Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Diving and Emerging

Compact Disc Review

Available from Regi Carpenter at www.soaringstories.com. Email: soaringstories@gmaill.com. $15.00 (includes shipping and handling) Recommended for teens and adults.

Reviewed By Linda Goodman

As I listened to Regi Carpenter’s CD Bendable Barbies, I thought to myself, storytelling doesn’t get any better than this. Too bad lightening doesn’t strike twice.

But sometimes lightening does strike twice. Diving and Emerging goes a step beyond Bendable Barbies to combine Carpenter’s glorious singing voice (think Judy Collins), her beautifully crafted stories, and Peter Dodge’s haunting, lovely instrumentals. Diving and Emerging is a CD that I will listen to over and over again (a rarity for me). It is a work of art and it deserves accolades. Carpenter has gone deep into the waters, pulling from its murky depths the heart and soul of life’s rawest moments and making them palatable for the uninitiated. Not everyone will understand, but just because I do not understand Picasso does not mean that he is not a great artist. Those who recognize the spoken word as an art form will be captivated by these soul-wrenching tales.

The first story on the CD, The Lucky Caul, begins with Carpenter’s rendition of Sometimes I Feel Like a Motherless Child before segueing into the story of her difficult birth, one in which both mother and child died and were brought back. Questions that began that day still haunt mother and child today. One cannot help but wonder if having the answers would make a difference. Life is a quest that is not meant to be tied into a tight little bundle.

Dead Man’s Float is set on the St. Lawrence River, the largest fresh water seaway in the world, where Carpenter walks on fifteen inches of ice in the winter and sneaks fishing trips in the spring and summer, all the while birthing and sharing childhood myths. The river, she tells us, is like a mother, both loving and treacherous. The joy it births is tempered by sorrow. And yet a little girl who can demonstrate perfectly the proper form for the dead man’s float cannot stay away, anymore than she can stop breathing.

Woman of the Sea is a Selkie tale that speaks to loneliness, star-crossed love, and the magnetic pull of home. We may have children and we may nurture a family, but that does not change who we are at our core. Like the woman in this story, some cannot resist returning to that from which they came.

Hidden Treasures presents as a metaphor for life a recurring dream set in water that is the texture of “parfait in a Tupperware cup.” Life is a constant diving and emerging in a search of one’s self. Sometimes it can take years to find the truth of what you are looking for.

The music that Peter Dodge composed to accompany these stories perfectly sets and sustains the dreamlike quality of the recording. It is soothing, like a calm river on a still summer’s day. Dodge and Carpenter are a well-matched team.

I cannot wait to share this CD with my friends. There is much substance in these stories that will keep us chewing for hours, perhaps even days. They may even prompt us to bear our own souls in an attempt to answer life’s never-ending questions. These are the kinds of stories that give birth to more stories. What a rich and wondrous gift!


  1. Thanks, Linda, for sharing this review. I will actually see, hear, emcee for and assist REgi Carpenter this weekend at the Ojai Storytelling Festival. I will purchase her CD there. Thanks for sharing storyteller products with us. Peace, Sheila.

  2. I envy you, Sheila. I have not seen Regi live, but her CDs are exquisite. I can just imagine how exquisite she must be in person.