The birth of a song

It was legitimately cold on Monday when I met Sarah at the refugee center. We posted papers on the wall and invited people to join us. That morning, I had texted Sarah a few lines from a Robert Frost poem, “Fences make good neighbors.” She suggested that we write them at the top of the…

In between

I love going to the refugee center each week. Every single visit is unique, and I always feel better about everything after spending time there. I highly recommend paying close attention to the experiences in your life that completely shift your being in a positive way. It took me a long time to find the…

Natareya

Something I love about songwriting is that each experience brings a new song into the world that didn’t exist before. During the summer, I do not generally go to the refugee center. My volunteer partner returns to her homeland of Scotland for a long visit, and it is a time to rejuvenate and refill my…

Don’t wait, Create!

A cold snap has fallen over Brussels once again. After experiencing a mere 10.5 hours of sunlight in the month of December, I was quite ready for spring, but it seems that spring may be a ways away yet.   Every Monday afternoon, Sarah and I set up for poetry and songwriting along the outdoor,…

Migration Collection Day

This morning, Atticus and I headed out early (if not bright) to the center of the EU in downtown Brussels. We live on the very outskirts of this international city. When my husband first arrived and was tasked with deciding which commune we might enjoy living in, he chose Boitsfort (strong forest) because he knew…

How do you honor a person with no name?

I recently published a piece about the importance of recognizing and honoring individuals whose ideas have inspired your own work in order to ensure they receive acknowledgment for their hard work and innovation. I wrote mainly from the creative and academic perspective, but this concept certainly extends to all realms of innovation and discovery. Since…

I am a word

Nearly every week (save for a few weeks in July and August), I take the bus and metro to a refugee center near Molenbeek to write songs from the written and spoken words of immigrants in search of a better life. Even though I volunteer, I think of this work as my once a weekday…

Sous la pluie

The woman who wrote the song from a couple of Mondays ago was very inspiring. She was reticent to sing, as most people tend to be. I had asked the group already if anyone was feeling brave and the men had shied away entirely. She wasn’t sure what to sing, but as soon I started…

Jingle all the way

I believe that every person is an artist and a musician. I have witnessed people subconsciously tapping their foot along to a song after insisting they had no sense of rhythm or musical ability.   I think responding to music is a natural part of what it means to be human on this earth. Melodies…

Zindgi Sakhta/Life is hard

Every Monday, I visit the Petit-Château. With ukulele in hand, I walk through every kind of weather to get there. We stand outside for two hours, writing poetry and turning poetry into music. By the end, my body is freezing, but my heart is warm. Each time I visit the château, I wonder if I will…