This blog doesn’t necessarily dig up old photos, but the nostalgia of rifling through online shots brought me to find the passage I’m including. It’s from three or more years ago, when I was pipe dreaming about this relationship I always thought would be. I broke into side-splitting guffaws a few nights ago when my best friend reminded me that I once wanted to marry this chap. Anyway, in one of the time periods I was left alone in my tiny SRO, burning candles and reading spiritual books, I came across this snippet in a book. I can’t even remember where I found it, but I remember that I instantly wanted to scan the passage for future keeping. It brought tears to my eyes to imagine finding the person to be the kind of partner spoken of. I also remember the defiant twinge in my stomach that made me know for certain, this fantasy of marriage with this chap I chased for years could never deliver. Anyway, it made me smile today as I read it again and thought I’d share. I am as wishy-washy on my thoughts about marriage as most politicians are about their platforms in the primaries. But tomorrow being Halloween always reminds me that if I do get hitched, I’ve always wanted to get married on Halloween (and it better be impromptu and low-scaled and mysterious).
I love my neighbor, for the most part. In three years, we’ve spoken no more than ten words to one another. I’ve seen her completely naked, in a typical New York moment. I was coming up the stairs in the middle of the night after an out-of-town adventure when she unknowingly jumped out of her apartment door without a stitch on to dispose of her trash bag. Outside of a few occasionally loud tangos-in-the-night with a dude, and her boisterous southern mama chatting on the balcony below my window during visits, she’s generally quiet. She’s also rarely home.
Normally, it’s nice to have a neighbor that’s not home. However, it has been two days and her carbon-monoxide alarm has been beeping. Every apartment had the same alarm installed at the same time and my batteries began to die a few days ago and the damn thing woke me up at 6 in the morning. I smacked it off the wall with a broom handle and have yet to replace the batteries (I know, I’m really living on the edge now. Don’t worry- I’m not that much of a rebel, as my fire alarm batteries are fresh and functioning). My neighbor’s alarm beeps to note the need for new batteries and I wonder which will happen first- her return or the batteries will completely die. Whichever it is, I wish that bleepin’ beeping would stop! I’m going crazy!
This has been the most difficult summer for me to let go. Each day of warmth in this Indian Summer has answered my inner desire to make it last, until I’m ready for the next season in my life. So many things managed to happen for me, positive in so many facets of my life… and yet I wish I could’ve made so much more take place. I’ve been hanging on the lingering days of warmth, walking along the Central Park pond and the Hudson River. It comes with this fear of letting go… of trusting that the warmth and great moments of this summer will not carry on through a new year. “So frightened by the thought of winter…”
It reminded me of “The Summer Knows,” a song I played on repeat when I was 15, reminiscing a summer of skinny dipping and instigating mischief. The past few weeks have been full of challenges and people telling me of my own limitations and impossibilities. I feel like I’m fifteen again, or seventeen, when I wanted to do the same and every door was seemingly shut. I remember walking into the Dean’s office my first week in college and being told I’d never be able to finish my degree in two years. Yet, I still managed to do it. Everything I’ve ever been told I could not do, by some outside source, some objective person that merely passed through my life, I managed to prevail. And as more seasons pass… it’s the beauty of getting older and having that foundation of self-trust.
And I hope the warmth and wonders of this past summer will carry through…
The Summer Knows (Alan and Marilyn Bergman)
The summer smiles, the summer knows
And unashamed, she sheds her clothes
The summer smoothes the restless sky
And lovingly she warms the sand on which you lie
The summer knows, the summer’s wise
She sees the doubts within your eyes
And so she takes her summer time
Tells the moon to wait and the sun to linger
Twists the world ’round her summer finger
Lets you see the wonder of her arms
And if you’ve learned your lessons well
There’s little more for her to tell
One last caress, it’s time to dress for fall
I worked for a large financial company this week, assisting with their events. This means I was suffocated in business attire and dedicated 24 out of 48 hours commuting during rush hour, siting in a room full of papers and files and overhead lighting, with my IQ instantly dropping a hundred percent. I’m glad for these days because they remind me how great my life is to not be sentenced to a horrible corporate job. It reminded me of being in school, with a set-schedule and having to ask when I can eat and when I can go the bathroom. The worst was learning the chain of command, which person had the appropriate “powers” for “pertinent” tasks that were slapped with the heaviness of life-or-death finality. Tasks such as, opening boxes of pens and which side of the pen should point up, and what side of the binders they should be placed.
A stapler broke and the CEO’s packets were not adequately fastened. The dilemna had the gravity of a nuclear war, what would happen if he noticed? Even though the packets had three-holes, meant to placed into a binder (which really means a staple was unneccessary), the poor staples caused a frenzy of snapping remarks, event planners running around in desperation, and utter despair. Once the staples were fixed, the packets were placed on the glamorous seats of a ballroom at the Waldorf Astoria; a blatant invitation for attendees to seat their asses on the CEO’s face, which donned the cover.
I cannot possibly imagine. Absolutely. Cannot. IMAGINE. Waking up every morning, rushing to work, spending the great majority of my waking life answering to people, having heart palpitations over staplers and papers and bitchy CEO’s who don’t think the tuna tartare is up to their standards and then firing an entire catering company for it. And you know what else? Control and power hungry freak I can be… I don’t want to be a whiney, billionaire CEO sucking the money out of the company and from the middle class for the sake of buying a few extra yachts in different ports around the country.
