Before I begin I just want to thank everyone who read and commented on my "coming out" post. Your comments were kind and a lot nicer than I thought they were going to be. A lot of atheists report horrible backlash when they finally decide to share with people about their atheism. Atheists are viewed by a lot of people as evil and lacking in morals. One study found that people distrust atheists more than rapists.  My decision to tell everyone about my atheism was, in some ways, directly tied to this stigma; I want to give a voice and face to what an atheist looks like. There are so many people out there who are atheists or agnostic (I'm going to write a post about that later) and most of us don't even know it.  

Now, on to the actual point of this blog post.


I wrote the song Stardust back in July (of 2013) sitting in a south facing 20th floor apartment in Manhattan. It was sweltering hot in the city; the heat indexes were some of the highest in recorded history. The apartment was only slightly cooler as the A/C unit struggled to keep up with the temperatures. The view, however, was incredible as the picture window took up almost the whole south wall of the apartment; the Freedom Tower the primary focus. And how could it not be? The southern Manhattan skyline once more dominated by a towering height of steel and glass. There was a guitar in the apartment and as I sat on the bed strumming the strings, I was ruminating on the damage that "faith" (a word Peter Boghossian defines as "Pretending to know things you don't know.") has had on humanity. All the things that people have done because "God" told them to, or because they had "faith" that it was the right thing to do. To be sure, it wasn't Christianity that brought down the Twin Towers, no. It was a group of people who ardently believed that Allah wanted it; people who believed just as firmly as the Christians; just as firmly as the Hindus; just as firmly as the Jews; just as firmly as the Mormons, etc. that what they believe is the ONLY right way to believe.

I thought to myself, How profoundly sad that most of us live waiting for an afterlife. That people think, "One day I will be in heaven and won't have to deal with any of this anymore."

I want to live for now. I want to die trying to make the most of NOW.

And so the words poured out:


Waste away in buildings built

To ease our sorrow, ease the guilt

Supplicate to the up above

Hate to say no one's listening, love.


Time was lost to a fairy tale

Forbidden fruit that led to nails

And born to see but rendered blind

By mankind to save mankind


Oh we're stardust

And we must

Make the most of this

While we're breathing

No more living

For after dying

No, I'll die trying

To make the most of now



Ate the body, drank the blood like

Every good boy and girl should

Babies raised on bread and wine

Let your little light shine

Oh let it burn

Let it shine

Oh watch them burn




The amazing Deke Spears, producer and musician and friend extraordinaire.  Shot with a Yashica Mat-124.

Below is a rough recording of the song that I started with Deke Spears. The song is still in its infancy. Deke and I recorded in the performance hall at KSU - he played the acoustic guitar and I played the gorgeous Steinway Grand piano and sang. We messed around with backing harmonies and then, later, Deke threw some drums and bass on the track to see how it felt. I'm not sold on it but it's all I have to share with you right now.

The gorgeous Steinway Grand I was honoured to play.

Please know that it's not mixed or mastered and most likely will end up sounding different. However, I've found that nothing I do will ever meet the standards I have in my head, nothing will ever be perfect enough, and so I need to get over my stupid self and share whatever it is that I have at that time. Capiscé? Hate it? Love it? What do you think? Be honest. Honesty is a very very good thing.

Many thanks, everyone.

[soundcloud url="" width="100%" height="166" iframe="true" /]


( By the way, I know that some of you are going to hate this; it's going to make you very uncomfortable. I'm sorry for that and yet, I really hope that this gives you reason to consider why you believe what you believe. Stretch your brain a bit, it won't kill you. I promise. ;-) )

When I Grow Up...

About a month or so ago, I crept gingerly into our living room so as not to disturb my 4 and 1/2 year old, Hawke, while he was playing the piano. I would be remiss if I said that I don't hope one of my kids will be a musician of some sort and so I try very hard to not be TOO terribly over eager when they even go near an instrument. So, to hear Hawke playing and singing made me ridiculously excited. A creaking floorboard gave me away and Hawke turned around and saw me. "Mom, will you help me? I writing a grow up song but I don't know how to get it to sound wight."

I was delighted.

"Of course! Sing me your song!" I said as I surreptitiously grabbed a pen.

So then Hawke, in a little voice at first, that grew louder sang,

"When you grow up You are already big And you can sleep Wherever you want You can watch T.V. And play games When you grow up When you grow up

When you grow up You can be in a band And you can play Really awesome guitar And look at pictures And drive a car But not at the same time 'Cause you might die

When you grow up You can go on a trip On an airplane Beyond the sea Or maybe to the beach Or a pool Or maybe your house When you grow up

When you grow up You get to be Whatever you want to be When you grow up When you grow up When you grow up."

I tried very hard not to cry. I failed. Then I had him sing it a few more times so that I could learn the melody and figure out the chords. I wanted him to sing the song while I recorded it but Hawke would have none of it.

"You do it, Mom. That's your job."

So I used the Voice Memo on my phone to quickly record it. In the end Phoenix decided to chime in with some opera. You can listen here:

[soundcloud url="" width="100%" height="166" iframe="true" /]


For those of you who are interested in hearing the full version of my song, "Polly", that Zack used in his short film "Signal & Noise", you can download it by clicking here ------> Polly The song is actually still a work in progress; what was recorded were merely ideas and rough sketches for a hopeful finished product. I started writing the song shortly after the death of my Grandmother, who passed away the day after Christmas this past year (2012). Her name was Vera, but was always called Polly, and I was mourning the fact that I did not get a chance to say goodbye before she died. There are no lyrics because I did not have words to sing. Just melodies, and the desire to use my voice as an instrument. When Zack asked if I had anything that could work for the film he was making, I played him a bit of the song and he liked it, so my dear friend, Deke Spears (who helped me produce The Cracks & The Crevices and The Loss & The Love), and I put together what you hear in the track.

