I had the great great fortune to join Lydia Hutchinson's Performing Songwriter Creative Workshop this past weekend in Nashville.
Beth Nielsen Chapman was the ringleader, Mike Reid joined in on afternoon sessions. I was a surprise guest Saturday morning, and then Keb Mo joined us all later that night for one of the most powerfully intimate shows I've ever been a part of.
Just for an example: Keb Mo slayed it with Love Yourself. Then I don't think there was a dry eye in the house when Mike launched into I Can't Make You Love Me. Beth did Sand and Water. More tears. It really doesn't get any better than this. It was a vivid, visceral call: "Don't ever forget where you come from. Writing a song is sacred work."
I was stoked. I can't wait to get back at it. These exquisite craftspeople rekindled some kind of giddy in me - Oh My God, I get to do THIS!!
Music is essential, it is air. It heals, connects, informs, comforts.
I am so grateful this Monday. I shared this poem with the songwriters in Nashville. I'm sure I've shared it here. I know I will share it again. But it is how I feel, and how I will keep working to feel every single day.
MESSENGER by Mary Oliver
My work is loving the world.
Here the sunflowers, there the hummingbird — equal seekers of sweetness.
Here the quickening yeast; there the blue plums.
Here the clam deep in the speckled sand.
Are my boots old? Is my coat torn?
Am I no longer young, and still not half-perfect?
Let me keep my mind on what matters, which is my work,
which is mostly standing still and learning to be astonished.
The phoebe, the delphinium. The sheep in the pasture, and the pasture.
Which is mostly rejoicing, since all ingredients are here,
which is gratitude, to be given a mind and a heart
and these body-clothes, a mouth with which to give shouts of joy to the moth
and the wren, to the sleepy dug-up clam, telling them all,
over and over, how it is that we live forever.