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Tuesday, September 29, 2009

About Poet’s Lovely Daughter, a few reflections

About Poet’s Lovely Daughter,
a few reflections

September 29th, 2009

I’m listening to Moon River, my favorite song of all time, over and over again through my ipod: Audrey Hepburn’s voice whispering in my ear, the orchestra sweeping clean my heart like a river washes away the silt, the integration of space and vibration and tones and rhythm sinking into my heart deeper and groovier and truer…. reminding me that there is something beyond my own awareness of life that calls me in to experience this moment, this breath, this song, this whisper, this love, here, now.

Today is the official release date of “Poet’s Lovely Daughter” and in the last few weeks, I have remembered details about the inception of the project that, in the hubbub of working with labels and publicists and booking agents and designers and marketing people, I had forgotten…

Before I ever went to India in 2007, I had retired from singing. I was way too broken hearted over the whole thing and it just killed me to sing. I realize now how selfish and puny and ego driven that was, but I know that I had to go through that to have my musical heart torn open. What I didn’t know is that the heart is broken so that it can be broken open, so that it can grow and expand, and instead, I got scared and thought it was going to shrink…

You know, things just hadn’t gone the way I thought they were supposed to. Nothing about my life had gone the way I had hoped. OH, to be SURE, I had a lot of success and everything, but just not… how I thought. And instead of being grateful for the amazing life I had led and was leading, I had gotten caught up in certain heartbreaks…

Hence, my decision to throw myself into a trip to India. I had tried everything else. Why not try this?

Lucky me. Trial by fire, the lies I had believed about life began to burn away and I was soon to learn to practice being present to here now. Not like a new age thing, not like a Buddhist or religious thing of any kind. Not like I’m able to do it all the time. But I found peace and joy and the ability to walk through fear inside the daily a practice of love, of heart, of live for life in all its shadows and light and the interplay between the two…

…and then, that day on the rafts in the Ganges river…

I had made friends with a wonderful woman named Julia who was on this trip to India with me, and we were on a raft trip on the Ganges River, through the heart of the Himalayas, north of Rishikesh. We had come to a very pleasant, lazy sort of flow, and I started to think about how, for me, in my life, Rivers are so important. I was born on the banks of one of the major rivers of the planet Earth, and here I was again, on one of the other greatest rivers on the opposite side of the planet, rediscovering who I was as a person…. and at that moment, Julia said, “Erin, you should sing something.” I said, “What would I sing?” She said, “Opera!”

So I stood up at the top of the raft, and I sang. I sang “Un Bel Di.” And I just opened up my heart and sang, and the sound of my voice bounced off one side of the mountains and then the other side, and the sun was shining down, showering a thick golden hue down upon us, and the people on the sides of the rivers were coming to the banks to hear what on earth was going on, and when I finished “Un Bel Di” (from Madame Butterfly), I sand “O Mio Babbino Caro,” and then when that was done, I sat down, and there was a proud and definite silence from all 20 people on the trip but for the sound of the river. And for the first time in years, I felt… what was that? Joy? Aaaaaah.

I remember saying something like,

“Oh, yeah! I’m a singer!”

And I think Julia laughed and said, “we noticed.”

That night, I sat on the foot bridge that carries people over the Ganges into the village of Laxman Jhula just north of Rishikesh, the green mist of the water spraying up into my face as the bridge, suspended by ropes, swayed back and forth as monkeys and cows and people moved about, the stars coming out, and “Moon River” on my lips. I sang it over and over again, watching the stars move as the people and cows and monkeys slowly disappeared and the chanting ended and the lights went down and the only sound at all was the river and my voice, a quiet whisper to myself….

Fast forward. I came home, then, and got back to routine life, writing books and acting and massaging….

Meanwhile, there is something else I have to say, and it leaves me feeling a little vulnerable, but that’s life, and I want to tell this story to the best and truest of my abilities, and so I will.

All my life, there has been this “idea” (fantasy, some may call it) of this magical other. By which I mean a man I love. Oh, trust me. I have had some amazing men in my life, amazing romance, amazing love. And yet, and yet, and yet. When you have an imagination like mine, it just kinda takes off and you just kinda ride it sometimes. Whether I invented it or it was fate or destiny, who can say… but I knew how he looked and how we interacted and I even invented a name for him (it’s a common name, and I have gone on dates with a few guys with this name…. I should have picked something like… Reynaldo… or something…. so that if this person was real, I’d know it more immediately…. ahhahahahahahaha!)

Anyway, so, I decided, on that first trip, that I would let go the idea of this magical one, and just never think of it again, and see what life would bring me- life on life’s terms. Not my terms. Life’s terms.