It might be finished. It might not. I might leave it as is. I might change it or morph it into something else. If anything I feel that it captures a bit of the emotion.

What do you think? Should I leave it as is? Or give it actual words and fill it out a bit more?

Thanks for stopping by.

"To live in hearts we leave behind Is not to die."

Thomas Campbell, "Hallowed Ground"

Quiet Hounds :: New album on its way...

In a little house, on some farmland just northwest of Atlanta, my brother Hounds are busy laying down new melodies. Happily, I get to be a part of it. I am pleased to literally lend my voice and time to such a talented group of friends. Also, soon I will start the process of recording four more songs to bring this trilogy of EPs* project to a close. I use the word, "close" lightly though, as this process has been so much more of a beginning for me than I can properly convey.

I'm getting ready for this winter; hunkering down with good wine, good books, time in my new studio (more to come on this later) not a little chaos, as there always tends to be chaos in spades with four boys running about my house, and ruminating on what is to come. There is so much on its way and it is all so very, very good. Things have been changing in me. Much. A lot. More muchness is happening in me? To me? All internal, all in heart and head. The best kind of growing larger. Although, if I don't lay off the egg nog I'll be growing a little more externally, too. I'll write more when I have the words. They are there, just not quite ripe enough for picking, and I am getting ready to do some harvesting.

"Let us love winter, for it is the spring of genius." Pietro Aretino

*First was The Cracks & The Crevices, then The Loss & The Love, and soon to come, The Hope & The Hurt.

Calm Down or Up but don't Give Up


“Such is the pleasure of projecting that many content themselves with a succession of visionary schemes, and wear out their allotted time in the calm amusement of contriving what they never attempt or hope to execute." --Samuel Johnson

I am fighting hard against the undertow of stress that is pulling on me these days. There is much to be done, and oh, I will get it done, but it's easy to allow myself to sink into a kind of noble procrastination. By that I mean choosing "busy-ness" because it gives me an excuse to not dive into, and finish projects, I've started. Why wouldn't I want to finish them you might ask? Because, if I finish them, and put them out into the world, they might fail. I can't fail at laundry. Or chores. Or the various sundry of errands that I find myself swept up in. I am really rather good at those things.

So. I need the calmness of heart to push through my noble procrastinating, but not so calm that I fall prey to what ol' Samuel was talking about up there in between those quotation marks.

So here it is, a list of things that I am working on, so that I can be held accountable by the internetz.

1. A conference/retreat (a concreat? A Reconferencetreat?) for creative women, specifically geared towards moms. Even more specifically geared to those moms who have much in them to do, but haven't learned, or in my case, forgot how to, make time for themselves and their art. Who feel guilty even wanting to pursue it. More on this later. But you heard it here first. This one is a big one. In the next year. It. Will. Happen. My friend, Betsy Garmon is going to be involved, too!

2. The book I have been working on for about two years has now broken off into two different projects. The one I'm choosing to focus on now is centered around my my mom's death 21 years ago. Only now it's become something entirely different from a book. Much to my horror, it has morphed into a one woman show, complete with props, the portrayal of different characters, and the singing of songs. I've been fighting against it so hard. So, so hard. But I can't shake it. It's a persistent daydream and if I have learned anything, I have learned to pay attention to my daydreams.

3. Learning how to take real nice pictures. Not because my husband is who he is. Not because I want to be a photographer. I just want to experiment in another medium. That's all. Just stretching creative muscles is all.

What about you? What are you working on? TALK TO ME PEOPLE.

The Loss and the Love

I am sitting in good ol' St. Arbucks right now, in my little home of downtown Decatur, GA. I am wearing a sweater. And a scarf. Both of which make me so happy. I am not a hot weather girl. I am a boots, jackets, sweaters, scarves kinda girl. Today, on this very perfect 9th of October, I am releasing the next batch of songs that I worked on over the summer. When it was hot.

When I recorded the vocals in a hot warehouse storage/band practice area at night, because the sun had gone down and the heat of the day had dissipated for a bit. For the day. For a few hours.

Deke, my good friend, and my genius producer, constructed a little vocal booth out of blankets and a couple rolling walls. We would have a fan blowing in the booth in between takes to try and make it bearable for when I was in there. I can't listen to these songs now without remembering the heat and the late nights. The only time I will remember heat fondly, I think.

The song "Twine" with its green and white and its strings makes my heart swell.

"Lucille" was written after a particularly painful trip to NYC where I spent time with two different friends who were/are going through very difficult and/or growing (depending on how you look at it) times in their lives. Unrelated and yet not. Separate but always and ever together in these lyrics.

"Spanish Bombs" is a cover song from The Clash's "London Calling" album. I fell in love with this song after I was asked to cover it for an ATL Collective event last year. I suspect the Spanish in the song is most likely wrong but I chose to sing it true to how good ol' Joe originally sang it. I just chose to sing, "Oh my heart" at the end. Changing the Spanish to English to reiterate the beauty of the words. It really is a beautiful song. I just hope Joe isn't turning in his grave.

