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  • Writer's picturePeter Dayton

11.14.20 As Daylight Dims

Dear Friends,

Well, the days are getting shorter, the leaves are changing color, the outgoing, defeated disgrace of a president is getting even more shameful, and ALL of the ballots have finally been counted. It's mid-November, 2020. With a deadly pandemic (that is deeply damaging even for survivors) raging completely unchecked by any kind of coordinated federal response, I know that each of us is doing our best to stay safe, sane, healthy, and hopeful about a future that we have successfully made the first step in moving towards, away from the disastrous course of the last 4 years. There is still so much to do, but be sure, if you're in a part of the world with changing seasons, that you don't miss the changing of the leaves and the beauty of nature.

Flashes of Beauty: Douglas Johnson's Art Available to Order Online at Wishbone Reserve

My brilliant artist and full-time Special Guy, Douglas Johnson, is partnering with Baltimore's premiere purveyor of antiques and oddities, Wishbone Reserve, to display and sell a selection of his appropriately autumnal artworks. Gorgeous paintings like Farmland Storm at Sunset, or Sunrise. Streetlights Turning Off; works that radiate warmth, energy, and vitality, which we will all need as winter continues its approach! Check out all his paintings available at Wishbone here! Doug's paintings look wonderful in your home (I should know, I have a couple!) and make truly unforgettable gifts to loved ones.


Continuing Music

I will be the first to admit, the ongoing circus of deadly neglect that has been the Trump administration's money-scamming, evidence-free, deeply embarrassing and damaging contestation of the election results has distracted me from music work, but even if I haven't spent as much time at the manuscript as usual, work on the Persephone project continues with another movement completed! There is still plenty of music left to write for this song cycle, 2 out of 5 movements now complete, but I am excited to continue tackling the challenges of this ensemble, with another huge thank-you to Amy Nam for her continued consultation on the harp! What is particularly exciting about working with these ensembles and these texts is that the range of the poems includes some darker and more complicated emotions and circumstances; finding the ways in which this relatively light and delicate ensemble can embody these strong surges of emotion and dark moments is really pushing me to explore the instruments in ways other texts would not present as options. For me, composing is as much about creative problem-solving as it is actually creating!

always fun to have spoken text in a piece!

At Home for the Holidays

November has been a month of COVID-19 cases reported topping 100,000 cases each day. In the same way that it makes one shudder to think what horrors we have avoided by, as a nation, telling Donald Trump "You're Fired," it also makes me so sad to think about what the country and the COVID-19 situation would look like right now if we (meaning white people, we're the voter demographic who seems to want this nightmare) had empowered a leader who actually believed in science, who viewed leadership as a responsibility instead of as a chance to exploit others. To think of all of the people who wouldn't be dead or long-term damaged by COVID, who would not be in poverty, if we actually had a government that had coordinated a federal response to the pandemic and congressional leadership that cared about human life half as much as taking away women's rights or cutting corporate taxes. Even as I keep sighing with relief at the thought that, at least Joe Biden is President-elect, I keep thinking of the future that was stolen 4 years ago from me and from so many less fortunate than me, a future stretching into and possibly beyond this next administration.

We have to trust science more than the ramblings of a grifting Confederate carnival-barker (and the entire party of his toadies). Doug and I are continuing our shelter in place through this winter and all of the holidays when family usually gathers. I'd like us all to live to be able to spend far more holidays together than this one spent apart. Our COVID-19 case numbers are the worst in the world (America First, am I right, guys?) but at least with Biden taking over the Oval Office in early 2021, there will be a chance that we won't be in a similar situation next holiday season. Please stay safe out there, listen to real scientists and real doctors, not the outright frauds and demon-sperm doctors that this administration seems to favor.


Still Lots to Do(nate)

While Biden defeated Trump in terms of both an electoral vote count and an even wider popular vote margin than Hillary did in 2016, the 2020 election is still not over. Both of Georgia's Senate seats are going into a runoff this year that will determine control of the Senate. If you want to disarm Mitch McConnell and actually lead to some positive change in the Senate in 2021, then Democrats need to take both Georgia Senate seats. The best way YOU can ensure that we have a functioning government is to donate to these organizations

These are the local organizations that drove the voter turnout push that secured Biden the historic state-flip in Georgia and got the senate races close enough to both be runoffs. Mitch McConnell has shown that he does not believe in compromise. He only believes in hostage-taking. We must all work together to disarm him so we can actually move forward as a country.


There is so much that is overwhelming, so many fires to put out, so much that is wrong, so many that are suffering. But the stakes and the sides have never been clearer. If we put community over self-interest, if we put reason and science over ego and fear, if we understand that healing means accountability and justice for those wronged, not 'niceness' to those who have done wrong, maybe we will get through this too-tough time. We must each set an example for staying safe and being community-minded right now - we're certainly not going to get that from the top down. Grit your teeth, fill the thermos with hot cider, and be sure to bring a mask and hand-sanitizer, it's going to be a long ride.


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