Friday, November 6, 2009

Gratitude List for November

(I will do better at keeping up my blog... I will do better at keeping up my blog... I will do better at keeping up my blog...)

1. I LOVE New England in the fall. My iPhone is on the fritz and I lost my camera battery charger at Arlene's Grocery in NYC (I think?) so I have no pictures of my own to show you of the incredible colors I try to soak up every day on my walk to and from work, but I actually found myself getting teary-eyed over the combined color of some pink and orange chrysanthemums the other morning. Laugh if you will, but I'm so grateful that I'm still able to be so overwhelmed by simple, natural beauty. (And to find it in the city.)

2. I've said it before and I'll say it again.
I LOVE writing new music with my bandmates. Sometimes the complications of collaborating on a project with a group can be frustrating, sure. There's give and take and you can't as easily get carried away with your own cleverness. But the moment when a spark of an idea transforms into a full-blown crackling flame of a song... it just makes me glow and bounce inside.

**Juicy band insider tidbit - a snippet of an email from me to my bandmates yesterday in the context of a pep talk about the industry: "we are really fortunate to be able to spend as much time as we do on art. we spend a major portion of our time and energy on arguably the purest art there is and then we actually get to regularly get out and share that with other people! c'mon admit it, it's awesome!" Responses: "YEAH!" "amen." "Music rocks. Let's play more of it." Superfan bonus points to whoever can identify who said what.**

3. NaNoWriMo! This is my first time joining the National Novel Writing Month fray, but I am LOVING it. (You too? Be my writing buddy! Screen name: mackenziemae. Word count: painfully low. Is it cheating to use the first, middle and last name of every character every time? ... "Hihowaya," said Edgar Paul Frank-Winston. "Hihowaya," replied Mary Ellen Studebaker-Rodham. Boom. 13 words.) I have been so stuck in my fiction writing for a long time. Instead I've been writing poems and, of course, lyrics... but in my head I've always known I wanted to get back to telling stories in, well, story-form. This experiment of writing JUST for its own sake - just to get the words out in great quantities - is so incredibly freeing. When you give yourself permission to write just WHATEVER, it becomes more like transcribing your own meandering chaotic imagination. And I cannot remember the last time I devoted so much time to living in my own imagination. I'm sure I was a kid. So at age 31, I am so grateful for this experience again. And if I get even a few of these 50,000 words in the right order, then I'll be grateful for that, too!

4. My friends. (I have to mention that I include my friendships with my sisters and cousins and aunts and parents and...) I've always been one of those people with one or maybe two very close friends. Somehow over the last five years or so, even in all the tumult of my crazy life (and arguably even crazier ways of coping), I have managed to expand and build and nurture and hold onto great friendships with some of the best people ever. Even those who are far away never feel distant.

I've got wonderfully creative friends who send me their latest in-progress songs or screenplays or philosophical wonderings. Imaginative friends who play spontaneous "what if" games with me over email to lighten my work day. Kind friends who send me notes to say "I will always have your back." Traveling friends who send me postcards from my favorite spots in the world. Thoughtful friends who send me into my self-imposed solitude with loving words or a warm bouquet of flowers to remind me I'm not really alone. Generous friends who lend me all kinds of stuff including an ear in the middle of their work day or the middle of the night to help me through a moment of self-doubt. Friends who confide in me too and trust me with their own doubts. Friends who transform my dark worries into rolling laughter. Friends who give me virtual hugs. Friends who get me out to see new things. Friends who indulge me in quasi-philosophical conversations. Friends who teach me things every single day.

For too long I've been meaning to sit down and make something with my two hands to place in the two hands of each one of these people I love. I want to do more than just text or email or Facebook or Tweet them. I want to leave them with something actual that shows how often I stop to feel grateful for them - and always will. I just can't tell you how lucky I am. I would not be who or where I am without these people.

Hm. Maybe a song is in order. (Till then, if you're now feeling shmoopy about your own sweet friends, check out #5 - Friend Like You - on Brendan Kelley's debut album, written and produced by one of those aforementioned awesome friend people.)

5. This Blue Heaven's Thanksgiving Week Tofurkey Tour! (Even though I can't even rightfully call myself a vegetarian anymore... "carnivorously picky" is more like it, but I'm seeing Jonathan Safran Foer talk about his new book next week - Wednesday 11/11, Vanderslice Cabaret Room @ Boston College, 3-5pm - so maybe by Thanksgiving I'll be transformed and back on the wagon, full-force.) We're hitting NYC, Philly, and Norfolk, VA (where I get to see more of those aforementioned awesome people!) If I can't spend Thanksgiving with my blood-and-bones family, I am so happy to get to spend it with my rock-and-roll one.

Numbers 6-2,000,000,000... well. They'll have to stay on the happy, plastered walls of my mind, accumulating moment to moment these days. I'm just. so. thankful.

P.S. This is long! How can I work all these words into my novel... Hmmmm


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