Posts for Category: Musings From Sophie

If I Were Dying

Last night, Memorial Day night, I was lying between my son and daughter, whispering with them as if a grown up were going to come in and yell at us. We were laughing about a girl who had terrorized the playground all weekend, scandalized the mothers by refusing to get off the “spinner” and let their children have a turn. Dashiell called her the “Sassy Grump” and followed his imagination through scenarios of the Sassy Grump taking over playgrounds all over the city, locking mothers out and extorting money, while my heart trailed off to thoughts of Karen Walsh Rullman.

I remembered her imitating my eighteen month old daughter, dramatizing her diva-­‐ esque hand motion, laughing, and in that moment I saw what a good actress she was, how alive and funny to watch.

I remembered her in the school yard at pick up, talking about a show, trying to get me to meet a friend of her’s, always wanting to put artists together, always that laugh like we’re all in this together, we all know how tough it is, let’s just put on our best face and walk out onto the stage of life.

When our kids were in kindergarten I wrote a musical with them, Karen’s daughter was so cute, like a fairy, eyes like a fawn, brown and gazing mirthfully at everyone, expecting us to break into song and dance at any moment, waiting for it. Karen must have been like that to her. And then after weeks of writing with the children, and them really knowing the songs, the music, Karen came in to the classroom to choreograph. That was the first time I’d ever seen her serious. Because it was a show. And a show was the real deal, you can’t laugh through this, not like life, it has to be, you know, as close to Broadway as you can be on Seventy Eighth Street.

One year Karen and I did Broadway night at the school. She sang, “You’ve got a friend”, and I listened in the wings thinking, ‘She is that friend. She lives these lyrics.’ I went out and sang an original song, feeling uncomfortably self-­‐promoting, and wishing I had sang the duet with her. Later, she sat in a child chair in the first grade classroom talking with her performing partner like she were back stage at a gala. Again, I felt so willowy watching her, admiring the seasoned pro, and yet, I hadn’t a clue that very soon I’d never see her again.

Today, thinking about how to bring up Karen’s death with Dashiell, I asked him what he thought about dying. ‘What do you mean?’ He asked. ‘In the book you’re reading, Magnus Chase, is there stuff about death?’ ‘Yes. If you die bravely with a weapon or a tool in your hand you go to Vanaheim, which is a peaceful paradise with good dinners.’ ‘So death is an extension of life?’ ‘How you live determines how you live after death.’ A few blocks later I told him Karen had died last night and he was startled, hit by real sadness, empathy for his classmate and her brother. No Odin, Gods, afterlife. ‘It’s so sad’, he said, ‘to never see the person you’ve been so close with, you’ve seen every day, again.’

That’s what is so tough about living. Making loss bearable. Breaking into song, into dance, tickling each other late at night in the face of imminent heartbreak, and fear. That’s what was in Karen’s laugh. Memorial Day. We remember our brothers and sisters in arms, and we are all soldiers. But when a family is putting up such a fight, being so brave, exuding spirit and life in the face of such odds, it humbles us. If I were dying, I often thought. If I were dying, I would only be concerned with my children. Whether they were being loved, respected, cared for, treated fairly, empowered to design their lives, and if I felt my children had support, lots of generous support, maybe I could go to Vanaheim in peace.

So, here, I’m putting Karen’s family’s website up so you can read about them and hopefully contribute to their well being in the aftermath of a great mother, artist, and wife’s death.

Karen’s Circle of Support

Love, Sophie

Tribal Thoughts


Dear friends, I was walking Esther down the street on a hot yesterday and kept stepping into the shade. I’m looking for the shade in every moment, I thought. I’m not drawn to the fiery hot aspect of ideas, people, attractions or emotions. I’m leaning into the cooler, quieter perimeters of observation. Especially in my creative work right now, where there is plenty of heat in the content of what I’m writing, I keep edging into the shady spots.


Because I don’t want to get burned.

I’m realizing the difference between safe and unsafe, and I don’t even want to be singed, or singe another. I see what is worth risking, and not worth risking. My children are worth risking everything for, and so is my creative work, but neither at the expense of the other.

