adulthood · authenticity · band · compassion · courage · dance · discovery · letting go · life · maturity · music · performance · persistence · poetry · receiving · responsibility · self-care · singing · surrender

Pulling a Carmen: 2

When I began this blog-a-day back in November of last year,
my first post was called “Pulling a Carmen,” as I’d been reading and was encouraged by her own blog-a-day postings. In the time since, sometimes I
just find it hugely funny how parallel my path is to my fellow blogger and
For recent example:
  • I also just starting going back on to the internet dating
    scene. In fact, I have a coffee date today with someone I met on JDate
  • I too have said fuck it, and asked out a dude yesterday.
    Unfortunately, turns out he’s married, but it felt really good to do so.
  • Several of the books that are lining my desk and bedside
    table are travel books about Europe, underlining my intention to take a real
    freaking vacation some time this century.
  • And, I also rented a camera and video camera from the
    school’s A/V department to begin taking pictures again. 

Sometimes I feel awkward about our exceedingly similar
trajectories, as if I’m copying her, but the reality is that independently, we
come to these things, and then come here to write about them. It’s really
funny, and also somewhat comforting to know that there is someone who is
traveling a similar path toward “To thine own self be true.”
On that note, I went to see my friend’s band play in the city
last night, and then headed with my girlfriends to go out dancing in Oakland.
Prior to both these… we went to the Dharma Punx meditation – nothing says
spiritually fit like meditating for 40 minutes before downing coffee with an
add-shot. 😉
But to relate it to the ‘self be true’ part – each of these
are places where I want to feel more connection. I hadn’t been to see live
music in MUCH too long. It’s on my current list of “Serenity Moths” on my
refrigerator (a list of things that aren’t cataclysmic, but slowly and
subterraneaously eat away at my serenity and foundation). Yes, “Absence of live
music” is on there, and so should be “dancing.” I’m a white girl. I have no
ambition or goal to be anything but a mildly flailing Elaine Benice, but … i
love it. The absence of self, the absence of self criticism or posturing or
need to be anywhere or anything else. Lost in the music.
The band brought something else up for me. Like the
“dropping” of the whole acting bent at the beginning of this year, what I’ve dropped
more often than anything is the “being in a band” idea.
As you may know, I have 2 guitars, a bass, and a small USB plug
in keyboard. Each as dust-covered as the next. The bass amp sits as a monument
to abandoned dreams in my apartment.
Last night, watching my friend’s band, I remembered that this is
something I want to do. In fact, I’d emailed one of the guitarist’s wife about
6 or more months ago to talk to her about her own process of getting toward
singing in a band – embracing her inner teenage rock chick. If I had my … well, if I had my own back, I guess, I’d play
bass, and I’d sing. Talk about vulnerability.
This week, I stood practically naked in front of an audience
and spoke my poem into a microphone in a moderately full theater. That isn’t nearly as frightening to me as
standing in front of an audience, singing, or playing.
The truth is that for several years, I’ve been gathering information
about the whole bass playing thing. But, no, I haven’t been playing. A few
years ago, I asked a guy I knew for bass advice, and he sent me a long list of
places to start (which I didn’t pursue). About a year later, I contacted this other guy about bass
lessons (which I didn’t pursue). … And the guy I asked out yesterday is also a bass player. Apparently,
I have a thing.
Every few years, I’ll troll craigslist, and I’ll answer a
few ads for singers. I even recorded myself a little on my computer’s
Garageband to send as a sample. I got a “not a good fit, but thanks anyway” from one,
and no reply from another. And, hey, I don’t blame em. When I’m terrified, it
comes through. I don’t know. I’ve written here about it kind of frequently –
and dismissed it and been “embarrassed” by it just as often.
However, once again, the thing that occurred to me last night as I
watched my friend’s band was another case of “I want to do that” … followed by
“I can do that.” There is no one stopping me, obviously except for myself and
my fears, and that critic that says “Not good enough” and chops me off at the
knees before I start.
One thing I’m working on releasing at the moment, a pattern
and belief and behavior that is just not fucking serving me anymore, is my need
or habit to stay small.
When I was living in South Korea, my friend nicknamed me
“Ballsy Mollsy.” I had the absolute chutzpah and hubris to ask anyone anything,
go anywhere, and do pretty much whatever I felt like doing in the hedonistic
way most drunks do.
However, there is a quality of that Ballsy woman who still I am,
somewhere, and who I want to resurrect or reveal or uncover or let loose – or
even just let into the light a little tiny bit.
I find it’s happening in some ways. And I know to have
compassion for myself as I try to aim in this direction which has been a Siren
song for me (uh, no pun intended) for … oh, 15 years.
But compassion for slow progress, and acceptance of
stagnation are two different things. And I’d really like to move forward from
So, for your reading pleasure, here’s a poem composed about
a year ago. Reading aloud is encouraged.  As is recalling the line “So let it be written, so let it be done.” Cheers. m.
Band Practice
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dance · direction · healing · intuition

