My daughter went to North Carolina School of the Arts for her senior year of high school, and that’s where she met her soul-sister — a young woman named Kerri Lowe. Their passion for acting had drawn both of them to the drama program.
After high school Kerri went to NYU. She studied acting at first but outside of classes a new passion blossomed — a love for making music. And soon she found herself playing guitar and singing songs in Washington Square instead of going to auditions. Her first official gig was at a book party I had when my novel Picara came out in 2009.
Fast-forward three years and Kerri is starting to make a name for herself on the singer-songwriter circuit. Now she plays house parties and opens for other acts in small clubs from North Carolina to New York.
Kerri has a wild enthusiasm for story-telling through song. I recently saw her mesmerize a noisy bar in Carrboro, NC, as people slowly set down their beers and turned to listen to this voice — full of heart and pain and love and laugher. Hers is a voice that demands you listen. And as you listen, your heart wakens and stretches it wings.
One of my favorite songs of Kerri’s is one that she likes to sing in the subways of New York. It’s called The Weight of the World. The last two lines of the chorus are “Most talk is cheap. It’s my blessing to sing.”
Kerri looks at the world through the lens of metaphor. When we walked to my daughter’s graduation a couple of weeks ago, she was wearing new shoes. They rubbed her toes and when she looked down she saw that her toes had bled and there was blood on her shoes. She laughed and immediately saw it as a symbol — something she’d write about either in a song or a blog
I was listening to Kerri’s debut CD called The Truth on my way to Atlanta yesterday. I was feeling cranky and sour and not at all like someone who espouses transformation. I’d been sick for days. I was not impressed with my life. And then “The Weight of the World” came on, and I heard Kerri reminding me of this blessing we all have. A blessing to sing. By the time I got to Atlanta I was feeling better.
That night I went to a talk given by the Indian mystic, Sadhguru Jaggi Vesudev. Sadhguru reminds us that we must get to know ourselves. It is the only way we can know the Divine. I believe one way to do that is through writing. Or singing — which are really the same thing. Whatever our art is, it’s the path that will take us there. I’ve been sitting on a bench along my path. It’s time to get up, pick up my backpack, and continue down the trail. There are, after all, miles to go before I sleep.
Some warm ups:
- Just after mother’s day, I asked my poetry students to write about their moms. They wrote lovely tributes and bitter admonishments but no one had “nothing to say.” So if you’re needing some inspiration, write a scene with your mother or a poem about her or a story from her point of view.
- What was your favorite song when you were 17 or 27? Where did you listen to it? How did it make you feel? What is your favorite song (or just one you like a lot) now? How does it make you feel? Where does your imagination go when you listen to it?
- Who is your soul sibling? Write about the first time you met.