I sang the song "Sweet Hello" through 3 times. No stopping. No cutting and pasting of vocals. I think I ended up choosing the 3rd take. I wanted that song as close to real as possible.

I just got a notification on my phone that my parking ended. 5 minutes ago. Which, knowing my luck, means that a parking ticket officer fiend person, was standing there waiting on my time to end and is now gleefully dashing off a ticket to put on my windshield with a flourish.

I should go check.

In the meantime, please listen to my latest musical offering. I am already working on the next, and (for this project) last batch of songs. I'm hoping to release "The Hope and the Hurt" sometime in February.

Much love.

Music for my Mother

My mom would’ve been 57 years old this day, July 17th, 2012, and I dedicate this EP to her. You see, when she was here, all five feet and one inch of her, all red hair and freckles of her, all the slight lisp and spunk of her, I didn’t know to treasure her. I didn’t know so much. Come to think of it, I still don’t. Like a lot - don’t.

I didn’t know how [expletive deleted] young 36 years of age was; which was my mom's age when she died.

I didn’t know how hard it was to be a mom.

The Cracks and the Crevices :: Coming July 17th

Just letting you in on a little secret. Deke Spears and I have been holed up in the studio 3-4 days a week since the beginning of May weaving sounds around my little melodies; melodies made in moments stolen when small boys and a bit bigger boys have been sleeping. Quiet hallways and tip-toeing about, whispering lyrics to myself, and playing my Winter upright as softly as I could.

All You Want Is To Be A Rockstar

“All you want is to be a rock-star.”

“You suffer from delusions of grandeur.”

“You disdain motherhood.”

These three statements, made by a person I once called a friend, have reverberated in my head nearly everyday for six years. I allowed them to permeate my heart and there they festered and poisoned my self -esteem, my dreams, and my hopes. I let them. Heaven help me, I let them. I began to think that everyone saw me this way. That I was seen as a woman who was too much; who was too big; who wanted too much; who wanted more than I had a right to want.

This fact used to embarrass me. Why was I letting the words of this person bother me so much? Then I grew angry and I wanted an apology. But slowly, over time, I began to realize that these words were spoken by someone who didn’t understand me, who was riddled with their own insecurities and doubts, and, most likely, couldn’t stand to see someone think outside the box, to see someone decide to not be bound by what is expected of them. That’s when I began to feel empathy for this person. I thought about the idea of forgiving them. Then I thought about it some more.

Then I actually did.

All of a sudden I was free. Oh, it’s such a cliche isn’t it?

It’s true though, like most cliches always are.

A couple of blog posts ago I wrote about my time of solitude out at the Serenbe Farm near Palmetto, GA. It was there that I really wrestled through this. It was there that I had a bit of a break through over the fear and doubt that had been ruling me for so long. I allowed myself to rest. I offered myself some grace. Let myself off of the hook I had been re-hanging myself on everyday. I looked in the mirror and slowly, one by one, began to pull out those barbs that had settled so deeply into my heart.

I have always been a little afraid of the things that I think up. Since I was a little kid. The ideas that I have, oh boy - I have lots and lots and lots and lots of them. By afraid, I mean that I was afraid of what others would think of me if they knew what I dreamt about. I operated under a shroud of false-humility.  (Donald Miller has an incredible blog post about this. If you want to have your gluteus maximus kicked in a well written way, go read this ) I spent way too much time denying that I had big ideas, and big aspirations, and that I was talented, because one isn’t supposed to think that way. Somehow, (sadly mostly from the “church”. I’m pretty positive this pisses Jesus off big time) it was communicated to me that to believe in myself, to believe that I had a lot to offer, was wrong and vain.

When I got home from my respite at Serenbe, I noticed the manifestation of the time I had alone by the way my piano no longer mocked me when I walked past. It looked…friendly again. It wasn’t a reminder, a kind of remnant of what I used to do. Of what I used to love.  I sat down. Let my fingers wander over those familiar friends, those smooth white keys, and let the colours of the notes shyly step into my brain.

That was four months ago. I have written several new songs since then. Not all of them have been any good mind you, but they have been brought forth into the world. I have allowed myself to be creative again. I have allowed myself to dream big dreams again.

That is a big expletive deal.

Here’s the thing.

I got over myself.  I got over my dang ol’ silly self. I started thinking about the things I’ve said to friends of mine, who are seriously and amazingly talented (I’m thinking specifically of a conversation I had with my friend, Liz Chai), where I pretty much chastised her for not believing in herself. Where I said that she had so much talent, so much to give, and to stop comparing herself to other people who seemed to have it more together than she did.

Fuck Expletive ‘em” I said. “You are too good to hide behind doubt.”

I've been talking with my friend, Betsy, like I do, and she told me how she keeps a picture of herself at five years old up in her painting studio as a reminder to be that wide open. To be that alive. To be that free. It was in mulling over this conversation that I had a sudden revelation.

That I need to tell myself what I would tell myself if I wasn’t myself.

This is what came to mind when I decided to do that:

I am really, really, really, talented. I am good at a lot of things. And I should celebrate that. Not hide it. Why should I be ashamed of my talents? Why should I apologize for them? I have ideas of how to bring some beauty and wonder into this wide wide world; moments to sweep you away, dear reader. Moments to make you think. Moments to help you push through your past, to inspire you to create, to inspire you to fight off the same depression and shame that I have walked though. I want to do this because I need these things, too, not because I want any sort of accolades or admiration. Expletive that. I will do these things because I truly believe they have been placed in my heart by God to do. Ideas and dreams that will not be silenced any longer. And I want that for you, too. I really, really, really, do.

