What is Possible

The band storage room was the dirtiest place I knew on earth. Its original carpet was synthetic umber single-ply laid over stained concrete and committed to slow suicide by unraveling. They replaced it, while I was there, with a deep dark blue, the short pile of which had not yet bowed in shame at the things it would see—Oh, the things it would see.

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Every Morning Coffee: a review of Every Moment Holy

The holiday season passed with a flurry of shredded wrapping paper, sugar comas, and age-old family traditions. A shiny new year with infinite possibilities and opportunities is spread before us like a banquet. A whole new year, when we can finally do all those things we promise ourselves we are going to do each and every new year, for which we never manage to find the time, of course.

I’m not one of those folks who puts together yearly resolutions I intend to follow through with. It’s simply not my nature. There are times that I do envy those who think that way, but those moments are rare. I enjoy the days as they come, knowing that each day is similar to the last. I have my morning ritual: start the kettle, grind the coffee, fill the French press, wait four minutes then call out “Plunger Boy!” My five-year-old son’s morning is thrown completely out of whack if he doesn’t push the plunger on the French press. Then I go to my office and read the news. All of us have similar rituals, even if they aren’t coffee related.

At the core of what it means to be human is an inherent desire to have order and intentionality in our lives. 

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Why We Read and Write Hard Things

When I was a kid, I had to write a book report in Senior English. Ms. Southern gave us a list of famous novels and works several pages long, and each student was to choose from among these. I was a rather morose teenager, enjoying moody music and—as with many teenagers, I expect—anything that smacked of resistance for resistance’ sake. As to what we were resisting, who could say? This being the case though, I perused the list and selected the suggestively titled Slaughterhouse-Five, by Kurt Vonnegut.

I didn’t know any Vonnegut. The title felt like a fragment of the cultural landscape, like a roadside hillock I had passed a million times without thinking about it. Plus, it seemed to imply violence of a kind, which fit well into my social lexicon. This was the dawn of the new millennium; Gladiator had come out, along with the acrobatic martial arts of Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon. My friends and I had recently discovered Kubrick’s Full Metal Jacket. I enjoyed Michael Crichton novels and bloody Japanese cartoons. In that instance, violence at least felt like a method of enduring schoolwork’s rigors and ennui.

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Invisible Hope

It can be dark,
dark as night.

It can be thick, and damp, and endless.

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Sacred Discontent: Behind the Album The Broken Seasons with Adam Whipple

Adam Whipple plays a house show in East Tennessee.

Loyal readers might remember we ran a review from John Barber of Adam Whipple’s new album The Broken Seasons here a few months ago. I would recommend you read it first, then come back and hear from the artist about the philosophy and planning behind the album and the songs. This isn’t meant to be a review, but a conversation that hopefully will give us a glimpse into his creation process. Then click on over to PledgeMusic and help this album drop into a world that needs its honesty. There are only a few days left.

John Palmer Gregg: First. This is an amazing album, and not just a collection of great songs, but it seems well put together. Awesome job man.

Adam Whipple: Thank you!

JPG: Can you briefly describe your songwriting process? Do you start with the lyrics, the music?

AW: I tend to woolgather a lot. Bits of lyrics will come, sometimes verses or choruses or bridges, and I record it or write down a sketch of the melody and let it percolate. The days of entire songs arriving like lightning are either gone or very rare. Sometimes a whole verse or two will show up. That happens a lot when I’m driving, when it’s inconvenient (or illegal?) to write anything down. Once in a while, music comes first, but I get so enamored with music that it often gets hard to see past it. Those times when music arrives first, it seems to open up lyrics that were already there, usually about things I’m dealing with at the time.

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Gas Stations After Dark

While digging through some of her old poems, Tina Gregg discovered this particularly timely one for today. It was written late at night, still in anger, after returning home from an evening out. It was 17 years ago, but it could have been written almost any night.

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