The Red Tent

The Red Tent

   I was deeply touched by the story of Dinah in the book and film, The Red Tent. It is much more than a story of her life and times to me. The circle of sisterhood is deeply felt, and one of great spiritual significance in the family of women. I treasure the devotion of the Mothers, and that they honored the Mother of us all. It came as no surprise that Jacob destroyed their clay representation of her, all through the ages, and particularly in the Bible, little is mentioned of the divine women and the root of us all; the connection we as humans have with Mother Earth.

   This Classical Ambient collaboration with Simon Reich is the circle of life, and the sacred bond of womanhood in song.
The piano part was something that came to me one day at my sisters house. I remember that it was like speaking a beautiful psalm or poem. I only had a scratchy recorder with me at the time, and months later I asked Simon Reich if he could recreate it. I deeply value the care he took in phrasing it just the way it happened, and the lilting sacred sound at it’s heart. I added the music arrangement of “A Dream is a Wish Your Heart Makes because, It is my wish, and my dream that all people will honor Womankind and cherish the Divine Nature within us all.

Laura Botsford Music fb fan page

Unicorn Giraffe

Now an e book with five original video’s of delightful music for tablets.

Unicorn Giraffe

The Unicorn Giraffe is now an e book! Yes and the best part of this is that all five of the the music videos are included in the wonderful price of just 5.99. Here is the link to the Unicorn Giraffe where you can preview the first 10 pages

Now here is a lasting treasure to share with your children or your grandchildren, even counselors will love the message of this colorful and endearing tale of a unicorn giraffe.

Unicorn Giraffe by Laura Botsford and Teddi Rutschman Unicorn Giraffe by Laura Botsford and Teddi Rutschman

A Unicorn Giraffe finds a friend in himself first before he can find friendship with others. It is a spiritual journey with deeply rich colorful magical illustrations by Teddi Rutschman, written by Laura Botsford and inspired by her original song. Soft Cover -Standard Landscape-34 pages

Ages 2-10  and the Forever Young ISBN- 978-1-62620-112-5

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Portland Reflections – Laura Botsford

Bayou life revisited – excerpt from an up coming book Northern Bell by Laura Botsford

Delta My Home

Lake Wilson Painting                    by Laura Botsford

Portland, Arkansas has a beauty all of its own.   The following excerpt is from  ‘Beyond Bartholomew, The Portland Area History’  – Rebecca DeArmond-Huskey              

  “We Want 5,ooo People By 1909”

   More people, more commerce, more prosperity. In the early 1900’s , Dr. F. M. Sherrer was advertising to sell farm and timber land “from $7.00 to $25.00 an acre.” In a published pamphlet he wrote an irresistible invitation to come to the land of  plenty       

” …situated in a country where the roses bloom the whole year round, as snow and ice are seldom present, but where the sun shines warm every day. Where the mockingbirds wake you at the first peep of day by filing the soft dewy breezes with sweet music. In the Sunny South where the sugar cane and melons grow; where the cricket chirps his sweet good-night…

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Maternal Affection

   Hugues MERLE Maternal Affection   A woman who is nurturing gives freely of her gentle embrace. We hold our children dear, always keeping in mind that they will learn far more by our actions. We know that it is not just our child that we are raising, but the our lineage  will flourish on earth someday.  Our children are the mothers to a future that continues in hopeful faith and shall truly emanate Mother Nature’s God given Grace in times all their own, with fresh vision and promise for a better world.

   I believe that every child comes to this planet not only with their own soul plan but one that is a collective consciousness of their own generations era. I was born in a time when social change was needed, civil rights, ecology concerns a must, and economic responsibility for a shared world. It is not that removed from my parents for want of a better world. They wanted to raise us in a safe world as well, to have opportunities for education and personal peace. But their idea of what this should look like was born out of hard years in the depression, and threatened by a World War that fortified the course of their own generations convictions.

   My middle class, safe upbringing was truly cherished. I was blessed and knew that I was. Yet, as I grew older, I sorely realized that much of  this big world was still impoverished, unjust and disenfranchised. The fault of the feminist movement was not imbuing women with a sense of global importance on the everlasting value of raising sound minded children. Instilling tenderness is paramount and nurturing their creative natural velocities is supremely key to becoming  a well rounded, compassionate adult.

