The waxwings have appeared in droves at our backyard fountain, in all their feathered finery. They always remind me of a bunch of tiny train robbers who have just finished a heist and have decided to hit the saloon for a bath and a beer. They are a harbinger of Spring and Fall. So welcome to our yard, James Brothers. And behave yourselves!
Spring has indeed come leaping into existence here. All it took was a few drops of rarified rain. The wisteria, the lilacs, and the orange blossoms are competing for Floozy of the Month. At night, you can faint from the battle of fragrances on the evening air.
Last time I shared a blog space with you, the year had not yet turned. And now it has and is spinning faster and faster. We spent all of January in our favorite escape pod, New Zealand. Gorgeous. Peaceful. We both caught that horrendous coughing bug that has been circling the globe and were down for the count for the first ten days.(NEVER get on a plane with a cold! For your own sake and everyone else’s. My new mantra.) The beaches were warm, the wine was cool, and the people were heavenly. I could not ask for a better way to start the year, after the phlegm departed. (Is that a song title? Probably not.
February was full of inspiration and discipline. I even gave up coffee, bread, and wine for the month. (My body had been singing “LIVER, COME BACK TO ME” all the way home on the plane.) Who knew that could be done without wanting to ax-murder everyone in sight????
I have been writing song lyrics like a mad thing, and flinging them at beloved Michele Brourman, who gamely picks them up off the e-floor and brings them to life. This is the year of the next McBroom CD. I am now debating whether or not to make this a crowd-funded piece of art. It would be interesting to learn the process that has done so well for so many. I am so into new, knowledge-expanding experiences this year. And in these strange days for the music industry, recording a CD, if you are not affiliated with a label, (and who is anymore except for Taylor Swift?) is not necessarily a profitable proposition. But it is still so important to me to get the musical stories told…let the babies out of the closet, to fly or fall, but at least to be in the SUN! So I seek to learn what I can. About damn time! Believe me, I will let you know what I decide, and SOON!
The immediate future holds a lot of delightful adventures. Heading to NYC the end of March to receive the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Manhattan Association of Cabaret (MAC). I am deeply honored. Then to London in April for TWO whole weeks of warbling in my favorite boite, Crazy Coq’s at Brasserie Zedel. LONDON IN SPRINGTIME. Now THAT’S a song title! And Michele and George and I are recording a series of Broadway standards for the BBC which will be released on BBC 2 this summer. (Wait till you hear George Ball’s version of LOST IN THE STARS. My SEND IN THE CLOWNS ain’t too bad either.)
Later on there will be a week of teaching songwriting master classes with Michele B. in Telluride in July ( hurt me!) and then to Pittsfield, MA to perform a duo concert with the best singer in the US today, Ann Hampton Callaway. That is a dream come true! After that, who knows???
Something wonderful did happen, via the e-thers, this week. My fabulous friend, actress/opera diva, Lucy Shaffer, is doing a new play in which she stars as an actress who lost her actor husband when she was young. She let me know she is using an EARLY publicity photo of my father as her inspiration. This is her dressing room mirror on opening night. My dad would be SO THRILLED!
THE BIG SHORT ( should have won the Oscar) terrific!
THE GOOD LIE ( about the boy soldiers of Sudan) terrific!
THE BONE CLOCKS by David Mitchell (absolutely fascinating!)
STATE OF GRACE, THE JOSHUA ELEGIES by Alexis Rhone Fancher (absolutely glorious poems about the loss of a child. I cannot recommend too highly!)
CATALOGUE OF UNABASHED GRATITUDE by Ross Gay ( poetry that makes your heart jump for joy!)
Speaking of poetry… I was sent a poem by the divine Rumi, with which I will conclude this episode. In these days of rabid political mayhem and confusion and anger, it resonates deeply in my heart. I hope it will with you, too!
Happy Spring to you all!
THE GUEST HOUSE
This being human is a guest house.
Every morning a new arrival.
A joy, a depression, a meanness,
some momentary awareness comes
as an unexpected visitor.
Welcome and entertain them all!
Even if they are a crowd of sorrows,
who violently sweep your house
empty of its furniture,
still, treat each guest honorably.
He may be clearing you out
for some new delight.
The dark thought, the shame, the malice.
meet them at the door laughing and invite them in.
Be grateful for whatever comes.
because each has been sent
as a guide from beyond.
— Jelaluddin Rumi,
translation by Coleman Barks