PAST RAMBLINGS - 23
(collection of past Homepage greetings and stories)
May 16, 2008   -to-   Present

Michael Tomlinson - Past Ramblings
Ramblings 1
3/13/99 - 7/11/99
Ramblings 2
7/27/99 - 1/8/00
Ramblings 3
3/6/00  - 8/7/00
Ramblings 4
9/18/00 -  11/19/00
Ramblings 5
12/17/00 - 4/10/01
Ramblings 6
5/9/01 - 6/25/01
Ramblings 7
07/23/01 - 10/07/01
Ramblings 8
10/19/01 - 2/18/02
Ramblings 9
3/22/02 - 8/5/02
Ramblings 10
8/27/02-12/22/02
Ramblings 11
1/24/03 to 5/31/03
Ramblings 12
7/18/03 to 12/24/03
Ramblings 13
1/11/04 to 5/28/04
Ramblings 14
7/03/04 to 10/1/04
Ramblings 15
11/03/04 to 2/22/05
Ramblings 16
4/01/05 to 7/1/05
Ramblings 17
08/21/05 - 11/16/05
Ramblings 18
12/20/05 to 6/11/06
Ramblings 19
07/19/06 to 11/13/06
Ramblings 20
12/02/06 to 4/2/07
Ramblings 21
5/21/07 to 9/4/07
Ramblings 22
11/9/07 to 3/1/2008
Ramblings 23
5/16/08 to 11/8/08
Ramblings 24
12/11/08 to 09/06/09
Ramblings 25
11/01/09 to
10/21/2010
Ramblings 26
5/10/10 to
12/4/2010
Ramblings 27
4/01/11 to
10/1/11
Ramblings 28
2/1/12 - Fall 2012
Ramblings 29
Spring 2013 - Present
Ramblings 30
Spring 2014
May 16, 2008

Howdy my fine friends, picture this, if you will:

One of your very favorite folkslingers, me of course, leaves his ol' guitar on the rainy sidewalk and is guzzling peppermint tea in a Tully's Coffee Shop. A third of my body is lounging in a chair, the remainder sprawled jellyfish-like upon what is supposed to be a community ottoman, shared by people in four opposing chairs. I am exhibiting the absolute worst posture the human body is capable of in my desire to take full ownership of the ottoman. If there is a chiropractor in the room, he is salivating at the potential I present.

I've never had occasion to think about it before, but I really do not care for community ottomans - precisely because one cannot truly and utterly experience full relaxation mode while at the same time being considerate about the space others might require. So to avoid that predicament, I've exaggerated my sprawl, spreading out unashamedly across the vast block of furniture, and have claimed the entire acreage as my own. If we were to find out later that Tully's has security cameras located about the room, particularly above me, the sight of my slack form might do one of two things: 1.) cause you to recoil in horror at the human octopus, or 2.) win me a full scholarship to Cirque du Soleil University.


Walking under Seattle Skies

People flood into Tully's, as they tend to on a rainy Seattle day. They tap the rain off their umbrellas and look around for a place to sit. Sit anywhere you like podnas, I'm thinkin'. But this ottoman is mine. Limp as my body appears, I have a grip on that block of furniture a crowbar couldn't budge. Many who enter wish to lay out books and tablets in order to study. Others seem to want to open up laptops such as mine and write some stupid blog of their own. I pretend not to see them. I don't see the burly guy with the turbulent gunny sack full of. . . what? Monkeys? I absolutely refuse to focus on the jittery woman with two tousle-headed boys swingin' little plastic baseball bats. She glances at the cozy community seating area where I am ensconced - clearly considering whether I might be her default babysitter while she sips a cappuccino - but I foretell this and snort so loudly that she jumps and the little boys drop their bats. That was a close one.

Languid though I may appear, I am in rigid control of the situation. I do have a slight problem though; I need to pee. Really, really badly. At some point in the span of time between when one just sort of needs to pee and when one must absolutely pee or die, it becomes nearly impossible for me to continue to pose in such a casual way. I doomed to impersonate ol' Faithful and my posture is becoming less lax, taking on more of a frenetic, hermit crab-like appearance. I know if I leave my ottoman unattended, it may invite others to come over and share the large, inviting surface. That's unacceptable. I need it all. I must have it to myself. I don't even know why, it's not like I'm afraid to brush up against other people. I just flew to Texas in the middle seat in a full airplane and was not in the least troubled by the forearms on either side of me. (though I did grow weary of the footsie-action, I'll admit) I'm not one of those people who, when I accidentally touch you as we brush past in a store, feels that I must wildly apologize for my indiscretion. But for some reason, this footrest is special to me and I want it all for myself. If I could sneak it out of here I'd take it home in a minute.

Which gives me an idea. I'll take it to the restroom with me! That's not wierd, is it? I don't think so. I search my memory, trying to recall seeing fellers haul rockin' chairs and piano stools into the urinal and I believe I've seen it before. I'm going to go for it. I chart my course. Let's see, I have to squeeze between two tables of people and then down a little hallway. Without making a big deal of it, I slither off the surface and crouch down, reach under and check the heft of the ottoman. Whoa! It's heavier than I had presumed. I'm going to have to scoot it. It's probably going to squeal against the floor, which means that I must make a high pitched sound to conceal the noise. I lean back and make a big show of stretching, letting rip a big Howard Dean holler as I do. "Yeee-heeee! Aheeeyaaa!" I grin famously. (I'm not even sure what that means) I've set the tone for my task. The room is aware that there is a squealer in their midst, so now I must work that in my favor as I push and pull and manhandle the ottoman into the bathroom. But if someone tries to stop me, what will be my excuse?

