Friday, June 22, 2007

On and On It Goes (Mary Chapin Carpenter)

I've been a fan of Mary Chapin Carpenter's music for almost two decades - her heart-hitting lyrics and stunningly-clear voice (whether whispery-soft or raucously-joyful) combine to make for an always-rewarding listening experience. As far as I'm concerned, she was mis-pigeonholed in the country genre for years, when she's actually more folk/singer-songwriter - her new CD, The Calling, is absolutely brilliant as it addresses personal, political and spiritual struggles, often questioning yet always reaffirming...

To follow up on yesterday's gratitude blogpost, I share the following, posted to today's MCC discussion list: "When singer-songwriter Mary Chapin Carpenter canceled her summer tour, she no doubt disappointed the dozens of dancing glow-in-the dark plastic flamingos who traditionally turn up (to her delight) for her annual outing at Chastain Park Amphitheater. But her reasons were sound. In her This I Believe essay, "Everyday Is All There Is", recorded for Sunday’s edition of National Public Radio’s Weekend Edition Sunday, the singer details her recent health scare. After a concert tour this spring, Carpenter was hospitalized after suffering a pulmonary embolism. “Everyone told me how lucky I was,” she says in the radio essay. “A pulmonary embolism can take your life in an instant.”

As she recovered, Carpenter says she experienced disappointment and depression, until a chance encounter at the grocery store: “One morning, the young man who rang up my groceries … told me to enjoy the rest of my day. I looked at him, and I knew he meant it. … What I want, more than ever, is to appreciate that I have this day and tomorrow and hopefully days beyond that. I am experiencing the learning curve of gratitude." The singer should be back on the road in 2008."

Weekend Edition Sunday airs locally (in South Florida) from 8 - 10 a.m.

Plus... Mary Chapin will be a guest on the Air America show Ring of Fire Saturday, June 23. Ring of Fire is hosted by Robert Kennedy Jr., Mike Papantonio and David Bender, streams live
from 3 - 6 p.m. and is rebroadcast Sunday, June 24 from 8 - 10 p.m. If you can't tune in for either time, the show is available from iTunes.

SONG: On and On It Goes by Mary Chapin Carpenter


Simple Abundance Journal of Gratitude by Sarah Ban Breathnach

POEM: Sweetness by Stephen Dunn

Just when it has seemed I couldn't bear
one more friend
waking with a tumor, one more maniac

with a perfect reason, often a sweetness
has come
and changed nothing in the world

except the way I stumbled through it,
for a while lost
in the ignorance of loving

someone or something, the world shrunk
to mouth-size,
hand-size, and never seeming small.

I acknowledge there is no sweetness
that doesn't leave a stain,
no sweetness that's ever sufficiently sweet.

Tonight a friend called to say his lover
was killed in a car
he was driving. His voice was low

and guttural, he repeated what he needed
to repeat, and I repeated
the one or two words we have for such grief

until we were speaking only in tones.
Often a sweetness comes
as if on loan, stays just long enough

to make sense of what it means to be alive,
then returns to its dark
source. As for me, I don't care

where it's been, or what bitter road
it's traveled to come so far,
to taste so good.

QUOTE: "Gratitude is twofold -- love coming to visit us and love running out to greet a welcome guest." ~ Henry Van Dyke


  1. I am honored that my first, and so far only, live MCC concert was with you! I still remember that evening and what fun we had! Thanks to your introduction, she is still one of my favorite female singer/songwriters.

  2. Hey, M ~

    We did have a grand time that evening, didn't we? - that was actually the only time I've seen her solo as well. However, I was lucky enough to catch the Songwriters Tour that came through here a few years ago, with MCC, Dar Williams, Shawn Colvin and Patty Griffin - the women themselves coined it the Mailorder Brides from H*ll tour... :-) It was presented songswap style, with five rounds of the performers taking turns doing something solo and the others would harmonize and/or play along - wow!