I first began strumming in 2001 on a friend’s guitar in a small little trailer on an old historic homestead in the hills north of Missoula, Montana. The guitar was the perfect instrument to pick up – I grew up playing classical piano in a small town in Maine and sang in high school and college choral groups – but I hadn’t played any music for quite a few years after I put the keys aside.
Almost a year passed before I found myself playing again. This time I was working on a small, organic goat farm hidden away in the rain-soaked mountains of southern Chile. Here, in the midst of torrential downpours right out of Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s 100 Years of Solitude, I began writing my first songs. I had only an old, beat-up classical guitar lent to me by Miguel, the owner of the small Patagonian estancia to accompany me through the dark and misty days.
Months later I bought my first guitar – a classical nylon string – from a little music store tucked away on a back alley of La Paz, Bolivia. I wrote lyrics while traveling through the Andes on the way to Lake Titicaca. There, on a balcony with a panoramic vista of the seemingly endless waters, I matched the words to my finger-picking and wrote my first song.
Within a few weeks of returning to the States in the autumn of 2002, I was on the road again with a new job, crisscrossing the country, photographing doctors from South Carolina to Wyoming, Michigan to California. I spent countless hours in my hotel rooms playing, singing, writing songs. I wrote about my childhood, of love and loss, of how I saw the world that was changing so quickly before my eyes.
I have now lived in Seattle for over four years. Many guitars, many lyrics, many melodies have come and gone. I continue to write about love, social justice, my early years, peace and the inextricable fate that somehow binds us together in an intangible, beautiful way.