(I just used the word “really” six times. Just letting you know that I noticed it, too. And I’m leaving it that way so THERE.)

I will fail at some of them. Oh I will, I will. But I will not cower to that anymore. I will fail big. I will celebrate the losing. I will welcome the inevitable failings because, at the end of the day, I freakin’ TRIED.

Perhaps, you know, somebody, or lots of somebodies, will say that I suffer from delusions of grandeur.  Well then fine. If that’s the case then may I be deluded for the rest of my life.

At this moment I am sitting in small studio, on the Westside of Atlanta, literally one mile away from where, six years ago next month, so much pain was wrought in the community I was a part of. Because I made a choice to step outside of what was expected of me. I asked for a divorce from Phoenix’s father and chose to make a new path for myself. And people were pissed at me. However, out of that choice so much joy, and love, and growth, and hope, and life, and redemption, and FRUIT has been born. These songs reflect that. Some of them are old, from years ago, songs that I dusted off and welcomed back, and some that are so new they’re still teething. I can’t wait to share them with you.

I have made peace with the fact that I will never fit into normal. I am a messy-sparkly-clumsy-loud laughing-tight hugging-beautiful-slightly fluffy-funny-rubber faced-firecracker of a breath of fresh air.

Damn it all, I am PROUD of that. I've grown weary of shutting myself down because I just might make someone uncomfortable.

So now I ask of you, what are you hiding in yourself? What are you shutting down for a "someday"? What are you waiting for? Your children to get a little older? When you’ve lost some more weight? Who has told you that you are too much? Or, conversely, that you are not enough? (I think you’re allowed just a wee small moment of imagining that you’ve told them to go jump in a vast boiling lake. After that, though, you need to work on the forgiveness part. It’s kind of important. Just sayin’…) It just might be yourself telling you all these things and if that’s the case, may I suggest you do what I did.

Tell yourself what you would say to yourself if you weren’t yourself.

I dare you.

"All my life I had been looking for something, and everywhere I turned someone tried to tell me what it was.  I accepted their answers too, though they were often in contradiction and even self-contradictory.  I was naïve.  I was looking for myself and asking everyone except myself questions which I, and only I, could answer.  It took me a long time and much painful boomeranging of my expectations to achieve a realization everyone else appears to have been born with:  that I am nobody but myself." 

Ralph Ellison, "Battle Royal"

Whither Thou Goest



Six or so years ago now, my dear dear friend, Billy Somerville, had a side project going of the music he was writing that wasn't "corporate worship" related. The moniker that he went by was Cannonwill. Aside from the fact that he was (and is still) one of my very good friends, I loved his music. Just absolutely loved it. He wrote the song "Whither Thou Goest" at the end of 2005, perhaps the beginning of 2006. My iTunes file of the song shows a "Date Modified" of January 19, 2006 at 2:41 a.m.

Through a series of circumstances that perhaps one day I'll go into more detail about, Billy ended up living in Brooklyn, New York and is now well on his way to a Ph.D in Clinical Psychology. The smarty pants. Watching him go from a bright-eyed bushy tailed brilliant worship pastor/leader who basically started this church to an almost-in-a-couple-of-years Dr. Somerville in six years has been interesting and wonderful to say the least.

The last time I was in New York, back in February, he and I met up for breakfast before my flight home. We talked about a lot stuff. Some good things. Some painful things. You know, like you do when you talk with a good friend. We're both in such dramatically different places in our lives; so much has happened to both us. I don't know if I can speak for Billy, but I know that I find it so comforting to have a friend whom I've known for...14 years now? that has watched me walk through all kinds of wonderful moments and horrible moments and everything in between. I say all that to say that listening to Billy talk about the very different place that he is in his life brought back memories of the beautiful music he used to make. I don't know that he ever really plays like he used to. It's something that makes me profoundly sad on a lot of different levels.

I got on my plane that day with his song Whither Thou Goest looping through my head.

Here is Billy's original version of the song:'s Whither Thou Goest

It stayed with me for a couple of weeks, sashaying it's way around my brain, before I finally couldn't take it anymore and I messaged him, and asked if I could record it.

"Messing around with Whither Thou Goest for my album. Are you cool with that? Also, I've added more chords in the verses. Is that okay"

It's was somewhere around 1 a.m so I was surprised when he wrote back a few minutes later,

"Yes, of course! Do it to it."

So I sat down and banged this out at 1:30 a.m.

I'm seriously considering putting this on my new record. (Yes, my new record. I can't believe it either but I've got some song babies that need to be born. They've been gestating for WAY TOO LONG.)

Here is my version of Whither Thou Goest:'s Whither Thou Goest

Whither thou goest, I will go. Where you lead, I will follow.

You're a pillar of cloud by day, A pillar of fire by night, My eyes are trained to see you. I am listening for your voice. I've come too far now To be led astray. My ears long to hear you.

Lead on, lead on, I am right behind.

So, the question is...what do you guys think? I know, I know it's rough. And badly recorded, just try to listen past that if you don't mind.

Thanks for listening. And reading. Also, do me a favour, if you ever meet, or happen to know Billy already, tell him to get back to the guitar; back to the piano, and to not stop writing. I'd appreciate it.

"It is not only one person's work, it's really a partnership and collaboration during all these years." - Christo

Jericho in the Elysian Fields


A year or so ago manCHILD from Mars Ill asked Zack if he would take some pictures for a new project he was starting up called, "Who's Rhyme is it Anyway?" a combination of freestyle rapping and the improv show "Who's Line is it Anyway?

