I. Conversations With My Husbands
I guess I just must be a daredevil / I don’t feel anything until I smash it up / I’m caught on the cold, caught on the hot / Not so with the warmer lot / And all I want is a confidant / To help me laugh it off / And don’t let me ruin me / I may need a chaperone
I write amazing blog posts in my head, but this last month has been brutal enough to have my hands go still over the keyboard. I keep writing in my head though. Writing and forgetting. Writing and forgetting. Jow and I go around and around about How to Prepare for The Future like the least sexy most neurotic version of Ouroboros possible. Not how I planned to spend our first month of marriage but when has that ever mattered? In the background: a new schedule, older children, exhaustion, less free time, worries about [family member x], fretting about [social circle member z], a complete inability to feel like I’m getting anywhere with anything, tiny progresses amounting to nothing.
I spill this all out to Gordon in a fit of anxiety and exhaustion. What do I do? I don’t know what to do. I . . .I don’t know what to do anymore. I can’t take this.
Gordon listens impassively as he does and then says, Just keep doing everything.
He pauses a polite amount of time for me to unsuccessfully try to strangle him through my monitor using my heretoforth undeveloped Jedi mind powers and then says, I’m sorry, darling. It’s all you can do.
I certainly haven’t been shopping for any new shoes/-And-/ I certainly haven’t been spreading myself around/ I still only travel by foot and by foot, it’s a slow climb,/But I’m good at being uncomfortable, so/I can’t stop changing all the time/ If there was a better way to go then it would find me/ I can’t help it, the road just rolls out behind me/ Be kind to me, or treat me mean/ I’ll make the most of it, I’m an extraordinary machine
In the car, I impulsively ask Ms. K if she ever misses performing. It had been another long meeting about the start up we’re trying to start up because I clearly don’t have enough to do already and she kindly offered Hurry Chutney which I can never say no to. My brain is mostly fried and I’ve asked her to explain The Ring Cycle in as few words as possible (“Don’t fuck with a real estate agreement once it’s been made, nothing good comes of it.”). Ms. K is the most bombastic red head you’ll ever meet, she makes me look like Melanie from Gone With the Wind to her Scarlett. She towers over you unapologetically in her Manolos in a little black dress on a Sunday afternoon while she delivers her opinions in no uncertain terms on everything from our business model to why Louboutins are a waste of money to why Honey Boo Boo represents what good can come from our country in unexpected places. An ex-opera singer, she had been described as the Amy Winehouse of the opera world because girl knew how to smoke and drink though she’s now (mostly) reformed. Ms. K was uncharacteristically silent for a moment and then she said in a shy tone I had never heard from her, “Sometimes.” Not the travel to states that don’t matter as she would say, or the exhaustion of working a straight job and flying everywhere on the weekends to perform, but the singing, putting your heart, your guts, your soul wholly into something for two hours for an appreciative audience and losing yourself in the beauty of tragedy. . .yes. It was draining and exhausting, she preferred to playing Musetta to Mimi in La Boheme (“The only one who lives! A real diva.”), she was sometimes unpopular with baritones because she believed in stabbing people realistically (“Always with a downward motion.”) which the baritones liked until inevitably the knife didn’t retract and they were bruised and angry from her murderous attempts until she could charm them back.
Dying every night was difficult because you knew that was what you were racing for through feats of operatic auras, heavy dresses and large sets. From the moment you hit the stage, you knew it was just a matter of time before Mario really dies, the cops are after you and you’re flinging yourself off a tower. “So you’re singing, ‘O Mario! O Mario ((last 5-10 minutes of the video))’,” she sings softly for me for the first time and continues, “and you’re racing up the stairs to the tower and there are always a lot of fucking stairs. You’re singing and climbing, singing and climbing and you finish the song and fling yourself off the tower and pray someone catches you. Well, there’s a trampoline thing there too but still. I never fell forward. Who jumps off a tower and falls forward? No one. But most opera singers fall forward because it’s significantly safer, you can’t snap your neck falling forward into the trampoline. But it doesn’t look right, and it’s not as pretty. So every night I fell backwards and I prayed I wouldn’t snap my neck and that the guy with the trampoline was there. No one ever falls forward.”
III. An Open Letter of Malice to my Muse
So be it, I’m your crowbar / If that’s what I am so far / Until you get out of this mess/ And I will pretend / That I don’t know of your sins / Until you are ready to confess But all the time, all the time / I’ll know, I’ll know / And you can use my skin / To bury secrets in /And I will settle you down. . .
