Sue Fink: Sated Simply by the Description

Sue Fink is part of the July 15, 8 pm Haiku Milieu concert at Uncommon Ground Lakeview, their first Live Music show back after the pandemic, celebrating their 30th Anniversary.  Seating is limited, so get your tickets now.

Sue Fink is part of the July 15, 8 pm Haiku Milieu concert at Uncommon Ground Lakeview, their first Live Music show back after the pandemic, celebrating their 30th Anniversary.  Seating is limited, so get your tickets now. 


Have you ever been in the audience for a singer/songwriter in Chicago?  If you have, you've probably run into Sue Fink there.  She's the one laughing, leaning over to a friend and whispering, "This one.  This is my favorite song!"  for just about. every. single. song! 

And then there are her own captivating performances.  

She is an award winning songwriter, a member of two super groups, CatBird with Jane Godfrey, and Song Sisters with Amy Dixon-Kolar and Patti Shaffner, as well as a celebrated performer in her own right.  

She is a legendary community builder, often inviting friends to share the bill at her shows, and also through the Virtual Dream Cafe that she started during the pandemic, a twice-monthly, online concert series that became the model for how a number of venues ran their own online concerts. 

SOME PEOPLE, like Sue Fink, are just the real deal. 

I barely remember not knowing her.  I am pretty sure we met at Uncommon Ground, where she invited me to sing with her early on.  I would guess I got to know her through Nancy Walker, one of my singing partners back in the day, but all I really know is, we are dear friends who have known each other forever. 

Sue Fink is part of the July 15, 8 pm Haiku Milieu concert at Uncommon Ground Lakeview, their first Live Music show back after the pandemic, celebrating their 30th Anniversary.  Seating is limited.  Get your tickets here, now. 

Please enjoy this Collaboration Blog from Sue Fink.  - Jenny Bienemann

"After a lovely meal, have you ever had your waitperson describe the desserts so delectably that you were sated simply by the description?  

Have you ever had a description (or the actual dessert) inspire you to recall previous desserts and experiences, and maybe bake something yourself afterwards?  

So it is with good writing.  When I read some of Jenny's haikus, I think, "Yes, she nailed it!  That's exactly what I would've said (if I'd known how to say it)!"  

Sometimes, I simply stare into space as I take in not only the words, but the thoughts and images those words invoke; sometimes those thoughts and images inspire a memory or image of my own, which I may then attempt to write.  

It's not that each of us doesn't already have our own thoughts and images; but pondering others' art expands our consciousness, gets us out of our own heads, reconnects us to the universe at large, helps us recall forgotten memories and dreams, and inspires us to create and share.  

Because I find Jenny's haikus emotionally and artistically inspiring, I own both of her Haiku Milieu books, which I can then flip through at will.  I also read the haikus she posts daily on Facebook, and in her Sunday morning newsletter.  Some resonate immediately; some simmer on the back burner.  So, I keep my own private list of my favorite Jenny haikus for easy access.   

Some of Jenny's haikus seem so complete that anything I could come up with would seem superfluous.  For me, the haikus that really ignite my creative impulses involve images of nature personified.  In this case, I noticed two of Jenny's haikus from my personal list:  

Nestling her head/ in the crook of sunset's arms/ Day closes her eyes  


The moon dips her oars/ In the ocean of night sky/ Slicing through the dark  

I started to see these two haikus as part of the same story that was forming in my mind.  I wondered if I could use both haikus in the same song.  Why not?  

For those unfamiliar with my songs: I tend to rhyme my lines, mostly exact rhymes (invoke, smoke, bloke) and some "slant" rhyme (frown, chin, trim, etc.)  

But what I was wondering now:  Could I use both of Jenny's haikus in the same song, AND, could I write the entire song in haiku?  

That would mean three lines instead of the traditional four-line verse, and no rhyming!  Breaking my own rules!  Could I, should I??  

Just in case I couldn't, I picked two other haikus and wrote songs around them.  Neither attempt pleased me.  Yes, they rhymed, but they didn't say anything new, they seemed old and tired.  

Whereas, my new haiku song:  the melody was calling to me, and I could see the story unfolding before my eyes, like a visual movie in my mind.  Different than my norm, out of my comfort zone!  Ack!  Yes, this would be the one!  

I'm still getting to know this song, musically, but it makes me happy.  Each haiku-verse is a new image unfolding.  I'm sure I never would've come up with this song on my own, without Jenny's haikus as the starter ingredients for my imagination.  This song feels like a true collaboration of spirits.   

Final thought:  Art inspires art.  It invokes different responses in everyone.  

Writers are encouraged to read, songwriters to listen, for this very reason.  Ideas and images float through the air, waiting to be grabbed and shared via human inspiration.  

But:  isn't it lovely that Jenny invites us to create, and share, our own works that her art inspires?  It's like being given special permission, and it opens my horizons even further.  "Revolutions" is my third Jenny-inspired song, and I'm guessing that if I'm open, there will be many more!  


Nestling her head  

In the crook of Sunset's arm  

Day closes her eyes  

She visits a place  

She's been to many times, but  

Only in her dreams  

The moon dips her oars  

In the ocean of night sky  

Slicing through the dark  

Slicing through thick clouds  

Which part like waves, as the sea  

Laps upon the shore  

[La la la la...]  

Star shoots through the night  

Unzipping it like plant leaves  

Split, liminal seam  

Split reveals the Sun  

Rising from shimmering sea  

Day opens her eyes       

Slips on a new dress  

Similar to the others, but  

Never quite the same  

Day begins her dance  

Another revolution  

Between light and dark  

Between moon and sun  

Between dream and dream  

And dream and dream..."

- Sue Fink

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