The Third Letter


Sunshine
Sunshine (Photo credit: Lawrence OP)
Little Mama is dying. I wrote her some letters, and Milena told me she read them to her, and that she told everyone to make plans to go to Ft Worth for the big art opening in December. That makes me happy, to know that she wants to go. That project was a big one for me, a big growing experience in which I discovered that the music I dream about is actually being sent to me from another realm, and I’m beginning to believe that that realm is where Patrice is going. I think she knew. I think that’s why she connected to this project.
And it is so weird the way the third letter actually happened… I mean, I wrote the first one in early May, right when she went to hospice. It was hard to write that letter. I tried not to think about it too much, but, on top of the fact that I simply don’t handwrite at all much anymore, I didn’t really know what to say to her. So I wrote about the first time I went to dinner with Milena’s family, about when I licked the sauce off my knife, how Patrice had just stared at me, flabbergasted that I could be so uncouth. We have laughed about that incident many times since then, so it was a light letter… funny.
But I inadvertently mailed an empty envelope. When Milena told me, she thought I’d just not sealed it and the letter had been lost in transit. So I went to my notebook to write a second letter and lo and behold, there was the first! I had not even taken it out of my notebook. I had addressed, stamped, and mailed an empty envelope!
So I sat down and wrote the second letter. This time was even harder. I wasn’t sure I would say the right thing. First of all, it was three weeks later and she was even sicker. So I told her how much of a dork I was for mailing her an empty envelope… I told her how much I missed her and how in many ways I felt that the Worshams were more my family than the Rowleys… but also of how proud I was of our wedding and how good everyone was even though the two families were so different… And reminded her of how, when Milena and I were first together, she used to introduce me as “Milena’s special friend,” and how that made everybody think I was mentally-challenged! … and finally, I asked her to give her new little grandson a hug for me because I’d not had the privilege of meeting him myself…
So, this time I was sure to enclose both letters in the envelope. And then, two weeks later, I find that one in my own mailbox, returned because there was “no such address.” I had mailed it to 1702 Austin, Portland, TX instead of 1703 Austin, Portland, TX!
So, dumbfounded, I sat down to write a third letter… with absolutely no clue what to say. So, I just told her how much I missed her and how much I love her and that I wish I could be there to help out, and that I wished I could help, even from up here in Seattle. And then I must have been taken over, because I abruptly started telling her about this “fascinating music project” I’d been working on …
The rest of the letter I’ve transcribed here verbatim:
I’ve been working on this fascinating music project over the last 7-8 months with my friend Libba in Dallas. Libba is a painter and a “spiritualist” of sorts. She “channeled” eleven paintings last year– that is, she saw pictures in her mind’s eye, which she believes were sent to her from spirit-beings– then she painted each of the eleven beings’ portraits. They are beautiful, colorful, animated, full of character. Anyway, Libba asked me if I could attempt to “channel” each of “the eleven”‘s sound. I am always up for a musical-composition challenge, especially one so esoteric as this, so I was immediately intrigued.
Also, Libba had told me a few months before, “listen to your heartbeat.” NOT “listen to your heart,” which you always hear– but “listen to your heartBEAT.” The difference is subtle but profound: to listen to one’s heart means to follow one’s intuition, but to listen to one’s heart BEAT means to actually, literally listen with one’s own ears– to listen with one’s physical apparatus of hearing– not to the sound of one’s inner voice, nor to sounds “out there” in the world, but to the sound of one’s physical heart.
That was a shocking thing to realize, for me. I thought it about it a lot. To “listen to your heart” means to meditate, or often to pray or to dream, or to do some spiritual work. But to “listen to your heartBEAT” is to become fully present to one’s body, one’s physicality, one’s presence in this now-moment, as the blood is pumping thru one’s veins… It was so gripping, so immediate, so visceral. And it was timely. I have been practicing mindfulness, meditation, and presence, and here was another sign, another message, from a completely different source, urging me to be here now, and now, and now.
Anyway, I knew I had to take Libba’s challenge (as well as her advice), and try to open myself to these eleven beings, to receive their “sounds” and to make them manifest here on planet Earth.
Another indicator that this was a good project to take on was that, for the past year or so, I had been changing the way I’d been writing/composing my music. For decades, I’ve been writing/composing by playing keyboards, mostly. But a couple years ago I bought a hand-held recorder [a Korg SR-1 – ed.] that lets me “overdub” as much as I want. It’s so small and such a simple device that it makes laying down ideas really easy. So I’ve been singing into it. Singing has always come very natural to me, and it is still the easiest/quickest way for me to express myself musically. So, the combination of this little hand-held, “infinite overdub” recorder and my voice has made creating music very immediate for me.
Anyway, one more note about how some strands in my life have been leading me toward this project with Libba–
For the past year or two (or three), I have been waking up in the morning with music in my head, like I’ve been dreaming of this fully-formed, radio-ready song. So, I started putting my little hand-held recorder in my bed at night, and then singing these songs into it in the mornings. It has worked amazingly well, and I feel more creative than I have in many years.
So. Put all the above together, and the project with Libba went incredibly well. In October 2012, just a couple days after my first look at “The 11,” I awoke with an intriguing composition in my head, and I pulled out Libba’s portraits and saw that it matched #9. I just knew. The feelings matched. The vibrations matched. I pulled out my little recorder and sang what I could. (Sometimes I hear stuff that is beyond my voice’s ability to reproduce, but I then try to layer my voice to make it do more, with varying degrees of success.) I then spent another couple of days massaging it in my computer, re-recording some parts, adding effects and processing, re-mixing, etc. In the end, I was happy, and Libba loved it. She was so excited. “It’s perfect!,” she said. Then she told me the name of the being was “Clovis” and that he was a guardian and a transformer. So maybe it made sense that he was the first one I encountered, the guardian at the gateway to another realm, ready to escort me through his gate, on the first step of my transformation to meet the ten other spirits…
And now it’s done– I finished a couple weeks ago, and Libba has set up an art opening in Fort Worth on Dec. 6. I hope you can come! I’m sorry that I spent this whole letter talking about this music project rather than talking about you– but I just feel like I had to say this to you… Maybe something in my story connected with you… I don’t know… I hope so…
Anyway, I love you, Little Mama.
Please take care of your spirit– yours is such a lovely one!
your son-in-law forever,
Keith
This is the letter that Patrice connected to. She made all her family and friends make reservations in Dallas in December, so they could see “The 11.” To see these spiritual beings.
And so, the really weird thing is that this was the third letter. If either of the first two letters had reached her successfully, I would not have even written this third one. She probably would have smiled a few times at the happy memories they conveyed, but that would have been it. They were just not very deep or personal. They were short– just one sheet of paper, and the third is three sheets of paper.
The fact that I had to write the third letter meant that I was finally ready to cut through the crap and say something that really mattered to me. And that is what she connected with. My heart BEAT. The music that is always inside me. The vibration that is sent to me from the spirit world, from our Home, from the Well of Souls, and transmuted to become vibrating air, which again vibrates our physical bodies and eardrums…
I love you, Little Mama…
Your son-in-law forever,
❤ Keith
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