   My father valued intelligent women, but still held to the belief that ,”Women go to college to find a good husband, a woman’s place is in the home and husbands are the breadwinners.” He could not foresee the economic and social challenges that were about to take place in his daughters. Each one of us came with a heart for all people, our minds too were devoted to, “making the world a better place.” What we all proposed to do would be controversial, even dangerous and surely difficult. They had only our best interest in mind and feared for us with good reason. I can’t fault them for being less than enthusiastic of our dreams and aspirations. But none of us would be deterred from the, “Road less traveled,” and there are far greater dangers in the world especially apathy, social sarcasm, inequality and the loss of hope that will tear a young goddess apart with to much domesticity. All of these social changes were important to my generation and we viewed the world as a place that needed spiritual, social, and human endeavors as our destination to be firstly  fulfilled.

   Throughout history, womankind has always had her champions of the feminine brilliance and social and spiritual leaders of her time. Teachers of self, independents and feminine freedom evolutionists; their journeys truly having a place as inspirers to the soul journeyers and global shift paradigms for better. Some were martyrs, some were educators, some became seers and caretakers of the earth. But I felt differently, I already knew much more than I was giving myself credit for, and some things were in my mind, an already,  been there, done that.  It seemed like I was wearing old clothes when I had a closet of new ones.

   Motherhood, a benchmark or a mission? Is it something I wanted, or was I just expected to have children? Would I belong to a higher order of woman kind as it were, or was it just in my heart to carry and guide a soul to earth?

   I got my last doll when I was twelve and a half. We were vacationing in Detroit Lakes, Minnesota and picking up a few things at Woolworths when I saw a round seal faced little love with eyes big that spread almost to the temples. I had to have her. It was a peculiar mix of emotions. My father asked, “You really want a doll? You are almost thirteen. Aren’t you getting a little to old for dolls?” It’s funny but I still remember all the feelings and thoughts of that moment. I felt the passing of childhood slipping into a long gap when I would not have a doll baby to pretend with until I had a real girl all my own and that made me sad, a little scared too.  What if I never met someone I liked, what if I couldn’t have children? What then? My journey would always just be about me and that vacuous uncertainty of what that would be was all in front of me now when I turned into a teenager. It was clear to me then that I was born to be a mother too, whatever else I came to do in this world would be secondary.

   But the world was unjust, the world could be cruel and did I really want to bring a child to the planet where many people had fallen short of the one consciousness that holds us in her arms. When I opened the cellophane box and gathered her in a blanket, holding her close to my heart, I felt at peace. She was no ordinary doll, she was messenger from the future.

   I travelled for several years after High School, found my muse in the arts, loved a few guys, who drifted away until I met my husband. It’s true what they say about just knowing that this is the one you will share your life with. ” I really could see my children in his eyes. That’s a glorious moment. That ancient longing came flooding over me. And although I didn’t want to admit that I loved this guy, I could feel my future children strongly pulling on my skirt, sweetly nudging me to say, ” yes.”

   It was a few years later when I became pregnant. I couldn’t believe it, finally! I kept a journal, where I had time to take copious notes and record the experience in poetic metaphors and of the times we were living in.

March 1st -1981

“You are three months old, that BB, before birth. I am very happy and excited that you are growing inside like a waxing moon, nearing fullness with a little more brightness each day. Yes, happy and a little apprehensive. The Doctor tells me I might not have a very easy time, but I’ve got faith in us kid. I am a little frightened of the times, inflation is awful, eighty cents for bread and gas is $1.38 a gallon and rising every moth, much like my tummy., only without hope and twinkling of a blessing to come. Foreign affairs are stressful with Russia. Poland is gaining in it’s workers strike against the government, the Wall is still up and El Salvador citizens struggle for help. US intervention filtering into their country and it smells like another Viet Nam. But then again, when was there a child born when there weren’t any problems in the world? Maybe that’s why the children keep coming to help fix the messes adults make. It would all be solved if we all remembered when we were children and just wanted to be loved and safe.

