This year ... that's my plan, that's my jam.
2015 -- The year of consistent awesomeness.
I'll be posting new tunes here and on my Soundcloud (where there is already a lot of goodness going on).
This means I am writing ...
No Matter What.
Through thick, through thin: foot surgery, travel, Mom's cancer stirs up trouble, RedStack blows up and becomes the hottest new band in NYC, lots of other things I cannot even fathom right now, etc.
Gulp! Here we go ...
What are you saying HELL YES to? Let me know, down below.
(Awesome image courtesy of the Bringing Awesome Back blog.)
It seems ages since I last wrote to you. Our correspondence is such lifeblood to me. It is the very act of love. It is silence written, my silent thoughts spelled out, letter by letter, in a moment of quiet. It is a form of written meditation.
I write to you, but aren't I writing to myself and for myself as well?
Aren't I writing to show faith in us, in you, in our bond? A letter is a connection across distance and time. It's a different vocabulary than what I'd use on the phone, or at dinner together, or on a walk with you.
And handwriting – of course there's that aspect to our letters. The space I have created for my thoughts are made visible, measured out by the movement of my hand across the page forming each letter in a slanted, looping, too-large, slightly drunken script.
We've heard about the writers who still insist on writing long-hand and how they prefer the pace of handwriting to the quick skip and tap tap of the keyboard.
For me, the joy of letter writing is the slow, unmistakably personal, very quirky way of communicating. Think of the visual oddness and strange comfort of seeing someone's handwriting, especially someone whose handwriting you know well. It is an immediate recognition, an inner-knowing, a primal response. Your mother's note on the kitchen counter outlining your chores; from across the room you knew she wrote it by the shape and slant of the script.
You could be in another room, in a stranger's house and magically a note from your mother is sitting in a box under a small wooden table, along with bills, newspaper clippings, and dust, and still you'd know it was your her handwriting. The feeling is disorienting yet comforting.
That happened to me. I was in Key Biscayne visiting a family friend that I had never met before, and I went into a guest bedroom to fetch something and I saw that box with my Mom's letter in it. Actually, what I saw was my Mom's handwriting, then I saw everything else. The writing might as well have been in neon ink it stood out so much. It glowed.
And just last week, I took a book from the stack next to my bed to donate to the free library. As I went to put it in my bag, a letter fell out. It fluttered down, and as it fell, I caught the shape of three words and knew immediately who’s letter it was. The angular, Victorian-era writing is as familiar to me as my own name.
Has this happened to you? What do you still do or write by hand? Make a grocery list? Write checks? All month I will be exploring this theme. What handmade thing do you treasure the most?
Tell me. Show me. Write to me. Leave a comment below or try your hand at the Postcard Project.
I remain yours,
The monthly theme is tools.
The tools we use; the tools we no longer use; the tools we care for; the tools we take for granted.
The web tells me that tool, the noun, is a device or implement, one held in the hand, used to carry out a particular function -- gardening tools, for example. The synonyms are great: implement, gadget, device, contraption, gizmo.
Tool, the verb, means to impress a design on something (usually leather, also stone). Another great list of synonyms: work, fashion, shape, cut, embellish, ornament.
And then there is one one of my favorite expressions: tooling around. ("We were just tooling around on our bikes.")
What are your tools? What do you do with them?
Is there a particular set of tools that mean something to you, that carry emotional weight?
For example, I saw my 99 year old friend Gladys's address book. That's her tool, for sure. It is an extension of her hand, her mind, her life. She is one of the best letter writers I have ever met. The book was frayed around the edges and, seemingly, made of ball-point pen (by now), not a single blank space on the pages. The entries were written in three different languages. It was a wonder to behold.
Tools become us, comfort us. I recall the way my ice hockey teammates would treat certain pieces of equipment. One player I know was still using her elbow pads from grade school although she played for both Harvard and the US Olympic team. She had access to the best tools (equipment) on the planet, but that set of elbow pads was more than just protective (were they even protective anymore?). There was something else about them. Were they comfortable? Obviously. That was part of it; our tools need to be comfortable; they need to "fit" us. Did they contain some magical quality? Maybe.
Our tools can have an inner glow of mystery or radiance, as if the thing itself has supernatural or shamanistic powers. Many guitar players I know obsess over their guitar picks; they have one or two with a certain kind of juju in them. My teacher John used stone guitar picks that he made himself. Each one had a kind of aura. It was the stone he used -- agate, but it was also his own reverence for them. They were always with him. I am sure he's using one now, up in heaven. It is probably on fire, that pick.
I'm a singer; my voice is my tool. When I had my vocal surgery in 2002 to remove nodules from my vocal chords, I almost lost the ability to sing. Did I almost lose a tool? The tool was badly damaged and needed a long time to recover. I didn't talk for 3 months. It wasn't until a year later that I could really sing anything with any kind of accuracy. I had lost control over my voice. And when I got my voice back -- I called it my "new voice" -- it was weird, higher pitched, did things I didn't ask it to do. Didn't always behave. I was just learning to how handle it again.
What isn't a tool, really? When you get right down to it. Is there a threshold you have to cross with an object that really makes it yours?
Talk to me. What do you think?
Do your tools have special qualities? Have you ever lost one, broken one, left one somewhere? What did that feel like? Tell me a story.
Take me somewhere. Let me in.