I decide the best answer is the most obvious one: I'll pretend to be a Repair Man from Sears. Is that brilliant or what? What could be more perfect? Shielding my creativity from onlookers, I draw a remarkably authentic-looking Sears name tag on my shirt pocket flap. That is impressive, podnas! I stand so all can see I'm there in my official capacity as a Sears rep, and then I bend at the waist to lift one side. I scoff at those "doctors" who say "use your legs to lift". What a joke. Cave men did it the old way and so do I. I reach under the big leather block and heave with all my might. I don't know what all those cracking and popping sounds are, but they sure seem close behind me. That rush in my ears is a trip! What the heck caused that? Anyway, I'm standing now, woozey, swaying, but pleased overall that I've managed to get the big block up on it's side. Now I can scoot it. I throw my hip into it and grunt with every bit of brute strength in my body. It moves maybe an inch. I have renewed respect for the slaves who built the pyramids. I'd forgotten all about 'em until now. I take a moment to give thanks for what they did and then I put my shoulder to the ottoman and roar from the core of my being. "Heee-yaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa!" The ottoman actually moves! Only a few inches, but it's a hopeful sign.

Let me tell you podnas, scooting a 200-pound ottoman to the urinal with you is a feat that should be immortalized in the Guiness Book o' Records. Or at least on America's Got Talent! I'm tellin' you, I stood there so proud. And relieved, o' course. But I was surprisingly too tired to lug it back, so I just left 'er right there on the tile floor in the men's bathroom. I gave one last lunge and scootched it over in front of one of the stalls. The guy with the bag o' monkeys was in there and I thought it might be fun for him to have to figure an alternate way out.

~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~

My lovely girlfriend, Patricia, was recently creating a concert poster for me for my upcoming Bainbridge Island concert. She accidentally misspelled my first name as Micahel - which I railed about for hours in a high pitched whine - but actually, her mistake gave me an idea. I'm nearing the finish of recording my new CD and thought I'd try to raise a bit of money with which to do that. So this is the letter I sent to all my friends. My friends are stupid but they are compassionate. I sure hope it works. The example was to my stupidest friend, Rick Grant, of Snoqualmie Washington.
Dear Mister Richards Grant,

Perhaps you have heard of me. I am exiled millionaire living this time in South Africa. Family fortune is being safely and kindly held in Nigerian bank and I need YOUR trustful expertise in transferring to my legal bank account. Was it be possible for you to allow me wire you 17 million U.S. Dallars into your joyful banking account this week? You would be doing my royal family huge favorite, for which your super goodness exactly must be rewarded. You may even spend much the money for own private and personal purpose, so long as least one-half (1/2) remainder is there when I arrive your country in three (3) years and several (5) hours.

To prove to you person that I am sincere, please forward $1000 to me at your early joyous convenience. I surely return to you a cashier's bank cheque for $1001 dollars. When you see good prooveness that receiving your money back - plus big interest - you'll then sure know that I honestly and trustworthiness.

I sincerely hopeful that I absolutely wire you the 17-mil within the day.

In greatest desire for our mutual healthiness benefit,
  ~Prince Micahel Tommalinsoon"
              Thus far, I've received no checks, but I'm really thinking this could work.

Well, I think that's probably been plenty o' that kind o' nonsense, don't you? I promise to be somewhat serious for the rest of this rambling. It's just what happens when a man gets cooped up on the studio for too long. I keep telling you I'm very close to finishing the new CD, and I really am, but there are just lots of finishing details. I care too much about this music to force myself to finish just to meet a time line. So I'll be working a little ways into the summer in order to finish everything.

I couldn't be happier with where this music had evolved. I write these songs and sing them by myself for a long time. They take on an orchestral arrangement in my head and imagination and then once I get to the studio it can be difficult to turn them into something as great as I've been dreaming. But I've trusted in the process and have gradually watched each song blossom into something fuller and richer than I thought possible.


with my mom and Patricia

The thing that has made the most difference in this recording process is what has been going on inside me these last three years. Through some miracle beyond my dreams, I found Patricia O'Driscoll, the woman I will spend the rest of my life with. I had long ago thought I'd never get to say those words, but it happened. We met in the process of creating a benefit concert for the folks who were hurt by Hurricane Katrina. We thought we were giving something to the people who so needed help at that time, but really, we were being given each other. I've always written and sung my songs with great love, but to record them as so much love is blossoming inside me, and in a time when my sweetheart and I are learning such compassion together, all of this kindness and gratitude pours into the songs and they become living things, like beautiful trees taking root and reaching up into the sky. I know you'll be able to hear that in the music. When you are allowed such a beautiful love, it just wants to overflow into every relationship you have.

