Monday, September 23, 2013

It Keeps You Running

I spent the endorphin-soaked 20 minute segment of my run yesterday solving the world's problems.  That's generally what I do, you see.  Or at the very least, I spend those super focused, rainbow-swirly moments internally ranting while nodding silently in agreement with all my own opinions.

The bummer is that inevitably what occurs at the 45 minute mark of my run- the part where I lurch through my backdoor sweaty and gasping for air after hurling myself through approximately 3.5 miles of space- is that all the answers dry up.

Endorphins, for me, apparently work like magic fairy dust.  Or PCP or something.

There's a part of me that wants desperately to record my brain while on these self-injected chemicals. And not so much to retain the content alone, but to retain the drive behind the content.  Because, I'm telling you, I could seriously do some pretty awesome and/or wacked out things if I was perpetually jacked up on these chemicals.  Like potentially write the next Broadway hit rock opera or run for political office.  And probably at the same time.  Because, when the chemicals are coarsing like wildfire through my veins-- I feel empowered.  I feel plugged in.  I feel hopeful and necessary, like my ideas are viable and possible.

Now obviously I've done a few significant things in my life on a more down-to-earth scale. I've birthed two children and am parenting them.  I've made some albums.  I've done charity work and fostered long term meaningful friendships.  I've consistently co-tended to a relatively successful marriage.

But all of these major cornerstones in my life took and do continue to take time.  Small increments of time and energy and attention- consistently.  Whereas, the endorphin rush feels like a totally different gas in the tank.

You know what I mean, right?  Even if you don't bring it on yourself through exercise, there are other ways.  The second cup of coffee, perhaps.  The third glass of wine.  The fourteenth day of consistent meditation.  That one unbelievably amazing yoga class.   Reaching the top of the mountain.  Jumping out of a plane.  There's so many ways.

And the fuel that you're suddenly sucking down is incredible.  It's like 100% Self Esteem in a can. Like revisiting- or re-creating perhaps- a time in your life where you were willing to suspend all the disbelief.  When, either because of ignorance or sheer joy, you actually believe in the possible, despite the existence of the highly improbable.

So- ok.  THAT was running through me for a time yesterday as I'M running through the slightly sea-soaked balmy Venetian air.  The innocence of believing in the possible.

And now I think it's necessary that I provide you with this image.  Because a small piece thereof is what came into my purview just as I was getting into the groove of my run at the .3 mile mark down Venice Blvd.  I pass a bus stop- and this is what I see plastered on the side:

To be very specific- the image I see on the bus stop window is the one in the upper right quadrant. The chick in the bikini with the phone- apparently shooting a selfie (which, as all you linguists out there probably ruefully know, was just included last month as an official word in the dictionary.)  And this image makes me sort of sigh in vague disgust.  Not because the whole Grand Theft Auto franchise itself has really pierced through my life yet in any meaningful way- though I do have a nine year old boy who adores all things video game...

It's just that this image and all it implies is so so tiresome to me.  Me - an aging, curmudgeonly, educated female who's been swimming around in her own sea of confusion about where she belongs in the world as a woman and as an artist for some time.

Now, there's nothing wrong with beautiful girls/women wearing bikinis.  And though it's really vacuous, I suppose there's nothing actually technically wrong with shooting a selfie or flashing the now completely meaningless "peace" sign at the same time alongside your "come fuck me" face.  (Yeah- yeah I know- it's a V for Five.  As in Grand Theft Auto Five, but I see the other implications.)

What makes me sigh is that the whole package stinks.  It's the use--yet once again--of the image of a young, nearly naked gorgeous girl alongside images of fully-clad dudes sporting enormous machine guns and other automatic weapons.  As if those two contrasting images of  male power/violence and naked female weakness/vulnerability living beside each other are totally normal.  Well maybe because they are sadly ubiquitous in our culture-  powerful advertising tools.  These two contrasting images also seem to make up the essential energy that is this particular video game.  (Which, by the way, might be one of the top selling, most highly sought after games in all of home video gaming history. )

But, in my world - it's 2013.  Not 1958 or 1875 or 1312.   It's not even 445 BC.  In my world in 2013, we are moving ever so slightly toward a more wise, tolerant, kind, SMART society.  Where androgynous emblems are starting to take root and male and female live together in equality.  In my world we realize that women have much more power than just their sex appeal.  We value women for embodying the fundamental beginnings of all human life and culture.  And the nurturing element that sustains.  In my world, men who really understand sustainable power realize it's not about perpetrating fear. It's about supporting growth. In my world, men don't have to prove how strong or manly they are through violent acts.  They don't subjugate their heart-- the real center of power because power is about connection. They use their hearts alongside their brains and allow their hearts to make them present and vulnerable.  Then they become interested in discovering what the right choices are and how to make them in all the deeply grey areas life has to offer.

