Revolutionary Acts of Optimism

by Shannon Curtis

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Sven B. Schreiber
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Sven B. Schreiber She's got an excellent voice - but even more I enjoy Shannon Curtis' individual and ingenious way of writing songs. She's a 100% reliable singer-songwriter, once again proven on her brand-new album "Revolutionary Acts Of Optimism". There's no mediocre or boring song to be skipped while playing, everything's just perfect, from the quite appealing concept, over the songwriting, to the brilliant performance. Favorite track: She Will Dance.
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about

Welcome to Revolutionary Acts of Optimism. That’s quite a mouthful of a title, isn’t it? And also a bit of a handful of an idea, don’t you think?

I wondered, as we were giving this album its big name, if at some point you might ask:

So, Shannon … optimism, huh?
Isn’t that a little trite?
I see that word and I totally get an “inspirational kitten poster” vibe.
And … what’s this about it being revolutionary?
Don’t you think that’s asking a bit much? Trying a bit too hard? Shooting a little … too high?

I feel you. There have been times in my life in which I’d have asked those same questions. So let me tell you about where my mind and my heart have been during the time in which we made this record. Here goes:

First of all. I’m tired. How about you? 

… Because everyday life can be exhausting.
… Because the news often seems to be a firehose of trouble.
… Because there are days that with every bit of progress I make, the more I feel like I’m falling behind.

And my heart is broken. How about yours?

… Because there are unhealed relationships in my life, and people I care about are hurting.
… Because sometimes, things to which I’ve given my heart don’t bring the love back to me that I’d hoped they would.
… Because the suffering in the world seems so much bigger than me; the problems, too complicated ever to be solved.

Do you feel me?
Discouragement, hopelessness, and cynicism are easy to come by. Especially, I think, in this time.

And if that were the end of the story … well … then … perhaps it would be time to close up shop. Give in to the powers that be. Let the status quo win.
 
But WHAT IF …
… there were another way?

What if … there is more available to us than we’ve seen?
What if … we are more powerful than we know?
What if … there is enough of what we need for all of us?
What if … there is a whole other frame through which we can take in the view?

Here’s an idea:

When the powerful require our cynicism
in order to maintain systems of oppression;

When entrenched structures require our hopelessness
in order to stop us from making progress;

When the status quo requires our discouragement
in order to keep us from living our best lives …

Our optimism is an act of revolution.


Maybe we can change everything …
… with a sober assessment of the challenges we face in our lives and in the world,
… followed by a choice to focus our eyes on what’s POSSIBLE.
 
That … is what’s been on my mind. And so that … is the record I wrote: Revolutionary Acts of Optimism.

It’s all about the idea that there is more, that there is enough, that embracing possibility is where an unsatisfactory status quo ends and revolution begins.

Some revolutions are small and personal.
Some revolutions are big and structural.
And they all begin with a wide, open-armed embrace … of possibility.

So … here is my offering to possibility.
Here’s to optimism.
And here’s to the revolution.

— shannon

credits

released June 14, 2019

Produced / mixed / mastered by Jamie Hill
at The Department of Energy Management, Tacoma

Guitars performed by Chris Palmer

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about

Shannon Curtis Tacoma, Washington

"Revolutionary Acts of Optimism," Shannon's seventh full-length studio album in seven years, was released on June 14, 2019.

Shannon lives in Tacoma, WA with her husband, producer / mixer Jamie Hill.

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Track Name: Glorious
God, I’m so tired
Can barely keep my eyes open
Not to mention my heart
There are a thousand and one reasons it’s broken
And at the end of the day
Still
At the end of the day

Drive us due west
Chase down the sunset
One of these days
What if we catch it?
Don’t really care
That we don’t have a prayer
The day I die is the day that I
Give up chasing the sunset

Eyes on the light
So what if the dark outruns us?
The alternative
Is heavy enough to crush us
It’ll crush us
At the end of it all
Still
At the end of it all

Drive us due west
Chase down the sunset
One of these days
What if we catch it?

And the orange sky swallows us up
We’re a twisting fire, we are glorious
And our glowing bones turn to sparkling dust
We are glorious, we are glorious

Drive us
Chase down the sunset
One of these days
What if we catch it?
Don’t really care
That we don’t have a prayer
The day I die is the day that I
Give up chasing the sunset

eyes on the light
eyes on the light
we are glorious
we are glorious
eyes on the light
we are glorious
eyes on the light
we are glorious
eyes on the light
we are glorious
Track Name: Zero
There’s this myth that tragically persists
If you get more then I’ll get less
Well, I won’t

We’ll never get to zero
The barrel has no bottom
We give and then we’ll give more
It’s impossible to run out
We’ll never get to none left
This vessel will not dry up
Show me all you’ve got, there’s always enough
It’s impossible to run out of love

Fingers point
Someone might get yours
But who gets served when we feud for leftovers?
Well, we don’t

