Tools & Talismans #90 — Jonatha Brooke

The guitar, wurlitzer, mandolin, and kalimba are central to my everything. Songs are how I navigate and make sense of the world. And then there's Mom. Central in her own way. At the time I took the picture, I was in the middle of developing my one woman show My Mother Has 4 Noses.

I’ve just finished a new record. Same tools. And although she’s gone, Mom is ever a presence. Light Years is the third song on the new record. The last line of the chorus is: “You give me wings when I have no strength remaining, though you’re light years away.”

The elephant is my reminder of the constancy and love of my tribe. Of Swirly who painted it, and my gaggle of forever friends that hold each other close even from the farthest reaches of the country.

The prayer rug I keep with an ironic attachment. Many of my new songs spitball at "God." And yet, I treasure symbols, I am superstitious, I need worry touchstones, just in case...

Jonatha Brooke is a songer-songwriter,


Tools & Talismans is a personal painting project where I document {in watercolor} the tools and talismans of 100 different women — creators and healers, thinkers and makers, wordsmiths and visionaries. Join me — I'll be sharing a new painting with you every Wednesday.

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