reverse threading

the path back is the path forward


Leave a comment

hand-holders. [d.r. thursday]

in my memory bank, i can remember my sweet momma and poppo holding hands. they would grasp each other firmly. they would hold pinkies. they would hold hands often. and, for me, it was one of those telltale signs that they loved each other, despite the day, despite the challenges, despite everything. my dad would not let my momma cross a parking lot without holding her hand. my dad would not let my momma walk on a sidewalk without holding her hand. for that matter, my dad would not let my momma walk on the road side of the sidewalk – ever. he placed himself between momma and the cars zipping past. he opened doors wherever they went and waited to close the car door after she got in. a gentleman always, his stock of niceties was plentiful and momma never had to remind him.

i am a hand-holder. and i, obviously, come by it honestly. but i haven’t always been around hand-holding types. some folks just prefer not to hold hands. for me, it is an intimate sharing of moments, a warm reassurance, a statement of adoration. to adjust one’s stride to match another’s, to hold their hand, is gentle reinforcement – of pooh-piglet “making sure of you” right-here variety.

i don’t know if david’s mom and dad held hands through the years; i haven’t known them that long. but columbus is a sweet man who tears up when it’s time for anyone to leave, who loves to hug, who has a glint in his eye that says, “i like you! you’re in!” and so, i would imagine that he has been a handholding proponent, an advocate of a firm and tender grasp. and david’s mom stands with this man who, if he still understood and remembered all that had gone before these sadly-ever-increasing dementia-ed days, would still grab her hand, declaring his undying love and devotion.

i cannot think of a time that we do not hold hands. we hike holding hands. walk the ‘hood holding hands. watch movies holding hands. sit together to talk holding hands. it is a gift i relish – a many-many-years-yearning during which i spent years watching others. and pining.

in this painting columbus stands in the cornfields of iowa, the place he grew up, the place he packs to go regularly in his memory care apartment. jeanne finds him with bundles of clothing secured by belts or wrapped up between the sleeves tied in button-down shirts. he’s excited to see her when she comes to visit, a new limit that must be incredibly difficult for her to fathom after decades of marriage. most of the time he still knows that she is ‘the one’ – the one he would choose most in the world to hold hands with. but he is confused and sometimes he does not readily recognize her for who she is. he is still settling into his facility. it’s not likely he will go to iowa again now.

it matters not. together they stroll the halls and step into the colorado sunshine. jeanne, steadfast and brave, chats about the family and reminisces and columbus tells tales of the things he believes he has seen that day, visions of beloveds who have gone before, of places he cherishes and stories of the way-past. they walk slower than they used to; columbus breathes with a little bit of oxygen helping him along. jeanne checks in to see how far he wishes to walk, how tired he has become.

i imagine jeanne takes his hand and squeezes it. and i imagine columbus smiles. he knows she likes him. and, just like piglet, he knows she’s right there.

*****

read DAVID’S thoughts this D.R. THURSDAY

browse DAVID’S paintings on his virtual website


Leave a comment

artists. funambulists. [two artists tuesday]

available

between us we have two master’s degrees, two bachelor’s degrees, four businesses, a coaching and consulting practice, various certifications, multiple states of teaching credentials, fifteen albums, four singles, hundreds of paintings, multiple play-scripts, countless productions and concerts and performances and gallery showings, a radio show, four cartoons, books, blogs that contain a few thousand posts, numerous and diverse leadership positions in theatres and churches and educational institutions, too many non-profits to count, long resumes and a combined total of over eighty years of work experience.

we are artists.  and, as you know, that is not the easy path.  it’s gig economy in a corporate environment.  it means piecing things together, working a plethora of jobs at once, purchasing your own healthcare, investing in your own so-called retirement, advocating for your own value, balancing, balancing, balancing.  the tightrope is thin, but anyone doing the tightrope dance (funambulism) is well-acquainted with the balancing pole and standing tall in the center of mass on the rope, necessities in an artist’s life.

in a workplace conversation once, i was asked how i would even speculate about having a second job.  an incredulous moment, as a person who has always had simultaneous multiple jobs, it was ludicrous to me that the person asking this, who apparently has always lived in absolute bullet-pointed stability, could not fathom having more than one job at a time.  were artists to be so lucky.  were any gig workers, in their area of professionalism, to be so lucky.  that is another world entirely.

so we are always on the lookout for additional gigs, so to speak.  education, experience and skills from the wide spectrum of the first paragraph speak well to helping with growth and change processes and insight and honoring students and employees, not to mention the separate and interwoven threads of music, painting, theatre.  these experiences that span decades speak to the arts, that which the world turns to in times of chaos, unrest, dis-ease, periods marked by adjectives like distraught, devastated, frenzied, unprecedented, uncertain, arduous, splintered, divided, distrustful, untrue, exhausted.  the arts – that which feeds society.  yet, “creativity takes courage,” understated henri matisse (painter, 1869-1954).

