Posts for 2009

Hello dear friends

Hello dear friends, I was standing in front of a monument the other day with my family and read of the World War One soldiers, “they gave the supreme gift of themselves”. It was a bright, crisp Massachussettes morning, a day after Dashiell’s birthday, and the immense truth of that ability, that commitment, is still having an impact on me. I am experiencing giving the gift of myself on different levels now, because life has gotten so very challenging for people close to me, and also because I have a child for whom I need to be as present and unselfish as possible. Giving your life is so much different than losing your life. A female writer told me during a dinner at Norman Mailer’s house recently that she wished she didn’t have children because she lost her chance of being an artist, and I have to say I feel I’m gaining the depth to be a bigger artist.

First of all I’m gaining faith. To let someone grow and thrive in their own time and space you have to trust in them, in their divinity, in their purpose. Even and especially if I am nervous about other people influencing him away from himself, I remind my heart that he’s as safe as he can be at the moment, as safe as any of us usually are, and that he has his own creative destiny. It’s an in the moment dialogue I have with myself often because I am the one responsible for his well being, and yet, I don’t want to be over bearing in my concern, I love my freedom, too, and I want him to love his. My favorite thing as a mother is watching him play fifteen or twenty feet away, discovering his world, which is unique from everyone’s, and feeling content to be in the same universe. I’m never conscious of giving to him, and that’s the way I would like it to be with everyone.

But it isn’t, and that is something I’m learning about. These hard times seem to be getting harder for most of us, and neighbors will need each other more, strangers may become buddies, and friends may turn their heads. I read and I listen and I watch and I am dubious about the near future of this country. For me, this is a time in history where the individual needs to risk going against the tide of the times, needs to balk at the group and say what’s heavy on your heart, what’s making your soul shutter. It’s time to give the gift of your self, not in dying, but in expression.

My feelings, my vantage point, are in my new cycle of songs coming out, in my paintings, but I don’t feel right about elaborating on them now, on the internet. Not because I wont take a risk, but because a risk at the wrong time is foolish, and at the right time is brave. On Norman Maler’s desk, in his writing room up in the attic where he worked ten hours a day, was, amoung his research, a paper with a paragraph that could freeze your blood. But what did actually give me chills was the note he hand wrote next to it. No one that night noticed it but me, as they ogled at every materiel detail of his life. I showed it to Gigi and she showed it to the host, who shrugged and said, “I cant believe I’ve been up here so many times and never read that.”

This is what I’m saying, we must stop being blind to the writing on the wall. We, as a people, are going to be faced with losing ourselves, or giving ourselves, and it wont be supreme unless we believe, truly believe, in what we are doing it for. So if you don’t believe in something, start expressing what you do believe in. I can’t wait to share my new work with you.

Sophie B.


Hello August Buddies…

Hello August buddies, here I am taking the last of a Carmel moment, driving back into hotsville along the dark green and blue alizarin route 1. The streets were lined with gems on wheels, cars as works of art from eras of adventure and elegance. A person had to be a real driver, experience the road in its bareness, the “learning curve” was so much steeper. I love the Nash Healy ‘53, oh what a red, what a dash board.

When new machines advertized as the cutting edge because they stop for you, eat for you, and sleep for you I wretch because its the death of beauty, the end of passion, the seal on the coffin of individuality. Just get in and follow a gps and you won’t get hurt cause your car will protect you and you’ll always bable to be tracked with that damn chip.

For me, wealth is the freedom to choose. Are we loosing that simple gift in this country, on this planet? I suppose that, too, is a choice. It is a profound power, independence, to be able to make decisions that define your life, that become your life. To have the confidence to know what is best for yourself. Creativity is constantly making choices, and it is so empowering to art, yet in life, why do people want to let go of the wheel?

I would like to invite you to 2 special shows, in Philly and New Hope. These are Darius Holbert’s last crossing with me. You all know what a fine musician he is, but more than that, I have never played with someone who has surprised me, enchanted me and supported me more on stage. I will miss him terribly. Please come and bring your friends for our last great moments together. The album is getting closer to pulling into port everyday, it is on the sea sky horizon.

