Adventures and Appreciation

I’m starting on a new adventure this week, thanks to the lovely Bekah Kelso: a song-a-week project.  Random writing prompts arrow into my inbox once a week, set to explode if I don’t deliver the goods by midnight of the following Sunday.  The first prompt came in this morning, and I’m super excited!  I’m hoping for good things for all of us who are participating in this.

Surely it’s auspicious to try something you’ve never done before on a day we celebrate the light.  Sweet Imbolc to all of you who mark the holiday!


I spent last weekend at a small convention called Conflikt in the Seattle area (chin up, Seahawks fans, it’s all good).  It’s a filk convention, attended and run by people who believe strongly in the spirit of supporting anyone and everyone who has a song to sing, no matter the subject or genre.  Before you roll your eyes and fall back on whatever mental picture you may have of what a filk convention is like, just hit pause on that for a second.  I don’t often have the time to attend any kind of con just for fun, so this was a rare treat for me.  And it was worth it.  You won’t believe the weekend I had.

-I and my bandmates got interviewed by a lovely musicologist last night.

-I taught a two-hour workshop on how to raise your awareness of the energy that music can create, how sound can change your immediate environment, and more.  As many people as possible stayed all the way to the end.  Those who stepped out did so because there were other things going on that they, themselves were scheduled to contribute their own music to.  In spite of the fact that I’ve taught this particular class many times, I learned new things right along with my participants.

-I didn’t have my own concert this weekend, but I didn’t mind at all- I ended up guesting on bass, guitar, and vocals with all sorts of talented people, including several of my favorite human beings on the earth.  Some of it was planned and rehearsed.  Some of it was 100% last minute.  All of it gladdened my heart and sent the quality of my day off the charts of Good.

-I heard plenty of songs and performers for the first time, well worthy of following and enjoying.  (PDX Broadsides, I’m lookin’ at you!)

-I got a random chance to help someone learn how to play one of my own tunes, AND hear them pull it off in rehearsal!

-I sang on stage with my colleagues in ways I was afraid to try in the moment.  I sang on stage in ways I’ve been afraid to try for a couple of years, while my voice has been shifting and changing and resettling, and my instrument held true.  So true and so strong.

-I watched one of my dearest musical peers give everything he had, and then give even more, to the community that loves and attends this type of event, and I saw his magic spread through people, inspiring them and encouraging them again and again.

-I led a themed song circle of my own on Friday evening, and was pleasantly surprised to find it packed to the walls.  All participants got a kick out of the theme and did wonderful things with it.

These are just the top few highlights, and only from my personal experience.

Heather Dale once described filk as “the music of us”.  It’s the music of people who fiercely love the things they love, and who will celebrate those things by writing, singing, and/or sharing songs about them.  It’s the music of people who dedicatedly record, chronicle, and applaud every single concert they attend or offer, no matter what happens.  It’s the music of a community who loves and supports every one of its artists AND its amateurs (amateur is a word of love, not a word of derision) for life.  For life.

I had such a wonderful time this weekend.  🙂


My earlier “hit pause” request was prompted because of the downright vitriolic language I’ve personally heard people use when referring to filk, filk music, and/or filkers.  As a pro who found herself and her work dearly loved by the filk community fairly recently, I have some suggestions on how to counter that attitude.

Let’s stop thinking of filk as something only the unpopular kids ever do.  It isn’t.

Let’s stop thinking of filk as the music of people who aren’t any good.  Patently untrue.

Let’s think of it instead as the legitimate bardic tradition that it is.

Let’s get to the point where those of us who play music for a living, and who attend filk cons for love when we can, never have to fret that people will assume our association with filk makes us second class or worse.  It doesn’t, and why would it?

Someone I dearly respect gifted me a new CD of his last year, prefacing the gift with “it’s not filk”.  Let’s get to the point where nobody feels the need to say that kind of thing about their own work.

“There’s only the music”, says my wise brother.  Let it be so.

Let’s get to the point where nobody knocks one genre or fandom in order to lift up another.

Let’s get to the point where filk is just one more sweet, fannish thing that we can all celebrate.  We’re in fandom because we love something intensely, right?  Because it inspires us?  Filk is that same intensity, that love, set to chords.  Let’s be encouraging instead of nasty about a thing that plenty of delightful people are into, whether it’s filk, wrock, trock, nerd rock, nerdcore, chap hop, YouTube musicals, Broadway, Geek church, mythpunk, or any other fantastic new thing.