Here's a section from the About Us section:

"Freestyle. Improvisation. Unscripted. Unlimited. Whose Rhyme is it Anyway is all of the above. It’s what happens when a few top-flight rap artists have a little too much time on their hands and the desire to do something new.

Joining forces to create Whose Rhyme is it Anyway are five highly respected voices in Hip-Hop: Playdough, Manchild and Heath McNease with recent additions RedCloud and Cookbook. Each of these artists is an expert freestyle rhyme technician, skilled entertainer, and has a real heart for people.

From their shared expertise, the three wanted to create a new format to reach more people. Whose Rhyme is it Anyway does just that. Basing its format on the hit show, “Whose Line is it Anyway,” Whose Rhyme… is an evening of sketches, songs, comedy, and multi-level crowd interaction that a simple music concert could never achieve.

Freestyle rhyming has always been a major part of hip-hop. In the late ‘70’s, kids on the corner spontaneously put words together to pass the time, settle their differences, or just have a good time. Since those early days, freestyling has come to the forefront of pop culture, showcased in commercials for iconic brands like The Gap and McDonalds. With the release of Eminem’s blockbuster movie “8 Mile”, mainstream America got an inside look for themselves."

Zack was and is a huge manCHILD fan and said that he would absolutely do this shoot for them even though they had nary a budget to speak of. After the shoot he gave some copies of my albums to the guys. He is known to do this. ;-) He never told me that he had given copies to these guys though!

6 months or so later I received a Facebook message from Heath McNease, one of the members of "Who's Rhyme..." I'm ashamed to say that I didn't know who he was. He said he was a musician and that Zack had given him a copy of Songs To Sail By. He said he liked my music and that he really liked the song, Jericho. Would I be okay with him working it into his next album?

I looked him up, liked what I heard (Heath is amazingly talented. Truly. And I don't say things like that about anyone. It's hip-hop meets brilliant songwriting meets I don't even know what. It's great.) and readily agreed. I told him he could absolutely use the song and that I was looking forward to hearing what he came up with.

Flash forward to a couple of months ago. Out of the blue Heath writes to me, and says that the song is done. The subject line of the email read,

"Here's your song...our song? Haha..."

He gave me a download link.

I listened.

I got goosebumps.

I was hearing my song transformed into something entirely new and it blew me away. It was so cool to hear the art that I made taken and remolded into art that Heath made.

So. All that to say, Heath's entire album, Thrift Store Jesus, is now out and available. It's a name your own price album, so you could download it for free if you wanted to, but you would be way cooler if you gave a little something for it.

Here's a link to the album on Bandcamp:

Heath McNease :: Thrift Store Jesus

Here's a link to the song Elysian Fields:

Heath McNease :: Elysian Fields

Have at it my friends. Please support this man and his talent. He deserves it so so so much.

"A painter paints pictures on canvas. But musicians paint their pictures on silence." L. Stokowski

For Der Fotograf...

A gentleman on Twitter had requested a link to the song that Zack used on his short film Transform. If you haven't watched this yet, I highly encourage you to do so. Not just because he's my husband and I think he's a genius (which he is, he really really is) but because it truly is a beautiful work of art. I didn't know he was going to use this song until he showed me the film itself. The song was recorded during practice one night with my band back in 2007. Michael Westbrook laid down the brilliant guitar work that you hear and Noah Alexander, my drummer, did a little remixing of it. It turned out really lovely for something that started out in such a rough form.

Click below to listen to the song. If you'd like to download you can click the widget and you can download it on Soundcloud.

Thanks to @derfotograf1967 for spurring me on to share it again.

"All the windows of my heart I open to the day." - John Greenleaf Whittier

Show at Eddie's Attic on Feb. 1st!

'Tis true, friends.

I have a show. Rather I shall have a show. A show is on the horizon. I will eventually, in a matter of 9 days, step onto the stage at Eddie's Attic and attempt to play and sing songs in a pleasing manner.

I think I clarified that enough, yes?

I'm the opener for Erick Baker and Mieka Pauley, two very talented musicians. Erick is actually managed by my old manager and she has pretty good taste in music. I mean, she managed ME at one point, so that's good. Heh heh. ;-)

As you can see, I am the guest that is special. I'm just grateful that the word special wasn't put into quotation marks.

If you live in the Atlanta area I would be honoured if you made your way to Decatur and up the stairs to Eddie's Attic, found a cozy table, ordered some ridiculously good food to nosh on and opened yourself up to a night of good music. I mean I'm really thinking of you here. Thinking of your well being. You very well might NEED this. Who doesn't need attic stairs, cozy tables, yummy food and music? No one I want to know, that's who.

I'm looking forward to seeing your lovely faces.

(In case you missed the link up there you can go to and purchase your tickets there. Thanks!)

"And the night shall be filled with music,
And the cares that infest the day
Shall fold their tents like the Arabs
And as silently steal away."

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

The Voice, or, how I auditioned for a reality T.V. show and lived to tell about it...

This past Friday I spent nigh on 5 hours of my life standing in line for an experience that lasted all of 7 minutes. Maybe. I never auditioned for American Idol. I never wanted to. Granted there were a lot of people who said that I should, or asked me why I hadn't, or asked me if was going to, or asked me why I wouldn't, but it simply wasn't something I ever thought was for me.

