Savouring every day of this delicious summer, I'm camped out in a little cabin on Saltspring to corner the muse and check to see if it will still have me. It's only been a couple of days, so it's been a little coy so far, but perhaps a note to you will lure it forth while my back is turned. As I've confessed before, I've always approached writing songs whining and dragging my feet. When it finally starts to come, it's exhilarating, but those first few days can be existential torture. Then when the momentum happens I transform into the crazy person who is constantly mumbling to herself and appears slightly possessed. So it's best for me to hide away during the process. Fortunately, I'm able break it up with some kayaking, cycling and swimming, which actually facilitates lyric writing tremendously. Then when it really starts flowing there's the challenge of how to capture the ideas on my phone without dropping it in the ocean or by the side of the road. Ah boo hoo. Not even a first world problem - it's a whole other dimension that hasn't been identified.
Sad to say, I will no longer be able to regale you with stories of dear and doddering Louie. On May 20, after months of torturous indecision about when it was "time", I finally surrendered to the hardest thing I've EVER done, in letting him go. Moving at all was difficult, and he was barely eating, despite every tactic I could think of, including baby food, pureed hamburger and rice, and smearing bacon fat on everything. Essentially he had pretty much used every bit of the "dog's life" he had left in him without moving into full on suffering. I was on my way to Montreal for 3 weeks and though I wanted desperately to keep him going so Julia could see him again, it seemed terribly unfair to leave the inevitable responsibility to the wonderful Amber who looked after him while I was away. The likelihood of him dying on her watch was too great and I wanted to be with him. So Julia and I, in a couple of very tearful phone calls, made the decision. Our wonderful vet Saint Sandra Madden, came to the house and while I held him in my arms, as I had often done in the previous months, we gave him the most peaceful exit we should all be so lucky to have. Oh my....as all you pet parents know - it was sweet and brutal and sad and a relief all at once.
As much as I miss him and LOVE dogs, I won't be getting another one in the foreseeable future. I'm realizing that my desire these days is to relive the Freedom of Eighteen. That's when I got my first bicycle, my first camera, left home with a guitar and a flute and started My Big Adventure. At that time, I roamed North America- and found my way to Canada - and to music. So with Julia launched and Louie gone, I have glimpses of that sense of freedom again. Not that it's dramatically different than the life I've been leading, but I'm enjoying throwing myself out into the current once in awhile and seeing where it carries me. So this week that's Saltspring Island - my home for 10 years during the fertile era when I first started writing songs in the late 70's. I love this island. Of course I'll still be servicing the big lumbering life I've created and keeping the wheels turning that get the music out there to you, but it's nice to be able to have a little less responsibility for looking after other creatures - canine and human.
Speaking of the human one - Julia - with her freshly minted masters degree, is settling in Vancouver doing freelance work as an engineer and producer and currently looking for a suite or an apartment to rent. If you happen to have a lead on such a thing, please get in touch with me!
A great variety of shows coming up. There's a Bluebird North tomorrow night - Wednesday, September 3rd at the Roundhouse at Davie & Pacific. We have a fantastic line up (see the box!) as well as one song each from 3 of the writers who attended the VSO School of Music songwriting course that Bill Henderson and I led a couple of weeks ago - Alyssa Baker, Elias Edlund & Colby Ramsay. It was just too tempting to share them with you, they were such wonderful discoveries.
On September 13th I'll be doing a special solo concert at the Caulfield Cove Hall, which is the newly renovated hall at the St. Francis by-the-sea church in Old Caulfield. It's a beautiful spot and a wonderful audience and space for a concert. I can't believe how many people I mention it to say either they were married in that little church or their parents and/or grandparents were. They're renovated their hall to be a community hall, which is a great gift to an already lovely community.
That's plenty from me! And please do forgive the typos. I rarely have the patience to have someone else proof read for me.
Lots of love to you, and be kind to one another - and your dog.