I am thinking this morning on how a chance encounter in York, PA led to one of the most consistent, foundational tools of my career. Rose showed up at a show I played with Rich Mullins in an old theatre and asked me if I had ever thought about having a web site. This was 1995 and my knowledge of computers consisted of my exposure to Hal on 2001, A Space Odyssey. As you may recall, Hal was a villain. She offered to create one for me and followed through promptly and brilliantly. She has been following through ever since, creating and recreating with the twists and turns of technology. I am frequently complimented on my web site but I am quick to disclaim and put credit where it’s due because the truth is that for the first few years of the sites existence I had to have Kenny’s help to get to it. I have only recently become proficient on email and learned how to cut and paste a couple of months ago. The learning curve for me is perpetually steep but more than that, I feel threatened by the whole thing and generally disinterested. I still write the bulk of my letters by hand; I still go to the bank; I still buy books and newspapers; I still make cds. I have recently begun attending an Episcopal church and my friend Deb commented that the Anglican worship was made for a tactile person like me. I love making the sign of the cross, I love going to the alter and receiving the host, I love to kneel. But Rose has outdone herself again with this new site. She created this blog spot for me, knowing, I’m sure that it might be wishful thinking on her part and I want to honor her efforts because outside of recordings and performance, she has done more to keep my career alive than anyone.
Kenny and I are half way through recording a new disc, tentatively titled Beauty In The Curve. Most of the songs are original but my love affair with traditional gospel continues so we added a couple of those songs as well: Walk In Jerusalem and Born To Preach The Gospel. I plan to post songs as we finish them so that anyone interested can have a listen. I have also begun a book, a memoir. If there is one activity I am more reticent about than trying to navigate computers, it’s writing. It took several years and constant encouragement from others for me to start. I immediately stalled on chapter 2 and thought, I have nothing to say, I can’t remember my life, I quit. I had already agreed at that point to play a writers conference in exchange for participating in a workshop with Lauren Winner who is not only a wonderful writer but an equally wonderful teacher. In response to my moans and groans about what a struggle it was to get anything on paper she helpfully replied. “Do it or don’t.” It was the kick in the ass I needed and a reminder that the creative life is really only essential to the creator. I discovered this in one of my many music career deserts when I was so brokenhearted over my commercial failure that I put down my guitar and started deep cleaning and organizing drawers. And I benefitted from that time; my house was shiny, I knew where everything was and I had some immediate gratification. But ultimately I realized that I needed to start writing and playing again, not because anyone was clamoring for it, not because there was a paycheck involved but because if I don’t use my gifts, they die and part of me, perhaps the Image bearing part, becomes shadowy and Martha-like. Immediate gratification has a short shelf life, the good stuff is in the crucible; I know this. And there is something beyond serendipitous about sitting in a chair, staring at an empty legal pad and suddenly it begins to fill and the memories float to the surface with a clarity and immediacy that fill in the blank spaces. It’s like a crossword puzzle; the first time I read the clues, I have no idea what any of the answers are but then one word comes, and another and the whole time I’m thinking, how do I know this? I think of my subconscious as a disorganized library; I don’t know where anything is so I just have to stumble across it. So I’m stumbling through this memoir, maybe titled “Little Black Sheep” and I’m also planning to excerpt the book here as I get further into it. Thanks for coming to the site, thanks for reading this and thanks Rose–for everything