With my friends, when heated subjects come up, I stray into the leafy coverage of my mind, the protection of the tall buildings surrounding my heart. Dashiell called me “Mellow Fellow” walking home from a sunset the other night, but that’s only on the outside. I am allowing myself to hush, and go down to my streams where new ideas are trickling out of moss covered rock beds. I am letting the waves crash and the fires blaze above me and I’m still going deeper into my shade. I need from myself. I need to find the well. I need the time to drink from my well and fall asleep by it and let my unconscious sprout the words, the phrases, the images that tell the story I’ve been wanting to tell my whole life. It’s not a story about me, it’s a story about a girl like me, a girl I was almost best friends with, but she scared me and I ran away from her. That’s what I’m doing.

My neighbor said of his new born daughter, “she has nothing but time.” I’ve remembered that moment for years, because I thought, “So do we all, nothing but time to grow until we die.” But it doesn’t seem logical, it feels like we are running out of time, but even if we are, it’s still all we have, because when it’s gone, we’re done. So time to choose, as I just did, to go out with my children on the paddle board, instead of write. Time to sleep inside, or as I did last night, to trade sleep for watching the ever changing canopy of our solar system wrapped in dewey blankets with my son.

Time to go to the sunset, as we say, to stand on the edge of our day and watch the earth under our feet literally turn away from the sun. Dashiell said, what if the sun burns out? We die. And when I lay next to him trying to figure out how to tell East from West by the stars, I imagined what if this night were the last time we saw the sun? It was a scary feeling, so when I woke up in the grey blue mist of dawn I felt overjoyed. I felt relief and sweet giddiness that we turned toward our sun again, and I wondered if that appreciation is what many people used to feel, when we were more connected to our natural world, and what now only some people feel, when they’ve escaped death or transcended the pain of being alive. What we do with our time can balance us as we grow, or plummet us into neurosis. And what we do has to change, as we change, as our environment changes. I need, I wrote, from myself more than anyone. Yet my children need from me, probably more than anyone. My daughter especially, my son less and less, but still. What a balance, it reminds me of a Chinese acrobat we watched at the Public Library last night, so much energy was used to balance the parts of herself that she appeared inhumanly calm. I appear that way, I’ve been told, but it’s more the awareness of not wanting to hold precious time over the flame, and burn it up. I have had great shows, particularly in this last year. I feel it’s because of the new material, how I’ve grown into the new songs that tell a new story in new ways, and also my appreciation of you who come to listen. It’s like I woke up in the grey blue mist and there you were, the sun.

I do have the new cycle of songs ready to release, and that means I have to reach out and find ways to deliver them to you and other people who are curious. I love the recordings. You’ll hear more about this soon. I feel I have reached a certain status. The status of a strong, tall tree. My branches reach up to heaven with equal strength to my roots, bearing down into the dirt. I hope I see you soon, all we have is time to grow.

Your faithful song writer,

Sophie B. Hawkins

Meeting David Bowie

There are people who bring up the question of who are we and why do we matter. When I heard David Bowie for the first time, the sun was pouring onto the living room floor like batter, and you were sitting next to the victrola, looking at an album cover, “Changes One”. I was nine. I was drawn into the room by his voice. The purity of that moment is astounding to me now. I was over whelmed with curiosity and also aversion because his music was a little strange. And then when I saw his picture I died of love.

I didn’t like your taste in music that much, you liked rock n roll girl singers and I only liked boys, but there you were, cross legged, listening to the album you bought, and there was I, discovering a connection to the world I wanted to be from.

I listened to David Bowie in headphones and looked at his picture every day and night for the next five years. I imagined I was there, and I learned all the parts that made up the whole without being a musician. On summer vacation I sat in one chair all day every day listening to David Live and picturing the shows.

I was able to hear through him. When I started playing African drums at fourteen I already had a vision of myself as an artist, I had to learn the physical way to get my music out, but I had developed a true sense on my own world.

I loved David Bowie because he helped me. He helped me connect and have confidence in my own existence.

When I was coat checking at Orso in New York, the same job where Marc Cohn ‘discovered me’ and left my demos to be found by a producer at a jingle house,  David Bowie came in for dinner. He leaned into my window as if it were a mirror and said, “How does my lipstick look?”

Years later I met him and his enchanting wife, Iman, with my friend Rosie. We had dinner and another time went to a show. I laughed so much at the dinner, I was like a nine year old, and I hugged him the next time we met at the show. I realized, though he was kind about it, that he didn’t know me the way I felt comfortable with him. I hugged him because I wanted to thank him. I felt I may have stepped over a boundary, and I was embarrassed at the time, but now I’m glad I did it.