March 31st 1981

   I dreamt of you this morning. In truth there were five babies. Dad and I were choosing between them. We held all of them, sometimes two at a time, All of them were most lovable, we couldn’t decide, we ended up choosing two. We held them close, remarking, “How can we not want all of them, two of them were Mexican, one of them oriental, one looked like Leo and one looked like me and another looked like a bit of each of us, he was the one we chose, the little rascal and you my precious daughter.  (which I didn’t know then that she was girl, but felt from the beginning she was.)

   The day finally came. I never will forget the first time I saw your face. It was a couple of days later because it was a difficult birth that I got to see you. The doctor came in and said, “What do you think of your little girl?” I haven’t seen her yet,” I told him. And like a court attendant announcing royalty to a grand ball, in his most pronounced voice said,  “Nurse, bring her the baby Botsford.” It was funny and kind of ionic, for she is the Queen of my heart. When they brought her in, I lit up with warmth and joy, “There’s my baby!” She heard my voice from across the room, and strained to turn her little round head towards me.  I could see her big eyes fill with recognition. The nurse put her in my arms and to my amazement, she looked just like that doll from so many years ago; her little seal face with the round and perfect head with eyes, so big, they almost went to her temples.

My Wonderful Children – Rhiannon and Dustin Botsford


Little Bird Books

Little Bird Books

Little Bird Books

Laura Botsford writes her books with a beseeching belief in possibility. She writes with children,  and her voice blends their wonder-working stories into enchanting tales that are moral adventure tales of goodness.  The stories she writes with children are luminescent, inspired with poetic nuance. She specially writes them in a tambour for reading out loud.  Laura’s spirituality is refreshing, deeply felt, charmingly clear and truly in step with the genre of authors such as C.S. Lewis and Frank L Baum.

“This is a fantastic concept — having children create their own books within a structured program that, nevertheless, permits them to utilize every aspect of their imagination and then experience the great satisfaction of seeing their creations materialize to be shared by others.” Lois Duncan – Author

“Laura displayed the competence and creativity that have marked her professional involvement in our community.  She has established a reputation as an extremely capable, effective coordinator, public relations person, and a friend. Laura has the capacity to work independently if needed.  She can be entrusted with difficult, long-term assignments, knowing that they will be completed in a thorough and efficient manner.”  Linda Armour – Lakeside High School Principal

Links for Laura Botsford

*  President of non-profit Arts organization in the rural delta called Neverlands Inc. * Artist in Education with the Arkansas Arts Council

* Website

* Laura Botsford for Neverlands Inc. on Word press
* Children’s Books on Blurb – Unicorn Giraffe

Up Coming Release of Poet Streets CD in Spring 0f 2014

The Author Extension Community

Connect the dots, explore the literary spheres and discover this community of writers.

Shannon A Thompson

It’s a new year and so much has changed already. My publisher – AEC Stellar Publishing, Inc. – has cranked its gears and remodeled itself for the future. Instead of being a simple publisher, we are now an open and growing community of writers, cover artists, and editors supporting one another. You don’t have to be published by AEC or spend money to participate. The website is designed for everyone to connect in one place. This website is for you, and hopefully, by the end of this piece, you’ll want to check out The Author Extension Community and/or join it. It’s a great place for authors to support one another as well as readers to come and meet them. We simply need people to help us spread the word, and I’ll give you three, great reasons to do it:

1. The website has many places where you and your work…

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Music Muses

Music Musings

Music Musings

Music Muses 

   There are so many wonderful indie artists out there these days. I could spend, and oftentimes do,  peruse the plethora of self published musicians and song writers on soundcloud, bandcamp, YouTube and the wondrous discoveries on Pandora, radio air play, jango are melodiously melded in pure originality. I have dedicated this page to help put out some buzz on the ones I have stumbled on and left a better person for having heard them.

