Creative Forces


“Joy is the sweet voice, joy the luminous cloud.
  We in ourselves rejoice!
And thence flows all that charms or ear or sight,
  All melodies the echoes of that voice,
All colours a suffusion from that light.”

Samuel Taylor Coleridge

(1772 – 1834)




Recently I was privileged to have a sit-down with a few creative forces: Kathrin Shorr, Sarah Sample and Mai Bloomfield. (Tim Burlingame was there, too, representing the testosterone side of things and his presence was greatly appreciated.) We had gathered for an all-too-short visit while Sarah Sample was in town. Her sister, the fabulous Kate Graves, had initiated the gathering and was unable to join us. As much as her absence saddened me, I felt she was there in spirit, and we all spoke lovingly of her.


I met all these folks many years ago along the musical trail. We’ve all gone about the living of our lives and somehow we still know each other. Kathrin Shorr and Tim Burlingame are the forces that make up Sweet Talk Radio. Sarah Sample is an award-winning solo artist. Mai Bloomfield does it all. She’s a solo artist, a member of Raining Jane and last year she wrapped a world tour with Jason Mraz. And did I mention all these friends have families and lives and commitments and lives and things that pop up and lives and all the other stuff that goes along with being human? Well they do. Just like you. Just like me.


Anyhoo – at some point our conversation turned to Elizabeth Gilbert’s book Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear. I’ve shared my feelings about this book here, and it was lovely to be able to talk about it with friends. But more than that, it was so good to discuss the book with people who strive to live creatively. And to hear not only what resonated with this person or that, but to hear what each person hopes to do going forward. To hear someone say how much they want to create for the sheer joy of the process. To hear someone say how much they want to feel joy – period.


Joy is too often overlooked. I know life is a drag sometimes and all, but damn. If there’s no joy once in a while, what propels us to keep going? How do we convince ourselves to smile here and there if we don’t actually feel it in our souls? And how on earth do we expect to receive that smile, that joy, from others, if we can’t manifest it within ourselves?


Unfortunately, I don’t have any tried and true answers on the joy front. But I can tell you this: Joy is no stranger in my life. Maybe that’s because I make a practice of being grateful. Maybe it’s because I live my life as a creative person and find fulfillment in that process. Maybe it’s because I am deeply loved. Maybe it’s because I’m a simpleton. Your guess is as good as mine.


Then again, maybe my current joy is due to having spent a recent afternoon in a sunny garden with creative forces. Maybe it was the tea. Maybe it was the company. Might have been the banana bread. Whatever the reason, I very much hope this month is joy-filled. And that creativity abounds. Perhaps a little magic will be sprinkled here and there as well.


For all of us.


Uncommon and Fabulous




Because I’m in the arms of my favorite Holiday music loves, I want to share some of the least known but still fantastic songs on my playlist…


Five Pound Box of Money“ by Pearl Bailey – If I don’t play this one at home myself, I’m not gonna hear it anywhere else. For me, Pearl Bailey doesn’t pop up enough in life and this song makes me laugh like crazy.


That Spirit of Christmas“ by Ray Charles – I don’t know why this one isn’t more popular. I first heard it in “National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation.” It still evokes a tender moment from the film, and I love the song more each year. Of all Ray Charles’ Christmas songs, this one is my favorite.


Send Me Some Snow“ by Chris Standring & Kathrin Shorr – Okay. I know these folks. They’re friends. But that has no bearing on my love of this song. And I do love it. Dearly.


Swiss Colony Beef Log“ by Eric Cartman – This tune from the fellas of “South Park” is another giggle-worthy holiday treasure. But it also sparks of the truth. I do want a Swiss Colony Beef Log at Christmas each year. (And I never seem to get one. Dag.)


The Little Drummer Boy by Karl Lundeberg & Full Circle – (sorry – no link) – This jazzy rendition may be a little out there for some, but I adore it. It’s really hard to find, too, y’all! It isn’t Christmas for me until I play it. And play it I do.


25th December” by Everything But The Girl – This is another of those songs that I won’t hear unless I play it. And that’s a shame, because it’s lovely. Really, really lovely.


Fairytale of New York” by The Pogues & Kirsty MacColl – I’m adding this one at Mister’s insistence. I guess I’ve always thought this song to be quite known and quite popular. He tells me no – not so well-known or popular. And after I thought about it, I decided he may be right. I mean, this season I’ve only heard the song at home. That seems odd to me, but there you go. Anyhoo – I do love this song. And as much as it makes me smile, it also makes me sad. I feel that way whenever I hear Kirsty sing. I can’t believe she’s gone. She was a brilliant songwriter and a beautiful vocalist. At least we get to have her here, in this wonderful song.


That’s it! For now. I do love these songs and though I hear them only at Christmas, I’ll take what I can get.


If you have an uncommon and fabulous Christmas song on your fave list, please share!

Musical Cheer



The other night Mister and I went to see some holiday jazz in Los Angeles. And it was festive, I tell ya!


Chris Standring and Kathrin Shorr put out a CD of original Christmas songs a few years back, and now they try to do some shows – featuring the songs – each December. It’s becoming a bit of a tradition. And I really like it.


There’s something about seeing and hearing live jazz. Standring plays contemporary jazz, to be sure. I suppose I tend to the traditional side of the jazz-o-meter, but that doesn’t preclude me from enjoying newer vibes. Standring is a fantastic guitarist, too, which doesn’t hurt one bit. And don’t even get me started on Kathrin Shorr. Just writing about her makes me smile. Her voice, her stage presence – I love that gal!


So at the show the other night, we were treated to seasonal songs and the darling personalities of Ms. Shorr and Mr. Standring. There were sleigh bells and joy, smiles and laughter. And when it was all over, I confess – I felt a bit jolly. Not a bad way to spend a December evening. Not bad at all.