Monday, December 14, 2009

ONE SMALL GIRL & ONE SMALL BOY


It’s been a whirlwind kind of month. More than a month. I woke in the middle of the night with that familiar weight of overwhelmedness. Overwhelmed by all there is to do in the next 11 days before Christmas; but overcome too, by the measure of goodness overflowing in the vessels of my life and my days.

We gathered last night at John and Ashley’s house, all adorned with beauty and festivity, to wish Ruby a Happy Birthday. Our little treasure sat on her mother’s hip in her pretty holiday dress, full of smiles and kisses. I thought back to one year ago when her parents clasped hands in the hospital and welcomed her here, a rare moment when the other kids were not buzzing around them; Ashley as beautiful as a woman can ever be; baby Ruby so fresh and quivering in innocence.
I paused in a moment of introspection in the middle of the night last night, thinking about birth, trying to recall, somewhere down in the memory box behind the belly button, what that very first breath felt like, when I was still connected to my original life source, when my flesh first encountered air all chill and dry against my new wet skin. I can’t recall it in exactness, but it feels correct that it did happen, much the same way as it feels correct that I came from somewhere meaningful before I got this skin. The snowy white softness of Ruby’s cheeks when I hold them in my leathery old hands reminds me how blessed I am to have lived this long, to have been privileged to see my children grow, to embrace a new generation of my love-line. I know this is a sweet spot in life: my mother is still with us, as are all my siblings and Dave’s siblings, and our children are well and whole and faithful; our grandchildren are small and innocent and unable to make major mistakes; Dave is happy with his work and I can walk and play my instrument and sing. I recall seven years ago, when Guillain Barre Syndrome redefined my life, wondering if I would ever do any of those things again.
I run the pad of my left thumb over its sister-fingertips, recognizing the hard calluses on top of each finger earned by hours of purposeful guitar playing. For over a year, when I was ill, those fingertips were soft and supple, the calluses having peeled away after the nerve endings were stripped away beneath the skin. Thank you, Lord, for calluses on my hands and on my feet. They are evidence of use.
I have spent this past year in a deliberate creative mode: writing songs, arranging and re-arranging songs, interfacing with skilled musicians, singing and re-singing twelve little tunes that became an album called ONE SMALL BOY. I’ve been so busy doing it I have offered no acknowledgment of it in any other place than my own heart.
Few people understand what goes into making an independent recording. That’s ok, people don’t need to know. Besides, everyone does it differently. Suffice it to say it is a lot of work, thousands of hours from the inception of the songs, each one having their own birth process, clear up to the completion of the artwork for the cover. We were blessed with a beautiful and large audience for two album release concerts, one at the First Presbyterian Church in SLC and another at the Farmington Arts Center. The album has received good reviews and has sold well. I have been performing nearly every night since mid-November, and gigs continue until just before Christmas.
I am surprised and grateful that anyone still wants to hear my music. I’m grateful to my best roadie, my housemate and the winner of my heart, Dave, for making these nightly engagements more fun than work. It is a task to lug equipment into a different venue every night; to set it up and adjust it for a new space; to perform according to the group’s schedule, then break it all down and lug it back out to the van…only to repeat the same process the next night…and the next. What would I do without Dave? Or Mark Robinette, who gives me his voice and his bass and his muscle and skill for every performance where he was not previously booked to play with the Orchestra at Temple Square or Joe Muscolino Band. Music almost always tastes better when its shared.
It’s a risky thing to make a new album. Risky, too, to stand before a different audience each night and try to touch them with music they have not heard before. One day I’ll be too tired to take the risk.
But not today. The fulfillment still outweighs the work. We’ll drag our load of equipment up the canyon to Taggarts restaurant and play for yet another company party tonight. I’ll continue to celebrate each CD order I package and label and drop at the post office. I’ll open the red door on the front of my house and peer into the milk box to see who has come while I was away. What could be more wonderful for a maker of music? It’s like…well…it’s kind of like Christmas!

13 comments:

  1. I get so excited when you create a post. Such beautiful thoughts. I can't believe that Ruby has marked a year of our lives. It just goes on and on too quickly. Well done on the CD. I need to get my hands on a copy. I love the cover art. Merry Christmas, Cori!

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  2. What a beautiful post. Sure love you!!! And your new cd is simply beautiful, just like you.

    Thanks for all your help with the party!

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  3. Once more, I am inspired, thrilled and uplifted for having read your post. You have amazing talent, yet you are humble. You have a gift, but you share it with everyone freely, you are an incredible musician and I'm so glad I got to hear it first hand. I wish I was at Taggart's tonight! I'll be thinking of you!

    Love to you and your CD and Ruby! Happy birthday to all of them!

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  4. I sent "One Small Boy" to Cheryl Johnston (Miller) last week and talked to her on Saturday. She said they loved the album. Upon opening it she informed me that she and her husband Ron listened to it three times in a row. She told me it will always be a Christmas favorite. I thought you might like to know that. And you always speak to my soul Cori. Thanks for that.

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  5. Hi Cori!! I love love love the new album. It's absolutely beautiful. Hannaleh is my favorite :)

    Thanks for making music, Cori. You have such a gift and I can't imagine anything more like home than the music I've heard since I was little!

    Love you!!! Or, rather, Luff ewe!!!

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  6. SO enjoyed your concert and have been listening to "One Small Boy" since we got it. Emma is particularly enjoying it, quite obsessed actually with "Sophie's grandma." What a sweet post to such a beautiful Ruby and beautiful family who are so blessed to have you.

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  7. We got our copy today. and I am excited to get it. I feel the things you've written about- the tiredness you know is under there, but that blessed patina of excitement I'm prickled with this year. Why, I don't know, just that every morning starts a day like a gift, even though, by evening, I feel like I never did quite get it open. But then, I am not singing my heart out and thus, giving instead of opening. But giving IS opening. Perhaps we should live inside a big drum, so wherever we turn and find this surprising joy, we can knock on wood, right where we are.

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  8. I am so grateful for your finger calluses, too! You are the most beautiful, wonderful mother and I am inspired by and in awe of you. How did I get so lucky? Can't wait to see you soon.

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  9. Cori, you are amazing! I'm so glad you commented on my blog so I could see your's. What a beautiful style of writing and expression you have, which I guess shouldn't surprise me because it clearly shows through your incredible songs. My mom bought all of us kids your album, and I LOVE LOVE LOVE it. That and your Sleepy Little Town are our Christmas music standards, they are so cozy and meaningful and juts plain beautiful. Anyway, just wanted to tell you, I'm a big fan!

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  10. Thanks Liza! Love your writing as well. Your last post cracked me UP!
    And thanks to all you blogophiles who are thoughtful and kind in your words and your hearts. Here's hoping your Christmas was memorable in every good way.

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  11. You are a beautiful lady! I am proud to know you! Thank you for sharing your heart!

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  12. Thank you again for the album!! What a great Christmas present! I love singing along to Hanalah it has such great rythm.

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  13. Ha ha, I love your latest comment on my blog! I would gladly take a semester off to come play at your house! Sadly, my scholarship would not permit such an absence! Someday, Cori! Someday!

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