The following Winter I was living in London working on my second album, “Whaler”, and Rosie called to say David and Iman invited us to join them in Belize for Christmas. I was too shy. I wanted to go, but I was too damn insecure.

It is sad to me now that the artist who most affected me, the person I day dreamed of meeting and being friends with for almost my whole childhood, offered me the chance to just be myself around him, and I was too scared to accept it.

I wonder who will transform my children’s lives? I wonder if I’ll get to witness that moment, I wonder if I’ll recognize the connection. I hope my son and daughter will call me someday and say something like, “You’ll never guess who I met today!!!!!! And I’m going to their house for Christmas!!!!!!” And I will remember the graciousness Of Iman and David Bowie and feel so happy that my children have the confidence to fully live their dreams.

That’s how I imagine David Bowie. As a boy determined to turn his mind inside out on a quest for his own truth, his own reality, his own creativity.


By: Sophie B. Hawkins

This evening, Dashiell and I walked onto the beach with dry branches and matches, kindle from the 7/11, a blanket and some water. The sky was as bright as laughing children, the sand warm, and the ocean waves as relaxed as horses turned out in the field, swishing their tails, snorting, and hanging their heads in the long grass.

We found a hidden spot near the dunes and dug a deep, round hole for our bon fire; our friend met us with hot cocoa and other ingredients. No one bothered us, as I thought they might, telling us not to build a fire, breaking our momentum with rules. We roasted marshmallows and Dashiell made perfect smores, we talked and watched the moon appear and hide behind its gauzy curtain, and then when evening turned to night, we watched her step out with indomitable radiance and clarity.

This is the unfettered moment, the true magic of being alive, Dashiell and I and Bubble Gum are sailing as a tight ship on the spirit of the times. Dashiell runs into the night ocean, dances on the rocks with incredible balance and courage, and I no longer caution him. Or I should say rarely, and then it’s about other people’s lack of common sense. Dashiell is playing with his independence, and in a more experienced way, so am I.

Still pregnant with the moon inside me, bigger and rounder every day, my daughter hasn’t yet illuminated me with her indomitable radiance. Meanwhile, the world she’s coming into is more and more wonderful, less and less limited, lighter and more luminous from dumping heavy judgments into the past. My seventy nine year old mother said, “I’m so happy about the Supreme court ruling!” She looked like a gleeful Barnard student, her young self, waving the New York Times with triumphant expectation.

For me, marriage is more about creating a family than shimmering romance. I am at a cycle in my life of returning to my family of origin, appreciating the fullness and richness of where I come from, and creating a solid family of my own with my children and friends. I have married myself. I am exactly who I want to spend the rest of my life with.

Thinking about it now at 5:48 in the morning, listening to distant thunder and admiring the green grey bay at my feet, Dashiell has been the wiser. He has taught me by example to look for myself in me, to stop seeking permission to accept what I’ve already accomplished. In supporting and protecting his mind, body and spirit, I’ve also changed the flora and fauna of my subconscious. I readily embrace my right to feel happy and free. It’s what our ancestors fought and died for- Independence. Even if some of our ancestors were on the wrong side of history, in their own way, every human marches toward individual freedom, becoming one with their own spirit.

As another great love and challenge comes out of the sea of dreams and into my life, our lives, my roots grow stronger under pressure, and deeper still. I have moments now when I am afraid of the unknown, the physical unfathomability of pushing a human out of my body, meeting her for the first time, and it feels like it’s not really going to happen-but the dr. won’t let her stay in a day past July 7. Dashiell waited until the last minute, too, but he wouldn’t let himself be induced, it had to be on his time. It’s a Hawkins thing. I’ll let you know when she’s born, and I’ll post a picture.



Hello people of the light, how are you? I am fine. I shake my head, how does one blog totally honestly, intimately; knowing intimacy has no integrity on the Internet. It’s a form of thought promotion. And yet in writing books, stories, novels, songs there is no false idea or hiding of the truth, because, speaking for myself, art is an honest search for the truth. Art could be an abstract audit of the balancing act between one’s heart, soul, intellect and spirit. An intimate engagement between our sinuous supports, like an eternal yoga position.