I recently played a concert in Denver and invited people to bring someone whom they wish to make peace with. Many did so and it gratified me to think that folks would reach out to someone they felt estranged from and ask them to come and listen to my music for an evening.

It occurred to me that that's what my music is for - it is there for inner healing and forgiveness. It is there to bring comfort and trust and a reminder that life is good and a nudge toward remembering to be grateful to be alive. In my concerts coming up this year I am going to continue this theme - Making peace with yourself or someone you wish to heal with. Whether you can come to one of my concerts or not, I hope you'll hold that thought and see if you feel moved to make your own peace.

~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~

There is a song that will be on my new CD that I am so very happy with. When my record comes out, Patricia and I are going to do all we can to get the song out all over the world. I'll be asking for your help when we do. I can't wait for you to hear it because, as beautiful and powerful as I feel the lyrics are, it's in the wholeness of the full recording that I feel the most beautiful healing. When you hear the music, the voices and instruments and arrangement, I believe you will want to listen over and over again. I've posted the lyrics before, but have changed a few of them in the recording process. I'll finish out this rambling by posting them here.

Thank you so much for visiting and for your kindness toward me. Thank you for listening and, as so many of you do, for sharing my music with those you love. Don't forget to take some deep breaths and be kind to yourself.

Your friend in rainy Seattle,
 
  ~Michael

Flag of Human Kindness
   2008 Michael Tomlinson

From the wild Alaska sky
To the muddy Rio Grande
To the stormy shores of rocky Maine
There lies a country

I was born here in this land
Under the flag of hope and freedom
Now it seems such a faded dream
Like a dream that's lost it's meaning

In the early morning sun
There are many men and women
Waking up in more ways than one
To say where are we going?
Where are we going?

There's a time in every life
There is an age for every nation
When her patriots must stand aside
And say, "first, we are human"
Are we not human?

And in the dawning of this hour
And in a clear, undoubting voice
If we can heal this ever raging noise
For our human race
I know we must
Who will mend this sacred place?
It's surely us

We can cast our bitter blame
Or we can just do what is needed
Pray the embers that still remain
Become once more a beacon

It's not us against the world
No, it's everyone or no one
There is a braver flag to unfurl
It's called the Flag of Human Kindness
Human Kindess

And in the dawning of this hour
And in a clear, undoubting voice
If we can heal this ever raging noise
For our human race
I know we must
Who will mend this sacred place?
It's surely us

~How to be be a Sponsor of my new CD~ ~How to be be a Sponsor of my new CD~ ~How to be be a Sponsor of my new CD~

I've spent over a year on my new recording and I'm so very happy with it. It is truly filled with some of the best songs I've ever written and the production is beautiful and rich and vibrant. Every week I feel that the songs reach a new level of excellence. It's such a dream to see this coming true and I'm really excited to release this music into the world.

In hopes of really promoting the CD widely, in the US and Europe, I'm looking for sponsors; companies or organizations or individuals who would like to be a part of releasing this music into the world. It's an extremely expensive thing, creating a new album. I've spent many thousands on it so far and am nearing the finish. But there are pressing and design costs and mostly, promotion costs that lie ahead. If you are interested in being a part of this project, of having your name or company or organization name associated with this music, I'd love for you to get in touch. There are a number of ways I believe the association can serve everyone involved.

My plan is to do something much in line with the way PBS promotes their sponsors: tastefully and with respect and clarity. For instance: This recording made possible by a generous grant from the folks at Evergreen Corporation.
  • Each sponsor will have included in the actual CD packaging; mention and thanks by name, along with logo and website URL.
  • Major sponsors will have an opportunity to share a presence at my concerts. We can talk about how this best serves you.
  • On my Official Website, I will create a page of sponsors with descriptions and links to your homepage.
  • All sponsors will be acknowledged in a national e-mailing I will send out to announce the release of my CD

I'M ALSO SEEKING A SINGLE SPONSOR TO SUPPORT A NATIONWIDE MAILING TO MY ENTIRE MAILING LIST.  I plan on sending out a beautiful letter, not a newsletter, an actual letter offering something special for everyone on my mail list. That one organization - if it is one that is in alignment with my music and goodwill - would benefit by being included in the mailing and having nearly 9000 folks know about what it is that they do and offer.

  • According to your sponsorship amount, I will send you a stack of the new CDs before they are officially released to the public.
  • All sponsors and their guests will be invited to a private performance I will give in 2008.

There are endless other ways we can be associated and I'm open to talking about your thoughts on this. If you are interested, please email me and I'll get right back to you.

There are endless possibilities and I'm very open to hearing about what you envision. If you're interested in becoming a sponsor, please email me at
mt@michaeltomlinson.com    My mailing address is PO Box 15248 / Seattle, WA 98115-0248

You can find three of my songs up on www.YouTube.com
They are Living Things, The Way We're Going and Desert Rose.
I hope to post more soon.
August 12, 2008

Howdy my summertime friends,

I did something this morning for which I could possibly be arrested. I walked completely naked into my front yard and stood in the rain. It was five a.m. and still dark outside and there was no one on the street or sidewalk to see me. (dang it!) I was standing on the porch listening to the rare music of rain in August and I felt the sudden call to let the rain fall on me. All of me, to let it speckle my bare shoulders and run down my body and remind me that I am part of everything; the damp, grassy ground under my feet and the dripping leaves of trees and the pre-dawn breeze as soft as breath wafting around between houses.

