Hello and happy summer! (AND HAPPY CANCER SEASON MY FELLOW CANCERS <3)
Yes it’s been quite a while--to be honest I’ve been rather intimidated by the prospect of writing again! So much has transpired since I last wrote to you, but it’s been such a quiet, slow transpiring that the act of putting words to it sinks the experience down into something that it isn’t, in a way. But I can say safely that these past few months have been a mixture: a couple long stints of isolation, creative time, recuperation, figuring my life out, punctuated by a brief interlude of hopping around the northeast, playing shows and teaching a bit and other odd adventures. (perhaps I saw you along the way!)
It’s been a very reflective time for me--challenging in a lot of ways, because in a sense I’m between lives right now. I’m not living in Boston any more, and I’m trying to figure out my next move, but in the meantime I’m finding myself in limbo. Change is weird and hard, but very good! And with it I’ve been reflecting quite a bit on the sensation of having a past, and how empowering it is to choose what parts of our experience we carry with us. The passage of time has been a source of panic for me my entire life (though I bet you picked up on that from my record lololol), but now I’m feeling myself come to an interesting resting place with it: I’m finding my experiences are never really gone from me. So long as I remain connected to myself (no easy feat, mind you, but an essential one), I can draw upon them and look at them fondly, and feel compounding solace in what they’ve come to mean as my life has continued.
For now though I’m riding the changes and doing my best to grow comfortable with discomfort, to enjoy the process of becoming, despite its rather unsightly bits. But there have been some really glorious bits too: currently I’m knee deep in the transformative cheesy wonder that is Julia Cameron’s book/course The Artist’s Way, which I don’t think I could possibly recommend more emphatically! Reading it has been an extraordinary experience. If you’re unfamiliar, her aim with this book is to help the reader unblock creatively, and it requires a commitment to a few manageable daily and weekly tasks, as well as some weekly reading in the book. And gosh! It’s so encouraging and fulfilling and hopeful, and with substance! No baseless miraculous claims here; this is not your average self-help book, if you might allow me one sweeping generalization in this letter. If you’ve been on the fence about this one (I was for a long time), or if you’re looking to shake up your life a bit, or to heal or grow or question yourself, consider this my very aggressive endorsement.
Apart from that, I’ve just been hanging out with my family and doing some nature exploring and writing and painting and reading and digging up old family memories, and most of all gathering my wits a bit before I hit the road again! Which I suppose by the time you're reading this will be today!! I’m really really looking forward to this one; it’s mostly a solo tour, which will be really special, and I get to share evenings with some really spectacular musicians. And I’ll be going to Canada for the first time!! Here’s the complete list of dates--will I be coming by you?
To touch on one very exciting tour element: I am absolutely over the moon to be going back to Alaska this summer! I’ll be the resident guitar teacher for the Roots Music sector of the Fairbanks Summer Arts Festival. There’ll be a few performances, and I’m teaching a handful of classes: beginning guitar, open tunings, fingerpicking, singing & playing at the same time, and a few singing classes! I can’t wait. <3
Well time for me to get going--lots to do before I skip town. I’ll admit, though, it’s been gut-wrenching (living in a fascist hellscape whoops I mean) to watch the horrific human rights atrocities currently being committed at the American borders, and to bear witness to the stunning lack of empathy perpetuated by this administration. It feels frivolous and insulting for me to talk about my little tour while the very real threat of ethnic cleansing and genocide, among other authoritarian cruelties, is weighing heavily upon the United States. (if you think I'm overexaggerating, send me an email. I would be HAPPY to have a discussion with you.) So in light of this I’ll leave you with a couple things:
Firstly, I strongly urge you to consider donating to the Refugee and Immigrant Center for Education and Legal Services, an organization that is doing vital work to reunite families that have been torn apart by this administration. If you aren’t in a position to donate, RAICES is also searching for volunteers (can be remote!) who speak Meso-American indigenous languages (for example, Zapotec, Nahua, Ma'am, Quich'e, Maya, Mixe, Mixteco--not Spanish!). If you or someone you know fit the bill, please consider this option; if not, please spread the word.
And lastly, the evils being perpetuated at this time are feeding on divisiveness, on othering. I would venture to say that this “us v. them” narrative, in all contexts, is the most imperative element to resist. (And by all contexts, I mean the obvious, but also that as much as I might reeeeally want to go to the people in my life who voted for tr*mp and let them friggin HAVE IT, it’s another instance of othering, and it feeds the fascists just as well as the rest of it.) In my mind this is why things like concerts and art and beauty are necessary right now. I would never claim that playing shows will alleviate these atrocities being committed, and I certainly wouldn’t use my artistic pursuits to justify sitting on my ass and doing nothing to resist. But here’s my claim: art is about sharing, and about connection: building bridges to the most isolated corners of our minds, and finding that we’re not alone after all. The more of that that exists in this world, the better.
With so much love,