And now I've just passed mile marker 1.2.  And my inward wordy philosophical rant turns a bit angrier.

Because I realize My World is really still that-- just mine.  It's not the world I actually live in.  It's the fantasy world I like to think I inhabit.  Like Aaron Sorkin's "West Wing."  It's not a TV show about the ACTUAL White House.  Just the White House you wish were running the country.  Sure, there are handfuls of people living in the USA and elsewhere who likely would deeply align with me, but I do realize how sadly and actually in the minority I am.

So I get mad.  And my huffing and puffing becomes a little more measured and audibly louder.  Fuck these stupid men who grew up with no love and no respect for women because their mothers were beaten down and undervalued by their fathers.  A lot of whom grew up with no strong male role models because their role models abandoned them daily or just split entirely.  As did the generations before them.  Fuck these dudes who believe that running and splitting are what make men free and thereby living their birthright.  And that shooting and screaming and fighting and fucking and gambling and basically being destruction incarnate makes a man awesome.

Fuck all y'all insecure men, I inwardly shout, who are only comfortable with a beautiful woman if she's smaller and prettier and more timid than you.  Who appears to be not as bright or driven or steady as you.  And who then is basically yours for the taking- someone you can dominate.  Fuck y'all who keep messaging to our girls out there to become that kind of bikini-clad clone and to fight each other over the stupid stupid boys, because securing one of them is the only measure of her worth.  Fuck y'all who keep grinding our boys down to be so stupid and to value violence over compassion and brash impulse over thoughtful decision-making.

And the whole time I'm indulging in this strangely satisfying inward rant, fueled by that high octane endorphin rush....I'm remembering childbirth.  That's right- the births of my two kids.  I've been very lucky-- these two moments in my life are simultaneously the most violent and the most meaningful moments I've lived through.  And I suppose somehow, my furor over witnessing a sophomoric ad based on celebrating male gun-toting dominance over vacuous, naked femaleness seemed connected to these memories.

See, I chose to give birth to our daughter Josephine with no epidural.  I had not ever gone through childbirth before, and naively decided to adhere to my belief in the possible and went into the birthing room drug free.  To this day, I have a lot of respect for myself in retrospect.  Because fairly early in the process, I discovered that having a child is a very violent thing for me- filled with shakes and vomiting.  Constant pain - tormentous pain (not these contractions that come and go, as they were sold to me...), Moaning and screaming and fear of dying and then fear that my body would split in half and that I would NOT die, but have to keep enduring the biblical amounts of fear and pain.  That was in a nutshell my perfect-on-paper birth experience of our daughter back in 2002. Though she would eventually emerge 24 hours later whole and healthy, without trauma or damage, leaving me actually able to walk off the birthing table, her birth - sans epidural- was about the scariest thing I have ever been through in my life.

I suppose the only way I could re-up and get pregnant again was by hoping that it would not happen to me the same way the second time.  That maybe this time would be different.  I would be able to endure it having gone through it once before.  Well- it was different.  Half way through giving birth to our son, and realizing I was going to experience everything exactly the same tormentous way I had experienced it the first time- I yelled for that fucking needle.  Give.  Me.  The.  Epidural.  I begged and pleaded and sobbed and whispered.  And finally got it.

So I do now know how it feels to give birth in the 21st Century. With all the comforts that 20th Century western medicine has to offer.  But my first birth experience was definitely something more akin to cavemen times. And having gone through those births- having endured that kind of torture and fear and pain, I believe one thing very deeply.  Women are just stronger than men.  In some fundamental way- women are hardwired to withstand in a way that men are not.