In case it turns out later that some of my neighbors were indeed up in the darkness and staring with astonishment through parted curtains at me, I think I'd better make a point of asking whether anyone has seen those new flesh colored jammies they sell at Eddie Bauer. I'll say no more, they'll just put two and two together and assume they saw me in mine. I'm good at gettin' out of a jam.

We have had only one other night of rain in the last month and I feel parched. I always chuckle at the people here who complain about rain, as if we'd have these verdant, tree covered mountains and flowing rivers and leafy streets without it. I can honestly say that in 25 years of living in Seattle, I have gotten tired of the rain a tiny handful of times. And even then I was clearly an ungrateful fool. Arrogant enough to fall into that line of thinking where we consider certain weather to be inconvenient for our plans. The way I prefer to think of it is that there is no such thing as "nasty" weather. It's all good, it's all of God, it's all our great fortune to be living here.

There is a song on my soon-to-be-released CD, in which I talk about my boyhood and my thrill of the wind and love of all kinds of weather. The song is called Seattle Skies and it's possibly my favorite on the record. Here's how it starts:

I was an ordinary boy
'til freedom called me
Freedom called my name
In an unusual voice
Making the sound of yellow leaves
Blowing down a blue highway

I loved the thrill of the wind
Oh, as early
As I can recall
I thought of weather as my friend
Whether sun or snow or rain
I was bound to love it all
 

There have been only two or three times in all my years of song writing when I've written a line of lyrics and started instantly crying. This was one of them. When I wrote "I thought of weather as my friend", tears just poured out. I was crying because I really have regarded Nature and the seasons, the changes in weather, especially the rain as my loving companions in life. No matter what I've gone through or where I've traveled, I have always loved the wind and rain and snow and every kind of weather that comes between. And, as you might suspect by my writing you this in the five a.m. hour, I love mornings. Which is sometimes difficult because I like the evenings too. Therefore, I've become a nap man. I can nap with the best of 'em, podnas. Here is another verse from Seattle Skies.
 

I love the early morning sounds
Of this earth
All her mating songs
She spreads her loving all around
On the feathers of the wind
Where they graze against the dawn

And even if you never did
Ever travel
Over foreign lands
You still could know the world we're in
By the nature of the wind
As she flows against your skin
 

I haven't written many songs in all my years of composing that touch me the way those lines do. But what pleases me the most is that it's my sweetheart's favorite song on my new CD. It's a fulfilling thing to find that something you have done in your life is deeply satisfying and inspiring to the woman you love. I feel like it's a gift to me that I was allowed to let something flow through me that could make her so happy.

Patricia and I have been together nearly three years now and she's still discovering songs I've written and sang over the years. Last week she called me and said, "that song! The one about water! I can't believe you wrote that song!" I couldn't help but chuckle, knowing that every song I've ever written has mentioned water in some form. "Which one, honey? Which CD?" She said it was Face Up in the Rain. It turns out the song was Rocks and Water, something I hadn't listened to in a long time. So I put it on and all those years rolled back into my life. Almost twenty years ago, I actually remembered the players on the record and some of the things that had happened during the recording. Then that night, Patricia called and left me a message. "I found another one!" As if she had dug into an old vault and dusted off something lost to the world all these years. We talked the next morning and she said, "I can't believe you have these songs! Light for Tomorrow! I must have listened to it half a dozen times."

That's what can happen when you meet your true love deep in the middle of your life and you just happen to have twenty years of your music lying around waiting to be discovered and loved. I'm considering dummying up a fake album cover and letting her "discover" my very first obscure album, Meet the Beetles!

~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~

A few days ago I was just sitting out in my sky chair, swinging under my walnut tree, and I heard a story that I wanted to share with you. I was talking on the phone with my mom, who has recently been diagnosed with advanced lung cancer. It's been a sad few weeks as she is trying a number of alternative medicines and hoping for good results. So much in life becomes precious when you are watching someone you love dearly go through such a painful and difficult time - and wondering every day what you can do that will make her life more loving and comfortable.

We talk every day and I'm always amazed at the sound of her voice when she answers the phone and how much more fluid and energetic it is after we talk an hour and tell each other stories and relive memories from our lives. She always sounds so much more vital after we talk. It gives me hope and it reminds me of how much of health and well being is a result of communicating lovingly with people around us.

Mom lives in Texas and for a long time now, ever since my father's passing six years ago, we have been becoming better and better friends. It's a miracle when you can say about someone in your family that you're truly great, loving friends as well as family. I called her to visit and didn't know if she'd be in terrible pain when we talked or if she might be feeling stronger and hopeful that day. It changes day to day. Mom also has a number of other ailments that would make a whining sissy of me; mostly, she has advanced rheumatoid arthritis, so it's a huge painful effort to do almost anything from holding a book to walking down a sidewalk.

