L’il ray o’ light, March 4

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Jon Langford and Jean Cook

Sometimes things that are beautiful and true endure in the world…coalesce in the midst of  what seems like unrelenting darkness to one crystalline time and place.

Here’s one such moment:

Jon Langford and Jean Cook will provide entertainment at the 21st Annual Antioch School Auction Gala on March 4, 2017.

This convergence makes me giddy. The Antioch School is important to me: I attended the school when I was a kid, and now my daughter is in fourth grade there. It’s the oldest democratic school in the country. (I’ve blogged about the school here.) The annual auction gala is how the school raises the majority of funds to provide scholarships. It’s a really fun evening, with wine, goodies, a silent auction and live auction with the most entertaining auctioneer I’ve ever seen.

And I’m a huge fan of Jon Langford and Jean Cook. Their music often provides the sonic backdrop for my home life, and I can’t believe they are coming to my town. Here’s a video of Langford and Cook playing one of my favorites.

In case you’re nearby and want to attend, you can purchase a ticket by visiting the school’s website.

There will also be an exhibit of Jon Langford’s artwork at the Emporium in Yellow Springs.

To read more on my blog about Jon Langford and his work, go here.

(For more information, read the school’s press release.)

Jon Langford To Headline Antioch School Fundraiser

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Jon Langford (Photo courtesy of Bloodshot Records)

From the Antioch School press release:

The Antioch School’s 2017 Auction Gala will feature an intimate concert with internationally-celebrated songwriter and painter Jon Langford on Saturday, March 4, 6pm, at the Foundry Theater, Antioch College campus, 920 Corry St., Yellow Springs. Langford will be performing with long-time collaborator, violinist Jean Cook.

The Antioch School Auction Gala is the school’s largest fundraiser, with proceeds supporting the scholarship fund.

The gala will include both silent and live auctions, gourmet hors d’oeuvres from Current Cuisine, open wine bar, and dessert. Live auction items in the past have included a one-week stay at St. Croix, US Virgin Islands; a “Day in the Life” documentary featuring the winner’s family, created by an Emmy Award-winning Yellow Springs-based filmmaker; and a private wine tasting with the area’s leading sommelier. The silent auction features over a hundred items, such as B&B overnight getaways, fine dining at area restaurants, tickets to theatrical and cultural events, fine art and jewelry from local artisans, and health and wellness sessions.

The Welsh-born Langford has been a resident of Chicago, Illinois since the mid 1990s. He was a founding member of art-collective the Mekons, one of the longest-running and most prolific bands from the first wave of British punk. The band started while Langford and other members were in art school at Leeds University, Leeds, England. The Mekons have released 20 albums since 1979, and the band is featured in a 2014 documentary, Revenge of the Mekons, directed by Joe Angio. The Mekons’ most recent album is a book-and-CD package called Existentialism.

But one band is not enough. Langford records and performs as Jon Langford and Skull Orchard, and is a member of the Waco Brothers and the Pine Valley Cosmonauts (in Chicago) and Jon Langford’s Men of Gwent and The Three Johns (England and Wales). His most recent project is Bad Luck Jonathan.

With the Pine Valley Cosmonauts, a loose confederation of Chicago musicians, Langford organized a tribute album of music by Texas Swing master Bob Wills; backed Australian Aboriginal country singer Roger Knox; and released three various-artists volumes of murder ballads called The Executioner’s Last Songs, to benefit the Illinois anti-death penalty movement.

Charismatic and entertaining, Langford’s work is imbued with themes of social justice and humor. “He also never lets a firm stance or a strong opinion get in the way of a hearty laugh or a ripping good yarn, preferably told in the company of friends with a frothy pint glass within reach,” says Bloodshot Records.

Besides music, Langford is a respected visual artist known for his striking icon-portraits of legendary country music stars and other musicians, including Patsy Cline, Hank Williams, and Johnny Cash. He also creates song-paintings, which intertwine with and accompany his music. Langford’s punk rock instincts and unparalleled draftsmanship come together in a painting style that is distinctive, engaging, and challenging.

An exhibit of Langford’s paintings is scheduled to coincide with his performance at the Gala. The exhibit will be at Emporium Wines/Underdog Café, 233 Xenia Avenue, Yellow Springs. There will be an opening on March 4 from 3pm to 6pm, including a talk about his art and a short teaser-performance of songs.

Tickets for the Antioch School’s auction gala concert are $55 and can be purchased by using the link on the school’s website, www.antiochschool.org, or by calling the school at (937) 767-7642.

(Read more about why this thrills me!)

Open letter to my daughter

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January 20, 2017

Dear Merida,

Today, I’m knitting the last of three black wool pussy hats for friends who will travel to Washington DC to the women’s march. Today, for a few more hours, Barack Obama is president. I’m grateful that he’s been the only president you’ve know in your lifetime thus far. I’m sad to see him go. No one is perfect, but he has been a wise and compassionate leader. This morning when I put on my Obama tee-shirt, you said you’re sad for your friend. When I asked why, you said because her birthday is the day after Trump moves into the White House. I said no, he can’t ruin our parties! I said he’s not that powerful.

