Even in utero my baby loved music. When I played ukulele or guitar, the instrument pressed against my belly, he’d kick and roll. At a Bruce Springsteen concert he went nuts during Because The Night.

Yesterday I was playing around on the ukulele while Giles jumped in his bouncer. His face lit up watching my fingers on the strings and the sounds they produced. Using three simple chords I started making up lyrics, singing to that smiling face. Somehow I wrote a song. And then another one.

They are simple, and recorded on Garage Band during nap time (you might be able to hear faint crying in the background):

In many ways my creative energy has been channeling itself into being a mom. Making each day special and fun and productive with little Giles, watching him develop and trying to help him learn things. Surviving (and even thriving?) on way too little sleep. I’ve even been learning to cook new dishes, doing house projects, organizing and reorganizing closets and shelves until finally someday (I hope) the towels/blankets/sheets/napkins/etc. will fit just right and even look cool or whatever. My Life is my Art, and this has always been true but is true in a new way now that I’m a mom.

Once a week I have art time for a few hours while Greg’s mom takes Giles. This is a gift, to have this time. And while a lot of my art is about being a mom, I haven’t found a way to make art with Giles. When he’s older we will do projects together, and I look forward to that. But then I wrote those songs yesterday. I made something, some art, with my baby, and it’s also something for him. He brought it out of me. I had never written a song before, but it’s something I’d been wanting to do ever since I taught myself to play guitar almost six years ago. Giles opened the door.

Having a baby deepens my art in ways I don’t even know about yet.


moon song and long long time

This song is from the movie Her, which I loved. At first the song feels romantic for me, about lovers. But while I’m singing it I keep thinking about my mom– imagining her on the moon, looking down at me, her shadow following me on Earth. Maybe visiting her in dreams, which I have yet to do.

The Moon Song – Karen O. – from the movie Her (on ukulele): 

And here’s another one I’ve been working on.

Long Long Time – Linda Ronstadt (on guitar): 

this one’s for phoebe

I’m back from Chile, and there’s lots to tell, but for now here’s two songs.

The first is for Phoebe and she knows why: 

IMG_1201 IMG_1147IMG_1135

This next one is because I finally saw Inside Llewyn Davis and I think it’s one of the best portraits of trying to survive as a professional artist that I’ve seen and the music is really beautiful: 

20140125_162017 We saw Llewyn Davis at The Mayan in Denver

guitar drawing

January 2011 was a strange time for me. In between (in many ways), struggling with difficult emotions and dark places within myself. So I picked up the guitar gathering dust in the basement– the one I’d bought for $10 from our neighbor and decided to learn on ten years ago and never made it past the “what are chords?” point– and I just did it.

I looked up tuning on the internet, then searched chords, formed them with my fingers, and played them. I slowly learned a few and played them one after the other. I looked up songs online that sounded easy enough and were interesting to me and learned to play them. I practiced every day, and still do for the most part.

Teaching myself a new skill, learning a new language, a new way of expressing, communicating and even feeling was the exact thing I needed. Feeling my way through a song is something I have always wanted to do, even if I didn’t know it consciously. I’ve dated a few musicians in my time, and being close to music was always a thrill, a craving. It never really seemed like something I could actually do myself. But I can.

The guitar in this drawing is one a very good friend is letting me borrow. It has a distinctly better sound than my old Vasquez (bless her warped neck) and feels delicious to play.