reverse threading

the path back is the path forward


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shabby chic. [two artists tuesday]

i was grateful when they attached a name to it – shabby chic. my inclination to love things with the texture of peeling paint and a bit rough-hewn was vindicated…wait!…not only vindicated, but reinforced by the decorating fashion industry. phew! that meant that the old screen doors on the wall, the glass-less window frames tucked here and there, the chopped-off-side-of-the-vintage-desk end table, the vintage black suitcases, the metal radiator grate catty-corner in the foyer, the old door laid horizontal on horses, the tin ceiling panels…these were all fashion statements and not statements of making-do-decor. such a relief.

i must say, however, that i wouldn’t have changed anything anyway. these all make me happy. they are cozy and warm and, mostly, they have history. and it’s the history-that-remains-a-mystery and the history-that-i-know-a-smidge-about that i love. i had no idea whose screen door screens these were when i got them at a wholesale trade show years ago but i could imagine the sound they made when they slammed shut. nor did i know where the old black window with one colored glass square in my studio was from. the old four-foot tall window frames were being thrown out of the historic lakefront building where i had my offices, making room for new windows. i couldn’t bear to see them in the trashpile and the way i adored those offices made it easy to take them home. someone literally chopped off the side of the old desk leaving three drawers and a rough edge and selling it in the estate sale for $5. you can’t see the rough edge unless you really look and this piece has been in the living room for years and years now, serving a purpose and feeling loved. the tin, well, who knows? what i do know is that they make marvelous places to magnet photographs and cards and tiny little signs with sayings that help each day. so, yeah, i guess my point is that whether i know the back-story or not, i really appreciate the warmth of long living they bring. they sit alongside many rocks and sticks that have made short and long journeys home with me, in the back of little baby scion or in backpacks with corks that come home from times spent with my children and moments i want to remember.

i haven’t purchased a lot of brand new furniture. there was the first herculon-fabric overstuffed couch with two matching overstuffed chairs, a tweed in lovely shades of very-early 1980s brown.

well over a decade later that was donated to a youth group and a new couch in mid 1990s floral barn red and forest green with a reclining wingchair of red and white checks made its way into the living room. both of those pieces still have a place in the house – though no longer in the living room. the couch, still very comfortable, is covered with a black slipcover and has a place in the sitting room with a hand-me-down lazyboy, an old farm table and an antique copper boiler tub that stores our roadtrip writings.

there’s a black leather couch in the living room now that has been there over a decade. it shares the space with the old secretary that was my brother’s, the bistro table that was in the second story porch of my old offices, a vintage typewriter 20 bought me for my birthday a couple years ago, a few paintings i spattered, the desk-turned-end-table you now know too much about and the driftwood we brought back from a trip to long island. the two big branches we painted white and potted to hold happy lights still stand steadfastly happying up the room and each day i pass them i wonder if they are too holiday-ish. i quickly reject this as too big a decision and plug them in.

it is in recent days i have had the good fortune of hearing from a dear old friend i taught with in my first two years of teaching way-back-when. we soon will have a phone chat and catch up on everything from a-z. what lois doesn’t realize is that i have thought of her simply every day…as it is her dresser that stands in our bedroom of vintage size that couldn’t really accommodate one of those bedroom suites you see in magazines. instead, this old sturdy five-drawer sits opposite the windows of the sunrise and hold my dad’s peanut can, one of the precious items i have of my sweet poppo’s, the planters peanut blue metal can he tucked in his drawer that always held a few dollars and was the place he sent you if you were going to go pick up the pizza.

as i look at the top of that dresser right this second, pictures of d and me and of my beloved children are on top. there is a small piece of the carpet padding from the irresponsible-gasket-flood waiting to go in the special box next to the yago-sangria-wine-bottle-turned-lamp i made when i was 19 and there is a card in a glass frame that reads: “someday, the light will shine like a sun through my skin and they will say, what have you done with your life? and though there are many moments i think i will remember, in the end, i will be proud to say, i was one of us.”

all of this – the stuff with history i know, the stuff with history i don’t know, the peeling paint, the rough-hewn, the used and the it-took-me-a-long-time-to-decide new…all of it – around me reminds me of that and is the connecting thread. of the concentric circles of me, of us. probably that’s why “shabby chic” speaks to me. it is most definitely why it works for me.

