Monday, March 31, 2008

so love me now

"well wake, baby, wake.
but leave that blanket around you,
there's nowhere else safe.
i'm leaving this place,
but there's nothing i'm planning to take;
just you, just you, just you, just you..."

i've said for a long time that music is my oxygen, my sanity, the way i focus and often exist. lately i have noticed that it is my muse, though i'm sure i always knew this, never writing a word in a notebook, composition book, blank blog space, or even the backside of a postcard without a song playing in the background.

so now, as i push myself through to finish a story that keeps building, determined to not be the girl who never finishes anything anymore, i find myself with my ears open, taking in every turn of a lyric, and progression of sound. i've found myself pulling over to the side of the road, tears streaming down my face, as i see something so vivid in my mind.

characters seem to take over, nudge at me, tug at me until i stop and look, or listen - this is the path, over here, and don't forget...

i always heard writers talk about that at some point the story takes over. that you become, as the writer, a conduit - or perhaps it is just that you become so entrenched with the characters that you become pieces of them. as if you are playing a role on a stage, layering traits over your own, and mixing them until they are one.

all i know for sure is that i am carrying them around with me - everywhere - and they seem to have song preferences. by the end of this story i think i my end up with a soundtrack that is volumes long. time life will have to come around and make an informercial for it, or something.

Sunday, March 30, 2008

no dissolve to a sliver of grey

"it’s just a house burning, but it’s not haunted.
it was your heart hurting, but not for long, kid.
in the socket you spin from with ease there is no sticking.
from the speakers your fake masterpiece is serenely dribbling.
When the air around your chair fills with heat,
that’s the flames licking.
beneath the clock on the clean mantelpiece.
it’s got a calm clicking,
like a pro at his editing suite takes two weeks stitching up some bad movie. "

Saturday, March 29, 2008

i'm not the man you think i am, at all

"she packed my bags last night pre-flight,
zero hour nine a.m.
and i'm gonna be high as a kite, by then.
i miss the earth so much,
i miss my wife;
it's lonely out in space.
on such a timeless flight."

one of my favorite songs covered by one of my favorite singers.

Friday, March 28, 2008

the love behind your eyes

"you talk, yes you talk a good game,
won’t you teach me the same?
oh i’d love to explain,
like showing your hand, and all about;
oh well i know, i know, i know, i know,
and so and so and so..."

just got past a spot of plot block with this song, which i've been listening to on and off all day. suppose it was trying to tell me something all that time.

i love the last moment of this video, with arms thrown up in the air.

i will live by my own policies

"i can't bear to be in another city,
one where you are not."

Thursday, March 27, 2008

don't you wish you never, never met her

the prologue from the 33 1/3 book rid of me: a story by kate schatzit might be a bit long, but damn, i so get what she means. i find myself sitting here wondering what album i would choose, what it would say/sing to me, and what characters it would spark to life.


there's a thing that happens.

you love an album. you get into it - listening over and over, taking in every sound, beat, shift and phrase. you sing along, memorize the silence between each song. you absorb it, you feel it.and it gets into you.

and it gets into you.

a great album tells a story, whether explicit and linear or subtle and discrete. and when you love that album, when it's gotten inside of you and you know the characters, landscapes, lyrics, and rhythms, there's another thing that happens: it becomes yours. you own it, you have a relationship with it. you know each other. it's your music, they're your stories - you become free to put meaning here, add interpretation there, and decide exactly what it's all about (then change your mind with each listen). it's mutual and consensual and very, very private.

and then sometimes you make it public. the album's narrative begets new narratives and you want to share that somehow, let these expanded possibilities be known. a declaration of adoration, a kind of self-serving homage. maybe it takes the form of a cover song, freely or closely interpreted. or the written word: a critical essay, a trenchant article, a dissertation.

but you're not a musician or a critic - you're a fiction writer who loves music, who loves stories. the potential within each song, each lyric. and there's one album that stands out, that you can't shake, that you find as fascinating now as you did when it came out, in 1993, and you were a swoony daydreamy teenager mesmerized by the music's anger, its beauty, its dark and twisted humor. raw guitars, crashing drums, love-wrecked lyrics telling stories of betrayal, revenge, isolation, sex. the seduction, the violence, those moans and howls. that voice. it was a whole other world.

