reverse threading

the path back is the path forward


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34 = 20 + 14. [d.r. thursday]

34 – the combination of 14 & 20 – love to cook together. they chop and laugh and saute and bake and grill, punting their way through recipes. with glasses of wine in hand (and lately, maybe old-fashioned wisconsin old-fashioneds) these two brothers-of-different-mothers gleefully prepare dinner.

twice a week we three (61 when you add us all up) used to dine together. and then covid. for well over a year, dinners stopped and phone calls commenced. but even zoom doesn’t come close to the ritual of preparing good food and sitting down all together around a table. finally, fully-vaccinated and still wearing masks out in public spaces, we are back. and so there is a piece of our world that has righted; the axis is just a little less tilted. we are grateful.

20 goes way back for me. shortly after my beloved big brother died, i believe he looked down from heaven and hand-picked out 20 to stand in for him. he didn’t expect 20 to be exactly who he was, he just expected him to be there for me. and vice-versa.

my little girl and 20’s little girl took ballet lessons together as tiny ballerinas and 20 and i sat on the wood floor with other parents just off the studio, morning light spilling in through the windows. my little boy drove his matchbox cars up and down the hall, including on and off 20’s legs, clearly seeing in him a man who adored the magic of small children and their imaginations. it was like group therapy, this cadre of parents on the wooden floor, and we still think of those times fondly. we followed ballet class with an ice-cream-sundae trip across the street to andrea’s and sitting on high stools at jack’s cafe in front of the soda fountain. cups of hot coffee and watching our tiny girls make straw dolls with paper napkins and my little toddler boy having soup-that-race-cars-eat with a side of saltines and pickles were glittery times…priceless. in the way that life and mystery goes, 20 happened to be a graphic designer at a time in my life when i needed a graphic designer. we celebrated my first album together and he designed many of the next ones. there for meetings or reviews, i watched him and justine and duke at work. i had the good fortune of secondhand learning; i still credit 20 with the way i design things now. it was inevitable that we would still be almost-brother-sister 27 years later. i imagine this will go on forever and ever, in the way that my own big brother devised it. only now, we are a trio of compadres. we’d have it no other way.

in this time of so much loss for so many, we have not gone unscathed. jobs and security, finances and healthcare, communities-within-communities, relationships – all have an iota of decimation. the rituals of our life together are the things we hold onto, the firm footing that delivers us from one day to the next. for us, resuming the twice-a-week dinners with 20, friday night potlucks with our dear-dear friends which have temporarily become happy-hours in their backyard, our familiar-trail hikes watching the seasons change in the woods…these are real, three-dimensional and steady and are evidence of life beyond these times. they are evidence of a return to some semblance of normal, though we suspect things may never actually be normal again.

we are still careful out in public. we still wear masks and use sanitizer. at OT appointments they still take my temperature, have a pile of masks at the door and ask a slew of covid questions. we are wary of too much exposure – our innermost circle demands it, for this pandemic is still alive and well and we do not wish to place our dearest close ones at any potentially devastating risk.

yesterday we passed a teen girl walking down the sidewalk, mask at her chin, with a sad, sad face. it made me think about all the people who have lost loved ones during this year-plus of covid. i wonder how they feel as they watch others, in seeming cavalier fashion, gather in crowds, throw out their masks and throw any remaining caution to the wind. i’m guessing maybe they are heartbroken. because there is no going back. it can’t be undone. and the loss of their beloveds has not changed others who do not walk in their shoes.

i guess it’s the lack of empathy, the lack of looking-out-for-each-other, the lack of small efforts of willingness to aid the big community that i find most disturbing. because, really, in the ritual-festooned-relationship-rich-shimmering-end we are our brother’s (and sister’s) keeper.

just ask 34.

*****

read DAVID’S thoughts this D.R. THURSDAY


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the moose and the pig and me. [k.s. friday]

it is said – and clearly there are many people in the news now’days who subscribe to this – that any press…good or bad…is better than no press. you have to wonder.

way back in 2002 i released this album. ‘as sure as the sun’ was the culmination of much writing, practicing, arranging, driving, singing, hydrating, listening, reviewing, re-writing, more singing, more practicing, more driving, recording, listening, sitting and watching my producer, more sitting and watching my producer, re-recording tracks, more practicing, more driving, more hydrating, more singing, more writing, more listening, more reviewing, re-writing, practicing, singing, hydrating, more driving and a lot of worrying. i recorded the album in nashville and drove back and forth for sessions, in between which i spent my time finessing each piece of music, each song i had composed for the project.

as an independent solo artist and not a complete band with others to lean on or a label financially chugging it forward, it was a big project, a big investment in heart, time and money. my producer and i had to believe in it to keep it going. bottom line, i had to believe in it to keep it going. when it was done and i drove home with a mastered CD, it was with a mix of feeling proud, wiped out, anxious and full of dreams. ‘as sure as the sun’ was my sixth album and the first that was a full-length vocal. it was stepping out of my comfort zone. it was the edge.

