The glorious green of a surprisingly wet Spring, which was astounding in its bounty to my garden and my heart, has departed. Every morning, as I walked through the yard, coffee in hand and dog at foot, I thought “The shoe of summer is going to drop with a big old stomp at some point.” And it certainly has.
As I lie flat on the floor, imitating all my cats, I realize they have the right idea. Summer is not to be trifled with. And only the young or very determined have the stamina to go out and dance about in it. I prefer a cool tile floor or its equivalent and a good book. I have officially declared myself on vacation. Pantyhose are in the drawer and shorts and sandals the order of the day. I find myself more and more declaring that the pantyhose should just STAY in the drawer and I should contemplate spending the rest of my life mascara-free.
But the Universe has a wicked sense of irony, and the moment I say STOP it says GO. As in, “Hey! How about you do a Kickstarter campaign, learn all you can about social media, and raise money for the next CD?” Which came to pass, starting almost a year ago, August 15th, to be exact! And what an adventure it turned out to be. Hardest work ever, with the greatest series of rewards in making connections with loving generous people, some known, many not.
And an end product I am very proud of. As I resurrected all these old ( and some new) songs from my cluttered cassette closet (yes, I still have cassettes! Do you?), I revisited my past and in a way rediscovered my purpose. I would often chastise myself for not being a really busy songwriter, learning how to write NEW songs in a NEW style for NEW people. I wandered about wearing a guilt sweater for not being more prolific or contemporary. Then I listened to some of my older songs, from way back in the days of youth and passion, and realized that what I am is a storyteller, a follower an old tradition. And what, I ask , is wrong with that? A friend I spoke to this morning said to me, “Your songs demand to be listened to. They are not just ambient music.” Thank you, Joel, for that reminder.
So now, my folk songs are in the world one more time…the musical children finally out of the closet. And they are thriving. Amazon listed my CD at #1 for a day. How amazing is that? In these times that go whizzing by, a day is a long time. And who knows what tomorrow will bring? An upcoming birthday with a 0 in it! Somehow, I have yet to be frightened by the concept. Despite the sometimes-creaky knees, I still feel 30-ish. The numbers mean nothing. (Speak to me on August 10th. See how I feel THEN!)
I find the daily challenge for me is to keep Pollyanna on my shoulder, to face every day with anticipatory joy and hope in the face of a world that seems more daunting every day. I remind myself that cynicism is for lazy. Hope is HARD WORK!
And I reach out to sources of inspiration… my beloved song writing partner Michele Brourman, my adorable husband of 45 years (how can that be????), my dear pal and patient manager for the past 30 years, Garry George, Annie LaMott, whose books always make me sit down and think. At the moment her book “Help! Thanks! Wow!” is my bible. Michele and I wrote a song based on her book. I share the lyrics with you below. It’s a pretty cool tune. Maybe it is the title for the NEXT CD!
When there ‘s a storm on my horizon
When I see lightning cross my bow
There are three small prayers that get me through…
HELP. THANKS. WOW.
Help… My heart is breaking.
Help…I’ve lost my way.
Help…a friend is dying and I don’t know what to say.
Help…the bank’s foreclosing, and my child is ill.
Help…my devils call me and I have lost my will.
Sometimes it’s a scream, sometimes just a yelp,
But in my darkest hour the prayer I send is “Help”.
Thanks for this bright morning…for this gentle rain.
Someone found my wallet and my dog is out of pain.
Thanks for all the music…the books I’ve yet to read.
The little extra something I can give a friend in need.
Though inmates run the madhouse and crooks control the banks,
For every day and every friend I send a prayer of “Thanks”.
Everything’s a mystery, miraculous and odd.
And those who say they have the answers lie.
We put our faith in reason, or whoever we call God.
But everyone at some point has offered up this cry
Wow! You’re in remission.
Wow, this bread is good!
Wow! Look at this garden in my neighborhood!
Wow! Somebody loves me, though I don’t know why.
Wow! Look at that sunset screaming through the sky.
Every day’s a wonder I wander through somehow.
And the words that keep my world afloat
As I steer my rocking boat
With gratitude in every note are…
HELP. THANKS. WOW.
Thank you Michele Brourman. Thank you Annie LaMott!
And thank you all for visiting! I wish you a joyous ride on this carousel of summertime! Choose the Horse of Hope!
Dale Ellis says
I have been a fan since the early 1980s, when I first heard your Sheffield Labs recording of “Growing Up In Hollywood Town”.
Growing up in the late ’40s and early ’50s, I loved jazz, big bands, Broadway musicals, and the love songs of that era. Later, when folk songs became popular, I found many to my liking.
And then I heard this beautiful lady, with a voice to match, singing music that embodied all of the musical characteristics that I loved. And you had written most of it too. I was hooked! I still have both of your Sheffield Labs recordings on vinyl that start my Amanda collection, continuing through the CD era. As I write this message, I’m listening to your Portraits album.
I have never had the pleasure of hearing you live, but your music has been, and will continue to be, an important part of my life.
I heard that. Good luck and “Thank you”, especially for the Rose. Today, first time, I heard you sing it 🙂
Shirley E. Messing says
Dear Amanda, Thank GOD for giving you the gift of music & for your using that God given talent of composing & writing music with such meaningful heart-felt words! The 1st time I heard “The Rose” was at a 6th Grade concert at our local elementary school, many years ago. I love music & I love to support young people & their efforts (when they’re doing “good things”) to raise the spirit of the local community, through their their ability to bring some joy into the lives of people, by their words & deeds! May God continue to richly bless you & your talent!!
Andrea Logan Womack says
WOW…I woke up with your song The Rose just playing in my spirit and I read it only to realize that it coincides precisely with the direction my life is moving…through very adversely, painful circumstances…but in such an amazing way as the help me to take a stand, not cowering in the.face of intimidated and reasons to fear and back down. I know that GOD placed this song here this morning as encouragement for me to continue taking my one step at a time towards ALL the OPEN doors HE’S Opening and away from the Closed ones WITHOUT fear.
Thank you for your son that I’ve heard since I was a kid and for it being so relevant to my TODAY and FUTURE OF HOPE & DESTINY!
It reminds me of one of my most favorite quotes: Courage is not the Tree that stands tall, watching storms come and go BUT the fragile Flower, the Blooms in the Snow…