Sunday, December 11, 2016

Do Not Disturb

I've finally settled on what should be engraved on my headstone.

More than anything it's solitude I want.  I've learned in the past few weeks that it is the destination at the end of a causeway -- the road to Galveston -- and music will get me there.  I told someone after the election that now was the time to fall in line with art again.  Advice I've been taking my own damn self.  I own a wonderful record collection.  It's a combination of what I bought in my 20's when not only was I part of an innovative music programming organization at the University of Iowa, but as 20-ish people do letting musicians tell me (and others) who I was.  Then I inherited a friend's classical collection when she retired and then I got older, had a baby and fell into the abyss of dire poverty with seat-of-the-pants moves, and could no longer buy records.  Lastly, my boyfriend-not-yet-husband's hometown room-mate who DJ'd when he wasn't being a neurotic asshole moved out and left his collection behind.  (Which is why I own the music of Joan Jett, Béla Bartók, Johann Sebastian Bach, and Donna Summer.)

In my 30's I couldn't write fiction and listen to music, so I didn't play my records except occasionally, like when I struggled to keep depression at bay.  (I have some vague memory of 2 year old D. exclaiming, "Al Jahbay, Mommy, Al Jahbay!!!"  as she danced to Al Jarreau, who as I write this is sittin' on the dock of the bay.  Now in my 60's always aware that I will not much longer have ears to hear and eyes to see am slowly playing this deliberate and inherited collection before I will it to a friend.  It is the way to peace these days.

It is a paradox that life has gotten simultaneously better and harder.  I've always been a bit of a dreadnik but really, it seems like most personal news are tales of loss, damage, diminution and struggle.  I'm having to call on more skills to cope with it because if I don't I will not have a stomach left by year's end.  Music -- live and recorded -- helps a lot because it takes me back and away and opens me up to commune with a place beyond words and rational thought.  Now playing, Norman Connors' Love From the Sun.

Trigger warning :-}
In January I will be taking 2 classes because I'd been subtly warned that there's a sell-by date to getting my degree and you ain't getting any younger .....  I may be crazy by May.  (Editor's note:  make that crazier) and I doubt I will be posting much although godknows there will be plenty plenty to write about.

I wish us all luck.  And solitude.

Sunday, November 13, 2016

Dance with the Revolution What Brung Ya, Part II

From an e-mail reply I sent a friend who, like many others, is passing on much of the ink that's been spilled as she tries to figure out what to do:

It was undeniably grief that I felt by late Tuesday evening, like millions of others.  I have urged friends that I talk to submit to it for the time being, and resist the urge to get into frenzied action.  By yesterday I was able to pick the scab and read blogs (including the excerpt from Rorty’s work) and online news accounts of What Happened, but soon tired.  I don’t know if it’s my age, or my temperament, or the fact that I grew up in an environment where my family and I were a tolerated novelty so have always been an outsider, but for whatever reasons I am not despairing.  Angry, yes.  Disgusted, yes, but not despairing.  In what age and in what nation-state have people not suffered and died unjustly as one regime ends and a new one begins?

I disagree vehemently with Masha Gessen – outrage on the level of what is happening in the streets of our cities cannot and will not be sustained.  White-hot anger is a force that eventually gets spent because it can kill the host.  Unless we are willing to elect radical politicians to the Statehouse and Congress; and unless we as a liberal polity learn to tolerate that our elected leadership will become comfortable, and more conservative, and eventually accede to legislative decisions that stink of betrayal, then we are fooling ourselves.   By the time someone is elected to office they have to be willing to “do the nasty” of politics or they will be ineffective.  And who is willing to be the next Lyndon Baines Johnson, who by all accounts was a son of a bitch’s son of a bitch?

Saturday, November 12, 2016

Dance with the Revolution What Brung Ya

This will be (mercifully) brief, because I have lots to do before leaving town on Monday.  A few thoughts:

1.  Trump's election was a revolution.  A set of ever-wobbling cultural and political norms were tossed off the balcony.  The enforced piety and moral probity required of high office-seekers in the USA has been diminished.  It may be forever possible now to have let your freak flag fly and still become President.

2.  Go ahead and grieve, but refrain from engaging in a flurry of activity as if the world will end on January 17, 2017.  Take more time to do the things you love doing, not the things you should do.

3.  Understand that while the person occupying the office (and the attendant departments under their control) can do great harm, the office changes the person.  In ways few of us understand or will imagine.

4.  And lastly, to quote my older brother, "Keep your head down and your pad low."

Ciao, bella.