"I'm not a pop singer. And I feel more comfortable playing an instrument anyway. And I don't have the 'look'."

I don't think I ever replied exactly like that. I have, for your benefit, condensed it down to what I think I might've said had one caught me on a day where I had had enough sleep, lunch and coffee all in the same day. Which never happens.

Then, this year, The Voice sauntered its way onto our television screen.

The first time a commercial for the show came on Zack turned to me and said,

"You should totally be on that show."


"Oh c'mon. With American Idol you were always saying that they picked a lot of those people based on their looks. Here it's not even an option."

I shrugged. But secretly I was interested.

From that point on, it seemed that every time the commercial for the show, or the actual show was on (Yes, we watched it. Yes, we were rooting for Dia.) either Zack or Caleb or Phoenix would turn to me and say,

"You should try out for this show."

At first it was cute. Then it grew to a level of annoyance that, upon them even turning my way, I would narrow my eyes and scrunch up my mouth really tight, like one of those old people faces made out of pantyhose.

Then came the announcement that they were CASTING! FOR SEASON TWO!

"Do you think you've got what it takes?"


I chewed the inside corner of my lip. Ran my tongue over my front teeth. Scratched my nose. Yawned.

The thought I was trying to suppress wriggled out from underneath the weight of my subconscious and ran smack into my not subconscious and lay there gasping for breath for a moment. Every other thought that was vying for my attention - Desire For Chocolate, Do I Need To Pee, Is that Hawke I Hear, I Really Should Have Drunk More Water Today Why Didn't I Drink More Water, When Vincent Van Gogh Cut Off His Ear Did It Affect His Hearing All That Much Really And Could He Have Potentially Grown His Hair Long To Hide It - all stopped and stared.

"Maybe!", it squeaked out finally.

"Maybe what?", I replied. In my head.

All the other thoughts swiveled their attention back to the tiny squeaky thought.

"Maybe you have what it takes."

I stared at it for a moment. Raised my eyebrow. You know, in my head. Because I have eyebrows inside my head, too.

"I should be kicking you out right about now. However. You may stay."

"Thank you very much. May I have some water now, please? And a nap?"

Shortly after that I found myself on The Voice website. Then I was signing up for an Artist Login that made everything feel very official.

August 5th.

I kept it a secret for a little while. Then I showed Zack the email.

"Whoa-hoh!", he said. “Good for you! This is gonna be awesome.”

I told my family. I told my counselor. I told a couple of close friends.

There was a point where what song exactly I should audition with became a big deal. At one point Zack was scrolling through the top 100 songs on iTunes trying to find a popular song for me to learn. I was scoffing at his suggestions.

“I”m telling you,” he said, “this is a pop show. You’re gonna have to learn pop songs.”

I don't listen to the radio. Everything on the Top 100 list was crap. I think I recognized maybe three artists? Maybe six. But I wouldn't know the songs. At all. Is this good? I dunno. I'm woefully ignorant of current culture. This either means that I am very cool or that I am getting old.

I ended up narrowing it down to three songs that I love to sing, pretty much all the dang time:

Hallelujah by Leonard Cohen One by Harry Nilsson All I Need Is Everything by Over the Rhine

These are very popular with myself.

Friday, August 5th, rolled around. I got up. Got the boys off to school. Zack left for the studio. Caitlin, my little sister, showed up at 10am to help me with Hawke and I crawled back in bed.

I laid there and stared at the ceiling.

Do I really want to do this?

I had been sent an email with my "OFFICIAL ARTIST AUDITION PASS". There was even an audition time on it. 2pm. I was to print it out and bring it with me, along with my photo ID.

Do I really want to do this?

I said that I would.

But I could totally go to a bookstore and write and read and have some coffee and spend that time on something FUN.

And that's when I knew that I didn't really want this. But that I should do it anyway, because I said that I would. And who knows? Maybe. And if “maybe” then maybe I would want it.

If you like me I'll like you. Or something like that.

Zack came to pick me up at 1:30pm to take me downtown to AmericasMart. It's this humongous group of three buildings that I had never been in before. Twenty-nine years that I’ve lived in this town and I don't think I've ever been inside AmericasMart. After having been there now, I'm okay with the fact that I wasn't, or hadn't, before. Did that make sense? Possibly. I'm going to go with it.

I was a wreck on the way there. I was picking a fight and word stabby.

"Do I look okay?"

"YES! Of course! You look beautiful!"

"Well, you didn't say anything when I got in the car and I didn't want to ask but because you never tell me I look nice I had to ask. AGAIN. I just want you to notice me blah blah blahasdaoruitqhrigaosidgnaorihghrgoaidgablahblahblah...."

This is where I would like to walk up to myself in this remembering of it and punch myself in the head.

Who is the biggest dramatic dumb dork right now?

Raises hand. Me. I am. Hi. Where’s my trophy?

Zack dropped me off at the corner of Peachtree Street and Harris. Kissed me.

"Good Luck. I love you."

I got out and walked to the first entrance I saw with the AmericasMart sign on it.

A woman was standing just inside the door. She took one look at me and said,

"The Voice?"


"Go back out, turn right, turn right at the light, turn right again and you'll see the line."

"Ack. Okay. Thanks."

I turned right one block too early, ended up walking the long way 'round and finally, FINALLY, found myself at the back of the line.

I passed so many people walking to the back of that line. They all stood there, hearts practically hanging out of their chests, every kind of person one could imagine, the hope and longing was so strong the buildings were humming with it, it was coming off of them like heat waves on pavement.