you love what pj harvey's rid of me did then, what it still does, what it can do. so you embark on an experiment. you reenter it, once again listening over and over, sometimes just one song on repeat for hours. you get into it and it gets right back into you. characters, lyrics and landscapes. moods and tones and those feelings. you begin writing. with each song, to each song, from each song. around and near and under and then, at some point, it takes a shape. characters emerge. these two women. these woods. chapters like songs, book like an album. it becomes a new story, years of listening spiraled out into new words and meanings.

this is the book.

it's not about rid of me - it's because of it.


and the next chapter is called this:

thank you so much, jenn. i had not heard of this one, although i've read other 33 1/3 books - but none like this one. the idea of a fiction written out of an album. damn. yeah, i am going to devour this, i'm sure of it.

when pianos try to be guitars

just because it is one of my all-time favorite songs...

"had a northern lad
well not exactly had
he moved like the sunset
god who painted that

first he loved my accent
how his knees would bend
i thought we'd be ok
me and my molasses

but i feel someting is wrong
but i feel this cake just isn't done
don't say that you don't

and if you could see me now
said if you could see me now
girls you've got to know
when it's time to turn the page
when you're only we
because of the rain
because of the rain
because of the rain
because of the rain

he don't show much these days
it's gets so fucking cold
i loved his secret places
but i don't go anymore
"you change like sugar cane"
says me northern lad
well, i guess you go too far
when pianos try to be guitars

i feel the west in you
but I feel it falling apart too

don't say that you don't

and if you could see me now
said if you could see me now
girls you've got to know
when it's time to turn the page
when you're only wet
because of the rain"

there's a time and a place

keep art alive; art by avtost

this is the viscous heart i hide from you:
gnashing, polluted, hooked to my ribs
like a burr, stuck there and stinging,
and it's only 4:14 in the morning.

those sudden shudders my waking alarm,
then the daily discipline of shutting away that heart,
shambling through the house, touching things,
stroking their shapes as if it could help me

not be the bad sower's daughter each morning:
the pit from a seed he sowed and left to parch,
and no crows would feed on it. so i lived. i don't
want to explain this further, i'm done with it.

but this for you: on the days i hold your books,
read your letters, recall a gaze, the delicate
dangle of an earring, or the throwing
back of a head in laughter,

it's you seeding the first beat into the heart
i open. and as the sun heaves daylight
into the parched tree by my window,
and rats burrow away, when pigeons come

down to feed on dust and pizza crusts, i thrum
the lit syllables of your names on my sill with all
ten fingers, typing them firmly into the brick,
and counting their beats, counting their beats.

"it's been years since i saw you,
but each day i see your face;
and in time you will remind me,
that i wish we were the same."

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

ballerinas that have fins that you'll never find

"she's convinced she could hold back a glacier,
but she couldn't keep baby alive;
doubting if there's a woman in there somewhere,

you say you don't want it,
again and again,
but you don't really mean it.
you say you don't want it,
this circus we're in,
but you don't you don't really mean it;
you don't really mean it."

someone i'm close to called me today and told me that she had a miscarriage last night, and as she told me about what happened, about having to tell her four year old son, and how it felt like she was dying herself i had to keep remembering to breathe myself.

there are some pains in life they say never fully go away, and this one, i'm pretty sure this is a never goes away one.

i still find it hard to talk about, or write about, which is something for me. though i never forget when it happened, or when that child's birthday would have been, or how old they would be now.

it was truly the most painful experience of my life. seven years ago, and it still hurts.

i did not want to say that to her, though. instead i told her i was there for her, to take care of her, and that i understood.

being a grown up really fucking sucks sometimes.

who gives a fuck about an oxford comma?

oxford comma ~ vampire weekend

"why would you speak to me that way,
especially when i always said that i haven't got the words for you?
all your diction dripping with disdain,
through the pain,
i always tell the truth."

having a shit day, no other way of describing it.

work is killing me, the hours and the expectations, are completely burning me out.
my "vacation day" yesterday ended up with me working from home until after one am, and this is not some exception to the rule.when an hour of television feels like a luxury there is a problem. i miss having a life.

i remember when all-nighters meant something fun was going on.

i have so much caffeine in my system that my hands are shaking, and have had a little over an hour's sleep.


anyhow, this song is an attempt to lift my spirits.
it is near impossible to sulk while listening to vampire weekend.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

twentieth century go to sleep

electrolite ~ r.e.m.
the video

over-caffeinated with a side of lack of sleep,
but the sun is shining and it is so beautiful outside.
i'm writing a story set in los angeles,
somedays i remember that i love it here.

