my concert series starts tonight!

Yes, my concert series starts tonight!

In the hood.

Right by Rob's house.

I can just roll on over and just roll on back home no matter what the weather.

It's about five blocks away from home for me.

But much more than that, it's across from the great old Riverview Movie Theater, and it's next to the Riverview Wine Bar.

All of these places are fun and full of life, so there is a nice stream of people the whole evening coming by and at least popping in to listen a bit.

And since I have the series dates posted all over the cafe, hopefully people will come back for future dates as well.

The Cafe itself serves beer and wine and coffee drinks and snacks and it's big and comfortable with sofas and chairs. It's good. And people care about music and sit and listen carefully to the words which I think is crucial.

Tonight I may be solo, Rob may not be able to finish his recording session work in time to play the show with me.

But that's fine because I'm really working on honing my solo skills so that the songs come across just as well either way.

As the series progresses it's my intention to have guests sit in...guys who have been in my four piece band in the past and who hopefully will be touring with me later in 2019. I think that will be so great too.

I am so happy to not be on tour right now, I must say.

I love touring.

I am looking forward to lots more touring.

But this Fall is turning out to be the perfect time to stay put and work on all my Big Plans and Big Goals.

And playing these local shows is just what I needed.

Plus, I am always happy to say that I have just as big a fanbase in Minneapolis as I do in any city in Europe and so I better make sure that's true!

Also, Thank You for reading this blog post today.

I have been getting analytics reports about this website of mine and since I started writing this daily blog my website has gone from having about ten visitors a month to having a thousand a month!

Thank you!

I cut my hair at 5am

I gave myself a haircut of a couple of inches at 5am today.

I used to think that if I did stuff like that I was crazy, and it may sound crazy to you, but it's not. It's empowering.

It's just hair growing on your head.

We're all humans with hair growing somewhere...or not...and our personal grooming can be simple and effective.

Or it can be really complicated and expensive.

When I was a doctor's wife I was lonely and bored and I never felt good about myself.

I see now how I was wasting my beauty, wasting my joy, wasting my precious moments on this Earth, with my sadness.

I had three beautiful little children and they were my great happiness, they gave me the childhood I never had with playmates and toys, art projects and puzzles, card games, and reading and reading and reading aloud.

But when they started going to school during the day I knew it was time to start grappling with Me.

And grapple I did.

I wrote on a laptop at the neighborhood coffeeshop sometimes all day long.

I would dress up like I was going someplace cool, which I was because I was going there to be a writer.

I would sit and laugh and cry and ponder my past, ponder my inner life.

But I also obsessed over my body and my face and my hair.

Nothing was ever quite right. I never felt the way I wanted to feel, which was effortless and uninhibited.

I started going to a hair salon in my neighborhood that was very expensive.

I bought all the expensive hair products they recommended.

I got all the color treatments, I got my haircut every six weeks.

I thought it was all a boost of confidence, but it wasn't.

Something underneath it was dishonest and made me feel worse.

On some level I knew that the hair stylist saw women like me, stay at home moms, all day long.

She would even tell me that they all came in talking about Botox, and tennis lessons, and sleeping with the tennis coach.

Geez.

I didn't want any of that but I had bought into the idea that she knew best.

In reality she was very good at giving out the momentary dose of flattery and praise and she was very good at making the sale.

Never again!

So I'm psyched about my rock and roll lifestyle now which includes the extremely rock and roll ten dollar box of bleach from Walgreens, fuck yeah.

And I chopped off a couple inches of my hair this morning because it has more swing and more edge and makes me look like less of a princess and more like a badass. Fuck yeah.

Come to my show at The Warming House tonight to see my hair.

I'm part of a songwriter in the round show tonight.

We each are playing two songs by artists from Texas, not sure why, but we are.

I have chosen the balls out pairing of Beyonce's Daddy Lessons and Nanci Griffith's Hard Life.

Then I'm going to do Tangle Web because we get to do one of our own.

Should be cool.

Especially with my new hair.

follow the fear

When I was living alone in NYC working on my Red Letter Day album, and after that, working to promote myself in a brand new way in the world, I read something that said "follow the fear".

I was afraid, that's for sure. So I remembered that phrase and I carried it with me.

I turned that phrase over like a stone in my pocket, trying to fully grasp it's meaning.

I didn't dismiss the three words strung together, I embraced them.

Overcoming your fear probably isn't possible if you are continuing to do new things, if you are continuing to grow.

I have watched musicians set up for shows at the same place that they play every week and they look bored or worse. They sometimes look resentful or defeated.

I am going to play every Wednesday from now until the end of February at The Underground Music Cafe in St. Paul and I want to become more and more excited by the weekly opportunity because I want it to become more and more popular for people to want to come there from 5-6:30pm and listen to some music through the cold months in Minnesota. 

I want to follow my fear now in every way.

I am afraid to write the email inquiries to people in the literary world about my second novel, but I must and I shall.

