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The songs on the CD “Womansongs, Peace Songs and I Didn’t Know” are now available via CD Baby and distributed on I-Tunes, and Spotify.

Amazingly these songs were written and recorded in the 80’s. By now I expected some of them to be irrelevant. But many are about the human condition and consequently they are still with us today.

Here is the background of how I came to write each song:

The Song List

Tendering—–Tendering is a song about closeness. There were many different in-puts that contributed to “Tendering” being written. Sometimes this song has to do with my relationships with women. Other times it speaks of my relationships with men. Sometimes it tells of my work in a nursing home where some people are feeling empty and aching—and I fell spilled out and hollow. Sometimes “Tendering” says to those around me “I am vulnerable and want someone to tender me.”

Mother May I—–This culture starts promoting the idea of permission-asking very early in life—particularly with little girls. As they grow, change into young women, and go into the arenas of education, religion, marriage, they continue to be told to ask. I hate to reveal how old I was before it was clear to me that I could trust myself, my judgement and decisively give myself permission!

Restroom Door—–Like the song says, it started in a public place where I noticed that the restroom door said “Our Pretty Ladies,” and I refused to be a patron any longer. That was just the beginning of watching those doors and the variety of signs on them, and the implications of roles written into them. It’s a song about language and its importance, even on restroom doors.

Take Back the Night—–There is a growing movement among women which says, “We refuse to fear—to stay home—to be dependent. The night is ours too. We will go out together and we will ‘take back the night.’”

What Do I Do—–This is a song about being alone but more than that…it is a song about vulnerability, about shaking knees, churning stomach but more than that…it is a song about feeling like you are going crazy, about being afraid that you will vanish really…I was scared when I wrote it and sometimes I still am.

Bitch—–Usually as I sing this song, I wear a necklace that says “BITCH” in rhinestones. As I introduce this song to an audience, I remind them that men have often called a woman a “bitch” when they have experienced her to be a person who does what she pleases, asks for what she wants, is hard to live with, and claims time and space for herself. I think it is good for women to affirm these qualities—so let’s also affirm the word. I certainly do. I saw it with a toss of the head, and a lot of pride: I am a tall, brown-haired, selfish bitch.

I Want To Choose—–The Supreme Court has affirmed the right of a woman to make the decision about abortion. That right to choose needs to be given to each woman, regardless of her economic state. It is never an easy decision.

I’ve Got a Gun—–It feels to me like this song needs no explanation. The weapons or the threats may change, but the roll of the drum continues and get louder until…

The Army Is Having a Bake Sale—–A postcard from the Fellowship of Reconciliation first suggested the image: the Army, Navy, Marines and Air Force having to have bake sales because they were running out of money. Sing along—it’s a good feeling to have the words come out of your mouth. Then follow through on saying “No” to more money for defense.

I Git Tired—–I was in the orthodontist’s office with my child and the nurse shared that she was going to use a hurt finger to get out of doing the dishes that night. I wrote the song for her—and for myself—and for a few other women I have met.

Call Me Woman—–It’s not too hard to figure out where this song comes from. Strangers, co-workers, men on the street—many of them feel free to call a woman any number of choice names. A friend said to my husband, “How’s your old lady?” and another song was on its way.

Do You Hear Me Talking—–My friend Stacey said to me, “Doesn’t it seem sometimes like you talk to men and you think they hear and then the next day or week you have to say it all over again?” That’s what it feels like sometimes—repeating, explaining, helping and then going right back to the beginning and repeating, explaining, helping. Hello—are you there?

Don’t Write Me a Letter—–When it comes to beginnings, it seems crucial to spend time and energy, create space, explore diversity. When it comes to endings, I want to spend the same kind of quality time—to say goodbye.

Step Close—–I used to believe that I was unique in feeling this tension between closeness and separateness. Not so.

Survivors—–”Survivors” is dedicated to Nan Self of the national Commission on the Status and Role of Women in the United Methodist Church. We met at a retreat. The first evening someone said, “I don’t know if we’ll survive.” Nan spun around to quickly say, “We’ll survive because we’re survivors.”

Nuclear-Free Zone—–Nuclear-free zone: an idea that has been sweeping communities and the world—an idea worth spreading. I want to live in a nuclear-free zone.

We Need Plowshares—–Reconciliation is not a sign of weakness, but a sign of strength. As it was once spoken in Biblical times, it is now more than ever—time to beat the swords into plowshares. For it is time to decide against war—anymore.

People Want Peace So Much—–In 1959 in London, Dwight D. Eisenhower said the first 23 words of this song. I wonder when governments will listen to the people? Or, I wonder when the people will insist that their governments “get out of the way” and let them have the peace they want.

Peacemakers—–The talk of peace is lofty, but the action of peace is specific, beginning with me. The excitement of it is that as each of us begins to live in concrete ways as a peacemaker, the fears begin to fade and we feel the healing and the wholeness. Blessed are those who make peace for they shall be called the children of God. May I be one of them.

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