lyrics here

                 To state the obvious, at first blush (pun intended) this is a song about sex. Apples and sex have been sidekicks since the Book of Genesis. Oscar Wilde is widely credited for saying “Everything in the world is about sex, except sex.”  The fact that he probably never said that doesn’t make it any less true. So, yes, this is a song about sex. ..But that’s not all it’s about.

            This Karo syrup rom-com story is also about longing for something missing, something lost. Neither of the characters in the story started off as country bumpkins.  But it was something they each had a hankering for; to leave the city and live a simpler, less hectic life. This romanticizing of “getting back to the land” has been around for quite a while. It has roots at least as old as the Industrial Revolution and the Romantic Era of the 19th Century. That may sound a little academic, but I like to remember the roots of these old ideas that are still around today.

            In my lifetime, the romantic notion of getting back to the land was part of my formative hippy years. I caught the tail end of the Woodstock generation, and completely bought into the notion that “we’ve got to get ourselves back to the garden.” I spent the 60’s and early 70’s growing up in the suburbs of Los Angeles. My father laid concrete. You ever wonder who paved paradise and put up a parking lot? That was my dad.

            In retrospect, it would be easy to dismiss all that early Farmer John longing as the stuff of pure fantasy.  Did I really want to trade all my suburban comforts for some hard scrabble life on the farm? Hardly. The communal part sounded kinda cool but the TV reception outside the city limits was worrisome. So leave the ax in the shed Pepino. I’ll drive to the store and buy my squeaky clean, boneless, skinless chicken breasts, and then come home and watch Green Acres, thank you very much.

            But fantasy or not, that longing for another time manifested itself in some very real ways. It fueled a lot of the things that I love: the historical fiction that I read, the places that I travel to, the folk music that I listen to and emulate. Much of the roots, Americana infused songs that I write attempt to harken back to some romanticized “olden days”.  In the artificial, commercialized Leave-It-To-Beaver fantasy of my boomer generation, something was missing. We had lost something. So we traded in one fantasy for another. Perhaps in hopes of salvaging some of the simpler pleasures in life;  some of that authenticity.

            So in the end, the two lovers slathered in Applesauce find love, family, community and fulfillment in the orchards of Sebastopol. Ain’t that delicious? So sweet it makes my teeth hurt~


                                                          lyrics here

                        This song should have a warning label. NSFSC! (Not safe for some Christians). It’s basically a twisted bible story. . As a rule of thumb, I find that those who believe their bibles to be the literal word of god, DO NOT want to have their bible stories twisted, leaving little room for artistic license or fictitious fun. A precious few have approached me likeI poked ‘em with a devil stick, bless their hearts. On the outside I am quite contrite and apologize for their discomfort. But on the inside there’s a tiny voice that says, “Oh, you’re deeply offended? Good! Now you know why God created art!”

            The thing is, these are my stories too. I was raised a good Catholic boy, a true believer, who took these stories deeply to heart. And it is largely because of strict authoritarian interpretations that I began to take them less at face value, and treasure them more as beautiful enriching stories. Consequently, I have been challenged by some as not being a real, practicing Christian. But guess what? You can't inject these stories into a child, and then take them away when they to think like an adult. It doesn’t work that way.  So consequently, Jesus pops up in quite a few of my songs.  I’m clearly still working things out with him one tune at a time. We’re doin’ fine.

            So this ballad has four rather long verses, with no bridge to provide any melodic relief. It’s folky that way. And the first three verses are fairly sweet and benign. These are all in third person narrative. It’s the 4th verse, which plays a first person switcheroo, where the trouble happens. Some pesky narrator forcefully inserts himself and shoots off his big fat mouth.  My, he’s a brash fellow! Opinionated too!

            Most people get it. The point of the whole thing is we might benefit from another kind of teaching too, perhaps from someone other than Mr. Perfect who mostly lived his life as a bachelor.  Some people don’t wanna hear that.  They usually pass on buying the CD. Thank God I don’t do this for a living.

  Darryl Purpose  does a rip-snorting, fast paced version of Mary & Joe on his seasonal record  Gift of the Magi .

Darryl Purpose does a rip-snorting, fast paced version of Mary & Joe on his seasonal record Gift of the Magi.

