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  • Writer's pictureHeather Kropf

Postcard from Washington

Updated: Jul 1

Dear Reader,

Hello from Washington! For the past two months I have been making the Pacific Northwest my home. This morning was surprisingly clear and I realized I have a view of what I think must be Mt. Rainier. The cats found rare sun patches. I spent a while watching the boats move on the water.

My life since March 2020 has been everything but usual -- let's call it foggy weather -- and it's only really been this year in 2023 that I've had the physical stability to start gently orienting myself back to what life might look like if I spent time with music again. I've taken up a few classes as a guide: learning about music for film and television (very interesting!) and participating in a group voice class to learn how to get strength back (I recommend Cari Cole to every singer. Brilliant class). My entire body has gotten so weak, throat included, and so making my way back has been feelin' a bit like seeing that lofty mountain this morning. Is it a mirage? How far away is it really? How in the world will I climb that? Is it worth the effort?

The emotional toll of not being able to sing has been truly overwhelming. Imagine something you do that is totally natural to you that you love the most and not being able to do that. When you try it's like putting your hand in the fire. That's what it's been like.

Still, I have been doing my vocal therapy exercises blind to where I'm heading or what it's for. It's just felt like the next right thing so I've worked on willing myself the devotion when my heart wants to hide out. That's a lesson of chronic illness that I've learned well -- you wake up every day and habituate the self-care. The gains are cumulative, not immediate.

Anyhow, quite out of the blue (heh heh), I saw an email pop into my inbox today. It's the first arrangement idea for a song I wrote this year called Everything's Better. I sent it off to a studio to develop a while ago, totally hands off; I don't even know the names of the musicians. I had kind of forgotten about it, but here it was. They had sent me their idea for the first two verses to see if I'm on board with the direction. It's simple, laid back, with a surprising swing.

Suddenly, I felt life get brighter and clearer. My brain turned on to sound and I shot back a few notes. Oh. Yes, I can see the mountain now. I seem to be walking on a familiar road to her foothills.

It's made me think of one of my first songs written from my first album. Starting over is probably more like simply committing to continue and finish what you started.

More soon.




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