So of course it makes sense that over the span of centuries and millennia, men have sought to balance that out.  They've sought on a broad scale arc to undermine their women alongside their own inner feminine facets.  Being a woman-- one who gives birth to humans-- is really really fucking amazing.  And nuts.  And primal and scary and freaky and gross and disgusting and beautiful.  And bloody, let's not forget.  But we women do it because we are wired to.  And so far, it appears to be the only way we humans keep on truckin, so to speak.

So men, for the most part, have reacted by dipping right down into their endless vats of testosterone  and found ways to feel badass.  Despite the fact that they are not the true original badasses, men now wear, govern, and own that mantle.  Men do the killing, for the most part.  Men do the planning of the killing.  Men fight.  Men wage war and develop weapons of destruction and men organize and attach value and put up fences and govern countries and run companies and plan coups and terrorist attacks.  Men write stories and make movies glorifying all this kind of behavior- making it appear infused with valor and courage and other essential elements of badassity.

But men are not the original badasses.  We women are.  And there's no amount of money or gold or pussy or drugs or territory or hold over religion or technology that can change that.  Because women are the ones designed to create and sustain humans.  And THAT is real power.

I'm tired of living in a male-dominated world where male-dominated attributes are so overly celebrated and perpetrated.  I'm weary of my own constant questioning of self which I think is partly due to my sex, but to be truthful- also very deeply rooted in my DNA.  (I am just drawn that way.)

As I run down Venice Blvd, one of the chief arteries in this little piece of LA I choose to call home, I am reminded of one of the many reasons I live here.  Say what you like about Venice, but we do have a penchant for questioning norms here.  And a tendency to celebrate the outside track.  The weirdos.  The freaks.  The ones who don't necessarily conform to the norms, but rather reject them - realizing many times they don't fit.  Some of us here are innovators.  Some are artists.  Some are complete dropouts.  Some are just passing through.  But the energy here is palpable- you are always allowed to attempt being who you are here even if it doesn't fit anywhere else.

I'm constantly trying to figure out how to feel like I'm truly inhabiting my self, my power, my human life so generously bestowed upon me by the universe.   I'm happy to live here in Venice because I feel at least like there's more hope for me and my children to, say, notice a billboard of an egregiously chauvinist and violent image and realize how wholly that doesn't fit into our family's concept of self, or of what humanity is capable of becoming.

I suppose hopped up on endorphins, for 20 minutes out of every two or three days or so, flying down Venice Blvd,  I can internally concoct myself as the next Martin Luther King Jr infused with direly important messages to the world.  As the next Cesar Chavez- ready to mobilize the troops for the greater good.  Or Gandhi- poised to soothe and fundamentally change behavior all at once.   An impassioned leader, poised to channel and deliver my true message- that women and men are equally necessary and powerful.  And that if we can truly internalize that reality-- we really can be great together.

And then the spell is broken.

I walk slowly down my back alley.  Chest heaving up and down. I approach my backdoor.  Turn off whatever 70's/80's band has been providing the high volume soundtrack to my internal ravings.  And realize I will write about this later on.  That the concepts and ideas that whirl themselves around my brain high on endorphin chemicals are so huge, they can't begin to be manifested in any immediate way in my life.  Nor can they be coalesced in one simple blog post.  But the conversation can at least be attended to in some small way.

And I suppose that's what keeps me strapping on my old New Balances three times a week and pointing myself toward the ocean and back.  That's what keeps me in the game of suspending the disbelief and embracing what I hope can be possible.

Yesterday, Grand Theft Auto V was on the menu.  And a subsequent journey into my own rage at popularized social inequality for the sexes as it relates to violence and power.  But really, I'll take whatever my endorphins are serving up- week after week.  It's a damn good fuel that sparks my wanting to believe in the improbable possibilities.

And that's what keeps this ol girl running.

Friday, September 20, 2013

in fashion

There was never any way I was going to be in the fashion industry.

That's what my 18 year old self made very clear to my then- stepfather Michael.  Back in 1988, Michael suggested that instead of becoming yet another wanna-be actress in Hollywood, I take my model-esque body, love for clothing and mind for creativity, and go do.

