Monthly Archives: May 2005

crash of the shenandoah

It’s fitting that nothing fits right now. I spent a hearty chunk of yesterday messing with my blog template unable to tolerate a single color, convinced that the perfect combination of hexidecimals would finally bring me peace.
I read a sentence yesterday that I liked, that I wish defined me: “Daryl stood behind his beliefs but didn’t take himself too seriously.” Is it possible to hold onto your convictions without wanting to strangle everyone who trods upon them? That’s been a challenge for me lately.
We found Charlie Post’s blog. I think VVB found it by accident. Or divine intervention. I’ll have to ask her which. Charlie Post has no idea — about so many things. I wonder if there are people whose lives I have passed through and changed irreparably, without even knowing it. Not even for better or for worse, just left a giant streak of rainbow on their window to the world. Because if I emailed Charlie Post again and told him that his pawprint was firmly fixed on my name, he would say, “Who are you again? Were you the blonde one that danced naked in the dirty practice space, by the red light of the Exit sign, so I would play Salvation?” And I would tell him once again, “No. I was always the quiet one. Curled in the corner of the room, violet hair covering one eye, awkward and intense.”
If I ever had to be stuck in an elevator for the rest of my life with a handful of people, I’d want Charlie to be there. And Jon. And Jaymiles. Because then I could write forever, never stopping, not needing to eat, gaining sustenance off of the creative energy they threw off their skin with each breath.
See the thing is, well… I will distill it and sum it up, doing the experience absolutely no justice: 1993. Wonderland Records, CT. Mighty Purple’s practice space. Jaymiles was a gem, a slice of human so rare that they should designate his birthday as a National Holiday. Jaymiles came from DC and gave us a casette tape of a 4-track recording of his friends in VA. They were called Ugly. All of us fell in love with Ugly. Ugly was the soundtrack to our lives for a good year or more. We lived the songs. Ugly came to New Haven to play. We planned on marrying Charlie Post, all of us. Except he wasn’t what our feverish little teenage hearts had in mind. He was real. And reality was the last thing we wanted.
Twelve years later, Round Boy Laughing, the CD that came out of that 4-track recording session, still freezes me and lights me on fire simultaneously. It’s still good. And I can’t say that about much of what I listened to when I was 17. The reality of Charlie Post has seeped into my brain and now I understand.
Last year I wrote a novel in 27 days and the main character was a direct descendant of Charlie Post. I didn’t realize it when I began, but I was sure of it when I was finished. And if I should tell dear Charlie of his appearance in my fiction, he would scratch his head. Last time we spoke, during the writing of said book, he was uninspired and disenchanted. Unhappy with himself, with music, with Seattle. “Seattle is a dead museum,” he said. That’s a line from Burroughs. Though Burroughs was talking about New Orleans. Charlie said, “I have a studio set up in my room but my dreams of playing music for a living have left. It’s too difficult.”
But then VVB found the blog. It’s brand new and to see its existence brought me such joy. I told him he had to keep making the music. Because if he didn’t, there would be a hole in the world where his music was supposed to be. Because the Universe had saved a spot for it.
Lately I’ve been writing as though someone is going to come yank the words away from me. Like I’m guarding each one as I give birth to it. Holding on too strongly. I feel hunted.
I could tell my life story in a stack of Polaroids. The kind you color with magic markers. The ones that pool and splotch when you press on them too hard.
I stood in my abandoned apartment last night. I’ve been away from Boston for a year. This time last year, I wrote: “…the thought crossed my mind that I would be standing alone on a street in Seattle in June with no job, no apartment, no friends, and no good reason to be there. That I’d forget why I was there. And I’d freak out.”
I’ve been getting up early to write every morning. I go to the café on The Ave and drink too much dark roast and write for an hour and a half. Longhand, on paper. And I keep coming back to wanting to work on my novel. I pulled it out again this week. Except I couldn’t put down a single word. Read it a bunch. Changed the font. The background color. Is that a start? Am I allowing myself to get used to the idea? I’ve been in creative stagnance for many months.
Does this correlate with finding Charlie Post again today? Finding that he is up and running again makes me feel like I should do the same.
It’s spring.
And I’ve got a fresh pack of Polaroid film.

nine lives to live

I woke up this morning on the sparkling water under a greeting card sunrise. I dipped my toes into the lake and stretched asana-style as a float plane geared up off the mirrored surface. It’s one of many times in the past year my heart has skipped and I’ve said outloud, to no one in particular (and everyone at once): “I live here. Yeah I do.”
Did you ever get someone a birthday present so perfect that you couldn’t bear one more hour waiting for them to get home and open it? That they’re 3,000 miles away and all you want to do is show up on their front porch holding out a box the size of a refrigerator filled with felicitous goodness? I got one of those going right now. 7:00 PM is too long to wait, nevermind May 18th.
(I just realized that the Cloudroom is playing on the radio right now. If that’s not Aloha, I don’t know what is.)
So I’m putting away laundry last night, cleaning the boat (Hi. I live on a boat.) and my nutty little Siamese mutt cat has finally crawled out from under the bed. She’s adjusting well. In fact, I think she gets bored if there’s no upheaval in her life. One more thing we have in common. So she’s rolling around on the floor licking her paws, and then she’s in the cabinet flopped out watching me fold shirts. She’s all stretched out, eyes half-closed and sleepy on the first shelf.
Then her Siamese mouth starts flapping and I look up to see her tail disappearing inside. I have no idea where the hole in the back of that cabinet leads. I drop the shirts and dive for the cat, grabbing her hind legs, but she slips out of my hands and into the great unknown, yowling the whole way.
I immediately start calling her, and she’s meowing back, pretty excited at first, and then her meows get further away and a little panicky. I can’t see her or reach her, and now her voice is echoing under the floor.
I don’ t know about you, but I’m pretty clueless about how boats are constructed. I’ve seen the bowels of this one, and it’s not encouraging. There’s dirty water, and life jackets, and I have no idea what connects to what. There’s all sorts of trap doors in the floor, and I’m running through the living room, chasing the meows, pulling one hatch after another open.
And then I hear nothing. Silence.
I totally freak out. I grab my phone and call the Boy, figuring he could at least tell me where point A might go on the way to point B. He’s playing soccer and his phone is off.
I’m like every mom I’ve seen in the movies who watches her child disappear and helplessly stands there, repeatedly screaming her name into the silence. I imagine Delia falling deep into the hull and drowning, trying to get to me. And I failed her. The tears are flooding my face and I’m sitting on my knees in the middle of the living room. Helpless. Terrified. Wailing her name over and over cinematically.
There’s a knock at the door.
It’s the cat.
Nevadelia, soaking wet, dirty, yowling her head off at me to let her back in. Her adventures took her from inside the drawer of the cabin through the bilge, under the floor and outside, through the hold in the front deck. She emerged, wild eyed and dirty.
I threw open the door and dragged her in. I clutched that cat so tight that she squeaked a few times and then shut up. I dried her off and gave her What For and put her down on the floor. Figured I’d give her a few minutes to calm down and not be so scared. Let her get over the trauma.
I had to race her to the cabinet. She was going right back for more.
Just one of many animal adventures to come aboard the Octopus of Love. I can’t wait until Clementine moves in.