I hope I see you there! Sophie

Hello new friends and old

Hello new friends and old, I’m seriously in love. Blowing rock blew me away, the audience, the pungent grass, the mists like dragons’ breath and the succulent rain. And Bonnie and Jamie, who hosted us and took such excellent care of us at Westglow, and Missy, what fine and generous people, I really would like to import my life to the blue mountains right now.

I got caught in the rain on a dirt road and I felt as alive or more than when I was a child alone in a summer storm. How strange and mysterious life is; I didn’t want to leave home for this short tour, and now it is as if the flights and roads and shows were a route taking me to Blowing Rock.

My 4th was very soulful, we performed and then Bonnie DJ’d an emotional exposition of fire works. It started with our hands over our hearts facing the American flag and singing the national anthem on the portico that overlooked the ravishing dark blue mountains, and ended with Judy Garland singing “somewhere over the rainbow”. In between was Ray Charles singing America The Beautiful, Annie Lenox with American Prayer, Simon and Garfunkle’s “I’ve come to Look for America, which affected me the most, and some artists with patriotic songs I hadn’t heard but really loved. When someone puts it all together like that it is as if I’m in a great production of a play I adore, the point just before the last act ends. I realize things and I say, “how could I have not seen this before?” It’s a jump in awareness and I feel humbled by the work and vision of people around me I either hadn’t known or simply hadn’t recognized.

I’m swimming in a warm pool of emotions, like the one at Westglow, wondering how to paint what I feel, in words, chords and colour.

Bye, Sophie

Happy 4th my friends and fellows!

We had a wonderful show last night with Edwin McCain. Among the many lovely humans there were two women, Fran and Kelly, and when I started to play Fran apparently said to Kelly, “she sounds like Sophie B.
Hawkins” and then 3 songs later I said my name, that’s deep in this world of sound bombs.

It is so fun to play for an audience that doesn’t come for me, even when I offend people for being myself. Although I find more that people discover new aspects within their own context; for instance Maria and Cesar like my “Christian undertones”, which is not schooled, or sought after, it just flows through as a truth of my existence.

North Carolina is billowing with impending rain, the leaves are white side up, the clouds are folding into the sky like pillows into twisted sheets. Wow, look at all this farmland, yellow daffodils and cops. Last time I played here it was for Hillary Clinton, that was sure a different time, sometime I’ll discuss what has happened between then and now, or perhaps I won’t have to. Perhaps its in the new album, perhaps its in the air, I’ve been having fascinating conversations with people coming to the show, people I haven’t known and yet we have similar trajectories to our thoughts. All I can say is; I felt isolated and now I feel part of a movement, like a buffalo who found her heard. Gotta a show in blowing rock tonight, Aaron Copeland is on the radio and it’s all wide open.


Notes From Florida

Hello there, we’re leaving Savannah, Georgia listening to Sinatra on the radio in the blaring heat. History is everywhere on this American holiday weekend. Last night we listened to Lincoln’s Gettysburg address, and Kate Hepburn playing the Aaron Copeland Lincoln piece. Now “Young At Heart” is playing, how true!!!!! What great lyrics, all the self help books can’t conquer this simply wonderful feeling of happy expectation. On the RoadNow Mel Torme is scatting about Sweet Georgia Brown’s big feet! So neat. I met some great kids last night in South Carolina, I’d never been there before, what a treat. Alligators, too. And Edwin McCain is stupendous, and nice, I feel specially lucky to be on his stage. july2009-2a There are allot of rebels out here, I love the rebels, its high time for the thinkers whose thoughts are creating a disturbance in the stagnant pool of power bloated muck monsters. Washington, Wall Street, I’d trade you all for a Georgia peach in a hot, southern second. july2009-3a Now its Peggy Lee, oh please! The folks who like to be called what they have always been called-the folks who live on the hill.. I’ll see some of you tonight, Sophie

