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Morning mug. 

If you're mainly looking for upcoming live streaming shows and want to skip ahead, click here.

Deep brown, nearly black coffee was flying through the air as if I’d just said something that my mug thought was hilarious. 

But it was simply my clumsiness while trying to juggle a guitar in my lap, attend to something on my computer that was perched on the end table next to my coffee, and have a conversation with Pete. It was happening so fast there wasn’t really time to respond—whatever my body was doing was a reaction, a reflex. 

There were three things in danger of being permanently altered in those beloved old Gibson that belonged to my grandfather, my computer that contains many things that are very likely not backed up, and the vessel that once contained the leaping coffee, a short and stout earth-toned owl mug given to me by my grandmother one sunny afternoon in her little leaning kitchen. It was an interesting exercise to retrace what my brain and body did in those moments. 

Seems that my brain was instantly able to assess that the guitar was safe given my firm grip on it and the trajectory of the coffee, so it got a mental checkmark and I was able to quickly shift focus. I then flailed my legs out trying to break the fall of my steadfast morning mug. A gift given because my grandmother could see how much I loved it when I used it. “Take it” she had said, with her whole face smiling. Always happy to make someone else happy. My computer on the other hand, never crossed my mind. Even with a history of having a full glass of wine spilled across a computer the night before I would be giving an hour-long presentation (from said computer) to a group of colleagues in my past life. 

In most situations, I believe it’s better to take the time to respond, rather that react. Constant reaction without research and thought leads us down messy, diverging roads. But like everything, it can be overdone. I am great at that—overanalyzing and overthinking—but it can lead to taking no action at all. 

In those moments yesterday I didn’t have time to think anything through. What I did came from my gut. What I felt connected to, and what felt important to me, was what I instinctively protected. It reminded me that reaction has a role. It’s truth-telling. 

As songwriters we come to trust our internal reactions and to listen to our gut when writing, but once the thought of sharing work enters the picture, it’s easy to flip to the overanalytical side. Is it ready? Could we play/sing/perform it better? While those are important questions, and ones that we ask in order to keep us from putting out stuff that needs to stay in the notebook, vulnerability is important too.  As is a reaction to want to share a new song because it expresses what we think others might be feeling right now too—exploring a place we are all finding ourselves.  

The other day I went inside our house, opened the junk drawer next to the stove, pulled out a scrap of paper and a sharpie, and drew this.

This Venn diagram felt like a map for that moment, and many since. In writing through it, I learned that that middle section has a name. 

Last week our patrons over at Patreon got the first raw video of the song that came from writing through where we’re finding ourselves.  But it feels right to share it with everyone right now, no matter how new it is. So after our livestream last night, in the last of some beautiful light, we got the video below.

Thank you for being a part of our community, for being my guitar and my mug, for being what I feel connected to and what feels important.
// Music & Merch //

Latest video: It's OK to Be Here

We’ll be singing this song and others as part of a virtual concert through the Philadelphia Folksong Society May 9th. Details here.
Learn about early & exclusive access at Patreon
We've expanded our web store!

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

Our dogs will not remember how to be road dogs.
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.)
(Found this one from last November that feels appropriate, and also illustrates how far from the “object” many of these end up being. They are truth-tellers too.)

Object write topic: floodlight

squawk of a hawk in a tree behind the house
just out of sight
giving himself away
warning and waiting
watching with eyes that can see like floodlights

i shift in my chair
belly full and feet sore from a day of travel
humid air hangs on the screens of the porch
like a raccoon looking for crumbs

it’s not too hot, not chilly
just a perfect nearly still place
that i’ve missed in a hotel room
inside a winter city

an owl cluck-whos just beyond
where the trees team up into a forest
hidden like a hawk
magic like a dream
wisdom in the leaves
rustling in the overcast afternoon

i reach my hand to my mug
a cartoonish owl painted and always watching
patient and always wanting
to be what i need it to be
Note: For fans of this section, my poetry book Words to Read is available here

Philadelphia Folksong Society Concert
Sat, May 9th, 8:00pm EDT
 - Register to attend here
This will be a full concert hosted through a private Facebook group with the option to attend a Zoom Q&A session at the end :)

May Soirée at The Warming House
Tues, May 26th, 4:00pm CDT 
- Will be live on FB here
We'll be interviewed by Brianna Lane from The Warming House and play a few songs.
(They will be doing this at the same time every day this month with a different artist!)

Kansas Public Radio Trail Mix Concert
Thurs, May 28th, 7:00pm CDT
 - Register to attend here 
This will be a full concert hosted through a private YouTube Live link.
Note: You do not need a YouTube account to watch, but you do need one (doesn't need to have any content) if you'd like to comment, which is always more fun. 

Isis Music Hall Virtual Concert
Sat, May 30th - Details coming soon

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, 
Crystal & Pete (who is hoping I will make dinner soon, but sends his love)
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