Tom Kimmel’s Summer Solstice 2016 News

1. Greetings!

As summer’s heating up, I’m speeding up. Have been on the road much of the past few weeks, and later this week I’ll be off again to Ireland and Crete—or rather, first to Crete, then to Ireland.

Crete and Ireland
Ireland and Crete
Any way you say it
It still sounds sweet

I am thankful for these opportunities! Making new friends, seeing old friends, it’s a family thing. And speaking of family, my sister and brother-in-law will be joining me in Ireland! How fine is that?

Solstice greetings everyone! Stay cool!

2. News

a. Crete & Ireland…

In Crete I’ll be teaching at a long running arts retreat hosted by my talented friend Eva Hillered and other talented Swedish lovers of the arts… in the little village of Lendas, on Crete’s south coast by the impossibly blue Mediterrean.

Then it’s up north to Ireland to host my annual tour for Inishfree Tours. What a treat! Next year’s tour is already sold out, but I hope to be hosting these trips for years to come.

b. My annual Doe Branch Ink Writing Retreat in NC was so fine…

I’d welcome the opportunity to lead writing retreats like this year round. What a gift, the chance to be with creative kindred spirits who roll up their sleeves for a week to write, share songs and poems… and enjoy good food and each other’s company. (I left for home quite eluctantly.)

—I’ll soon post dates for next year’s Doe Branch retreat…

c. Solo & Trio Shows: We’re booking!

I’m talking about listening rooms of all types, plus songwriting and poetry workshops, lectures, book readings and any combo of the above… for fall, winter and beyond. I love it all. And we’re booking.
  i. Solo (That would be me.)

I recently received messages asking if I still play house concerts (YES!)… and if I will travel to lead a weekend workshop and accompanying concert (YES!)  And YES I sing at “new thought” and “traditional” churches. And, last but not least, YES to poetry workshops and book readings.

  ii. Trios: the Waymores, the New Agrarians and the Sherpas.

To see my tour dates click HERE to see my calendar… which is updated frequently.

Please direct all booking inquiries to:  shauna(at)

3. Story of the Month

I first shared this essay several years ago. Here’s an updated version I hope you’ll enjoy.

Summer and the Theory of Overreactions

I’ve long held to the theory that life is essentially a series of overreactions, and it’s holding up pretty well so far this Mississippi summer.

When I took my nephew to see a matinee the other day I was damned glad I remembered to take a jacket to the theater. It may have been a hundred degrees outside, but the theater felt like a meat locker.

When my mother and younger sister and I lived with my grandmother in south Alabama we had no air conditioning, so it simply got hot in the summertime. We accepted it, but then we didn’t know better. The pine sap bubbled up out of Bubba’s back steps like hot red jelly, and the big window fan in the dining room hummed at high speed full time. You drank iced tea, moved slowly, slept on top of the sheets. And maybe that’s why I don’t mind the heat all that much. It feels a little like home.

When we discovered air conditioning, however, it was magic. We cooled it down a little, then we cooled it down a lot. Then we keep going. We had an amazing new toy, and we maxxed it out. Now here we are, older and wiser, but—holding to my theory of overreactions—still going overboard.

I have to admit, if I hadn’t grown up near the Gulf Coast I’m not so sure summer in the south would be my cup of tea. And while I do sympathize with seasonal visitors from the west and north who suffer beside us, when someone complains I often find my myself feeling awkwardly defensive. “Yeah, it’s pretty hot,” I might say, “but you kind of get used to it.” Or, “Yes, and it’s a good time to go to the pool.” Or, “But you know it’s better late in the evening.”

The truth is it’s damn hot, period. So it’s hard to say why I am irritated when our deep-freeze air-conditioning is questioned or criticized. But is there anything sensible to be said about it? No—unless one considers my theory of overreactions!

I believe that secretly we delight in the indoor cold—that there is a deeply embedded memory in the cultural subconscious of what it was like in June, July and August not so long ago when all windows were open and fans ran nonstop, when the indoor temperature seldom dipped past the point of slow perspiration. We remember sticking to our car seats, to the pews in church, to our desks in school in late spring and early fall. Women remember—from that distant place where memories begin—hair that wilted on the way home from the beauty parlor, and men remember salt stains on suit jackets and shoes.

So the next time someone asks why we insist the house feel like an ice rink in the summertime, perhaps the best answer is, “We can’t help it. We just do it because, by God, we can.”

4. Early Summer Food for Thought

“I have only to break into the tightness of a strawberry, and I see summer—its dust and lowering skies.”
—Toni Morrison, author, b. 1931

“Ah, summer, what power you have to make us suffer and like it.”
—Russell Baker, journalist & author, b. 1925

“In the depth of winter, I finally learned that within me there lay an invincible summer.“
—Albert Camus, author, (1913-1960)

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