You hate me. I know you do. You hate nearly everything about me. The budgeting. Punching a clock. Trying to make you punch a clock. Not going to places you like to go to. Spending long hours earning money, not leaving time for art. The whining, the exhaustion. You know everything about me and I know almost nothing about you besides the places you like to go (that I can no longer afford) and that you’re pretty and like waffles at weird hours of the night. You don’t give a shit if I know your inner most thoughts and you don’t care to ever reveal yourself to me unless it suits you and even then in the smallest bits and pieces.
If you’re the S. to my B., you must understand that I hate you as much as I love you. Sometimes I hate you more than I love you. Sometimes I think you’re a useless coked up whore who I want to smother in your sleep even though it would (honestly) kill as much of me as it would kill you. Sometimes I think it would be easier. A smooth Stepford life, being someone’s secretary, working 9-5 in my J. Crew sweater sets and matching headbands, two (then three, then four) glasses of wine with the dinner I prepare, cleaning the house and going to bed and repeating it until I forget what it was like to have dreams or jagged edges. It would be simpler. It would hurt less. Life could be uncomplicated without you.
And then you light my soul on fire and I would walk across broken glass to create, to be a maker. And you’ll make me beg to crawl across the broken shards. And you’ll make me want to. And I’ll do it. Anything. Anything. Just don’t leave me.
But my big secret /Gonna hover over your life/ Gonna keep you reaching / When I’m gone like yesterday / When I’m high like heaven / When I’m strong like music /’cause I’m slow like honey, and /Heavy with mood. . .
IV. The Patron Saint of Not Giving a Shit Gives a Concert
Wouldn’t it be weird if we were living the life we wanted to be living? That never happens, right? How weird would that be . . .she said this softly into the microphone. Her hair was in a pony tail, she wore black shoes with red flames, a black cotton tank top and a blue cotton skirt slit all the way up one side. She was too thin with muscular arms that clanged drum sticks against silver trays and drums. She had a gold cord wrapped around her wrists and she would wrap it and unwrap it as she danced like one of the boys at QXTs. She laughed, she cried, she hugged herself and ran around the stage like a small child. Sometimes, she stretched. She didn’t roll around on the dirty floor or her piano like she had when I first saw her when we were both 25. But there’s a lot of things that are harder to do now for both of us, our bodies aren’t what they once were. She played the piano like her life depended on it and she sang most of the songs we wanted to hear, giving only what she wanted to give. Refusing to look at us but pouring her heart, her soul and her guts into it. She doesn’t care what we think of her as long as we still go to see her. As long as she can keep singing and writing songs. As long as we still loved her, even if she was weird and reclusive. She played no encore.
Hunger hurts, but starving works, when it costs too much to love / And I went crazy again today, looking for a strand to climb/ Looking for a little hope/ Baby said he couldn’t stay, wouldn’t put his lips to mine, /And a fail to kiss is a fail to cope /I said, “Honey, I don’t feel so good, don’t feel justified /Come on put a little love here in my void,’ – he said / “It’s all in your head,’ and I said, “So’s everything’ – /But he didn’t get it
Parvati knew that she wanted Shiva more than anything. More than a custom vegan Birkin. More than a chalet in Haute-Savoie. More than pleasing her parents by marrying that nice, handsome, young surgeon they wanted her to marry. More than dancing on tables with her sisters at Butter, their silks and tassels flying everywhere while the white boys vied for their attention, offering to buy them glasses of Veuve Clicquot. She didn’t care that he didn’t see her, she saw him. Shaded in sorrow, his hair long and dreaded, his eyes closed, his clothes in tatters. There was nothing about him that was not perfect. She would have him as her husband. It didn’t matter that she was still a mortal girl and he was a god. She lit bonfires in front of his meditating form in blazing hot sun, sitting as close as she could without self immolating. She stood on one foot for hours and hours, naked in front of him, barefoot in the snow. She went from eating only rice to nothing but leaves until she no longer needed to eat. She focused on nothing but him until the heat of her desire and devotion was too much for Shiva to ignore. He opened his eyes.
VI. Nothing Scares Me Anymore
We started out sipping the water/ And now we try to swallow the wave/ And we try not to let those bastards get us down/ We don’t worry anymore cause we know when the guff comes we get brave/ After all, look around/ It’s happening, it’s happening, it’s happening now
If you’re a desperate wanting thing full of dreams and aspirations, you have to stop caring about what others want you to care about. If you’re full of art. If you’re full of love. If you’re full of desire. If you’re full of faith. If you’re full of magic. You have to be willing to lose everything, to be stripped bare. To pit yourself against Zeus for your daughter, letting the world burn around you. You have to be charming, brave and fierce against demons. Now is the time, now is the hour. Ours is the magic, ours is the power.
Let your Muse light your soul on fire.
Be true to your art.
Hunger for your art is an austerity, not a punishment.
You are full of stars and magic, change your universe.
Nothing wrong/ with a song that ends/ in a minor key