Magazine Feature / People

Mom is between Iraq and a hard place

It’s happened to countless of women since the beginning of time. Children fight in wars that their moms don’t agree with. Political activist and songwriter Laurie “Fly Janov” Williams, BA ’74, is counted among them.

“My son rebelled against his hippie mother and joined the Marines,” Williams says. 

Her son, Adam, has spent the past six years in the Marine Corps and will head to Iraq after graduate school. So how does this student of the ’60s cope? She writes and sings protests songs.

“Between Iraq and a Hard Place,” Williams’ tribute to military mothers opposed to the Iraq war, was selected out of hundreds of entries for inclusion in Protest Songs for a Better World, Vol. 1, a Brian Gladstone compilation CD that promotes activism through music. All proceeds are donated to the United Nations Peace Foundation.

With an eclectic style all her own, Williams has received much acclaim for her thought-provoking “slit your wrist” lyrics, which aren’t always political. 

She met her husband, psychologist and professor Rick Williams, at DU. The two have been making music ever since.

Williams fondly remembers her DU days and has used some of her university experiences for inspiration. She encourages fellow alumni and current students to do the same. 

“Life is memories,” she says. “You’re making them right now. So document them in a journal, through song and in poems. Chances are, you’ll go back to them.”

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