Sunday, October 31, 2021

Perspectives are Numerous.


Distancing Bench, Kimberly A. Kelzner, 2020.

Dear Listener,

I want it now, and that must be being in the moment, musn't it?  

I worked many years to learn to say yes to things, and now I find it was the wrong answer, and I have to train myself to say the much more difficult, but shorter, 'no.'  

I made a great confession; and I told how it made a lie of so much I had done; and my confessor answered that 'we need an ego, too, you know.'  Did I know that?

Join me, if you like, in asking yourself these questions, or, just play this song for the day, and read about the musical genre of the Murder Ballad.  Next week, we shall write our own Murder Ballads and put them in a safe place, like the Smithsonian, to be examined by the enlightened folks of the future!

Tuesday, October 26, 2021

Hum along.


Dear Listener,

Here is your song for today; I hope you have time to hum along with it.  Have the original, too; it's a lovely, cinematic song, with all kinds of musical references.

Sunday, October 24, 2021



Sketch, Vincent Van Gogh, 1888


Dear You,

They are playing our song!  That has only happened twice in 22 years!  Still, it's worth noting, celebrating.  The starnies are shining bright, and I still believe it was the right song to choose.  Can you imagine?  The pressure of choosing just one song?  One song, to mean everything?  To mean for keeps, to mean 'love', to mean union?  I don't know that I could do it today, but I was younger and more confident in those days.

Now this is a bit of a digression, but I lived in Edinburgh for a summer once, and we studied Scots poetry.  Scots poetry means Bobbie Burns, for one thing, and a lot of translating for people like me.  I loved this, of course, because I love words in all languages.  I love that they have all these shades of meaning, and that starnies could equal little stars in basically the same language as my own.  If I could get anyone to listen, I might just spend every day talking about a beautiful word of my acquaintance.  Or, maybe I don't mean 'listen' so much as I mean 'get paid to.'

I have talked at length on working, jobs, vocations, and careers lately; and it has me asking you this question today: what do you wish they paid you to do?  It's only right, I feel, to answer as well as ask, and I think I want to be paid to run a roller rink and to encourage people.  Does that sound lofty?  What the heck do I mean by 'encourage'?  I mean that I want to tell people, often, and on a one to one basis, that they are okay, they are alright, they are here, they are fine, they are heard and valued. Yes, it does sound a bit lofty after all!

Monday, October 18, 2021



Dear Jane,

Why do they always tell these stories about you?  Why is it always procrastination, break-down, and sorrow?  Songs of failure titled Jane.  Books of self-destruction titled Jane.  Well, Jane I want your story told right, so I will tell it myself.  

Jane stole for you, for you and your addiction.  She wanted nothing more than to make you happy, make you free.  Jane pulled all her punches, and she hid the body for you.  Jane's real story is that she never would settle for what was offered her.  Jane wanted something real, in a world of phoniness, or worse, apathy.  She tended a small garden, illegally, behind the big warehouse.  She gave the food away, and she lived in a little trailer.  She didn't have a car, but when she needed to move, she'd find someone who would do it for a knitted scarf.  

Jane's real story is that she mostly just keeps on, and no one even notices much.  She doesn't break down over death or losing a man, and she doesn't lose a step when a child is lost, because there is always another child that will need to be looked after, there is always another day, and she is not so selfish as you seem to always write her.  And, I'd like to think, that if anyone was listening, you could hear Jane say it.







Tuesday, October 12, 2021

the wind in the trees


Young Pines and Sky, c. 1935
oil on paper
88.8 cm x 58.2 cm
Collection of the Vancouver Art Gallery, Emily Carr Trust

Dear Nature-Lover,

Maybe I should have addressed this to the "word-lover?" because my letter today is to give you this fine word, psithurism.  I got it from a young man that I met at my job, and I have been saving it for you for nearly two years now.*  

It means the sound of the wind soughing through the branches- sounds like sawing, but also sighing, so a kind of back and forth movement seems to be indicated in thinking of this word.  Psithurism also sounds when spoken like the wind in the branches.  It reminded me of another favorite of mine, petrichor, which refers to the smell of the rain.  Here is a very fine list of words, including petrichor and psithurism.  

And so to your song of the day, In the Pines.

That might seem funny, folding up a beautiful word like this one in a little scrap of paper, like a saved slice of cake from a party, and then waiting so long to give it to you; and it is funny, and even a little odd, but I am big saver of things, a hoarder, even, if you like, and I was saving it for The Right Time.  The time when I might add another little something to this offering, in this case, it's the song of the day.

Sunday, October 3, 2021



Dearest Ones,

Are you feeling down in the dumps?  Under the weather?  Low?  Maybe just a mild case of ennui?  Well, as I have remarked before, without coffee, there is no reason to get up, but, I realize there are actually two reasons to get up:  One, coffee.  Two, Laurie Anderson.

If there is any love left over after showering it onto Laurie Anderson (because make no mistake, I love her with every cell; that kind of love where you desire only to be subsumed by the object of your love, the love that can only be satisfied by becoming Laurie Anderson), I send it to you, dear heart!

Until we next meet.