….Like I was holding myself back, or something, imagining this guy who didn’t really exist…. or maybe he did….. or maybe he didn’t…. and he wasn’t perfect, in my fantasy. No. I’m so goofy, I used to even fantasize about how we would fight and how we would get mad at each other and stuff. I’m such a goofball. No, not a goofball. I just had enough sense to know that people are people, the good the bad and the ugly, and I wanted to love it all, so I began to “pre” love the good, the bad, and the ugly about this imaginary man… well…. maybe, I began to think, maybe I kept rejecting the red headed boys who were very nice and might make very nice boyfriends because they didn’t look like this guy in my dreams…. maybe I was missing out on opportunities with other people…. etc.

So I let it go, in India, writing the name on a piece of paper and floating it down the river.

September, 2008. I went to Rome and Venice with my friend Millie on a writing/ art vacation. And the dreams began again, of this imaginary man. Hm. I actually had been sorta kinda dating a guy (same name, but I had let THAT go, for one, he had red hair) (ahahahahahahahahahahaha), but it wasn’t really working out, and I thought, what the hell. So I started writing love letters to “my love.” I started writing them and then leaving them places. Hotels, cafes. I started hiding them in secret hiding spots in churches and in the Colloseum and in canals in Venice and in Harry’s Bar inside a book about the Cipriani family and under mattresses in hotels and, one night, a rainy night in Venice, I went for dinner alone to this little restaurant next door to our hotel and the rain poured against the window and jazz was playing and I was eating pasta with mussels and drinking wine and I began writing a love letter that began “Under the stars of jazz….”

And instead, it turned into a song.

(Ironically, that song did not make it onto this record.)

But it didn’t matter about that, or it doesn’t matter to me now, because it was the trap door into the songwriting, and I FELL THROUGH!

…and I got excited and instead of writing love letters to this fictionalized anti hero/hero of the heart, (well, of my heart,) instead, I wrote songs. I wrote the song “Too Much“ next. Then they began to flow and I had song after song after song.

When I came back from Italy, I called up Bernie Larsen, my friend and a music producer, and said,

“I want to make a record.”

I intended just to make the album for me, for my own soul and my own heart…

And instead, of course, it has become something other than that. Oh, I don’t know who these songs will speak to, or what will happen to them. I know only that they are now something I am very proud of, and in love with, in all their beauties and in all their imperfections, in all their space and whispers and vibrations and synchronicities and dissonances and in that eternal heart beat of something that called me out of my malaise and into writing these songs…..

Inspired greatly by this song

Moon River, wider than a mile
I’m crossing you in style, someday…
Old dream maker, you heartbreaker,
Wherever you’re goin’, I’m goin’ your way
Two drifters, off to see the world
There’s such a lot of world to see
We’re after the same rainbow’s end
Waitin’ round the bend
My huckleberry friend
Moon River and Me

And by… love, and passion, and dreams, and not holding on to dreams or what they may mean, but letting the dream be the comet and grabbing onto the tail and letting it take you wherever you may land…

Saturday, September 19, 2009

another generation, then, another life (new poem)

another generation, then, another life

… the moon is barren and empty tonight
and we are following so, just so,
breathless, light, afraid to commit torrid acts of beauty
for dare we disturb this universe
in which we lie to ourselves
(not such a secret lie)
a perception of such words as functional
in which passion is death to health
and, oh, we will play close, so close, teetering on that edge
between art and death
and oh, we then play false, so false
we lie only to ourselves

only love
only love. love is the only way out and this
moment, this breath, this play, this
brush stroke, bow strike, strum chord, footstep
this moment of
passion before death
and truth before life
in side the feeling of dying
is the freedom to be

but we have conversations, oh yes. and
learn and we are
cordial and we are
healthy and we strive to
do what’s right and set up savings accounts and
quit smoking and quite rightly.


(but where are the ones who stand up for
what seems like lunacy!)

but I swear to you, I swear to you, I swear to you

drunk on
for life itself
and the breathing in all of what is just beyond these
plastic casings we have
placed so tightly over the

if that old saying is not yet too trite
then I will say again here: the eyes are the windows to the soul.
I have taken the death shroud off these windows
and will do it again and
and as ever many times as I must.

my eyes happen to be the color of the sky, and the color of the water, and
the color of the reflection of what is before me: the color of the ever changing

do not be upset if you think you cannot take off your own death mantle, your own corpse breath, your own fear. I could never know what that means to you. Whether any of us do or do not is not my concern, only my mystery.

There is always another generation, then,
another life.