The year is 1990. I‘m a 20-year-old college student. A fellow member of the FSU Jazz-Pop Ensemble asks me to sing a song in his rock band’s upcoming gig. I spend weeks practicing but it is not meant to be – a few days before the show I get waylaid by the flu. The band guy suspects I‘m flaking – he has no idea how badly I want to be on that stage. I always think of this song as the one that got away: Message in a Bottle….
A couple of weeks ago, I turned 50. How can it be? What a year of reflection with this big birthday. In 2020 the highs and lows seem more extreme. The world is upside down and me with it. New place, new circumstances, new decade. I am officially mid-century modern, as evidenced by these birthday pics below.
Sometimes I don’t have much energy to create. As an introvert, you’d think I’d be thriving with all this alone time. But even introverts need connection. I am doing my best to participate in this partially-unraveled world.
Thus the muse channeled this song back from the depths. I heeded the call and got to work. It’s tough. I don’t have a rock band, so this a cappella version will have to do. Even though I wince at the timing and pitch imperfections, it’s probably still better than I could’ve pulled off at 20. I am so much more ME now. I’m 50! 😘
Sending out an SOS to you, dear reader. I hope you get it. Remember we are all more connected than we sometimes believe.
With love and community,
P.S. – For those of you who have been waiting for a new meditation from me, I promise you’ll hear from me soon! In the meantime, here’s one I did last week for the California Women’s Music group. It’s a 30-minute meditation and it starts about 10 minutes in. Enjoy!
A famous quote by Leonard Cohen says, “There is a crack in everything. That’s how the light gets in.”
It’s from his song, Anthem, and when I hear the words of this master poet I get chills:
The birds they sing, at the break of day
Start again, I heard them say.
Don’t dwell on what has passed away
Or what is yet to be.
Yeah, the wars, they will be fought again
The holy dove she will be caught again
Bought, and sold, and bought again
The dove is never free.
Ring the bells that still can ring
Forget your perfect offering
There is a crack, a crack in everything
That’s how the light gets in.
Leonard Cohen first came on my radar in the early 90s when I heard Jeff Buckley sing Hallelujah. I have sung Cohen’s most famous song myself many times, most notably in the Tank, a sonorous empty water tower in Rangely, CO. It’s just me with my friend Tim Kirwin on violin and reverberation that lasts for miles. I’d like to think Cohen would approve of this haunting version:
Tim flew me from SF to CO to record in the Tank on my 47th birthday. What a gift! That was almost three years ago (August 24, 2017), as I now approach the 50 year mark.
Back in the early 90s, I was in grad school writing my thesis on women in the American civil rights movement. I researched key players and events, bringing together black and white, male and female. John Lewis’ recent passing reminded me of those fearful times in the decades before I was born. I always associate the photo below with Lewis, who got many cracks on the head during the 1961 Freedom Rides.
He was so young then, only 21, but already clear about his message and his voice. Dedicating a lifetime to service, here’s a quote from Lewis 50 years later:
You are a light. You are the light. Never let anyone — any person or any force — dampen, dim or diminish your light….Release all bitterness. Hold only love, only peace in your heart, knowing that the battle of good to overcome evil is already won.
Here’s to celebrating the power of voice, the power of words and song. We all have a voice, even if we don’t always know how to express it in poetic ways. “Forget your perfect offering,” and love your own true light, cracks and all.
August 1 marks a new season – connected to communication, the throat chakra and the color sky blue. Three chances to join our next Seasons and Chakras meditation:
Saturday 8/1, Wednesday 8/5 and Saturday 8/8 at 11 am PDT / 12 pm MDT / 1 pm CDT / 2 pm EDT. Please check your time zone.
Songs from childhood tend to leave an indelible mark. Lately I’ve had an earworm that just won’t quit. Did you know that the 1950’s children’s song, Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes is actually derived from an old college drinking song from the 1800s? And that song is derived from old Scottish/English ballads that date back much further.
Here’s a taste of ye old drinking song, Tavern in the Town, with the all-too-familiar melody.
Those early folk songs seem to have the same themes – lost love, drinking and dying – sung to a catchy, uptempo beat (My Bonnie Lies Over the Ocean, anyone?). No wonder these tunes stick around for centuries. 😀
Going a little further back, I’m continuing my Seasons and Chakras series next week. Yay! I’ll be teaching Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes in terms of self-touch, self-care and compassion.
We are in the season of green, the heart chakra. 💚 This chakra is also related to the hands and sense of touch. Last month we focused on the torso/spine – now we look at what’s above and below, from head to toes.
This meditation will include face massage, toe yoga and points in between:
We were commenting that we’d only had a handful of nice days so far this spring. Well today is the nicest one yet. I am writing from our back patio, a private oasis for a million eyes to see (remember that movie, Rear Window?).
Staying at home has led to a serious nesting phase. I’ve painted furniture, I’ve hung a gallery wall, I’ve ordered plants galore. Laszlo the cat has never enjoyed so much togetherness.
