless ways to our chicken marsala monday in the melange this week.  i can distinctly remember taking off the training wheels and teaching the children to ride their two-wheelers, running down the sidewalk next to them.  for that matter, i can totally -and (yougetthis) viscerally- remember teaching them how to drive.

we’ve been watching the olympics.  athletes of inordinate ability who had to start somewhere – and, for sure, who fell in the process.  not afraid of failing, but keeping on keeping on.  being an ace anything is far off.  do any of us ever really get there?

as an adult (ugh, i guess 58 qualifies me if for no other reason than sheer number) there are a lot of things i still want to learn.  a few years ago i wanted to throw pots.  i spent more than i bargained on for clay and lessons and studio time and more clay and ended up with the most wonderful tea light holder. (ok, i also threw a cereal-size-bowl and a few other assorted incredibly-shrinking-bowls as i struggled to center them and not have the clay collapse on the wheel.)  let’s just say i was not gifted at this.  but it did (and still does) make me laugh.  and i know that i will someday try it again and i will add to my assortment of teenytinyclayobjects in which i can store paperclips.

when we see my amazing son and his boyfriend, we seem to be developing this tradition of bowling together.  now, even though i live in wisconsin – and it is practically a law to be a good bowler here – i am pretty bad at bowling.  every now and then i do something (like pick up a spare or get a strike) and am shocked, but most of the time i am aghast at how the ball creates splits in the pins and i find myself leaning while watching it careen (generous term) down the alley.  the thing i must say, though, is that each time i do a little better.  and the reallybadscores will, if i dedicate any time at all to practice, perhaps improve.  mostly, i laugh.  and i wish i could bring that to ANY thing i am learning – be it a new sport, an artform, a study of some philosophy or political issue, or – a big one – relationship.  we fall.  we get up, brush ourselves off, ask for grace and try again.

even though there are so many venues of crashing, the recording studio is a prime place to watch yourself fall down.  you’ve written music, lyrics.  you’ve practiced and practiced – there’s muscle memory in each measure.  you’re ready, water and coffee by your side.  (for me, not so much water once in the studio as it ….toomuchinformationalert…makes throat noises i can’t avoid.)  and then you start.  there’s so much riding on the line.  and some days?  some days you can’t get through a track.  something is amiss; something is wrong.  the first track of my first album was recorded in a studio in evanston.  ken, my producer, was a stranger to me and i drove down with a posse of friends.  i felt a little nervous, but mostly felt confident i was prepared.  hours later, i had recorded the solo piano track for galena (the album released from the heart) and ken gave me a cassette tape (how funny is that?!) to listen to.  i put it in the cassette deck of my old chrysler blue minivan and turned it on.  and was appalled.  rigid playing met my ears.  it sounded nothing like me or my playing, or my piece of music, for that matter.  all that confidence translated to a coldness, an unemotional-ness instead of a good track.  i called ken (who i barely knew then, but now the same brilliant producer who has produced 14 of my 15 albums) and he suggested that, “maybe you should just write the music and have someone else play it on the recording FOR you.”  what???!!!  uhhh, i didn’t even know what to answer that would sound in the least bit polite.

and so i painfully listened to the recording again and sat back down at home on my bench.  and i realized i needed to be ready -at any moment- to fall.  THAT is what would make the piece sound like me and sound like, well, music.  the rawness, the every-moment-ness, the vulnerability to mistakes and moving beyond them.  that is what would make it shine as a learning.  preparation is wise, flexibility is a must, a sense of humor is required, confidence is irrelevant, perseverance is utmost.

and falling down is a gift.

FALLING DOWN IS AN ESSENTIAL PART OF LEARNING MERCHANDISE

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CHICKEN MARSALA MONDAY

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falling down is an essential part of learning ©️ 2016 david robinson & kerri sherwood