We’ll never get to zero
The barrel has no bottom
We give and then we’ll give more
It’s impossible to run out
We’ll never get to none left
This vessel will not dry up
Show me all you’ve got, there’s always enough
It’s impossible to run out of love

What if we grew a bigger imagination?
It’s not zero sum, it’s all multiplication
We are standing in a windfall
We’ve already got it all, already got it all

We’ll never get to zero
The barrel has no bottom
We give and then we’ll give more
It’s impossible to run out
We’ll never get to none left
This vessel will not dry up
Show me all you’ve got, there’s always enough
It’s impossible to run out of love

It’s impossible to run out of love
It’s impossible to run out of love
Track Name: Broken Frames
There’s this picture of me
Before everything changed
And there’s something trying to pass for
A smile on my face
And I keep wondering
Did she know?

She is captured in a pose
Meant to catch a good light
Not a hair out of place
Hope draining from her eyes
This is the kind of shot
They display when you die
Did she know?

Yes, there is more on the other side
Of shattered glass and broken frames
There is more
You will get cut when you punch through
You break your hand or break your heart
The choice is yours

She stands with people who know her
At least as much as she is known
Eager for all this to be over
Got somewhere she needs to go
Not yet sure where it is
She’s just got to go
She must have known

Yes, there is more
Through the shattered glass and broken frames
There is more
You will get cut when you punch through
You break your hand or break your heart
The choice is yours

Yes, there is more
Through the shattered glass and broken frames
There is more
You will get cut when you punch through

I would walk through shattered glass
You break your hand or break your heart
I would walk through shattered glass
You break your hand or break your heart
I would walk through shattered glass
You break your hand or break your heart
Track Name: She Will Dance
Oh look at how she twirls
Always in perfect circles
Turn of the key, and she’ll dance
Her frozen porcelain smile
They find it reassuring
Predictably, she will dance

And when they’ve been amused
She’s set back on a high shelf
Until somebody else turns the key

Dance, baby, dance
Like you’ve never known any other way to move
Spin on command
It’s what everybody says they need for you to do
It’s your move
It’s the move that the people need you to do
It’s your move

Oh look their faces pale
Painted in shock and horror
Their object of possession has a will
Has she forgot her place?
Hardened in fires of history
She will fall, she will break
We’ll accept no guilt

And no one is amused
As she dances off the high shelf
She and nobody else holds the key

Dance, baby, dance
Like you’ve never known any other way to move
Spin out of hand
Till you break apart if that’s what you’ve gotta do
It’s your move, baby, what are you gonna do?
It’s your move, and nobody but you can choose
It’s your move, baby, what are you gonna do?
It’s your move, and nobody but you can choose

Oh look at how she twirls
Beautiful, broken circles
Only herself to please, she will dance

Dance, baby, dance
Like you’ve never known any other way to move
Spin out of hand
Till you break apart if that’s what you’ve gotta do
(It's your move, it's your move)
It’s your move, baby, what are you gonna do?
(It's your move, it's your move)
It’s your move, and nobody but you can choose
(It's your move, it's your move)
It’s your move, baby, what are you gonna do?
(It's your move, it's your move)
It’s your move, and nobody but you can choose

(Dance, baby, dance)
It’s your move, baby, what are you gonna do?
(Dance, baby, dance)
It’s your move, and nobody but you can choose
(Dance, baby, dance)
It’s your move, baby, what are you gonna do?
(Dance, baby, dance)
It’s your move, and nobody but you can choose
Track Name: Infinite Lines
In a dream I walked alone
Like I did all those years ago
In some universe resembling our own
Perhaps I still walk alone

You and I are infinite lines
Shooting out across a dark sky
And we intersect for one impossibly short moment
I close my eyes and hold it

In your eyes there’s gravity
Tugging at my chest
I forget to breathe
In a universe of possibilities
I’d choose this waking dream

You and I are infinite lines
Shooting out across a dark sky
And we intersect for one impossibly short moment
I close my eyes and hold it
I close my eyes and hold it

I close my eyes and hold it
I close my eyes and hold it
Track Name: Holy Fire
Tonight I’m gonna invite this feeling
Invite this feeling, this feeling
Tonight I will not silence this feeling
Invite this feeling

I welcome it into the house
Right in through the front door
Pat the spot on the sofa next to me
I’ll ask it questions about where it’s from
I’ll look into its eyes curiously
I’ll let my guard down, approach in peace

When the tears come I will cry
They’ll not be silenced
Sprung from a part of me
And I will ball my fists when rage ignites
Some holy fire deep down
This burning part of me, this feeling

Tonight I’m gonna invite this feeling

I won’t shove it back outside
I know slammed doors and shut lights
Make no peace for me, peace for me inside
A house where bulwarks are built
To keep this feeling out
Won’t rest with constant knocking from the night

When the tears come I will cry
They’ll not be silenced
Sprung from a part of me
And I will ball my fists when rage ignites
Some holy fire deep down
This burning part of me, this feeling

