Thursday, October 18, 2018

Thursday Tales: Game Over



She stifled a scream as the arrow pierced through her skin.  She knew this one had hit its mark.

Liza crumpled against the wall, feeling its cold seep into her skin, and with her last short breaths, she remembered.

She remembered being a child.
She remembered being young and carefree.
She remembered her first love and all the loves that had come after.
She remembered the people she'd walked over, and the people who had walked over her.
She remembered the pain of both.
She remembered all the things she'd love to live again, and all the things she wished that she'd chosen differently.
She remembered everything she'd sacrificed to come to this moment.
She just remembered.

At the last moment, her vision sizzled -- as it sizzled every time -- and the words flashed before her eyes.


TRY AGAIN OR END GAME


She always chose "Try again."


Wednesday, October 3, 2018

Collector of Advice

I am a collector... of advice. Probably because I harbor too much self-doubt. Too little self-trust.

Am I understanding things correctly? Am I missing something? Am I being unreasonable? Is this even the right thing or am I going to regret this in two days? Do I even know what I'm talking about? Am I being unfair? Am I expecting too much? Too little? 

The tape plays on.

And so I collect advice. Some comes from peers. Some comes from my mentors. Some comes unsolicited from people who don't really know the full of it but would like to contribute anyway -- which I generally toss, but not really, because it floats around in my head for longer than it should, all mixed up with the doubt and the trust.

Much of it just swirls in my mind ad nauseum. Some of it gets saved forever.
Don't go back ..... Eventually they will f*ck you over, they always do. Sometimes it hurts, sometimes it's C'est la vie, sometimes you're so ready for them to go it's just a massive relief.
Some of it doesn't make sense at first... Or it does cognitively, but I don't understand it enough in my heart to put it into practice. Sometimes it takes years until it gets there. Sometimes it's advice that I know is well-meant with love, but that I know I'm not ready to take -- so I've kept it.  Until I am.

Until I lose my doubt.
Until I trust myself.
Until I'm ready.

Monday, October 1, 2018

Thoughts and Ramblings: Lesley Pike and "Honey and Rust"

"Good luck on your new album... Is it superstitious to say that? .... And as your new music takes shape, I hope the process of writing finds you well and happy. I've always really liked your songs that left me feeling sort of empowered - I hope it all goes well."

I sent that to Lesley Pike two years ago when she announced she was starting to write for another album, intended as a kind message of something resembling closure. Which I am obviously really bad at, as that message ended up turning into a friendly relationship of sorts. I'm more hesitant to claim friendship with people than I once was. Just because I think of someone as a friend doesn't mean they think of me that way. But we'll say friendly, at least.

This is filled with a touch of serendipity for me. Something I didn't plan for, but needed. A shared love for a certain genre of reading, but not just... I needed someone to talk to. Someone I could be butt-honest with about things I had always avoided saying out loud or even admitting to myself. Someone who wouldn't tell me I was being crazy or unfair. I needed a listening ear and a soft place to land when I inevitably crashed.

Musically, I like Lesley for the same reasons I like Kina Grannis. For the same reasons I love Miranda Lambert's "Weight of These Wings" or Kacey Musgraves or Christina Perri. The music I play the most over and over, especially from female artists, is music I can find myself in, music that has depth to its source and something for me to sink my teeth into. And I kind of think that the only way you can make music like that is to put a good chunk of yourself into it. I'd heard Lesley's last couple albums... I knew she was that kind of songwriter.

"Honey and Rust" came out while I was in Ireland. I downloaded it one morning and listened in the early morning hours while waiting for a teenager to wake up, and then a few more times while we flew to Liverpool. I flipped to a song I knew would be on there first out of... if I'm honest, probably curiosity and a little bit of trepidation. Is it possible to be disappointed in something you already know? ... but then flipped back to the top to listen through like a normal person.

Some songs made me smile... Who can resist a snappy song of redemption and triumph over the trials that threaten to bring you down?  Phoenix is that song, and is frequently in my head. (Sorry, People of Target.) Muscle Memory, more than anything to me, pulses along the lines of the Mindfulness I've been trying to capture over the last couple years -- balancing between obsessing about the past and worrying about what might come next to center on what is.

My favorite is probably In the Blood. It's simple, it's heartfelt...  it's easy to find myself in it. And that's not a very long analysis, but it's the nicest thing that I could possibly say about any piece of music I loved.  I listen to it a lot.

I mean, y'all...

I can see you looking for love in those places
Searching in everyone's face and everywhere it can't be found.
I can feel you running away from what heals you
Spinning your wheels, trying to keep your feet up off the ground
Darling, I'll be here when you come down.

Two years have gone by since that message, Lesley... and the music has taken shape... and a lot has happened... and I hope the writing has left you well and happy and resilient.

Thank you for listening to me.