I recently stumbled upon a definition for the word discipline, that really resonates with me.
Discipline: Doing what needs to be done, even when you don't want to do it.
I like this definition. I printed it out and I'm going to put it on my wall.
Thursday, March 23, 2006
From time to time, generally though not exclusively with the changing of seasons, I feel blue and alone. There has been this weight in my chest for about a month now. It is the weight of undeniable and monumental loneliness.
During these "blue periods" I step back for a second and laugh. How is it that one can be sifting through a city crammed to the gills with people, 8.1 million to be fairly exact, and feel alone? I ride subway cars, sardined with business types in their finely pressed and starched suits, rushing to the important jobs that make the world keep on turning and churning. These people make the decisions to buy and sell and play chess with companies and people. If you make under $100,000 a year, consider yourself a pawn.
One thing about New York is that things are constantly shifting and changing. My favorite place to get a sandwich in NOLITA before it was even really called NOLITA by anyone other than realtors, bread and butter, is now a Cuban restaurant. My favorite German Pastry shop is god only knows what. I just know it closed. My very first gig was at a bar called "the rising", which is now a Mexican restaurant. My very first open mic was at a bar which is now a clothing store.
This change also applies to people. I think New York is a really hard city to forge and maintain lasting friendships. Someone can be your best friend one day and then the next day, they move to another neighborhood, still in the same city mind you, and you never hear from them again. I think of Astoria, well queens in general... It's like a foreign country to me. I never go there and I have no reason to do so.
Friends have moved to queens and have never been heard from again.
I guess at times I wish there were something I could hold onto like a rock, but although New York is built on Bedrock, it feels more like sand. The tide comes and goes and sweeps people away and brings them back or they get caught in the current and are lost forever.
I was having a beer with my friend, Carrie, the other day and ran into a group of friends. One of these friends has just acted weird towards me for almost a year now. This occasion was no different. I can't fully explain in words, but I had confronted him about how hurtful he was being. He is someone who I have valued so deeply. Well, all of the group said goodbye to me when they left, except for this friend. He went outside and acted as if I didn't exist. It cut me to the core. God, I am a stupid sensitive little creature.
I think this experience sent me face first into a puddle of blue. The one good thing I can say is that I do have a remedy for the seasonal blue periods. It's my guitar, black Swan. Last night we had a really in-depth conversation about the end of the summer and I ate Ecuadorian chicken and rice and contemplated buying a ford escort. So, I am not alone after-all with 8 million. I have black swan and fatty chicken and in the end, who could ask for anything more?
photo credit- Carrie Thomas
Wednesday, March 15, 2006
I was talking on the phone yesterday, walking down the street, and not looking and I kicked a small child by accident. He fell flat on his stomach. His parents were horrified and looked at me like I was the devil. I felt so horrible. I'm now kicking small children down. God help me. Maybe I should stick to phones that are firmly coiled to the wall.
Nothing is ever what it seems when you see it from a distance coming at you. It looks like a bunny rabbit and then you see it up close and it's a hyena. It looks like a toy train and just before it hits you, you realize it's a real train. You think you stepped on a piece of garbage that missed the trash can on the corner, but instead it's a toddler.
This is life. Sometimes someone offers to spraypaint your baby and you think, hmmm is that a good idea? but then you say, hey, why not go ahead and spraypaint my baby. I've never seen my baby with purple skin. This is remixing. That has been the biggest occurrence lately. I've been giving people my baby to take apart,spraypaint and put back together. It's both beautiful and horrifying.
I'm eating fatty foods again because I'm stressed. I am so ridiculous. I'm like a 300 lb black women with her period. I could basically dip fried chicken in mayonnaise right now and feel like I've found nirvana. So, many deadlines and so little time...remixes, artwork, doing gigs on the DL. It's enough to make my head spin off into outerspace... Just a side not. Guacamole flavored tortilla chips taste amazing dipped in processed cheese and topped off with spicy sausage and fried chicken. Can someone please pass the tums?
Saturday, March 04, 2006
After a rather long and grueling day, I decided to stop into a local bar, cheers if you will. I sat alone at the bar. Few patrons had arrived and I was happy to be solitary and write in the little black book that I carry everywhere with me. So I lamented about loneliness and pressure and everything good and bad and ugly that had transpired through my day and week.
Just a note:::: I know the owners of this bar pretty well and they were sitting across the bar with a guy I had never seen before. I paid little attention to this.
