About Snowflake Circus:
The first line of "Snowflake Circus" includes a phrase from a line in Thoreau's Walden: "The mass of men live their lives in quiet desperation," which is often followed by the line, "and go to the grave with the song still in them." I relate to this existential concern, though the second part of the quote is a mis-attribution and most probably comes from Oliver Wendell Holmes, who wrote in "The Voiceless":
Alas for those that never sing,
But die with all their music in them!
This is one central theme of the album, or perhaps simply the main motivation of making it: to sing the song of our lives before we "disappear as we hit the ground." Many of the songs we sing are about expressing our joys and sorrows and the desire to feel connected to others around our common experiences.
Many of these songs were written about a time of intense change in my life between the years of 2002-2003. In the span of one year, I published a novel, had a daughter, and lost my mother to ovarian cancer. Each song of mine directly addresses the joy and despair of those experiences. The only song that addresses this more indirectly is the song "All Too Much," which was written after hearing an interview with the singer Susannah McCorkle's husband after she jumped from the balcony of her 16th-floor apartment in Manhattan. He talked about her battle with depression and it mirrored some of my own feelings after the death of my mother. The song resonated for me once again when I heard of the suicide of Robin Williams, so I rededicate the song to him and to everyone who has reached the end of the road and not known which way to go.
Dakota wrote the song "Circle Around" when she was ten. She wrote all of the lyrics. It's an incredibly deep song for someone her age, but I think it reflects her understanding of the brevity and preciousness of life. As she faced new challenges, she recognized the difficulty of making decisions in the face of their unknown outcomes, like choosing a new school for junior high. These concerns manifested themselves in her song, "Butterfly," for which she wrote the lyrics and music.