One can’t have integrity if there is a conscious omission of an article of truth that would move the story along in a different direction, a more honest direction. But life itself has integrity, and always eventually exposes all things.


I’m looking through my “musical” notebook, the one I bring into my son’s kindergarten class every Thursday morning, because we are writing a fascinating musical together. Talk about integrity. The children are the most inspiring writing partners I’ve had so far, I walk on air out of the classroom, and can’t wait to walk into the classroom. And in the notebook I see other notes; Religion sensitizes us to feel we don’t belong. Radical aloneness. Prayer is how we understand Gd. Become a thought of Gd. Risk=to save yourself, don’t wait to be saved. These are shorthand thoughts inspired by Heschel in a study group I joined with Rabbi Jan Uhrbach.

And listening to the poet David Whyte, similar revelations, like being out of it, feeling homeless in the world, are not just passing feelings, but facts. Don’t try to make it fit, or fix it, or smooth it over. “God is an alien”, Dashiell said. If we have Gd inside of us, if we come from Gd, then how can we be totally at home and at one on this planet with other outcasts as unique as each one of us is?


I’ve gotten in touch with my radical aloneness lately. Not that I want it to be a comfort. It’s unbearably raw. But I don’t want to avoid it. I wonder if it’s akin to being able to die while being alive. I also wrote, in this wonderful orange notebook of the magical musical, “intimacy, integrity and irrational behavior. Mother. Myself. Then I started a song. Thankfully, the songs still are the thing, they sing through me, my murky pond bottom, and clear a path toward my enlightenment.

I’ll start recording here in this apartment in May or June, and will upload the bits, do some local shows, as far as I know, and record more in August, up load the bits, do some local shows, as far as I know, and have scintillating plans, truly, for reaching you out there with something so new, so roots, so mysterious to me, and yet I have plans of how to capture it. That’s the unicorn in me. We all have one. Catch a glimpse of your unicorn and chase it through your woods forever.

I quickly want to mention how much I loved doing the show in Connecticut, I played some classic songs like “Let it Be” and “Lola”, “I can’t get no satisfaction”, “Whole Lotta Love”, “Proud Mary” and of course some Janis Joplin along with my Sophie songs. Why did I wait so long to become selfish, and use those stories for my pleasure?

Also, at the Love Heals benefit, Hilary Clinton wrote a letter for Bronson Van Wyck in lieu of presenting him an honor, and I have to say this; if Hilary runs again, her whole campaign should be the way that letter was written. From the mother. The mother of the planet. She is a great mother, and anyone who has children can agree that being a great mother is the toughest job. So there. This planet needs a great mother. I could write more about the progress of the book etc., but time being the youth which only the young get to squander, I better play a few bars, write a few words, before I’m carried off by dreams.

Goodnight, Sophie.

Hat off to Bedlam’s Hamlet and Saint Joan at the Lynn Redgrave Theatre

dash-with-sophieRight now my son is taping my mouth, tying my wrists with binoculars, shutting my lap top and just took a glob of cocoa butter to smear in my mouth. He is earnest and compelling to watch in his work. I don’t feel he’s doing to it to me, but rather with me, as I am not the object, but a subject in a story of his imagination.



sophieThe way I watch his face, before he’s hidden my glasses, is the way I watched the players of St Joan last night, and of Hamlet earlier this week. They work the authors’ stories as if they are working them out of their own imagination in the moment. The fascination of the audience, engaged on the precipice of each breath, heightens the immediacy of the drama. The way the players believe what they are creating moment by moment is volleyed back by the disbelief, or awe, that we are privy to the unveiling of these dramatic, historical and tragic human events. Isn’t this like Hamlet’s relationship to the players in his castle, how he needs to have them act out his father’s murder, not only to reveal Claudius’ guilt, but to believe it himself? Hamlet needs to see his own drama acted out with the truth of conviction, with the guiless presentation and simplicity of children playing, to know what he knows and feel what he feels.

Sophie With Cast Members

Sophie With Cast Members

I can say with confidence that I was there at the trial of Saint Joan; I experienced the thoughts with Ophelia that led her to drown herself. How often do we get this privilege in our lives, and do we trust our senses even when these real dramas are happening right in front of us. This is why we need theatre. And the less artifice the more art, the more art the less distractions from the story, the more story from the mind of the author, the more we get to learn, understand, feel and process our own tragic comedies. I mean lives.