I was so pleased when I heard her voice because I could feel that she was filled with a vitality that she does not often have, especially since she discovered that she has cancer in her body. We talked and laughed right away, talking about what she'd done today and about how my new CD is coming along. This new album I've been working on this last year really means a lot to my mother. She loves many of the songs she's heard, but also, I think it's that she knows it means a lot to me and she really wants this record to be well received in the world. She is thrilled that I have such beautiful love in my life and almost as in love with Patricia as I am. Patricia calls her mama and it melts mom's heart every time she hears her say it.


Mom and Molly

Mom lives in a little tree-lined, one storey apartment complex in Tyler, Texas. She can barely get around but to keep from going insane she will grit her teeth through the pain and hobble out a few feet to a big, shady Live Oak and sit on the bench with her sweet dog, Molly. That day there were two friendly old fellas out there that are always palling around and waving to folks, sharing jokes and making everyone feel welcome. Willie is in his sixties, has no legs, zooms around the neighborhood in his wheel chair waving and grinning at people all day. Buddy is in his eighties and, according to Mom, "waddles back and forth from his apartment across the street."

Mom came over with Molly and said, "What are you boys up to, no good?"

They didn't reply at all and mom spoke again. "What's going on?"

They both looked glum. Willie finally looked up and said, "Aw, we wuz just thinkin', tryin' to figger out some way we could get us a popsicle."

Mom just lit up at the opportunity and said, "Well, I'll get you a popsicle! I'm going up to Brookshires for some groceries in a few minutes and I'll just bring you some popsicles back."

"You would?" they seemed incredulous that she would actually make their hot summer daydream come true, two old men as excited as six year-olds.

"Well sure! Just wait here and I'll be back in a little bit."

Going into a grocery store, or any store, is a huge challenge for mom. Most disabled parking in Tyler is shockingly far from the entrance of stores. Fortunately, once you get inside, most of the big ones have scooters she can use. She bought the few items she came for and then went to the frozen food section and found the largest box of popsicles in the store. She bought the 20-popsicle variety pack and was ecstatic that she could do this for Willie and Buddy.

When she returned Willie came charging up in his wheelchair and said, "I was watching for you, Shirley." He lit up when she showed him the big box of popsicles and gave out a whoop and then headed with them across the street to share with Buddy their great treasure.

What moved me so much about her story was not just the idea of a man in his sixties and another in his eighties sitting around like two little kids wishing for a popsicle. What touched me most was what Mom told me afterwards.

"You know son," she said, "I was just praying and asking God to show me something I could do to help someone. When I'm in the most pain and going through the hardest day, sometimes He'll place someone in my path that I can do something for and it just gives me a reason to live. I just takes my mind away from my pain when I get to help someone else."

So that's why a grown man looking very much like me could be seen by passersby to be crying in the front yard that day, my big mug of limeade sitting next to me under my walnut tree and tears streaming freely down my cheeks. And it's also why I stood naked in the rain this early morning, knowing what mom is going through and just wanting to be as simple and clear and filled with gratitude for my life as a man could be. It seemed like something I should share with you.

If you feel like taking a minute and saying a prayer for great healing and the highest good to come to my mom, I'd really appreciate it. Shirley Tomlinson is one of the best people I've ever met and I'd love to know you were sending some loving thoughts her way.

~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~

I've had some small setbacks with the release of my CD, but I believe it will be available in the next six weeks or so. I couldn't be more excited about this record and I will definitely let you know when it's ready. Thanks for your kindness and support. I hope you'll remember to take some deep breaths and be kind to yourself. There is so much that is good in our world and it's up to us to notice it and hold it up to share with each other.

I'll leave you with the full lyrics to my song, Seattle Skies. It's getting too light outside for me to go back out there in my "flesh colored jammies", but it sure sounds nice to sit here by the open window and listen.

I hope you're well this summertime.

Your early morning friend,
  
~Michael

 

 

Seattle Skies
2008 Michael Tomlinson

I was an ordinary boy, 'til freedom called me
Freedom called my name
In an unusual voice, making the sound of yellow leaves
Blowing down a blue highway

I loved the thrill of the wind, oh, as early as I can recall
I thought of weather as my friend
Whether sun or snow or rain, I was born to love it all

Now I'm walking under gray Seattle skies
Thinking how I'm going to miss the days gone by
Even if I feel the bite of bitter winter wind
Oh, I vow to not be one for hurrying
I'll take my time and breathe it in

I love the early morning sounds of this earth
All her mating songs
She spreads her loving all around
On the feathers of the wind as they graze against the dawn
And even if you never did ever travel over foreign lands
You still could know the world we're in
By the nature of the wind as she flows against your skin

And I'm walking under gray Seattle skies
Thinking how I'm going to miss the days gone by
Even if I feel the bite of bitter winter wind
Oh, I vow to not be one for hurrying
I'll take my time and breathe it in

I was looking for the meaning of my life
When I let a little rain get in my eyes
November loosened me and blew me all around
It was somewhere in this city I was found

So I learned to love the gray Seattle skies
And I know I'm going to miss the days gone by
Even if I feel the bite of bitter winter wind
Oh, I vow to not be one for hurrying
I'll take my time and breathe it in
I'll breathe it in

You can find my songs up on www.YouTube.com  
Search for "Michael Tomlinson"
     (I tried searching under "Julius Cesar" but none of my videos showed up)
Or you can go directly to:
Living Things     The Way We're Going     Desert Rose
Years     Raining Away     No Bad Dreams     Sunlight
I hope to post more videos soon.

