I had a natural affinity for listening to my grandma's stories when I was a little girl. I remember sitting on the front porch of her farm house in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan asking her questions, listening to her sermon, and having my world view revolutionized by her words. Earlier this week I walked down the tree lined driveway to the farm and paid her a visit like when I was a little girl. I wanted to talk about her visit to this year's Harvest Gathering. She said, "I'm a radical. Do you think I'm too radical for them?"
Just radical enough, I thought.
I wanted to be a singer since my earliest memories. Around 8th grade I resolved to give up the dream of singing as a profession because I couldn't see how to make a life of it besides trying to be like one of the MTV - TRL artists I watched on the television. I didn't want to do THAT. It wasn't until I was exposed to the Earthwork Music Collective that I was shown the way. It changed my life.
Around three years ago, while on tour, the idea shot into my mind of bringing these two life altering elements together. Grandma Nancy & Harvest Gathering. To me Harvest Gathering is a gathering of radicals. It's a gathering of the young and old alike who want to create a heaven right here on earth. It's a place to share songs and ideas about how to make it happen. It's a place where we respect the idea of a mentor.
My intention is that my biggest mentor be able to share her ideas about life, and god, and the world with the community to which I now belong. The talk will span two days. Saturday and Sunday at noon in Maddie's Circle. We'll trace the steps that she's taken over the 83 years of life in an open conversation style. I'll ask questions and I hope the circle will, too.
Here's a sneak peak at the story:
Her name is Nancy Ann Timbrook (NAT-UR she was told by a voice in her head while tripping on acid). She's my mom's mom. She had 12 children, got her degree as an english teacher, worked for a while in a magnet school for compassion in the Detroit area and was forced to resign after writing FUCK on the board (the story of which was in TIME magazine). She moved to the UP after her resignation to start a Christian Commune, which functioned for a while. After that she left and began a many year long journey to prove to the world and to her children that you don't need wealth to live a good life. She took her 4 youngest on a year long road trip around Mexico with nothing but themselves and a van. Then she took them to Hawaii to live on the beach for 6 months. She led Rainbow Gatherings for years, but was disillusioned by the drug use. She ran a homeless shelter in Austin, TX. She still stands by what she believes in, but has limited mobility and spends most of her days in the farm where both sides of my family history traces back. The police in town still call her if they find someone and don't know what to do with them. She takes any and everyone in. She's got bible verses that she thinks prove that no one is going to hell, and can quote the good book and rock lyrics like nobodies business.
...we'll be hanging out all weekend. I imagine the conversation will go beyond Maddie's Circle. Don't be afraid to approach her. She's a natural preacher lady and an incredible listener.
The Earthwork Music collective believes in the intrinsic and historical power of music to raise both community and self-awareness and serves to facilitate and encourage original music in the state of Michigan and beyond.