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Home for now

Hope, Emily and Emily in Lyons, CO last week.

Hope, Emily and Emily in Lyons, CO last week.

I'm home for now. I'm making dinner that kids don't want to eat and trying to figure out the right size of inner tubing needed for flat bike tires that now number three. I'm going to work at the cafe, doing breakfast duty at school and watching dumb RomComs on Netflix when I get a minute to relax.

After nine days in Colorado at the Song School and Rocky Mountain Folks Fest, it's good to be back. As much as I love the Colorado air, the roll of the St. Vrain and the music nerd talk all day every day, I like being home better. 

What did I learn at Song School this year? I learned that music is an amazing world to live in every day. It's light and dark and fun and hard and full of wonder, full of the unknown and I'm glad to be doing it. You'd think I'd know all that already. But making a record can really make you forget all that stuff so I'm thankful for a week where the focus was the work, the line, the song.

I love the song. I love it. I wish it didn't feel so far away.

I know I can bring it close, but I'm chicken. Chicken I am.

Why? Because my social media numbers are low.  Because I'm nervous about the record because loving it too much is gonna hurt real bad. Because I feel lost and uprooted and I never want to write a song about being on the road. Ever. I'm chicken because now I want the work to be good and I can't always guarantee that it will be.

And then I went to the Senior center yesterday for lunch. Jon and I joined our friends and neighbors for meatloaf and apple crisp and afterward I got up and sang some songs. It had been quite a while since I'd been there and I wanted to sing some songs from the record and tell them the record is for them because it's about them. I wanted to sing the one about Lloyd and Caryl. I wanted to sing the one about getting better as you get older. So I did. And by the end I was crying. We were all crying. People in that room were friends with Caryl. People in that room were at that funeral. People in that room had just lost their friend, Louis, and life and death and missing your loved ones who have gone felt so real, so intense, that it silenced all the bullshit about being popular and getting the record out and not being pretty enough or young enough and for one blessed moment, I remembered why I made this record.

I made this record for them. I wrote these songs to figure out the hurt and loss, the joy and freedom of a life we share together. Yesterday's gig was heavy, but it was real and it was good and it was exactly what I needed and I didn't even know it.

Afterward I thought I chose the wrong songs. I should've kept it light and silly, but that wouldn't have been honest. Music is powerful and yesterday we felt its power. You all know by now that I'm a believer and yesterday it felt like God was doing the work. I was just there playing the guitar. God knew what needed to happen. I didn't. 

I'm home for now and trying to reconnect after feeling so far away. One meal at a time, one song at a time, one walk to the grocery and one walk back and waving to the people in the cars passing by. One check of the garden, one posting of a letter, one waiting on a train one lunch shift as a waiter. I'll get there. I hope you do too. Peace.



FARMing, The Walking Dead, Dav Pilkey and life

Tomorrow I get in the car with my two other Star Belles and go to Iowa City for the Folk Alliance Region Midwest conference. This is the first time the band is venturing east and playing at a conference. More than anything I'm looking forward to seeing friends again and hearing the music. I'm looking forward to big cups of coffee and late night jams, fall colors and more gigs. For some reason these days feel a little trickier than most. Playing music always helps.

The Walking Dead. It's the only show I tune in for faithfully. It's the only show that I love talking about all year long. I love it. Which is weird because I don't like scary things or gross things, but I love the Walking Dead. I love the character, the whole empty world, the leaves on the road, the herds of walkers who flop between witless cows and surprisingly quick carnivores. All of it. Jon and I watched the season premier on Monday night and, let's just say, I was looking forward to the end of the episode. I just wanted to get it over with. The trailers leading up the premier made it clear that it was going to be a, pardon the term, "shitstorm," and they made good on that teaser. At least Morgan and Carol are somewhere out there and they can save the group from the depravity of man. Let's hope so. Yikes.

In other news, last night we took the boys to Concordia University where Dav Pilkey spoke as part of his book tour for "Dog Man." If you don't know Dav Pilkey, he's the author of a series called, "Captain Underpants" which our boys think are some of the funniest books on the planet. I remember when Sammy and I went to Germany when he was in kindergarten. I read to him one of the books on the train and I remember trying to stifle our laughter so as not to bother the quiet commuters around us. Sam is thirteen now and was dragging his feet saying he was too old to enjoy a presentation by the author, but the author delivered like a pro. I wish all my songwriting and artist buddies were there to hear him talk of his journey to do what he was called to do no matter what. He got 23 rejections from publishers for his first book. The 24th letter was the good one and the rest is history. He gave a super funny and engaging presentation that had us all laughing and inspired. Don't give up. Follow your passion. Keep working at it. 

I finished a song yesterday. I rediscovered a couple of songs I had completely forgotten about. I sent a vulnerable email in an effort to put myself out there more. I'm trying to hone in on a song that I've been kicking around for a couple of months. I don't want to tread water. I want to get somewhere or turn the boat around. I don't want to sit here doing nothing hoping someone finds me. I'm not gonna give up. I'm going to follow my passion. I'm going to keep working at it. It's been a long, beautiful fall here in Nebraska. The mornings start cool and the days get warm. Pretty soon the farmers will be done with the harvest and the earth will get sleepy and go quiet. I've started working on music for Advent and Christmas. The boys do their homework at the kitchen table and play football out in the yard with kids in the neighborhood. I'm going to pick up the guitar and write it down.