            I would like to mention one last thing. For a songwriter, it’s always a blessing to have somebody else learn your song and play it for others. It is the ultimate compliment and honor when somebody does this.  Some people have told me that they learned the song and played it for their church. On at least two occasions people have told me that they took it upon themselves to “change the ending” so that it would be more palatable. I usually just chalk that up to the folk process. People change folks songs all the time, right? So I don’t outwardly object. Go ahead and neuter the lyrics. But know this. It’s probably a long shot, but on the off chance that Mary and Joe come back instead of Jesus, I’m pretty sure Joe’s gonna give you guys a piece of his mind.

Perfect World

                                                            lyrics here

            Perfect World remains one of more the popular songs in my repertoire.  One thing I like about this tune is mostly requested by men.  At first this surprised me, given it’s overall sensitive-guy-Cat-Stevensish sound. Of course the male first-person point of view has a lot to do with that. But it features some rights of passage that we all experience universally: the wonderful feeling of freedom that comes from separating from our parents, and the inevitable pain of innocence lost.

            The joy of that sense of freedom when first striking out on our own is heady stuff, downright intoxicating. It’s a world of endless possibilities and tremendous potential.  That’s a feeling that leaves strong memories and footprints in our souls. I can easily go back to my own Perfect Worlds because I still carry them with me. But it goes hand in hand with a sense of loss, that there’s truly no going home again;  that our moments of sweet perfection can never really last. That’s surely one of the things that makes those times in our lives so precious; the impermanence. But that’s hindsight talking.  In the heat of the moment, when our perfect worlds come crashing down (and they always do) it’s a big ass bucket o’ no-fun-at-all. Once Bobby starts ringing Lyla’s bell, tasting the proverbial forbidden fruit, it’s adios Garden of Eden and welcome to the cold cruel world.  Go put yer fig leaf on kid. It’s time to take the garbage out.

Perfect World 2.jpeg

            I won’t go into my own experiences that spark these memories. We all have them.  They become part of our emotional baggage that we take with us everywhere we go.  Without that baggage, this story would never come out..

            These days I’m pondering my baggage while living in Singapore. I’m around a lot of Buddhism here.  There’s lots of reflecting about impermanance, suffering, and the letting go.  And as my“mid-life” starts coming to a close and I find myself speeding out of control toward being downright elderly, I’d like to lighten up a little.  Therein lies the rub, ‘cus we often need that baggage to get to the heart of the song. 

                How do I keep my baggage close without holding on to it too tightly?  I’m still working that puzzle out. But I’ll tell ya one thing. I’m getting better all the time at enjoying my IMperfect world.  That’s some progress.

Dead Horse Trampoline (part 1)

                                                             lyrics here

            I’m four blogs into Setting Free The Songs, and I’m already feeing like I’m taking this song reflection thing a little too seriously.  A look back at Dead Horse Trampoline is an opportunity to lighten up a little.  Because this song is silly, gross, funny, and truly offensive to some. And all those things tickle me pink.

            Dead Horse is my most well known song in the folk world. (That means tens upon tens of people have heard it.) A lot of people love it and a lot of people hate it. Your mileage may vary. I don’t care either way.  

            As a songwriter, it’s always great when other people want to sing your song. This song has had legs because it was adopted by brilliant singer songwriter and monster guitar player,  Justin Roth. I’ve known Justin for a long time. We’ve both been going to the Rocky Mountain Song School for 20 years, and he is dear to me. I will always be grateful to him for spreading this song around. I’ve even been reprimanded by one his fans for failing to credit the writer, Justin Roth, when I sang his song.  (Proving the old adage, “You can lead a horse to liner notes but you can’t make him read.”)  His version of the tune is way cooler than mine will ever be.  For Justin’s version, picture an audience of college kids at a brew pub. For my version, picture the audience of Hee Haw.  (See Justin play it here)

            Another wonderful songwriter who sometimes plays this song is Antje Duvekot from Boston.  She recently played DHT while building houses in south America. Her hardy army of house builders adopted it as their little anthem (defying all logic and good taste.) I try to muster a little faith when I send a song out into the world, and sometimes beautiful little ripples circle back. This was on of my all time favorite little ripples. Here’s Antje’s version.

            Dead Horse has been flogged by Faux Renwah in the California Gold Country, and by Rose Kimball and Judy Painter in Texas . I’ve been told of it being heard in bluegrass festivals and cowboy poetry gatherings.   I even heard one of my favorite bands, the Waybacks, play it once. It didn’t stay on their set list for long though. Perfectly understandable...

