Thank you for being here for the eighteenth installment of this newsletter.
🎵 We’re taking a break from our regularly scheduled rotation around the circle of fifths1 to share my new collab with the talented Kyle McEvoy (as Sunlight Jr.)2 and Wowflower.3 I’m excited to share it with you here first ahead of its official release on March 24 (on Sonder House).
Pre-save it so it’s in your library the day it comes out:
📷 I took this month’s photo on film during a residency at Smith Creek Village in Silver Falls State Park.4 About this time last year I was wrapping up a week-long creative residency at this very special little collection of cabins in the woods. There was this large metal hexagonal structure in the forest near my cabin. I'm still not entirely sure why it was there. But it felt like a portal of sorts. Into the woods. Into another world, another life. It seemed a fitting image for this wobbly little lo-fi track that feels like a swim inside of a daydream.
As things in my life have changed, and continue to change, I’ve been reflecting on that experience lately. I spent a week holed up in a little cabin on my own, with nothing but the birds and trees of this temperate rainforest to keep me company. Given that it was the dead of winter, I had the entire place to myself. Not just the cabin. But the park, too. I didn’t really write during the days. I tried to do anything but. My friend and poet Alice — someone very familiar with residencies — told me ahead of the experience:
I know a lot of people feel so excited or so pressured to be productive when they're given such a gift of time that they freeze up! So anything you can do to make starting in on things easier is always helpful. Like having notes or rough drafts or even just scribbles, and a kind of intention set for what you want to do when you're there. Plus lots of time to just be like a kid and play--lie out under the stars, go for hikes, make a snowdragon. If you're into any other art besides making music and lyrics, you could do that too--like take lots of photos, draw. I usually bring a guitar since I don't play as much as I wish I did, or something to sew. Except I have to be careful not to bring too much else to do or I'll just lose myself in that and not write.
So, I drank unhealthy amounts of coffee. I hiked. I wrote words. I took photos. I wasn’t exactly sure what a snowdragon was, so I skipped that. I spent time wandering through the woods and taking video — trying to capture the stillness of the place. The isolation of it. The steam rising from the earth in the early mornings. And during the long nights, I composed. I probably started five pieces while I was there, but the only one I’ve finished so far is At Smith Creek. For that piece, I made a video to accompany it, which I shared here as Meditation 006. Check it out before it goes behind the archive paywall:
I invite you to sit with this month’s song, photo, and poem and make them a small part of your day, whether that’s your morning ritual, afternoon break, or your evening wind-down.
As always, if you feel like it, let me know what you think in the comments. I’d love to hear from you.
Thank you again for being here.
On A Train
by Wendy Cope
The book I’ve been reading
rests on my knee. You sleep.
It’s beautiful out there -
fields, little lakes and winter trees
in February sunlight,
every car park a shining mosaic.
Long radiant minutes,
your hand in my hand,
still warm, still warm.
Ducks, Newburyport by Lucy Ellman (Powell’s)
Blood Run Through Me by Heather Woods Broderick (Listen)
Note: I put all the songs shared in the newsletter into this Spotify playlist
A collaboration withthat resulted in an hour-long experimental/ambient piece. INP writes: "Each chord progression has been zoomed in on and slowed down by 300%...leading to a continuous feedback loop oscillator that goes forward and in-reverse at half-speed." Throw it on the next time you need something in the background:
Another new ambient piece I wrote for chapter 6 of's new novel, Oblivion:
If you’re wondering whether or not there is any rationale to the order of these posts, I promise you there is. I’m making my way around “the circle of fifths” in music, which basically places the most closely related key signatures next to one another in a visual format. It provides a logical order for me to move in, so that’s what I’m doing — following the well-traveled path of musicians before me who have written pieces in all 24 musical keys.
daydream / Written and produced by Fog Chaser, Wowflower, & Sunlight Jr.