Posts for Category: Musings From Sophie



Intimacy

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.

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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?

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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.

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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.

 

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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.

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.
Ballentine


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.

 

 

 

 

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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.

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sbh-&-Finn-central-park

“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 connection..to 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.


Every Morning….

Every morning I drink in his voice with my ears. He’s always singing, with that wandering, reedy tone, or humming, the songs of his soul. I’ll remember this forever, When he’s flown away, when I’m flying away, I’ll remember the liberation of being his mother . Dashiell was eating and said it was better than God, I said that’s pretty good, then. What does God feel like? He asked, trust, I said, that everything is okay, like the sun on your back in a field of wild flowers on a summer morning. I feel like God, he said. You do, I said, and you make other people feel that way, too.

This Holy day season I felt the resurgence of God. It seems that each instance when God is removed from public life, or the expression of religious faith, there is a surprisingly emotional response from people who don’t seem to be at all religious. It’s an outcry that God exists, even if we don’t know how or why, that the mystery is essential to our being. The story of God is in the present, it’s always being written and experienced, it’s private for the most part, but the history of God, like the history of every human, has many versions, the roots run deep and through every culture, so it’s all of ours’, and yet comes down to what the individual can make of it right now, today.

A friend of mine said he is an atheist, and yet when he talks about the love trees hold I feel we revel in similar ponds, but use different terms. He asked if I believe in God, and I said I don’t have to believe, because I know. I know when I hurt someone. All these social issues boil down to whether we are respecting the individual rights of someone to live an honest, positive, and productive life.

Privacy from Government and powerful institutions is a sacred right that is spiritually based, because unless you are hurting people by imposing your selfish needs on them, no one, or group, should assume they know more about living closer to God than you do. As Elvis said, “You don’t know a man’s troubles ‘til you walked a mile in his shoes.” Over and over again we observe how society has become corrupted, and that only the brave, and usually religiously inspired individual, like Martin Luther King Jr. or Gandhi, can save us from cruelty, cowardice and ungodly immorality.

I was horrified when Mitt Romney said, at the New Hampshire debates, that he would overturn Roe V. Wade, but I smiled when Newt Gingrich talked about the media bias which doesn’t cover how under attack the Catholic Church has become. Both issues are not the federal government’s business, and if the constitution protects a woman’s right to choose, then Romney should leave it, as he said about contraception. Human beings do need guidance and forgiveness, but not from politicians. I also think Newt was correct in cautioning that we don’t need right wing social engineering any more than left wing social engineering.

The only reason so many independents and blue dog democrats are less enamored with liberalism and more curious about specific conservative principles, in my opinion, is because the government has failed the individual in this country, and we want to rebuild our lives, and in some cases, our communities, ourselves.

As far as I can see, president Obama is a Wall Street bureaucrat, and that’s the best of him, because who wouldn’t love the opportunity to have Wall Street finance their career? Give us Bill Clinton with his big ideas, love for humanity, Hillary and the joy of leadership. Give me George W. Bush with his stress on personal responsibility: “Every day’s earth day when ya own the land!”

But what we have now is not a republican or a democrat problem, because even democrats voted for the Iraq war, and we don’t know what will happen in the Middle East, we may regret not having a strong presence in Iraq. And I’ll never forget Geraldo shamelessly pounding us with “Shock and Awe”, and then giving the points of our soldiers away, and now he’s so above and against it all. Ron Paul makes sense on most issues to me, he truly wants peace and economic independence, he walks the walk, and yet the world may not be ready for his mature vision of humanity. Maybe it is too dangerous. I certainly feel that Americans, on balance, are still heroic. That this country has the potential to be, if not the hope of the Earth, as Romney arrogantly states, the Shining City On A Hill which attracts and brings out some of the greatest attributes of human kind.

Last night, Gigi, Dash and I brought a seventy year old woman who had been thrown out of her house fried chicken, blankets and dog food. The valet parkers, who had seen us delivering aid to the woman before, rushed at us, yelling out of their gaping holes to move on. “It’s still not illegal to stop and help someone, we have that right!” Gigi yelled back, the instinct of which, is evidence of God.

Perhaps there is a connection to the growing violence and anger in schools and on the streets, and the war on God, and religion, in our schools and in society. Religion is not the “sigh of the oppressed creature” as Karl Marx said, but rather a context out of which great thoughts like, “He is mindful of even the sparrows fall”, emerge to give an individual courage to take the next positive step. The feeling that you’re not alone, that you are connected through faith on your journey doesn’t make a person weaker, because those valet parkers could have been stopping us from helping their own mother, and that’s what a Godless world looks like.

This country is about faith in the individual, and God is inside each of us, so why not celebrate that with religion, with our constitution, with education, with discovering the Mysteries of life using science and technology? The story of God is written every day, in new and fascinating ways, the history of God will always be part of the creative discovery, but if we bully one another with group think we may as well live like The Lord Of The Flies.

When Dashiell came out of me I understood religion, I experienced God, I felt the meaning of humanity. I saw the plow on the field in Willa Cather’s “My Antonia”, and still the leaves around my heart rustle when I hear a good quote from the bible. I don’t go to church, because I haven’t found one I like, but I don’t have to, because when he sings, I drink in his voice with my ears.


My End Of Summer Playlist

I dubbed this summer my “SUMMER OF EXPLORATION”. I haven’t taken a vacation, but I’m not complaining, I’ve had special outings with the family and found fun, spontaneous friendships with Dash in the neighborhood. I’ve been working in a completely different way, on new projects, with new people. I have a play list for the waning summer that reflects my creative adventures and I’d like to share it with you.

