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News from Linda Allen


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Amos 30 Jun 01 - 12:39 PM
Mark Cohen 30 Jun 01 - 01:41 PM
Don Firth 30 Jun 01 - 03:44 PM
JedMarum 30 Jun 01 - 06:34 PM
Amos 30 Jun 01 - 08:17 PM
Deckman 30 Jun 01 - 10:49 PM
Amos 13 May 02 - 07:51 PM
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Subject: News from Linda Allen
From: Amos
Date: 30 Jun 01 - 12:39 PM

For you Nor'Western Catters, the following may be of interest -- it is Linda Allen's occasional newsletter.

From: Linda Allen <>
Subject: If Music Could Only Bring Peace

If music could only bring peace, I'd only be a musician.
Attributed to Pete Seeger.

Dear Friends,

It's been a busy month. I just returned from an incredible week of study
with Rev. Cecil Williams of Glide Memorial Church, and Dr. Dorsey Blake -
who both reminded me of the importance of putting Compassion into practice!
And the key seems to be, according to Rev. Williams, unconditional love and
unconditional acceptance. In these uncertain times, it's good to encounter
that kind of certainly.

In the afternoons, I studied with Russill Paul - a true master of Hindu
sound yoga. So there was the going out into the world, and there was the
importance of the inner journey - coming face to face with our deepest
selves, the Creative Spirit, for renewal and sustenance for the journey.
The vocal work continues to be an important journey for me, and I'm excited
to share what I'm learning. This week I heard Susan Osborn speak about her
voice workshops -- about coming home to our bodies through voicework. She
told me about the work of Kate Munger and her "Threshold Choruses"
--choruses who sing for the dying. The connections go on and on.

Being empowered to use our voices is also about how and when we lift up
our voices. Who can speak for us if we do not?  Here in Bellingham, we had
a close-up look at what happens when folks who have not felt heard get
together. A group called People for Public Spaces took over a burned out
"pit" in the center of town and lobbied for it to be turned into a park.
Life seemed to spread itself all over that cold, grey pit as slabs of
concrete were torn up and piled into make-shift tables and chairs. Colorful
slogans and pictures graced the walls. Gardens were planted. It lasted
five days.  Then the arrests began and the walls were painted over.  The
event has left many of us wondering  how that wonderful energy could have
been celebrated, and those voices heard. Songwriting is my most succinct
way of commenting on events around me. The lyrics to a new song on the
"Pit" protest are at the end of this email.

When I think of my life's work, I think the first 25 years was about
giving voice musically to those who have no voice. I still do that, but
these days my work also seems to be about empowering people to find their
own voices: physically, spiritually, and creatively. We need everyone's
voice these days.

So here's what I'm up to. Over the next months, I'll be facilitating
three Voices retreats, each focusing on exploring our creative, physical, or
spiritual voices. The first one, The Artist's Way Retreat, is on July 14th
and 15th and will be held at beautiful Blue Mountain Retreat Center.  Next
month I'll also be doing a concert and workshop at the CyberCafe and
Bookstore, sponsored by the Whidbey Institute on July 21st. Click here for a
poster about that event.

I'll also be teaching a class for beginning and advanced vocal students at
the Puget Sound Guitar Workshop July 28 through August 3rd.

Here in Bellingham, I'll be the guest lecturer at the Bellingham Unitarian
Fellowship on July 22nd.

My complete itinerary, including information about the upcoming Fall
tours to the Midwest and Southwest, and Oregon, please click here, or copy
and paste.

I'm still hoping to fill dates on these tours. If any of you have
considered hosting a house concert, it's easier than you think! Click here
for "How To Host A House Concert."

As always, if you wish to be removed from these occasional notes, please
let me know. I heard Rachel Riemen (Kitchen Table Wisdom)  talk recently,
and she described "blessing" as anything that moves you towards your true
May your life be blessed!


      "The Pit"                      2001    Linda Allen

There's an empty lot in the heart of our town
Some people got together, knocked the fences down
They climbed into the pit where a building had been
They said, "We'll build a park for our neighbors and friends"

   Because the city is you and the city is me
   It's our neighbors and friends in community
   And it may not be all we would want it to be
   But it's home, and home is where the heart is.

The concrete gave way to the picks and the spades
Gardens were planted, friendships were made
There was music and dancing 'til police said to go
The people decided - the people said, "no!"  CHORUS

They were planting much more than a garden, it seems
They were planting a vision to capture our dreams
Of a city whose heart is as big as its plans
With spaces for beauty, and work for each hand  CHORUS

The laws were enforced, and the people are gone
But we still remember their laughter and songs
Grey paint may cover the walls of that place
But they can't cover over our heart's open space  CHORUS

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Subject: RE: News from Linda Allen
From: Mark Cohen
Date: 30 Jun 01 - 01:41 PM

Linda is a wonderful person, a fine songwriter and musician, and a long-absent but still good friend. Thanks, Amos, for introducing her to new people, and allowing old friends and acquaintances to catch up!


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Subject: RE: News from Linda Allen
From: Don Firth
Date: 30 Jun 01 - 03:44 PM

I second what Mark says.

Someone on another thread was asking about Pacific Northwest songs. Linda has compiled two songbooks: one is Washington Songs and Lore, which she put together for the Washington State Centennial Project (I believe it is currently out of print, but a search through should turn up a copy or two. The other is The Rainy Day Song Book, which is available through Linda's website, Click "Enter," then "Publications." Linda and her work are well worth knowing.

