Nerissa’s First Blog

posted September 21, 2004

It’s September 21, the last day of summer. I woke up surrounded by thick clouds, but already they’ve cleared. Where did they even go?

When told that Katryna was going on maternity leave in mid October, a well meaning friend suggested to both of us, “While you’re not touring, you should have a blog.”

To which we both responded, “What’s a blog?”

Still not knowing what exactly a blog is, we are going to blog anyway. Or die trying. This is what I think a blog is. A blog is a kind of journal, different from the newsletters we send our fans. Not so finger pointing. But also not a story, like the novels I write. Not so impressionistic. Katryna says she has a friend who, first thing every morning, is compelled to go online and read some random guy’s blog. Why? He doesn’t know. “It’s kind of a train wreck,” he says, helpfully. Being a narcissistic artist, I of course want that kind of power and control. So I will do my best to provide virtual trainwrecks for whatever our readership turns out for this.

Potential Train Wreck Number One:

Our manager, Patty, who has been with us for over ten years now, steadfastly and faithfully carrying Torch Nields, has found a new love. The Other Women are the WNBA. Oh, sure, she tells us she still loves us, but the signs are all there. Rarely does she actually come to one of our shows anymore, and when she does, you might notice a small light down by her waist area where she’s eyeing her palm pilot to keep up with the score. She’s gone every weekend, too. We call from the road.

“Hey what’s up?”

“Oh, Connecticut won in overtime. Nykesha got a triple double which would have been great but the coach of the Shock blah blah blah.”

“Hey, Patty, at the show last night, we sold a hundred thousand dollars worth of merchandise and I stood on my head and did five cartwheels…”

“Lisa Leslie got the tip-off, but then Lindsay Whalen rebounded with an assist from Tina Thompson. All in all Sun won in a buzzer-beater. And there were seventeen no-look passes! Four by Diana Taurasi!! And I swear Diana smiled at me!”

Soon, I fear, we are going to have to go back to Peter Quince, the gentleman who managed us before Patty, long before Patty. Peter Quince was actually not a bad manager, except he has a voice like a girl’s and I’m pretty sure promoters used to smirk about that behind his back. “He sounds just like a girl! In fact, he sounds like Nerissa! Imagine going through life as a man who sounds like a girl!”

Anyway, Peter Quince did a pretty good job managing us. He was courteous and respectful and never pushed us too hard, except me. He had kind of a thing with me, that I was never writing the kinds of songs he wanted to hear on the radio. “Can’t you make it sound, I don’t know, a little more like ABBA?” he said when I brought him “Ash Wednesday.” (Come to think of it, I think Patty is an ABBA fan, too.) Peter Quince told Katryna she should try singing Libarace covers. And he wanted us in uniforms. Also, Peter Quince has a thing for Siegfried and Roy. In fact, that’s where he’s been for the past year; in Las Vegas camped with what insiders call The Devoted. But I know he’d come back if Patty really left us for good.


The thing I’m going to miss about touring is standing up in front of a group of people who are usually a lot more knowledgeable than I am. The audience answers my questions so efficiently. Much better than lugging my volumes of encyclopedeiae out from under the bed. So here are the questions of the day:

-What is the WNBA and why does Patty like it so much better than us?

-How exactly does the stock market work?

-What is the largest province in Canada? (It’s not Quebec and Northwest Territories isn’t a province. It’s a territory.)

-Why don’t we pray for John Kerry to win? Is it just because we don’t want to seem like those Praying Republicans? Is it because we think we’re too evolved and sophisticated spiritually to believe in a God who sits around being swayed by the numbers or intensity of people praying for one political candidate or another? “Hmm,” says this God. “A flat tax kind of goes against what my son, Jesus was preaching about, but I really like the idea. Nice and simple. I think I’ll keep the chads from falling off again in Florida this November.”

