Seeking Joy


What brings you joy?

Along with visual art, literature, forests, and good homemade food, music elevates my soul. Goal? Spend more time with each of these.

My favorite venue for live music is First Avenue in downtown Minneapolis, where I especially enjoy shows at the Entry, a smaller room featuring up and coming or niche performers. My main source for learning about new music is the Current, 89.3 FM. While their playlist sometimes makes my head hurt, I often discover stuff that I want to hear again. To listen off-radio, I subscribe to Amazon Music and have a bluetooth speaker for at home, and a bluetooth equipped car for on-the-road listening.

Those of us who have been walking the planet for a few decades can get rutted within our music tastes. Yes, I have virtually everything the Beatles ever recorded, along with Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, Stevie Rae Vaughn, Elvis Costello, Johnny Rivers, Chuck Berry–you get the drift. But I truly think that exposing oneself to new music, as well as visual arts and literature keeps us creative, open, and fresh.

Nothing against those who are into country, classical, or other genres not represented here. This my playlist du jour presented in no particular order:

Lebanon, J.S. Ondara

He Venido, Los Zafiros

Catfish Kate, Pixies

Heads Gonna Roll, Jenny Lewis

Pumpkin, The Regrettes

Pearl Cadillac, Gary Clark, Jr.

Spanish Stroll, Mink DeVille

Boys in the Better Land, Fontaines D.C.

Chevrolet Van, The Nude Party

Rockaway Beach, The Ramones

Revolution Rock n Roll, Low Cut Connie

This Life, Vampire Weekend

I’ll Be Back Someday, Tegan and Sara

Please Don’t Call Me Crazy, The Cactus Blossoms

Gloria, The Lumineers

Nina Cried Power, Hozier with Mavis Staples

Where We Go, Chris Koza

Shockwave, Liam Gallagher

Leyla, Jah Khalib

Sister Buddha, Belle and Sebastian


What are you listening to these days?



Change of Seasons

img_0812.jpgOn November 6th I had a milestone birthday. On the 7th I resigned my position as a hospice spiritual care coordinator. A few days later, a friend asked me I how felt. My response, “Exultant.” Singingly, dancingly, giddily, ridiculously happy. Not that I had disliked my work with hospice patients and families. I loved hearing their stories and helping them toward acceptance of the inevitable, helping them make peace with the situation, and at times, with each other. However, the hospice work, demanding on several levels, kept me from doing that for which I longed with my mind, heart, and soul.

Closing a door opens new opportunities. What I am feeling two weeks later is a deep sense of  shalom. Inner and outer peace. Four hours a day, six days a week, I have been typing words into my laptop. Words forming sentences, forming paragraphs, forming pages, forming chapters, forming (God willing) completed, published books that will bring light, humor, hope, and entertainment to readers.

The book I am working on at present is the first in a series of three. Number two is also partially written, Number three is sketched out. Another book, begun long ago, is also still alive in my mind and in a file. And I can envision writing a non-fiction work based on my Central Avenue NE blogs, maybe focused on the fascinating Thorp Building. This should keep my busy for a few decades.

This past Friday I had the privilege of hearing Chris Koza perform with his band at the Landmark Center. In my opinion, Chris is a musical genius and deserves huge concert  audiences and record sales. But no matter how talented the individual, be she musician, visual artist, actor, or writer, the road is challenging. Only the very few are “successful” as the world measures success. The recipe for succeeding as an artist may require luck, connections, or the ability to appeal to common tastes. Throughout history there have been millions of unremembered, uncelebrated creative artists, starting with the pre-historic cave painters. At least their works endure. Were there also musicians, dancers, dramatic performers in ages long past? 

Even though the work remains unrecognized and unappreciated, or vanishes with time, perhaps the spirit of all artistry endures. Is that what gives us the courage to do our work? Is this the source of what we experience as inspiration, that sense the the work produced comes from somewhere beyond ourselves? 

Friends, fearlessly pursue what you love. Make the necessary sacrifices. Take the leap. And let me know how it goes for you.

aerial photo of mountain surrounded by fog