Track 2: 93 Lewis St – Stories in Places, Places in Stories

The photos featured in the banner of this blog are all from the front steps of what I like to call our “family homestead”. 93 Lewis St has been home to three generations of my ancestors, including to my great-aunt, who still lives there. Whenever I visited her as a child, I heard new stories about the people who lived there and what their lives were like. I wrote about these story snippets in the song 93 Lewis St, the second track of Dreams & Ghosts.

In writing this song, I realized that the spaces in which our family stories take place are as much characters as are the people who move through them: gardens, kitchens, tool sheds, living rooms, main streets, workplaces … they are more than the backdrop for the real, human moments we tell about later. Sometimes there are entire stories to tell just about the “lives” of these places and what they bore witness to over the years.

In honor of all the spaces that shape family stories everywhere, this song’s invitation is: What are the places that loom large in your family stories? What are the addresses that people still talk about? What are the homesteads (real or figurative) you long to return to?

You’re welcome to share your story and experience, as my ears and heart are always open! You may also want to check out posts related to the category 93 Lewis St: Story & Place and/or other Invitations offered by the songs of this album.

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Track 1: Hello & Goodbye: Keeping the Past Alive

The opening song on this album, Dreams & Ghosts, is a tune called Hello & Goodbye. On the first listen, it’s a simple story about someone walking around their neighborhood. But listen closely – this is a song about living in the past.

There are many ways in which living in the past is not necessarily a good thing, as you might imagine the narrator of the song feels when he makes his discovery. However, keeping the past alive in our present lives can also be in service of staying connected to a person, a place, or an experience that is no longer in our lives. In fact, as humans, it is in our nature to make meaning of our experiences. These meanings all together make up our memory, or what we remember.

Individual and collective memories interact with each other, so that individual experiences contribute to a sense of a collective’s history, and likewise, this history contributes to the learning experiences of new individuals. This process of remembering our way into the future is a basic mechanism of human survival. Without making meaning of the past, we have no direction forward, we learn nothing and we know nothing. Being meaning-makers is what makes us human.

Ok, one more step. Stay with me. How do we make meaning in a way no other species does? We tell stories. What we remember and how we understand the past can determine most any choice we make, from what to order at our favorite brunch spot this week to deciding what career we want to pursue (or not); from the smallest to the greatest of goals and aims.

Each song on this album offers its audience – that’s you! – a certain invitation, a question, an opportunity to pause and think about your own stories and experiences. With Hello & Goodbye, I invite you to ask yourself: How do you keep the past alive in your life? What are the memories you keep with you in some tangible – or intangible – way through each day? The people, the places, the meaningful experiences? What rituals – intentional or not – have emerged in your life in honor of the past?

You’re welcome to share your story and experience – my ears and heart are always open to a good story! You may also want to check out posts related to the category Hello & Goodbye: Keeping the Past Alive and/or other Invitations and Writing Exercises offered by the songs of this album.