Dar Williams | Musician and Author of “What I Found in A Thousand Towns”
Music was everywhere. We played music, we were encouraged to play music, we sang in the car. But that was also the 70’s.
Dar grew up in Chappaqua, NY during the 70’s. It was developing and becoming more progressive as a commuter city to New York City. Her parents were involved in city politics but also enjoyed art, gardening, and music.
Through volunteering and fundraising, her parents exemplified community building, her father specifically holding an instrumental role in bringing their local library to life. Dar emphasizes the importance and beauty of libraries as community gathering spaces.
Growing up, she has a clear memory of listening to Judy Collins and connecting with the seriousness and poetry of the songwriting. She pursued playwriting and theater until she moved to Boston where she began doing open mics and writing songs in its supportive, vibrant music community.
As Dar began traveling and performing, she shares how she fell in love with watching the small towns evolve with each performance, time and time again. She credits this cultivation of culture to the people and the community builders who bring the artists into the town.
I watched towns grow up as the venues grew up.
Understanding Positive Proximity
Positive proximity is the experience of living side by side with people and knowing that your life is better because there are other people, not despite the fact that there are other people.
Dar shares a personal example of this from her life of a man who tilled the herb garden while sharing differing political views. Although she disagreed with his politics, she was grateful to spend time with someone who was so different from her but shared a common vision for their community.
Some of the Towns That Dar Loves:
1. Her hometown, Beacon, NY.
2. Phoenixville, PA.
3. Gainesville, FL.
4. Moab, UT.
Based on her 25 years of touring the country, Dar wrote the book “What I Found in A Thousand Towns,” which highlights her unique perspective on how communities evolve. As a bonus, Dar plays her song, “February.” You can find more of her work on her website.