Hello friends,

Happy Holidays - whichever one you celebrate, even if it's one you're making up yourself. We had a large Thanksgiving dinner (in both senses - a lot of people, a lot of food), people stayed for days, and we are still all speaking to each other. The leftovers are now finished, except for something way back in the fridge I cannot quite identify.  Now on to that next day - what do you call it?  I'm home most of December, getting ready for our annual RI Community Food Bank benefit, and catching up on some writing and music projects. Nice to be home for a while.

Grammy Nomination for The Best Candy in the Whole World


Yes, they've done it again - the recording industry put me on the final ballot, despite their usual good judgment. I'm gratified and humbled, and look forward to seeing a bunch of other folks who were nominated in the Children's music category, like Pete Seeger, Justin Roberts, Judy Pancoast, and the Battersby Duo. And, Steve Pullara who has put together a fine compilation recording in the children's spoken word category. Maybe I need to get a Twitter account, so I can send the latest from the red carpet. Then again, maybe not.

Holiday story - Grimsley's Christmas Surprise


At the encouragement of Mindy from Sirius/XMKid's Place Live, I've come up with another holiday story - this one a little bit twisted. It's called "Grimsley's Christmas Surprise", and involves underwear, socks, and dreaded thank you notes. And a very unusual Santa. You can download it at my website - only $2! Support your storyteller!  Let me know if you can figure out how to stuff it in someone's stocking. A digital stocking?  The story will air for the first time on Sirius/XM Kid's Place Live on Friday 12/17 9:50pEST/6:50pPST, Saturday 12/18 9:50aEST/5:50aPST, Sunday 12/19 12:50pEST/9:50aPST (right after "13 Under 13")---- but you can download your very own copy here!

And a free download -


My ridiculous song about Santa stuck in the chimney, "Get Me Out of Here" is available for free download. It comes from a long time ago, and the sound is definitely retro - early 90's. Hey. Whaddya want for free! Go here

My Blog - Song, Story, and Culture

After dragging my feet for a couple of months, I've started to post pieces regularly on my blog, Song, Story, and Culture. I try to give some perspective on my work on a regular basis, and if you're wondering what I'm up to, it's a good place to look. I've been delighted and encouraged by the feedback I've gotten from a lot of thoughtful people.

 

The Good Juju Team Strikes again

Debbie and I organized the second action of our Providence area flash mob last month and are thinking about our next one. (Comments on my blog, and also videos on YouTube) Organizing these events and watching the process has been a pretty interesting experiment in community and is subtly changing the way I look at community, performance, and art. More to come!  If you are in the Providence area and want to be part of the fun email us and we'll put you on the list.

 

Books

I've been working my way through Jorge Luis Borges' Collected Fictions and am really enjoying them - so weird and thought provoking. Two other books have really grabbed me lately. One is Slavery by Another Name by Douglas Blackmon - an account of how African Americans were re-enslaved in the years following the civil war, and continued to be held against their will in work camps, mines and farms until World War II. It is a stunning and depressing story, and is an essential element in understanding why we are where we are with race today. The other book that has really gotten me thinking is You Are Not a Gadget by Jaron Lanier. Lanier is a top-flight IT developer and he offers a contrarian view of what's happening in the digital world. He'll make you rethink your relationship with the internet. Really great.

And then, some Agatha Christie, and as I mentioned in my blog, I really enjoyed Ireland by Frank Delaney, which features an itinerant storyteller, trying to preserve Irish culture. A great read (or um, listen - I listened to an audio book with Delaney reading it very, very well.)

Let us know what you're reading. The pile at the bedside keeps growing.

From Debbie - Thanks to a recommendation from Pat Spalding I'd like to highly recommend Here if You Need Me by Kate Braestrup - a wonderful memoir - spiritual, funny, poignant story about Kate's journey as a single mom of four who is also the chaplain for the Warden Service in Maine.  A good read.  And, TC Boyle's book, The Women - a great read about the four women in Frank Lloyd Wright's life.

 

Movies

I don't usually mention films, but Debbie and I watched a Scandinavian film called As it Is In Heaven about an orchestral conductor returning to the little town where he was raised. It is one of the finest movies I've ever seen.

 

                                                   

 
   
     
  Please consider purchasing Bill's new book, Between Home and School for the teachers in your lives...the reviews are great - and, if you give us their names, Bill will inscribe the books.  We are planning to send a complimentary copy of the book to 50 lucky principals across the country to encourage them to gift the book to their faculty.  If you know of a principal we should send the book to let us know who they are and what makes them stand out in their work.  Here's a link to the resource page we developed for the book.  
   
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