Don Firth

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Subject: RE: News from Linda Allen
From: JedMarum
Date: 30 Jun 01 - 06:34 PM

Linda? Barbara's sister?


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Subject: RE: News from Linda Allen
From: Amos
Date: 30 Jun 01 - 08:17 PM

No, actually, I think the awful truth is that Linda is Barbara's great-great-great-great-great grandaughter, in spite of the historic record that implies this is impossible.

There is some evidence to indicate that when slowly slowly she got up and more slowly still drew nigh him, the details of the encounter were not fully captured in records, and a coverup involving a curt rebuttal was entered as the official explanation instead.

Furthermore, there is no indication in the official account of the amount of time that passed between the bedroom scene and the day on which she presumably heard churchbells ringing in an accusatory tone (a classic symptom of stress induced delusory auditory tracks).

It is likely that the omitted intervals was at least a year, accounting for the consequences of the artificially disguised dalliance in the bedroom to manifest themselves, and ultimately bring us the great delight of Linda's talents here on the Mudcat!

Or something like that....


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Subject: RE: News from Linda Allen
From: Deckman
Date: 30 Jun 01 - 10:49 PM

Just in case you missed it ... Linda was named the 'official' Washington State Folklorist a while ago. This resulted in several wonderful published books, which Don Firth already mentioned. Linda remains steady and true blue, one of the brighter spots in Washington State folk scene. CHEERS, Bob)deckman)Nelson

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Subject: RE: News from Linda Allen
From: Amos
Date: 13 May 02 - 07:51 PM

A recent update:

My Dear Friends,

On my computer keyboard there is a little sign that was made for me by my friend, Paddy Bruce. It says, "Where is your Spirit? Call it Back." It's a constant meditation and a constant challenge. Life and Death have both been hovering close this Spring. The garden is bursting with lilacs, tulips, apple and plum blossoms. This past week I held a tiny baby, and a brand new kitten. My life and work seem fragrant with hope and possibility. Yet in the midst of it all, our Global Village seems to be in grave danger. In my neighborhood, a 16-year old boy murdered an 8-year old boy. It was my neighborhood's version of September 11th, in which any pretense that we might be exempt from the violence of these times was shattered. Our neighborhood. My son's school. The grief and shock for us all has been immeasurable. Please send prayers to the families of both boys, their neighbors and friends.

To call back my spirit, I look to where I find hope. And there is so much that is hopeful. Here's a quote from Starhawk:

"Somewhere, there are people to whom we can speak with passion without having the words catch in our throats.
Somewhere a circle of hands will open to receive us, eyes will light up as we enter, voices will celebrate with us whenever we come into our own power.
Community means strength that joins our strength to do the work that needs to be done.
Arms to hold us when we falter.
A circle of healing.
A circle of friends.
Someplace where we can be free."

I've found a number of those circles over the past weeks. Just two weeks ago I flew to Philadelphia to participate in the General Assembly of United Methodist Women. Ten thousand women from around the world. I felt so very welcomed and appreciated and blessed and sustained. Hope is alive among those who are putting their heads and hearts into the healing of this world. And I can't begin to tell you how it felt to sing in chorus with ten thousand women!

One renewed connection to Musimbi Kanyoro, General Secretary of the World YWCA, resulted in an invitation to Geneva to help with a training in a few weeks. Spring in the Alps! What a blessing!

You can view highlights of the Conference, including hearing the speeches of Musimbi with Michelle Beg, Marian Wright Edelman, Joyce Sohl and many others, on their web site:

One of the speakers, a Lutheran pastor named Barbara Lundblad, ended her presentation with new words to God Bless America.

The old words are pretty good. But too often the singing of that song has been accompanied by soldiers and guns and flags and a patriotic sense that seems to have lost connection with the needs of the rest of the world. Some terrible things have been done, and continue to be done, in the name of patriotism.

God bless the world we love
Stranger and friend
Go before us, restore us.
With a hope that despair cannot end.
Ev'ry people, ev'ry nation,
Mighty ocean, heaven's dome!
God bless the world we love,
Our only home.

God, bless the world you love,
Our only home.

Barbara Lundblad

Last Sunday I was singing for another group of people who give me great hope. It was the tenth anniversary celebration of Earth Ministry. Their concern extends to all creation, and is another reminder of the interconnectedness of all things. We cannot afford to ignore any piece of this delicate web.

One constant source of hope is the monthly reading of The Catholic Worker. Here's a quote from Dorothy Day, re-printed in their most recent issue:

"Deliver us, O Lord, from the fear of our enemies which makes cowards of us all."

I find great hope in the work that is evolving with my doctoral project. I've arranged to sing and do a workshop at Radcliffe House, a transitional house for women coming out of prison. I'm working with two women of the WINGS program of the Women of Wisdom Foundation. We are trying, together, to find some funding for this program, in order to bring speakers and artists together with some of the women who are most in need of their gifts. I'm just beginning, and feeling a bit scared and excited by it all. Any of your experiences and wisdom on this endeavor would be most welcome.

I'll leave you with the chorus to the song I sent out to you all with my last mailing "The Ten Commandments". Your suggestions were wonderful! I incorporated several, and the song is much better now. Particular thanks to Donna Glee Williams who came up with the following chorus:

These are the ten commandments
They are not carved in stone
But written on the human heart
A sign to lead us home

May we all find loving arms to come home to....a circle of friends to "join strength to our strength to do the work that needs to be done."

Linda Allen

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