Shadow - Cover Art - Shawn James and the Shape Shifters

Shadow – Cover Art – Shawn James and the Shape Shifters

Shawn James and the Shape Shifters – The Shadow

Shawn James and the Shape Shifters – Midnight Dove

Biography -Shawn James

on facebook about page

 “Born on the south side of Chicago in 1986, singer, songwriter and multi instrumentalist, Shawn James had a kind, hardworking Mother and a gambling, drunk and often abusive Father.  His conflicted home life can still be heard in his music which can be full of contrasts — dark and light, anger and joy, earthy and airborne – while remaining gritty and real.  Singing in church growing up, he was draw…n to the emotional, ethereal power of music and its ability to affect people.  It was there that he found his escape and learned how to harness his unique, soulful voice.
After playing in bands since the age of sixteen, Shawn moved to Fayetteville, Arkansas in January 2012.  Attracted to the beauty of the natural state and even more impressed by Fayetteville’s diverse and thriving music scene, he began performing every chance he got.  The singer, songwriter – who also plays guitar, piano and numerous other instruments — literally turned himself into a one man band.  Regardless of where he was playing — on the street, in a bar or at a house party – Shawn’s intensity, inimitable voice and hard-driving folk/soul/blues hybrid made for a performance you wouldn’t soon forget.
By August of 2012, Shawn James had recorded and released his first full-length album, SHADOWS.  A local videographer, Anna Hutchison, made music videos for the songs Midnight Dove and The Shadow while another song from SHADOWS, The Wanderer, was used in a Harley-Davidson commercial.
Around this time, friends introduced Shawn to musicians Chris Overcash (violin, viola) and Baker (mandolin, tenor banjo) who were soon asked to join the band, which took on the name Shawn James & The Shapeshifters. “One of the reasons I came up with the name ‘Shapeshifters” is because musicians have a tendency to come and go,” James explains.  “It also ties in perfectly with the theme of the trilogy EP’s coming out this year, plus I’ve always been interested in mythology and folklore, so the name stuck.”  After embarking on a two week tour of Colorado, the band released a live video showing them performing a cover of John Legend’s Who Did That To You which went viral, garnering an impressive 400,000 plus views on numerous sites.
With the addition of Nick Shoulders (banjo, harmonica), Phillip Farris (bass) and Nick Futch (drums), Shawn James & The Shapeshifters is now undeniably a full band.  “I can do so much more musically with the band,” says James, who continues to write all of the music.  “We all love to play and our combined energy adds a new dimension to the performance.”  The Shapeshifters first recording as a band was THE WOLF (February 2013), the first release from an ambitious trilogy of connected concept EPs — THE WOLF, THE BEAR and THE HAWK — written by Shawn James.
A haunting, folk story of a man who was raised by wolves, THE WOLF is an unforgettable musical experience due to the combination of Shawn’s ingenious songwriting and the hauntingly, beautiful orchestral layers of The Shapeshifters.
The second concept EP in the Trilogy, THE BEAR (June 2013) tells the tale of a big, ferocious Bear as he awakes from hibernation consumed by hunger and heads south to hunt…not knowing all that awaits him.  Written and recorded at a solar powered cabin in the Ozark Mountains, Shawn wrote THE BEAR playing slide on a metal body resonator guitar.  The rowdiest — and also the darkest — of the trilogy, THE BEAR hits hard, resonating with a raw, swamp saturated folk/rock/soul/blues sound that keeps you on your toes till the end.  The music video for the song, Hunger (also filmed by Anna Hutchison), provides THE BEAR with a visual that’s as primal, provocative and unforgettable as its sound.
THE HAWK, which was written on the piano, is scheduled for release in the late Fall.
When he began writing THE WOLF, which was inspired by the painting that appears on the EP’s cover, Shawn had no idea that he was working on a part of a trilogy.  “The idea slowly evolved to include three different animals idolized by Native American culture,” he says.  “A lifelong fan of myths and legends — particularly the art and ideals of Native American myths — I wanted to create a unique story that was able to include many genres and still maintain a deeper, conceptual meaning throughout.”  At the end of the year, all three concept EPs will also be packaged together as a set, THE SHAPESHIFTER TRILOGY, which will be released on CD and vinyl.
Shawn James brings extreme passion to his music.  You feel it in the imaginative, highly nuanced songwriting and see it in the powerful live shows where there’s never the slightest hesitation and nothing is held back.  And, most importantly, you can hear it resonate in Shawn’s most powerful instrument: the unique, soulful voice that sounds like it is literally being torn out of his heart…and it is something you won’t soon forget.
Interest – Music, Good Times, Touring
Shawn James and the Shape Shifters at Kings, Conway, AR.

