Work In Progress

I’m determined to get a blog post up today, so I thought I’d talk a little about writing.  With the arrival of summer comes an increase in meetings for my writing group.  There always seems to be so much to discuss & try to undertake; an hour and a half seems like hardly enough time to get everything done.  More & more, I wonder if I should try to do this full-time, whether that means trying to do a class through Parks & Rec or attempting to open a writer’s space of my own.  The ideas are wonderful to consider but I’m nervous about moving forward with it.  Partially because it would mean actually demanding that I get paid to do this & I still get shaky thinking about having to value myself & my work.  Even crocheting scarves for people & asking them for X amount in payment is weird & brings back all sorts of boundary issues that make me squirm.  But, now is as good a time as any, I suppose.  I’m not going to get less shy about it until I test the waters.

I’ve also started reading The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron.  It was incredibly popular when I was working at Borders in the long ago & the far away & I’m just now getting into it.  I really appreciate the morning pages exercise.  Even if I never get past the 2nd chapter of the book, it’s given me the flexibility to sit with my thoughts for 40 minutes & just get everything out of my head.  As someone who usually wakes up anxious, the three-page internal monologue purging helps me focus & makes me feel ready to deal with whatever for the rest of the day.  I’ve logically known that just sitting & writing can help improve my mood, but these focused pages have helped me trust that this is something that helps me for the better.  I haven’t totally gotten the schedule down, but I try to do what I can.

Anyway, I’m packing today & my study is slowing filling up with boxes.  For now, I can still get to a few notebooks, but all of my writing books have been boxed up & I have to make do with what I have.  But, that’s the best impetus, right?  Necessity, the mother of invention?  I hope so. . .

Audiophilia, Thoughts

Toronto Fragments

Matthew Good at REBEL Toronto on 3-16-18
Matthew Good at REBEL Toronto on 3-16-18

The drums that open the set like warning shots.  Matt strolling out to his guitar in camo & playing the opening chords with the economy & force of a salute.

Stood still and my memory quit . . . so don’t stop moving. Scream, clap, stamp, dance as much as the crowd allows. Lights strobing across my closed eyelids like a signal to pray & I do: thank you, thank you for the chance to be here. Both in the crowd & under those lights, every word ascends & unfurls like smoke against a mirror, both places at once & permeating the press of people, intoxicating & shocking us with the new setting for familiar words.

Breathe; scream There’s holes up in the sky; breath; scream And no one’s seen your son in days; breathe; scream Goddaaamn!; clap.  Dizziness comes & with it the thought: don’t let me fall, yes, please let me fall.  The split-second faith that nothing will go wrong surrounded by half-drunk strangers in a small space all fixated at one point in front of them.  The quiet break of unseen violins where all the lights go out except of a line of spots that trace a route over our heads & we all wait in expectation of being found.

My husband sheds a few tears quietly but I miss it, waiting for the next note, the next line to find a permanent line to my heart.  I turn toward him & sing Ivory green into his red eyes as if it means everything in the world.

Matt curves his arm against himself & sings Dream of something effortless.  I think of all the small factors that led to this moment: not just finding the club in a strange city or driving to a post office in the middle of nowhere to turn in the passport application, but his failed suicide attempt, my hospitalization, the station in Goldvein that played a bad redirected satellite feed of MuchMusic, his drug cocktail, the nights I couldn’t (& still can’t) sleep wondering why my heart is beating, the fog that lifts before the day breaks, the hospital that became a park, the parent that cared, the parent that didn’t, & the insidious tide of will that keeps us moving forward into life even when we want to quit.

Over it all, snow falls down onto the city with a secret message: Yes, this is the best dream & its yours.

All of us on the floor in the crowd are coming out of our lives & our heads to grasp these words that promised us so much.  We hold each other & sing gleefully despite the irony We’re stuck inside out own machines.  No boats, no lonely sailors, just the ocean crashing forward onto the stage, begging the earth to fall back with us.  During the violins of the last song, as the drummer & the other guitarists throw their picks & sticks into the crowd, Matt stays onstage & sings into our waves Here by my side, it’s heaven over & over again until the playback stops & he braves the pull of our screams before walking away in the dark.

Later, in the hotel room, I will itch for alcohol, my husband will cry again as I play him another song, & we will stare at Matt’s Instagram newly updated with a picture of his cut open finger.  We all know we are not the same & we walk forward with that knowledge.

Be well, Matt. Rest, heal, create another day.

Audiophilia, Thoughts

Monday Music: “Flametop Green”

Hey there everyone, it’s late on a Monday & I want to put something up on the blog, but I’m tired & facing a basket of laundry.  So, I thought I’d share a nice calming song as the day winds down.  I’ve mentioned this one before, but here’s the song itself.  Consider it my long-distance dedication to you, dear Reader, in hopes that it will give you some time to recollect yourself at the beginning of the week.


Reverie, Jan 2018

The wistfulness of lying awake & seeing the world enliven around you.  The lightening of the violet-blue sky into the foggy slate of a rainy winter morning.

The trembling branches heavy with water & shaking off a spatter of drops with a shiver of wind.  The dark branches cracking the sky behind the double lattice of window screen & window pane.

The tinny warm noise of the radio near you that seems to mirror the weak familiar street lamps fading in the dawn.  A pop song you’d laugh at in the bright day suddenly hopeful & vulnerable, like those fluorescent lights that have held back the shadows all night.  A passing car muttering to itself as it leaves for errands work travel.

Looking down & into the world at the height of two stories and feeling everything is so fragile so fragile & in this moment you’re safe & your heart is open & the world is finally catching up to you, the one up since 2am waiting for some strange permission to be up & about like a normal person.  You feel the static of your thoughts fill with the morning & you say to yourself remember this remember.

Your mind tries to obey & shows you other mornings like this, mornings you hadn’t even tried to keep for the future.  Christmas mornings when the light on the ceiling reflected off of the blue-white of the snow outside; dark fall mornings in your grandmother’s house as she made coffee in a kitchen that seemed in another world & you contemplated dressing in the dark; hazy amber mornings where you stared at the mysteries of the townhouse parking lot & forgot what you did to yourself hours ago with a bottle of vodka & a pocketknife.  No no, you gently protest against the images, remember this morning outside the windows.

& as you try to redirect, as you try to make room in your heart for a shining puddle, a dark window breathing pale curtains, the pleasurable luxury of this bed & this moment to yourself, you forget to hold onto the waking world & drift into sleep.