Either that or become a TV news anchor, he suggested.  Because not only was I extremely easy on the eyes, according to Michael, but very smart and supremely charismatic.  (He was an avid and vocal fan of me back in those days.  A kind quality in him I will never forget until my dying day- especially since his arrived very sadly earlier this spring in the form of pancreatic cancer.)

The news anchor idea at least titillated my nubile actor brain a bit more than did a career in fashion. Mainly because it involved my face being displayed on a screen of some sort.  And because it simultaneously dealt with a very serious industry, which is the News.  But- Fashion.  Come on.  No one takes anyone seriously in the fashion industry.  My thoroughly-inexperienced-with-said-terrain teenage self threw this tidbit of ignorance back mockingly at my well meaning stepdad.

Which I think mainly meant- I don't take anyone seriously in fashion.  Fashion was not a serious world of creative expression, I suppose I had decided.  Though stealing away in my mother's closet and poring through her Vogues and Glamours and Bazaars had been a monthly habit for me back in my elementary school days.  Until of course, I was gifted a subscription to Seventeen somewhere in middle school. And then I proceeded to wear those dogeared pages down from overuse.  Studying the line of a skirt or the color of a silk jacket as if to memorize these features, as I was doing less surreptitiously with  my actual homework.

And that eventually morphed into paying the same kind of attention to the jacket covers of all my records.  I wanted the verbal information provided, surely- who played what where.  Who wrote what.  Lyrics.  Credits.  But I also loved soaking in the visual vibe of each record- the colors and choices of photos, hairstyles and CLOTHING of all my favorite rock stars.

Oh, and oh my god, let's not forget the hours spent creating mini fashion magazines out of white construction paper and staples using my Hasbro Fashion Plates toy circa 1982.  If I ever land upon these gems of my childhood again, I will either burn them or frame them- depending on how I want to approach my vague shame of these memories.

"You too can be a Truly Modern Woman in this Delectable Ensemble from designer Horatio Langley! Just flip on that sexy beret- toss your high leather boots on and you're good to go anywhere in town, ladies!"

The above is an attempt to provide copy of the scripts I wrote in sprawling cursive alongside each colored-pencil Fashion Plate creation.  Horatio Langely being my best version of a made-up designer's name.  Sounded foreign and classy and a little esoteric all at once.  This is the sort of thing I was holed up doing in my room in middle school after the homework was completed, piano practiced,  and the hours of phone time were concluded.  (Those endless conversations with my bestest friend Sarah which primarily focused on boys who didn't know we existed.)

I was making my fashion plates.  I was writing my copy.

However, this was clearly not something I was going to DO as an adult.  To actually spend my LIFE'S WORK in this industry!  I have so much BETTER, more LASTING things to accomplish as an artist!  (I also humbly recall the misguided interaction with stepdad Michael at the outset of acquiring my Theater degree from UCLA about how I would never, not ever audition for a commercial.  What a lowly existence that would comprise.  Being a COMMERCIAL actor. Y-UCK...  Fast forward to five years later when I'm actually living in the world of Hollywood- struggling desperately for any sort of paying gig.  The rare commercial audition was like manna from Heaven for me.)

What the hell does anyone know at 18.  OK, I suppose some of you out there had a significant amount of your shit together by 18- I do know a few of those unlikely types.  But I certainly was not one of them, and so I had all kinds of room to look up and down on all sorts of things I knew absolutely nothing about.

Which led to a flimsy-at-best career in acting in my twenties.  Followed by an only slightly less flimsy career in music, where clearly I belonged all along.

But it did NOT lead to a career in fashion.  And I suppose that's ok- because the music found me and has not let go, and that seems to be as it should.  BUT.  My relationship with fashion magazines and clothing and thrifting and buying and putting outfits together and spending a fairly significant amount of time basically thinking about fashion has only grown and flourished.  So, I was not destined to be a pro- but I am one hell of an amateur, not wheeling and dealing in the realm of fashion, but sort of parked off to the side.  I think rather I'm a pro in the magic fantasy world of fashion as it relates to other things, less tangible.  More related maybe to the tie between rock music, say, and fashion.  More related to how fashion makes me FEEL.

And as I sat down with my lovely friend Maggie the other day downing some Provence Rose at a local joint- somehow this subject got brought up.  And Maggie insisted that I blog about it- that fashion needed to hear from me about me and this so-called subverting of the value within.

