Tuesday, May 4, 2010


Last Saturday night my best friend and I went to see Jonatha Brooke live at a great intimate venue. Hours later, still basking in the energy and inspiration of the experience, I was moved to write Jonatha a letter.

There is something, I told her, about bearing witness to an artist and their craft--something mystical and beautiful that is a reminder of authentic goodness in a world that seems to be falling around us. Of course there are many crafts and many more artists, but I have always been drawn to the performance of music, particularly the edgy, interesting, indie brand of folk that Jonatha offers up.

I so thoroughly love how you build the music in your songs so carefully around the emotional content; the music and the meaning never seem to compete with each other.

Jonatha was a spur-of-the-moment addition to my list of letter recipients, which already did include a few carefully chosen artistic "heroes" of mine. I didn't want to overpopulate the list with "celebrities"--people I've never met, versus my own family, friends and colleagues--it would be just too easy, I thought, to knock off 300 letters along the lines of "I'm such a fan of your work ..." My heroes, though, achieve a higher standard--they touch, impress and inspire me in ways that leave me feeling that I do know them, somehow.

... My true passion is writing ... Whenever I experience an artist like yourself communing with her craft, I am inspired to keep pursuing my art. You have my gratitude and respect.

Are there "celebrities" who have inspired you? How?

: I'm so excited to have started Lois Wyse's Friend to Friend: Letters Only A Woman Could Write. Letters by the likes of Harriet Beecher Stowe and Anne Morrow Lindbergh to their friends. Beautiful and inspiring, kind of like Wyse herself--her New York Times obituary in July 2007 noted that the prolific author and ad wordsmith coined the term "with a name like Smucker's, it has to be good." Indeed!

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