Have you ever had a dream so real and tangible that you awoke to find yourself in the same motions as you were in the dream? Crying, laughing, orgasming, talking? This morning I was in a dream so vivid and real, capturing my time spent with someone I miss dearly. He was happy and relaxed, connecting in an open way as when we first met and had first traveled together. We were on a trip and standing in the white, non-descript lobby of a modern hotel. I had the option of going anywhere in the world on my own but I chose to stay with him, wherever that journey led us. As we ascended to our room in the elevator, I soaked in every second, fearing the inevitability that the moment would pass. I began to cry in the dream, a mixture of longing and sadness and of gratitude and joy. He was surprised and certain that I need not worry, for what we had was not as temporary as I feared. In real life, he had always been the one thinking ahead and not being present. As I continued to cry in the dream I slowly awoke. My lids were like faulty dams, betraying me as soon as I opened my eyes and felt tears begin to flow. It took a few minutes to discern what was real and what was dreamt. And while positive feelings remained I was left in the same situation– there was nothing I could do. His absense has been his choice. We can have a plan, we can put our best foot forward, but at some point the ultimate outcome is out of our hands. It’s funny that whatever uncertainties we may have in the waking world are confronted with brutal honesty by our subconscious. And that we cannot escape.
I partook in a very interesting experiment sponsored by “Dial” known as smell dating. The evening was a hoot and made the NY Times. And I always thought my first mention in the Times would be more scandalous! Then again, I am photographed with a blindfold and a man in a robe.
I went upstate this weekend, in need of a reprieve by the lake and open space. My folks were keen on sorting through twenty years of accumulated “stuff” in the basement and insisted I rifle through items and decide what to do with them. My grandmother packed hand-painted ceramics she made for my baby room and had hoped I would some day keep for my own children. I sometimes wonder if I’ll ever have children at this point, as much as I would like to, my life is pulled in many directions.
My dad rifled through an unmovable box of my inherited possessions and my mother insisted that I help him sort through it and decide what to keep. As I maneuvered my way between ceiling high piles of boxes, my dad unknowingly turned with full force and elbowed me in the sternum. Crack. The impact was heard and felt and my mom was terrified he’d actually fractured something. A flood of tears formed and I’m not sure if it was the physical pain or shock (it didn’t hurt too much), or the unfamiliar sensation that reverberated through my entire body, but it felt like I’d survived an unintentional, heavy-handed acupuncture treatment. It reminded me of being in third-grade, in the basement of my “boyfriend’s” home and playing pool. I jokingly took my pool stick and poked at the fiberglass overhead and a flood of water came pouring down around us. His parents were baffled of where the water came from- as there were no pipes overhead. It was just an unexplainable pocket of water. Like the fiberglass ceiling, there I was, no idea where the tears were coming from but an elbow to the heart set them free.
Later that day I took my 7-year-old second-cousin and we ran through rain drops in between pelting one another with water balloons. “Can you ask your mom if I can have your ashes when you die?” he asked me. He lost his grandmother last year and her ashes are on his grandfather’s mantle.
“Sure. But only if you mix them with purple and silver glitter,” I told him. He smiled, took a beat, and mischievously returned to filling balloons with the hose.
Coming home reminds me of my own mortality and of those around me. It makes me reflect on the relationships that have lasted through time and those that have weaved in and out of my life. I found a letter I wrote to a friend of mine when I was 12, ending our friendship because she was going on a bad path (a path of promiscuity and mental imbalance). It’s funny how some themes reoccur. I thought of the relationships I’d love to mend but are simply out of my hands. But I left with a firm sense of understanding that it truly gets better every day. The things I longed for at 14, my mystified view of New York and my desire to get here, and my true passions are a part of me no matter how many years have passed and how many people have come and gone. The heart may take a few hits, but the spirit still remains.
Sonya Kitchell is my latest go-to for late night walks throughout Manhattan for a hundred blocks of self-reflection. Her album, “This Storm,” is a beautiful, melodic, tranquil soundtrack for a richly felt life. I feel like a “Robin In The Snow” and on this overcast summer day, I already find myself dreading the inevitable weather changes ahead. But they’re a few months away. My anger has dissolved into empathy. I’m glad I’m not angry all the time- I have no idea how those people function. Then again, before “Sweet Clarity” I was working on “Anger Grows” so maybe I’ve just forgotten. This album may be the anger extinguisher.