            So who does this song rub the wrong way? Lotsa people!!! Native Americans to whom the horse is sacred, equestrians, PETA members, parents of young impressionable children, fold radio DJ’s with sensitive listeners, and oh so many others.  Ummm… Sorry folks.  I’ll try to defend my obnoxious creative offspring in my next blog entry (when I’ll actually talk about the song’s content) But it’s okay if you still hate it. I have learned that the song greatly improves with alcohol consumption. 

            I do wish to express my undying love and gratitude to those who like it though. There have even been some exclusive song circles that made a place for me on the basis of this tune alone. “Oh, you wrote Dead Horse Trampoline? Here, sit on this velvet cushion. Jeeves! Bring this man a beer!”

            Truth be told, I’ve written a lot of songs now, and I think a lot of them are way better than this one.  But for some reason this is the one that reaches the most ears. It is to me what Dead Skunk is to Loudon Wainwright.  Ours is not to reason why. You don’t always get to choose.

            I will leave off with this. Samuel Barber’s Adagio for Strings is arguably one of the most beautiful pieces of music ever written.  It was broadcast over the radio when FDR died, and has been played at the funerals of JFK, Albert Einstein and Princess Grace, among others. Soon after it was played at JFK’s funeral, Barber did an interview on classical radio WQXR, which serves the New York City metropolitan area. Regarding Adagio for Strings, he said, "They always play that piece. I wish they'd play some of my other pieces."

Dead Horse Trampoline (part 2)

                                                        lyrics here

               I yakked so much about this songs illogical popularity (and logical unpopularity)  that I didn’t get to blab much about the song itself. In this second part, I’d like to talk a little about the use of humor in song, and give some explanation to those who find this one offensive on moral grounds.

            I’m a big humor fan. I especially love humor that’s edgy and maybe makes me a little uncomfortable. I realize this kind of humor is not everyone’s cup of tea, but it is mine and I make no apologies for indulging in it. But also, incongruously, I take my humor seriously.  To me there’s nothing more torturous than a lengthy evening of lyrical self-introspection with no comic relief. I think an audience wants to laugh at least a little. It’s an important check on the entertainment box.  I also like to slip humor into songs that are mostly serious. To me that seems more true to life.

            I admit to having a little chip on my shoulder because the world often sees humor as less important than “more serious work”. Humorous songs almost never win contests or awards.  They are diminished as “novelty songs”. Any fool can make us laugh. It takes more depth to make us cry.  I’m inclined to think that the two emotions are not mutually exclusive. It doesn’t have to be either/or. The best births and the best funerals make room for both.

            There are other challenges that come with funny songs. They’re always a little less funny every time you hear them. They have a short shelf life that way. But that doesn’t keep people from requesting them, often at the very worst times. I’ve had to learn to trust my instinct when I think it’s a bad idea to jump on this horse. I have to guage an audience’s mood and alcoholic content. It’s an inexact science. This song has bombed. Frequently. There’s no accounting for lack of bad taste.

            At the risk of sounding defensive, I would like to make some attempt at clarification for those people who find this song offensive. If gross isn’t your thing, I get that. But if it’s the desecration, the disrespect, the lack of human decency or the bad example to the children that pushes your buttons, I’d like to offer a different point of view~

            I know something about kids. I am not a songwriter by profession. My livelihood for the last 40 plus years has come from working in schools, daycares, recreational facilities and playgrounds. I’ve spent a lot of time watching children at play. All that child observation has fueled my imagination and creativity in a big way. Some people like to watch birds. I like to watch kids. No, I’m not a creep.

            But early on I learned that childhood is a culture all it’s own, complete unto itself. It has it’s own foods, rituals, folklore, songs, beliefs, etc: all the elements of any other culture. I belonged to that culture once, but no longer. I am on the outside looking in. But in watching children play, I’m often reminded that children live by their own rules and laws. When adults are not around, or children forget they’re watching, we might witness what looks like more primitive, Lord-Of-The-Flies type behavior. I would argue that jumping on a dead horse might be a perfectly natural thing for a perfectly wonderful child to do; that our judgement comes from seeing it through our adult lense of how we think children should behave. In my mind, these kids are expressing some small measure of grief through play. You cry your way I’ll cry mine.