Dance Dance Revolution.

The strangest development occurred last night as I was
falling asleep. Actually, I wasn’t falling asleep, having dosed myself with a
trough of sugar not long before bed. As raw as I was feeling yesterday, eating
for comfort seemed wonderfully acceptable, and I was permissive with myself around it.
That said, it was taking me a while to fall asleep with all
the sugar running laps around my blood cells, and my thoughts began to wander.
I began choreographing a ballet.
?? What? Yes. In the light of day, now, I see that perhaps
this is the mode of expression for some of the more raw things that I have to
“say,” – that writing actually is much too close a mode for me, and that when
I’ve tried to write about some of this, it comes off so cold and distant, or so
majorly personal that it doesn’t effect “good” writing. Or, maybe, dance is
just the mode this particular set of events in my life wants to take.
And, I don’t think it would be that bad. In fact, I sort of
story-boarded about 2/3rds of it last night; it wouldn’t be long, maybe 20 minutes. I can see the lighting and the
costumes, and the masks. Because there will be masks. The psyche always has
masks. It will be haunting, and breakingly beautiful. And, I believe, it will
be identifiable. As in, people will be able to relate to the experience, or if
not directly, they will relate to the emotions of the experience. Most people
have trauma. Unfortunately. And if not experienced at that level, most people
can relate to heart-break, or the cycle of addiction that draws us back to
recreate it again and again, attempting to change the outcome, or “make it
work” this time.
Perhaps pipe-dream. Perhaps not. It was so out of left
field, that it sort of feels divinely inspired – i.e. “not me.” Not my
machinations. I also happen to go to one of the best liberal arts schools in
the area, which has a phenomenal dance program. It’s not completely out of
range or reach that this could happen, in some way or other. Perhaps even an
addendum to my thesis.
My poetry thesis, I have decided, is a “tome.” When I said
that word to my advisor, I didn’t actually know what the precise definition
was, but it felt like the right word. I just looked it up right now,
and it means a volume, one book in a set. And although that doesn’t capture
entirely what I meant, it does make sense to me.
The thesis is basically a record of events and
experiences from the first 25 years of my life. I don’t really expect anyone to
particularly care about it. I don’t particularly care if they do. I said to my
advisor that much of the writing that I was doing for it didn’t feel current.
That it felt like this was old, ancient stuff, but that it was apparently
wanting to come up and out, and to be recorded, acknowledged, and then set
I don’t intend this book to be the thing that takes me
around the world on reading tours. But that’s not its intention. Its intention
is to be heard, seen, recorded. And laid to rest. This thesis (which per the requirements is to be a book of 40 – 80 poems), the process of this
thesis is like a burial ritual. This is the getting ready of the body,
preparing it for eternal and final rest. It will be the laying to rest of a
long and sad and manic period in my life, and it will effect an acceptance and peace in
me, that it will finally have been acknowledged, instead of stifled.
(Acknowledged by me, that is.)
However, like I said, there is some stuff which isn’t making
itself quite available to me in the written way. Which feels too big to whittle
down to a few words on a stagnant page (which, ultimately is why I may never
be a poet or writer by trade, I believe – or at least, strictly a “page poet.”
I want my work to live, to work on you – though, of course, plenty of people and
writers create the most enormous and powerful effects on the page, but it’s not
my sole medium).
So, ballet. How odd. And yet, I already feel myself moved by
And by the purifying power of catharsis.