Looking at my relationship with music and performance in a new light, and presenting my work to a new audience in a workshop setting with a great, wise teacher, Carole D’Andrea, and preparing like I was in school for the fist time, I choose SACHEL JAZZ: INTERPRETATIONS OF JAZZ STANDARDS & BOSSA NOVA.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TuQnFYPmu04 You have to hear this group, if you haven’t already. Even new jazz can sound old hat, but these old standards sound so fresh and accessible with the Pakistani group, THE SACHEL STUDIO ORCHESTRA. The stories behind the musicians are equally as engaging.

For a tone of what I’ve been working on, building a show with Gigi Gaston, (it was her idea), I choose LED ZEPPLIN. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rrVDViSlsSM

The whole album with that name, including “babe I’m gonna leave you” etc. The mood and rawness, the reaching for true creative authenticity, the guts and the soul. I hope our show delivers in it’s own way with the sexiness and emotional power of this album.

For the sheer romance of being alive and discovering what will be touch stones and memories with my family this subtle summer I choose PHILLIP GLASS, VIOLIN CONCERTO, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LFf6p6actPo especially movement II. We heard it in the car on our way to a boring beach party and were all three mesmerized. It’s also a lesson that even though there are things you don’t want to do, if you are present, you get surprise gifts you never forget. I also came away with a recipe for a delicious spinach salad with strawberries that you can take anywhere.

Sophie B!


So, you asked me about the social network…

You asked me what it is like living within the social media explosion, since I was around before most people even had personal computers, circa 1992, and I’ve been wondering why you asked, and why the question bothers me so much. In some way I feel you asked my age, or some personal question for which the answer is apparent, but the meaning is not. And yet I don’t want to put a wedge between the curious and the cat, I want to sniff the subject of social media openly and perhaps give you a clue as to why it represents a loss of freedom to me, at the same time as it feels like new freedom to so many people.

First is the truth that it’s all about promotion, self-promotion and promotion of whatever people can sell. Promotion isn’t bad, it’s obviously necessary to have promotion to survive, as an artist or anything else, people need to know you exist. But since you want to know what it was like before social networking on the Internet, there was the challenge of showing up, face to face. I was up promoting my songs at radio stations all over the world from 5 am to whenever the last station would have me on air, live, laughing and telling stories to a bemused jockey, meeting every one in the station, signing walls and babies, and then doing a show at night, for months on end. And press, sitting with journalists at a table or even having Japanese journalists to my apartment, one after another, and having great conversations for hours. This is just an example of old fashioned self promotion, where you could be in the moment with a human being and the air would change, it was exciting and scary and you didn’t forget people, and you learned from each person interviewing you, at least I did.

Most important about pre social networking times, is that the mystery was still there; the artist had a sphere that could be interpreted, but not pierced. Fans had to imagine, as the artist did each time a question was asked, how it was done, what was it like, what were you thinking. Now, it’s supposed to be about no barriers, we’re all equal, show it as it’s happening, show as much as possible even if it sucks, just get your videos up and let the social media feed. And it’s never enough. So the attitude of the artist becomes frantic. Instead of saying, “I’m going to take as long as it takes to make this a classic (Like Jimmy Paige by the lake composing Stairway To Heaven), the artist says, “I have to shoot a video of myself writing this now, recording this now, going to eat pizza now, talking to a famous friend now, because the network is a feeding frenzy for anyone’s crap.

If I saw every step of Georgia O’Keefe painting I’d be done with her, over, I’d see too much normalcy, the mystery of how her painting came to be would have suffocated. Then, if I saw her at home doing her daily stuff I’d be bored out of my mind, I’d take her for granted, I wouldn’t think I should pay for her work, like everything else she just showed us, I would think she’d give the work away for free.

The essence of the artist is to be private, even from yourself, to discover that which only comes after tunnels of darkness, clumsily groping until there are those particles of light, like dust, that tell you. “You’re on your way, keep going”. The Internet isn’t fond of privacy.

In a way there is too much control of what people see, it’s so targeted and you monitor your success with every twitter follower. A new insecurity arises within the heart of the artist, a new competition to lose. Because unless you devote your life to social networking, and not to your art, you will be told that is why you aren’t popular-enough. And no matter who you are, you are never popular-enough.

But now that social media is THE game in town, we have to play and devote ourselves to winning and not getting thrown out with the bath water. And so far we can still define the terms, at least as artists, we don’t have to be benign just to get more followers, or radical to get more followers, we can be ourselves and deal with the consequences. In reality, the only way anyone has figured out how to make money on the internet are the people with millions of followers who get paid to tweet products they just put on. It is still just social networking, there is no proof it sells music enough to support an artist, and to be frank, how many true artists are in a generation anyway, it’s mostly people wanting to be famous and rich and popular enough to get paid to wear a product. So I’m the wrong person to talk about Facebook and Twitter and Tumblr and every new “community” in cyberspace. The way I like to network is still face-to-face, and I treasure any mystique I may have, because like my songs, in the end, it’s all I may have.

Sophie B. Hawkins


Fiddling

Remember the fiddle in the song; “The devil went down 2 Georgia, looking 4 a soul 2 steal” ? Well listen 2 Willa Cather in 1905 -” The violin is an object of particular abhorence to the Free Gospellers. Their antagonism to the church organ is bitter enough, but the fiddle they regard as a very incarnarion of evil desires, singing forever of worldly pleasures and inseparably associated with all forbidden things.”