Is the reason GWB is ahead right now because he’s praying? Is John Kerry praying? Is this just a big old prayer contest? Could we get the monks of Tibet with their prayer wheels to pray for John Kerry to win, and then stick some extra dynamic prayer wheels in the rivers of Tibet and also the Connecticut, Hudson and Mississippi and direct them all to pray for John Kerry?

I think God really could listen to reason, or at the very least some howls of despair. I don’t really have that much pride. I want John Kerry to win, so much, that I’d be willing to lead Prayer Vigils For Kerry. This is how we’ll pray: “God, please let John Kerry win. Please let Bush and his friends retire and give them a nice severance package and good weather with no hurricanes down in Texas. Please disillusion the masses and let us all, for more than ten seconds, look up from our Game Boys, Reality TV shows, New York Times Crossword puzzles, lotus positions, Downward Dogs, WNBA marathons, cell phones, fascinating Internet Blogs and notice how much better things were BB (before Bush) and work together to elect a man who is smart, capable and really is not that bad.”

That should be his campaign moniker: John Kerry: He’s Not That Bad.

I like Kerry. I think he’s effective and competent and would greatly improve diplomacy with our allies and adversaries. In fact, Katryna and I could have a Why I Like Kerry rally, a Folk the Vote, if you will. We’re going to sit around and sing songs, all of which are going to reformat to focus on our Man. “James” will be retitled “John.”

John, John, John

John will Kerry On

For someone so outrageous you come off as so calm

If only people knew him, they’d love John

If only people knew him….

And Mr. Right Now:

His hair is pompadourier than my dad would like

But he’ll vote for him

(vote for him, vote for him…)

He’s just returning from a cross country voting drive

I’ll vote for him (vote for him, vote for him)

Pull the lever right now, for Mr. Right Now…

All these things that you promise to me

Don’t mean nothing if you can’t win Ohio

Right now.

I like this. We should have this Folk the Vote Rally. We’re thinking Halloween weekend. I’m dressing up as Ann Coulter and Katryna’s going as Laura Bush. We’ll do it at Cooley Dickinson Hospital just in case Katryna has to, you know, have a baby or something.

The Comments

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  1. This is my first venture on to anybody’s blog and only because its’ yours. Good luck to Katryna and we look forward to your next visit to NYC (we love to see you at the Fez).

  2. My goodness, I came to check a tour date and found a nice surprise!

    Yes, a blog is a kind of journal. There are different styles. Some are structured, heavily edited, and have long entries. Some are stream-of-consciousness sentence updates throughout the day. Mine is usually a once-a-week recap of my simple life.

    As for the questions of the day: Are you sure that Quebec isn’t the largest province?

  3. Good morning, all! I woke up bleary eyed and turned to my beloved, Tom, and the first words out of my mouth were, “I wonder if anyone’s read my BLOG yet?”
    TO which he replied, “What’s a blog?”

    I came downstairs, made eggs and soymilky stuff and the requisite coffee, signed on, and found we now have a readership of at least two.

    So the thing about the Province. Tom said, “Why not use a search engine to find out?”
    This is why I’m marrying him. “Ask Jeeves” says Quebec is the largest province. So my previous source, last Friday’s New York Times, is incorrect.

    The New York Times also says “Canada’s economy is booming.” Can you confirm or deny this? I no longer trust them.

    Please, God, please let us discuss more interesting things in the future than Canada.

    “Hey!” said Tom. “I love Canada. We have to say nice things about it cause we may need to live there soon.”

  4. Quebec is the biggest. And actually, Northwest Territories wouldn’t be the biggest even if it were a province, because several years back, it split in two – the eastern portion is now known as Nunavut, and Nunavut is bigger than the remaining Northwestern Territories.

    Maybe the NYT meant Quebec wasn’t the biggest province in terms of population rather than land area? Because in that case, Ontario’s the biggest.

    Anyway, here’s a chart of the provinces by land area, etc. (bless Google):

    – josh

  5. Hi Nerissa! I’m a big fan of your band. You music is phenomenal. I just wanted to say congratulations on your engagement and wish you all the best. Congratulations also to Katryna and good luck on the birth of Baby #2!


