Finding a Voice
Sunday, September 28, 2008
on tour with Dara Hallett
Dara & I have lots to share and sing about, so will take turns on stage with a short intermission between the two sets.
The tour is in planning stages so if you're interested in booking send a line or call (306) 725-7485.
Saturday, September 27, 2008
Today was one of those windy prairie days that strips the coloured leaves off the trees and piles them up in the yard.
Today after supper, through the kitchen open window, I heard the geese honking in the crisp, cool air, heading south again.
Today was a day of creativity with my friend Andria, here for retreat and creative reorientation. We rested, we talked, we sang, she painted and sketched and carved, I played guitar and piano, we cleaned some spaces. I had a songwriting date with Lisa C. on Skype and we finished a song for the OptionS Pregnancy Centre fundraising banquet (November 6). I learned some new things about technology: Andria and I recorded a demo of it using my digital recorder, I downloaded Audacity, edited it, and learned how to post it to my website. It was a good day for artistic accomplishment.
(I’ll post a link for the song later, when it’s more than a demo.)
I am listening to a lecture from iTunes U: Contemplation and Action in the Writing Life, given by Jessie Van Eerden at Seattle Pacific University. She opened with a Mary Oliver poem that summed up the feeling of this day.
You do not have to be good.
You do not have to walk on your knees
for a hundred miles through the desert, repenting.
You only have to let the soft animal of your body
love what it loves.
Tell me about despair, yours, and I will tell you mine.
Meanwhile the world goes on.
Meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of the rain
are moving across landscapes,
over the prairies and the deep trees,
the mountains and the rivers.
Meanwhile the wild gees, high in the clean blue air,
are heading home again.
Whoever you are, no matter how lonely,
the world offers itself to your imagination,
calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting
over and over announcing your place
in the family of things.
Sunday, September 21, 2008
Margaret Epp passes away
Margaret Epp, whom I interviewed in April, died at age 95 on September 7, 2008 at the Mennonite Nursing Home in Rosthern, Saskatchewan. Margaret was a professional writer from age 35 to 77 and penned 39 books, mainly for children and young adults. Many dealt with Mennonite themes, including The Earth is Round. Other books include Into All the World and Proclaim Jubilee!, both adult non-fiction books. But she was primarily a fiction specialist with over 100 short stories published as well as juvenile and adult novels. In 2003 she was awarded The Word Guild's Leslie K. Tarr Award. (Source: The Word Guild)
A short obituary is posted at The Star Phoenix. The family sent a longer obituary. I am waiting for permission to post it.
Saturday, September 06, 2008
For the first time, the scent of cedar and saltwater did not raise homesickness in my heart.
I spent two weeks in the Pacific Northwest, mainly in Seattle via Vancouver. Friends Dave & Chelle Stearns had invited me to do music – concerts, writing, musing.
Yet, I suddenly realized that this is exactly what Dave & Chelle did for me. They were my patrons. They helped me travel across borders, housed me, fed me, fellowshipped with me, challenged and encouraged me to write and do it well. They introduced me to their community and provided venues for my artistry.
It’s like I was their artist-in-residence.
And it was fruitful. I wrote 2 new songs. One is a blessing for Dave & Chelle in their new home. The other is unlike anything I’ve written before: through-composed and based on a short story by Scottish writer George Mackay Brown about sermons on the wedding at Cana. Chelle had commissioned the song for her Biblical Theology class at Mars Hill Graduate School. I'm quite pleased with it, if I may say so! It feels like there's an entire song cycle to glean from the story.
The final concert on Monday afternoon was at Dave & Chelle’s place with several talented musicians and their children. Wonderful mix. Rich harmonies. Several stayed for supper.
On Tuesday, Chelle and I stayed in Vancouver, visiting with our friends Duffy and Sherry. The four of us attended Regent College together, where we received significant formation as women, Christians, and artists. Having journeyed far in the past few years, we took delight and comfort in each others’ presence on Tuesday.
Wednesday I came home – to Saskatchewan. To the wide-open prairie spaces where incessant, unseasonal rain just won’t let the farmers harvest the crops. I came home to the ordinary dailyness of living – going to a job, attending community meetings, cleaning and cooking at home, visiting friends, worshiping with my church. And I have a refreshed perspective and new confidence for my artistic vocation.
Dahlias purchased at Pike Place Market.
Hot chili peppers, Pike Place Market
The first books on the shelf in Chelle's shared office at Mars Hill Graduate School.
Dr. Michelle L. Stearns behind the desk in her shared office at Mars Hill Graduate School.
"Chariot of Fire" - the piano at CocoaNymph in Vancouver (10th & Alma). Yummy.
With my cousin Amy Caswell. She's a Regent student. We met up at CocoaNymph.
Outside my door at Dave & Chelle's house. They have SO MUCH ROSEMARY in their yard!
The kitchen/dining room in my temporary Seattle home.
Thursday, September 04, 2008
- Po Bronson