spring letter from over the rhine

If you know me, you know Over the Rhine is one of my favorite bands.  Not the least because they write like being human depends on rich description and late night adjectives (maybe it does).   Checking e-mail here in the early afternoon felt a little bit less to-do list ish because Linford sent an e-mail that warmed up gmail enough to make me want to share parts of what he wrote:
(the photo of Linford is when they played here in Chicago on 5 Nov 08)

April, 2009
Hello friends and extended family,
I know of a glass blower who gets up every morning in the dark to do his work. Before the world wakes up, before the phone starts ringing, in the sacred remains of the night when all is still, he gathers and begins to fuse his raw materials: the breath from his lungs, glowing flame, imagination, dogged hope.
I used to work from the other direction. I loved the feeling of still being up after the rest of the city (and world) had grown sleepy, the light of a lamp making my third story bedroom windows glow while I leaned over my desk and sailed towards something I couldn’t name.
Someone sent me this little excerpt awhile back, in a beautiful letter of encouragement I should add, the sort of letter that makes everything slow down, hold still:
Here dies another day
During which I have had eyes, ears, hands
And the great world round me;
And with tomorrow begins another.
Why am I allowed two?
(GK Chesterton)
I’d really be okay with this being my epitaph.
When I was younger I would often write myself short job descriptions. I was thinking out loud about what might be worth hanging a life on, a life I was willing to sign my name to:
-Create spaces where good things can happen.
-Give the world something beautiful, some gift of gratitude, no matter how insignificant or small.
-Write love letters to the whole world.
-Build fires outdoors, and lift a glass and tell stories, and listen, and laugh, laugh, laugh. (Karin says I’m still working on this one. She thinks I still need to laugh more, especially at
her jokes, puns and witty asides.)
-Flip a breaker and plunge the farm into darkness so that the stars can be properly seen.
-Do not squander afflictions.
-Own the longing, the non-negotiable need to “praise the mutilated world.”
-Find the music.
I still crave the extravagant gesture, the woman spilling a year’s wages on the feet of Jesus, the rarest perfume, washing his feet and drying them with her hair, a gesture so sensual it left the other men in the room paralyzed with criticism, analysis, theoretical moral concern - for what - the poor? Or was it just misdirected outrage in light of the glaring poverty of their own imaginations?
(Some friends of mine were talking about this scene the other night. We got to imagining Mary with a pixie haircut, which made the drying more difficult. We were drinking wine and Rob had made something to eat late at night: take a cracker, put a thin slice of fresh pear on it, then some sautéed goat cheese from the skillet, and top it with walnuts drizzled with honey from the oven. At midnight?!)
Someone once described our music as a mash-up of spirituality, whimsy and sensuality.
Thank you, thank you, thank y
Music and art and writing: extravagant, essential, the act of spilling something, a cup running over…
The simultaneous cry of, You must change your life, and Welcome home.

His PS was great:

PS Pls pass this letter around freely to your friends and family. Chop it up and twitter it. Crumple it in your mind, strike an imaginary match and start a fire. Print it out, line the birdcage with it and let the white doves crap all night long. Spread it on the floor and train a puppy to squat and pee. Make a paper airplane out of it and toss it off the Golden Gate Bridge. Slip it between the pages of an old Southern Baptist hymnal, or into the yellow pages of a phone booth phone book if such a thing still exists. Maybe a writer will find it, God help her.