Thursday, April 29, 2010

Drew this inspired by two songs: "House of Broken Dreams" by Mark Heard (whose lyrics nail me) and "Times Squared" from the Farewell Concert.

A Mark Heard lyric sample:

"I'm old enough to know
That dreams are quickly spent
Like a pouring rain on warm cement
Or fingerprints in dust
Nectar on the wind
Save them for tomorrow and tomorrow lets you down again. . .
I'll sleep in peace
In a house of broken dreams"

Monday, April 26, 2010

My Music Sabbatical

I'm no longer of musical sabbatical. I'm back. Not as JRL, but back. Writing, dreaming, hoping, being asked to do gigs and thinking about saying yes again at some point here.

So what happened, now that it's more than a year since the Farewell Concert, the death of JRL and my musical sabbatical?

1. I didn't tour, play concerts, think about music or even write much for months and months. It was a relief. Rest!

2. After a while I began to listen to music again. In ways I hadn't for years. I caught up on new bands and ideas and began to realize that I still really loved music, even if I didn't know what role it would have in my life in the future. Helpful to not have music connected with my identity or making a living. Freedom!

3. Then I started to write again. It was exhilarating to be able to experiment -- to write about anything and explore whatever genre or form I felt like. I had been working at JRL for about seven years and it had a definite sound and thematic direction. Not having that freed me up to just write -- no preset rules, goals, or destination. Exploration!

4. Within the last couple months my writing began to go in a direction. It wasn't one I was expecting. I started writing simple, loud songs that needed a band. I used to be able to do acoustic, solo versions of most of my songs. Hope!

Saturday, April 17, 2010


I promised you Thailand. I gave you the brief version, which you took well considering.


Thai mountains climbing above a flat plain marked by houses, temples, road. I'm on a moped, my helmeted head laid against the handlebars, my body hugging the seat, throttle open, little wheels spinning. Monkeys staring. Monks in orange robes. Piles of coconuts bigger than a house blurring by.

How fast can you go on a moped? Not that fast but fast enough.

We're looking for a cave: climbing steep steps up the side of a mountain, passing German septagenarian tourists who should not be out in the heat, talking about developing awareness of your inner life with a young man, recently married, zealous to follow God and make a difference, living in the middle of culture shock.

How deep into the earth do you have to climb to find yourself?

Can you see:
We're throwing people -- all kinds of people, young and old, men and women, children, well-dressed or properly-attired -- into the pool. I haven't done this since I was a kid. For some reason it's what expatriates do when they're on retreat. We always threw the general director in back then. The same thing happens now, about 30 years later. I join in. A young child singlehandedly throws adult after adult into the overchlorinated, blue liquid. Even a grandpa gets tossed in -- I asked his permission, which he solemnly gave me first.

What kind of baptism welcomes all ages and requires no solemn vows?

Friday, April 9, 2010

Habits and Habitat

I'm drawing hats while talking,
Over undefined faces.
Whoever wears the feathers leads,
But who are they underneath?