I begin by seeing.

I begin by seeing (I'm a visual learner).  Feeling waves roll in, scales fall, the earth shift slightly underfoot…how have I lived this long and not known this?

A secret overlay becomes visible and wheels turn…scaffolding is erected on the interior walls of the mind, frames hung, phrases chalked alongside, and I start the climb...

In tenth grade, a skinny, self-conscious girl, I sat at our hand-me-down piano and felt things I couldn’t identify, longings I couldn’t name.  We had moved back onto American soil as I entered 9th grade.  I hated most everything about our new home.  Mostly I hated everything about myself, and managed to feel both invisible and painfully conspicuous all the time.

Maybe that’s where the first song came from.  Maybe I couldn’t write about the experience of a sad teenage girl, because writing it seemed even more boring than living it.  Instead, I imagined a conversation with a homeless flutist on an unnamed street, who talked to me about his life – the losses and disillusionment.  (The flute wasn’t silent, so I’m not sure how that ended up in the lyric.)

Back then I wasn’t thinking that the homeless street musician might reflect something of my own experience.  Not consciously.  Later, high school and college literature classes showed me how to search beneath top layers and seek out subtle connections between people and circumstances.

Now I make an effort to listen and watch.  That’s where the writing begins for me.

I begin by seeing.  What a mountain has to do with faith…what medicine and children have in common…how my grandmother and I are one…why repentance feels like dying but makes us free…

*And you?  Tell us what you see?*