When I was a little kid, sitting in a rocking chair on the front porch with the family on a warm summer night, we would watch the cars go by. Understand that I grew up in the country, right on Highway 36 (then called 212), which led into downtown Stillwater, Minnesota. Nowadays untold thousands of cars pass that way each day, but in those days each car was an exciting event. I dearly wanted to know where each one was going. What was their story - where had they come from, where were they headed, what would they do when they got there, had they encountered roadblocks along the way? I remember thinking how cool it would be if each vehicle had a sign on it explaining its destination. Now I've officially been given permission to ask people, in depth, about their personal stories, and pass them on to the world.
I was awarded an Artist Initiative grant in Music from the Minnesota State Arts Board this year. My project is to develop my songwriting skills, particularly in the genre of story-songs. I'm interviewing 12 everyday, real-life people who have overcome overwhelming challenges in their lives, and come out better for it. Then I'm crafting each story into a song, and Curtis and I will record these songs for a CD to be released in November.
What a stellar cast of characters I've assembled! I knew these people, my "subjects" in song, would be inspiring to me and to others, but I wasn't prepared for HOW inspiring they have been to me already. I feel so honored to be able to connect with each of these folks, and get a clear insight into each of their stories. I love my job! The grant project enabled me to contact each "subject" and ask to be invited into their lives, and share their story with the world.
I found each "subject" in a unique way. Stay tuned here for an introduction to my "cast of characters!" First up here in my blog will be a look into the life and story of Harvey Ronglien, who grew up at the State Orphanage in Owatonna, Minnesota. Come back soon and sit on the rocking chairs on the porch with me, and we'll delve into Harvey's journey together!