Nettie is kind of a bad ass.
Today she showed me her music. We sat on small office chairs in her music room, and for the first time in my life she showed me compositions she's been working on for at least fifteen years. They are all part of one project - a collection of songs based on stories in the bible she'd like to have performed as a single service (probably lasting around two hours). She says, at this point, she probably has around 70 different songs more or less finished.
She is completely different when singing along to her music than in the real world. She is powerful, confident, expressive. She is in control and happy. I thought her voice was so gorgeous, and her songs were well-constructed (in one case, she had a chord progression and melody I really was excited about). If anything, she showcased a formidable dedication (see: obsession) with her work, in the context of a very solitary and interior life. It was nice to learn these things have precedence in my family.
Ray has been singing his whole life - in and out of professional choirs, churches, and touring groups. Nettie has been performing professionally for much of her life. She is a composer as well and has had her work published. Ray's parents were both musicians and would perform regularly. Mom's uncle (Keith, I believe, is his name) was a professional singer. It is a nice surprise to realize today that I do truly come from a family of musicians. Serious musicians, who took it on in a spiritual and powerful way.
Speaking of which, we sang for Irene tonight. She nodded her head and twirled her toes in approval. I felt lucky to get to sing with my family, but a bit self-conscious about my own music and my skill. I still want people to weep the first time they hear my music. And I want to say things worth weeping about. Still, I'm trusting in time and the process to keep developing.
Mom and I had another talk. Nice to process directly at the end of every day. This time here has been immensely productive in terms of internal development, and understanding my family. I am thankful she's so open to talk.
We head back to Richmond tomorrow. I look forward to the hangs, and a quick and direct effort to establish more routine in my life (dance classes, other jobs, etc).