Author: Rebecca Rose Thering

“Anne” – Mary Oliver Poem Put to Music

Yesterday afternoon, I painted my 100th portrait (Beyoncé!), finishing my project that spanned over 3 years.

While reading in bed last night, that completion energy swept over me (nothing like a move in four days to spark getting things done, right?), and I was propelled to finish something else: a song I wrote this summer.

It’s Mary Oliver’s poem “Anne” put to music. I recorded a video of myself playing it back in September, added a few bars of vocal harmony a few weeks later, and there it sat for a month.

I’d wanted to add more—a shaker for some rhythm during the chorus, perhaps a bass line, layer on some oooos so it wouldn’t feel so empty—but being a newbie to Garage Band and this whole recording thing, that also felt a little overwhelming. (Maybe that’s why I hadn’t touched it in a month.)

So I added captions and published the song to YouTube last night:

(Volume needs to be loud to hear! I’ll do better with this on this on my next video creation…)

The message in this poem deeply resonates with me—that’s why I turned it into a song!—and that’s also why I wanted the words to appear on-screen.

I’ll also include the poem here, in writing:

Anne by Mary Oliver

The daughter is mad, and so
I wonder what she will do.
But she holds her saucer softly
And sips, as people do,
From moment to moment making
Comments of rain and sun,
Till I feel my own heart shaking–
Till I am the frightened one.
O Anne, sweet Anne, brave Anne,
What did I think to see?
The rumors of the village
Have painted you savagely.
I thought you would come in anger–
A knife beneath your skirt.
I did not think to see a face
So peaceful and so hurt.
I know the trouble is there,
Under your little frown;
But when you slowly lift your cup
And when you set it down,
I feel my heart go wild, Anne,
I feel my heart go wild.
I know a hundred children,
But never before a child
Hiding so deep a trouble
Or wanting so much to please,
Or tending so desperately all
The small civilities.

 

I’m grateful for our human ability to playfully make things, the joy of beginning something new, and for Mary Oliver’s words!

Reflecting: Q3 of 2020

Eleven days into October I had a 2-hour video call with Nicole Antoinette and my retreat group from January, to reflect on the past quarter and look ahead to the final months of 2020.

Afterwards, I spent an hour or two quietly working through Nicole’s Q3 reflection workbook, answering journal prompts freely, with only myself as witness.

Below is some of what arose from those reflections, but first, wtf happened in September? some space for September. Read more

Art Nights: Fall 2020

Three months into the season, I was lucky enough to meet a woman (my neighbor! Well, here’s how it happened: a man living on opposite coasts from his wife—because he firefights out West in the summers—hosts a neighborhood crawfish boil here on their anniversary, a Tuesday. I happen to go to this weeknight event, La Croix in hand, and end up sitting next to my neighbor. She’s hilarious and brilliant and kind, and why am I only now meeting you?) who a few days later invites me to a painting night with some other women nearby.

A few weeks later we do another. And another. Hosts change, materials change, the instructional YouTube videos change, but we always bring tea and laughter.

Here’s a roundup of the “Art Nights” we’ve had, should it inspire playful creation for you: Read more

Reflection, Encouragement, Inspiration, and Anchoring

Below are six resources I’ve used this summer/fall for reflection, encouragement, inspiration, and anchoring.

“Ask & Answer”: Q3 Reflection Workbook by Nicole Antoinette

On Sunday morning, after a 2-hour reflection video call with Nicole and my fellow retreat friends from January, I sat down and worked through Nicole’s journaling prompts in her Q3 reflection workbook: “Ask & Answer.” Read more

Pop-Up Ukulele Concert: Send Snail Mail to View

On August 15, I had a pop-up ukulele concert, on a whim.

Impromptu and unpracticed, I hit record and played five songs, one after the other.

I shared the concert here on the blog, and sent it directly to some friends and family. It was only available for a day, to mimic the impermanence of a live performance.

Now, I’ve come up with a way to use this little performance to bring more snail mail into the world.

If you’d like to watch the recording from that afternoon, all you need to do is send a piece of snail mail!

Simply:

  1. Send a piece of stamped mail through the postal service. (Send anything to anyone!)
  2. Take a picture of your outgoing envelope (if this is easily accessible to you).
  3. Send me an email at rebeccarosethering [at] gmail [dot] com to share your outgoing mail, and in return I’ll send you a link to the pop-up concert!

Reflecting: August 2020

I switched host providers this past month, and in the transfer I lost all the blog posts I’d written in the past month. A few of the shorter ones I rewrote, back-dated, and republished, but it was not worth the energy to rewrite my July end-of-month reflection.

So, I’m going from a blank slate here, with faint memories of what I wrote last month. Read more

Outgoing Mail: August 2020

For years now, I usually take pictures of my outgoing mail so that I can look back and remember the love shared. Sometimes I’ll take pictures of the letters/postcards I write too, for the documentarian/memoirist in me.

This month, I thought it’d be fun to share the outsides of what I sent out. Perhaps it will inspire you to send a postcard or a letter to a friend!

Read more