"if i ever want to fly,
mulholland drive,
i am alive.
hollywood is under me.
i'm martin sheen,
i'm steve mcqueen,
i'm jimmy dean.
you are the star tonight,
your sun electric, outta sight;
your light eclipsed the moon tonight,
you're outta sight."

i love this song so much.

and lovin a music man ain't always what its supposed to be

faithfully ~ journey
the video

"they say that the road aint no place to start a family,
right down the line its been you and me;
and lovin a music man,
aint always what its supposed to be.

oh girl, you stand by me.
im forever yours,

this morning i was in the grocery store, standing in the dairy aisle looking for sugar-free creamer. the delivery man who was there re-stocking the milk was singing along to this. i was, too, without even realizing it. for a moment we caught each other and exchanged smiles.

"gotta love journey." he said, laughing a bit.

"yeah." i agreed.

"and being apart aint easy on this love affair,
two strangers learn to fall in love again;
i get the joy of rediscovering you.
oh girl, you stand by me,
i'm forever yours,

Monday, March 24, 2008

let me see the daylight

half life ~ duncan sheik

"before the truth goes back into hiding,
i want to decide 'cause it's worth deciding,
to work on finding something more than this fear .

it takes so much out of me to pretend,
tell me now, tell me how to make amends.

maybe, i need to see the daylight,
to leave behind this half-life,
don't you see i'm breaking down.

lately, something here don't feel right,
this is just a half-life,
is there really no escape?
no escape from time,
of any kind.

i keep trying to understand,
this thing and that thing, my fellow man,
i guess i'll let you know,
when i figure it out.

but i don't mind a few mysteries,
they can stay that way it's fine by me,
and you are another mystery i am missing.

it takes so much out of me to pretend

maybe, i need to see the daylight,
to leave behind this half-life,
don't you see i'm breaking down.

lately, something here don't feel right,
this is just a half-life.
is there really no escape?
no escape from time,
of any kind.

come on lets fall in love."

a daily reminder of what is important, something i seem to need more lately, a gentle (and often not so gentle) nudge. this song reminds me of what i do not want. i do not want to exist with unlived life in my veins, nor do i want to participate in any kind of a half-life. the spin cycle of drama and emotion always seems to loom at my door, but i'm learning to not always let it in. i can choose to be happy. i can choose to love. i can choose to say no i do not want to hurt any longer.

suppose it may sound like a practiced line of words, and words are only scratches on paper, or tap-tapping on keys, that stand next to each other trying to look pretty, or angry, or passionate, or something. and, words can be empty if they are not followed by action of some kind. the only action i can take, though, is my own. in that, and in my every breathing moment, i refuse to live in a state of waiting to be happy. i want to be happy now.

these words, they are not pointing at anyone, just at me. this is me nudging myself to remember to not put off being happy.

she's so dull

keep art alive; art by joshua petker

"oh, you know her, "miss groupie supreme"
yeah, you know her, "vera vogue" on parade
red eye shadow! green mascara!
yuck! she's too much

she looks like she don't know better
a case of partial extreme
dressed in a robert hall sweater
acting like a soap opera queen

yeah, she's so dull, come on rip her to shreds."

rip her to shreds ~ blondie

it was my first trip away from home that did not involve family of some sort. a school trip, all of us piled in a much too hot bus that smelled of sweat, bubble yum, and adolescence. i held the tape player between my knees, squishing in closer to christina so we could both hear, finally snapping the headphones in two. matt turned around and popped his head over the seats, asked what we were listening to. i let him take my half of the headphones and he started belting out blondie's rip her to shreds.

he had music in him which was probably what i liked about him. the stereotypical son of a preacher man, i suppose, rebelling in the only way you can when you are that young. though i think his father had music in him, too; i'd seen the way he lingered a bit too long when the choirs were practicing, and i knew he'd bought matt his first guitar.