Tonight I’m gonna invite this feeling
Ignite this feeling
This part of me
Tonight I’ll summon and unite all the pieces
In the light, in the heat

When the tears come I will cry
They’ll not be silenced
Sprung from a part of me
And I will ball my fists when rage ignites
Some holy fire
This burning part of me, this feeling

Tonight, I’m gonna
Track Name: Shade
We broke the soil
We dug a hole
We cursed and sweat
We paused to catch our breath
We aren’t naive
Our backs will ache smashing this clay
We’ve done this before
We broke the soil

We lowered down
The sprouted roots
We laid a bed
Of nourishment offered by the dead
Buried beneath the blackest earth and water for its thirst
Our hopes in the ground
We lowered down

What an outrageous act of faith to plant this fragile life
With expectation it will grow against the winds of time

We tend the limbs
We measure years
In pinkish blooms
We know we’ll never eat the fruit
It is enough to know that someone will
Like we’ve been filled
Because once someone else
Tended limbs

What an outrageous act of faith, to plant so that someday
A younger soul who passes here might lay down in the shade
What an outrageous act of faith, to plant so that one day
A younger soul will pass by here and lay down in the shade

We broke the soil
We lowered down
We aren’t naive
Our backs will ache smashing this clay
Our hopes in the ground
We lowered down
We’ve done this before
We broke the soil
Track Name: Crushed
When I hold it tight
It’s crushed beyond recognition
The pieces break the skin on my clutched palms
Now it’s seeping out
Between my reddened knuckles
And I start believing there’s not enough

(Not enough)
See there’s proof
(Not enough)
It’s disappearing right here
(Not enough)
Inside my clutched fists

So I hold it tighter
Drop to the floor and scrape my forearms on the concrete
To gather what I’ve spilled
Use my body to shield you from getting too close
Anyone getting too close
This is mine

(This is mine)
Please get away
(This is mine)
I have to protect what I have
(This is mine)
This is all that I have

And of course you back away
You shake your head and turn away
You leave me alone
Of course you do
Now I’m alone
It’s what I asked you to do
It’s what I asked for, fought for, screamed for, and what for?
And all I’ve got now to show for it are
Shattered remnants of something I thought was everything
I held it too tightly
The pressure of being everything crushed it to nothing
Of course it crushed it to nothing

And now I’m here
Down on the concrete
Fine powder blowing from my upturned palms
Track Name: Letter From the Future
I walked outside today
Looked toward the sky at midday
And it was blue
I opened up the tap
Crystal water pooled in my hands
And it was cool

And the ocean is still wild
Though she has ceased her storied rise
And she swells and teems with life

And we know it’s because of you
People who never knew us
Who looked into the future
You are the legends we read in our books
We’re living inside the vision you forged and fought to give us
So in this letter from the future we just want to say
If you’ve been wondering if it’s worth it, dreaming of a change
We are living proof

I laid down in the grass
Bumblebees and birds performed their tasks
Faithfully they do
In the forest mystery thrives
Where once its glory fell to fire
From the ashes grew new life

And we know it’s because of you
People who never knew us
Who looked into the future
You are the legends we read in our books
We’re living inside the vision you forged and fought to give us
So in this letter from the future we just want to say
If you’ve been wondering if it’s worth it, knocking down old frames
And imagining the new ones built up in their place
And every tear and drop of blood you shed to make the way
Well, this is living proof
This letter from the future

You could’ve set the whole thing burning, a ritual flame to hail defeat
You could’ve let the waves crash over and carry the remnants out to sea
You could’ve saved yourselves and left the unluckier ones down in the dust
Maybe you heard the future calling, maybe you just couldn’t give up

The ocean is still wild
And she swells and teems with life
Track Name: Tables
That this is the way it always will be
That trying for change is just swimming upstream
Our resignation is wind for lies like these
But what if we aren’t swimming?
What if we’re the river?

That people were born for the purpose of toil
That there will always be the rich and the poor
Weary surrender yields to the status quo
But what if it’s a phantom?
What if we’re its master?

The table turns first in our minds
Don’t fall in line; we make our own path
History starts in our dreams
We’ll write the next scene in our own hand

That each one of us is all on our own
That us versus them is just how this game goes
These are the fictions that score on darkened hope
So what if we stopped playing?
What if we’re the same team?

The table turns first in our minds
Don’t fall in line; we make our own path
History starts in our dreams
We’ll write the next scene in our own hand
With our own hands we’ll write a history
That starts in our dreams

They say be small, we claim our space
They say go slow, we break the pace
It doesn’t fit, we make new molds
Challenge the stories we’ve been sold
We’re born to live, not to survive
We are the makers of our lives
We are the keepers of the dream
And we are writing history

Tables turn first in our minds
Don’t fall in line; we'll make our own path
History starts in our dreams
We’ll write the next scene
We’ll write our history
It'll start in our dreams

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