Of the Universe, Joanna Macy, and Singing Recipes

Of the Universe, Joanna Macy, and Singing Recipes

Dear Friends,

It also seems that we artists are constantly re-inventing ourselves in our work life to figure out how we might best fit in a culture that can be less than friendly.
— Lind Allen

Here's the latest issue of my very occasional newsletter. It's been a rather extraordinary summer. I keep thinking that I really must narrow down and simplify my life -- and then I wonder what it is that I could possibly give up. I wear many hats: Mom, wife, teacher, composer and performer, student. It also seems that we artists are constantly re-inventing ourselves in our work life to figure out how we might best fit in a culture that can be less than friendly. Last night I was watching one of my favorite movies, "Billy Elliott", with my son, Nathaniel. We're also reading the book "The Bridge to Tarabithia". I see a similar theme: The arts are not considered "appropriate" for young boys. Perhaps this is why, when I visit schools, young boys are so often the ones who are most embarrassed to sing. As one who has been a feminist for many years, and raised strong daughters who know how to use their voices, it's been a challenge to understand the culture's effect on the creativity of boys and men. It is not only women who have been silenced. Nathaniel, at ten, is a good teacher. So is my husband, Scott, who struggles to find creative spaces in his life.

Two weeks ago I had the great privilege of studying "New Cosmology" with Larry Edwards at the University of Creation Spirituality. I'm so aware of how any subject is deepened and enriched by the inclusion of the arts. Larry incorporated ritual and dance and song and poetry. What a magical way to study science! I recommend any book by Thomas Berry or Brian Swimme. A favorite quote from my teacher, Larry: "How much science do you need to know? You need to know enough to be stunned by the beauty, intimacy and intelligence of it all." I've been forever changed by the perspective offered by these teachers and writers who weave together, once again, science and spirituality.

A few things coming up:

--I'll be starting a new class on The Artist's Way here in Bellingham, with an introductory sessi on at Village Books on Tuesday, September 4th, and classes beginning the following Tuesday, September 11th. In September, there's also a performance in Tacoma at the Washington State History Museum on Sept. 13th with another songwriter of Washington stories, the amazing 19-year old Wes Weddell. I'll be in Oregon for a talk at a UU Church in West Linn, Oregon on September 23rd. I'll also be recording a program with Tom May for his nationally syndicated radio show, "River City Folk". The Listening Women exhibit, by the way, will make its final appearance at Seattle's BodyMind&Spirit Symposium in Bellevue on the weekend of September 7,8, and 9. It's a moving piece, and can be viewed without participating in the conference. You can guess which one is me!

--In October, I'll be singing at a Library Conference, doing a workshop and concert on Lummi Island, hosting the Voices retreat near Bellingham, and will likely do a teacher training in New Mexico. November will bring the Women's Retreat on Creation Spirituality, a workshop, house concert and retreat in Arizona, and a church retreat in Tacoma. For details on all of these offerings, please go to my itinerary page at my web site: http://www.lindasongs.com/pages/itinerary.htm At the web site, you'll also find a wider selection of songs to download, and a pretty good description of how you might put on a house concert for roving musicians or poets who might well appreciate an intimate living room setting. Here's a recipe song I wrote for my friend Sally Kintner many years ago My intent is that I'll put together a musical recipe book one day. I've been collecting songs with recipes in them. Please let me know if you know any. This one appears on my CD, "October Roses." Sally's Quiche c1984

I first tried Sally's recipe a few years ago

When my baby was new-born, I felt kind of low

Sally came with a smile and a salad and quiche

I wonder if she ever knew what joy that brought me

Two cups of milk, and two cups grated cheese

Four pats of butter, a half cup Krusteaz

Four eggs and some spinach, spices to please

Bake 45 minutes, 350 degrees

Sally brought me the recipe, said it had served her well

In raising her children for years by herself

It didn't take long, and that's important, she said

When your children are crying and need to be fed CHORUS

And Sally brought wisdom and comfort and care

And the recipe brings back the friendship we share

It's an age-old tradition our foremothers knew

In grateful remembrance, I pass it to you CHORUS

One final thought: In his introduction to Joanna Macy's book, "Coming Back to Life", Matthew Fox praises her as "one of those rare voices in our time who is a prophet speaking out on behalf of the poor and those without a voice, the young, the dispossessed, the ecologically threatened....she also passes on this prophetic voice to others, she draws it out, she coaxes us not to be afraid and not to be in denial. She encourages us; that is, she builds our courage up to find our prophetic voice and to contribute as teams and as communities to the healing work our times and pain require." Matthew ends his tribute to Joanna with, "May we all fulfill our promise."

May we, like Joanna, be midwives of grace.

Blessings -

PS: Please feel free to be removed from this newsletter at any time - just hit "reply" and send a note. Or, if you'd like to send this on to friends, please feel free to do so!

PSS: Please note new email address, although the old one still works.

Linda Allen

October Rose Productions