I was afraid yesterday to go into the Riverview Cafe where I'll be playing a concert one night a month. I had posters in my hand that I had printed up. I wanted to ask if I could hang the posters to promote the first concert that is this Friday.

I was afraid that the person working at the counter would be discouraging to me. I didn't want to feel bad about my upcoming concert series. I was afraid I'd feel foolish putting up my posters. I had feelings I didn't want to have, thoughts I didn't want to have.

I sat in my car out in front of the Riverview Cafe and I fought with my fear.

Finally I shut off the car and I walked into the cafe, posters in hand.

The young man behind the counter, who I don't think I've ever seen before, immediately said, "Hi! Are you playing here? That's so awesome! Are those your posters? Oh my God that's so cool."

He got out a tape dispenser and we went around together and hung up six posters in different parts of the cafe.

While we were hanging them a woman came up to me and said, "Are you playing here?"

I showed her the dates on the poster and she said, "Wow, look at all those Saturday nights! Good for you! I'll spread the word."

I left the Riverview feeling no fear at all. I felt joyful and grateful. I felt glad that I had followed through on an inspired hunch to contact them and ask to play a series of shows in my own neighborhood only a few blocks from where I live.

Follow the fear. Hunt it down and make it work for you. Use the fear as a sign post that you are going in the right direction with your pursuits. 

Fear is a powerful tool. If you feel afraid walking down a dark alley alone, you should get out immediately.

If you feel like a coyote is following you down the path, you should turn around and tell him to go eat a squirrel instead of your little dog.

If you are afraid to contact the very person you want to have help you, you should fight the fear, use the fear as a catalyst for change, force yourself to make the contact. I'm talking to myself here. But I may very well be talking to you too.

If you want to play at the same little place every Wednesday for the whole winter to see what you can learn, then you should beg for a weekly gig until you get one.

I am going to play the first of my Wednesday night weekly gigs tonight at The Underground Music Cafe and I am afraid because I don't have a built in audience. I want to grow a natural following and my best idea to do this is just start playing and keep saying that I'll be there every week at the same place at the same time and believe that people will want to come back and bring a friend. I have set the intention by setting up the weekly gig. Now I have to make the performance worth peoples' time.

I am following the healthy fear and using it as an indicator of where I need to go next.

why I write this

I know why I write this blog post every day...except yesterday...hahaha, well nobody's perfect....but I write this blog for a few good reasons.

The main reason is I want to connect with people.

I read something recently where an entrepreneurial woman was quoted as giving the advice "your face is your fortune".

She was meaning that every person who wants to connect with the world has their own unique image that will connect them faster than any product they are trying to sell.

I guess this kind of advice comes on strong in the Age of Selfies which almost makes me gag to even write the phrase, but in our current culture, people do seem to put their face on just about anything and everything.

So, I am not here to make sweeping social commentary, and I'm not judging. I don't even care enough to judge.

I'm just saying that this blog for me is a way to put a true face on the music I am making.

It's the very best to go out into the world and play in person for people. That's putting a face on my music for sure.

And I love being on tour and am looking forward to bigger and better touring in the coming year.

But when I'm in Minneapolis, writing new works in music or prose, and plotting my next release and next tour, I want to be able to stay in touch.

I used to write every morning in a journal and I filled journal after journal.

After my March 2018 tour I realized that there were so many people who I wanted to stay in touch with, and it was too hard to keep writing emails to everyone all the time, often recounting the same updates to everyone.

With this blog I could begin to put my early morning writing practice to a new use, giving me a way to write for an audience, update my fans, connect with new people who might just be curious, give myself a personal outlet that is not confined by the rules of Twitter or diminished by the din of Facebook.

I endeavor to write in ways that push my own boundaries of what I think is appropriate for a public blog post.

I push myself to write thoroughly and to write well.

I also want to provide a chronicle for how a woman who already raised three children could take her artistry and her determination and shape a viable sustainable career as a full time songwriter, recording artist, touring musician, under her own name, playing her own songs. Could she do it in our world, in our current culture? 

I believe I am doing what I want, for myself, but at the same time I am providing something valuable for others who have big dreams and wonder how to make them a reality.

In the morning pages I offer you here, in between the lines, there is some thread of how you do it and how you get it done.

I want to make you proud of me. I want to be proud of you too. I want us all to be happy together doing whatever we do best, whatever we love most.

Here's a fun picture from the music video shoot this past Saturday with Ruby the Doberman and her master Magic Marc Percansky.

My commissioned song "The Sun Shines On Ruby" and it's accompanying animated lyrics video and documentary style music video will all be released in the coming weeks.

Stay tuned!

determination

I have determination.

I got it from God I think.

It's been there all along.

I was born determined.

I was determined to take the huge Alumacraft canoe out by myself as a young girl and to do that I had to carry the thing down a flight of about twenty irregular stone steps that were dangerous to traverse with no canoe. There was one step that had shifted so drastically that it was only wide enough for you to turn your foot sideways to land on ti, then cross your other foot over and down to land properly on the next wide step. With a very long and heavy aluminum canoe on your hip and both hands clutching it for dear life, you could easily fall, you could easily let the canoe drop and potentially damage the wooden dock jutting out onto the water below. You could break a limb or crack your head open at the cement base of the long stone staircase.