I found myself singing for spring in another online music festival. Fun! The whole family unit made a surprise appearance during one of the songs. Highlight of the show for me.
Click image to hear song. If you’re in the mood to be serenaded, you can also watch the whole half-hour set: Eve sings songs for spring
As summer approaches, I wonder what else I can offer in an outward way. I’m feeling a need for more connection, less hibernation. I rely on my yoga training to guide me through shifts in seasons and surroundings, as this is my first springtime in NY.
Back in SF, I led an exploration of seasons and chakras. Ritual is such an important part of self-care. My aunt wrote a book about it, and I use this as part of my teaching. We are now midway through our spring-to-summer transition.
I’m planning to host an online meditation session for this particular shift of seasons. I’ll be sending out details soon. If you’re interested, let me know and I’ll put you on the list!
Update: Find info on Eve’s online class offerings here.
We all had plans, didn’t we? When our House Hunters International episode aired two months ago, I had eyes on leading a yoga retreat in Portugal – lining up the location and pricing for October and getting ready to send out an email blast.
Now I find myself retreating inward more and more. No outward plans. Cagey in the heart of the concrete jungle.
At home, I’ve been staring at the cover of Georgia O’Keeffe, The New York Years. I ordered this 30-year-old art book when I found out O’Keeffe used to live in our building. One thing I love about New York is pondering all the creative ghosts that have walked these streets for centuries.
Here’s the view from our building, taken from O’Keeffe’s penthouse apartment in 1936. These ghostly skyscrapers were new then. The ones I’ve pointed out are still standing and I walked by all of them today.
I have mixed feelings when I go outside – guilt and relief entwined. I take an empty Sunday stroll down 5th Avenue, remembering throngs of people on this street when we first landed in New York during the holidays. Today I see a ghost town, with no more than five scattered figures at a distance. Instead of people watching, I’m peering into frozen window displays.
It reminds me of a song I learned while a student at Berklee College of Music: I Remember – a Sondheim tune from the 1966 TV movie, Evening Primrose. Turns out it was filmed one Sunday morning at Stern’s department store across from Bryant Park, which is where I am standing now.
The store closed long ago, but I conjure up echoes of the stars Anthony Perkins and Charmian Carr (that’s Liesl from Sound of Music). Here’s a synopsis of the film:
The people are gone. The doors are locked. Darkness descends inside a department store. Fleeing the pressures of the outside world, an unhappy poet is at last alone. But not for long. In his newfound sanctuary, he comes across a group of hermits who have been hiding there for years. Among them is a girl with whom he falls in love.
She wants to see outdoors (having been stuck inside since she was a child); but when they attempt their escape, they are turned into mannequins. Pretty gloomy stuff. Yet I find her song absolutely beautiful:
I remember sky It was blue as ink Or at least I think I remember sky. I remember snow Soft as feathers Sharp as thumb tacks Coming down like lint And it made you squint When the wind would blow. And ice like vinyl On the streets Cold as silver White as sheets Rain like strings And changing things Like leaves. I remember leaves Green as spearmint Crisp as paper. I remember trees Bare as coat racks Spread like broken umbrellas. And parks and bridges, Ponds and zoos, Ruddy faces, Muddy shoes, Light and noise and Bees and boys And days.
Certainly there are many silver linings in our sequestering. My solo exploration led me to that building on the O’Keeffe book cover, which has been overlooking Bryant Park for almost a hundred years. I’ve never noticed it before, with all the usual busyness of that space. Today it stands out in stark relief.
One more ghost for you: my younger self and singing voice captured during my music school days. Click image or button below to hear my rendition of Sondheim’s I Remember (with fellow student Joe Smith on piano).
So many changes since I last wrote. I’m at a loss for words these days, so I thought I’d share in pictures instead of paragraphs. Thank you for keeping up with me. Here’s the recap of my last six months.
Goodbye, San Francisco. Hello, New York.
We spread our wings with a new address plus travels plus TV show for all the world to see:
I’ll take Manhattan
Thank you India
House Hunters International – A Dream Divided in Portugal
My husband Mark got a job offer in New York City, so we moved to Midtown Manhattan at the end of the year.
In January/February, Mare Wakefield invited me on the trip of a lifetime: India. We went to Delhi, Agra, Jaipur, Varanasi and Chennai.
Back to NY and ready to get to know my new city.
Surprise – we also bought a vacation home in Portugal! We weren’t allowed to share the news until our House Hunters International episode came out. Filmed in August/September, it aired on March 7, 2020.
Above scenes from our favorite restaurant, Nó de Gosto in Tavira, Portugal. Below, a few more stills plus how to watch the show.
The episode is available for free On Demand. Search by “House Hunters International Season 143, A Dream Divided in Portugal.” Also available on subscription services.
Summer travel plans? Do tell! We’ll be returning to the southern coast of Portugal in a couple of weeks – I’ve got things percolating there and I can’t wait to share. Stay tuned for news of octopuses and pink flamingos!