And would you believe that only four players, Edmund Lewis, Andrus Nichols, Tom O’keefe and Eric Tucker play all the roles in both Hamlet and Saint Joan? And they are so relaxed, charming, engaging, nurturing…why is that? Because they are THAT GOOD. They know they have it in their loins, their auras, and their essences. No pomp and circumstance, I bet you could wake each one any time after midnight and get a Tony award winning performance of any character in their half sleep.

Sophie Painting the Set

Sophie Painting the Set

Be aware, you will be used in the set, spoken to in the play, and perhaps called upon to read an official church document about Saint Joan, which brings everyone to tears. Oh, to relive that moment. I have to go again. Will you please go experience Bedlam’s Hamlet and Saint Joan? You’ll be in the center of the “The Know”. Changed forever. But don’t bring too much crap and wear comfortable clothes, they move you around




hatsoffThe Place is the Lynn Redgrave Theatre on Bleeker street. The inspiring Meredith Lucio produced it with Sarah Hancock, Ron Simons and others, and the extraordinary director is also an actor in both plays, Eric Tucker.

Sophie B. Hawkins

Birthday Blog

sophieanddashYou know when people say about childhood, “it goes by so fast”? And when they say that I think, ‘I’m sitting at the table of this child’s life until there’s no place set for me, and then I’ll never pass up an invitation to come back and feast.’

We celebrated Dashiell’s fifth birthday and I remembered the day he came out of my body, how I felt when I saw him for the first time. I was delirious, yes, and I said, “I love you so much” over and over again, crying, and I understood Gd, Willa Cather, the plow, the bible, all religion, I understood without knowing what I understood Divinity, human beings like tendrils of the divine. When I met Dashiell in the flesh I saw his destiny. It was a presence that filled the room. It had a color, a deep violet, blue hue that shone from inside of him.


I feel we are all born with something. We are not Tabula Rasas, blank slates, but rather new trucks with an old load. Perhaps the surface of our slate has been wiped clean before we enter the earth experience, but our destiny is a code within us. The information cannot be erased. Orlando journeyed lifetime after lifetime until his/her destiny to be a writer at one with “the spirit of the age” was fulfilled.



We need bodies, we need landmarks to tell out tale, to struggle with other souls, we need friction, we need darkness and sorrow to create light, and joy. In waiting for Godot, which I saw last night, Gogo didn’t want to leave his pit, or getting beat up, he wanted his carrot and to forget. He reminded me so much of my father, and he was perfectly charming about it all. He was existence without meaning super imposed. Then Vladimir wanted hope, change, to find meaning however depressed it might make him, in the little moments. He also reminded me of my father. And he was waiting for death, but then it scared him. And all through the play there was that tree, a landmark in no-man’s land of cialis canada.

They were old men because the very young and the very old don’t have to be bothered with values and morals or even beliefs. Existence is the purpose and the question and the reason. Or not. Like in Hamlet, which I saw a few nights ago, Hamlet acts like a five year old. He struggles with every value and moral, destroys them all, and is left with the question of his existence.

sophie-paintingTo be, or not to be. That is the question. When we are born the effort is to be. When we are dying the effort is not to be. To let go, to accept the not being. And this simple breakdown of existence exists in every endeavor, in every relationship. There is a time when we have to be in it, around it, above it, beneath it, of it…and a time when it’s not to be, anymore. And then one might ask, “what did that mean, that existence?”

Is it more important to stay on track, or off the beaten path? Ask your destiny.

Hello near winter babies…

Hello near winter babies, hello from Fla. Crimson and Prussian blue scarves stretch across the pearly dome of atmosphere, sky, un endless sky, how lucky we are to catch the light of that long ago sun.

photo2We played last night for the pussycats. Isn’t that an androgynous word? For the Pussies and the Cats. More Pussies than Cats, to be sure, and it was a good show for all of us creative folk. And the Gulf Shore Animal League got good love.






Dashiell has been here, what a trooper he is. From school to airport, and Newark is a trudge, and United, a dirge, bogged down with insufficient everything. But his only complaint was, “And no one even got me a donut!” From his mouth to God’s ears because this lovely beach house apartment, “home”, he calls it until tomorrow, is above a donut shop.