And I guess I agree with her, because here I am typing away at you, my readers.  What I have uncovered over these last few years that has afforded me growing older, wiser, and more humble, is that I do truly value fashion.  And it's not a worthless endeavor or a flimsy industry at all.   I mean, sure- there may be some shallow souls inhabiting that world, but who the hell am I to blithely dismiss the realm that birthed Dior and Armani and Prada....Calvin Klein and Chanel- Lagerfeld and Von Furstenberg--the list goes on and on.  These are true artists, each in their own way.  Working their craft in the physical realm, but also of course, as artists must do- tapping into the spirit world on a regular basis to bring back inspiration based in primal concepts and etherial energies much of the time.  They are constantly going on their own inner journey year after year to bring forth something simultaneously authentic to themselves, and universal.

Anyone who knows anything about the world of the fashion designer knows this.

But more importantly to me- and closer to home- is that as a consumer of fashion, as my own personal stylist, I too am working my artist self.  Each time I put an outfit together (well- maybe not EVERY time, sometimes just that trusty old Tshirt and jeans are all I've got energy for), but most times I'm looking to channel something.  And what that means is I'm trying to bring forth whatever facet of the multi-dimensional Holly wants to shine that day.  Meaning, I'm trying to physically clothe and accurately reflect that which wants to come out and play.

If you walked through my closet you'd immediately be struck by how schizophrenic my wardrobe is.  (Most of my friends posit that I do have some sort of personal style that according to them coalesces these many forces and many influences together into something of a whole cohesive thing.  I hope that's true.  I can't really comment on that- too close to the source.)

But what I can say is that some days I'm attempting to channel the French me.  The coquettish, classic, pixie Audrey Hepburn me who has only 14 pieces of clothing in her closet, and they're all impeccably tailored and they all go with each other. Each piece is rakishly elegant and beautifully easy at the same time.  Like I just threw myself together last minute, and instantly became accidentally the height of style in less that 4 minutes.

And then, there's the Stevie Nicks-70's-siren, rock-star me.  The sexy vixen- powerful mistress to the druggy, free-loving, Topanga Canyon lifestyle.  These pieces are flowy Indian dresses, feathers, leather, vintage lace, high heeled boots.  Hats with floppy brims and cape-like jackets.

Some days are Chrissie Hynde.  Tight leather pants.  Mens shoes, tailored jackets.  Ripped up rock concert Tshirts.  Black eyeliner. Red lips.

Then there's Faye Dunaway...plaid wool A-line skirts.  Brown, camel, soft salmon leather boots.  Tight button down 70's silk Cacharel shirts only buttoned up half way.  (If I was really adventurous, I'd go braless too I suppose.)

And that's just the obvious iconic female energies.  Sometimes I'm channeling something smaller-- a feeling or a memory.  One particularly productive trip to a thrift store two years ago resulted in a pair of tapered flower jeans as well as a shrunken crochet jacket.  I put them together and became "Pretty In Pink's" Molly Ringwald the day that Lane asks her out at the record store where she works.

A couple months ago I found an old satin bowling jacket.  When I wear it I am Michelle Pfieffer in "Grease 2."   Lookin for my coo-oo-oo-ool rider.

The comforting thing about my conversation with Maggie is that as I spewed all of this to her at the 1.5 glass of Rose mark, she was nodding her head in understanding.  Yes, Holly- she says.  I get you.  Especially about the French thing.  Who doesn't want to wake up one day and be French?  To throw on the perfect navy striped Tshirt and silk scarf over your exquisitely tailored trousers and flats...wander down the St Germaine in the brisk fall...under a cobalt blue sky...smoking your first Gauloise of the day...on the way to meet your starving artist lover...10 years your the smoky cafe?

Because sometimes the most fun thing about fashion is the story you are telling yourself.  The piece of the person you maybe aren't on a regular basis but want to at least echo now and again becomes that much more manifest when you put on her outfit.  Like a costume.  And I love that.  It's like holding on to a tiny bit of my real childhood.  The one where my friends and I would meet half way in between our houses after school and assign the roles we would play in our mutual game of imagination that would last until we were all called home for dinner.

Play.  Imagine.  Fun.  That's what fashion has been for me.  That's what it continues to be.