i hired an agency to help with its release and a radio promoter to aid in its adds to radio airplay. i don’t recommend either. to the tune of almost $40,000 they took me for a ride and i wonder now how this was possible. but when your professed dreams come knocking it is hard to turn away and do it yourself. in retrospect, i should have just continued doing it all on my own as i had done with all the instrumental albums that preceded it. but ah, that whole retrospect thing is such a fine perspective arranger.

amazon, and various other entities, added the album to my lineup online and radio stations added songs to their airplay. ‘slow dance’ charted at number 13 on the secondary adult contemporary radio chart. i’m not really sure how important that was now – at the time, however, it kept me paying for the promoter. i suspect that was the goal.

i played concerts and interviewed on radio and drove around to wholesale and retail shows with product, selling to large box brick and mortar chains and small privately owned shops that played music and displayed cds for customers to purchase. at the label in our offices on lake michigan we put together more cardboard display boxes than i can count, shipping out displays and cds regularly. it was busy and fun and a time when people still purchased actual cds.

in the zeal of the after-release glow, i looked everywhere for reviews of this new album. i wanted to know how it resonated with people, how it measured up, what i could learn by reading others’ commentary.

and then there was this.

the title was just the start. dang. sounding like a “hoofed mammal in heat” or a “squealing pig” was a tad bit much, i thought. the first-grader-lyric-writing comment was, well, kind of first-grader-like. i noted the misspelling of norah’s name. and, much as i appreciate his style, i really wouldn’t use “soulful” to describe jim brickman’s vocal music. but i digress.

i was stunned to have such a review and didn’t know what to think. i spent lots and lots of time, an inordinate amount of time, pondering who might have written such a statement. for some reason, i did not give as much time to the emails i received, the notes, the non-promoter-sought airplay, the adds in box stores and shops around the country, and the thousands of cds that were shipped out. this review nagged me.

it’s funny to me now how i let this one commentary puncture a pinhole in my confidence. but that’s the way of negativity. to stand firmly rooted, to take on the edge, to step new steps, to grow, to believe in your ability to shift gears, sway in the wind – the inner job of every artist. one moose and one pig should not be enough to undermine you and yet, there it was.

somewhere along the line i mostly forgot about this review and got on with the business of the music business: making more music. nine albums and several singles followed this album’s release. but i never really looked for reviews. i listened to what was inside and kept stepping. one of these days, maybe when i decide that i am still relevant, i will step again.

artists of every medium adjust and re-adjust too often to the whim of the viewers’/listeners’ fancy. they lose something every time in their pursuit of wanting their work to be liked by others. yet, the artist is most certainly riding the value-train with every project released. for that project, the last project, the next new project – all represent making a living. they represent a vulnerability not broached in other life-work paths. they represent a piece of someone’s heart and soul, hoping against hope not to be pounced on. all together – the projects of all artists of all mediums – they represent the woven fabric of our narrative, diverse and rich.

as my sweet momma used to say, “if [someone] has nothing nice to say, [someone] should say nothing at all.”

though i generally like moose and pigs and am in good company either way, i trust the moose and the pig agree with her.

*****

listen to music in my little corner on iTUNES

listen to music in my little growing corner on PANDORA

read DAVID’s thoughts this K.S. FRIDAY


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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)

purchase the CD RELEASED FROM THE HEART or download on iTUNES or CDBaby

read DAVID’S thoughts on this K.S. FRIDAY

hands website box copy

DIVINE INTERVENTION from RELEASED FROM THE HEART ©️ 1995 kerri sherwood


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they wait. [d.r. thursday]

WeWait Morsel

i can feel this painting.  i recognize it.  i have anxiously waited, looking out the window, babycat in lap, dogdog by my feet.  leaning forward, i have peered outside…waiting for someone to arrive, waiting for the mail, waiting for the sun to come up, waiting for my mind to rest.

we are in a time…you can feel the nerve endings jittering.  it is not a time of rest, nor is it a time of peace and unity.  we lean forward, looking out the window at moments passing, hoping to catch a glimpse of tomorrow and see a calmer day, a day where we might find a spirit of cohesion, a respite from the storm of divisiveness.

THEY WAIT…a beautifully poignant painting honoring the ever-faithful companions by our side, quietly and patiently waiting.  with no idea of why, with no questions asked, they steadfastly stay with us.