Shawn James and the Shape Shifters at Kings, Conway, AR. Photo by Rhiannon Botsford

Shawn James is on facebook

Shawn James and the Shape Shifters web site

Music by Question – Featuring Flavela Ep on bandcamp

This Southern California beatsmith’s production style is a mixture of obscure jazz samples, heavy beats, and live orchestration. Question’s music can be defined as an interpretation of a timeless era, purely fueled by Jazz & Soul.

   This Southern California beatsmith has been spinning hiphop, funk, soul and jazz breaks since the early 90’s. QUESTION’s natural progression to beat making can be attributed to collecting records from an early age. His production style is a mixture of obscure jazz samples, heavy beats, and live orchestration. Past projects include an album entitled “Study Guide” along with good friend & fellow producer Freddie Joachim, and was released by Japan’s renowned DJ Tonk on his label Milkdipper Music.

His last solo release was entitled “Standard Translation”. This instrumental album was his personal contribution to the golden era of jazzy-hip hop and was exclusively distributed by Introducing Label in Japan.

In addition to music production, he is also a Creative Director and has designed all of his releases including album art for fellow Mellow Orange artist Freddie Joachim, The Sound Providers, and UK producer Eric Lau to name a few.

QUESTION is currently working on new projects under Analogue Studies so stay tuned for future releases.

tags:            Brazilian jazz                    jazz                    mellow orange                    question                    samba                    beats                    bossanova                    instrumental                    instrumentals                    jazzy hip hop                    jazzy hiphop                    soul-jazz                    California

Question  –  face book page

Website – More Music Here

Milt Break - Question EP Cover Art

Milt Break – Question EP Cover Art

Christmas Time

Lo and behold the Lord has come and to us a child is born. May the season bring us peace and understanding, more than tolerance but a true compassion for one another. We are the living God and though friends and family may be scattered and some departed, we  are the true transformation with the light of our saviors generous soul to warm and embrace all in his extended our hand to those that are with us now. Are you in the hands of the great spirit, the great I am. Even the smallest voice is heard in the realm of Spirit. The universe is here to answer even the  smallest of prayers. This season I pray for peace in the hearts of all. And in the love our neighbor are passage to Bethlehem is a bridge of bw

Thanksgiving Remembered

  Tis the season for making funny TV shows about the horrors and humor of Thanksgiving family dinners. Although quite funny, and eerily embarrassing to the core of all sensibility, there is one resonating theme; families, no matter how dysfunctional, are still family. With all our heritage flukes and phopauxs and oftentimes malentendus brut,  and I only say them in French so as not to spark any further feuds; there is a bond. A great lineage wheel spinning that washes, and rinses, and sometimes repeats.

  I have long thought that the celebrations of gathered kin folk has missed the mark as to the lovely connotation it deserves. One of treasured belonging to something unique and deeply faithful to God, and family. Isn’t it amazing that we are all here at this time together? We are sharing moments that will never return. All of my grandparents, great aunts and uncles were gone by the time I was 24 years old. No more of the elegant dinners Auntie Mimi made for us where we each got our own Cornish game hen. Never would there be grandmas banana bread and custard cups, or feeding squirrels with grandpa Ralph, or watching Auntie Edna mixing up her words after a few martinis, “I am so hungry, all I had today was beaners and weens, ” was a classic.

   We all grew, moved away, started families and began our own traditions.  Back then we performed out little songs, dressed up for the occasion, ate off of fine silver and drank out of crystal glasses in that little apartment in Minneapolis. All of the memories were grand, as time illuminates them from the past, as they should in reverence, and respect for a bygone era.

   I look forward to the holidays, after for many years I now have great aunts again, in laws, and nephews, nieces and many cousins, who breathe life back into the seasons with a fresh reminder; the faces might have changed but family love continues.