So, I drink my one glass of wine and was preparing to leave when the bartender approached me.
"The gentleman at the end of the bar would like to buy you a shot. His name is Joe and it is his birthday"
I wanted to politely refuse but decided to just go ahead and take my medicine instead of insulting birthday Joe. So, I said that I would have a Lemon Drop shot and down the hatch it went. Now, I grabbed my coat and my bag and prepared to leave, but I thought I should thank dear Joe for making me feel obligated to take a shot and of course to wish him a happy birthday.
I go over and say my thank you's which turns into him throwing a fifty dollar bill down on the bar and saying shots for everyone....everyone being the 6 people in his vicinity. I say..oh hell, why not, it's the guy's birthday. He obviously doesn't have friends. They aren't here. I should oblige. So I do. Another lemon drop shot down the hatch. I still just want to go home. Joe by the way is from the czech republic. I start talking with him as he keeps throwing fifty and hundred dollar bills down on the bar and buying shots for anyone with an open mouth and a rotten liver. I'm starting to see double. I don't like shots. I don't like to do shots. I just wanted to have one glass of wine, go home, play my guitar, and sleep like an angel.
Instead I'm here with Czech Joe destroying brain cells. So, I ask him a question....a very simple question.
"What do you do?"
his answer=" You don't need to know"
I still do not know what he does, but I have a horrible feeling that it involves breaking kneecaps for a mob boss of some sort....ugh. Is there a czech mob?
So, of course the next thing out of his mouth is
"I want to go home with you"
I say "No, You're not going home with me. I don't take guys home with me. I have a boyfriend"
his response= "I will buy hotel room. I pay"
my response="I'm not going to a hotel with you"
his response=" not hotel. Motel. I pay for motel. You go with me. I pay"
my response=" I'm not going to a motel with you"
The next sentence out of his mouth was something about me using him for booze and that I'm a slut.
I pack up the little dignity I have left and go home.
God help me.
Friday, March 03, 2006
At times I think of myself living in a world that is black and white in rooms filled with too much smoke, perched atop a piano singing the blues. The audience is filled with people who are dressed to the nines in a way that was just everyday clothing if you lived in my film noir world. I hear the clinking of the ice in their drinks. I am this enigmatic figure, the singer.
I am blue because that is what I am. I probably drink too much and maybe I have a problem with insidious substances. The counter culture of the grainy black and white world welcomes me yet I look down on them and I don't quite fit in the audience with their neatly pressed suits and flower-pinned lapels.
After my weekly engagement singing my songs of heartbreak and longing, I step off of the stage and ask the bartender to give me my regular, a scotch on the rocks. His name is Jimmy, because it just seems appropriate. He's heard it all. His face is stone. His heart is velvet. I know nothing about Jimmy. He's all ears, but doesn't get involved. I probably once had a crush on him but realized that like the Berlin wall, he's too tough to crack and too tall to climb.
After my third scotch, Jimmy asks if he can call me a car. I refuse and walk down the empty streets alone. I quite possibly should have used the bathroom before leaving the bar and have to duck into a dark alley to pee. There's a blind man playing the saxophone and I throw him a nickel. For some reason I envy him. A black cat crosses my path. I think nothing of it.
I reach my small apartment in a bad part of town, climb the stairs sloppily running my fingers against the cracked paint, intentionally making pieces crumble and fall onto the rotten wooden steps that creak with every step. I collapse into bed, alone, so alone. A part of me needs this loneliness. Another part of me so desperately craves love. I have resigned myself to be alone, a tragic enigmatic blues singer who smells of smoke and scotch and of dark alleys.
They will find my body two days after I die and wonder if it was suicide or murder or an accident. The papers will write about it. People will claim to know the answer. Big flash bulbs will pop and newsies will yell "read all about it".
So, I have taken my baby and given it to others to twist and mold and paint as they please. I now have two remixes in my hands which will be part of something soon to come. It's exciting and scary and different. I'm a protective mother who doesn't like to let others hold her baby. I'm learning that she can walk on her own and I have to let her play with other children for her to really be a part of the world. It's so hard watching them grow up.
Maybe I am not fit to raise my baby, but I pushed her out and I feel her with me, still inside me moving. She will always be there. When I'm up on stage, singing the blues with a flower in my hair, she is sitting there up past her bedtime, smiling up at me. I have probably corrupted her, but someone had to do it.