Here’s what else I want to say to you today: There are so many ways to make the world better. Some ways are to listen to other people, to be kind, and thoughtful, and maybe most importantly, to be fair. To realize that we all deserve to be free, and to work to make that happen. When we see something that isn’t right or fair, we speak up and make it better. If you keep these things in your mind and heart as you grow, if you keep paying attention to ways you can make the world more kind and fair and just, you will make the world better. No one can ruin the party of the world that you and your generation are creating. You know that song we sing, the one that goes: “A woman who loves herself, though she may be shaken, a woman who loves herself will never fall.” The beautiful world we are creating is the same as that woman. We do create the world, all of us, each of us. If we fill it with fairness and compassion, even when it is shaken, it will never fall.

At the Women’s Park in Yellow Springs, along with many other friends and family, your name is on a stone, along with the words of Patti Smith: “The world is yours, change it, change it!” You and your generation will find, and will be, the leaders. You will continue making the world more fair and loving. All you need to do is keep listening, and trust what you know in your bones: that we all deserve to be loved and free.

I have infinite faith in you and your generation. You are strong and mighty. Your hearts are brimming over with love, and your voices resonate.

Use your strong hearts to keep shining the light of love and compassion outward to all.

I love you,

Mama

Healing writing practice at YS Library (Jan. 15)

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I’m thrilled to again offer a healing writing practice as part of the Winter Wellness series at the Greene County Library. This event is free and open to the public (21 years and older), but the librarians are asking people to register. (And we need to honor the librarians, for they are part of saving the world.) Last year, we had a great turnout—25 people or so!

Join me as we practice writing together using helpful prompts to discover and know ourselves. We’ll unmask and disarm the inner critic, and I might sneak in some drawing, too. It’s great way to start the new year!

When: Sunday, January 15, 2-4pm

Where: Greene County Public Library, 415 Xenia Ave, Yellow Springs, OH 45387

To registration, go here, or call the library at 937-352-4003.

 

Where I’m From

I love this. Thank you, Divyam!

Follow the brush

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This is something I’ve been thinking about for a long time now and it feels like the beginnings of a much bigger piece!

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Turning off the hose

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(Because all water ain’t bad.)

Last night as I was awake with hot flash, I thought of a metaphor for FB, and it is likely to keep me off it, more often. Good!

Not just Facebook, but the internet: my use of it* is like holding a gushing firehose on full blast, pointed at my face. That’s how I imagined it last night in the middle of the night. (But instead of just my face, the gushing hose is actually pointed at my psyche, my brain, and my time and creativity, too.) The flow of information is like the force of the water. It hurts, it’s overwhelming, but if I can be mindful and awake, vs. just clicking and scrolling, I can slow it down, turn it off…

…choose, and be aware of when I choose to point the gushing firehose at all those fragile and precious things (psyche, brain, time, creativity).

*I’m being careful in how I write this. People will say the internet, or social media, just a tool. Rather than debate the nuances of who is the actor and who is acted upon when we use the internet & social media, I am taking responsibility for how I use it.

The Normal Magic of a Place (on the Antioch School)

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Peter breaks through (from Peter and Wendy, by J.M. Barrie; illustration by Lucie Mabel Attwell)

In perusing the Antioch School’s website this evening, I noticed that a piece I wrote awhile ago about the importance of story had been posted there. The memory of that time provided uplift for me just now, so thought I’d share it here.

Uplift is nice.

 

Escape into Weird Fiction

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Yellow Springs area readers: If you need some Weird Fiction to temporarily escape this Weird Reality, just take a walk downtown and purchase a copy of  Year’s Best Weird Fiction vol. 3 at Dark Star Books! There are 3 copies for sale, so act quickly! (Yes, this post is self-serving because I have a story between those covers, but the other stories are seriously FABULOUS.)
 

Letter to a young friend

I wrote a note today to a 6th grade friend who made calls for the Hillary Clinton campaign, and thought I’d post it here.

Dear E.,

Thank you for the brave work you did in calling strangers and encouraging them to vote for Hillary Clinton. Even though she didn’t win the election, I hope you know that your work matters and it was not in vain! I keep learning in different ways that every time we stand up, we give permission to others to stand up, too. It is a burden to be an every day leader (as you are) but it is is so incredibly important to harness our voices and our courage, and to stand up and speak. You never know who you reached the other day with your calls, whose ready heart you have inspired to action. We have so much work to do. But with sisterhood, we can do it.

You are an inspiration!

Love, Rebecca

 

Follow the leader

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Today, when U.S. voters have the chance to choose a president who has had to “follow” backwards in high heels for her entire career (or maybe her entire life), I consider how it will be if the follower becomes the leader…