WeWait

THEY WAIT mixed media 24″x18″

click here or on painting above to view THEY WAIT

read DAVID’S thoughts on this D.R. THURSDAY

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Screen Shot 2018-08-07 at 12.27.50 PM

 


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a painting is born. [d.r. thursday]

andthentheydancedprocess

i have a unique front row seat to paintings in process.  running downstairs to throw in another load of laundry or seek out a tool i need, i will glance at the easel in the studio to peek at what’s up next…this time, the sketch of two people dancing made me stop.  it immediately made me thinking of when we have danced in the front yard or the kitchen or out on the deck or on a mountain trail.  i got lost in the tango and wandered back upstairs, no new laundry spinning in the washer or tool in my hand.

the next time i looked at the easel i found these two people emerging and color exploding off the canvas.  i have learned, in this time of living with a brush-in-hand-artist, that this is the under-painting, a place that involves steps at which i often want to tell him to stop!wait!it’s perfect!  sometimes he does – stop.  other times he keeps going, for the vision in his mind’s eye is beyond what is on the easel and there is more to develop.

it’s a unique place in the front row.  maybe more comparable to back-stage or the green room or the recording studio before “record”…a place of preparation, a place of reflection, a place of swirling beauty, a place of possibility, a place where the-painting-someone-dreams-of-hanging-on-their-wall is being born.

drc website header

read DAVID’S thoughts this D.R. THURSDAY

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and then they danced ©️ 2018 david robinson & kerri sherwood

 


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women. we’ve got backbone.

wordswomenwevegotbackbone-jpegliving with an artist means you get to poke around inside their passion. you get to see the things that paved the way, that set the stage, that were behind the scenes. you get to hear the stories of mountains climbed and deep valleys (read: chasms) scaled. an artist’s story is not a straight line and an artist’s art is fluid.

it also means you get to go through the piles, so to speak. i’ll play songs for him that never made it anywhere, onto any album, nor any stage. he’ll show me paintings or sketches that didn’t get framed or hung or shown or even looked at. sometimes i will just go downstairs into the studio and page through the painting stacks, traveling in time through my husband’s work. color and space and frenetic movement and paintings that breathe air; all tell a story about the place he was in when he painted them.

in a recent stroll through paintings, i stumbled upon this one. i pulled it out and sat down – right there on the floor – to gaze at it. there is just something about it.

grace.  strength.  i was struck by the beauty of its simplicity.

it made me think of so many women i know. my beautiful girl kirsten, who made her first turkey after spending a day on a snowboard on mountains she had never even seen a short three years ago. linda, tossing hay to a horse with a pitchfork and hugging alpaca, never before retirement dreaming of such a thing. marykay who wisely makes brownies (gf!) for every occasion, creating inroads for people to talk and share and become a part of a whole. jay, who is zealous about the children she works with at schools, a social worker beyond compare.   jen, who stretches herself to learn new things at all times, while standing strong for her husband, stunned by changes in their lives over the last year. which brings me to randi, with a similar story and the same dedication and generous spirit. daena, who grades papers and reads elementary school novels in-between playing her handbell parts, because she is more than prepared every school day. susan, who, singlehandedly, day after day raises three young men and teaches them to see this very strength and grace in women. sandy, who quietly and fervently and proudly stands strong for the LGBT community. heidi, a writer who bravely serves up pizzas with a frantic pace, because it helps her family. dianne, who tirelessly works side by side with her pastor husband, keeping a full-time job and volunteering for, well, everything. beth, who posts a picture of her stunning chemo-bald self every time another friend is diagnosed with breast cancer. my sweet momma, who was kind every single time and didn’t see differences or lines, even in pain, even in dying.

the list is unending. and it made me think this: WOMEN. WE’VE GOT BACKBONE.

because it’s true. in this time in our world, who of you cannot think of a woman or women you know who are the picture of strength, the picture of grace. i want to celebrate these women. i want to encourage these women. i want to honor these women. i want to celebrate, encourage, honor each of Us.

with his permission, i’ve taken the liberty to redefine this painting and design it to be a print, a mug, a journal, a totebag, a pillow, a cellphone cover, cards…i felt that more people could see it this way. with only one original brush-to-the-canvas painting, more people could have it this way.

please forward this to women you know. not because there is a link to purchase Stuff – but because it is a Truth and as many women (and men) as possible need to see it…just to be reminded. add names to the list. in our herculean (and extraordinary) lives, let’s make this a herculean (and extraordinary) celebration.

i can’t think of a better time to further the celebrating, encouraging and honoring than right now. at a time when each of us WOMEN needs to be seen as strength and as grace.

we ARE women. and we DO have backbone.

 

 

if you want Stuff

(like prints, mugs, journals, totes, media cases, stationery, pillows)

browse here:

wordswomenwevegotbackbone-jpeghttps://society6.com/product/women-weve-got-backbone_print#s6-6261278p4a1v46

if you want to stroll around more of his paintings, go here:

www.davidrobinsoncreative.com

kerrisherwood.com

itunes: kerrisherwood