12 August 2013

The Drumbeat: Fight and Insight

...at least we still have books and jazz...       

Mark, a FB friend

Every time I read the words I remember how deep and wide Life is. 
I take a deep breath and my imagination rolls out, a gleaming giggling grieving wave of possibility, embracing everything and everyone on its way to everywhere. What's more precious than our ability to dream?

Most of the men I've known (and a couple of women) would argue that sexual activity is the best thing about living. Maybe it says something about my sex life...but for me, imagination trumps sex. No contest. (When I think about it, what would sex be like without imagination?)

My friend's comment is balm and tonic for me. It has lived like a thrumming mantra beneath my day-to-day routine for a week or more. I chant it silently while mowing the lawn and folding laundry. Books and jazzzzz.....books and jazzzzz.  

I live in a town where the only bookstore is a rack of paperback romances at Wal-Mart. A town where residents find it amusing that "Nobody in Holly Springs reads." A town where the school board responded to my inquiry about artist-in-residence possibilities by referring me to the special ed teacher and the principal of the high school criticized my suggestion that "The sky is the limit" (made in reference to possible ways of integrating theater into the core curriculum) as "backward thinking."

So I appreciate reminders that "at least we still have books and jazz" and that "creativity is intelligence having fun" (another recent posting on my Facebook Wall). My spirit exalts in the awareness of others in the world who Believe.

This town is just like most towns (only moreso) in the way that Fear hisses and whispers through the social codes of conduct. Fear of looking foolish or getting a bad reputation or offending someone or moving too
fast or talking too loud. Fear of being called "unpatriotic" or "un-Christian" by others. Fear of saying the wrong thing or standing out in the crowd. Fear of running out of time. Or out of money.

Fear is the enemy of Love, Creativity, Imagination, Faith. And the war rages on. You walk around in a war zone for so long, before you know it your stride is shorter and more tentative. Your breathing grows shallow. Your appetites diminish and you lose sleep.

To love or create, to imagine or believe, requires courage.

Joni Mitchell sings:

If you can keep your head
While all about you
People are losing theirs and blaming you
If you can trust yourself
When everybody doubts you
And make allowance for their doubting too.

...If you can dream
And not make dreams your master
If you can think
And not make intellect your game

If you can meet
With triumph and disaster
And treat those two imposters just the same

If you can force your heart
And nerve and sinew
To serve you
After all of them are gone
And so hold on
When there is nothing in you
Nothing but the will
That's telling you to hold on!
...If neither enemies nor loving friends
Can hurt you
If everybody counts with you
But none too much.

If you can fill the journey
Of a minute
With sixty seconds worth of wonder and delight
The Earth is yours
And Everything that's in it
But more than that
I know
You'll be alright
You'll be alright.

Cause you've got the fight
You've got the insight
You've got the fight
You've got the insight

© 2007; Crazy Crow Music

You walk around in a war zone long enough, you internalize the conflict. You can't remember what you cared about before...or when exactly you stopped caring. Stopped daring. Your fingers hover frozen above the keyboard; the clay sits in ominous silence on the wheel. 

Your soul is a bomb-scarred landscape and you cannot find your way home.

I spent the day alone yesterday. Finishing Ellis Avery's The Last Nude. Rearranging furniture on the back porch. Plumbing the poignant majesty of Chopin's Prelude Op. 45 (Am I crazy to attempt it? Courage, dear one. Courage...). Playing "grown up and girly": giving myself a pedicure and listening to the sparkling shadow music of Miles Davis while a mud mask dried on my face. 

As the mask tightened, I thought about my tightening lifestyle:  in the house more than out of it, no dancing, the guitar case collecting dust. I reflected on the self-censoring and diligent simplifying that has come to characterize my speech. I pondered the "fun" clothes in my wardrobe, hanging in the attic cloaked in spider webs and dust. 

And I thought about how many blog posts I've composed--and then discarded--in the last 12 months. 

Books and jazzzzz.....books and jazzzz. The beat intensifies, reverberates in my solar plexus. I'm feeling it in my fingertips and my kneecaps and my teeth. I feel like a slave with a dream of freedom.

I've got the insight.

FB drops people from time to time. I don't know why. Welcome back!

Just so you know: you are a Friend whose posts do not appear on my Wall but, rather, in a filtered folder called "God and guns". I am a free-thinking pacifist and it makes me cry to see stuff like "fighting in the Lord's army" on my Wall.

I am surrounded by religious bigotry in the town where I live. I am trying to keep FB a place where I can exchange ideas, learn about cool stuff people are doing around the world, hear new music, keep up with important events in the lives of people I love....that kind of thing.

I felt I should let you know in case you start to wonder why I never comment on your posts. I check the G&G folder infrequently.

Hope you're having a great summer, Steve -- some relaxation, some lovin', some music making, some fresh produce and maybe a good book?