  6. What a great blog! I like it so much, I decided to post even though I don’t have anything informative to add, other than, the Nields are my favorite band. And Nunavut is fun to say over and over again. Nunavut Nunavut Nunavut.


  7. About 500,000km2 of Canada is arable land.
    About 1,800,00km2 of America is arable land.
    There are about 31 million Canadians and 275 million Americans.

    These are my facts of the day.

    Australia has about the same amount of arable land as Canada and only 19 million people, but seven of the ten deadliest snakes (is there a link?).

    These are my facts of the day.

    The UK has about a quarter of the people that America has but only 3% of the land mass. It’s crowded in the UK but not as crowded as Japan who have twice as many people as the UK in about the same space.

    These are my facts of the day.

  8. what’s a blog?

    my friend colin has a blog where he writes about his life in the forest of northern california. it’s very interesting but he never updates.

    my friend jordan has a blog where she writes about literary things. it’s equally interesting but she never updates.

    i have a blog where i write about nothing exciting. it’s not very interesting and i never update.

    what do these three blogs have in common? they never update. updation (is that a word?) is the key to the blog. i think, anyway. and what do i know?

  9. Hi! This is great, Nerissa! Gives me something to do at work–let’s see what Nerissa has to say today! I’m coming to your show on Friday night (YAY for relocating back to the Right Coast).

    The WNBA is a whole bunch of really tall (mostly) women who get together in teams and play with an orange bouncy thing called a basketball. 5 players from each team take the court and, if they have the ball, they try to score a basket (free throw-after a foul-worth 1 point, basket-shot from most places on the court-2 points, a 3 pointer-shot from outside the arc painted on the floor-3 points).

    If the other team has the ball, then players do what they have to do to get the ball back and keep them from scoring.

    As for why Patty likes them better than you, I have no idea. I love basketball, don’t get me wrong…I coached 7th and 8th graders because I love it so much…but a Nields concert or WNBA? I’ll tape the game and listen to you! LOL.

    Anyway, this is a great idea…hope to see Katryna on here some day. Looking forward to Friday night (hope you play Work that We Do and/or 100 Names)
    ~Kris (who is diligently taking your advice from FRFF when you told me to keep plugging away at the guitar and to play for my students)

  10. NieldsBlog is the best thing since sliced toast. πŸ™‚

    Or it’s certainly the best Nields-related online May Day Cafe chatter since John Senft created a Monster, namely the Nields Nook, in May 1996. What have we been *doing* with ourselves all these 8 years, in the mean time? πŸ™‚

    (Psst… This is way better than the Nields Nook! πŸ™‚

    And now there is Nieldsworld too. Maybe it’ll suck, but sometimes you just gotta go with the flow, grab life by the gizzards, and grab for the gusto, as they say. πŸ™‚

    I really doubt NieldsBlog will suck though. Consider this an unqualified endorsement. “I’m Mad Baggins, Mad About Nieldses since 4/22/95, and I endorse this message.” πŸ™‚


  11. Why is GWB ahead right now? Very simple:

    “People can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same way in any country.” — Hermann Goering

    Works every time.

    John Rozett

  12. YAY!!! A Nieldsy blog!!!! This is the best thing since the new pool at my gym πŸ™‚ WHOO HOO!!!

    My current predictions:

    ~ Patty will never ever leave The Nields

    ~ John Kerry & John Edwards will win the election.

    ~ Amelia will be a wonderful older sister & love it πŸ™‚

    Love is all you need,
    ~ April Baggins

  13. This new addition has brought me an astounding amount of joy. You are now on my “blogs to read daily list.” Thank you, thank you, thank you for reminding me that there are people out there who are funny and witty and who understand sarcasm.

    Nearly fell off my chair at the word “pompadourier.”

    formerly of the Nook, though no longer

  14. Patty can watch, listen and visit all the WNBA games that she would like.. If she is registered to Vote and in fact takes the 10 minutes out of her day on November 2th and gets to her local polling place and pulls a lever, pushes a button, writes in a candidate..

