The First Time I Heard Fiona Apple

Man, I’ve sure got a lot of things to get off my chest.

I think

distracted at 6 a.m.

on a cat hair yoga mat

digging through old notebooks

instead of sun salutations.

Mom got rid of MTV

when I was a kid

after she saw me

through a crack in the bathroom door

exposing myself in the mirror

and singing Madonna songs.

Later I would see her do things

outside my bedroom window

through a hole in the blinds,

but getting rid of MTV

wouldn’t make those things go away.

I buried them.

We buried my pap

on a quiet cemetery hill.

Pale September.

His urn next to grandma’s urn.

Only five people were there.

I dug my fingers in the earth.

Dirt under my nails.

Buried.

I heard Fiona Apple for the first time

curled up on the carpet

on his apartment floor

and felt invigorated.

Sleep to Dream on an old tube TV.

The first time I had seen MTV in years.

I was a teenager,

eager to expose myself

to more than just a bathroom mirror.

“Don’t look, Rod!”

A few days before he died,

Pap instructed my dad to avert his eyes

as the nursing home resident down the hall

raised her shirt over her head

exposing a weathered and sagging chest.

6 a.m. notebook in my lap

cringing at a buried me.

Man, I’ve sure got a lot of things to get off my chest.

But not today.

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Be fucking resilient.

Up until about a month ago, I’ve been getting up around 5:30 a.m. on most weekdays to exercise. Since the weather has gotten colder, I’ve haven’t been heading to the gym. I recognize that things are frozen outside right now, and I am feeling super Hermit and that is OK and I give myself grace.

In the morning when I am not exercising, I’ve been exercising my braaaaain. Every morning I have coffee. I choose a tarot deck. I put on some music. I read a paragraph or a chapter from a book. I might light candles or incense or I might just go at it dirty (heeey ohhh).

This morning I knew I wanted to honor MLK, Jr. Day. I read his letter from Birmingham jail in its entirety. I had never done that before. While I’ve been honoring the freeze outside, feeling in tune with my body needs, I knew I should honor this, too. It ain’t always about me, me, me, motherfuckers! The day exists for reverence, for reflection, for understanding. Before I pulled two cards for today’s intention, those words—so relevant today and some likely uncomfortable for a lot of people—were informing the entire intuitive process of reading my cards for the day.

First position (What’s today’s intention?): The Wheel of Fortune  /  Second position (How can I honor that?): Seven of Pentacles

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Interpretation: Despite “fate,” you hold the power and fire inside to fight for what is right. To deny what seems to be imposed. The cycle for justice will continue because life moves in circles /// Honor accomplishments, celebrate small victories, and try not to get down when it feels like all the work is in vain. Give yourself credit.

In my (written) journal I realized that this is a matter of RESILIENCY. Today’s intention ended up as: BE RESILIENT.

And check how interconnected this shit is, y’all (WOO WOO HIPPIE SHIT)! But, the ground is covered in snow and ice. It’s really cold. But there’s seeds in the ground, is there not? Those seeds have an urge to GROW despite adversity. The deep freeze, the daunting motherfucking challenges are inevitable, but they are not impossibilities. They are not deal breakers. That snow will fucking melt. Those seeds will grow—maybe into a flower. Those challenges made the urge to grow stronger. RESILIENT. BE RESILIENT.

Jeez, Louise! Joy in existing.

  1. Who am I?
  2. If I had just 4 months to live, how would I spend that time?
  3. What would I like to have contributed when life my life is complete?

Three questions posed by the Rich Roll podcast. Three pretty obvious “la la woo woo new agey self development” questions. Maybe not? To me, at least. I’m no stranger to that woo woo shit. But, are you surprised that these three questions absolutely fucking paralyze me? Especially that “who am I?”—who is anyone? FUCK.

I try consciously to notice love and joy in every moment of the day (I’m looking at you sweet ‘lil chirping birds in the trees outside the Children’s Museum this morning), but I also get easily caught up in negativity and expectation (both societal and self imposed). My emotions fluctuate a lot in day, hell, in a hour sometimes. Digressssss. During this podcast, there was mention of the things that stirred happiness in your six-year-old self. I suppose that’s a good jumping point from my gravy brain, so I am going to attempt to suss some of this out.