What I’m finding is that everything works out. Without hope, with worry or no worry, it all works out. Even with a stalking heartache, even when one is a ‘glutton for punishment’, each one of us is on an invisible river, walking on our own water, proving our own miracles, in our own uniquely fallible way.

kayakThat I hear crickets and my son is on ‘vacation’ because I got to play last night for orphan cats, and am appreciated for it, and nurtured, as evidenced by these luxurious accommodations and the bouquets of freshly made donuts, not to mention Poco’s taqueria, is special.

Not that the Gulf doesn’t reveal the gulfs in my life, my son’s heart, and expose seemingly unbridgeable separations, uncross able passages. It does. I have been working in this exact area at the point of other life and career changes, like 1998 at the Tampa Film Festival (where the Cream Will Rise was screening) when Janice Hageman (still my website and internet lady) sent the message out on the web, “if you’ve heard Sophie B. Hawkins’ song Lose Your Way and like it, and like it on the banjo, please tell Sony to release the album” That was the beginning of me being an “indie” artist by choice. I reached out and got the support and friendship in those times, from you, to fight the giant Sony who didn’t care about the artists’ development, longevity, and most of all, the artist’s purpose as keeper of the flame of the heart and soul of humanity through the ages.

dash-watching-sophieNow I’m reaching out for support in fighting a different giant. Loss. Not just mine, of course, my son’s. And there are no words. No words. But I have to and I do create sentences that lead to openings and sharing’s and new dreams and healing. He has to process. I have to process. We all have to constantly process loss, letting go, embracing peace and happiness without feeling guilty, opening. Opening takes more effort than shutting down. How do we get across this Gulf together?


photo7I have found talking to be the best material for building safe passage. My therapist says to start a sentence with a child thus, “I wonder if you might be feeling” I love the word ‘wonder’ in opening up a child’s heart, mine and his and yours’. And the question. The question requires listening to the answers. And believing the answers, because what do we know? What do I know? I know I need help. I know I know I am not alone. I know I am help. I know I am here for the one who needs me. For the ones who need me.


photo6Everything works out, we play out the frustration and the pain and the confusion, as children, we play and play and play it out until exhaustion. I have found a way to talk with you through art, and I’m finding that there is an art to talking with my son. For all of the arts one must be completely emotionally and spiritually and physically available. Present. One has to SHOW UP. In the flesh. Take the opportunity, create the opportunity, be the opportunity.

I love the Gulf for seducing me with its warmth and debonair charm, and also for making me learn to cross it. As an independent, more independent than ever I thought possible, artist and mother, and lover and friend.

See you soon, Sophie B.

I am sitting in my New York apartment

Hello People Of The Light, how are you? I am sitting in my New York apartment hearing sirens tweak the night and mufflers like didgereedoos charge down the open avenue. That’s how I know what time it is, by how fast a motorcycle can fly by. And that’s the time I’m finally still, my heart slipping into the locomotion of my dishwasher in the kitchen. My new old kitchen. My new old friend. My new old mother. New York.



“Do you know God is an Alien?” Dashiell said to me this Sunday morning from his rocket ship (bottom bunk fort) he calls the “Family Habitat”. “Who wants to come into the family habitat and go to the Pluto Cafe?” He calls. Who wouldn’t? He is thinking big thoughts, and I, surrounded by boxes, am comparing his voluminous statements to my voluminous crap. I join him in the Family Habitat, of course, as do the dogs, and when we get to the Pluto Cafe I order a star burger with a side of moon dust and a galaxy shake. Ah yes, if God is an Alien then this rocket ship is my church.

IMG_9733I remember walking west on 78 street to the Sounds Of Joy music studio when I was fourteen and looking down. “I love my feet and where they are taking me.” I said to myself. Well, I’ve come back to follow my feet again. And to follow Dashiell’s scooter.

Yes I am here to be worked, and the work I caress and knead and need. A special show, a marvelous conception I have to pursue from private dream to collaborative discovery to workshop to stage where you are invited to bring yourself. I am here for that. I am here to take out all my pieces and put them on the floor, hang them from the shower rod, toss them over the tub, strew them on the very grand piano, and make a new model out of which ever pieces still shine. Ballantine. What the B. stands for. Because.