So no- dear Michael.  I'm still not, nor likely to be, destined for a job in the fashion industry. That's not where my real talent lies.  I am a creator of songs and poetry- words and music strung together in lines, as opposed to thread and fabric.  And though I am someone who likes to look and ponder over the images- to soak them in like wine and see what pieces I can incorporate into my living breathing life or work-- that's where it ends for me.  I think I'd ruin it if I had to put a real-life, every day mercantile construct upon my love for fashion.

At least now I know it has nothing to do with devaluation.  Because I do hold the fashion industry in  high regard, having spent scads of time reading magazines and catalogues.  I've also had the pleasure to meet up and coming young visionary designers over my years here in LA.  I just know it's not the world I am meant to inhabit.  I am an avid visitor- though I don't live there.

After all,  if I did move in,  I might have to change my name to Horatio Langely.

Friday, September 13, 2013

Just a Little Space

Our beloved dog died at the end of July.   Our sweetest, dearest, beautiful 13-year-old beagle, Georgia- the "first child" my husband and I brought home to be ours back in 2000.  The first little soul to begin to really teach us what it feels like to be a parent, and to care about another creature so fundamentally and deeply.  She left us after a year of battling serious heart disease.  It was her time to go.  And like every perfect moment she spent with us in her endless loving presence, her ending too was perfect- fairly quick- fairly quiet- filled with love and kindness.

I was devastated and ripped open.  Even knowing that this day was coming for the past number of months only barely prepared me for the real moments of loss that suddenly fell softly and mutely like a heavy layer of dust over everything.  The emptiness of the house, huge.  The silence of her absence, deafening.

We wrapped up Georgia's doggie beds and stashed them away-- too painful to see them lying around the house out in the open any longer.  We cried and held each other as a family.  We sighed and stared into space.  We ate a sullen quiet dinner without our beagle's constant barking for table scraps.  We cried again, and we hurt and ached.

And then the sun came up the next day- as it must and always does after a soul rocking, heart stopping day like July 23rd was for me and our family.  And the sun came up the next day.  And the next. 

And two days ago was September 11.  And though the edge was duller,  the swirl of pain and loss still stirred itself in the depth of my gut.  The memory of that indelible day and the days that followed manifested in that deep realization of how precious our time is and how fiercely and brutally mayhem can sweep through a life. You never know how much time you have.  Nor those whom you love and cherish.   

And sadly, in an achingly timely way, I received another piece of death news on this evening of 9/11, two days previous.  A friend of mine from Venice had been found in his home earlier in the day- having passed away in his bed the night before.  A friend who was a huge presence in our neighborhood, as friend, as neighbor, and most publicly and significantly- as creator and proprietor of the local music club, two blocks from my house.  The club that had just gotten its legs last year, that has just really started to cook.  It's my favorite place to play- the place that feels like home away from home.  It was Jeb's place- his dream brought manifest.  And now Jeb, despite being only in his mid fifties, robust of health and filled with life and spirit, left this earth totally unexpectedly, a mere two days ago on 9/11.  

And yesterday, the sun came up again.  Rather beautifully, actually.  It was a beautiful morning here in Venice on Thursday September 12, 2013.  As if to fly in the face of death and loss.  The brilliance of the sun was bright, the warmth of the air golden and lovely.  Southern California morning weather at her finest. 

And on the evening of Thursday, September 12, I left for the theater in Santa Monica, to perform for  the third time in a spoken word salon called Tasty Words that my dear friend and writing coach, Wendy, hosts every month.  The theme for the evening was Music, and I had written an autobiographical piece about two musical influences in my life and how these two women have, as bookends almost, helped to inspire and shape my musical endeavors in the past two decades.  

It somehow seemed fitting that I was performing at this time.  Having spent the last few days in heavy editing mode on this piece.  Both equally in appreciation and disgust at my own writing - deep into the process of finding out how different the animals of writing for the page and writing for the stage really are.  Even when it's just for my own voice!  I find I am a wee bit wordy when putting pen to paper, or fingers to keys, and so, as a musician, when I'm looking to inhabit the rhythm of a piece I've written, it's tough to find my way through all the multisyllabic, comma laden, run-on sentences.  (When the fuck are you getting to the period here, Holly?)

