where the writers are

The Unmade Bed, 1957 - Imogen Cunningham -

Mary Chapin Carpenter sings the words, half a beat behind me as I write them. And somehow sings ahead of me, too, which makes no kind of sense, just is.

It’s a good song - catchy and soulful at once.

I’m pretty sure we have a hit on our hands, not that Mary’s ever needed any help from me. She seems to know what she’s doing, so I usually just say no when she asks if I’ll write music with her,* because really, who has that kind of time?

And then, I hear whispering. Insistent, plaintive whispering.


I will my brain back into the groove of the song. Come on, Mary, keep singing.

“A thousand miles away-ay-ay,” she sings on.

There, that’s it. Just ignore the whispering.

I hear it again.

“Mommy, the computer’s not working.” Tap tap. “Mommy? Are you awake?”

I open my eyes, blink twice. The Girl comes into focus.

The day follows, and all that sunlight. Day whatever of spring break. I stretch, touch feet to floor.  I’m awake.

While coffee brews, I jot down the two lines I can still remember from the song. Grab at a few more lines that feel just out of reach. Are out of reach.

And over the next hour or maybe two, a lot of things happen. Breakfast. Kids, fighting. Me, yelling. Laundry. Loading the dishwasher. Kids, hugging me. Me, hugging back, so hard. (How lucky am I, are all of us, if we can do that?) The kids going outside to play.

Over the next hour or maybe two, I start to sift through the business of the day, stopping every now and then to try to remember how the song went.

But no matter how hard I try to hold on to it, the song fades away.

*Also in my dreams.

5 Comment count
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oh, too soon

Oh, I'm so jealous of your crazy, silly, busy hugging days of raising children. It is a wonderful time, full of love and pain. Enjoy it and soon your dreams will be uninterrupted - and fully grown.

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I am enjoying it (it has its

I am enjoying it (it has its frustrations, too, of course...but I know how quickly the time passes). And I'm learning to keep index cards around the house, in my purse, in the car - or I'd forget everything, not just song lyrics!

Thanks for reading, and for your comment.



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Jennifer, the song might

Jennifer, the song might fade but it will never die. Keep on enjoying your children. M

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Jennifer, I see that you

Jennifer, I see that you live in Arizona, I lived in Flagstaff and actually met and married my husband there too!

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Mary, We've been here for


We've been here for almost five years and are trying to decide if we're staying or moving away. Beautiful country where you live (here, too, of course!). I love that drive from Flagstaff down through Sedona.

So nice to meet you on here!