years later i would hear this song often. the seventies were part of my own perceived rebellion, or more than that, part of me taking my first steps into becoming myself. it was 1989, and i would climb up on a stage to dance with james to this song, or spin around on an old rollar skating rink turned dancefloor, with kate.

and yeah, there were girls who fit this song who graced the same streets of hollywood that we did. and yeah, there were probably girls who sang it thinking of me, and my friends. it is always so easy to rip someone to shreds. but, honestly i much prefer to laugh at this song, and the memory of a twelve year old rockabilly boy singing it on a school bus, or a cross-dressing bookstore clerk doing his thing on a raised platform.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

good day sunshine

it is beautiful outside,
much to nice to stay indoors.

one of the things i love about the town i live in is the assortment of parks we have to choose from. this one is veronica's favorite, mainly for the low bars that she feels confident in skimming across, hand-over-hand.

this is where we chose to play today.

"i need to laugh, and when the sun is out,
i've got something I can laugh about;
i feel good, in a special way,
i'm in love and it's a sunny day."

the next life

keep art alive; art by matthew woodson

"look, the world's going to turn either way.
wake up and be a part of it."
adam duritz

to me, one's birthday is your own personal new year's day. it is a start of a new year in your life, a reminder of being alive, being a part of this life, a recollection of all your memories you've collected in this world. i tend to get contemplative when my birthday nears, not in that fear and dread of getting older, but more in the what have i done and what do i want to do kind of way.

recently i was hit with this moment of clarity which has yet to leave me completely. instead it has stuck somewhere beneath my skin, an internal tattoo, reminding me of a personal truth that i refuse to ignore. it was simply this: i have a lot i want to do in this life so i better take care of myself - body, heart, mind, soul - because i intend on sticking around for a good long time.

call it a resolution, though i do loathe the expectation of failure that seems to attach itself to "resolutions". or better yet, just call it a path i would like to take. it is not change exactly, or even redirection, if anything it is direction. places and spaces, feelings and desires, none of them new...just...i think i have spent far too much time focused on drama, other people's emotions, perceived expectations (that were possibly not true), and insecurities that put up ugly obstacles full of words like "can't", "won't", "never", "impossible" and "regret".

not everything works the first time around, but there is more to life then clinging to mistakes, or false hopes. so, happy birthday to me, as silly (and possibly narcissistic) as that sounds. i have a lot of living left to do.

"see you in your next life when we'll fly away for good."

Saturday, March 22, 2008

you belong in the zoo

last saturday we went to the zoo.

me & julia

baby giraffe

jules pulling a face


the mountain goat


pretty in pink

thumbs up!

i just want to see some palm trees

gorilla girl



veronica catching max in her web; pretty much an everyday occurance


and a song...

Friday, March 21, 2008

and i haven't felt so alive in years

"the moon,
is shining in the sky,
reminding me,
of so many other nights;
but theyre not like tonight."

i heard this song on the radio this morning and immediately thought of a movie that kate and i used to be obsessed with. we had our three movies that we rented so often the woman at the video store eventually just set aside on a shelf for us.

this movie - modern girls - along with dogs in space and sid and nancy.

this one, though, i think we had the characters we related to, songs (like this one) that we sang along to, and clubs and moments that we recognized as us.

i need to get a copy of this - maybe two - so we can both have one.

i love you, kate.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

all weather and noise

"i waited for an hour last friday night,
she never came around,
she took almost everything from me.

i'm going through my closets,
trying on her clothes, almost everyday.

i could have been anyone you see,
i wish it was anyone but me,
nothing but pills and ashes under my skin.

american girls are weather and noise,
playing the changes for all of the boys,
holding a candle right up to my hand,
making me feel so incredible.

if i make you cry,
you tell me why
i'll try again,
if you'll let me try."

ever since the new songs were singing in my ears i've been on quite the counting crows kick. this song, everytime i hear it i love it more. i think, first time around, it was one of my less favorites from hard candy - but now, now i cannot seem to get enough of it. it is impossible not to sing-a-long with, in that roll down the windows and blast the radio, and scream-sing kind of way. sometimes there is nothing quite like it - nothing quite like that kind of release. better than sex, i tell you. well, mostly.

how do you deal with a story like this?

