Amy Rigby should win a Grammy because her songs remind me of Claude Monet, only not in French and not in paintings, but songs that have a lot of complex impressions.
So, Saturday, after speaking at the TAEYC, I went to Cactus Cafe, where I was happy to see our old friend, Griff, who isn’t really old, but you know what I mean. He looks very handsome and I think he is getting very healthy, so that is good news. If you love Griff like I love Griff, you want him to be healthy. In fact, I just want the whole dang world to be healthy. Ok, but I digress.
Actually, I went to the Cactus after eating with Lance at Madam Maams, where we ran into Gretchen and Anne, and that was a delight because we told them we were going over to Cactus to see Amy and then they came over later and joined in the jubilee. Gretchen sings on my new album, and might I add, wow. She does this keening on one of the songs that will break your heart. Although, I don’t really want your heart to break, I want you to stay healthy, see?
So, back to Amy. She finally figured out who I was in the dark (we’d only met one other time, also in the dark, at the Saxon Pub when I went with my friend, Corinna, to hear Amy and her band. Of course, back then, she couldnt’ see me because of all the SMOKE, but we don’t have to worry about that anymore thanks to the new no-smoking ordinance being passed! Hooray!)
and called me up to the stage. I love Amy’s hair. She always looks like she just got out of bed. Out of bed with Joey Ramone!
She is so rock and roll. Her energy is incredible, and especially, alone, just her and her guitar. Zoom! She shakes and jumps and her voice floats out in this scratchy, almost nervous, but right on target…strong and animated…she is the total girl rocker. And she can be silly one minute and then take you to this zen, sad place…sort of like Jeff Buckley could do, only from a feminine perspective.
Then, on Monday, after she was on KUT with John Aielli, we went to lunch, and I really enjoyed getting to hear about her life and what she is doing and where she has been and how she has gotten there and her daughter and what it is like for her to be a woman musician.
I have to say, she is one of the reasons that I started thinking about “Motherlode”. I started thinking about how hard it is for us women to make music, to live our dream, to have children and a home and do this zillion little detail oriented things (groceries, laundry, cleaning, cooking, kids to school, kids back from school, PTA, volunteering for animal rights, book drives, finding time to write songs and help with homework….) because, as women, no one thinks much of our dreams. Many, many women have had to put their dreams on hold, and that’s deemed. by society, as alright. That is where my song, “Living in Quiet Desperation” came from. A place of feeling like I didn’t make much difference in this world as “just” a mother. And how sad that is when you think of all the war and destitution in this world…the song seemed kind of silly, and yet, a quiet, small sort of sadness is sadness just the same. It isn’t grandiose, but that feeling of wanting to live your dream but living someone elses….that can be a lonely existence, too.
I think about how many men can continue touring and making music because they have the support of a wife at home, running the house and bringing up the babies (and many times, running their business for them, too)….how many men can say they stayed home to watch the children while a woman hit the road to make their music? I, thankfully, can say that I have a strong, loving husband who WANTS to be a dad, who doesn’t think of it as “babysitting”, who thinks of being with the children as a joy and an honor and who can handle the laundry 10, 000 times better than me. Yet, we still have help to run the business; it is a big job.
There are myriads of phone calls and emails and setting up meetings to push the album or set up a tour or getcha picture taken for a Naked calendar, etc. etc. And Teresa is doing an excellent job. She has turned this office inside and out and placed her entire being into helping with the whole she-bang.
And, so, I can’t stop my dream. I’ve tried, when I was exhausted beyond belief, when I figured: what does it matter? Who am I?
When depression or fear or just plain hopelessness took over, and I tried to step aside, this thing inside me will not stop. The music just comes and it has to go somewhere outside of me.
And that is how it is for Amy. And that is how it is for Jane Siberry. And Gretchen Phillips. And Perla Battalia….and millions of other women who continue to make their music and share their visions with the world. We move out into that light and share what is our voice and hope to make the world a better place. Not for the money or the fame or the glory, but because it is a right, as a human being, to release the gifts that are born with in us….To push for the best one can be through art and music and poetry and dance and let our children see….each person’s gift is important….it adds to the world! It brings thought and care and a tickle and a love to a place that might need that touch. Oh, I so love watching my children develop their gifts; watching their passion increases mine!
It is a circle of jubilation, this creating puzzle.
So, I taught all about Claude Monet to Lily’s third grade class yesterday. That was a bounty of expression! Later, I took all the portraits of Monet (they had one minute to sketch him) and all the landscapes with reflections (chalk, construction paper, water bottle mist…) and the poster about “How to Spot a Monet” and gingerly carried them to the entrance hallway of the school.
I loved each piece of art as I carefully adhered them to their spaces.
As I walked by this morning, to place posters for the cake walk and the photo booth for carnival around the halls, I stopped by this new shrine for Claude. And I smiled. Yesterday morning: nothing on the walls. Today, a vision of children’s belief in themselves.
What their hands brought to life certainly makes a sunrise rise in my heart each time I float by, stopping to notice another
chalkmark, another determined flash of the pencil.