reverse threading

the path back is the path forward


Leave a comment

1980. no balloons. [k.s. friday]

no balloons

1980.  it’s not often i have listened to this song since four decades ago when i recorded it.  i was a mere 20.  listening to it warbling now, in the way that only old cassettes can warble, has been a mixed bag:  this cassette master, with little studio experience, with reel-to-reel recording, with no auto-tune for my young nervous soprano-ish voice, with too-sweet flute lines and picked guitar, measures-too-long-instrumental-interlude; i am catapulted back.

it is shocking to hear the innocence.  it is shocking to hear the pain.  if my wednesday post this week was too much, i would hasten to add that this will be as well.  this is a song about stripping a young woman of choice, of what should be the blissful love of first intimacy, of no justice, of no opportunity to process.  it’s the story of sexual assault in the late 1970s.  it’s the story of sexual assault any time.  it changes everything.  every trajectory.  it’s my story.

NO BALLOONS is a song of the times.  especially for someone who listened to john denver, james taylor, carole king, joni mitchell, bread, loggins and messina, america, england dan & john ford coley, the carpenters – the A-team of verse-chorus-verse-chorus-bridge-interlude-chorus.  simple melodies, simple instrumentation, simply written, simply sung.

i can’t believe i didn’t write it in the vein of led zeppelin or kiss.  it should have been a screaming heavy metal song, full of pointed weapons of anguish, of power-stripped anger.  instead, it sounds like a sweet love-gone-bad song, “you take away my hopes, my dreams, you give me no balloons to fly.”  only it’s not.  it’s about no air.  no breath.

“and now with my eyes closed, i no longer see the pain in yours or feel it in mine…”  and that was a product of the times as well.  i closed my eyes and silenced my voice.  i stopped feeling it.  or did i?  “and i cried as long as the rain lasted and when it stopped i stopped.” was it really that simple?

until this week i really never thought i would share this song again.  after all, the song is 40 years old; i’m an alto, perched firmly on the tenor shore.  but somehow, between the #MeToo movement and the swirling-around-us-in-the-world-contention and public court battles in recent media and the lack of regard for those who truly need help or healing and my aunt’s texted article and the weeping inside of my younger-self and my silenced-silence, it felt like it was time to be vulnerable and candid and believe that our muddy-boots-narratives might make a difference for someone else.

we each have a story, a timeline, an arc that takes us through this life.  things we want to remember in detail, things we desperately want to forget.  things we have lived boisterously out loud, things we have lived in despairing silence.  the tapestry that holds all these threads together is the soul of our experience, the way we can hear others and truly listen, the empathy we can employ in a world that seems to cite MeFirst instead of UsTogether.

i wouldn’t wish this experience on anyone.  i’m pretty sure that every day since those-dark-days-in-the-late-70s i have both been affected and have effected because of them.  i have made choices and non-choices, taken action and had reflexive reaction.  i have searched for answers.

but i also know that my heart was blown open.  i am not standing on a different rung of the ladder, too high up to understand or remember, too discurious to ask, too blinded to see, too discriminating or apathetic to care.

i am next to anyone who needs me to listen, really listen.  i am next to anyone who needs me to jump and catch their balloons before they have flown too far to reach.

 

ks website header

read DAVID’S thoughts this K.S. FRIDAY

old suitcases website box

NO BALLOONS ©️ 1980 kerri sherwood

 

 


Leave a comment

i am alive. [k.s. friday]

 

jacketiamalivejpeg copy

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

Arches longview website box.jpg

I AM ALIVE ©️ 2005 kerri sherwood


Leave a comment

two artists tuesday

brave-poster-jpegthis one’s hard.  i’ve written about bravery before.  i’ve written about women with backbone.  i’ve written about holding to truths and actively working for peace and respect.  about waking up each day on mother earth and the people around us working to keep this a good place.

faced with the word “brave” as our two artists tuesday image, i flounder with where to start.

very early this morning our dear friend linda left her home to go to chicago to have a cochlear implant.  we spent time with her a few evenings ago, as she sorted through hope and fear, what she’s known and the future unknown.  one of her greatest passions in life is dancing.  she dances to music designed for dance, to music she hears in passing, to music in her head.  terrified of losing the ability to hear music post-surgery, she pondered the what-if of not having this done.  but her desire to actually be able to hear MORE (more beloved voices, more broadcasted music, more cds out on the deck or in the dance hall) won out and she is on a new journey.  she is brave. brave. brave.  brave word jpeg copy

my sister just had surgery on her hand to remove a skin cancer.  i am grateful and relieved she is healing from this and will likely not have to have any additional treatment.   d and i talked about this on a walk the other day.  i was weeping openly on the sidewalks in our neighborhood as i spoke about my big brother, who died after a valiant fight with lung cancer, my daddy who was a twelve-year-or-so survivor of lung cancer, my sweet momma who had a double mastectomy for stage four breast cancer at the age of 93.  i cannot help but have some fear.  who among us is exempt from that?  but my big sister was brave and positive and i am determined, as i move forward in life, to be brave as well.  in all arenas.  on all fronts.  d says i am much braver than he is.  i’m not sure why he says this, but his words make me feel stronger.