Basically, I've been winding my way toward understanding that old "less is more" adage.  And the key to this is-- space.  Allowing for space- for pauses and time to explain what you mean to say as opposed to three more adjectives.  And four more sentences.  And another paragraph of exposition.  You just sometimes need- time. And space.

I must have let this lesson sink in well enough as last night's reading went off pretty well.  It was overall a very strong show, actually.  Great stories- good writers and performers all.  And I noticed the moments that worked best for everyone, including myself, did have this element of space and time attached to them.  The rhythm and flow is just so elemental to the story coming across- to the message or the narrative landing.

And the sun came up again this morning- as it most always will until it ends up engulfing this little third rock from the sun on its path of self destruction in another billion something years.  The sun came up again and my first thought of the morning as I heaved my feet over the side of the bed was-- you did good last night, kid.  And, more importantly-  that's all that's needed, Hol.  Just a little space.  A little space to let it breathe.

Because when you allow for the space, you can move forward.  The moments will land.  And your string of these moments- the path of YOUR life will feel less tangled and stickly.  Like your writing, and your performing.  It will all flow with more ease and grace.

And now back to Georgia.  And Jeb.  And the circle of life and death that I feel I've been forced to  develop a more present relationship with recently...

As everything does tend to come in threes, I probably should mention that two months before we lost our beloved dog, and three months before this neighborhood lost its beloved club owner, I also found out that my ex-stepfather had finally succumbed to pancreatic cancer.  After months of aggressive  treatment and then final weeks of peace and pain management, he passed in the hospital surrounded by family. And this news hit me harder than I thought it would.  I hadn't spoken to Michael in well over a year, but to hear that I'd never ever be able to speak to him ever again buckled my knees and sent me bowled over and weeping on the floor- awash in a sea of memories of him when he'd been my mom's husband and one of my greatest supporters and fans.  Though never a replacement for my actual living father, Michael was one of the dearest men to me for a large chapter in my life, and hearing about his absence felt like a big hole had been ripped out of my fabric.

So death goes.

But I've taken away something essential so far from this triptych of death in my purview recently. Death in three parts: 1. Close to the heart but not in the everyday.  2.  Death in my house, so close to the bone it's in my almost every waking moment. And 3. Death in my world nearby in a precious place near and dear.  

This essential element that has been resonating in my soul is this:  that in order to live- one needs space. Space for the communication to occur.  For the real person you are to show up for a moment and be present.  Just a little space- to hear the pauses of your life- of your rhythm.  Then the story of you can tell itself.  And that's all we got, is our story, and the moments that make it up.  Because someday- maybe sooner than you know, it will be all over. You know this for sure. Your story, too, will be done- at least this time around.

The days immediately following Georgia's death were slow and long and sullen.  Filled with many hours of the quiet heavy dust of loss.  But fairly soon, the horrible fog lifted, and we were able to talk about her- remember her- celebrate the beautiful shining life she had led.  To remember her little quirks and times gone by spent in her snuggly, warm company.  She was - as dogs generally are - 100% present.  Always available for love.  Gorgeous reminders of consciousness- pets can be.    And so it became somehow surprisingly easy to shift away from constant pain into wistful, sweet memories. Because there was nothing to pine over or worry about with the passing of our dog.  She was here- she lived perfectly- she left and she's gone now.  Unlike most human relationships I've had, this one was so simple, elegant and whole.  So when she died, Georgia in a most loving way started to teach me how to properly grieve too.

And the crazy thing is-  from that experience, I found space inside myself I didn't know I really had yet.  The space- the capacity- to have loved that deeply, and to have lost daily connection with that soul.  It was mostly conjecture up until the point of losing a daily friend who felt more like my child than my animal.   All of a sudden- I knew that pain.  And somehow feeling it lifted something else away, and I became more ready to go along my way.  On my path.  

Death has coming knocking three times for me this year.  I hope there will be no more for a long time, but I of course don't know and can't control any piece of that.  Death has been sudden, and sad and inevitable all at once.  It has come expected and unexpected.  But it has been a patient teacher too.  Turns out, I can love and embrace it all and then lose it.  And the sun comes up the next day.  And I get to keep working my particular strand in the weave.

I guess I just need a little space.