December 15, 2003
And the Light's Still Shinin'
"And the Light's Still Shinin', Mary, Mary, can you see?
And the child you carried carries on the Mystery
God's great promise in a young girl's body
Glory, Glory, Blessed be, blessed be"
“Mary, Mary" from Lay It Down: Images of the Sacred
The sun just came out -- a break in our weary, grey weather. It's always amazing to me to see how the light can break through when we least expect it. And we are in need of light in these dark days, when the world seems to be moving towards chaos and destruction.
In this season, I long to keep my heart and mind on a birth. I'd like to ignore the part of the old story about the Slaughter of the Innocents. Yet this week we've learned of the deaths of fifteen Afghan children. There was word that a leader who might threaten power was in their village. Many innocents died.
We usually are not allowed to know their number. Collateral damage. And our young men, broken in body and heart, are shipped home...some of them in "Transport Tubes"-- the military name for coffins. We are not allowed to see their brokenness. Our collective shadow looms large in this season of light.
But then the sun breaks through. Hope survives. My husband Scott makes me laugh when I get too stressed. Nathaniel, my thirteen year-old, tell me he loves me. Life is good.
I'd like to share some other good news.
UCS GRADUATION & EEWC CONFERENCE
First, I've finished my classes, and have submitted my dissertation to my committee, so I'm hopeful that I'll be graduating in June from the University of Creation Spirituality. The dissertation was titled The Bridge Between Earth and Sky: The Spirituality of Voice. The project involved working with at-risk women in a variety of settings with workshops designed to help them recover their creative and physical voices.
I learned a great deal. It's been a long journey, and I'll be forever grateful for the amazing teachers I studied with. That week in June I'll also be at the EEWC Conference which will feature Phyllis Trible, Rosemary Radford Reuther, Carolyn McDade and many other progressive Feminist Christian folks. Here's a link to that conference: http://www.eewc.com
THE GREAT TURNING ROAD SHOW One of my most important mentors these days is Joanna Macy, who was my teacher in August.
The class focused on The Great Turning: The change we are making from an Industrial Growth society to a life-sustaining culture. The class was a road map for hope and empowerment in hard times. During this class, Joanna became familiar with my music and invited me to come along this summer to be a part of The Great Turning Road Show.
And so it shall be!
I'll be on the road for the entire month of May. The Road Show will present workshops, talks and performances for three days in each town. If you'd like the Road Show to come to your area, please check out their site and learn more about it. This adventure will be costly, so I'll be having a fund-raising benefit in April, here in Bellingham, to try to raise money for air fare and other expenses for a month on the road. If you'd be interested in helping to support this effort, please contact me. Here's the link with more information on The Road Show: contact firstname.lastname@example.org http://www.joannamacy.net/html/great.html
JEN AND KRISTIN My lovely and talented daughters are, at last, releasing their first CD Here's a link to their web site. Check in for date of release and ordering info. http://www.bima.com/jenandkristin.com/ Kristin has just released a new 4-song CD, with a full CD project in the works. You can reach her for more information on her projects at 360-676-1395.
LOCAL 1000, THE TRAVELING MUSICIAN'S UNION I've been elected West Coast Representative to the Executive Board of Local 1000, and I'm looking forward to working with some fine, deeply committed unionists. For those in my musical community who would like to support the union, and who would like to know the ways the union can help you in your work, please give me a call and we'll talk. Here's a link: http://www.local1000.com/
OTHER WORK http://www.lindasongs.com/pages/itinerary.htm. Please visit my itinerary for local and national concerts and workshops. My travels will be taking me to New York, North Carolina, Los Angeles and San Diego, so far. Please let me know if you'd like to sponsor a concert in your area.
NEWSLETTERS My old newsletters are now on line at my web site: www.lindasongs.com Recipes, thoughts, songs, and quotes...enjoy!
FLASH!! Joe Jencks is coming to Bellingham. He'll be giving a house concert at the home of Marie Eaton on Friday, January 9th at 7:30. Marie and I will each offer some songs as well. Joe is a wonderful young singer/songwriter with a well-developed social consciousness that flows through his music. He's the recent winner of theTumbleweeds Festival song contest, and also a new board member of Local 1000. Please call Marie at 671-6371 to reserve a place and for more information.
RECIPES Recently, a columnist from Cecil County, Maryland, Cheri McSpadden, published quite a delightful article about music and food, and ended it with my song, "Sally's Quiche." In it she mentioned another recipe song by Glenn Tilbrook of Squeeze. Whoopee! One more song for the collection!
So the Recipe project moves a notch up on my priority list. Please do let me know if you know of songs that contain a full recipe. Also, if you'd like to read the article I'll forward it on to you. My friend Marcia McLaughlin just sent this poem in her Christmas newsletter. I send it with my blessing and my thanks for all you do to bring about The Great Turning.
