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Single words setlist for The Ark virtual concert tomorrow 4/17 (register here)

At the end of the show we'll randomly select an audience member
and ship them a merch item of their choice 

Green is finding its way back to our place. The falling away of winter replaced with the rise of spring. New growth where death slept for a spell, reminding me of the circle of things.

When January rolled around in its own calendarly circle, we were excited that our friend and spectacular human, musician, and songwriter Peter Mulvey, who we were already patrons of on Patreon, was adding a new option for his community—a songwriting club. A weekly songwriting club. Participating in two different monthly songwriting groups already, what’s another weekly group, right? More songs! Have I mentioned I have an overcommitment problem?

So we of course changed to that option, and embarked on a beautiful journey that has been a great reminder that showing up is what’s important. Continuing to do the work. Sometimes things that won’t ever be sung on a stage fall to the page, but that’s all part of it. Like water in a winter pipe, you have to keep it flowing so it doesn’t stop. There are weekly prompts of some sort, ranging in specificity and field of view, and always encouragement.

For one of the weeks in January, the prompt was “let’s pretend” and by the time I sat down to work on it, I had 4 days left, which felt a bit paralyzing. So I fell into the (bad) habit of doing something that felt more productive and possible for a few minutes…checking email and trying to clean out the inbox a bit. That led to me skimming through a weekly 5-bullet Friday newsletter from Tim Ferriss, which led to me clicking on, and then reading, a New York Times opinion piece on death that he linked to, written by a hospice and palliative medicine physician. A link to the full article it is here if you’re interested, but the part that really stuck with me was:

“But your death is not the end of your body. The chemical bonds that held you together at the molecular level continue to break in the minutes and months after you die. Tissues oxidize and decay, like a banana ripening. The energy that once animated the body doesn’t stop: It transforms. Decay from one angle, growth from another.

Unfettered, the decay process continues until all that was your body becomes something else, living on in others — in the grass and trees that grow from where you might come to rest, and from the critters who eat there…Even after interment or cremation, your atoms remain intact and scatter to become other things, just as they pre-existed you and became you.

The thought of there being a certain number of atoms in the universe that just keep shifting between things was a beautiful realization for me. And the poetry of how he put it was a gentle nudge to get back to work.

Over the next 4 days I felt like a kid obsessed with a new game or toy or anyone unable to put a book down…captured by some external thing that corrals your brainwaves like a border collie. I holed up at my desk, space heater blasting, feeling like I couldn’t keep up with thoughts that were showing up. I just wrote them down. I didn’t know exactly where I was going, but there was a sense that I would, eventually, if I just kept letting things out. They came out in our morning object writing too—the piece shared down below was in the middle of this time. Surrounded by pages of scribbles, I did start to learn what the song was telling me, and I told it as best I could.

Songs don’t come out of me in nearly finished form that fast very often. Little changed in the lyric after I turned it in for the group, besides the dropping of a few words here and there that weren’t necessary, or changing a word or two slightly. Songs are fragile things, and it’s always important to be gentle with them so you don’t accidentally kill them with your attention, but it seems especially true when a song comes quick and deep like this one did. So we’ve been carefully revisiting it over the last 3 months to find out how it should be shaped. How it could be arranged to best tell the story. We moved some verses around, abbreviated the final chorus, changed some phrasing things, and came up with what felt like a thousand iterations of a melody line for the final two lines of the chorus. Pete did his magic with his banjo and his harmonies. And then a perfectly beautiful day fell upon us early last week, and our yard was asking to be the backdrop for a video. So we obliged. 

You can watch a snippet of that video for “Pigeons” here.

We shared the full version with our Patreon community last week, and we’ll also be performing the song tomorrow (Saturday) night at our virtual concert for The Ark, which starts at 8pm EDT (register here). 
// Music & Merch //

We shared our new song "Pigeons" over at Patreon last week.
Here's a snippet of the video. We'll play it live at our 4/17 show.
Learn about early & exclusive access at Patreon

Web store is always open!

In addition to our CDs and poetry books, you can order T-shirts, tote bags,
and personalized handwritten lyrics or poetry.

In love with this calf's ears and curiosity. 
OE Unedited
This is the section where we share an unedited journal entry or object write. 
(Object writing is a daily 10 minute writing exercise, where you write to a particular object in a sensory stream of consciousness kind of way. You can read more about it here.)
Object write topic: log 

fire flashes like lightning 
across the log 
lying with its fallen family
releasing their energy as comfort

the lower pieces that have been in longer
glow in fits and starts
like cooking coals on a far off beach

my eyes mesmerized by their dance
and the heat
falling into a half-dream hollow

pops and cracks and sizzles 
make it warmer
the way a movie score
makes a scary scene scarier

seed to tree to branch blown down
to wood on the rack
select the ones that seem ready to leave
in service of the circle of things
shining their potential
until they’re only atoms and ash

i scoot my chair closer to the dying fire
Sat, April 17 - 8:00pm EASTERN - Register here
Concert (virtual) - hosted by The Ark in Ann Arbor, MI
*At the end of the show we'll randomly select an audience member and ship them a merch item of their choice ❤️

Sun, April 18 - 2:00 - 3:30 pm CENTRAL - Facebook OR YouTube
Sundays with Mary - honored to be guests of Mary Gauthier & Jaimee Harris
As always, feel free to hit reply and say hello, or let us know if there is something in particular you'd like to see in our newsletters. Thank you for your support!

See you down the road (one of these days),
Crystal & Pete (who is wondering when we will eat lunch, but sends his love)
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