I can hardly talk about my friend Rachel Wagner without beginning with “my dear friend”.
I believe she’s the sort of person everyone should know.
She’s the sort that calls you to come over on a Saturday to help paint her door six different shades of green. She’s the sort that writes sensual haikus about unabashed rose hips. And she’s the sort that reads your favorite book quite on accident and calls to recommend it saying, “It reminds me of you.” She’s that sort of friend.
And her being a singer/songwriter and mother of three older ones she understands the incongruities of ambition and housekeeping. And when either of us thinks that, surely, we will never create again, the other is there to remind her that inspiration will return.
I’m encouraged to remember that Rachel emerged from the cloud of young motherhood to find two albums worth of songs under her belt and the realization that it had been a strangely productive time, though it hadn’t felt like it, all tangled up in the midst.
Now her fourth album is under way metamorphosing in the cocoon of the upstairs playroom/studio. And she has begun a Kickstarter campaign to back it! The album will be called “In Side Out Side In”. I love the Kickstarter model and am so thrilled to see what becomes of this project and to be a part of it. Rachel’s music gets played in my house regularly, most especially when there is sibling conflict and dinner needed to be on the table five minutes ago. Her songs soothe and remind me that there is music to be found in the mundane and poetry to be found in the prose.
To give you a taste, here is her latest music video “Flares” which was accepted into the Sacramento Film Festival in 2013 and which I had a small hand in:
I will be posting about my dear friend Rachel Wagner more this month, hoping to use my limited forum here to highlight her progress. Please head over to her Kickstarter page and take the opportunity to help fill the world with a bit of truth and beauty!
One of my favorite things about summer is the picking of wild blackberries. The activity comes to mind inseparable from the Camus glare and suffocating heat of the Sacramento summer. On days when the forecast wagged the warning finger of triple digits the kids and my pregnant self might have only made it as far as the railroad tracks where an unlikely bramble supported our habit twice-weekly with ease. The berries were always a little tannic with dust and warm on the tongue.
Well, I thought this particular summer activity was to be left consigned to visits to Grandma’s. However, I have been delightfully surprised with the abundance of blackberry bushes we’ve discovered around San Francisco.
One of the reasons I love this city is that I am a nature lover and a city lover, and San Francisco is delightful in paradoxically obliging on both fronts. I see the ocean from the top of my block. Hikes are within walking distance. And between the buildings across the street I can watch the prehistoric eucalyptus groves of the presidio form an insufficient dam against the fog.
And they even have blackberry bushes. We’ve been eating our way around the city. I could lead a tour. We hoisted the kids up along the low walls backed by bushes on Lyon street running down to the marina. We ate our way up the hill of Buena Vista Park, sucking thorn fragments out of our purple fingers when we made it to the top and each of us declared in turn that we were definitely taller than the Golden Gate Bridge in the distance. And the bushes near China Beach made James and I look at each other with wide eyes when each bite surprised us first with a salty burst.
And the most impressive thing is not how many berries we’ve already picked in June but how many there are going to be. The only thing better than a sweet warm blackberry are a cluster of ten perfect green ones behind it.
And so, in honor of summer and in celebration of a continued tradition that managed to survive the move to “Urbia” in the face of unlikely odds I charge you to forage and to enjoy this song by my talented friend Rachel Wagner.
Great minds share a fascination for the black that stains violet and the thorn that brings joy. Don’t they, Rachel?
Allow me to introduce you to a very dear friend of mine named Rachel Wagner. She is a writer, singer, songwriter, and burns genius in a lot of other areas, too. She is married and has four children. This video is her first music video and she did it herself. She did it in bits and pieces while her kids were at school and her husband was at work. She did it in between loads of laundry and maybe instead of mopping the floor that one time.
I love how the video conveys that patchwork so well, bits and pieces. Bits and pieces of ordinary that come together to make the music of a spectacular life faithfully lived. Little squares of common beauty brought in to be part of a greater melody. This video helps me to remember that the little beauties and humble tasks of my day are combining to paint a bigger picture of beauty.
This song quiets my soul when I’m irritable and lifts it when I am low. I find that I listen to it frequently on Monday mornings when I am usually both. I have come to call it my Monday Morning Song. May it bless your Monday morning.
Go see Rachel! http://www.rachelwagner.com