    Patty can go to the game, watch the game and check on the game LATER on November 2th as long as she votes…

    that goes for all the rest of the Nerissa and Katryna fans..

    The Childrens Defense Fund is sponsoring Take Your Child to Vote… with the long term hope of helping kids get used to voting and then they will do it themselves…

    Register to vote at ..if you have relocated or changed your name, You have to register…
    Do it before October 2nd…Dont flake out…

    and then remember to actually go there and vote..or get your absentee ballot..and mail it can get one thru

    Hey Katryna… wont you take Amelia to vote with you…You already are taking One of your children.. take the other…

  15. Nerissa,
    This is the best! I’ve never heard of a blog before …. It’s a wonderful thing! I can almost hear a blog-jingle in my head or should I say Blingle …
    Now I’m hooked!

  16. After reading this entry yesterday, I heard an ad for the latest edition of the NPR show Speaking of Faith. I’m not familiar with the show, but this week’s episode sounds very interesting and relates to what you were saying, Nerissa, about Democrats, Republicans, and praying. Basically it explores the “God gap,” which is the current belief that Republicans have cornered the market on religion as it relates to politics.

    I haven’t listened to the show yet myself, but it sounds very interesting. Definitely worth checking out. Here is a link to the show’s webpage, specifically to the write-up of this particular topic:

    Blair Johnson Glass

  17. The show Blair mentioned DOES sound interesting. I’ll have to check it out.

    As an active Catholic, I am really upset that the Republicans claim that God is on their side. I don’t really believe God is choosing sides in a political race. I was quite offended by a remark made by Pat Robertson about how “God told me that President Bush will win.”

    I do believe in the power of prayer. I am praying for peace, that there’s a high voter turn-out on November 2nd and that people vote their conscience. If your vote is guided by your conscience, I don’t see how Bush can get re-elected. Let’s hope.

    Theresa (stepping off my soapbox….)

  18. hi Nerissa! I have a blog too, it’s on Live Journal:

    I was going to write to you today anyway to tell you I can’t make it to your Jammin’ Java show… I’m being shanghai’d off to PA… but I’m hoping to drag my piratical friends to the Tin Angel instead! (And I’ll see you in November, and will be singing your pro-Kerry tunes…)

    Dorothy in DC

  19. Theresa wrote:
    “I do believe in the power of prayer. I am praying for peace, that there’s a high voter turn-out on November 2nd and that people vote their conscience. If your vote is guided by your conscience, I don’t see how Bush can get re-elected. Let’s hope.”

    Bruce replies:
    And let’s not lose hope either. It may well be that our consciences cannot change the world, cannot change other people, and perhaps cannot even amass enough electoral votes to unseat the sitting President. But our consciences *can* help us to be straight shooters in our own lives, and to be hopeful people who do not cave in to the temptation to despair. As Viktor Frankl says, we may not be able to change the world for the better when forces beyond our control are “in the saddle” — but we *can* change our attitudes as to how we relate to this world in which we live. We can’t necessarily choose a more nearly perfect world, but we *can* choose hope, and kindness, and paths leading to peace. And we can walk those paths to peace, one step at a time, today and everyday.

    Many, many people are praying that Bush wins, and their consciences are clear that Bush is doing the right thing in the way that he is leading this country. That’s reality, even if that reality is difficult to accept for many of us. We can perhaps hope and pray that the prayers and hopes of the Bush supporters will NOT be answered in the way that they’ve hoped. For if Kerry loses, the shoe will be on the other foot, prayer-wise, and we will have to find a way to live in Bush Country for four more years. Win or lose, the country will remain deeply divided, and is in for even more stormy times ahead.

    I lived through 8 years of Reaganomics, myself. It was difficult — it was painful — but it can be done. I survived it. “I’m not dead yet, so I must be stronger.” (I Still Believe in My Friends)

    At any rate, no matter what happens, no matter how dark the outlook — Don’t give up hope, no matter what.