            To wrap up, I’d like to mention what I kick I get out of sometimes hearing the gender switched in this tune. When women sing this song from a girl’s perspective, (like FauxRenwah’s version) singing “Girls will be girls if you know what I mean” there’s a different dynamic created altogether. It suggests that this seemingly wild and primitive play behavior is not for boys only. And when bossy Joe gets what’s coming to him, a delicious blow is struck regarding male dominance on the playground level. This seemingly stupid little song has been made better by women engaging in the folk process. Thank you for being brave enough to be silly, gross feminists in public! Giddy Up Boing Boing!

Sweet River Grace

                                                            lyrics here

             My dear friends Lindalou and Michael Ryge jokingly refer to this as my “break up” song. They think it’s endearingly amusing because they are childhood friends of my beloved wife. Sabrina and I have been steadfastly together since Christ left Chicago. So have Lindalou and Michael. So they chuckle about my writing a break up song.  So much for writing what you know.


But it’s also a song about grace, which is a bit of magical thinking that I’ve been in touch with since my childhood Catholocism. And like much from those formative years, it is a concept that has stayed with me. “ You can take the boy out of the church, but you can’t…”


When I call it magical thinking, please don’t take that in the usual way. Magical thinking is most often referenced as the wishful thoughts of an immature mind. And you’d be welcome to think that of me, because to me, grace is more than just a concept. It’s a real thing. It really can come to your door. With or without faith. (Though I prefer faith in large doses, it’s not mandatory. You’re mileage may vary)


In my youth, grace was purely conceptual. It had not come to my door because I didn’t really have a need for it then. It wasn’t until I was an adult that I experienced any significant suffering. I didn't recognize grace for what it was until finally came. Like so many things, grace is worth the waiting for. I won’t indulge in my particular story of that suffering. Most everybody has that story to tell. Nothing special about it, really.


But as I write this,  the vigil for a little grace is in full swing on a national level.  Our whole country seems awash in suffering, wounded by unleashed hatred, bigotry, misogyny, narrow mindedness. We could use a river of grace to come along and wash us away to a more restful place.  And it doesn’t appear that we should be expecting grace to show up at our door any time soon. Instead, I think we have to prepare a place for her, and be patient.


One of my favorite writer’s is also a local hero where I live. I have found deep wisdom and honesty in so much of what Anne LaMott has written. My favorite quote of hers is just three words:


“Grace bats last.”




Get Rich Or Move

                                                              lyrics here

Although gentrification is rampant and universal in so many places, this is not a new song. It’s quite old.  One tip off is the reference to the ATM machine.  When I wrote this song, the ATM was a new phenomenon. Then it was a freakish imposition of Bank of American automation. Now it’s everybody’s best friend. That makes me ancient.


This song remains special to me for one particular reason; it was the first song I ever played at the Wildflower. What’s so great about the Wildflower???? What, do you live in a cave????


The Wildflower used to be a tent. Now it’s a beautiful wooden building on the grounds of Planet Bluegrass in Lyons, Colorado. Planet Bluegrass is sacred ground for a lot of music, but I call it home for one in thing in particular, The Song School. It would be utterly impossible for me to express how deep and profound my love and gratitude is for the Song School at Planet Bluegrass. Suffice it to say that it’s a gathering of songwriters who openly share their creativity and love. It is where I found my tribe, met my teacher, courted my muse.  If my sprit has a home in this world, this is the place.


The Song School lasts for 4 weekdays every August, just prior to the Folks Festival that happens on the weekend. The Festival typically draws a few thousand people. The Song School is usually in the neighborhood of a hundred to a hundred fifty. There are songwriters there of all stripes: some well seasoned, some writing their first tunes. All equally nurtured and cherished. My first song school was over twenty years ago. I have not missed one since.

 At the Wildflower with beloved friend Bill Nash~

At the Wildflower with beloved friend Bill Nash~


There is an open mic at the Wildflower every night of Song School. It shines a spotlight on every soul who musters the courage to stand up there and sing a song. And those performers are routinely lifted up by the most loving and supportive audience imaginable.  The song I played at my first Wildflower was Get Rich or Move. I was appropriately scared. I was not new to songwriting, but was also not used to singing solo and standing on my own two feet. The song went over well and I soaked it up. Since then the Wildflower has been a reliable source of electrical energy, love and support. I have ridden that wave of good feeling from each year to the next. It’s been one long, beautiful ride.  Thank you Planet Bluegrass! 

 Matthew Smith, a second generation Wildflowerian.

Matthew Smith, a second generation Wildflowerian.