*****

read DAVID’S thoughts this TWO ARTISTS TUESDAY


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ladders. [two artists tuesday]

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gay pointed to the ladders in the backstage of tpac and said, “see those ladders?  the front silver one on the right is where you are.”

this is true.  we are clumsily perched on that front silver ladder.  there are people scattered about on the other ladders, many of whom are on the top of the tallest orange ladder up against the wall.  our view, on the shortest ladder, affords us the opportunity to look out, to look up and still to be able to easily see the ground.  the view from the highest ladder, extended well up the wall, is a view of vast height, a view without a cluster of other ladders, a view more singular.

it has been our experience as artists that we must explain our livelihood, we must fight for acknowledgement of experience, we must advocate for our own fiscal equality.  our work is not easily measurable, our effort not easily defined.  we bring to every experience all we have learned about what touches the hearts of others, what resonates, what we can do to lift a message, how we can craft a concept, how we can build a program and forge a community, how we can help others see what is inside each of them.  from our rung, we can still see the ground so we know that there are others less fortunate than us and we remember pretty clearly the route up this ladder, each rung a step, each rung a gratitude.

it has also been our experience that, in a world defined by financial success, there are many on those tall extension ladders, firmly grasping the tippy-top, who have lost the story of getting there.  it is my belief that, too often, there are those who, each rung they clamber up, have forgotten what it is like to be on the rung below.  the climb to success foregoes memory, it exempts empathy, it elicits a sense of superiority; it is not kind.  the naysayers poke at those who are on rungs below, prodding them but, alas, with no reality for where those below-climbers are.  assumptions are unfairly made about ability, intelligence, budgetary decisions, effort.

in this world of bills and responsibilities, work and play, absolute joys and deep sorrows, brilliant hopeful sunrises and exhausted sunsets, i wonder about the tippy-top.  i wonder if it is possible to be clinging to that tippy-top and still remember.

as much as that tippy-top sounds like a world without worry, i don’t mind being on the silver ladder in the front.  and every step we step, i want to remember the silver ladder in the front.

i know that each day there might be someone who just may need me to understand, without feigning it, where they are.  to be able to really grasp how they feel, despite not being in their very shoes.  i don’t want to be the person who looks back at them, fear filling their eyes with tears as they tell me they don’t have enough to make it, and condescendingly ask them if they want me to point them to a budget counselor.  instead i want to understand their frustration in poverty, be complicit in their growth – real growth, empathetic in their fear.  i want to hold their hand on the rung they are on and remember what it felt like on that rung.

read DAVID’S thoughts this TWO ARTISTS TUESDAY

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you hold me. [k.s. friday]

YOU HOLD ME songbox copy

‘you-hold-me’s i will always remember…  among the more-than-i-can-count-mom-heart-moments, one of the last times My Boy fell asleep on my lap and i knew – at the age he was then, rounding 5 or 6 – it was something to hold onto.  or the time he, all-grown-up, bent down and, one more time, hugged me goodbye.  precious time dancing to marvin gaye with My Girl in the sitting room, her favorite infant-lullaby.  the bittersweet-tender-time-stood-still time she – as an adult – fell asleep while i held her.   in o’hare airport when d just held me while, with people swirling around us, we were lost in reuniting, in recognition.   the greetings we get from dogdog and babycat every single time we arrive home.  the hugs we get inside the door to our best friends’ house, their big beloved dogs jostling for attention.  the memory of watching my sweet momma and poppo hold hands as they walked, always…those linked hands grasping each other.  watching my momma hold my dad’s hand at the side of his last hospital bed, nodding off, both of them, but holding on.  ‘you-hold-me’s aren’t always just about you.

in these times, in any time, the simple feeling of being held – a quick hug or embrace that goes on and on – is the one true thing.  it doesn’t solve any problem, take away a worry, change any circumstance.  but it is a reminder that you are not alone.  you are woven of and into so much more.  and you are held – by your family, by your children, by your friends, by this good earth, by a higher power.  in appreciation of you.  in a bigger thing called love.

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read DAVID’S thoughts this K.S. FRIDAY

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YOU HOLD ME from THIS PART OF THE JOURNEY ©️ 1997 & 2000 kerri sherwood

 

 


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the space called the future. [two artists tuesday]

our shadows in the sand cape cod copy

“…leaving to fill in the space called the future…”

yesterday is but a shadow now.  we rise with the sun and the lingering shadows and shapes in the dusk-then-darkness-then-dawn quietly disappear.  we can’t hold onto them, any of them, despite our sometimes-longing to do so.  memories are like that.  the moments we most want to remember…they slyly tiptoe out of our mind’s eye, elusive to our heart-threads trying to hold onto them.  that is why i keep a calendar.

my calendar is written.  with a pencil.  every day i write in it, catching up what we did with our time, what we worked on, where we went, who we saw, maybe a new recipe we tried.  mostly, though, i write down moments i don’t want to forget.  milliseconds or minutes of bliss with a loved one, gorgeous things said, handholds or hugs that i want to keep feeling, things i want to memorize but know will slip softly into a recess that i may or may not be able to access.

