A Stretchy ask : will you help me make a tour? by Melanie Ida Chopko

I have a kinda crazy idea I'd love your help with. We're done mixing a full band single of my song Below the Weather & the Waves (IT'S SO PRETTY!) When I release it, I'd like to spend a week or two going on a house concert tour - my first ever! House concerts are some special magic - I could have heard a pin drop when I played the last one and just fell in love.

Would you be up to host me for a house concert this August? It's a bit of a stretch to ask, and the idea of hosting might be a stretch for you too. Team stretch, you and me. It won't cost anything to host a concert, you'd just to
- have a space large enough for guests to sit comfortably for a cozy hour of listening (living room, backyard, mausoleum, etc.)
- invite your friends!

Then Voila! A tour. Please write me back if you're curious about being a part of my summer living room adventure, and as always, thank you for being here!

love,
Melanie

 

Prayers I find helpful by Melanie Ida Chopko

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Being between pianos (and between permanent homes!), I made friends with a Christian-mystic oriented church here on the Point Reyes peninsula, St. Columba. Now I'm practicing on their (grand!) piano a few times a week, and remembered this beautiful prayer by Thomas Merton while there and thought you'd like it too.

(Those of you who've known me for a while know my idea of the divine has changed quite a bit over the years. I like to change words and plug in big-divine-like-phenomena that make sense to me. These days, I think of the magical force of evolution and emergence.)


“ I have no idea where I am going. I do not see the road ahead of me.
I cannot know for certain where it will end. Nor do I really know myself...
But I believe that the desire to please you does in fact please you....I hope that I will never do anything apart from that desire. And I know that if I do this you will lead me by the right road, though I may know nothing about it. Therefore will I trust you always, though I may seem to be lost and in the shadow of death, I will not fear...


I also really like this one, from my peeps in the 12-step world.


"I give to you all that I am and all that I will be for your healing and direction. Make new this day as I release all my worries and fears,
knowing that you are by my side. Please help me to open myself to your love, to allow your love to heal my wounds, and to allow your love to flow through me and from me to those around me."
- alternate 3rd Step Prayer

We Crossed a Bridge and It Trembled: dreams & frank ocean by Melanie Ida Chopko

 Monterrey Cypress, Point Reyes Station

Monterrey Cypress, Point Reyes Station

I don't know about you, but over the past few years I just sort of checked out on the refugee crisis. It felt too big to understand, too much to drown in. And it gnawed at me, to turn away like that. A new friend suggested I read a book by Wendy Pearlman, We Crossed a Bridge and It Trembled: Voices from Syria. Through interviews with Syrians of all ages and backgrounds, the book crafts a history of the country - what happened during the Arab Spring, the war that followed, the stories of folks that left, and their reflections now. (She also writes a more linear account of the history, which can be read at the front of each section.)

"Our dreams have changed in stages. Our dream before the revolution was different than during the revolution, and it's different now. We've accepted the fact that we need to make our dreams smaller if that's what it takes    to keep dreaming." - reflections

I was profoundly moved by this book - stories of people so much like me, grappling with impossible choices in uncertainty and fear, and with profound love for their home and families. It took me a whole month to read it. I could only do it in pieces, only during the day, only with some beauty or kids nearby. I think that's so important, to buoy ourselves with beauty and joy, so we can have a heart strong enough to crack open when it listens.

These women and men to me live the very definition of resilience, courage and commitment. Over and over they shared how things would have been much different if the world had listened earlier.

I know there's lots of reasons not to, but it there's something you checked out on, something happening to our human family, it's not too late to lean in. It's not too late to listen to what our grief has to show us, and where it points.

I'm with you while you do it. And Frank Ocean too.

Love,
Melanie

PS

I think there's no greater call to us artists than to create songs to sing during all of this.  Here's a live audio peak of the music video I'm making next month, sung by the audience at the Ivy Room. Listen close and you can hear our arrangement sung by my incredible friends Kin, Mandy Paige Bayless and Kele Nitoto.