This blog is prompted by my own data-entry tasks at home, as I update my address book with the hundreds of business cards accumlated in the past year. I came across this one from a pretentious, stuffy asshole I interviewed with my first week back in NY, years ago. I remember he told me, “Who cares if you wrote a book? I can’t use any of this. You need to exemplify your skills as a task-oriented employee.” Are you kidding me?
And I came to realize… in my life, I most often get to work and be creative and involved in the aspects of life that all these people choose to SPEND their money on. Which means all that time dedicated to life-or-death projects that revolves around numbers and papers and reports and statements is used to make money to buy them that two or three hours of escape. Working so hard just to find an escape. Life is just too short. And even if it weren’t, life becomes just too long when it’s spent day-after-day working for something that means so little.
I completely take back my threat to work in finance and bust some balls at Goldman Sachs in two years. As always, I was romanticizing the opportunity. I’ll stick to creation.
I, like a fool, always confused “Urban Cowboy” with “Midnight Cowboy,” somehow thinking they were the same flick. This caused great confusion when I always thought the John Travolta-Debra Winger picture was making the top film lists (frustratingly wondering, “what the hell does everyone see in that movie?!?). Over Labor Day weekend, we played a version of “Six Degrees” and Dustin Hoffman kept coming up, with mention of his defining performance in “Midnight Cowboy” (odd it’s not called urban since it’s taking place in a city and the real “Urban Cowboy” doesn’t). I Netflixed the movie this week. Wow. Dark and truly profound, as I’m left speechless. At a loss of articulate words, I recommend seeing this (particularly if you want a glimpse of 1960’s New York). Seedy, yet decadent, it’s always my utmost back-in-time fantasy to have spent my twenties in Manhattan in the late ’60’s to mid- ’70’s.
And I have a new icon: Brenda Vaccaro. Always in awe of women with husky voices, she just exemplifies New York sexiness (move over, “Sex in the City”). She’s my new role model.
Tonight I was in Strawberry Fields for the promotion of “Across the Universe.” The NY Post was there, so hopefully my photo will be in tomorrow’s paper, dancing in full hippie-attire with my ribboned purple tambourine in hand. It was a blast and much better than last year’s vigil in December, where I nearly froze to death. Sid Bernstein was there, like rock-royalty, pointed out to everyone who arrived as the “man who brought the Beatles to America.” I researched some of his interviews about the past and found a hilarious snip about Laura Nyro. I was curious about what female groups he supported, and this one give some insight… if anyone ever falls asleep during my set, I’ll be sure to think of Sid. Photos to come… dressing like a Bohemian and dancing around in circles with other offbeat characters is so liberating. Of course, the suits came out as they walked through the park and clapped on all the wrong beats. Not so say the quirky types could keep a beat (one girl danced and gyrated in such a way, it was as if her limbs belonged to somebody else. She managed to move on every milisecond of an offbeat, squirming her way AROUND the beat).
—-Interview with Sid Bernstein
– One of the book’s most humorous passages is when you’re recalling how
David Geffen, then an agent, brought in Laura Nyro to play for you, to
see if you would like to become her manager.
– “She was very good, but I was very tired and I fell asleep during her
set. She didn’t talk to me for three or four years, and Geffen
eventually became her manager. She was so livid with me, and I don’t
blame her. Felix Cavaliere, who was pals with her, he ended putting us
back together. I didn’t even want to apologize when he reintroduced me
to her because I felt so bad, but we became friends.”
P&P – She was a brilliant songwriter, but was she disappointed in not having commercial success as a solo artist?
– “She didn’t want it. She was a real, real … for the lack of a
better word … isolationist. A loner, bohemian, like George Harrison.
A private life was all she wanted, and she finally got it when she had
her first child. She once apologized to me for turning down an
interview that I felt was right up her alley; she said, ‘I don’t mean
to frustrate you, but I can’t do these things.’ “
I had a absolutely glorious weekend. Yesterday I finished the lead vocals for “The Vineyard” and gave four more demos to Scott for “Anger Grows.” He currently has 16 demos awaiting production, which we will soon widdle down to true album size and have a handful of new songs for everyone to enjoy. It felt great to be back recording and this time it’s far more seemless and organic and freeing. I think pressure of putting myself out there the first time was terrifying and stressful. This time, it actually feels… fun.
Today I was assigned the task of singing around Manhattan in full hippy glory for “Across the Universe.” I walked along Central Park South, listening to my new favourite song by Jessie Baylin, and reflecting on my own songwriting. The difference in sound and delivery from the newer songs like the Vineyard to the crazy, torch songs I wrote for “Anger Grows” almost makes me seem to suffer from multiple personalities when they’re performed back to back. I thought of the people to inspire “Anger Grows” songs, and even the “Chained by Dreams” melodies, were inspired by and realized something. The songs… the lonely time I spent on a keyboard, pounding out my heartache and projections, the healing power of it and the magic that envelops me in those times is truly profound. So profound, that if you asked me to have the people back or to be alone with my songs. Well, I’d choose the songs… they’ve been far more fulfilling.
That, of course, is only in the context of those songs about lost lovers and betrayal and well… the growth of anger. There are some awesome people who have inspired some pretty songs, and I’d like keep those folks around. In this kaleidescope of maniacal changes and people, I’m glad to have the creative outlet… and hopefully the new songs will strike a chord.
Singing all over Manhattan today, from Central Park to Times Square was certainly a fun way to remember the power of music. Amen for creative expression.