as many of you, we receive solicited and unsolicited lists of jobs in our email.  we peruse through the obvious ill-fitting options like neurosurgeon or stem cell biological researcher; we look for opportunities to plug our work as artists into the world.  we are also emailed positions that line up with our professional abilities and tenure in the arts.

and this is what we’ve been sent:  sandwich ARTIST and GALLERY advisor.  it’s hard to know whether to laugh or be insulted.  sandwich artist?  if this is really what subway calls their employees, i would say most of us have related experience since the first time, at like age 3, we spread peanut butter and jelly on our wonder bread.  and gallery advisor?  tesla, really?  car dealer concierge maybe?

it’s a dim future if you cannot see relevance for the arts in a society, if they are secondary to anything and everything else, if they present in sandwiches and on dealership floors.  where are the organizations, the institutions, the employers who recognize the multi-faceted diamonds in an artist’s perspective, an artist’s drive, an artist’s commitment, an artist’s vision, an artist’s project-driven dedication and multi-layered stamina, an artist’s sensitivity, an artist’s heart?

as two artist-funambulists, we’d like something better for the gifted artists giving breath to joy and hope and tomorrow.  from the tightrope of this gig economy, it makes our toes curl to think any differently.

read DAVID’S thoughts this TWO ARTISTS TUESDAY

not our best morning minturn website box

 

 


Leave a comment

a shred of hope. [k.s. friday]

a shred of hope box

to write on-the-fly requires a certain letting-go.  one cannot be too exacting.  there is always another note, another rest, another phrase, another measure.  always a chance to iron out the details, clean up the rough, rake the sandy grit.  composing improvisationally is stepping into not-knowing and following threads that show up.  because, instrumentally, i am typically an it’s-a-song-without-words writer, i listen and hang on to where the thread brought me, seizing it to wrap back to themes stated, to gestures implied.  the starting gate is full of imagery or word-phrases, emotions to elicit.  a shred of hope rose up in front of me today and this time, in an effort to not push back against hope, i answered.  the call and response to a scintilla of hope spoke in glimmers of 1 minute 42 seconds.

yesterday was an historic day.  after days, months, years, decades of not really speaking up, i found myself speaking.  processing the balance of liability-seesaws, i wondered why i hadn’t spoken aloud about things that were not ok, things that were clearly unfair, inequitable, people who were aggressive, people who were passive-aggressive, those who were destructive, those who undermined, those who did not help.  i felt the confines of the wrapping-which-kept-me-quiet and pulled tightly across my heart drop ever so slightly away, fibers draping and drifting. voice, a deep breath, a little lighter.  a beginning.  a shred of hope.

wednesday was an historic day.  we gathered together online again, ukuleles and singers. and yesterday i read a post from one of the young women there, “when you play music in a group where the ages range from 31 to 94 you always feel blessed.”  community.  shared.  a place of i-love-you-love-me.  a shred of hope.

tuesday was an historic day.  a brilliant woman of afro-indian descent was chosen as the vice-presidential running mate of the democratic party’s candidate.  oh, where we have finally come, where we will finally go.  a shred of hope.

monday was an historic day.  the derecho roared by.  our tall old trees were spared.  this time the rain did not pour in by the air conditioner.  the dog and the cat shared the basement with us until the tornado warning expired.  we sipped wine and rocked in rocking chairs, listening to the sound of the wind and rain above us.  our little space in the world was safe.  a shred of hope.

the prayer flags shred in the wind, sending prayers off into the universe.  bits and pieces fall to the ground or fly off in the breeze.  a perfect heart landed on our deck.  a shred of hope.

it all doesn’t change the lost-ness of last friday’s on-the-fly.   we have much to weave back together and so much to let go in this broken narrative, a tapestry of individuals, families, cities, states, a country, a world in pain.

but there is a shred of hope.

if you would like to listen to more of my music, i would ask you to please download it here on iTunes instead of streaming it. it’s how i make a living. every download counts.

read DAVID’S thoughts this K.S. FRIDAY

kindly consider following this blog while facebook navigates its way to restoring my blog to its platform.  thank you so much.

single prayer flag website box

©️ 2020 kerri sherwood

 


Leave a comment

“make hundreds.” [merely-a-thought monday]

make hundreds

when he said, “make hundreds”, he wasn’t referring to blogposts.  my sweet poppo was for-sure-analog and didn’t really even know what a blog was.  he was sending me off to school or work, calling after me to “make hundreds”, a tad bit of pressure for an A+ seeking student but taken with a bit of a grain of salt because my poppo said it with great love.  today starts the one-hundredth week of our blogposts in the melange and daddy-o would be impressed.  it’s one hundred weeks, after all.

