2016: A Year’s Worth of Memories (Nora Scott)

by Steven Spoerl

Heartbreaking Bravery recently went offline but all facets of the site are back to being fully operational. Apologies for any inconveniences. All posts that were slated to run during that brief hiatus will appear with this note.

One of the most heartening things to see emerging in 2016 was Cuttlefish Collective, a live video series that spotlighted deserving artists playing intimate venues. One of its founders, Nora Scott, was kind enough to reach out after this site had included several of their videos as part of the Watch This series. Over the course of a few emails, it was abundantly clear that Scott was a kindred spirit so it made more than a little sense to extend an invite to participate in this series. That Scott’s chosen to spotlight another friend, Samantha Stoakes, and the Susie Derkins project Stoakes is currently leading, feels almost too fitting. It’s yet another beautiful piece focusing on how the world can, on occasion, produce moments that aren’t just genuinely good but seem to border on perfection. Sink into that feeling and enjoy.


The Susie Derkins set at the Shed Cellar, the second of three shows I went to on December 3rd, was maybe three or four songs long and I couldn’t make out a single word Sam sang, but when I look back on 2016 I can’t think of a moment that better represents the supportive, enthusiastic music community that made my year great.

It was Sam’s first time ever playing original material in front of people and the cozy basement was so packed that people had to stand on the stairs. The cheers after each song were deafening and from my spot in the corner I saw beaming smiles on nearly every face. I watched as this inspiring community of people, nearly none of whom I knew a year ago and many of whom I hope to know a long time, crammed together to cheer on the brave self-expression that brings us together and gets us through years as scary as 2016.

I had just come from a show I hosted through Cuttlefish Collective, a surreal and rewarding project I started last year with Dylan that has allowed me to film some of my favorite musicians in living rooms surrounded by friends. After Sam’s set I walked down the street to a punk show where I bounced around in the pit and joked around out back with close friends, acquaintances, and people I didn’t know at all.

The day had the full spectrum of things I love about the DIY scene, but the highlight was definitely watching the overwhelming support everyone gave Sam at her first show because that, to me, is what makes the community so special. It’s thrives on thankless hard work, unconditional enthusiasm, and urgent, bold expression and it’s one of my favorite things I’ve ever been a part of.