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If I were a poet in cloth...

December 13, 2017


This is as far as I have gotten on my next challenge piece. When I start a new project, once I have an idea of what I want to do I start shopping in my stash for fabrics. I pull out everything that might work, then stack them all up and see what the stack says to me. Too much yellow? Maybe--maybe just enough!


When the next challenge for our group was announced the idea of finding inspiration in a song lyric appealed to me right away. I collect song lyrics--not in a formal, intentional way--they just lodge in my brain and take up a lot of space that probably should have been devoted to more important matters.I may not remember any of the Spanish I learned in High School, but I can give you the lyrics to a good portion of the Sergeant Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band album--the whole album! Of course I came of age in the era of great poet/lyricists, like Paul Simon and James Taylor, and Joni Mitchell and Carol King and Bob Dylan and on and on, and it seemed they spoke directly to me. The words and music of that period of my life are with me in a very immediate way. I wake up most mornings with a song going through my head and it is usually the lyrics that have some current relevance, or find me to remind me of another time, a dear person, a place, a mood, a loss, or a shining moment. I have thought before of making art around a particularly compelling lyric, but never have. I mentioned it to a friend once and she thought it was a silly idea and though I disagreed, I lost my enthusiasm and tucked that idea away for another time. So this is a great opportunity. I have words, songs, that come to me often. Some days I wonder about the state of our country, remembering hopeful times, stressful times and the changes I have seen and suddenly I am hearing


"Cathy, I'm lost, I said, though I knew she was sleeping
I'm empty and I'm aching and I don't know why
Countin' the cars on the New Jersey turnpike
They've all come to look for America, all come to look for America..."


And when faced with a tragic event and my own words are inadequate I hear, in my head,


"....nothing comes from violence and nothing ever could
For all those born beneath an angry star
Lest we forget how fragile we are..."


I have a lyric for most any occasion, happy or sad, sometimes to the chagrin of my family as I launch into song. My singing voice is, shall we say, not my best feature.


I know what lyrics I'll be hearing as I work on the next piece. They describe the simple joy of living in this world, and to me they describe it nearly perfectly so I've set a pretty tough challenge for myself. I hope I can channel even a little bit of that peaceful, joyful inspiration. Check back at the end of January to see how we were all moved to translate our chosen lyrics...


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