  20. Nerissa wrote:
    “We’re thinking Halloween weekend. I’m dressing up as Ann Coulter.”

    Bruce writes:
    I made a MONSTER!!! I made a MONSTER!!! πŸ™‚

    The Wicked Witch of the West. How appropriate for Halloween.


  21. Agnosticism makes praying for a candidate difficult, especially when worsened by limited respect for politicians in general. “O Lord, may the least stupid one win” lacks a certain sincerity; it ends up in God’s Spam folder, with the ads for cheap Viagra.
    Tell Patty she needs to stick with women’s college basketball, where money doesn’t stick its itchy fingers. Though I still carry a torch for Sue Bird…

  22. Nerissa,
    Congratulations on starting a blog! Your next task can be learning how to syndicate it. I don’t actually know how to do this, so I’m being pretty demanding, but here’s a place to start:, or Then people can subscribe to your blog and get new posts sent to them. But I’ll try to stop by the site and check for new posts even if you don’t syndicate.
    BTW, congratulations on getting married!

  23. Hello to two of my favorite musical ladies! Once I lived in Southern VT and went to your shows at the Iron Horse, but something possessed me to move to Ithaca, NY. I see you’re playing here soon, on campus, but where? There’s lots of venues out here. And where can I procure tickets?

    Thank you very much!

  24. You, by now, should know that while you may be new to blogging, you are not new to being blogged.

    In fact, right after your performance at The Festival for the Eno this past July, I posted a quick picture from the show. Last year you two got the bigger write-up in my blog; this year I was too preoccupied with having been laid off and being despirate for a job.

    (p.s. Patti might have given most of herself over to the WNBA, but she’s emailed me about this blog posting, so maybe all hope isn’t lost for her!)

    — fivecats

  25. hey all…..blogging?…this is all so weird for this middle-aged technophobe…although i have gotten much more proficient with technology, i still cast a wary eye upon it…it took me almost a month to learn how to use a cell phone…i was almost laughed out of my house when i first tried to use my sister’s cell…..having railed against the technology, i thought i was so smug when i handed it back to her and said to her….”ha! so much for that…the damn thing doesn’t even work….look, i can’t even get a dialtone!”…..of course, i had to eat crow shortly after…..but enough of all that…..i actually just wanted to say hello to you nerissa (and to the rest of the gang as well)….i saw you last year in franklin after not having been to a show in years….i was with my big sister at the time and so i felt the need to restrain my usual star-struck gushiness…….i was reminiscing with myself the other day (is that possible without having a DSM diagnosis?) and remembering my fondest nields moments…..let’s see, the time i was with my friend lori at a church in bedford and i was whispering excitedly pre-show (look! there’s nerissa! she’s the one that wrote my favorite song ( i know what kind of love this is)..and look! Katryna!…..doesn’t she remind you of laurie partidge?….and how do you think she keeps her skin so perfect?…..and then, on the way home, my friend and i had an argument about why i put the nields on a pedastel like they were these goddesses/gods….i remember her looking at me and saying, “yes, larry, they’re great entertainers, but they’re just regular people like you”…oh, she was just so unenlightened…..i remember watching you guys at the Old Vienna playing on that stage that was the size of a triscuit…..dave hower was scrunched up with his knees at his earlobes…..a very funny sight….my friend Aileen and i doing our own version of a nields newsletter “Nield to the Cross” (it was BAD)….. .my favorite, memory, however, was the big surprise i got at my 40th birthday party when i got cards from the Nields, Dar williams, and Jane Siberry!! (my friend Aileen did some behind-the-scenes soliciting)……anyway, i haven’t been a concertgoer in recent years, but i still love music and i still treasure all my nields music…..soooo, you guys keep plugging… gave me many wonderful times and will forever be a treasured part of the fabric of my life…..(wait, isn’t that a cotton commercial?!)……my best…..Larry

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