Tuesday, November 6, 2012


July 19th.
One of the happiest days of my life.

In a room with open windows, in the middle of the day, and kind nurses and good doctors and my love and my mom there, my new little girl arrived.  Arrived sounds so passive.  We worked hard together, and I gave birth!

And there was an amazing 3 days of just bliss, of meeting this little person that is my daughter, seeing the knees and the fingers that I felt in my belly, kissing her face, seeing her.  And then the complications of life, of easing her into our family, of hormones and healing and cooking and cleaning and visiting and sleeping and crying.  Life is good and it is everything. Hard and wonderful.

Relief. She is here.  She is here!! She is a love, a dear, beautiful, solid girl.  I am sooo happy to meet her and hold her, kiss her, know her.

And mothering is the most satisfying and most CHALLENGING job I have ever had.  It's growing me up.  I miss, oh I miss, playing the piano at will, hours on end of listening, tweeking, making sounds, or just easily reading a poem or taking a shower!  Of coarse I miss it. 

But these days don't come back, these days of tiny fingers holding my hands, of goofy smiles and peels of laughter, of hugs and comfort and such love.  Music comes from these days, music is these days too.  And the time will come back, and I will love it more than ever.  I so look forward to cherishing those hours again, and excited to play from so much love.

I do get to sit down to play, I play for my girls, my parakeet, my husband, guests, at spur of the moments, and everyone is happy, and then it becomes a duet with my 3 year old who loves to play too!  I sing all the time because that's just how I am.

And ideas brew,  and an acceptance of my heart grows, I think that songs will flow from not trying so hard.  I watch the clouds from the rocking chair where I nurse, they are different every day. Each day is so lovely and different in the sky, each day a gift. 

I am so excited to share the songs I wrote for my first baby, my Otto. Songs of love and death, love after death, love in spite of it. They are ready, and I am waiting for the ripe time to release it.  In the next few months.  I am so proud of them.

Monday, May 14, 2012


I'm seven months pregnant.

Mother's day was yesterday, a mix of beautiful roses from our yard, a sweet card from my two year old girl, pink crayon. She comes to my bed, drawing on it and says "I making a present for you." The dearest. 

Swirls of hormones, tired, a baby really growing in my body, a visit to the memorial park to see my son's stone, so many tears, so much love and so much sadness. I could have sat there all day, looking at his name, the bright roses my mom brought from her yard, the yearning of my heart to hold him.

And home-made ice cream from Screamin Mimi's, because it's one of the best things ever invented and we must live and enjoy good things.  Plus they gave out free sundaes to mamas.

And home now, the quiet of naptime, listening to mixes John is sending from the songs we just recorded. Listening with my husband for the balances, how it comes across, and tears streaming because these songs are naming our love and heartache.  We listen and cry.

Today on NPR a man was on who records sounds of nature, birds and ants and sea anenomes and beavers.  He said something like, you know they say a picture is worth a thousand words?  Well a sound is worth a thousand pictures. 

Sounds bring me to places.  In my heart, into the universe.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Recording at Secret Society in Portland

The beautiful upright grand at Secret Society

My sister Grace (Mojave Bird) taking some pics

The red carpets, kind people, soft rain outside, soft lighting, made for such an easy and beautiful space to record these songs.  The piano's sound was so full, and the strings and hammers were right at my chest and head, so I was surrounded in these beautiful tones, and the touch of the keys was so easy to play, even the low notes were easily coaxed with quiet notes.  

I set up my space with pictures of all my 3 children, my sweet Otto, the baby in the belly (ultrasound) and Luna in her zebra costume.  A bundle of sage, bringing me back to the days I lit it all the time for peace and survival in heavy grief.  There was so much love all around these songs. I listen to them now and am so full. I am excited to share them, but want to wait for the balance to come.

