What a gorgeous day it was yesterday in Toronto eh? It was similarly stunning for most of today too, but as I sit here writing, the clouds have rolled in and, tut tut, it sure looks like rain.
I want to thank everyone who read my post last night about Laura. The response was overwhelming and due to people sharing the link, the message went far wider than I ever imagined. It was a great to joy to know that so many people read the story. She was a magnificent being – my life is richer for having known her. Some of the best comments I received were from people who didn’t even know Laura, but who shared that reading the piece made them feel like they did or certainly wish they had.
I think that the post came out as it did because of the burst of creativity I was riding upon, due to my interesting experience earlier that day. A story from yesterday afternoon…
The beautiful, sunny day was the perfect setting for a birthday. Cass doesn’t get too crazy with her birthday plans, so a few of us joined together for a brunch at the newly opened, Hello Darling, near Wallace and Lansdowne. Over a decent meal and 2.5 glasses of grapefruit juice, we chatted and celebrated the birthday girl. Post-brunch, we piled in my car and spontaneously made our way over to Bunner’s Bakeshop for a plethora of super sweets. Over tea and treats back at Cass’s place, we chatted some more and intoxicated ourselves into mild sugar comas. Food, friends, and fun left us all a bit fatigued, and so we bid the birthday girl adieu and headed our separate ways.
With the windows down and some Matt Mays on the stereo (Terminal Romance – nothing beats it!), I felt inclined to do something out in the sun for the afternoon, but first had to pop by our kitchen/office/studio/second home to print some business documents. I sat in our newly set-up office space, having quickly completed my to-dos, wondering what I should get up to next. I knew I didn’t feel like going home.
My cursor hovered over the bookmark link to facebook in my browser, as it often does in moments of boredom. Not that I was bored, exactly. More restless. Anyway, the reason is irrelevant. The point, however, is that the first post in my news feed at that moment had been written mere minutes earlier and included a general request. The user, a guy by the name of Corin, wondered if anyone might be able to drive them to the DVP and Lakeshore to pickup a package of merchandise from the Greyhound Depot.
“I can. PM if you would like,” I replied immediately, barely missing a beat. Once I hit enter to register my comment, I laughed a little bit. Would this be weird? Was Corin more hoping that one of his actual friends would be up for the drive? You see, I barely know Corin. A wickedly talented songwriter and masterful storyteller, I used to see Corin play on occasion down at the Cameron House. This was back when I was dating another musician, and so it had probably been a few years at least since I’d seen Corin in person. I supported his most recent album in a tiny way by pre-purchasing the record, so I was sure he probably had some context for who I was. The only reason we are even facebook friends is because, back in February, The Strumbellas did a cover of Corin’s song Three Thousand Miles and when I posted the video clip, I wanted to tag Corin in it. Friend Request Accepted.
So there I was, yesterday afternoon, cruising down to Kensington, completely on a whim, to pick up Corin and to then sail across the city. Climbing into the car, he was so appreciative. He even offered me a copy of his album before pausing and saying, “Wait a minute. You helped me make this record. You have this record, right?” Indeed I did (and might I add: Phew! He knew who I was!). Haha.
As we drove out to the depot, the conversation naturally settled on music. Common ground. He spoke of collaborating and working with the amazing Jonathan Byrd (who is in Toronto tonight!!) and how Corin’s traveling shoes were soon Texas-bound. Having just been there myself, we touched briefly on songwriters such as Guy Clark, and I mentioned that he might want to sink his ears into Sturgill Simpson, whom I heard in Austin. As we turned off the highway, Corin was recalling the lyrics to Oklahoma-native John Fullbright’s “reluctant lovesong”, When You’re Here. As we neared the pick-up location he found the words and began to sing, “Ever changing, ever moving, ever finding, ever losing, every moment of our choosing bears a cost“… Tears welled up immediately in my eyes. We pulled into a parking spot and I said, “I’m crying”. With the engine off, the windows still down, and the sun streaming in, he sang the whole song as we sat there in the car.
And Corin thought I was the one providing the favour in that moment.
We grabbed the package and jumped back in the car. Westbound once more, the Gardiner Expressway was rush hour crowded and so we had a little more talk time. I asked Corin about writing – no surprise – and he delved into some process suggestions and creative advice. He’d probably laugh to know that I’d wished I’d had a tape-recorder; his words were like gold and I didn’t want to forget a single one. While everything he said was a gem, Corin’s response to my admission that I felt like I couldn’t write without something “new” to say was the brightest. He said, “Refresh the cliché“. Simple, yet so powerful. Life, love, loss – everything. It’s all been written about a million times over. To contribute meaningfully to the dialogue, that was the way to approach it. Refresh the cliché. Magic.
Before he got out of the car, I barrelled at Corin with a hug. “Thank you so much, Lisa” he called as he headed towards his home. Yet I couldn’t help but feel like it was I who should be doing the thanking. Corin got a box full of gig merchandise. But I left with pockets full of wisdom – and a handful of inspiration to boot. Thank goodness for a random facebook post. And thank goodness that “not really knowing someone” didn’t deter me from driving them across the city.
To hear one of Corin’s stunningly refreshed clichés, watch this video.
To hear John Fullbright’s heartachingly beautiful When You’re Here, watch this video. I seriously can’t stop watching this.