A self-professed live music junkie, Shannon is the author of “Astral Weeks Live: A Fan’s Notes,” a book about her year on the road attending singer Van Morrison’s epic live performances of his widely acclaimed album Astral Weeks. To find out more about the book or to order a copy signed by the author, click here.

The book got published in December 2007 – and in a flash of absolute brilliance, I decided this book needed itself a book tour; and who better to go on that book tour but me? And two seconds after I asked my daughter, Bridget, if she wanted to go too, she was right on it. And off we went, eleven months on the road – a month that stole our hearts away in Northern Ireland and Ireland, eight months from sea to shining sea in the United States, and two months across Canada that took us to both coasts. We both took our cameras, Bridget her Nikon blah-de-blah and me my point-and-shoot with features. We were both determined to keep a blog; it was going to be so great: We’d take lots of pictures, post about all the places we’d been to, having the time of our lives, and people would be flocking to our sites and buying my book. What a great book tour! You can check out my photo essay at ON THE ROAD. We had the time of our lives!

Eleven months on the road generated a to-do list the size of Gibraltar that I thought I either needed to get done or wanted to get done once I got home. I’ve been chipping away at that to-do list ever since, including the first thing on my list: finishing up the travel blog. It seems we were spending way more time on the road having fun and a lot less time writing up about how much fun we were having. Lesson #1 about blogging on the road: Keep it simple! More photos, less talking. Uh oh. This is no good. Because here I am about to embark on a blog that is anything but simple. I just have too much I want to talk about and it doesn’t all fit in one tidy little box.

The first thing I want to talk about is freedom. Living free. Our year on the road gave me a lot of time to think, explore ideas, look at what’s going on around me, my place in all that and the journey of my life on the road to freedom. It’s a big topic – this freedom thing. And I’ve got a lot to talk about – so watch for my blog posts in FREE AT LAST.

Another wonderful thing I got to explore to my heart’s desire on the road was how much I love color and light and how they play together – the sun dancing on the water, flowers in the garden, patterns in the snow. I’ve created an outlet for all this and more in my PHOTOGRAPHS.

I have two music categories. The first is called MUSIC PAGE, and we’re going to keep it simple with what I like: live music, the blues, Van Morrison, and any combination of the three.

Much more music ahead! Before there was ever “Astral Weeks Live: A Fan’s Notes,” I was working on a larger book, in terms of scope, about Van Morrison’s music. I began writing it in 2007 and was working quite madly at it right up to the night of November 6, 2008, the day before I was to fly out to Los Angeles to see Van Morrison perform the first two shows in what turned out to be a year of performances of “Astral Weeks” live. The short version is that between going to the shows and then writing a book about the year of Astral Weeks live, there was never any time to return to the original book, and there it sits on my hard drive, collecting virtual dust. You know and I know that the world does not need another book by Shannon Vale about Van Morrison’s music. And I’m good with that. But in another one of those flashes of absolute brilliance, I daresay I outdid myself this time: Why not post it here on my blog? So that’s what I’m going to do – act like Charles Dickens and serialize the first draft of my first Van story. You can check it out at VAN CHRONICLES.

Happy reading!


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