Never have I ever…

Never have I ever: thought I would see the world in such disarray. I never thought I’d live in a time where I watched my neighbors dance in the street in utter happiness as the last president was voted out. It reminds me of many a history video of a fallen regime and the citizens dancing with joy.

Never have I ever… but it happened.

Never have I ever cried so hard at all the nothing around me because my last nerve balanced my life on its tiny end. Points of pain became so numb I didn’t realize I was bruised and bleeding.

Never have I ever… but I was. I am.

I’ve spent most of the past week working through more emotions than I should have ever felt in the last four years — yet they all came at once. My workout sessions have transformed into mini-self-therapy modules where I jump, squat, bargain, cry, push up, lift, grow angry, and cry some more. And now, other emotions are wiggling their way out of the compartments I tucked them into.

Today, the death of a friend who passed in February hit me hard. Her face popped into my brain as I pressed weights above my head. There she was — right there — floating above me. At first, I talked to her in my head, and then it was a rapid unraveling. She died two weeks before quarantine began a month before her birthday.

And I thought — Never have I ever processed your death, dear friend — I just kept moving. Now, as I exhale for the first time in forever, here you are. I’m sorry.

I have so many plates spinning in the air. It’s my fault; I forgot to count how many I tossed up there and kept adding to them. Now my neck hurts from looking up.

Never have I ever been expected to keep going when it’s so obvious I need to stop. But I can’t stop. There is no stopping. Stopping is certain death, I’m sure of it.

Yet, I worry what the next feeling, memory, a moment will push its way free as I fumble around doing side-planks and whatever is on my HIIT routine that day. What else have I forgotten? I fear it’s so much that I’ll be trapped in 2020 well into 2021.

Never have I ever wanted to celebrate a new year as I do this year in the desert with the roadrunners and coyotes. That’s where perfection is — nature.

A scheduled transformation, sitting on my calendar, reminding me — life’s not all bad.

Never have I ever learned SO MUCH in such a short amount of time. As I process all the things I’ve tuck away, I know that I can process some more.

One burpee at a time. One cry at a time. One apology at a time. With knowing this, I can say:

Never have I ever wanted to be right where I am — at this exact moment. My hand was forced. It will continue to be pushed. With each new memory left to handle, I become a better version of myself.

Never have I ever wanted to play witness to a world on fire. For I would have happily remain in my make-believe land, prancing a joyful dance in long skirts as I hum along to Frederic Chopin’s waltz no.3 in A minor. But, someone struck a match, and left me no choice but to participate in the birth of tomorrow.

Never have I ever… but it burns, and it burns. I spin, and I spin. The world transforms — and no one can stop it.

Never have I ever thought I wanted any of this — until I was left with out a choice — then I did.

Never have I ever, until now.

Love to Oakland

I want to take a second to throw some love to everyone in Oakland. If you haven’t heard about The Ghost Ship, and what happened on Saturday night/Sunday morning–there was a massive fire at a place called The Ghost Ship.

An artist commune, the building was an old warehouse used by artists to work and celebrate art. I’ve read a number of articles over the past few days–most concentrate on all the building violations. This morning I read a piece for the Village Voice that way by far my favorite. (Click on Village Voice to read the article.)

Before I go into the thick of it–here is a photo of the interior of The Ghost Ship:

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I’m post the image because I want people to really look at what it was–an not sit around making assumptions about what it *must* have been.

I consider myself an artists. As you know, I write. I’ve had poems published, I’m working really hard to have a novel put into publication–but I also paint, am an avid fan of photography, and I still write music from time to time. These parts of me–parts of my artists–I don’t broadcast. My life has limited spare time–most of which I pour into words.

That said, I’ve been to many places like The Ghost Ship. I’ve sat on their floors, hung out with their artist, conspired and contributed. There is nothing more subjective than art–which makes it a difficult path to walk. One day everyone may love you, and the next they want nothing to do with you. I’ve spent a better part of this year being rejected over and over–so much so I now flinch when my email rings. This is a fact.

Will I stop? No. Because this is who I am. Please stop asking artists to quit because it’s hard. They know it’s hard. We know it’s hard–but it’s who we are. It’s important.

