Monday, April 29, 2013

Mr. Cooley and Me... and You.

Cooley. It's a last name, a last name familiar to everyone who has ever lived in my small hometown. It can be found on the signs of drugstores, car dealerships, and the locally famous hamburger joint. When you were in school, you had multiple friends (or multiple enemies) named Cooley. You might have a teacher named Cooley. Or, at the very least, you regularly drove by one of the aforementioned Cooley-owned establishments on your way to anywhere.

We were that small. And we had that many Cooleys!

It's easy to see why, when choosing a memorable last name for my song, I went with this one. If you're from my region of south Mississippi - you know. And if you are from anywhere else - you ask. 

Mr. Cooley, the man you hear of in this song, is a conglomeration of personalities, memories, and maybe even a few regrets. A grandfather, a granddaughter, and a garden where we pulled up the potatoes, but only until I was old enough to not appreciate it anymore. But really, he's someone that everyone knows. "I wish I'd known you," sings this song. I wish I'd taken time. I wish I'd been less selfish, less eager to take flight from little ol' rural Mississippi into college life.

But I also wish he'd have known me and appreciated me... for more than what he wished I could have been or done and for who I really was. But, he loved me the best he could. And I think I loved him the best I could. 

And I think most of us are, at least most of the time, loving the best we can.

(For this song, I was selected as a finalist in the Sing Your Song 2013 songwriter's contest! On Thursday, May 2 at 5:30pm, I'll perform this song at the High Note Jam concert series, in Jackson, Miss., along with the 11 other finalists. It's a free show, so join us at 380 S. Lamar Street!)

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

gunshots in the dark and bombs in Boston

In light of some recent events, a song is coming forth. I wanted to share the beginnings:

the bombs went off in Boston just this morning
the shots rang in the air on my street
if ever we believed 
that darkness is real
it's tonight, oh, it's tonight.

Monday, April 8, 2013

Go Fly a Kite

Today, I saw someone in my Facebook news feed ask where the post office was located in a town she was visiting. In hopes, I guess, someone who lives there would see that post. Or Google it. Or something, anything to keep her from walking into any store, gas station, restaurant to ask and receive a 5-second answer: "It's 2 blocks west, left at the light and you'll see it on your right."

It's true. We're busy and disconnected and pitiful. We're driven by guilt and competition and pride. We prefer digital interaction to human interaction, distraction to focus, noise to the quiet of resting our ears and our souls. (Of this latter one I am most guilty.)

We sign up our kids for ballet at 3 years of age, soccer at 6, and violin at 10 - by then, they're doing all 3, if they're lucky. We consult a list of scheduled of events from the church to fill up our already over-scheduled schedule. And when we're in a new town, we consult our friends on the FB to see where the closest post-office is instead of asking someone in-person.

I, too, am skilled as an over-scheduled, hyper-social person. But things are changing. I'm learning to live differently.

To fly kites...

...make and enjoy Jeff's from-scratch pizza at the Perry's, where Benjamin helps make the mint lemonade...

...and build raised beds, expanding the garden, so our kid-neighbors have a place to shovel dirt, make a mess, and learn how to grow some food in the process.

Today, it's sort-of a radical thing to know the people that live near you. And make pizza that takes hours. And untangle the strings a million times on the kites.

We're gonna keep untangling.