catching up


The transition from being on the river to being here at Montalvo, and the various adventures that happened in between the two places, has definitely broken my posting rhythm, and I MISS being here with you! Funny how this blog feels like an actual place to me, different from email or phone or Facebook or whatever other forms of communication we might use together. I want to see if we can continue the conversation here, although my guess is that it will be different now that I’m in one place for a while and writing music again.

Before I do anything else, I want to just give you a short picture of where I’ve been for the last several weeks.

Mac and I had a few more days in New Orleans after my previous post, and we heard lots of wonderful music on Frenchman Street and at the weekend Gumbo Festival in a converted funeral parlor, we went to St. Augustine’s Catholic Church (with Linda Norton) and heard the Treme Brass Band again at the parish Christmas party, visited the African-American Museum and the Port of New Orleans and Brad Pitt’s new houses in the Ninth Ward, hung out with Scotty Heron, who generously sheltered us from the rain for a few nights, cheered for the Saints in R Bar, ate incredible meals and more beignets and coffee than should be legal, and altogether had an excellent time. Here are a very few photos.

On the 14th, I dropped Mac off at the airport and headed back north to Vicksburg, where I stayed with excellent Chris Porter for a couple of days while waiting for the M/V Charles F. Detmar, Jr. to arrive. My friend David Greer had arranged for me to ride this towboat with Captain Richard “Bear” Gettelfinger. It was totally amazing, a completely different way to experience the river than a kayak, that’s for sure! I want to write more about this experience later, but for now, here are a few pictures, along with a million thanks to Bear and his crew, and to David for setting the trip up for me.

I got off the towboat Saturday night back in Vicksburg (we had gone down to just above Baton Rouge and back in four days), watched the Saints lose, went to Episcopal Church in Vicksburg Sunday morning and met the fabulous and inimitable Ms. Ike, and then a whole crew of us went sailing Sunday afternoon on a lake just north of Vicksburg, stopping at the Reverend Dennis’ wonderful artwork/church on the way. (More info about Reverend Dennis here.) We ended up with five women on the boat, a slightly different crew than the eleven men of the Charlie Detmar(!)

My friend Cori Ellison arrived from NYC on Monday night, and we headed west on Tuesday, stopping for two nights (so we could go dancing) in glorious Lafayette, LA with Chris’ excellent friend Marie, about which I want to write more, and then through Texas, where I got a chance to paddle on the Rio Grande at Big Bend National Park, totally great, and then west through Arizona, staying a night in Sonoita with Cori’s friend Saba, and finally arriving at Montalvo on 30 December.

I’ve been here ever since. It is exceedingly strange to sleep indoors in the same bed every night, to unpack my books from the trunk of the car and put them on an actual bookshelf, to shower every day, to have constant access to electricity and running water and refrigeration and high speed internet.

It’s wonderful here, a great place to make this transition, and I am getting started on sorting through all the materials and ideas I want to explore for the next many months (years?), but my first priority is to get my voice and fingers working because I have a solo show at Stanford on 4 February, and I have not even been thinking about singing or playing or talking or manipulating electronics for many months now.

I am absolutely loving getting up and practicing every day, perhaps for the first time in my life. I used to find practicing boring, but I think these many months of paddling or biking for six hours at a stretch taught me something I never really understood before about how the physical and the spiritual (and the emotional and the intellectual for that matter) can be intertwined. Long distance paddling or biking just naturally becomes a meditation: I’m out in nature, I know going to be at it all day so I’m not overexerting myself to exhaustion, and something happens to my mind: I’m focussing, but also relaxed; I’m concentrating on the task at hand, but my mind is simultaneously free to notice stuff.

When she was visiting me in Iowa in late October during the lost gear adventure, my friend Rafaela mentioned something in her wonderfully low key and wise way about Jung’s four functions: thinking, feeling, sensation, and intuition, and how doing this journey might be allowing me to shift my own internal balance of the four. I heard what she said at the time, but it is only now when I sit down to play and sing each morning that I realize the river has taught me a marvelous lesson without my even being aware it was happening. I am delighted and grateful.


7 thoughts on “catching up”

  1. Hi Eve,
    I am glad to see another post. I have hesitated several times, to compliment you on your writing (to call it reporting or blogging would seem defamatory).I will blame my hesitation on never being raised to accept compliments comfortably and to accept compliments only with some suspicion.

    I expect I had some bias that a musical artist might somehow be lacking in their day to day prose writing. I realize this is just another example of how society (and myself) are always to quick to wrongly generalize or pigeonhole so many things (including other persons). If I had know you, or your art, I might have expected to be surprised! In any event you writing pleasantly surprised me and connected to me. Thank you.

    Good luck on your continuing projects and journeys.

  2. Hi, Eve. It’s wonderful to see you writing again. I want to compliment you on your writing, too. But you already know that I love your writing–your Vietnam journal was amazing. Basically, you’re good or great at everything. It’s as simple and rare as that.

    I loved the tantalizing reference to Ms. Ike and the pictures of Rev. Dennis’s church.

    I regret that I didn’t get to see the Brad Pitt houses (though I did get a tour of Orleans Parish Prison and environs that rainy Sunday night).

    Am excited to drive down and visit with you while you’re in the Bay Area. I am trying to make space and time to be there for your concert on the 4th.

  3. E: I want to forward info about your Stanford gig to Palo Alto locals…FYI, the site you link to does have that Wonderful photo of you and a one-line description of the cabaret show, but their is no link to a “proper” description of your work that I could find. I will link my cousins to this site…..but thought you and your extensive publicity machine (!) should know about this glitch…..
    xxoo, Jane
    PS: Very, very snowy up here in New England…..

  4. The withdrawal was painful! So very nice to have you back again 🙂

  5. it’s SO wonderful to be back, you guys! thanks so much for the kind comments, I’m blushing happily, for sure! I really hope to figure out a way to post regularly as I’m beginning the writing process, and knowing you are interested and looking for posts definitely helps me with that, and I think will have a good influence on the composing process, too!

    more soon xoxox

  6. Hey, Eve. Enjoy your time practicing and composing. I love the blog, but don’t worry if you go off the grid once in awhile. We need time where we unplug and take time to meditate, dream, and be alone 🙂 But you know that!

  7. Hi Eve:
    Sounds like a nice change for you. When I was there in 1991, I composed “Pacific Rimbombo” for Radio Baton.
    That was nearly 20 years ago.
    The big news at Montalvo then was that George Winston would be the next composer-in-residence.
    Do you know the Phil Kline piece”Masses..” that Mary and Ethel are performing today at TED 10 Conference in Long Beach?

    I’m in our old stomping ground, living in the Hollywood Hills since Jan. 5. “I’m Lovin’ It” sort of,,,,
    Looking forward to the music from your Mississippi trek.

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