I’ve been left with a bad taste in my mouth for the past few days and try as I may to cover it with a nice cold Irish stout, the sense remains. This past weekend I was essentially hounded by someone trying to issue a gag order. Artists don’t like to be gagged. Nor do Americans as far as I know. In today’s landscape of a digital world, the international community has replicated small town America in that no one has a private life and any of their secrets can be streamed across the world with a quick click on a mouse pad. Instead of trying to photoshop one’s life into a squeaky-clean image, I’d imagine it makes far more sense to live an ethical life. Instead of putting on a show of being a “good person,” why not actually be that good person? Since writing a memoir at the age of 18, I know what it’s like to be in the public with my life, if only on a small scale. I recall being in a Media class in college and thrilled that privacy could dissolve because it just might mean people feel less free to be lousy in their treatment of others. It was a naively optimistic hope at best.
Today my vitriol was unleashed in lyrics about a man who is destined to fall. He may place the blame on everything around him, but this time it is his “call to fall.” I’m not a stranger to literary figures and actual individuals who are ready to point their finger at others when self-destruction is their personal super highway in life. I’m glad to be a songwriter because without an outlet this insurmountable disgust and anger could have amounted in something spiteful. Something that all my friends and family members felt he deserved.
It may be highly egoic and it reaches back to when I was at least 4 or 5 but I absolutely hate to be told what to do. I hate it. I’ve always valued my own capacity to make reasonable decisions. And being told what to do simply makes me want to do the complete opposite, particularly when it’s by someone issuing orders solely for his own gain. I’m not sure a scapegoat is ever needed if you’re living an authentic life. Because you would just accept- it is what it is.
Although I abstained from commenting about this individual, on the basis of my own rationale and not the implied gag order, I saw how quickly the public sees through bullshit anyway. I know we all may look to our neighbors and the population as a whole and think, “Wow, what a bunch of morons.” But, honestly, when it comes down to it- I think most of us can spot a phony.
Would you be my future former? No… really? Would you?
Due to the wonderful artistic journey of the music production I was back in the studio today laying down new drums to “Future Former” with the awesome help of Doug Yowell. The man is brilliant and I’m really happy to be closer to finishing this project. I know, I know everyone keeps asking when I will release this, but it’s soon, I tell ya. We’re also trying to put together a budget and team for a music video so if anyone is interested, please drop me a line.
Today was an interesting lesson in how everything comes full circle. Although sometimes in a frightening way. What goes around comes back around, those who have little time when your life is concerned have no problem finding every spare moment of their waking hour to track you down when they need something, and some of us choose to paint fallacious landscapes of our lives and others of us really don’t care. I wonder if the decisions we’d make as five-year-olds would be much different and when the actual wiring is set in stone as the decision-making processes we have as adults. I’m trying to keep my own calm in a current storm that’s blown past, realizing that even the most peaceful thoughts can be manipulated by those acting in fear and insanity. Sincerity goes a long way, but to some prosperous folks, manipulation is more effective in their lines of defense. Some people see a hornet’s nest and leave it alone, while others choose to agitate it thinking there is something to gain. I’m only led to more thoroughly question the sanity of those who seek power and think they can save the world when they can’t save themselves. Stevie Nicks once sang, “Blame it on something at first sight, put the blame on me if you want to… to be continued” and while it isn’t my favourite song, today was a day when someone tried to throw the blame on me. Although her other songs are equally appealing, like “Gold Dust Woman” encouraging a lousy lover to “take your silver spoon and dig your grave.” Tonight I really understand the passion behind her lyrical styling.
I have a new song in the making. It’s called, “I’m a Liability.” It’ll be on the next album.
Freedom comes by losing fear and if fear had an anecdote then humour and laughter must be it. As the wise words of Bette Midler once resounded, “Fuck ’em if they can’t take a joke!”
I upgraded to a Casio Privia a year and a half ago. I love it more than any musical instrument I’ve ever owned. Yet, discarded, leaning against the back of my wall lay my old Casio collecting dust. I wrote the majority of my songs on this weathered keyboard, and with the luxury of my new Casio, I wonder how the old was once my muse. It put out some pretty decent songs in some pretty dark hours. My emotional attachment was eventually trumped by my need to clear the clutter of my super “cozy” Upper West Side apartment. And so I did the right thing, posted an ad on Craigslist, and sold the keyboard to a father of a son who’s looking to play out and perform. I feel a little cheap that a keyboard could be exchanged for a few bills that will cover my weekend visit upstate. Sometimes we just have to let go… so… so long, Casio.