clearly, in just a few short weeks it will be two full years.  two years that we have sat next to each other and written a post that was inspired by the same image, the same quote, the same painting or piece of music.  it has been a profound experience.  we have written on the raft with dogdog and babycat curled up next to us, on the beach, in the high mountains, in hotels and airbnbs, in coffeehouses, in relatives’ homes, in the noise of a city, in the quiet on island.  whether or not others are reading my words, i look forward to every single day of writing and am stunned to think that i probably have more in the way of written word now than songs.  is that possible?  (even at a mere 500 words a post it is somewhere around 250,000 words, about 3-4 novels worth.)  it is the best stuff of sitting up in the maple tree outside my growing-up-house on long island for hours on end, writing, writing, writing.

we sit at the starting gate with our inspiration of the day and then, without looking at what the other is writing, we expound on what we see or feel or think.  it’s ‘he said, she said.’  we’ve often thought about, and might just follow through, capturing them into a journal where the same image or quote could stimulate a third person’s writing.  a ‘he said, she said, you said’ book. having a prompt is the juicy stuff that makes it absolute fun.

my posts are often stories, emotional – perhaps poetic – glimpses into our life. david’s are more esoteric, more complex.  a friend of ours said she can tell the difference without even looking.  goodness!  i’m sure that is true.  when we share our writing with each other, reading aloud, i often wonder about the value of what i’ve said.  like recording an album, these are words ‘put out there’ for all to see and you and i both know that judgement is alive and well.  but i always bravely try to remember what our point is.

we wanted a place to put a variety-pack of endeavors, a place that our conglomerate artistries could live under some kind of umbrella.  that umbrella became our‘studio melange’ and we found we could offer our individual work (paintings and music) in addition to our cartoons (earlier on, the melange included chicken marsala and flawed cartoon) as well as the quotes we jotted down each week and the images i recorded on camera that we found pertinent or thought-provoking.  about a year along the line we changed the melange and added ‘merely-a-thought monday’ and ‘not-so-flawed wednesday’ in lieu of our cartoons.

if you pare our melange down you will find one overwhelming similarity.  hundreds upon hundreds of moments.  moments captured, moments written down, moments to remember, moments we’d sometimes rather forget, moments of confusion, moments of regret, moments of incredulousness, moments of fear, moments of scary honesty, moments of challenge, moments of pushing back, moments of questioning, moments of indescribable joy and moments of deep sorrow.  all of them moments of life, a reminder to grasp onto them and hold on dearly.  for that is what we have.  the ability to make moments.  the ability to make moments count.

make hundreds.

read DAVID’S thoughts this MERELY-A-THOUGHT MONDAY

laughing website box

 


Leave a comment

how does it matter? [d.r. thursday]

Studio Shot

the studio in our basement is full of beautiful paintings that haven’t yet found their proper home.  it is also full of boxes of cds that have been replicated and shrink-wrapped, ready for their new homes.  there is no shortage of completed work down there, no shortage of heart projects, no shortage of sweat and tears.  there is no shortage of work in progress, canvases prepped, notebooks of lyrics and melodic gestures.

we moved our 20’s father’s paintings last week.  today we will move the remainder.  as we carefully loaded big red, you could not help but feel wistful about these paintings moving away from their home, to be stored by 20.  duke was a prolific painter and his work is stunning; we wondered where and how these mostly large pieces would find a permanent home.  where does it go from here?

any artist, thinking about the impermanence of life, wonders that.  where does it go from here?  who will purchase it, hold onto it, look at it, listen to it, read it, ultimately – feel it?  will it matter later on?  does it matter now?

read DAVID’S thoughts this D.R. THURSDAY

drc website header copy 2

wineglassesthreehands61 website box


Leave a comment

i didn’t know. [k.s. friday]

i didn't know song box

Screen Shot 2018-09-19 at 12.03.36 PM

yesterday, the senate passed the Music Modernization Act, a complex bill that is supposed to help songwriters in these days of streaming.  as quoted in one article questioning the feasibility of pushing through this bill as is:  “…niche labels and independent musicians face either a zero, or statistically insignificant, chance of a return on their investment through streaming. many report barely paying for a sandwich with their royalties.” (maria schneider, musicanswers.org) yes. creatives are still facing a grotesque misalignment of power and income despite an effort to supposedly be “helped”.

i didn’t know, back when i released my first album, that there would be another…and another…and another…

i didn’t know how vulnerable i would feel each time i released a collection of my soul, turned into tracks of music.

i didn’t know how grateful i would feel each time i stood on stage and spoke to an audience that was there to hear this music – my music.

i didn’t know how many stores, in the early days, would carry these cds (and cassette tapes, way back when), how many times i would be live on QVC-TV, how many radio interviews i would be relishing.