But I was determined so I did it. I did it all the time.

Plus, my mom didn't allow me to leave the canoe tied to the dock because it might get damaged or damage the dock if there was a sudden storm. She didn't allow me to pull it up on top of the dock and lean it against the wooden posts either because it made the dock too narrow for her sunbathing routine.

So every time I brought it down the harrowing steps, I had to bring it up. Bringing it up was sheer strength, not as hard to navigate the tricky steps, you could just hit the narrow step with the toe of your boot and skip right over it no problem. 

But the canoe was heavy as hell so the trip up was no picnic either.

Obviously, the time I spent in the canoe in between the taking it down and bringing it back up made it all worthwhile.

If it was early Spring, I would bundle up and also bring my little quilt that usually lay at the foot of my bed in the cabin. I would bring the quilt plus my notebook and a pen and my guitar. I usually brought an apple in case I got hungry.

I would paddle out into the early morning mist, that was my favorite time of day to go out, before any other people came out on the lake. Once the fisherman got their motors revved the silence of Nature was already broken, so I had to beat the fishermen to the water.

I would paddle down along the shoreline leaving my grandfather's property behind me tracing the shoreline of the peninsula to it's base on the mainland where there was an old resort that sprawled with many small rustic cabins, a natural sand beach, and a big lodge that was the scene of many of my best memories of socializing during those years.

Once I was out past the lodge and the resort, there was open water for a stretch. Open water on Lake Vermilion meant you were vulnerable to changing wind patterns that could swing the bow of your canoe around if you weren't strong and careful in your paddling. Traversing open water also meant that an early morning fisherman in a big high speed bass boat coming out of the morning fog and maybe half asleep or hung over..probably both..might not even see you. I was low down to the water, dressed in muted colors. I wouldn't be easy to spot. More than once I found myself with my paddle up over my head waving it frantically as a big fast boat swung around the back of the island ahead and appeared instantly only feet from my canoe, heading straight towards me unseeing until they caught sight of my paddle in the air and suddenly swerved.

But the island ahead made the dangerous passage worth the effort. 

Strawberry Island only had one cabin on it and I don't think I ever saw anyone there, not even once in all my days on that lake. But the cabin was beautiful, rustic, self contained, self sufficient, a symbol of what I thought life should be. Silent and reserved. Still and contemplative. In harmony with the surroundings almost to the point of being original to the world like the glacier formed lake itself.

I would paddle all the way around to the back side of this island where there was a shallow sandbar covered with only a few inches of water. If it was early in the year the water was icy cold and very clear, I could cup it in my hand and drink that water, do you understand this? I could scoop up the water in my hand and drink it and it's crisp cold clarity was without doubt without fear. I trusted Nature and I was with Nature. I would stop paddling, take up my guitar, sing songs, float, watch the herons, watch the ducks. I would think. 

If it was summer, I would be in a t shirt and a bikini and I would scramble up and out of the canoe placing my bare feet out onto the sand in just an inch or two of water, not on the island itself but out a ways from the island on this sandbar that was not evident from a distance but that was the most lovely thing for a person in a canoe. I could stand up in the shallow water and tow my canoe behind me by the rope tied to it's bow. I had ridden horses with my mother as a child and the canoe then became like a horse I was walking in a paddock and to my imagination the canoe became like a pet, like an animal companion. I loved my canoe then; it wasn't heavy or cumbersome, it floated, it followed me, it obeyed willingly. Me and my canoe, out walking the sandbar on Lake Vermilion. No human in sight in any direction for miles. I'm so glad I have this memory.

In the Fall, or at the end of the summer before my mother and I would return to Chicago, I would again be bundled, my quilt wrapped around my legs, maybe bare legs still in cut off denim shorts in anticipation of the afternoon reaching eighty degrees. The chill in the mornings would be signaling frost, not steamy fog like in the dog days of August, but crisp rising steam from the lake water being now warmer than the new Canadian air coming down to greet us from the North heralding the onset of a new winter.

I could see a change in the colors of the leaves each and every morning, Autumn setting in fast as September arrived. By the end of that month every leaf would be down. It happened fast in the Great North. Winter was serious and unrelenting. 

My determination to live life at this level of freedom and beauty prevails. 

I know that my determination to succeed in the world has it's underpinnings in this desire to free myself of the burdens of the world.

If you really want to know what drives my determination it is the desire to have some feet of shoreline of my very own where the canoe rests comfortably on a grassy edge that turns gradually to soft sand, that slips gently right into crisp clean fresh water. No stone staircase, no burden, just me and my canoe, into my eighties into my old age. A place where I can teach grandchildren how to traverse open water alone in a big canoe without letting the wind get the best of you and swing your bow around in the opposite direction of where you were wanting to go.

 

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