Unstoppable Force Meets Completely Movable Object.

So I had a bit of a mishap yesterday. My right hand is currently all bandaged up from a dish-washing accident, and I only have one other thing to say directly about the “how” of it: NEVER clean the inside of a glass with just a sponge. I certainly will never do that again. Just spend the few bucks and go get one of those wand things.

But the rest of this particular blog entry isn’t about that. More specifically, it’s about NOT that.

Yesterday morning, I had come full circle with a batch of songs I was working on. They are all tied up in a bow and ready for the next phase, and I couldn’t be more excited about them. Of course, I immediately started to panic in my mind. I need more songs! So I sat down with a pen and paper, and started making a shopping list of sorts. I need to cover some pretty specific ground with the next batch, and so I started outlining what I needed to sing about, along with some very vague ideas about tempos, moods, how to fit them into what already exists. Then I promptly put the notebook down, walked away, and forgot all about it. I never really write like that, so I thought it was just a way of distracting myself while making myself feel like I was doing something constructive.

Not ten minutes later, I’m writing a new song out of thin air. Completely new idea, fits right in, but still just in my head. Now cut to later that day, when my hand is all bandaged up and all I can think is, gee, I was really enjoying playing guitar all the time and writing so much. Not to mention all of the other normal things that you take for granted until you can’t do them.

My right thumb suffered the worst damage, so it’s totally wrapped up in gauze and tape like a mummy. After the day was done last night, I sat down and picked up my guitar. I’d already found that I could kind of type and negotiate the mouse on my computer, but I just needed to see what I could do, if anything. I threw my left hand onto the fretboard someplace I’d never really been, and just started moving my mummy thumb up and down across the strings. It was one of the spookiest sounds I’ve ever heard, and it fit perfectly with the lyrics I got earlier in the day before my hand got sliced up.

I set a timer for ten minutes this morning, and put a rough idea together for the rest of the music—even got a great working title. Now all I have to do is figure out how to make a version of my thumb sarcophagus that I can actually use when I play this song. Even if I’m lumbering forward like Boris Karloff, it seems like nothing is going to stop this unstoppable force that is happening right now. Which is fantastic news to the completely movable me.


My Mental Mansion.

What a marvelous zone to find myself in. I’ve finished writing two new songs in the last week, and I have another one done from the couple of weeks before, and I’m four lines away from another. I feel like I’ve opened the door to a room that’s just been waiting for me to come in and sit down. I write slowly most of the time, so this is the equivalent of a major flood, and I don’t think it’s done with me yet.

One of my most recurring dreams has been about rooms like this one. It’s about a house that I live in, but it’s never a place I’ve ever lived. And even though the house never looks the same, it’s always the same place to me in the dream. The beginning is always the same. I’m just walking around, feeling a bit cramped and wanting more space, when I start finding doors that I’ve never noticed before. Sometimes they are hidden behind furniture, sometimes they are in plain sight. But they don’t just lead to rooms—they lead to halls and halls of doors and doors leading to rooms and rooms. Most of them are already furnished, which is one of the weirdest things about the dream to me, especially after I wake up and think about it.

The end of the dream is always the same, too. I always come to a room without a door at the end of a hall. It’s dark, and the entrance is half-filled with stacks of chairs. It’s not that I can’t enter the room, but I never do. There’s never any fear attached to the decision, it’s just not ready for me yet. So I count myself lucky for some newly found extra square-footage, and I wake up.

As far as I can figure, it’s all just subconscious projections and filing systems. The furnished rooms are problems solved, and the dark room is some combination of problems that I’m working on and problems that I don’t even know about yet. But I don’t really like to think about it like that. To me, it’s a rather romantic and elegant way for my mind to show me what’s up there. I’ve had a waking tendency to over-analyze things (“tendency” is perhaps a gross understatement). But it’s been waning more and more, and I think I owe my subconscience a debt for that one.

So tonight, or the next night, I should get to visit the new wing I’ve built onto my mental mansion. I hope the new rooms have bookshelves, coffee, a comfortable chair, and nice views of the garden. I have the contractor’s business card somewhere, in case I need to complain.

Once More Around The Sun, My Love!

Anniversaries are strange things to think about. Maybe it’s because I’m so obsessed with time and its passage as a musician, but I would rather perceive time spatially than as a linear grouping of numbered boxes on a page telling me what month and day it is. That all seems arbitrary and unmagical to me, the kind of thinking I reserve for monitoring my bill payments.

And the history of the Gregorian calendar defends my line of thinking. (I’ve been obsessed with calendar evolution for some time—the original working title of “Come Out Wherever You Are” was “The Fall Of The Roman Calendar,” and thank god that didn’t stick.) I for one can’t imagine a year without also picturing myself puttering around sideways on this rock while we are all hurtling around the sun at something like 18.5 miles per second. And though I do understand the scientific fundamentals of gravity, it still freaks me out that my coffee mug will just sit still on the table with all of these astronomical acrobatics going on.

My wife and I met for the first time on this day in 2006, and I have to laugh at the smallness of the number five as it pertains to our present anniversary. We celebrate both anniversaries every year, but this is the one we consider the “real” anniversary, if the truth must be told. Even though it took us another year-and-a-half to get married, that’s all event planning and paperwork to me. I married her the second I saw her, and it still seems both like I’ve known her all my life and like I just met her. She’s somehow been inserted into all of my memories, always there, a panglorious inevitability.

As Einstein put it, “When a man sits with a pretty girl for an hour, it seems like a minute. But let him sit on a hot stove for a minute and it’s longer than any hour. That’s relativity.” Well, the last five years feel like a minute, and I owe all of that to my pretty girl.

Once more around the sun, my love!