Where the Wild Things Are (AKA Winter says Hi)

He wasn't even drunk yet.

Winter has acquired a new hat on this journey.  Here is Winter in his new hat.  Winter got this hat from our friend, Mojo (of the Wigglian Way podcast), who hosted us for our first ever Canadian show just outside of Vancouver.

I am not sure how Winter discovered the hat, but pretty much from the moment we stepped foot in Mojo’s house, Winter and the hat were inseparable.

So eventually Mojo said, “It’s yours”.

Then Winter said “Oh no, man, I can’t take your hat”.

So Mojo said “Well you’ve already worn it more than I ever have”.

We all agreed that the hat suits Winter perfectly.

I ma not sure what it says about Winter that he finds his soul-hat and it has horns and ears. But there you go.

Song-A-Week Songwriting Update

You guys.

I’m not pulling it off. In fact, I am flat-out tanking on this “one song a week” bit. In April, I managed to write two chants, one of which those of you on my mailing list received as a mermaid kiss in early May.

But that is it. And so far, no new ones this month.

It’s not that I am a flake. Honest. It’s that touring season is now upon us, and I am balls- to-the-wall with tour details. Winter and I do this entire operation ourselves – every phone call, email, inquiry, finding of new venues, promoting of shows, finding places to stay, answering questions, mailing posters, creating Facebook events, plotting out routes, picking up band members from airports, booking hotels, asking folks to help spread the word, etc. etc. etc. is on us.

Not to mention this time out, preparing two separate shows for the same festival. And getting the new songs I have written up to performance speed.

Not that I mind any of this – I love my life and there is nothing I would rather do. But I bit off waaaay more than I could chew, saying I could write 4 songs a week AND be on the road.  I wondered, when first I declared this Song-A-Week bit, how it was going to play out during touring season. Now I know. I am laughably overcommitted!

So there we go. I told you all I would report each month, and report I am. Apparently that report is going to read FAIL at times.

Does that mean I am quitting? Hell no! Believe it or not, I am still going to strive to get as close as I can to 4 songs a month, even during the summer. I am just not going to beat myself up if I fail. I will just pick myself up, dust myself off, and dive back in. And of course, I’ll keep you posted.

Speaking of tour, I will write up a full report of this first leg in the next few days. Beltania was downright epic, and it was great to travel with all of Pandemonaeon for our first time out of the state. I look forward to telling the tale – for now, off to the next gig!

Love to you all – Sharon

Musings from the Road

When I take a moment to contemplate how I may best sum up my current journey across America, the words “gratitude”, “wonder”, and “idyllic” come to mind.

I have seen a forest alight with hundreds of fireflies. I have seen gorgeous marshes abundant with trees, and the idyllic and lazy East Coast summers reminiscent of  the writings of Thoreau and Emerson. Children play in beautiful gardens with bugs humming – and at night, biting! I have played with a baby raccoon and shared wine with friends and stages with artists who truly inspire me. I have traveled from place to place never knowing what to expect, learning to trust, and being reminded that there are many, many good people in this world.

We aren’t making loads of money – income is down from last year – yet it seems so far that we are getting what we need. And for all that, I have been lucky to see and stay in some truly beautiful places, the kinds of places the wealthy would surely shell out big bucks for, were they for sale. I’ll be writing more on this soon, as it fits a major ideal of mine – living a rich life without spending all one’s time clamoring for money.

I wish I had figured out years ago that, contrary to what many people have said, the gypsy life is in fact for me. It remains to be seen whether I would ever get sick of this. I do miss my loved ones back home to be sure. And I sometimes miss the sense of my own space. But more and more I come to feel comfortable in the whole world. The world is your home when you own the road.

I love meeting new friends, creating shows with my fellow artists – Wendy, Betty, and Kellianna all come to mind – and strengthening ties with fellow musicians – Ginger Doss comes to mind. We have been honored to share the stage with all of these ladies, as well as SJ Tucker and Heather Dale at the start of this journey. And each performance brings a whole  new set of opening doors.

I love the serendipity of following the Muse and seeing where she will lead. So far it’s almost always been good. With the promise of only getting better.

The Trials and Gifts of the Road

Well so far this tour has been pretty grueling. Relentless driving, low turnouts, less money overall than last year. Exhaustion. A different bed every night, none of them my own. The first night out we stayed with a lovely couple, one of whom was a doctor. She said our lives seem so hard and that she could never do what we do. Yet she made it through medical school. I don’t think I could have done that.

