2 December 1996

Dear E-Mail Roster,

I'm including the Press Release that the OTR office is sending out to the little world. It will give you the more-or-less official version. But first, it's December. It's cold here in the low North. Cold. Almost every night I soak in a steaming bath and light a few candles. I guess I learned it from the English.

Has anyone noticed I'm developing a fondness for run-on-sentences not all the time but just sometimes?

And I playfully kick people in the shins grammatically just to make sure we're still awake (but my friend Jack (ex-Gordon) should be walking through the door any minute smoking a pipe just having flown the coop, fresh over from the Old World.)

He'll have me raising an amber glass of something that burns sweetly my indoors (I just know it) by the time the sun goes down.

Ric called me last week after we got back from the Double Cure Fall Tour to see if I wanted to get together at Kaldi's. Hell, I knew right then something big was up.

He smiled and said, "Well, I think it's about my time." So we convened the band and Brian said he was up for finishing out the year and then he wanted to go home for awhile and get a job.

And in the scheme of things this makes so much sense. It's hard to explain, but seven years is seven years and everybody is pretty exhilarated at the prospect of starting a new chapter. I don't have a soaring perspective where it's all clear and broad, but I do have a beautiful, scary peace. And the possibilities do have a knack for dancing in new and strange ways. (I could reminisce on and on and probably will sometime. Maybe we'll just leave all that up to you for awhile.)

But I'm getting ahead of myself.

It will be Christmas before too long and if you're like me the dying days of a year are a transcendent time because a New Year in spite of everything is an unspeakable gift. And some of us occasionally think of that which snuck down and climbed into a Jewish girl's stomach and later claimed to have created the universe and what not and now everybody drives around with the number of the years since that subversive birth stamped on their license plates.

(I know, I know, what does any of this have to do with reindeer?)

Christmas to me is still linked pretty directly to being a child, and since I dreamed a lot of my best dreams as a child, and did a lot of my best flying as a child, and learned my most enduring lessons about how torn this world really is before I "put away childish things," I even now fight pretty hard to preserve the thread that runs back to those winter days when we first thought deeply as children about giving and receiving gifts.

I wrote at length about some and none of this in our liner notes of "The Darkest Night of the Year." But this Recording is a scaffolding. Music is a scaffolding. Words are a scaffolding. We climb up and take a closer look but they are not the thing itself.

"But I can see a little better here."

Part of the fighting to preserve and climbing to observe this December is taking Karin Bergquist, Brian Kelley, Chris Dahlgren and myself to eight wonderfully odd rooms across this part of the country from Philadelphia to Chicago, from Grand Rapids to Nashville.

With a few simple instruments, some old and new songs, a poem or two by candlelight and the magic that happens when people from all over drive to one place to see something good, we'll discover things that we didn't know before, and believe things that we didn't know we believed.

And then Ric will join as at The Emery Theatre and we'll realize that it has been a good trip in so many ways, which, if you've read this far, obviously involves you.

And, to some degree it has gotten simpler of late. There is a recording here that I helped make. I like it, and I hope you get to hear it maybe even this Christmas. We breathed our breath into it. Simple is good.

Here's hoping we'll meet face to face on The Darkest Night of the Year.


Linford Detweiler