As a six-year-old, I was talking to trees. I was standing on stumps and singing to grass. I was outside a lot. I was riding a bike (I want a new bike—this is something recently on my mind). I drew pictures of super tall women and portraits of my family. I watched movies and kept to myself a lot. I wrote in my diary. I recorded songs from the radio onto cassette tape. I begged my mom to buy me poster boards from the grocery store and I would spend an entire afternoon making a GIANT collage from old Metropolitan Home magazines (We lived in a trailer; I resented the shit out of this magazine and I know my mom never willingly subscribed to it. There was this weird time bubble in the 80s and 90s when magazines just appeared at your fucking house—it’s a fact).

The past couple of nights Eliot and I have spent an hour or so working on collages made from old National Geographic magazines Joe picked up at a yard sale (from the 80s, no less—I’m just putting that “coincidence” together at this moment). I found myself in that sweet spot where you lose time. Even cooler to get to experience it with your eight-year-old kid. (Will he sit down and write something like this one day?) I have a lot of ideas and feel cool about making simply for the sake of it.

I’ve been caught up the past couple of years in having a “plan” financially to get out of my day job. I’m not entirely divorced from that mindset, but it has almost always included a way to make money from art—not that I’m downing that—but it really helps you to lose the whole purpose of making art in the first place. I think most creative minds can attest to that. The making, the doing, has to be the first priority or the rest of it is just an inauthentic wank off fest.

To quote David Lynch: “Enjoy the doing. So many people do stuff but they don’t enjoy the doing of it. And I always say, that’s your life going by. It’s important to enjoy the doing of something. Jeez, Louise!”

So, I suppose I do find joy in making. Joy in existing. Joy in creating. Joy in expressing myself and convening with nature. Joy in consuming the art of others. I am pretty sure that answers all my questions in one. I’m not shocked they are all interconnected…I’m sure that’s the point of the entire exercise. I need to do all or part of these things every day with that intention alone—joy.

How do these questions make you feel?

The Consumption! #2

I sat down to write this next post about the media I am binging on and — would you look at that — the 2016 Austin City Limits episode is on PBS with Ryan Adams and Shakey Graves. Duh. Ryan is a no-brainer. But, I’ve never given Shakey Graves a listen. Just fell under my radar, really. I’ve been doing Yoga With Adriene videos on YouTube for a few years now and I know he contributed the theme song. That’s all I know. But, man, this dude is crushing shit. He sounds awesome. So, yeah, gonna have to delve into that dude’s tunes.

Speaking of tunes, here’s some other stuff I’ve been listening to:

Forth Wanderers. They popped up on my Spotify discover playlist and I really dug it. Definitely in the category of a lot of newer bands that are clearly very influenced by the ’90s blah blah and all that same old tired shit that Pitchfork and Stereogum and whatever-the-hell-else article says. Whatever it sounds like, I like it. There’s a tone deaf, droney, unpolished sound that speaks to my angst.

Some other music I have reallllly been digging on is Trentemøller. He’s an electronic producer from Denmark. Super dancey goth rock. Another style that holds a really special place in my nostalgic heart. This particular song has a guest vocal from Jehnny Beth from Savages (whom I love, too…even more so after seeing them live this year. Such an ace band. Highly underrated).

Speaking of live shows, I am really jonesing for a Deftones show. We had tickets to their tour with Refused this fall, but things fell through. This is the first year in a long time I haven’t gone to a Deftones show. HOWEVER, today the mail gifted us with our Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds tickets for June (JUNE. IT’S SO FAR AWAY). But, the anticipation for that bucket list gig will carry me for quite some time. So unbelievably stoked for that show.

Music done. Let’s move on to this AWESOME podcast (I’m sorry I keep ALL CAPS yelling and giving these asides; feeling a little scattered today). It’s called Homecoming. It’s new, so there’s not a lot of catching up to do.

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Amazing cast: Catherine Keener, Oscar Isaac, David Cross, David Schwimmer, and Amy Sedaris. I don’t want to give away too much of the plot, but it’s damn good fiction with absolutely fantastic and realistic production. You feel like you are IN this story. It is exceptional and you should totally be listening to it if you like podcasts.

Welp, this has been fun yet again. I am about to go watch the newest SNL. I’m already fantasizing about the new pillow Joe bought me today, so I doubt I’ll make it through the whole episode. Whatevs.

Peace, y’all. x