on the first day of the new year (or the last day of the old year) it is my ritual to read every day, every log, of my year’s calendar.  in that reading we are transported.  to the places we went, the people we visited with, the exquisite times, the arguments, treasured mom-moments that have repeated-time-release joy.  we remember things we had forgotten.  we stand once again on the precipice above the canyon or the beach on the cape.  we stroll once again under a canopy of spanish-moss-covered live oaks or the big sky of the high range mountains.  we sit once again on red rocks or on the train to chicago or on the subway in boston or on the pontoon boat up north or on the high kitchen stools having potluck friday or on the raft or at the pub near where we scattered ashes one last time.  we hike once again in the nearby woods, on the river trail, through high desert.  we roadtrip, once again, heading east, west, south, north.  we have conversation-snippets-to-remember once again with The Girl, The Boy, david’s parents, our siblings, nieces, nephews, dear friends.  once again, we make music and art, we write stories and blogposts and press releases and letters and emails and texts; some we want to hold onto, even if just a word or two, a sentiment or two.  once again.

we process our year.  we see.  we celebrate.  we learn.  we plan and we plan to not plan.  we dream.  we look to the future.

happy happy new year.

read DAVID’S thoughts this TWO ARTISTS TUESDAY

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a beautiful world. [merely a thought monday]

desiderataquote

my dearest daughter and son,

it is monday morning and i suddenly realized that this blogpost posted without my finishing it.  there is so much i wanted to say, too much.  my heart breaks, thinking of this world you are inheriting.  and my heart soars with wishes for you.  both of these.

and so, rather than speaking of vast and chaotic brokenness as well as hopeful and inspired possibility, i’ll take it as a serendipitous sign to let desiderata say it for me.  this really sums it up, better than i could.  it IS still a beautiful world.  in the middle of glowing aspens or the front row of the ballgame.  in the high mountains or on the shore of boston harbor.  anywhere you are.  anywhere you go.  you bring it – beauty – and you are standing in it.  remember that.

i love you,

mom.

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read DAVID’S thoughts about this MERELY A THOUGHT MONDAY

Desiderata

Go placidly amid the noise and haste,
and remember what peace there may be in silence.
As far as possible without surrender
be on good terms with all persons.
Speak your truth quietly and clearly;
and listen to others,
even the dull and the ignorant;
they too have their story.

Avoid loud and aggressive persons,
they are vexations to the spirit.
If you compare yourself with others,
you may become vain and bitter;
for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself.
Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans.

Keep interested in your own career, however humble;
it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time.
Exercise caution in your business affairs;
for the world is full of trickery.
But let this not blind you to what virtue there is;
many persons strive for high ideals;
and everywhere life is full of heroism.

Be yourself.
Especially, do not feign affection.
Neither be cynical about love;
for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment
it is as perennial as the grass.

Take kindly the counsel of the years,
gracefully surrendering the things of youth.
Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune.
But do not distress yourself with dark imaginings.
Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness.
Beyond a wholesome discipline,
be gentle with yourself.

You are a child of the universe,
no less than the trees and the stars;
you have a right to be here.
And whether or not it is clear to you,
no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.

Therefore be at peace with God,
whatever you conceive Him to be,
and whatever your labors and aspirations,
in the noisy confusion of life keep peace with your soul.

With all its sham, drudgery, and broken dreams,
it is still a beautiful world.
Be cheerful.
Strive to be happy.

(Max Ehrmann, ©️ 1927)


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taking stock [ks friday]

ks friday primary image BOX copy

takestock PRODUCT BAR copy

there are those moments.  the overwhelmed ones.  when you feel like all is not going your way.  those are the moments that this piece of music is about.  as much as i’d like to think i always remember to 1. stop 2. take stock and 3. give thanks, i need a reminder from time to time.  TAKING STOCK (listen below) from the album RIGHT NOW is all about remembering to have gratitude, for where i am, any second of any hour of any day of any year of any time….

click here to download TAKING STOCK (track 1 on RIGHT NOW) on iTUNES

click here to download TAKING STOCK (track 1 on RIGHT NOW) on CDBaby.com

click here to purchase the physical CD RIGHT NOW

click here (or on product box above) for TAKE STOCK products

KS FRIDAY (KERRI SHERWOOD FRIDAY) – ON OUR SITE

read DAVID’S thoughts about TAKING STOCK

TAKING STOCK track 1 on RIGHT NOW & TAKE STOCK products ©️ 2010 & 2018 kerri sherwood