we meet our challenges singlehandedly, we meet our challenges with a world of support, which is sometimes just one living person, one other being. our bravery is fortified by the love of others, by their words of wisdom, by their ability to shift our perspective, even just a little, by our re-defining.  for we are not in this alone.  we have on our wall in the bedroom a sign that reads, “wherever you are, that’s where i will be.”  our ‘brave’ is fed by our faith, the sisu (perseverance and fortitude) we’ve honed in life, the courageous alter-reaction to the terror of taking a step, our community of people.   susan and i have used the word “scrappy” to describe our lives; in looking at the definition of “brave” i would add intrepid and plucky.  great word – plucky.   Screen Shot 2018-03-05 at 10.41.48 AM

i mean, let’s face it – just being in the world and being who we really are each day is damn brave.

 

BRAVE MERCHANDISE

 

brave leggings copy

brave pillow copy

brave travel mug

Screen Shot 2018-03-05 at 10.59.34 AM

TWO ARTISTS TUESDAY

melange button jpeg

check out DAVID’S thoughts on BRAVE

brave. ©️ 2017 kerri sherwood & david robinson


1 Comment

ks friday #3

jacketymadjpeg copyyears ago i was commissioned to write for and perform at the annual breast cancer symposium in san antonio, texas.  after talking with the producers, i had gathered enough details to know that this symposium is a very big research event in which new research is both shared and celebrated, at which researchers and physicians from all over are honored.  these folks are often the people in the foreground of new advances but the background as far as survivors and lay-people knowing who they are.  it was from that place that i wrote this song.

a couple of years after that, lance armstrong was leading the tour of hope across the country.  despite his more recent fall from grace, there were countless good people working on this tour of hope – bicyclists riding across the country with big rallies in various cities – to raise awareness for cancer and celebrate survivorship.  i performed alongside my cherished friend and breast cancer survivor speaker heidi on an out-of-season gorgeous day in october in downtown chicago at the block 37 on state street park that is now a high-rise.   lance was there and was laser-focused and passionate in his support of cancer survivors. at the time,  i was honored to work with him and i credit that day with meeting my dear friend scordskiii, his photographer, who brought many a laugh and hours of conversation during subsequent years when i really needed both.

this song is personal for me.  the moffitt cancer center in tampa, florida used it as a thank-you in a hospital-wide video to the staff for their work.  for me, their efforts included extending my poppo’s life 12 years beyond diagnosis.  i was proud and honored for this song to be featured.

in the last two decades, heidi and i have performed all over the country at innumerable oncology events together (walks, runs, survivor celebrations, conferences, hospitals, cancer centers, churches, memorials):  she, speaking from a survivor’s viewpoint; me, performing songs i have written to resonate with these events.  each event has been a shining light for us.

as i listened to this song YOU MAKE A DIFFERENCE the other day, i realized, once again, that this is not a song dedicated to one effort, to one fight.  it is a song that is dedicated to any effort in which people gather together in community to fight against darkness, whatever that darkness might be.  it’s for the people in the foreground, on the front line.  and it’s for the people in the background, not looking for any credit whatsoever, just looking for change…good change.  it’s for all the people we don’t know who walk, strike, write, argue, research, march, petition, and present clear options to the light.

this week i would dedicate this song to those young students who have risen up from the pitch-darkness shooting at marjory stoneman douglas high school in florida.  to have a voice.  to bring light.  we are all proud of you.  you make a difference.

YOU MAKE A DIFFERENCE single on iTUNES

KS FRIDAY

www.kerrianddavid.com/the-melange

read DAVID’S thoughts about YOU MAKE A DIFFERENCE

you make a difference ©️ 2003 kerri sherwood

 


Leave a comment

alive and ALIVE.

TODAY’S FEATURED IDEA FOR HUMANS

alive and aliveFOR TODAY’S FEATURED PRINT FOR HUMANS, GO HERE

and in honor of my sweet momma, survivors i know & survivors i have never met ~ I AM ALIVE

I AM ALIVE – A SONG OF SURVIVAL (on itunes)