 Three Planet Bluegrass Boys: Matthew, Christopher, and Nate. Family among the family.

Three Planet Bluegrass Boys: Matthew, Christopher, and Nate. Family among the family.


                                                                 lyrics here

              Every once in a while a song is inspired by true events. The amored truck in this song overturned in Overtown, near Miami, on Wednesday, January 8th, 1997. It was the “God sent a truck” quote that appealed to me most. That just cracked me up. See the story here.

              I’ve always enjoyed this kind of Robin Hood, Bonnie and Clyde, rob from the rich,  give to the poor story. Some may think that keeping the money, the lack of cooperating with the police, presents a moral dilemma. I wonder if my conscience would bother me if I were one of Overtown’s windfall residents. I don’t judge them for it. In fact the song is down right celebratory.

            In our kindergarten classroom, I would read Charlie and the Chocolate factory aloud every year. For me, this book peaks early; the excitement of going to the factory was never as emotionally gratifying as the excitement of starving Charlie finding the last Golden Ticket. That’s a tear jerker moment right there. How does this connect to Overtown?

            When Charlie is at his lowest, he finds a dollar in the snow. It is the perfect moral dilemma for a bunch of 5 years olds. The books asks. “Is it his dollar? Can he have it?” When the chapter was I would always circle back to that question.  Could he have it? Should he keep it? What if you found a dollar on playground? Can you keep it? Should you keep it?  This made for some very rich philosophical discussion.

            Circumstances matter. They mattered for Charlie and I suspect they may have mattered for some in Overtown. Funny as it is, I’m not entirely convinced that God didn’t send that truck.



                                                                lyrics here

            I had a songwriter once give me some unsolicited advice about this song. He said I needed to decide if it was a song about a first kiss, or a song about telling somebody off.  He wanted it to only be about the kiss. For him, the “stick it up your ass” comment was way too over the top. (I refrained from suggesting that he might find it offensive due to the possibility that he could have an undiagnosed stick up his own ass. Sometimes restraint is a good thing. ) Oh well, you can’t please everybody.

            I immediately threw that advice into the wastebasket at the Hall of Judgement.  First kiss songs are a well covered genre. I would prefer to write a song that’s less conventional, even if that means it appeals to fewer people

            This could be categorized as a “revenge song”.  The narrator delivers it (best served warm this time) in the last verse. It certainly has that element going for it. This is a form of the French expression “espirit d’escalier”, the wit of the stairs.  It represents coming up with that snappy comeback after having left the room and thinking of it afterwards while going down the stairs. In this case, that comeback arrives several years down the stairs.

            For me, that comeback is much more significant than the story around the kiss.  Although the story behind the song is entirely fiction, the emotional part is truer than true. I have a whole laundry list in my baggage of these kinds of things people have said to me in the past; words that diminish. They come from the Not- Enoughers.  Comments that make you feel not good enough, experienced enough, talented enough, bright enough, skinny enough, etc. And even though I know that these remarks say more about the speaker than they do about me, it still surprises me how difficult it is to let those comments go and leave them behind. I suspect they remain with me to try and remind me to not be careless with my own comments. Or maybe I carry them around as grist for the song mill. 


                                                               lyrics here

            I’m not sure I would write this song today.  Since writing this song,  fairy tales have become more commercialized by popular culture than ever. It’s hard to write about a fairy tale and not seem cliché. But truth be told, I love fairy tales, especially the old weird versions. Not only did I love them as a kid, but as an adult I bought into their richness and depth. I was influenced by Bruno Bettelheim’s The Uses of Enchantment. A great podcast on adult appreciation of fairy tales from Krista Tippett's series, On Being can be found here


            But, (as usual) this song has something else going on besides a fairy tale.  It takes a left turn that some listeners don’t want to take. When the narrator puts on the shoes and waltzes around, I am attempting to create a comment about masculinity itself.


            I was raised the youngest of 4 boys. My father was a hard boiled bird and my mother basically became “one of the guys” in order to survive and keep the rest of us in line. Consequently there was not a lot of “feminine energy” in my house. So I had to manifest my own. I’ve never, ever been a macho kinda guy.  I tend to prefer “chick flicks” to blockbusters, and romcoms to action adventure. I’d rather read  Austen than Hemmingway. When the subject of sports comes up at the bar, I get very quiet. But if the conversation changes to Downton, I’m leader of the pack. When my brothers teased me for buying a glow-in-the-dark Tinkerbell wand at Disneyland (when I coulda bought a gun), it made me feel like there was something wrong with me. I played with that wand by myself in the closet. And I loved it.