I recorded this bunch of songs for me, to fulfill my heart, and it has done that, is doing that. I love hearing them.  It's so wonderful to do something out of delight, and meaning more than any other purpose.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Recording Was An Amazing Experience

Portland, how beautiful you are in the Spring. Trees packed with full, white blossoms, a rainbow of tulips filling yards, daffodils and flowers that I don't know.

I am just back from recording - 3 days with John Askew at Secret Society and his studio Scenic Burrows. Pics coming soon but I left my camera there! So when it comes, you'll see this gorgeous piano, an old upright grand, that I had the honor and pleasure of playing.

This project has taken shape as a timeline of experience - the coming and passing and loving of my golden son Otto, and all that he brought us, another world, a lifetime of love and missing, a deepening. Since I am a mama of a toddler now too, music has become more simple and straightforward because that is what the shape of my life allows - so it's an album of voice and piano and full of tenderness.

The sound coming from these sessions is the most full and clear than any project I have yet done, and it is full of ambience and movement - so even though simple, it is rich and alive and stirring.

I was afraid a little, pulling up to the piano bench the first day, of what I was opening up to - what I wanted to share. But the assurances and direction that John gave made it easy, and trust is the most important aspect of recording for me. I had a perfect nest of support.

And so came the songs, live, and the experience of playing this music, of these 3 days dedicated to pouring out my heart, to singing love to my boy, and receiving back from singing the piano strings, have left me glowing and sore. It has been a sacred experience.

Part of me just wants to leave it here, safe and perfect, and yet I know this music wants to find its way in the world, and so I will see where it goes. I am so proud of it, so grateful to it, amazed at what has come out. I feel love for it.

More soon.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Exciting News... Recording and Baby!

Exciting news... I'm going to Portland to record some new songs for an EP!

And more exciting news... I have a baby in the belly! So much life and creativity. I feel so blessed.

I've always loved the moments on my albums where I got to sit and play piano and sing, at the same time, and let the songs roll off. I think less and enjoy it more. So I'm going to do an EP like that, with John Askew in Portland, and add some strings or organs here and there, but I'm pretty much going back the simplicity of voice and keys, rolling out together.

I wrote most of the songs last summer, thinking about my son Otto whose life was so short, who made me a mama, who gave me my heart, and broke it and then helped it grow bigger and wiser and softer. He gives me courage to sing and play and not worry. And courage to love the process, to be grateful for each moment of it. It's all a gift.

Something I want to talk about...when he died I wrote this blog, telling his story, pouring my heart out, telling the truth. And then the next entry is, "My favorite Christmas songs." Looking back I wish that I had been able to trust myself, trust you, enough to write about the depth of the darkness that I was navigating, and not just keep up a persona that I thought I should, of the musician that loves to talk about her music. It felt wrong but gave me something to focus on.

I was afraid of someone not understanding, of criticism, I was protected, which is so normal with such a loss. But now I wish I had said more, been more open with you. I am not the only one to have suffered loss. I see that more now. That I was not so alone as I felt. To read more personal entries about the time, see http://www.ottomyjoy.blogspot.com/

I released Crepusculo within a year of when Otto died, which gave me something to do and helped me survive. But part of me was crazy to do it! To promote an album in that first year of crazy grief. I cried so much. I cried when I talked to my publicist, when I talked to my consultant, just before going onstage to sing. I felt like I couldn't do it. I overslept and missed interviews. I was 6 months pregnant and driving thousands of miles to tour. I am in awe now that it happened at all. Most of me wanted to sit in the back yard, where I held Otto one afternoon, and just stare at the sky. (which I also did a lot)

Now, after 2 years of home and soaking up love of my little girl and husband, of playing piano, of taking lots of walks, I feel so much more at home in myself, understanding for myself, and love. I feel happier and more peaceful.

I'll be giving more news soon! I plan on doing a kickstarter campaign to raise money for the release of the album, and you'll hear more about that soon, plus some home recordings of new songs.

Love to all of you! Thank you.