Alive in Harlem

Hello, again. I haven’t written in this journal for awhile. I suppose it’s because of all the changes. I’m busy with being back in New York, and loving it so. Who would have thought the cats would adjust so well? And Doe leads me from park to dog-run. We make friends everywhere we go. I could leave everything from my North Fork life behind and never look back. But of course, the house is still there. Haven’t been able to sell it. I guess, come fall, I’ll rent it because I don’t want to go back there. Not now, anyway.

It’s Memorial Day weekend. I love the way the city empties out on summer weekends. D. is in Bridgehampton and I picture him doing the things we’ve done all the years past. We’re not together but still together. I can’t explain it any better because I don’t understand it, but perhaps the truth will come out in the new songs I’m writing. They seem to have a way of letting me know what’s going on.

Sometimes it’s confusing to be working in solitude. I know the answer to the question about the tree in the forest. My songs keep coming and no one hears them but it doesn’t matter. Or, not so much. I suppose it makes the work feel more like hobby and less like “work”. But that’s all pride and ego. Pride and ego are not much good for songwriting. I’m still the happiest when I’m writing songs. It’s my life’s work whether anyone is listening or not, whether I’m any good or not. Not that I’m insecure about the quality of my songwriting. I may be deluded, but in my own mind, the songs are genius. Hahaha.. Well, pretty darn good, anyway. Why be modest when I write this for myself and to myself (and the few loyal friends and fans who remain)? I am able to hit the emotional mark better than I used to. Better at form, lyric and melody. I’m at the top of my game. Or convinced I am, delusional perhaps. But if it’s delusion, it doesn’t matter since I am the only critic.

My new set up, at the far end, the south-west corner of this space, faces a window and a wall of old brick. There is wonderful natural reverb here. The ceilings are high. I’m on the top floor, so there are never any footsteps overhead. There is no shortage of noise, sound, racket, music, coming from the street, the alley and far-away. I love all the sounds. But when I close the windows, it’s quiet enough to record. The microphone sits close to my mouth, just above the piano keys. The cats, asleep on window sills, couch and counters, are quiet. Doe is stretched out on the rug. She’s never far from me. I forget everything and fall into my world of keeping track of things. Emotional things and the rest. I do still pick up the guitar, but most of my writing is done at the piano, now. It’s a process full of learning for me. I play better with all the practice and I have a long way to go. The daily discovery is challenging and absorbing.

I have no interest in performing Will ths change? I have no idea. Performing was always a challenge for me. I hated the variables. The ones coming from me (not being in good voice, guitar issues, etc.) and the ones due to a venue: sound issues, club issues the rest of it.. The disrespect. The need to prove oneself over and over. All that balanced by the rare joy of it all going well. A beautiful communion with an audience.

Now that I’m back in New York, however, who knows what will happen. Everything is subject to change. It all feels shaken up and alive.

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6 Responses to Alive in Harlem

  1. petethepop says:

    Hi Lori,

    I’m writing from Geneva, just about to drive up to Basel, a few days there, then up to Holland. For me there is a hopefully impermanent sense of being away, tho one never knows. For you the sense of change is likely more profound.
    Happy for you that you are moving into your new life in the city. Always had some hope that I might get to know you, that diminishes now. Many good impressions, these will stay with me. Looking forward to following your music as it evolves, and as you evolve. Wishing you all the best.


  2. faren kaye says:

    you sound quite comfortable in your new/old environment. i sense you put a lot of thought and time into making this change. those things that are “calculated risks” can work out so nicely, but then so can the occasional abrupt, not-well-thought out life alteration.

    as far as your fella…it seems that you dance around “dancing around…not moving forward, just hovering.

    my poetry is my constant, music is yours. the rest should be only joyful periphery…no drama

  3. jbryan says:


    I’m sure like me there are many “fans” “lovers of music” that still appreciate the body of work you have given many to enjoy. I still get a warm feeling when listening to “Treasure” and feel completely validated when listening to House in the Weeds. Genius, i agree :) Artists keep creating and the lovers keep loving.

    Thanks for maintaining this journal. I have enjoyed it for many many years. And I miss the book reviews/suggestions!! All the best life can offer to you!!!!!!

  4. goldlionsfire says:

    Hi, just discovered your music the other day & I am blown away. Your sound is hard to find because a lot of artists miss the mark trying. I’ve been sending all my friends a youtube link because you’re so underrated.

  5. PE says:

    Hi Lori,

    As I wrote earlier in the year, I believe you are writing your best songs now. I don’t know you as a person, but through your work I sense a different person and I just love the lens you have on the world now. (Not that I don’t love your earlier work as well.)

    I think that if you are writing wonderful songs, which you are, that it is best to continue to do what you’re doing, which is answering your muse and letting it flow. If performing gets in the way of that flow, don’t do it. I also believe that wonderful songs have their way of making their way into the world. Your new songs will drag you out some day, but that day doesn’t have to be today.

  6. jkarpf says:

    Eager but patient for your new music. Your CDs, including the Palomino discs, are always in my carousel. But I think it’s time you had a new musical neighbor besides Tom Waits. Maybe Jack Johnson.

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