"you’ve changed,
so have i,
but anyway,
i tried to stay and now i wonder why

you’ve changed,
and so have i.

our independent ways of life just never seemed to apply.
and from now on, we carry on,
but remember this:
we’re writing our names in the lifes of the ones we miss."

back when i worked at tower records, the first stint, i discovered bettie serveert. it was alan who introduced them to me. he was wearing their t-shirt, the night before he'd been to one of their gigs, and he was literally glowing from it. he always had the kind of musical taste that i admired. introducing me to more bands than i'd ever be able to list, and is credited to some of my big music love affairs.

sometimes i forget about this band, but recently i received a musical package of love from my friend victoria, which included a bettie serveert cd. this song was not on it, but it re-opened my love for them, and for carol van dijk's voice. i stumbled upon this song today and have hit repeat about thirty times - a sure sign of a fucking amazing song.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

when i kiss the angel


last night jules and i watched the film foxfire, which i had not seen since it's release, in 1996. there were things i'd forgotten about it, and details i'd not noticed before. i forgot (or really, would not have noticed back then) that "red" (rita) was played by jenny lewis. i'd also forgotten how much i loved the inclusion of kristin hersh's song, me and my charms (definitely on my list of all-time favorite songs).

"you can come back when you want to,
just know that i'll be here.
i haven't left this step,
and when the lights go out,
i pick the angel up;
i only have two hands..."

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

i have your back now, you better have mine

"and i don't think war is noble,
and i don't like to think that love is like war.
and, i gotta big hot cherry bomb,
and i want to slip it through the mail slot,
of your front door.

don't leave me here.
i've got your back now,
you'd better have mine,
cause you say the coast is clear,
but you say that all the time.

so many sheep i quit counting,
sleepless and embarrassed about the way that i feel.
trying to make mole hills out of mountains,
building base camp at the bottom of a really big deal.

and did i tell you how i stopped eating,
when you stopped calling me?
and, i was cramped up,
shitting rivers for weeks,
and pretending that i was finally free.

don't leave me here.
now that your back,
you'd better stay this time.
cause you say the coast is clear,
but you say that all the time."

if you wanted to be free

the new album is out next tuesday, and though i have listened to a leaked version, i will not post songs here. i plan on buying it as soon as it is available, as i have a great deal of love and respect for this band, and i encourage you all to do the same. it is an incredible album, well worth the wait.

it is a bit of a concept/theme album, entitled saturday nights and sunday mornings, meant to set the mood for both moods. the first half of the album is the equivalent of getting out into the city, the sparkle and shine, and the hard edges, that we take out into the night; hard, rough, raw, with lyrics such as the following, from the opening song, 1492:

"past railway cars and tranny-whores,
and mornings spreading out across the feathered thighs of angels,
oh where did we disappear to?"

the second half of the album is the morning-after sunday. hungover, with those inescapable regrets and the harsh light of the mirror. i know from adam duritz' blog that he has been doing a lot of soul searching and personal recovery lately, and it shows - if nothing else, then in the brutally honest lyrics on songs like the one featured in the attached video (and the band's first single), you can't count on me:

"coming along real good,
but i still can't do most of the things i should;
i watch the sky coming down to bury me,
and i can't stop this crawling out of my skin.

i know that you see yourself flying in,
out of the sky,
coming down to carry me,
but i won't come out.

so, if you think you need to go,
if you wanted to be free,
there's one thing you need to know,
and that's that you can't count on me.
no, you can't count on me."

but we're trash, you and me

"but we're trash, you and me,
we're the litter on the breeze,
we're the lovers on the streets,
just trash, me and you,
it's in everything we do,
it's in everything we do..."

& a few more videos:

how did it take me this long to realize how fantastic suede is?
i mean seriously, where have my ears been?

Monday, March 17, 2008

there is only now

devil in the details ~ bright eyes

"and i know the cause,
and i want to stop,
but i can’t do it,
i just can’t do it.

there was love i meant,
there were accidents,
so tell me which is which.