Christmas Is Forever
When the song of the angels is stilled,
When the star in the sky is gone,
When the kings and princes are home,
When the shepherds are back with their flock,
The work of Christmas begins:
To find the lost,
To heal the broken
To feed the hungry,
To release the prisoner,
To rebuild the nations,
To bring peace to all,
To make music in the heart.
PS: If you do not wish to receive this newsletter, please hit REPLY with the message REMOVE and we'll take care of it. Apologies if you are on this list in error.
Of the Universe, Joanna Macy, and Singing Recipes
Here's the latest issue of my very occasional newsletter. It's been a rather extraordinary summer. I keep thinking that I really must narrow down and simplify my life -- and then I wonder what it is that I could possibly give up. I wear many hats: Mom, wife, teacher, composer and performer, student. It also seems that we artists are constantly re-inventing ourselves in our work life to figure out how we might best fit in a culture that can be less than friendly. Last night I was watching one of my favorite movies, "Billy Elliott", with my son, Nathaniel. We're also reading the book "The Bridge to Tarabithia". I see a similar theme: The arts are not considered "appropriate" for young boys. Perhaps this is why, when I visit schools, young boys are so often the ones who are most embarrassed to sing. As one who has been a feminist for many years, and raised strong daughters who know how to use their voices, it's been a challenge to understand the culture's effect on the creativity of boys and men. It is not only women who have been silenced. Nathaniel, at ten, is a good teacher. So is my husband, Scott, who struggles to find creative spaces in his life.
Two weeks ago I had the great privilege of studying "New Cosmology" with Larry Edwards at the University of Creation Spirituality. I'm so aware of how any subject is deepened and enriched by the inclusion of the arts. Larry incorporated ritual and dance and song and poetry. What a magical way to study science! I recommend any book by Thomas Berry or Brian Swimme. A favorite quote from my teacher, Larry: "How much science do you need to know? You need to know enough to be stunned by the beauty, intimacy and intelligence of it all." I've been forever changed by the perspective offered by these teachers and writers who weave together, once again, science and spirituality.
A few things coming up:
--I'll be starting a new class on The Artist's Way here in Bellingham, with an introductory sessi on at Village Books on Tuesday, September 4th, and classes beginning the following Tuesday, September 11th. In September, there's also a performance in Tacoma at the Washington State History Museum on Sept. 13th with another songwriter of Washington stories, the amazing 19-year old Wes Weddell. I'll be in Oregon for a talk at a UU Church in West Linn, Oregon on September 23rd. I'll also be recording a program with Tom May for his nationally syndicated radio show, "River City Folk". The Listening Women exhibit, by the way, will make its final appearance at Seattle's BodyMind&Spirit Symposium in Bellevue on the weekend of September 7,8, and 9. It's a moving piece, and can be viewed without participating in the conference. You can guess which one is me!
--In October, I'll be singing at a Library Conference, doing a workshop and concert on Lummi Island, hosting the Voices retreat near Bellingham, and will likely do a teacher training in New Mexico. November will bring the Women's Retreat on Creation Spirituality, a workshop, house concert and retreat in Arizona, and a church retreat in Tacoma. For details on all of these offerings, please go to my itinerary page at my web site: http://www.lindasongs.com/pages/itinerary.htm At the web site, you'll also find a wider selection of songs to download, and a pretty good description of how you might put on a house concert for roving musicians or poets who might well appreciate an intimate living room setting. Here's a recipe song I wrote for my friend Sally Kintner many years ago My intent is that I'll put together a musical recipe book one day. I've been collecting songs with recipes in them. Please let me know if you know any. This one appears on my CD, "October Roses." Sally's Quiche c1984
I first tried Sally's recipe a few years ago
When my baby was new-born, I felt kind of low
Sally came with a smile and a salad and quiche
I wonder if she ever knew what joy that brought me
Two cups of milk, and two cups grated cheese
Four pats of butter, a half cup Krusteaz
Four eggs and some spinach, spices to please
Bake 45 minutes, 350 degrees
Sally brought me the recipe, said it had served her well
In raising her children for years by herself
It didn't take long, and that's important, she said
When your children are crying and need to be fed CHORUS
And Sally brought wisdom and comfort and care
And the recipe brings back the friendship we share
It's an age-old tradition our foremothers knew
In grateful remembrance, I pass it to you CHORUS
One final thought: In his introduction to Joanna Macy's book, "Coming Back to Life", Matthew Fox praises her as "one of those rare voices in our time who is a prophet speaking out on behalf of the poor and those without a voice, the young, the dispossessed, the ecologically threatened....she also passes on this prophetic voice to others, she draws it out, she coaxes us not to be afraid and not to be in denial. She encourages us; that is, she builds our courage up to find our prophetic voice and to contribute as teams and as communities to the healing work our times and pain require." Matthew ends his tribute to Joanna with, "May we all fulfill our promise."
May we, like Joanna, be midwives of grace.
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PSS: Please note new email address, although the old one still works.
October Rose Productions