Susie Bertie is one of those voices that sits quietly in shadows. She does not proclaim herself. She does not seek attention. She quietly weaves a magic spell with her words and invites you into a cinnamon, jasmine world of sensuous tone and textures. But Susie is a subversive voice. Her spices, though sweet, are quirky and tinged always with the underlying pathos that stalks every true artist.I asked Susie to write something for us. And Susie, being Susie, chose to celebrate the song-writer. The song can be a little celebrated form of wonderful poetry that sees us all through our rebellious, reflective, questing years and sustains us in our Autumn ones. I celebrate you today Susie. Thank you for being you!
By Susie Bertie
I have had a lucky streak …. a fair number of years in the company of some stellar songwriters – one of my favorites – songwriter, singer of songs and musician Darrell Scott. Darrell writes songs that lean into the deep cuts of this land ; a little Country, a little Americana, a whole fishing bucket of poetry. There is timeless essence here, and to tap that elxir, to weave that spell … well, any tribe of traveling minstrels or poets strive for that alchemy.
Darrell stands silver on a Tennessee mountain top as a solo artist. Through his collaborations with Tim O’Brien, Mary Gauthier, Robert Plant and many others, he seems to deepen his craft, his heart and his country roots. A favorite? Oh my … it depends on my mood, and Darrell’s songs can certainly affect that … but I have to lead with Some Other Time off his A Crooked Road CD and Long Time Gone
Darrell is a consummate wordsmith, leading me to explore the relationship of words, their math, their proximity to what matters most ….. a song – a story, a trust between listener & poet, a scribed journey into a mythic soulfulness ….. he illuminates things that have always been …. a knowing spirit.
Poetry …. is this interior construct for me …. a souls architecture of risings and leanings, a narrative set to some private, ancient fiddlers melody .
Poetry …. is this tugging need to … for just one moment, one breath, one length of a feeling …. illuminate something that carries a weight of truth and a certain divinity … be it love, loss, some crystal realization, a taste, a smell …. that something more that is life’s ballast, life’s dust mote … something that defines our shared human stardusty selves.
When I was a little girl (a very, very long time ago), I used to love learning new, really big words like ‘discombobulate’. As I grew, my love of words grew too, until I loved them so much, I could not stop writing them down.
One day, as I was scribbling a particular word, a very peculiar thing happened. The word shouted at me, “Stop! Don’t put me there!” As you can imagine, I was shocked and nearly fell off my chair. When I recovered somewhat, I said to the word, “Could you stop shouting, please? I am not used to it.”
Can you guess what happened next? No! I thought not. The word said, “I might be small, but I will misbehave if you do not use me properly. I will not tell the story you would like me to tell. I will say something entirely different!”
I dropped my pen. I hoped that by dropping my pen, the word would stop talking. Alas! It did not. It carried on chitterchobbling, even after the ink had dried. I was in a pickle. I could not allow my words to run away with my story, now could I?
I don’t know about you, but when this sort of thing happens, there is only one thing left to do if you prefer not to spend your time arguing. “Very well,” said I. “I will do as you ask if you will just be quiet and allow me to concentrate.”
Since that day, I have been paying special attention to every word I invite into my stories. After all, a story should say exactly what it means to say and not be led astray.
With love from Dr. Niamh,
Ph.D in Learning Through The Imagination and Founder of Dr Niamh Children's Books. www.drniamhchildrensbooks.com