Unless it was my thing. If it’s your thing, it’s amazing how the energy you need rises up when you need it most. Despite all the hardships of being on the road, I feel alive when I am out here singing my songs. It makes my soul grow. Parts of it are exhausting, but then I rest. And I sing. And the singing gives me more energy than I spend.

There is a feeling that I am truly living my life. The expansiveness of that replenishes me.

If you are doing that which you were meant to do, it doesn’t matter if it’s hard. You’ll barely notice. All you’ll notice is that you are becoming the person you always wanted to be.

What makes you feel this way?

East Coast Tour phase 1

Hey all! Look, it’s a blog entry from the world’s worst blogger! But I’ve got to blog some, I’m on tour. Which was the reason I started a blog to begin with.

So, yes! I am on tour. I am driving to the East Cost all by myself and performing a series of solo tours – the first solo tours I have performed in probably 20 years. It is very much an initiation of sorts for me, in that every step of the process has required me to face some fear or other. I can’t tell you how many times I have had to stare down thoughts such as “What am I, crazy? I will never make enough money, I’m going to lose my shirt, I’ll never be good enough without Winter, I’ll never get enough gigs, I’ll hate driving that much, I’ll be scared, I’ll be lonely, blah blah blah”.  And I just did it anyway. I can’t tell you how empowering it has been to walk through that fear. I hope every one of you has the opportunity to crush your fears into oblivion, even just one or two of them.

That’s not to say that my travels have been easy. I’ve been caught in two snowstorms, one where the snow was coming at me head on and created this tunnel-like effect that was downright hallucinagenic and made for a very challenging drive, and the second which was a bonafide blizzard that covered the very road right before my eyes. This one really scared the bejeezus out of me. Not that I had much bejeezus to begin with, mind you. Traffic was stopped for 45 minutes at one point and the road was eventually closed. I thought to call Highway Patrol and got no cell reception. Shannon’s voice kept ringing through my head – “The best way to deal with a survival situation is to not get in one”.  I felt woefully unprepared for snow, and realize how little I know about it. I never made it to my destination that night, I had to pull off in Laramie Wyoming. That was the first real town, and it was a long harrowing drive to get there. I stayed behind a big rig and followed it’s grooves in the snow.

At last I arrived in Laramie, and you never saw a girl so happy to see a Marriot!  The irony wasn’t lost on me that the only thing I’ve ever known about Laramie is it’s infamous queer bashing history, yet here it was feeling like  Mecca to me. I had been driving in this blizzard clenching my steering wheel for dear life for 3 hours before finally arriving, and they had a heated pool and a jacuzzi. I sat in the jacuzzi  said “ha!” to the snow as I looked out at it.

The roads opened by 1pm next day and I arrived in Denver for my first solo show in 20 years.

It was exhilarating, terrifying, empowering. It was in a charming cafe, all done up in jewel tones and velvets. The sound system was nice and I played to a small room of 35 or so, all of whom listened raptly and bought CDs afterwards. Not bad for my first visit there. My instrument playing was tentative, but my voice was on. I suspect my confidence will solidify in a few more gigs.

I have been staying with wonderful people here in the outskirts of Denver. The kind of people who know how to live life. Magickal folk who take their practices seriously and have great energy to show for it. I am glad I met them. More than once I have been struck with the sensation that I am inside my life, rather than on the outside trying to get in, as I have felt all too often in my life, i.e. when I am not making music.

Honestly I should have done this years ago. Why didn’t I? Well, a lot of reasons I suppose. I was focused on Pandemonaeon for one, and a 7 piece band is damn hard to take on the road.  I feared I wasn’t good enough. And the advent of social networking has made it quite a lot easier to connect with folks all over the country. 10 years ago it was a lot harder to gauge  what kind of support you could expect on the other side of the country. And as far as not being good enough – well, guess how you get good enough. You jump in and do it until you are good enough. Sitting at home practicing in your room is a good thing but nothing can prepare you for playing live like playing live.

Tomorrow I begin three pretty brutal days of driving across the Midwest to reach my next gig at Brid’s Closet’s Annual Beltane Festival. It’s worth it though, even the hard parts, to be doing what I love, honing my craft, and building friendships and audiences across the land. This is what I was meant to do and I am so thankful to be doing it. I’ll write more when I can, and love to you all.