I’ve written a story, I hope to read it to you soon. I’m under the illusion that I keep making it better. I’d like to get it published with illustrations.

happy-yogaRemember Room 105? We are looking for it’s shepherd, or launch pad. We had our first show a year ago on this day of Janis’ death. And yet being Janis was death defying. I miss her coming to me every night and putting her hands on my back, urging me through myself into her wild loneliness. It’s the layers of Janis I miss discovering. I am always here for that.

And how about the musical I spent three years of my life writing songs for? God, I love that musical. It’s at the base of a mountain. I pray that I write soon, “we are climbing the mountain together again!”

leg-hug-1st-dayOne month ago we jumped on a plane to New York, found an apartment, a great school for dash, jumped on a plane back to LA, packed in five days and moved here to catch the first day of school. For that I’m here.

We had almost three weeks of just two beds, two spoons, two forks, a good knife, one pot, one frying pan, dog dishes, a yoga mat and a scooter. It was heavenly. Now the furniture has arrived and it’s hell, for me, because he’s too young to unpack and feel the weight of space sacrificed for continuity and/or posterity. Even my paintings, which I truly love, have to sleep under the beds. I want blank walls right now. That’s how I’m seeing myself. The brush has not yet been laid on me. The curtain hasn’t even gone up yet.

Your faithful songwriter, Ballantine

Life and limb –

Hello friends, people of the light, octupuses clutching arrays of truth with each arm. From Gillette, Wy, to San Fransisco, Ca, I am meeting wonderful yous, who are creative, funny, soulful and generous with your sparks of happiness.
Here’s what I feel; for we who live on the limbs of adventure, for what is adventure but persuing a dream, life is topsy turvy. Life is overwhealming in the constant slaps of cold water on our faces, but unnerving, too, in the warm pools of a compatriot’s eyes.
For us, life is not a knock off, and it ain’t cheap. But it is so real.
After the shows, many of you ask me, “where have you been?” My answer would obviscate the truth. All I can tell you now is that the universe has opened up for me. Hopefully for you, as well it should.
There is an old expression, ‘a baby is born with a loaf of bread under each arm.’
Now I understand that phrase. The loaf may not be sudden wealth, or even health. In fact, on the surface, a baby takes both wealth and health in enormous quantities. But what a child brings, if you are open to it, is happiness. Wholeness. An education in the self that rivals any therapy and/or religeous pilgrimmage. A child lays at your feet the opportunity for the universe.
Bring it on, I say to women and men who are thinking, praying about having children. Any way you can, adopt, use science, use whatever tools you can, because the children of people like us will not sell us out. The work we’ve done. The paths we’ve cut.
How do I know? Because I am carrying on the legacy of everything good my parents did through our son. And I am very conscious not to pass on the not so good. And just like in art, mistakes are the gateway to deeper truth, real presence, and knowledge. Until you make mistakes with your children, you haven’t made a mistake worth mentioning. And until you’ve made mistakes and learned from them, you don’t know anything.
And children forgive, they love so powerfully that f*cking up can bring you closer together than ever imagined, if you cop to it and meant it.
So while its admirable to work toward perfection, to be your best, mastery comes from crawling out on a limb beyond all that convention.
That’s why I love Janis Joplin. That’s why she’s my teacher, why playing Janis is my master class. What a gift Gigi Gaston has presented to me in asking me to be Janis in the show she’s written and will direct, “ROOM 105”, which will be at the Macca (old globe, next to Hugo’s in West Hollywood, Ca) starting October 4, 2012.
I offered a homeless man with one leg in a wheelchair a fresh, hot bread bowl with clam chowder at the Wharf this morning. He said, “there are no clams”.
I said, “I took mine back because there were no clams, they replaced it with this new bowl FULL of clams. I’m offering it to you.”
“Where’d you get it?” He said.
“Boudin. It costs an arm and leg. No pun intended.”
He took the spoon, dipped it in the soup, brought it to his mouth, and said, “I don’t like soup.”
“I aint servin’ you man. Either you want it or don’t, cause some one else will.” I pulled back the plate with the giant bread bowl and started to walk away.
“Hey! Hey!” He called.
“You missed your chance buddy boy!” I called.
I liked him, but he was a squanderer. Resources are too precious to fritter away, that includes time and creativity. And love. Waste not, want not.
So, give, live, risk, gain, lose, laugh, cry, yell and kiss. But don’t waste a minute, or squander an opportunity, because your time will come, and you better be ready. Love, Sophie.