Dear friends, on this memorial day

Dear friends, on this memorial day Friday night I thought first of you, remembering how I’ve made a life of songs that you have shared through years of rugged changes and unlikely developments, and it’s been a battle to survive, creatively speaking. I wrote before Dashiell was born that I worked and trained like a soldier to be ready for the unknown, and I’m so glad I prepared as well as I did. I’m so grateful I didn’t cruise for a moment, and that I enjoyed not down shifting, but rather kicking my butt into gear even more. This afternoon I listened to the most amazing guitar player lay down tracks on some of the new songs and they sounded better than I thought they could, I heard how the bass from yesterday pulled the piano and vocals together, gave them depth, and now how the guitar is intensifying the mood, challenging the lyrics to speak clearly of a richer meaning. I have found my way, I know what will not work, and opportunities are here. Patience has proven to be a good friend, I mustn’t betray her. Memories, all of them used to be painful, I’m sure many of  you can relate to this. There are some sad moments on the new album, for sure, loss and longing for the reasons things happen the way they do when the feelings are unbearable, but also there are new strengths and completely unsuspected perspectives and desires borne out of the grieving process. We don’t get people back, we can’t relive a more innocent time, but we can create circumstances to enrich new relationships that vibrate who we are now, and we can let innocence safely flourish within others, and live it in our art, and make time for our own innocence to erupt. Being Dashiell’s mother is so sacred to me, these are the simplest and quietest of times. Sitting on the stoop watching the birds and dogs, giving him his bottle and kissing his wonderful smelling head, leaning over his crib when he’s talking and singing to himself in the morning, telling him of Sir Dashiell the Great Knight while he falls asleep on my chest in the swing, under the Eucalyptus tree.  Yesterday is already a memory. In six months I have never experienced so many conscious leaps with another human being, and every six hours something totally new happens. This is how life is when we are present, with or without a child, if we don’t habitually re enforce the same story. Dashiell’s story is new and unfolding fast, so he is not held back by conditioned responses and ideas from his past, but so is every one’s story, if that’s how we choose to tell it. I have definitely opened a new book of life; it’s my part 2. I love the old one ever so much, it is in fact addictive, but this new one is nurturing and full of white magic, there is a very bright and strong new character who I am always eager to observe, and the old ones who have crossed over are so much the wiser. There is Owl, speaking of the goddess, wanting me to be her doorman. So friends, I want to thank you for who you are and for what you have given to me, and I want to especially and deeply thank those of you who serve and protect America, and who ever serves and protects their own nation, it is such a sacrifice and because of it, I can kiss my son goodnight. See you on the road, Sophie 

Hello my dear friends..

Hello my dear friends, it has been so long, and believe me, I have written many an entry…but I haven’t finished one. I hope you are well. I am very very well, and quite happy. Dash amazes me; I have gone from awe to a love that is as simple and powerful as the essence of the word, whose roots are deepening within me, and whose branches extend more each day. It is so difficult to describe these feelings without music, without a song, without a spot of nature, a Spring bird singing, a Summer twilight on the rooftop, a first snow that sticks. I don’t want to be practical and tell you how I’m living nowadays with a three-month new person and the musical and, of course, looking for the right way to get all these songs out of my studio and into the antechamber of your souls. (What V. Woolf calls the ears.) Life is not practical or technical, although it takes these to make it as creative as possible. Sometimes I want to write a book on all that I’ve learned in just three months, but I realize everyone’s experience is so unique, every child and parent is so unique, that my discoveries wouldn’t translate. And they are forgettable, the ways one manages to make everything work, and the memorable stuff requires art to express. Yay for art!

We actually just spent two very intense weeks working with a lion of Broadway on the show, and I’m more inspired than ever about the potential of this experience for my talents. And yet, the closer we get, the more unfinished and undone it becomes. Also with the album, I’ve experimented with several combos of people I’ve liked allot, although I haven’t hit the right mode for the songs yet. I truly trust this process, and I have to get it right.

Tomorrow I’m doing a performance at a charity event, the first time onstage since September, and Dash wont be inside of me, he’ll be having his own life, probably sleeping. Finn is next to me right now, and I have had a great day of writing, recording, going to art class, walking around the hood and being, quite naturally, a mother. I wish I could tell you more details, but there is no time for details. I will say this, though, when we rehearsed for this show, Dazza, Rick, Gigi, Huckleberry and I, my heart yearned to hit the road again. That’s when I do get impatient. And won’t I have a funny entourage? Ah well, I’ll see you there…when the sun comes out again.

Your faithful songwriter, Sophie B.