Greetings, One & All~

This is a November we will all remember: a month of momentous change in a year unlike any other in human history. In this highly charged atmosphere, take a deep breath, exhale slowly and enjoy some good news and uplifting creativity in your November A 440 Newsletter.

Redwood Retreat

A year-long creative arc will come to completion with the subtle beauty of a double rainbow when Canyon Ranch Woodside Wellness Retreat presents The Space Between Breaths: A Weekend of Wonder & Wellness with Sherry Finzer & Will Clipman. The event begins with a kick-off concert on Thursday November 12th, followed by a three-day workshop sequence exploring the transformational healing power of music on Friday-Sunday November 13-15.

information & registration:

Vaquita Video

Michael G. Ronstadt created this mesmerizing video for our song Para Las Vaquitas from our new CD Wildly Ethereal. One of ten improvisational compositions on this aptly titled album, Para Las Vaquitas is a both a lament for the impending extinction of the world’s smallest cetacean from the Gulf of California and a reminder that it is not too late to save this unique and beautiful creature. If you listen carefully, you will hear the re-creation of the vaquita’s high-pitched singing in the extreme upper register of Michael’s cello.

Penumbra Video

Heart Dance Records intern Alissa Morones created this spellbinding video for the song Penumbra, the satellite radio hit single from the new CD The Space Between Breaths by Sherry Finzer & Will Clipman. One of ten improvisational compositions from this aptly titled album (yes, there is a pattern here!) Penumbra is a musical expression of the mysterious interplay between light and shadow when celestial bodies align.

Myths & Masks

As a preview of good things to come next month, I’m delighted to announce that Tucson’s iconic Invisible Theatre will present my solo mythopoetic storytelling, multicultural mask art and live world music performance Myths & Masks over the weekend of December 11-13, with evening shows at 7:30 PM on Friday December 11th & Saturday December 12th, and a matinee at 3 PM on Sunday December 13th. Attendance will be capped at 1/3 of theater capacity and seating will be socially spaced, so call the IT box office early for tickets at 520.882.9721.

Photos of the Month

My November starts among the saguaros of northern Sonora and continues among the sequoias of northern California, so it feels apropos to bookend the journey with these two shots, one by yours truly and one by peripatetic fraternal photographer R.C. Clipman.

In between is a magical new image from the Autumn Dawn Series by Shery Christopher, capturing the momentary reflection of a particularly fiery sunrise sky in the standing waterbowl outside our kitchen window, and an appropriately-titled image yours truly snapped upon awakening on the morning of All Hallows’ Eve and the Blue Hunter’s Moon.

Autumn Saguaro Sunset, courtesy ICU Imagery

Dawn Reflection, courtesy Shery Christopher Photography

Turning Over a New Leaf, courtesy ICU Imagery

Among the Ancient Ones, courtesy R.C. Clipman Photography

Poem of the Month

Something to Believe In

You rise before dawn each day to put out fresh nectar, hummingbirds

encircling your head in a halo of iridescent energy. You walk the trail

around our sacred ground, do yoga, take a sauna, shower, dress; then

cross the yard to work. Love is equal measures adoration, admiration

and inspiration. In dark times with little to believe in, I believe in you.

Following your example in your absence, I have been up with the sun

every day since you left. A conspiracy of five ravens on the cellphone

tower chatting up a storm could be a good sign of good news to come:

could it be that three score and ten into it I may be starting to become

a good man? In dark times with little to trust, I will place trust in that.

The wild animals who share this land with us go on about their business

without whining or complaining; they do not crave adulation, though we

admire them in secret from the other side of the pane. Sometimes eating,

sometimes eaten; it is all part of the same ebb and flow for them, as long

as they have water. In dark times with little that inspires, they inspire me.

Science is magic and magic is science: how else can a cactus wren hop

from branch to branch on a cholla without being impaled? These words

simply mean to know and to have power: the more one knows, the more

empowered one is; to remain willfully ignorant is to relinquish efficacy.

In dark times with little that rings true, I will find power in what I know.

There once was a big old house above the north end of Lake Onondaga

built at the time of the Civil War, where over a century later there lived

poets, philosophers, physicists, painters, jazz musicians, and all manner

of dreamers, blind prophets and hirsute sages; some dead now but some

still living. In dark times with little to keep faith in, I keep faith in them.

Every afternoon the same little female black chin lands on the miniature

trapeze under the kitchen ramada to guard her precious nectar: she grips

the bar and keeps her balance in sudden gusts of autumn breeze, preens

her feathers meticulously. Gratitude and generosity balance a life lived

well and fiercely. In dark times with little to emulate, I will emulate her.

At the ribbon-cutting for Calgary’s Ring Road, a young Tsuut’ina artist

walks up to the podium uninvited to speak his truth; then he cuts off his

braids and tosses them on the pavement that overruns his family’s land.

This is what heroism looks and sounds like: suffering becomes strength.

In dark times when we cry out for heroes, I will remember Seth and act.

Pain, my friend and mentor, you teach me the absence of pain is the most

exquisite pleasure. Forgive me, René, but you were slightly off: it should

have been I hurt, therefore I am. What we think can numb us to the truth

that others hurt as we do, which gives birth to compassion; I can feel that.

In dark times when there is little to learn from, I will learn from my pain.

In those desperate hours without name or number that lie beyond the end

of things, when one wonders why one is even still here, there is a holding

close that suffices and sustains and keeps one in one’s body a while more.

I am here for a reason. I will get what rest I can and arise to meet the day.

In dark times with little to hold on to, I will hold fast to this being of light.

© Will Clipman 2020

May November bring positive change and a new beginning!

Love is measured not in how much one gets but in how much one gives.

~Guillaume Henri

Will Clipman

poet ~ percussionist ~ maskmaker ~ storyteller ~ performing artist ~ educator