I’m encouraged that the world has changed so much from when I was a kid. Now there’s female sportscasters, and male kindergarten teachers.  We have begun to view gender as being on a spectrum, as opposed to the black and white polar opposites of male and female. In the end the heart wants what it wants. And god damn it, I’ll waltz around in those f**king shoes if I want to. I might even break out my Tinkerbell wand. 


                                                                 lyrics here

            This is one of those songs that takes no liberties with the truth. It’s a song about my Dad and everything about it is as true as I know how to make it.  He never heard the song, and I suppose I lament that on some level. But if I had played it for him, he might have been a little embarrassed by it. We were not raised to wear our emotions on our sleeve.  We weren’t the type to say “I love you” much.  The attitude was kinda “Why state the obvious?”  It was a rock solid given.


              I have inherited a love of beer, and a fondness for cool bars. And I do wish I could have seen the Cozy Corner. It remains a mythical place ; the stuff of childhood legend.



And although this song may seem to romanticize drinking a tad, I am grateful that I didn’t inherit the alcohol addiction that’s been common in my family. I was lucky to have dodged that bullet. And I was lucky that my Dad was a mellow drunk who happened to be the best father he could be. There was never any doubt in my mind that, drunk or sober, he would be there for me when I needed him. He had his last drink on my wedding day, and then went on to live another five years sober as a judge. (That was a little miracle right there.) So here’s to the Cozy Corner. And Lalo. And to Roderick Arbuckle Smith. May heaven have plenty of ice cold beer and no hangovers.~

 Roderick Arbuckle Smith, with sons Rick, Dave, and Tony. I was only that gleam in his eye. 

Roderick Arbuckle Smith, with sons Rick, Dave, and Tony. I was only that gleam in his eye. 

 This is young  Lalo Rios , who worked with my Dad and called him "Pelone."

This is young Lalo Rios, who worked with my Dad and called him "Pelone."


                                                              lyrics here

            When Sweet River Grace was first released, I buried this track at the end as a “bonus track”. On the cd there are several minutes between the last song (Cozy Corner) and this one, allowing it to stand alone.  I did this largely because it is so Beatleseqe in style that I thought it didn’t quite fit in with the others. The sax solo on this song (by dear friend Klaudia Promessi) is one of my favorite moments on the record. Even though I thought this song didn’t quite fit in with the others,  I wanted to include it because its message is important to me. 

         I have spent most of my professional life as a teacher of young children. I’ve spent a lot of time hanging out with the ultimate beginners, and I’ve surely learned as much from them as they have from me. While in college I read Zen Mind, Beginners Mind, which impressed upon me what a wonderful thing it is to be a beginner at something.

         Or course, being a beginner involves a certain amount of risk. Some level of failure is virtually guaranteed. As a kindergarten teacher, I was inspired by the children’s ability to get back on the proverbial horse, to fall and get up again,  and to make lemonade from lemons. And I was also taken aback by how early the gremlins set in;  how some children were paralyzed by their own need to do things perfectly the first time. I’ve witnessed countless incidents of kids going to pieces when they couldn’t cross the bars like other kids, or when the cat they drew failed to look like a cat. It’s heartbreaking. And it pushed my own buttons, triggering my own awareness of always wanting to do things perfectly, to not feel or be seen as a failure by myself and others.  I was challenged by trying to help them, while knowing I hadn’t completely learned these lessons myself.

         And I was so frequently wrapped up in my wanting them to succeed, that I would try to prevent their failure.  I would catch myself wanting to yell “STOP!” at a certain point while they were painting. It was hard to let them turn their beautiful artwork to mud, again and again.  And in the process I was always being reminded that we were teaching each other.

         As a teacher, the goal of our classroom community was to create an environment where it was safe to fail, safe to be wrong, safe to not be the best at everything. And these are concepts I’ve tried to apply to my life outside the classroom. Needless to say, I haven’t graduated yet.

         So as I write this, I find myself putting my armor on and jousting with gremlins about this new website and this blogging stuff. I’m afraid of being too wordy, too exposed, too self-absorbed. I have a fear of being delusional, of writing what no one will want to read; of building a place that no one will go to.  But I’m doing it anyway, because like the song says: I dare to suck.