Once we stop grieving, because we need time to do that–people lost their lives. This is a tragedy. But we need to make changes. Just like The Village Voice states–the only way to prevent another instance like The Ghost Ship in Oakland is to support local art.

This new administration will not be friendly to the arts. Like I said, art is a very subjective world–I have a hard time believing a group of people who are actively trying to remove things like Social Security under the guise of *Saving Money* (we–the public–pay for that by the way–the government doesn’t. So whose money are they trying to save…?) I very much doubt they will reach out to the art community to give them the money the need in order to be artists.

Art isn’t free. It takes time, money, effort–talent. It’s a hard road. So when you meet an artist–don’t ask them to give you their work for free. Don’t say things like, “My kid could do that,” or “I could have done that.” Because you didn’t–they did it–and most likely, you couldn’t in the first place. Pay them for their work. Encourage your community to help and support art.

I’m sending much love and respect to every single last one of you in Oakland.

What’ll I do?

There’s a song by Irving Berlin. It opened The Great Gatsby (1974). It plays though the opening credits–setting up the story. You see many the small luxuries that fill Gatsby’s life, including numerous photos of Mia Farrow portraying Daisy Buchanan. The song is titled, What’ll I do.

What’ll I do, when you are far away, and I am blue, what’ll I do?

What’ll I do, when I am wond’ring who is kissing you, what’ll I do?

When I write, I listen to music. If I were to weigh writing against music and how long they’ve been in my life–music would actually win by two years. It is something that feeds my soul just as much, if not more, than reading. A melody and words. How can you beat that?

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So when I set out to write a novel there is a song list involved. It may never show up in the manuscript–but it’s there. With the new title I’m working on, What’ll I do, snuck into the folds of a playlist that includes tracks from Nirvana, Rage Against the Machine, and Fugazi.

You may be wondering how.

How could something as desperate and lingering as this classic tune ever fit next to Smells Like Teen Spirit? But that’s life for you. It never quite fits… You find yourself sitting around talking to your MC, and she smiles at you with that gleam in her eyes. You recognize it instantly because it’s reminds you why she’s doing what she’s doing–and suddenly I know the answer to, “What’ll I do,” where she’s concerned.

What’ll she do? Let’s just say it may not be the best way to deal with things…

I can’t image I’m the only person who uses music to help set moods and tones. Is this something you do? What songs have found their magical way onto your writing playlist that you never thought would be there?

I shall await your answer as I sway to Irving Berlin… When I’m alone with only dreams of you, what’ll I do?

1-Up

 

 

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It’s all a game, isn’t it… this life we have.

Waking up, running until we drop; taking a moment here and there, wondering how we got this old;

How this became the life we have.

Not that it’s a bad life.

It’s not.

But repetition can agitated even the quietest souls.

I look out the window and see this big old world,

And my heart is still so very young and I want, and I want, and I want,

All the dreams I’ve always wanted.

Let it begin – my mind screams,

Let it all begin, and let the world swirl around my feet,

Lifting my hair, a tornado above my head – a human bullet.

But my feet are firmly planted,

And I keep moving forward, following this stream I chose a while back,

Hoping it is the right one, knowing I should doubt myself less.

Seriously, it’s annoying.

The doubting doubters and the negative thought process.

There’s a band name for you.

Life keeps coming, and moving, and passing by;

And I watch people fade into memory.

Time almost forgotten, save for a few laughs that look more like a movie clip, than my past.

So, this is this life.

The world I now live.

Knowing, it will also pass by, pushing me to the next level of the game.

Life, with it’s beauty and disease – hopes and fears.

Life, with it’s music and it’s words.

Life – and we dance.

Around the stagnation;

Past, and over the potholes;

Under everything else, as we play, and play, and play some more.

Frustration lost in the lyrical movements of time.

Time, that eases the fingers of doubt free.

Freedom that brings the perspective we need to get past ourselves.

We set the traps subconsciously.

Shuffle, ball, change.

Hoping we won’t trip, and if we do, that we will get back up and keep going.

Because that’s what is all is, what it means, what we need to do –

Keep moving

Because death isn’t when we die – we die when we stop playing.

Leaving us to sit in perdition,

With a goose egg, when all we really ever wanted,

Was 1-up.