Feb 27, 2017


Have you had a chance to read recent posts on Jan, my travels, the writing of this book?

Here’s an update:

I’ve been staying with my dear friend of over 30 years, Risa Lavelle in her roomy home in downtown Lexington, Massachusetts. We’ve been friends for a long time, beginning with our stint as singing waitresses at the Mount Washington Hotel in 1985. We sang at each other’s weddings. We birthed our children (her first) in the same year. We muddled through a mid-relationship crisis because we knew we would not let go of each other. Now, we are both moving through the ends of our marriages. It’s an extraordinarily ordinary journey—maybe a book in this.risa

This week in Lexington, I experienced my first acupuncture session for an injury in my right wrist I’ve been living with now for over a year. My writing hand. Believe me, I have thought and written about the metaphor in this: the dominant doer of my body, injured. What aspect of control must I give up in order for some other part—body, mind, heart—to rise? You can read about this here For Sister

I also took my first outdoor bike ride since October on a 70 degree Saturday on the Minuteman trail. Heaven.


Headed into Cambridge via the Minuteman trail.

I will camp here for some more weeks until I head up north to another old friend’s home and artist residency in Digby County, Nova Scotia. The Beebe-Jenny compound sits along the road at the lip of the St. Marie Bay. I may be there a month. Then I spend the entire month of May in Wolfeboro, New Hampshire at another dear friend’s cottage. I am blessed. The people in my life are literally sheltering me and now standing up for this book. I am blessed.

I feel like Mozart, Chopin, George Sand, itinerant artists supported by the art-loving bourgeoisie (although, mistake me not, this is not to say at all that my friends—and family—who’ve been hosting me now for nearly a year are materialistic or snobs!). In another time, another place, I think this would have been me, because I thrive in these situations: outside a home and domesticity and family obligations, I work deeper, better, and always move the work forward. It’s why I’ve always gone away for short spurts of “me time”.

My son is thriving, too. Nearly done with his junior year of college, growing up into a kind, deeply present and wise human being.  samWe are about to make some memories: he and I are flying to Belize for a week. We’ll spend some time on our own and stay with our new friends from Raleigh Shannon and Brad Reeder. Trip of a lifetime.

And, I am on my own in the one sense that I have left my 30-year marriage. Some of you may be wondering about this, as some posts allude to it, and of course, I’ve been on the road all these months.

Brian and I are actually undergoing a smooth and conscious separation. I don’t know when I will be back in the Seacoast of New Hampshire to stay, but I know that I want to be. How that will all come about, I don’t know yet. In the meantime, I am the itinerant and the work is coming beautifully.

Recently, I’ve had interviews with Jorge Mester,


Jorge Mester

and Barbara Ann Martin.


Barbara Ann Martin, soprano

You can read more about Barbara Ann here Shadow    and in upcoming posts.

Soon, you’ll be able to hear the next two parts of my interview with BonMot radio. I’ll post those links when I get the edited versions.

Yesterday, I heard Boston’s Cantata Singers under the direction of David Hoose perform the Bach  in B minor Mass. My dear friends Angelynne and Ed Hinson and Amy Lieberman (who is now married to David Hoose) all sing in this group. I’ve had the great joy of hearing them for years now, but this concert yesterday was like nothing I’ve heard them do. From the first sound, I felt lifted straight up, yes, towards the heavens, some other place. Lush, totally blended and so filled with joy. It was a joyful afternoon. And afterwards, I met a baritone Dana Whiteside who is a lover of Jan’s singing and teaching! And I bumped into Michael Beattie (ESM ’83) who plays for Cantata Singers regularly.


Cantata Singers, Conductor David Hoose. Bach B minor Mass. Feb 26, 2017, Lexintgon, MA. http://caryhalllexington.com/

The final extraordinary woman completing the photograph of who my young son dubbed The Mega Four Women is Emily Browder Melville, another singer and teacher and longtime friend whom I’d not seen for a few years.


Lexington is being good to me. I wanted to share that. Sunrise. sunriseWriting table and space on the third floor. Rainbow during an afternoon nap.

And I want to share another lasting thought: I’ve been reading in others’ blogs about what I’m going to call artist or writer’s guilt in the face of all that’s happening since election day. It’s real. This questioning the efficacy, the necessity of doing our daily work in the face of so much hate, turmoil, fear. Legitimate and appropriate fear. I’ve decided not to let fear and guilt win. That every moment I spend here with words matters. I choose art. I must check myself: this cannot mean I slip into apathy and inaction; it means I figure out what I can do with the time I have to do it in, the resources I have to give, and for the rest of my waking hours, I work. I do my work. I want to live! I want to experience everything about my fast-changing personal situation and life and live fully. It is the way to honor life; I won’t let the country or one man or one administration take that from me.rainbow

Check out the blog when you can.  Let me know what you think, what you’d like to know more about. And thank you, for reading and supporting this endeavor.


About dhaines54

Dawn Denham (formerly Haines) lives in the hill country of North Central Mississippi where she's writing a book about her mentor at the Eastman School of Music mezzo-soprano Jan DeGaetani and teaching writing at Oxford High School. Her work has been published in Poets and Writers magazine, Brevity, Zone 3, Literary Mama, and WILLA. Her book with authors Jacqueline Raphael and Susan Newcomer Writing Together: Transforming Your Writing in a Writing Group was the first book of its kind published in the US. Her essay Aleatorik about her mother’s death won the 2012 Solstice magazine Creative Nonfiction prize chosen by Jerald Walker and was nominated for a Pushcart Prize. She received an MFA in Nonfiction from Vermont College of Fine Arts, an MA in Rhetoric and Composition from the University of Arizona, and a BM in Voice from Eastman School of Music.
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