 

~How to be be a Sponsor of my new CD~ ~How to be be a Sponsor of my new CD~ ~How to be be a Sponsor of my new CD~

I've spent over a year on my new recording and I'm so very happy with it. It is truly filled with some of the best songs I've ever written and the production is beautiful and rich and vibrant. Every week I feel that the songs reach a new level of excellence. It's such a dream to see this coming true and I'm really excited to release this music into the world.

In hopes of really promoting the CD widely, in the US and Europe, I'm looking for sponsors; companies or organizations or individuals who would like to be a part of releasing this music into the world. It's an extremely expensive thing, creating a new album. I've spent many thousands on it so far and am nearing the finish. But there are pressing and design costs and mostly, promotion costs that lie ahead. If you are interested in being a part of this project, of having your name or company or organization name associated with this music, I'd love for you to get in touch. There are a number of ways I believe the association can serve everyone involved.

My plan is to do something much in line with the way PBS promotes their sponsors: tastefully and with respect and clarity. For instance: This recording made possible by a generous grant from the folks at Evergreen Corporation.
  • Each sponsor will have included in the actual CD packaging; mention and thanks by name, along with logo and website URL.
  • Major sponsors will have an opportunity to share a presence at my concerts. We can talk about how this best serves you.
  • On my Official Website, I will create a page of sponsors with descriptions and links to your homepage.
  • All sponsors will be acknowledged in a national e-mailing I will send out to announce the release of my CD

I'M ALSO SEEKING A SINGLE SPONSOR TO SUPPORT A NATIONWIDE MAILING TO MY ENTIRE MAILING LIST.  I plan on sending out a beautiful letter, not a newsletter, an actual letter offering something special for everyone on my mail list. That one organization - if it is one that is in alignment with my music and goodwill - would benefit by being included in the mailing and having nearly 9000 folks know about what it is that they do and offer.

  • According to your sponsorship amount, I will send you a stack of the new CDs before they are officially released to the public.
  • All sponsors and their guests will be invited to a private performance I will give in 2008.

There are endless other ways we can be associated and I'm open to talking about your thoughts on this. If you are interested, please email me and I'll get right back to you.

There are endless possibilities and I'm very open to hearing about what you envision. If you're interested in becoming a sponsor, please email me at
mt@michaeltomlinson.com    My mailing address is PO Box 15248 / Seattle, WA 98115-0248

September 29, 2008

Howdy my friends, I just wanted to let you know that I have not dropped off the edge. As I was nearing the completion of my new CD, my mom was diagnosed with cancer. It was a really painful few weeks, hoping and praying for her healing, but fearful of losing her. It's the kind of news that never leaves you as you go about your days and nights. As often as I took the time to breathe and to seek a sense of peace, I couldn't seem to get enough air to calm myself completely. Often I breathed just to get through the moment.

I flew down to be with her, along with my sweetheart, Patricia, and my brother, Dave. That week was one of the most beautiful and painful of my life. We laughed together until we were nearly weeping. The four of us sitting in Mama's small living room with her sweet dog, Molly, telling stories and memories until we were exhausted from laughter and talking. I looked at Mom and knew it hurt her badly to laugh so hard, but her face looked like a child's face. I thought of her as a little girl and knew that this gathering was an answer to the most beautiful prayer she could have ever prayed.

We went through so much that week seeing mom go through her painful illness, visiting doctors with her, even rushing her to the emergency room once in the middle of the night. Still, there was sweetness and gratitude and laughter and mom's brilliant wit and humor. She could make anything funny.

Mom and Molly in 2007. We found a wonderful family and home for Molly and now she gets to spend her days chasing squirrels and rabbits. She never catches them.

She asked me to rub menthol on her back and handed me a plastic bag so that I would not get it on my hands. I said, "Mom, there is no way I'm not touching you with my bare hands." I will never forget rubbing that salve into her smooth, 73-year-old back and shoulders. It occurred to me that never in my whole life had I touched my mama like that. I'd hugged and kissed her uncountable times, but I had never soothed her that way, massaging away her pain and comforting her with my touch. I did this several times that week, as did Patricia and Dave. Each time, Mama would get extremely sleepy afterwards at having so much of her pain and stress massaged away by the people who love her. 

Patricia was brilliant those weeks, knowing how best to communicate with doctors and nurses. But more than anything, she gave Mama the kind of love that only a daughter can give. She and Mom had only known each other for three years but they were soul mates from the second they laid eyes on each other. That week Patricia talked to one of Mom's physicians who believed she would live for several more weeks or even months. But she was ready to go. Mama passed away on August 23, the exact date that Daddy had passed on six years earlier. She wanted to leave on the same day as her life long sweetheart. 

In the weeks since, we've all been going through our own grief, sharing what we can, but also quietly allowing it to move through each of us as it must. I've been very sad at times, but also, there are so many really beautiful moments that I hold alive in my heart. I am blessed in so many ways because my mom and I became really true, close, loving friends in her last few years on earth. We were still mother and son, of course, but we also were two souls who recognized each other as equals and honored each other and shared our gratitude for the gift of our friendship. 

