"If every town had one of these, we could weather any political storm." So said performing artist Chris Smither last night to a sold-out crowd at the Spire Center for the Performing Arts in Plymouth. He was talking about the venue, a former house of worship turned performing arts space—a more appropriate fit for the transformative experiences we need so much, in the language we speak today. Music just might be one thing that can help keep us from collectively jumping off a cultural ledge. Well, Chris Smither's music certainly will, at least in this house. A bluesman, a songwriter, the voice of a poet fitted over acoustic guitarwork that is impeccably, precisely natural: the musical incarnation of freedom. He's been writing and performing for more than 50 years, and owns the stage with the poise of a statesman, only with open eyes and an open heart. Ego checked at the door. Thank God he lives, so we can too.
Watch him here by clicking this link. I tried to embed the video but Blogger took it away. You'll have to follow this link. And please do. It's worth it. But come right back.
And so with that said...
I haven't been writing much since November 9, because I've been stuck for what to say. No words, and too many words. I've been trying not to close off. Forcing myself to read the news. Forcing myself to hear what my activist friends have to say.
"Organize," they say. They have petitions. I signed some.
"March," they implore. I probably won't.
"And call the hell out of Washington! Tell them this is not right!" Will I call any of these reps? Probably not. (But I do agree. It's horrific and devastating, and it keeps me up at night. Then again, so does...um... everything?)
Someone I know posted a color-coded spreadsheet with the numbers of all our House and Senate members, with phone numbers and suggested days to call each. So she wouldn't forget who to call and when. So she wouldn't get overwhelmed by the task at hand. So we could do it too. So much to do. Such a big world to save; such small shoulders.
You see, I am a poor boy too.
I have no gift to bring, that's fit to give a king.
Shall I play for you?
The ox and lamb kept time.
I played my drum for him.
I played my best for him.
Then he smiled at me... Me and my drum.
Click here to listen to Alex Boyé sing it with his African choir.