i didn’t know how humbling it would feel that many people would respond to something in my music, something would resonate with them, something would be healing or heartening or touch them.

i didn’t know, through the years, how many thousands of cds would sell, how many boxes i would carry, how many wholesale shows or retail shows i would be present at or how many phone calls i (or wonderful people who worked with me) would make or receive, taking and shipping orders.

i didn’t know that the BMI royalty statements i was getting earlier would soon decline as our world and the internet changed them drastically.  the one i got two days ago for a period of the year included 59,000 performance counts and a $47.47 check.  streaming has made it unnecessary to purchase a physical cd or even pay for and download an artist’s music and so i agree with the writer who said: “streaming revenue for most independent musicians doesn’t even amount to pocket lint.” (m.schneider)

i didn’t know that the yearning inside me to compose and record more music to be released on cds would be stymied by the cost vs earnings debacle that has been created by an industry that doesn’t lift up the independent, while the behemoths remain behemoth.

i didn’t know how sad it would make me.  i didn’t know how it would change me.  i didn’t know i would keep wondering ‘what next?’  i didn’t know i would be seeking answers to where i stand as a composer.  i didn’t know my piano would call from my studio and i would ignore it, feeling betrayed by a profession that should pay my bills like any other.

i just didn’t know.

purchase the physical cd THIS PART OF THE JOURNEY or purchase a download of I DIDN’T KNOW (track 4) on iTUNES or CDBaby

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

I DIDN’T KNOW from THIS PART OF THE JOURNEY ©️ 1998, 2000 kerri sherwood


Leave a comment

shayne. the trilogy. [d.r. thursday]

square shayne for melange 21

my sweet momma’s birthday is today.  she would have been 97.  she died shortly before her 94th birthday but remains a force in the world.  her kindness and her zealous belief in kindness continue to ripple outward.  i heard beaky firsthand when My Girl was talking about the world and its issues and said, “the best thing i can do is to be kind to people.”  i’ve seen beaky firsthand when My Boy has stood firm in raising pride awareness.

now, i know this story has been told before, but i risk being called redundant to tell it again.  back when my momma was 93 and facing down stage four breast cancer having had a double mastectomy a few months prior, she told us she felt like she had accomplished little in her life.  there could be little farther from the truth.  but she insisted she had no title (“engineer”, “architect” etc) to put after her name.  we knew she had, however, three manuscripts she had written decades prior – stories about the family dachshund named shayne – stories she had tried to have published with no success back in the day.  stories told from shayne’s point of view and simply wholesome and delightful, we searched for – and found – the manuscripts.  and immediately got to work.

my amazing husband david illustrated the first of the trilogy, named SHAYNE.  i laid out the text and the graphics of the book itself,  designed merchandise like an “author” shirt, banners and a shayne iphone case for momma, built a website, contacted newspapers and we hastened to put together a release party with a reading and press and a celebration with brownies and asti spumanti at her assisted living facility in florida.  when we told her – on MY birthday in march (for what could be a better thank-you-for-my-birthday than this?) what was happening on april 11th, she squealed like a school girl and started practicing signing her name with a sharpie.  it was BY FAR one of the pinnacle moments of my life to see my mom – the AUTHOR- hold her book, read aloud to the dozens of people who attended and sign “BEAKY” on her books as her fans lined up to purchase the earliest copies.   eighteen days later, my sweet momma was no longer on this earth.

david has since illustrated both the second and third books.  the second, SHAYNE AND THE YELLOW DRAGON, was released a couple years ago and today, on her birthday, i am so excited to tell you that the third SHAYNE AND THE NEW BABY will be released shortly.  the trilogy will be complete!   my sweet momma, beatrice h. arnson “beaky” the AUTHOR would be pretty jazzed to sign each of these, but i know her blessing is on them as she reaches through the invisible line between heaven and earth.

we will keep you posted on the release.  i have this sweet vision of so-so-many-many-books being sold (to individuals, to schools, to libraries, to dachshund owners, to families with small children, to families with dogs, to dog lovers, to teachers, to scholastic press or to some entity that sees how important it is to have dreams come true – at ANY age) that we might start a beaky-beaky foundation and help – in some well-thought-out way – in momma’s name.  if you have any ideas, let us know.  we want to keep beaky’s ripples going.

my sweet momma’s website:  www.beakysbooks.com/

SHAYNE on www.amazon.com

frontcoverscreenshot

momma effusive at shayne

read DAVID’S thoughts on this D.R.THURSDAY (DAVID ROBINSON THURSDAY)

D.R. THURSDAY – ON OUR SITE

SHAYNE, SHAYNE & THE YELLOW DRAGON ©️ 2015 kerri sherwood & david robinson, beatrice h. arnson