A Note on the "Big Magic"
“Do you have the courage to bring forth the treasures that are hidden within you?”
Kerry loved the book “Big Magic” by Elizabeth Gilbert. She believed in the idea that art and creative ideas “are a disembodied, energetic life-form. They are completely separate from us, but capable of interacting with us— they do have consciousness, and they most certainly have will…”
The songs we wrote collectively, in very short bursts of output, made her believe the ideas were materializing out of the ether through everyone in the band.
It is also clear to me that the ideas were radiating outwards in concentric circles of creativity – friends suddenly started composing poetry, writing memoirs, making films, designing logos and symbols, shooting beautiful photography. This was Kerry’s Big Magic.
I love the poem below from Amanda.
“Band Practice” by Amanda Mortimer, May 2015
On the night before Kerry’s back surgery, I filmed her band practice. I wrote this little memory of the night to try to capture her spirit.
“Fuck Cancer,” She says walking down the narrow pathway to the basement door, her son by her side. “Can I say that?” she questions no one in particular, without a trace of concern. “Oh, potty mouth.” She whispers as she passes by me and disappears into the moody music room, dark and already loud with the strumming and drumming of the boys. Lingering, big-armed hugs come and beers and bottles of water and pills to pause the pain pulsing along her spine. Barely able to smile or bend, she wills the singing, moved to the microphone by her determination and purpose and her grit,mostly grit. And the words come and the beat swells and the band plays. It’s practice time. Time for deep breaths, wrong keys, forgotten words, a laugh, a prayer, a practice. It’s healing time. Friends look on. Old, loyal, loving friends. The kind of friends who know your good parts and your bad parts, all of your parts, and who love you more. Into the Mystic with Van and Billy and Mick pick up the tempo. The air, once serious and heavy, is beginning to lighten as the room warms and the blinking lights cast a glow on her face. The pain gives way and she moves more loosely with a coolness and some swagger. The kind of swagger owned by a smart woman. An independent, fiercely loyal, courageous, truth-talking woman. She spins around as her brother solos on the sax and her family piles onto a bag of beans on the floor. Underneath the pain, her soul is calm, her eyes are smiling. Her happiness is real and it comes from a place deep inside where experiences and memories and long conversations live. And from the people in the room. She is grooving now and the dimly lit basement is pounding with music, but soundproof to the world. “You can’t always get what you want,” The words hang in the air. But her voice – smooth and soulful is unfazed. Stronger as the song goes on. The circle of musicians energized by her spirit. It’s getting boisterous and funny and late. Express Yourself with BeBe pulling on her arms trying out the words cautiously, loving her mother wholly. Express Yourself with sweat soaked pits from belting out songs and lifting up the room and lifting up the spirits of everyone in it – one woman. Clapping and yelps and hugs and good times. Hard times, angry times, playful times, testing times. Express Yourself And Kerry plays on.