Meanwhile, with all of our daily “busyness” going on, I’m sending a gentle reminder about the health benefits of live music. Certainly music heals, but scientific studies show that experiencing live music is even more beneficial in terms of lowering cortisol, boosting mood and fostering a sense of community and sympathy for others. We could all use more of that!
This is why I make music
It feels good and the good-feelies are contagious. I know it, I feel it in my bones. So take a vacay from your devices (and other vices) and find a way to let live sound waves wash over you!
Come to my show in San Francisco (see below) or meet me in Portugal and we’ll serenade the pink flamingos. Or hey, just call me up and I’ll sing you a song over the phone. I’m happy to serve! 😀
To find out more about upcoming Eve events, follow this link to my events page.
February 20, we’ll be live streaming on Concert Window for Movie Songs Night: The Sequel! Stay cozy and watch us from your desktop or device.
For those of you who have tuned in before, you know how much fun these shows are. Steven and I will be playing one song per decade, 1920s – 2000s. And you get to guess the movie! Details on how to sign up below.
Just in time for the Oscars, we are doing a special theme for our next Concert Window performance on Wednesday, February 20 at 8:30 EST/5:30 PST. This is a live online show – pay what you want, watch it from anywhere. A lightning round of music in about 30 minutes; buy your tickets ahead and log on early so you won’t miss a beat!
We’ll be doing one favorite movie song from each decade, from the 1920s to the 2000s.
Curious to see what we pick? We’ll also have an interactive contest during the show – the first person to correctly name the movie corresponding to the song (without using Google) will win a prize. This is gonna be fun!
We’re learning all new songs for the sequel, so it’s a whole new ballgame. Hope it inspires you to join us, from my living room to yours! Cheers!
I’m feeling inspired this end of year. And emotional too. Waves of sadness and joy – which seems pretty typical for the month of December. A collective ritual time surrounded by holiday angels and ghosts.
Our sweet kitty Zelda left us on Thanksgiving weekend, and I’ve been showering her brother Laszlo with love as best I can. This death in the family is bringing me back to 2006: we lost our first cat, Rum Tum Tugger in February of that year, then my grandmother (who we called Mima) in June, and we welcomed kittens Zelda and Laszlo in August.
Mark and I bought our house in Nashville that summer and were still moving in when I got a call from my mom. Mima (her mother) had been asking if I could come perform a concert for her and her “buddycakes.” As I sat there amid packing boxes, I thought I couldn’t possible go – I was much too busy.
After hanging up the phone, I heard this little voice in my head telling me to go. So I left Mark with the boxes and flew to North Carolina the very next weekend. I performed 12 beloved standards for Mima and her friends at the Montpelier Presbyterian Church in Wagram NC.
What a surprising send off. Even though Mima was quite frail and had been having blackouts, no one believed she was near death. She was still playing (and winning) at bridge! She was still going for walks!
That Saturday night, she was beaming from the audience.
I remember thinking after the concert that if I died tomorrow, this was the most important thing I could ever have done in my life – performing for Mima and her friends (all well into their eighties) in this small church in a small town.
Sunday night, we stayed up late in her bedroom, just the two of us; she had blacked out again and when she came to we started singing. I sat at her bedside and held her hand. I have never felt such strength and power as I did that night, coming through her hand into mine as we sang “You say to-may-toh, I say to-mah-toh ….”
She died sometime during the night. She looked like a little bird, eyes closed, mouth slightly open, peace-sign socks on her feet. I had to call my mom and tell her that her mother was gone.
A few days later the same church was packed full of mourners, every single one crying as I sang “I’ll Be Seeing You” with freshly penned bridge lyrics that came to me as a vision after she died. I felt the power of Mima holding me up with her hand, helping me through it.
Here’s the Mima version of I’ll Be Seeing You:
I’ll be seeing you in all the old familiar places that this heart of mine embraces all day through
All those lazy days down by the riverbank The morning ocean breeze The cat’s meow The pecan trees
I’ll be seeing you in every lovely summer’s day In everything that’s light and gay I’ll always think of you that way I’ll find you in the morning sun and when the night is new I’ll be looking at the Moon but I’ll be seeing you
If you’ve gotten this far in this long story, I want to share a fresh piece of inspiration for the holidays. I asked Essence Goldman to come speak to a group of musicians this week. She spoke of the highs and lows of her career, a path that led her to Bernie, a voice student of hers who ended up with ALS. His lifelong dream was to put out an album of his songs; he asked Essence to be his voice.
You may have heard this story on NPR. If not, I highly recommend you watch this video of Essence and Bernie. She sings at his hospital bedside and it brings back the power I felt that night with Mima. Essence’s story reminded me that the most important thing we can do in this world is use our gifts to create connection and be of service to others.
I wish for you an inspiring holiday and end of year. Let your heart be light. If you’d like some Eve music, you can buy from my online store and I’ll send you a gift.
I’d love to bring some cheer your way. And hear from you as well. We lift each other up and I’m grateful to each and every one of you.