Speaking of heat waves it just so happened to be about 98 degrees outside that day. Positively balmy. I was so pleased to feel my shower freshness disappear into the rivulets of sweat running down my back. I practically heard my hair declare, "Well sh*t. I give up."

I won’t go into detail about the girl behind me who was going on and on about her recording deals and how she’s worked with so and so and been with him and her and them and those guys. When a man with a microphone walked by the line and said,

“Who wants to sing on the radio?”, she squealed and yelled, “I do!”

She was pretty, and tall, and because she sang A LOT, I can tell you that she had a decent voice. I finally couldn’t take hearing her talk about her anymore and put earbuds in and proceeded to listen to The Boxer Rebellion. This made me look strange, I’m sure, as they seem to cause me to launch into a lot of really bad air drumming. Fortunately the line was moving relatively quickly and soon I was inside of a loading bay area of some kind. The line snaked around 5 times before it finally led back outside.

This was in the last bit of the line before heading back outside.

The entrance.

Then, blissfully, I was being ushered into the actual inside of the nirvana of air conditioning. A big burly man checked my ID against my audition pass, a nice lady checked the content of my bag.

"Oooh. You brought yo'self a orange! It's kinda small doh ain't it?"

"It's a clementine."

"A whut?"

"A clementine."

"Oh yeah! I had one uh deez before. I jus' figure if I'm going to eat a peez o' fruit I gon' get a big one! You fine. Go on up the 'scalator."

Up the escalator I went. And up. And up. Then there was a wide open space with just a huge banner at the end. As if to say, This show is such a big deal we are going to devote this entire space just for this banner.

And yet another escalator. Then another wide open room with twelve lines. Six on one side and six on the other. A nice man directed me to the left lines,

"Pick from lines 2-6. Whichever is shortest."

I picked line number 4. Stood. Waited. About two and half hours had passed since Zack had dropped me off. Waited.

A girl asked me,

"Do you know what's going on up there?"

I shook my head. Nope. All I could see a ways up was a long table. With people sitting at it, looking official and stuff.

Finally I sat down on the floor, peeled my clementine, drank my water and pulled out my book, “Bird by Bird” by Anne Lamott. One of my favourites. If you’re fond of reading you should go read it. Right now. Go on. Get out out of here.

I was munching away on some cashews, blissfully reading, when one fell down into the dark abyss of my cleavage. I looked around to see if anyone was looking in my direction. Should I go fishing for it? Would it seem I was getting my jollies? Or would people think, Oh look. She must’ve accidentally dropped a bit of cashew into her mammary crevasse. I debated. I went for it. Right then a woman in the line next to me leaned over and said,

"Do you go to Trinity?"

I whipped my hand out and made a big show of brushing off the front of my dress.

"Not anymore. But I used to!"

Dear God. Please let her have not noticed that I was trying to stave off the potential cashew butter in my bra.

We struck up a conversation until my line started moving faster than hers and the people around us were becoming visibly annoyed. I said I'd find her on Facebook and then realized too late that I didn't know her last name. (She found me though. Hi Paige!)

When I got up to the table I was given a blue wristband by a girl who was so bored I almost reached over to prop her chin up for her.

Someone else directed me to the right side of the room where another person showed me to a row of ten chairs. There were about 40 rows of 10 chairs on the left side of the room and the same on the right side where I was. All were full or being filled. Across the room people were erupting into cheers and everyone on “my” side of the room quickly gathered it was because a row of people were being directed someplace else. The rows around mine sort of started to bond. Singing and dancing and laughing. I was texting the "play by play" as it were to my family and a couple of close friends.

At one point my dear Jenny R. messaged me,

"Just remember; they cannot eat you. No matter what."

and then,

"Oh geez. This is worse than a Shamalayanamama film. Whatever his name is."

My sisters were telling me that I had this. No problem.

I wasn’t so sure.

Betsy told me she was sending a Chocolate Prayer Cupcake with Holy Spirit Sprinkles.

That made me hungry.

The rows across from me were being ushered out of the room. Everyone started to get louder as their nerves began fraying.

Finally my row was asked to line up and we followed a girl up another escalator to...

More rows of chairs.


In the bathroom girls were primping and doing vocal exercises.

"If you sing the melody but while blowing your lips it will help warm you up."


"Do re mi fa so la ti do! Do ti la so fa mi re do!"

Another half hour later a woman counted out ten of us in sequence and led us to a wide hallway with rooms on either side, all with signs, all with ten people standing outside, all with gray carpeted doors, all with a human being wearing a headset standing outside.

I was waiting outside of room A2. Waiting. You know. Because that is what life was about now, it seemed. I was going to wait, being led up different escalators to sit in rows of chairs, to then stand outside of doors until I could no longer remember what I was waiting for exactly. Just a mind numbing series of halls and white walls and...


The ten of us, now my treasured companions in this saga, watched as the people who were in the room came out, a bit dazed looking, and had their blue wristbands cut off. But there were only eight people. We were whispering now. "Only EIGHT." Rather the other nine were whispering. I was quiet.

The door was closed again. Then an adorable couple came out. He of the black hair, she of the perfect waves and fedora hat. They were each holding a red piece of paper in one hand and each others hand in the other. A man seemingly appeared out of nowhere and instructed them to head down the hall. The rest of us, lined up like cattle, watched in wonder, some even started to applaud, as they walked further into the building towards the glowing light of promise. Which was probably a window or something, but from where I stood, it looked an awful lot like promise. But I’ve been mistaken about that before. Sometimes promise is found under a rock, or buried in ivy, or inside old warehouses. Or inside me.

