I’m an American of African, Irish, and Sephardic Jewish descent.
And by the way, I am the Martian Ambassador.
I’m your basic American girl.
This is what it looks like.
Art in the time
of the great pause
“A Wolf by Any Other Name,” my solo CD, has taken eons and traveled across vast distances of my life to get to you. The plans I had in place were interrupted by the sharp blade of illness and uncertainty when my husband was diagnosed with throat cancer. That dance, that hard tango, lasted several years, completely consuming all of his focus and most of mine. This was my personal pause: my world narrowed down to his surviving chemo and radiation, figuring out the tricky and debilitating steps and rules of this new frightening existence that was suddenly thrust upon us.
On the other side of that dance, my husband came out cancer-free, and I headed back to the recording studio—such a simple and easy statement, but I assure you it was not. At one point during a break in the recording, Gary, our master engineer, asked me how I still had the ability to dream and go forward after all I had been through. I was taken aback by the question, but not its depth. Gary is a man of great faith who lives close to his God. I told him that music and art were such a deep part of me, there really wasn’t a choice: this was who I am and I was just trusting in the Divine Timing of things and moving forward, staying in a place of immense gratitude.
And endeavoring to move forward has led me here, with all of you and COVID-19, in this profound moment where our world is in a state of flux and change. While we are standing still, sheltering in place, deep inner movement is happening. Although we are in this together, we’re experiencing it very differently. Some are feeling the loss of community, some are grieving the deaths of family members and friends. Some of us are in a state of fear about what tomorrow will bring. And some of us are in a state of wonder at how our Earth is repairing herself without our constant movement.
Into this alchemical time comes “A Wolf by Any Other Name.” These songs have an added shade to them now—a small part of the soundtrack of a New World and maybe a kinder and more egalitarian way of being. I am feeling stories of multiple timelines moving inside me. I am hearing the voices of those who have gone before lingering on the wind. Paintings depicting a sweeter twilight are reaching out to embrace me.
Toni Morrison (blessed be her name) has this potent quote:
“This is precisely the time when artists go to work. There is no time for despair, no place for self-pity, no need for silence, no room for fear. We speak, we write, we do language.
That is how civilizations heal.”
Maybe sharing what is deepest inside of us, what is longing to be seen and heard, is how to heal and come to grips with all our grief and loss. The song seeks to be sung around a communal fire and stories seek to be shared. We yearn to dance the moon up and together welcome its luminous glow and magic. I share this journey with you. May we meet in the In-Between Space, hold each other tight, and sing our world well.
Bright blessings to us all.