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Artistic First Responder


Hello Dear Friends,


I hope you're all well and taking good care of yourselves and protecting each other. Once again, time seems to be moving both quickly and slowly, and I have been remiss in posting. Some days I'm super motivated and other days, not so much. So long as I'm making daily progress towards my goals, I feel good. One of my favorite quotes is "Think big picture, work little picture." I'm always looking for inspiration and for me that recently came from watching Hamilton and hearing the lyrics "Why do you write like you’re running out of time? Write day and night like you’re running out of time?" (Undoubtedly, Lin-Manuel could connect to the drive of his character, deftly summing it up in song.) It's a good reminder not to take time for granted; not to take anything, or anyone for granted. It's also a good reminder to seize the day, because believe it or not, we all have the same number of hours in a day as the hyper-prolific, Lin-Manuel Miranda.


Another reminder I keep getting on my phone and on social media is a daily report of where I was and what I was doing on this day in years past. One year ago today, I was in London with my family. I was a flâneuse blissfully meandering the streets and shops and lustily taking in all the sights and snapping hundreds of photos. I was meeting wonderful people and eating delicious food. I was smiling and laughing so hard that at times my face would hurt. The happiness and gratitude I felt was so palpable that at numerous times throughout the day, tears would spontaneously roll down my cheeks. (Yes, tears of joy come easily for me. ) Whether near or far, I love seeing new things, visiting new places, meeting new people, but I especially love travel and the fresh perspective it offers. It quenches my curiosity and feeds my soul. (I'm lucky that my family feels the same. Together, we're a wanderlusty sort.)


I’m often told that I look and dress like I’m from another era, or that I sound like I’m a "vintage voiced chanteuse" from another time, but oh, what I’d give to truly be able to time-travel back to those pre-lockdown days and bask in the beauty of those moments, places, friendships and experiences! I think I would more fiercely and passionately relish it all. I'd throw the biggest party ever and invite all my family and friends and hug them. I'd dance and laugh and cry tears of joy. And I think I'd feel inclined, like the Pope, to kiss the ground of all the places I’ve visited and loved.


We can't do those things now. We can't go back to the past. Fortunately, we're a tight knit family, so we're grateful just being home together, happy and healthy. Our home is our refuge, our creative incubator, our studio, our movie theatre, our home farm, our kitchen stadium, our barbershop, our spa, our gym, our dance hall and our school. And boy, are we all learning what's important in this school of life! It’s a time for clarity and focus and purpose. It’s a time for hope and healing and reconciliation and community building. It’s a time for the reinvesting and reinventing of ourselves. It’s also a time for relaxation and introspection and self-care. A time to reconnect with our values, our hopes and those people whom we hold dear. It’s messy work. It can be challenging and maddening and frustrating. It can also be illuminating and heartening and joyous. An art school friend regularly posts these words: "What a time to be alive!" I couldn't agree more! We're making use of the time to manifest so many different projects and dreams and visions. Some of these are new, and others have been in the works for a while.


Long before the world stood still, I began researching and developing and recording multiple projects. It's the secret creative place I've been in for the past five years. Now, I'm delighted to invite you in. I'm releasing my next monthly single in my "Love Outshines the Moon" story cycle a wee bit early! It's a called "Get Out Get Under The Moon" and was written by Larry Shay, Charles Tobias and William Jerome. There is precious little information about the creative inspiration for the song, but here's how it plays in my mind:


"1928. The sun sets on a long, hot, lonely summer day and this song drifts through the air and beckons, persuading a sad soul to venture out of their stifling apartment, and to refresh their senses in the cool night air. Close your eyes and imagine. Perhaps it's a breezy moonlit stroll down the boardwalk, past the midway and the happy people there that shakes off the doldrums -- Or maybe it's the magic of the silvery moonlight over the city that energizes? Whatever it is, wherever you are, let this music transport you to a happy time and place, just as the song has for all these years".


John Boswell's beautiful arrangements capture that magic and together with David Boswell on resonator guitar (He's also the man behind the mixing & mastering) and Dan Gonzalez on clarinet, I hope you'll feel like you're time traveling. And guess what? You can buy it and own it forever, right now. Or you can stream it starting on August 3.


Oh, and guess what?! I'm so excited! Thanks to my dear friend, Harold Sanditen, I've been given a chance to travel to London (virtually) on July 30 at 11 AM (PST) for a Zoom performance on his show, where I'll be premiering the brand new Stardust music video that I've been telling you about. Paul and I have loved putting this together and we're excited for you to see it. I hope you'll come to the online concert! Harold puts together fabulous shows and is a terrific host, his line-up of artists is always varied and top-caliber. It promises to be great fun and I'd love for you to join us!


I'm so grateful for technology. The internet has truly been a saving grace. When I was a kid, I loved having pen-pals around the world. And I still get the same thrill when I connect with people online. I've especially met so many wonderful people through our Home And Yonder Instagram gallery. But as promised last Spring, I recently started a separate new IG account for my music. If you like, you can follow me there. I'm still one of those optimists who believes in the power of the Internet to connect and unite us. I still believe in a global future, where we connect and find how similar we truly are. We can all choose to be beacons of good, carriers of love and artists of our destiny. Let’s make life bright and beautiful! Create a positive vision, focus on it and work for the common good of humanity! Keep yourself informed, but don't dwell on the negative. No matter what, keep faith over fear! And remember, if you lose your way, you can always start fresh again. None of us knows the exact way through this -- the only roadmap is intuition, driven by love and directed by a strong moral compass.


When I get those prompts on my phone or social media about where I was in the past, seeing a photo like the one above can be bittersweet. It can strike a nostalgic nerve, or it can be reframed in a transforming way. I chose to reframe it. Seeing the photo of this illuminated art installation reminds me of how creative people are, and how just around the bend there’s always an unexpected place of beauty, or whimsy waiting for us. These places may not all have bright shiny lights; instead they might be subtle, or nearly subliminal. They might even be virtual, but they’re there, if we have curiosity and imagination enough to seek them out.


"Look for the helpers" is what Mr. Rodgers' mom would say to her then young son, when things looked worrisome, or frightening to him. As an artist, the thing I find so heartening is that at last, people are acknowledging the value and the important role that the creative arts play in enriching their lives. I hope that translates into support for us artists and the arts. Art lifts all of society through good times and bad. There now seems to be a recognition that art is essential, that artists are helpers.


I like to think of myself as an "artistic first responder", proudly lifting people's hopes and spirits with music and writing and photography and art. This is my calling, my solemn and joyous duty and my contribution towards bringing light and radiating love to the world. It’s my prayer and vow to reach as many people as I can. You can help me achieve this goal by supporting my work and promoting it to new people who will love it, too. It's a little thing that contributes so much. I want to grow my fanbase ten fold across the platforms.


Should you feel inclined, there are links below. I'm mindful of just how precious time is; once given, we can never get it back. That's a precious gift indeed; so, I'm truly grateful for your investment in me. Thanks so much!


Love, light and blessings to you and yours,

Xoj



Helpful Over Time (Free but takes a few minutes of your time)

-Share a tweet about my music

-Write a post about my music on your FB page

-Look me up on your I-Tunes app and leave a review for my song or albums.

-Add my music to your Spotify playlists


Easiest For You (Free and takes less than 30 seconds!)

-Pre-save/Follow on Spotify

-Subscribe to our You Tube channel

-Follow me on Instagram

-Share this blog

-Follow me on FB

-Follow Home and Yonder on FB







Home and Yonder • Post Office Box #800576 • Santa Clarita CA 91380


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