Beautiful Souls

I’m listening to my friend Janis Elko’s song “Las Vegas” (sent to me after she read the last blog entry). It’s so beautiful. I’m listening for about the fifth time now. I met Janis in 2002 when she came to Orient for one of my weekend songwriting workshops. Actually, we’d met once before outside of the Bottom Line. She’s a wonderful artist and person. She’s from the New York area but has lived in Germany for the last number of years. (Check out her site: www.janiselko.com).

I’ve gotten new music from other workshop friends too, lately. Lucas Mire and Jay Morgans. Got an email from the extraordinary Joshua Bley, also. He says he’s been invited to record with Rickee Lee Jones. I’ve made so many talented friends doing these workshops.

The local ones too, attended by the sweet teenage boys of Mattituck. I’ll never forget the sight of them, gathered around my table, guitars in their arms, waiting to play the new songs they’d write every week. They really touched me. They were the first inkling I had that I was no longer a teenager myself. (Living life as a musician in New York, you can kind of avoid that realization.) When I see them around now, it’s a joyous reunion. They are mine somehow. Young men now, they’re home for a visit. Back from school. A few live in Nashville. Creating music together makes for a lasting bond.

Speaking of the beautiful, innocence of the young, It’s very disheartening to see that in the whole Elliot Spitzer debacle there is little mention of the way young women are exploited, damaged, destroyed by prostitution. Why should anyone be able to rent out the body of another person for any price? The argument that the young woman believes it is her choice, and so is empowered, is ridiculous. She is misguided. She’s fooling herself. She’s been damaged by sexual abuse. She believes she has limited choices. She doesn’t have the foresight to understand her body is connected to her soul.

We as a society should be the ones to protect her. Why do we do such a poor job of protecting the bodies and souls of our young women? Spitzer’s hypocrisy is stunning, but I’d have had some respect for him if he’d apologized to the young women he’s caused irreparable harm. They aren’t much older than his privileged and protected teenage daughters.

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4 Responses to Beautiful Souls

  1. jaymorgans says:

    Lori, it is so nice to stumble upon your journal. Your words remind me of why that weekend at the point was so powerful. You are by nature an instant mother and mentor, a friend and confidant, your words and voice have arms of their own that float and hold those around you gently and with great purpose. I miss you and the others, truly and oddly.

    I agree with you about the Spitzer scene. We must continually ask why until we reach the root… Why would she lay herself down, why would her mind trick her body into believing it is worthless save for a price tag, why does it come to this for any of us? At the end it is more often than not rooted in suffering not brought to light. And you’re right, it is our duty as beings to bring it out in each other when we can’t let it out on our own. We’re all capable and entrenched in similar battles. It’s what we do with it that counts. His own suffering is to blame as well. It must take great pain or great numbness over pain to accept one’s own actions when those actions violate all that is true and real and sacred to the soul.

    I’ll end by letting you know I miss your thoughts, and that I still hear your voice coaxing me when I put the pen to paper.

    Thank you for that.

    ~j

  2. PE says:

    When I lived in Manhattan, in my apartment building was a woman who worked for a high priced escort service. She made a point that she only worked for a few, often famous, people.

    Anyway, what would happen is that she would get emotionally involved with her clients and would get extremely upset when a client ended the relationship. Often her clients would deceive her, offering to be a mentor, only to pull the rug out from under her.

    The profession ended up being a trap. Although she made money, she couldn’t really save it in a bank. In the end, she ended up owing money to her pimp/employer so to leave the profession she had to flee New York and start all over with very little money. The last I heard from her she was an office manager in the Southwest.

    I agree with you that our bodies are connected to our souls, that we are fooling ourselves if we think we can be just “sex workers” with no emotional consequence. The only thing I would like to change in our society for our society to see the prostitutes as victims and help them, rather than demonize them, as they seek to leave that life.

  3. janis says:

    dear lori,

    you have clearly made a lasting impression on us all. years go by and, as jay says, your words and encouragement still ring strong in my mind and heart whenever i sit down to write.

    thank you for this gift, and for bringing such lovely people together to share it.

    j

  4. dragnet44124 says:

    I have been disabled and stuck far away from my girlfriend for a very long time. Your music helps me find some comfort and peace; I know my girlfriend feels the same way. It helps to know that she is listening to the music too.

    Thank you for sharing your thoughts and for the music- going all the way back to ‘Shelter’. The new site is great- and feels ‘personal’. When I watch all the canned responses from politicians and supposed artists, etc.; it is so refreshing to read the thoughts of someone who writes from their heart.

    Thanks again,
    dragnet44124

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