There are always things that we can regret once someone we love is gone. That is almost inevitable because we're humans. But I have been fortunate in remembering not to dwell there. Where Mama is now she would not wish such a waste of time for me. Despite any shortcoming I can find in myself, this I can say for sure: I told my mother many times how much I honored and admired her; her courage, her compassion and kindness, her strength and humor, her pioneer spirit. I made sure she heard me well because I spoke with purpose, earnestly, and with an open heart. I wanted her to know that she was inspiring to me and that my life was better because of her and that I was still learning from her. Shirley Tomlinson was still raising her sons until the very last. Truthfully, she still is.

I wrote you this probably because expressing it is just a part of my own process of evolving through such a life changing thing. I know many of you have already experienced such loss and many more will do so in the coming years. I hear from people on my mail list all the time who have gone through the loss of a parent and it is always one of the most powerful and painful events any of us can live through.

But it is also life affirming. Maybe you're asking, "really? How is death life affirming?" It is life affirming because if you really pay attention, if you dare to open enough to be vulnerable, to surrender to really feeling what is there, both your own feelings and those of the people you love, then there is a deeper sense of purpose that comes up through you. Even in your fear and sorrow and guilt and grief and regret and sadness and all the hundreds of other feelings you may have, there is a message of life and love and forgiveness and compassion that comes to you in your willingness to simply feel. 

I am offered no more insights than you are, but since this has so recently happened in my life I would like to offer you something that is true to me, something kind and that could make the rest of your life more fulfilling: Speak to your parents with an open heart. If you or they are still holding onto something painful that feels as if it was caused by the other, it's okay. You don't have to let go if you are not ready. No one could ever force you to. Even with such painful feelings, find something you can be grateful for in that person, something you can admire or appreciate or something decent that you have observed in them even if you cannot say that you are really able to appreciate it. And speak to them of this. Thank them for surviving this long. Thank them for living, thank them for the courage they do not even realize they have. And if you can find any possible way to let them know, tell them you love them. Speak it clearly and look into their eyes. No matter if it has not been said between you in decades. Nothing of the past matters. No event is more important than this moment, because you will assist their own self-forgiveness by expressing such love. Give them this and you may well find that you have freed yourself from the most rigid prison any of us ever know: our own judgment. 

Thanks for reading, my friends. I had no idea that I was going to do this, but tonight I was moved to write you and so I just followed my heart. I hope you're alive and well this early autumn.

Your friend in sunny Seattle,
  ~Michael

PS, Mama got to hear my just-completed CD only once before she passed on. She named four songs that she loved immediately. Below, I'm sharing the lyrics of one of them. Scroll down for more news about my CD release.
 

Another Way to Love You
2008 Michael Tomlinson

See that leaf blow by
The way it rolls and tumbles past your eye?
It is no accident
From so ol' tree it is a message sent

It's just another way to love you
There could be no better way
Than the leaves all blowing around you
On a cold November day

Hear that whippoorwill
The way she thrills your heart and calms you still
Surely birds do love
What did you think her song was woven of?

It's just another way to love you
Like the meadow loves the rain
In the cool of a summer shower
When she falls in love again
With the rain

Say you don't know how to show someone you love 'em
You feel it in your heart but cannot get it out
There is no secret, it's there for everybody
You take a deep, deep breath and trust your own true heart
To lead you there

See that moon above
The way she rolls along the starlit sky
Shine your light on us
Show us how to share a love so kind

There's just so many ways to love you
Life could never find them all
So she settles love around us
Like gentle rain that falls

See that leaf blow by
The way it rolls and tumbles past your eye?

The Way Out West The Way Out West The Way Out West

-  looking for sponsors
Yessirree, The Way Out West, that's the name of my new CD. I'm so excited for you to hear it. I just picked up the final master of it on Friday and as soon as the art is finished, I'll be sending it to be manufactured. I could still use a few more sponsors if there is anyone out there interested in being a part of this beautiful album.
My plan is to include all sponsors on my website in a list of acknowledgment for sponsors and supporters. Whether you are part of an organization, company, corporation or just a family or individual who would like to be a part of releasing this music into the world, I welcome your support and will share the exposure with you. I'll include your name, URL link and information about your company or cause. Also, you'll receive your CDs in advance of the public.
I'm open to any number of mutually supportive arrangements that might help you get exposure for your work, organization, creations, etc.
You may email me about becoming a sponsor or mail a check to me at:
    PO Box 15248, Seattle, WA 98115-0248.
  mt@michaeltomlinson.com

My beautiful and talented and very funny girlfriend, Patricia O'Driscoll, has posted several music videos for me on www.YouTube.com  You can tell by looking at me that I'm mesmerized by the girl behind the camera. That's my excuse for missing chords and falling off my chair. Just type in my name on YouTube. We plan on putting up lots more videos from the new CD soon and I'll let you know about those when they're ready.

November 8, 2008

Howdy my friends,

     November's rain and wind and hail has begun to lay waste to the most beautiful autumn I can ever remember seeing here in Seattle. Now that we finally know who is to become our new president, it almost feels as if the brilliant explosion of colors this fall was a celebration of what was to come. I can think of it that way if I want to. Nobody can stop me, dang it.

