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Forgiveness, Truth, Triumph, Love, and Loss: 2017, What a Year!

Wow, 2017 has been a wild year. for me, personally and professionally, and for the world? Well, more about that later!.

On the anniversary of one of the happiest days of my entire life, here's a wrap-up.

On the professional side, it was awesome!

And awful.

Actually, I guess professionally AND personally it was a year of extremes:

Intense frustration, profound joy, hard work and triumph, exhaustion and frustration, (oops, said that already!!!) complete and utter ecstasy, trust, disillusionment and betrayal, love beyond imagining, loss beyond comprehension.

And, as I suppose I'll have to expect every year as I get older, several people I dearly loved are gone now. Are memories enough? I don't know.

Someone I love got married. Another is contemplating it. (If both of their divorces go through!) Many of my friends have relationships that are breaking up. Or they lost their jobs. Or both. Some are lonely. Some are not. Few have lives without some kind of strife.

A good year for writing songs...

So far I have to admit everything I wrote this year is going in the act somewhere... I think they are all great! How did THAT happen? Quality, not quantity, I can live with THAT!!! Some of my songwriter colleagues feel they must write EVERY DAY, and they are quite prolific. I am too picky about my own stuff to do that. Haydn wrote 106 symphonies, Mozart 41, Beethoven just 9 and Brahms only 4. Bach wrote so much it is hard to imagine him having time to eat, sleep and father so many children! We all work differently. I am happy with my output.

I played tracks on three colleagues' albums, well, technically four, since The Don Juans are two people, Don Henry and Jon Vezner, the Grammy-award-winning Nashville-legend songwriters. Their eponymous new album is a treat, both for the ears, and the eyes, and a little bit for the heart and funny bone as well!

Next, my good friend, singer/songwriter John Sonntag. Michael Ronstadt plays cello on some of the same tracks, too, and that was a joy to do. One of the songs, called "When We Are Beautiful" is heart-stoppingly immediate, and meaningful to me on many levels.

Most recently, Reggie Harris!

I was slightly disappointed when I found producer Greg Greenway was not going to be able to be in the studio the day I recorded... (Yes, THAT Greg Greenway, the superlative songwriter who was also part of that little group called Brother Sun when not working on his own amazing stuff) but I discovered that Reggie is such an incredible producer himself. It was an amazing experience!

But then, I was called back to do another song, and I got to work with those two impeccable musicians, not one day, but TWO DAYS! The engineer at Morningstar was so amazing, he cherry-picked from what I recorded on a couple passes, and Voila'! Absolute MAGIC!!! You guys make me look good!

The fourth recording is, well, MINE! I started a new Folk album recording, but it isn't finished yet.

I played an official showcase at Folk Alliance Region Midwest (got a standing ovation!) and am starting to tour in earnest.

I got rid of a money pit and bought a beautiful house in Nashville... I can't live in it, but it is beautiful, and for rent! (now rented!)

I have a new close friend, one who is understanding, warm, with whom I can share long talks and fun experiences, and who lends that shoulder to cry on when I need it without judging, but with sympathy and empathy and a little kick in the pants only when appropriate. And he makes me laugh!

And I reconnected with another true friend in the very same way. I am thankful my neglect was forgiven. There are others I haven't been able to make it up to yet, but I hope to. And a few other good friends on the horizon.

One friend and colleague has been truly great, and we are getting closer and I am so grateful, because as another woman we can share the woman's perspective, and she has been SO GENEROUS with her time. I thank her profusely each time, but want to do more.

I am building a new tribe, a place where I feel loved, protected, and supported.

I gained a college teaching position. one where I meet beautiful young people full of promise, and dedicated teachers and administrators who really care. Wow. (I wish Juilliard had been like that when I went to school.)

And I found love. A love beyond my wildest imaginings, the kind you never believe exists until it hits you straight in the heart.

"I know where I'm lucky." Check out the quote at the end.

SO maybe it will never be. But ah, it could have been.

And what of the world, which seems to be a darker place?

But it isn't.

It is merely that the darkness that has been lurking in shadow, that was here amongst us, all along, is now coming to light.

Painful? Yes. But the first necessary step to eliminating that darkness is exposure.

THE TRUTH SHALL set you free. You. Me. All of us.

Love cannot survive without truth first.

I wish you all truth, forgiveness, and love.

And here's the quote, from the movie As Good As It Gets:

CAROL CONNELLY: And I know it's better for me to not have contact with you because you're not ready.. And you're a pretty old guy to not be ready and I'm too old to ignore that. But there were extraordinary kindnesses that did take place. Anyway. Thanks for the trip. Good night.

MELVIN UDALL: Okay if I say something now?

CAROL CONNELLY: Go ahead.

MELVIN UDALL: I should have danced with you.

CAROL CONNELLY: Good night.

MELVIN UDALL (to Simon): Are you going talk to me or not?

SIMON BISHOP: I'm coming. What did she say? MELVIN UDALL: That I'm a great guy, extraordinary... and she doesn't want contact with me.

I'm dying here.

SIMON BISHOP: Because...

You love her.

MELVIN UDALL: No. And you people are supposed to be sensitive and sharp?! SIMON BISHOP: Then you tell me why. You're the one who's "dying here". MELVIN UDALL: I don't know. Let me sleep on it. SIMON BISHOP: Oh, come on. MELVIN UDALL: I'll figure it out. SIMON BISHOP: Please... MELVIN UDALL: I'm stuck. I can't get back to my old life. She's evicted me from my life. SIMON BISHOP: Did you really like it that much? MELVIN UDALL: It was better than this... Look you, I'm very intelligent. If you're going to give me hope, you got to be better than you're doing. If you can't be at least mildly interesting than shut the hell up. I'm drowning here, and you're describing the water! SIMON BISHOP: Well, picking on me won't help. MELVIN UDALL: If that's true, I'm really in trouble.

SIMON BISHOP: Melvin, do you know where you're lucky? You know who you want. I would take your seat any day. DO something about it. Go over there. Now. Tonight. It's not always good to let things calm down. You can do this, Melvin. Tell her how you feel. MELVIN UDALL: I'm charged. SIMON BISHOP: Yes, you are. MELVIN UDALL: She might kill me if I go there. SIMON BISHOP: Then stay, and I'll read you a story.

The best thing going for you is your willingness to humiliate yourself. Go over there. Do this. Catch her off guard. MELVIN UDALL: Thanks a lot. Here I go. SIMON BISHOP: What's wrong? MELVIN UDALL: I forgot to lock the door.

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© 2017 by Diane Perry