‘cos i just can’t work it out.
but for memory and clarity,
we had better write it down.

i have no way,
of knowing the truth,
with time dissolves.

i put the past into the ground,
i saw the future as a cloud,
if theres still time to turn around,
i'm going to."

there are characters that come to play, they write themselves, sneak into your consciousness and flow out of the tip of your pen. the ink stains your fingers, like blood, like memory, like a name that whispers in the stillness of night. the reader may render the shape familiar, but they are just composites of the whole, of everyone we know.

as we go drowning

"there are angels,
in your angles,
there's a low moon,
caught in your tangles;
there's a ticking,
at the sill,
there's a purr of a pigeon,
to break the still of day,
as on we go drowning,
down we go away.
and darling, we go a-drowning,
down we go away,
there's a tough word,
on your crossword,
there's a bed bug nipping a finger;
there's a swallow,
there's a calm,
here's a hand to lay on your open palm today,
as on we go drowning,
down we go away.
and darling,
we go a-drowning,
down we go away,
there are angels,
in your angles,
there's a low moon,
caught in your tangles."

and you come around to restore my soul

everyday is a chance to discover something new in this world, and about yourself. here is a taste of some "new to me" music i have just discovered. slightly trip-hop, a bit of hooverphonic meets morcheeba, and reminiscent of that space between sleep and awake, when your consciousness is still hazy.

of the three, water is my favorite...most likely for the lyrics:

"stand at the stones and i stare at the waves,
and all of my anger runs red in the sea.
i have let go of all of my rage,
its sailing, its sailing away from me."

get your dreams just right

keep art alive; art by gozde arig

"fix your hair just right
put your jeans on tight,
wear a dress,
so i can get it off real easy.
'cause i've been thinking,
i'd like to see your eyes open up real wide,

the minute that you see me.

if you don't come through,
i wouldn't wait for you.
i understand that everyone goes disappearing,
into the greatest grey,
that covers over everyday,
and hovers in the distance,
and the distance,
and the distance...

i've been up all night,
i might sleep all day.
get your dreams just right,
let them slip away,
i might sleep all day."

i have never been much of a girl in the ways you are supposed to be. i do not really know how to do my hair, it does itself most days, and thankfully it is a pretty tame thing so i do let it have its way. i do not pluck my eyebrows, much to my teenage daughter's chagrin. i've never had a facial, i do not do my nails. i know more about doing goth and stage make-up then i will ever know how to make myself up to look natural. i do not have a skin care regime, or even know how to begin to put one together. and in all honesty, i am more comfortable in a pair of pants then any skirt or dress i have ever donned.

that said, there are days i wish i had those skills. that i'd learned to be more of a girl. that i had an arsenol of beauty techniques to battle the bad days, and the signs of age with. and sometimes, like today, when i have actually worn a dress, with pointy girly heels and dark tights. when i've done my hair (or really, had said teenage daughter do my hair), when my make-up took more than fifteen rushed seconds, and when i actually am wearing matching items under my clothes...well yeah, i get it, i feel different. i feel beautiful actually. and it does have a positive effect on me.

it reminds me of this quote from one of my most favorite shows that have ever graced the small television screen, my so-called life:

"sometimes it seems like we're all living in some kind of prison, and the crime is how much we hate ourselves. it's good to get really dressed up once in a while. and admit the truth: that when you really look closely? people are so strange and so complicated that they're actually... beautiful. possibly even me."

angela chase, my so-called life

Sunday, March 16, 2008

rather be home with no-one when i can't get down with you

"wake up in the morning with a head like what you done,
this used to be the life,
but i don't need another one.
good luck cuttin' nothin',
carrying on,
you wear them gowns.
so, how come i feel so lonely when you're up getting down?
so i play along when i hear that favourite song,
i'm gonna be the one who gets it right.
you better know when you're swingin' round the room,
look's like magic's soley yours tonight."

sunday nights used to be filled with getting ready, sharing the bathroom mirror, trading clothes, music blaring and spirits high. the drive there was filled with more music, and a few stops on the way to pick up friends, and often a bottle or two of something (often strawberry boones). we never stood in line, usually had a space held for us to park in, and most nights it was truly a place where everyone knew our name. and the dancing, fucking hell, the dancing. as i sit here tonight trying to edit a presentation for a client meeting all i can think of is that i'd rather be rushing about getting ready for 1970.