     I rarely talk about anything political on my website. I long ago decided that among whatever gifts I may possess, the most important is to be able to write and sing music that touches hearts and brings comfort and peace to the listener. So I have resisted jumping in to regale you with my take on the political scene. No matter, I highly doubt there is anyone out there who really hears what I sing about, who would not know instantly who I'm voting for.

     As you can see from my homepage announcement, my new CD is finally here! After two years of recording and listening and mixing and mastering, it had almost begun to feel like it was never going to happen. We thought we'd be through with it this summer and have it out by August, but in July my sweet mom fell ill and within six weeks she had passed away. She'd been so excited about my new CD and she told my sweetheart, Patricia, that her greatest sadness was that my joy at releasing this new record would be tempered with my grief at her illness and passing. That's how much my mom loved me.

     Mama had a chance to listen to my new record only one time before she died. She was pretty overwhelmed in those last weeks and when I sent her an advance copy she mistakenly thought it was a DVD and put it in the DVD player. For three days she tried to play it to no avail and did not want to tell me that something was wrong with my new CD and it would not play. Then one night sparks went off and it occurred to her that it was a CD, not a DVD. She retrieved it from that no good dang DVD player and stuck it in her bedside boom box. It played! She had been so afraid that she would not get to hear it before she left this earth.

     A few days later I was there with her, then Patricia came and my brother, Dave. We had the most beautiful week with Mama. Patricia had downloaded a bunch of Carol Burnett's YouTube episodes and we would all sit on the couch watching those old shows and laughing until we were hurting. I knew it was physically hard on Mom to laugh so hard, but I saw also that her face looked like a child's face. She was not afraid to leave this earth, she only wanted her family with her one more time.

     Before she passed on, Mom said to me, "Son, I love your new album. I only got to listen once but I especially like four of the songs." It truly and deeply moved me that in these last days of her life she wanted to make sure that I knew that she loved my music. The four songs she named were Wild Horses Run, Another Way to Love You, Seattle Skies and Flag of Human Kindness - which she told me she believed would be heard by people all over the world.

     Which leads me back to the beginning of my letter to you. Last year by some wonderful synchronicity, Barack and Michelle Obama listened to my song, Flag of Human Kindness, in their limo as they drove away after a fund raiser in New York. It was my sweetheart's doing, a good friend of hers was a good friend of Barack's and made this all happen. It felt like a blessing of sorts to me. I expected nothing from it, it just moved me soulfully to know that I could share a song that held within it much of the same hope and vision that I felt when I first listened to Barack speak that famous night at the 2004 convention. I loved that the two of them might hear me sing "It's not us against the world/ No, it's every one or no one/ There is a braver flag to unfurl/ It's called the Flag of Human Kindness," and that it might inspire them and remind them that there are others who believe this way too.


On Orcas Island with my sweetheart, Patricia

     I've rambled much longer now than I thought I would. As always, I just get started and see where it goes and hope I can stop before it's gets stupid. I hope you'll give my CD a try and that hearing it will make you want to get more copies for your friends and family. I can promise you this: it is a kind and benevolent record, filled with beautiful melodies and robust scenes of life and a deep gratitude for being alive at this time on earth. As you know if you've read my website in the last few years, I found my true love in October of 2005, Patricia O'Driscoll, (who did all the art and photography for my CD, by the way) the woman I was born to love and spend my life with. Our love for each other vibrates in every note of this new album. I think if you listen you'll feel all that love and be unable to keep it from flowing right into your own heart.

    Thanks for visiting, my friends. Please remember to take some deep breaths now and then and be very, very kind to yourself. That's where it all starts.

 
    Yer ol' fren in blustery Seattle,
                                          ~Michael

     PS, I'll leave you with one of my mom's favorite songs, Seattle Skies
 

 

Seattle Skies
2008 Michael Tomlinson


Listen

I was an ordinary boy, 'til freedom called me
Freedom called my name
In an unusual voice, making the sound of yellow leaves
Blowing down a blue highway

I loved the thrill of the wind, oh, as early as I can recall
I thought of weather as my friend
Whether sun or snow or rain, I was born to love it all

Now I'm walking under gray Seattle skies
Thinking how I'm going to miss the days gone by
Even if I feel the bite of bitter winter wind
Oh, I vow to not be one for hurrying
I'll take my time and breathe it in

I love the early morning sounds of this earth
All her mating songs
She spreads her loving all around
On the feathers of the wind as they graze against the dawn
And even if you never did ever travel over foreign lands
You still could know the world we're in
By the nature of the wind as she flows against your skin

And I'm walking under gray Seattle skies
Thinking how I'm going to miss the days gone by
Even if I feel the bite of bitter winter wind
Oh, I vow to not be one for hurrying
I'll take my time and breathe it in

I was looking for the meaning of my life
When I let a little rain get in my eyes
November loosened me and blew me all around
It was somewhere in this city I was found

So I learned to love the gray Seattle skies
And I know I'm going to miss the days gone by
Even if I feel the bite of bitter winter wind
Oh, I vow to not be one for hurrying
I'll take my time and breathe it in
I'll breathe it in

   

   

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