It’s the wee hours, and I’m writing from a chilly San Francisco night. It’s been some time since you heard from me, I know.
A lot has happened in that time. The main happening has been this:
These two take up a lot of my time!
But something remarkable happened to me this year. Something that let me know that it was time to return to my calling as a singer songwriter.
I was visiting an old family friend, a spritely Italian-American woman named Adriane. I have known Adriane since childhood.
In childhood, I remember her most for her wonderful presents. Whenever she came to visit us, she would bring a handful of bibs and bobs that, to a child’s eyes, were magical. A rhinestone button, a few sequins, a plastic film canister, a bent silver charm in the shape of a fairy.
I treasured Adriane’s gifts, and they fueled my then passion for making things with my hands.
Now an adult, and a mother myself, Adriane’s remains a creative catalyst, apparently. It was a visit to her house that planted the seed for my return to music.
It was a sunny Sunday morning in San Mateo, and I was sitting in Adriane’s art room, its shelves stacked with paintbrushes and glue, collage materials and dioramas children have crafted. My own children were happily engaged in a project – making rockets out of paper cups.
Looking around the room, I noticed something in the corner. It was a small harp. A toy, really. But in that moment, I saw only its otherworldly beauty – its ancient wood, ornate carvings, and twelve beckoning strings.
You know those moments when there comes the start of something new in your life, and you feel it? The harp seemed bathed in light, like someone had switched on a spotlight from above. I almost laughed at the intensity with which it appeared to me.
I could not look away.
“What is that?” I asked, a bit breathlessly.
“Oh yes, isn’t it lovely? It’s a Celtic harp someone gave me. Said she was tired of moving it from room to room. Now it’s meant for you, apparently,” she said, and put it into my hands.
I took the little harp home with me.
That night, after the children had gone to sleep, I began to play.
Almost from the first moments, the songs began to flow.
That is not to say that the songs had ever stopped, really… I don’t know that I’ve ever gone a day in my life without making up a song.
But this was different.
These were not songs for children, or for my work as a teacher and songleader, which is where much of my energy has gone recently… These were songs like I used to write – in the days before children.
As they came, I felt again (and anew) the power of music.
I felt the power of music specifically for this troubled time we are living in – music as an agent of healing and transformation. Music as a balm. Music to remind us of our true power and belonging.
So the flow of songs started, and it has not stopped since.
This was around six months ago.
In time, wanting more strings, I got a 26 string harp I could hold on my lap. Then, when the songs demanded it, I got a still bigger one, that sits on the floor.
I became a harp nerd, who hangs out in Facebook groups talking about fingerings and amplification and how to mute unwanted frequencies.
I started listening to grown – up music again, discovering so many incredible new artists that have emerged since I became a mother.
And I recommitted to my path as a songwriter again.
These days, I continue to write and practice, towards the hopefully not too far off dream of recording these new songs.
As I embark on this new stage of my journey, it also feels right to reconnect with the people who have, for many years, listened to my music.
I wonder what has happened in your life since we were last in touch? What are your dreams, projects and plans? Where has your journey taken you? Whether it’s via email or on Facebook, I hope you will share from your own lives and experiences. I look forward to hearing from you.
In love and music,