I digress.

We handed over our audition passes to our headsetted human being and then walked through the door into a drab, boring, gray room. There, at a folding table, the kind one finds in any church fellowship hall anywhere ever, sat the casting director. Next to her sat another woman wrapped in a blanket. I suppose she was cold. We had been told outside that the casting director was the main director for the show. The head honcho. Great. You know, no big deal or anything.

We sat in the chairs provided and the Head Honcho Casting Lady lifted up the first audition pass and called out the first name.

It began.

A girl with a church voice.

A girl with a small quavery voice.

There was only one guy in our group. A nice looking man with a white "doorag" on his head that was then topped with a white ball cap with the tag still on it. I found myself wondering why he was wearing both. Had he forgotten that he had already put on the rag...of...doo? Was his head prone to getting cold? Did he realize the tag was still on his hat? It was dangling near his ear, did it bother him? His name was Wayne? Leroy? I don't remember now. He sang. It was...okay. I noticed he had to adjust his key lower when he got to the chorus. I wasn't impressed.

One girl just talked for a couple of minutes. She couldn't start. Finally she launched into Adele's "Rolling in the Deep". Her voice was nice but she cracked several times. I inwardly winced for her.

One little girl, and I mean little because she was...tiny...short and little, with white cowboy boots and bleach blonde hair, got up and sang Etta James "At Last". She had a good voice, it was strong and as she sang her whole body moved and swayed. One could tell that she loved to sing.



I walked to the white line marked out on the floor. Actually I kind of clomped over to the line because my foot had conveniently fallen asleep.

All I could hear in my head was,

"Daisy, Daisy sour cream. Fresh and tasty naturally, a dip for you and a dollop for me, Daisy just goes with family so do a dollop do do a dollop of Daisy..."

I stared at the very very gray drab walls. I looked at the two poor ladies who had been sitting there for God knows how long.

"How many times have you heard "Hallelujah" by Leonard Cohen today?", I croaked out. I was going to woo them with my charm. I was going to just charm their socks right off.

"Uh...not very many times.", the H.H.C.L. was looking over some papers in front of her.

"Well, that's what I'm going to sing for you then!" and I smiled and twisted back and forth a bit. And then launched into it.

Then I sat down.

A couple more people sang.

Then the H.H.C.L. asked the little girl in the white cowboy boots to sing something else.

"Something current. Off of the radio. Something country perhaps? I'm looking at your cowboy boots and assuming country?"

The girl looked dumbstruck.

"Uh. I dunno. I mean, I know some songs but..."

"What was your back up song?"

"Amazin' Grace."

The director shook her head.

"How Great Thou Art?"

Again, shaking of the head.

"I can sing another Etta James song?"

"No, no. You're a young girl, what kind of artist do you want to be? Do you have anything? Anything current at all?"

"I could sing Rolling in the Deep, I guess, but that girl just sang it.", and here she gestured over to my side of the room.

"That's okay. Just sing that."

So she did. But I could tell she was focusing more on trying to remember the words than really sing. She did fine. The H.H.C.L. looked over at the woman in the blanket. They shrugged.

I thought to myself, if they ask me to sing something current I'm hosed. I was going through every song I could think of that I thought could work and found that I was looping through a mixture of songs from The Cure, The Boxer Rebellion, Aimee Mann and the Daisy Sour Cream jingle. I was royally screwed.

But the H.H.C.L. never even looked my way.

She looked at the guy.

"Wayne," (I'm calling him that 'cause I can't remember his name) "keep your phone on. If you don't hear from me by 8pm tonight that means you're not through. I'm marinating on you. Everyone else, thanks so much for your time. Have a nice weekend."

And just like that, we were done.

The little girl in the white cowboy boots was devastated. Her eyes were already pooling with tears by the time we reached the escalators. She was wearing coloured contacts, they were a very brilliant shade of royal blue and that, mixed with her tears, made her eyes look like glass marbles. I reached out and touched her on the arm.

"You did a great job."

She nodded soundlessly, already on her phone, trying to keep it together. I hurt for her.

Down down down the escalator.

Out out out the door.

I sent out a text to my family,

"I'm kind of shocked at how disappointed I am."

And I was.

It was 7:30 when I walked out of the doors and into reality again. Out to the sight of a man digging through the garbage cans across the street looking for food. Back out to the reality of the heat. Back out to the sight of tourists squinting at signs telling them that they were where they were but where was that exactly? Here. You are here. At this red dot.

The ground outside AmericasMart was littered with discarded hope. I could imagine the feeling of it around my ankles, like kicking through leaves, fluttering and a bit crunchy, already brittle. I folded my hope up. Tucked it behind my ear to look at later. Right then I needed to call Zack. Right then I needed to figure out where in the H-E-double hockey sticks I could get my hands on a good margarita.

A big one.

I ended up getting my margarita. I haven't looked too closely at my hope yet. It's safe though. It's sitting quietly on my bed side table at the moment. I suppose I'll pick it up in time for the ATL Collective show this Wednesday at Eddie's Attic. I'll sing my heart out through the songs of The Clash. I'll bring my hope out on stage with me and give it some room to breathe.

It's 3:45am and I should go to bed. So, Goodnight then, gentle readers.

"Hope is that thing with feathers that perches in the soul and sings the tune without the words and never stops... at all."

~Emily Dickinson