this is a message for all of you: not just my patrons. today is thanksgiving in america (or more properly National Day Of Mourning, as some of my wiser countrymen call it to commemorate those native to this land upon which we feast today).
i like to see this day as a pause day: to gather thoughts and spin the gratitude wheel in my head and see where it lands. i don’t always write a big thing. but i’m posting this up on my patreon, as this is (as many of you know) the spot where i’ve been blogging for the better part of two years now, and i’m cross-posting this to all my social media, since this is for…..all of you.
for all of you who listen to my music.
for all of you who read my words, have read my book, have found any sort of comfort in my rants and tales and poems.
for all of you who come to my shows.
for all of you who bat ideas with me, comfort me, ask things of me, tussle with me, joke with me, hug with me, exist with me….whether in the backs of cars, in the signing lines of post-concert draft, upon the pews of churches i play in, in bookstores in strip malls, from behind the screens and across the great wide internet, this magical tool which ties us all together.
even for you who make it your task to rile me up in provocative facebook comments by telling me that i’m the antichrist and i should get back in the kitchen where i belong.
for all of you who see me: my human-ness, my musician-writer-mother-confused is-ness. my real, fallible, vulnerable, oozing, mistake-ridden self.
this blog is for you.
i’m here to remind you that i see you, too.
i see you as much as i can, and sometimes it feels like it gets harder, since i’ve pulled back from the public arena since having a baby and i’m not out there on the front lines every single night, playing 6 shows a week, traveling to a new city every day and doing signings for 4 or 5 hours at a time, able to grab your real flesh hands and shed tears on them, listen to your stories and see your eyes pierce my heart, rub my face on your pregnant bellies, hug your bodies after exchanging a knowing look….trade books and zines and poetry in person….i haven’t been out there as much, this year, doing that thing that i so love: connecting in person, one-to-one.
but you all…have no idea how much you’ve given me this year, possibly without knowing.
through your many-layered gestures of care, y’all have buoyed me in one of the most vulnerable year of my life.
i didn’t know what was going to happen to me after i had a baby. it was the most difficult decision i’ve made in my life, and i felt like i was falling off a cliff of doubt into a sea whose temperature i couldn’t take until i plummeted.
i didn’t know if my patreon was going to work.
i didn’t know if i’d be able to juggle recording and releasing music and still take care of a baby…and get paid, and make ends meet, and be able to hang onto my office and my staff.
i just didn’t know.
i didn’t know if the world was going to turn its back on me when i became a mother.
i was really, truly afraid that people would subtly turn away and render me invisible.
but i don’t feel invisible.
on the contrary, my audience, my people, my whoever-you-are-reading-this, wherever you are, you rag-tag bunch of bleeding hearts and art-appreciators and readers and listeners and path-walkers and nodding heads in the distance….
you held me.
you saw me.
you accepted me, baby and all, flailing hands and all, tired webcasts and mistake-ridden piano bangers and all. i feel more seen than i ever have. seen bigger, seen realer, seen heavier and quieter, seen deeper.
you all – by being right here – have explicitly embraced me as an artist, a mother and human all at the same time.
….i am more grateful to you that you can possibly know.
because i do not take for granted that anyone should listen to my music, my words, my work, my pain, my politics, my
because i do not take for granted that you’ve stuck with me over all these years, especially the last two.
and because it is through this feeling of gratitude, this thanks and feeling of luckiness which increases and explodes a little bit more every year and with every work of art i release….it is through feeling all those feelings that i’m able see my life and job and self more clearly every day.
that i’m not here to serve my own ego, nor even to serve you art or music.
i see something else:
that we are here for one another, that we are locked in this dance of life and will never become unlocked, that we cannot exist without one another, and that our silly and profound conversations of art, trade, ideas, love, pain, experiences, doubt, anger and tender care for one another’s souls are The Stuff of Life. it’s why we’re here and why we bother to do any of this at all.
this dance with all of you is what gets me out of bed every day.
may we all be blessed, happy and filled with compassion for all those around us, and may we dance that dance with everyone at our tables…old and new, near and far.
and wherever you are right now, whether you are alone or surrounded by overwhelming company….know that i love you.
it’s all gonna be ok.
p.s. neil says hi. he’s cooking a large fish and freaking out.