reverse threading

the path back is the path forward


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cairn of my heart. [d.r. thursday]

stacking stones – from david’s children’s book Play To Play

like a 1960s romper room book, if you turn my notebook upside down and open it from the back you will find a list. it is a list of projects, stacking up. this list is unlike my other lists, unlike the cleaning-the-basement and attic and closets list, unlike the practical bill-paying list, unlike the job-application list. this is a list of creative projects, things either already started or on the plate of my heart, waiting to be addressed, waiting to begin. it is not unlike a beautiful stack of stones, a cairn of my heart.

and so every now and then i turn over this old yellow college-ruled spiral with craig sharpie-printed on the front, a leftover from some school year. i flip it to its cardboard back and open it like those backward books and add something to my growing stack. unique rocks, with no detailed explanations…they make me dream. they are the play to play.

yesterday at OT i mentioned our smack-dab cartoon. my OT was surprised. apparently, drawing and publishing a cartoon in any format is unusual. when i told her it was one of a few cartoons we have done together, j asked me to describe it. i told her that it was about being smack in the middle of middle age and, since she is, i showed her last saturday’s smack-dab. she laughed aloud – a lot – and said, “so you don’t just go to the grocery store together?” that made me laugh aloud since it seems the cairn of our life together is the stacked stones of these projects we do, holding hands and jumping, in creation, on trails, and, yes, in the grocery store too.

it is with some certainty that i know i will awake with new ideas, that blowing my hair dry – for some reason a time of great creative juju – will bring new stones to stack, fresh energy to explore.

it was in one of those moments i came up with starting a ukulele band where i was employed. i had, on a whim, purchased a tiny black soprano ukulele while visiting with dearest friends in nashville, indiana. i started messing around with it and, one morning while standing in the bathroom in front of the long mirror blowing my hair dry with thoughts swirling in my mind, realized that everyone should (and could) play the ukulele and that there could not be a more perfect addition to the music program i was directing. when i offered ukulele packages for sale through pacetti’s, the local music shop, and announced a rehearsal starting date, i suspected that maybe 3 or 4, or maybe even 6 would sell. all told, we sold over 60. our band gathered each week and in the summer met first in the local lakefront park and later, for years, on our back patio, more sheltered from the wind that would blow our music here and there. it was joy – total joy – watching people who had never played any instrument pick up their brightly colored ukuleles, learn chords and songs and play and sing in community. amazing stuff.

a couple days ago facebook brought up one of those memory photos that show up as you first open the site – this one from three years ago. it was a photo from ukes on the summer patio that someone had taken and posted of me. in the middle of the patio, perched on a stool in front of a music stand loaded with music and clipped with clothespins, ukulele in hand, i was in full laughter. for this was a cairn. and, judging by the laughter that always surrounded us in those rehearsals and others, it was a cairn for others as well. i re-posted it and felt wistful. grief is like that.

just as backpacking seems to bring ardor to our trail-pal-on-video-who-we-have-never-met joey coconato, these projects-following-the-cairns bring us a sense of who we are, what we are. there are times that the flame of a project wanes, the idea conks, just the thought of it makes us laugh till we are snorting. but those other times – the times we can see the cairn clearly, we head to it, it keeps us on track – those are the times that we are playing to play, that we are being true to who we are.

*****

read DAVID’S thoughts this D.R. THURSDAY

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PLAY TO PLAY ©️ 2005 david robinson


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be thou my vision. lento. rubato. [k.s. friday]

be thou my vision songbox

were i to record this old reassuring hymn BE THOU MY VISION again, i would play it much, much slower.  not the andante of the recording, the tempo of singing these verses.  instead, i would realize that this kind of guidance doesn’t necessarily happen in my version of time but, instead, in the universe’s version of time.  much, much slower.

it was 15 years ago, back in 2004, when i sat on a leather piano bench at yamaha artist services in nyc recording this piece and the others on the hymn albums.  i was 45.  things seem to move a lot faster at 45; expectations are impatient, conflict needs quick resolution rather than measured, thoughtful parsing.

now, 15 years later, i realize that slow is key.  the right answers don’t come fast.  much as we want quick, answers take their sweet time.  we ask for guidance and wish for an immediate sticky note to float down in front of us.  we, d and i, can tell you, if you don’t already know, that just doesn’t happen.  post-it notes were created on earth and any sticky note floating down from the heavens, the vision we so desperately seek, is invisible.  it shows itself, slowly, in how things begin to fit together, how it feels.  slowly.

we were at the music store in town a couple days ago.  kevin, the owner and one of our favorite people to hang and chat with, asked us what was new.  we laughed, not ready to share all that has been happening, but described an ever-changing picture.  he asked us if it felt like “all the pieces were falling into place easily.”  although i wouldn’t choose any form of the word ‘easy’ to depict our sticky-notes-requested-scenario, we can also say we haven’t been force-fitting square pegs into round holes. “then it’s supposed to be,” he said.  he told the loaded-with-sticky-notes story of buying the music store, fraught with challenges, but so meant to be.  it’s not in our time.  our expected tempo of things happening has, we can see, nothing to do with it.

so, lento.  lento would be the way to play this.  slowly.  taking sweet time.  and rubato. freely.  for in the gift of vision is sweet freedom: the ability to take a breath, recognize, regardless of our age, how little we really know, sit in purple adirondack chairs, go beyond the jetty and count on a benevolent universe.

purchase ALWAYS WITH US CD or download on iTUNES or CDBaby

read DAVID’S thoughts this K.S. FRIDAY

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BE THOU MY VISION from ALWAYS WITH US VOL 1 ©️ 2004 kerri sherwood

 


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ukulele sip ‘n strum! [two artists tuesday]

generic ukulele sip n strum (no date) copy

about six years ago i was in the sweet downtown of nashville, indiana browsing with linda and bill.  we stopped at a music store and i fell in love with a little black ukulele.  i bought it and played around with this tiny instrument, a lot lighter to tote around than a piano.

a little over five years ago i decided to offer a ukulele band at trinity, where i am the minister of music.  thinking that perhaps four or six people would sign up, over the years we have sold 50-60 ukes!  we have a consistent band that rehearses year round and plays at least once a month in the service.  it’s a blast!  and it’s a way for people who maybe have had no prior musical experience to play an instrument.  i read that “the ukulele is a portal through which only happy people can pass.” (uke muster)  personal experience makes me add that there is no way to play the ukulele and not smile.  they go hand in hand.  what’s not idyllic about that?

under the umbrella of two-artists-making-stuff-for-humans (which includes doing stuff with or for humans), recently we decided to move this glee out further into the world.  we held our first UKULELE SIP ‘N STRUM last friday night at a local winery.  in the same vein as a ‘paint and sip’, people registered for a lesson and a glass of fine wine; they ordered their ukulele in their favorite color and, with the help of pacetti’s – our favorite downtown music store –  we delivered them that night.  it was a blast!

we are booking the next dates and are taking the SIP ‘N STRUM out – all over – into different venues, people’s homes, even corporate events.  the chance for people to learn and smile and play music and sip wine and sing is what we offer.  as virtuoso ukulele player jake shimabukuro says, “if everyone played the ukulele, the world would be a better place.”  we couldn’t agree more!

so let us know if you want to book a UKULELE SIP ‘N STRUM.  we’re ready!  pick in hand!  and we promise – it’ll be a blast! 🙂

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click here to learn more about the UKULELE SIP ‘N STRUM and check back for dates

read DAVID’S thoughts on the SIP ‘N STRUM!

close-up Arches with website box

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