Thursday, January 14, 2010

Wheels of life and death

My first writing class was taught by the truly wonderful Gurney Norman.  Someone in the class eventually asked where his name came from and he told the story of asking his (mentally ill) mother that same question.  Her answer:  Wheels of life and death.  Yes, as in, a hospital gurney.

Rachel Sue is the name of my new second cousin who was born, as far as I know, sometime between when I went to sleep last night at 3am and when I arose at 8am.  I know people are born all the time.  And all.  But oh.  Oh, oh.  Someone's WHOLE LIFE just started.  I just want to breathe that in.  A life is brand new.  Everything is possible again.

I've been slowly, slowly letting words emerge - lyrics for a song that is about darkness.  It's been threaded through some of my entries, this thinking about winter and death and darkness.  What is this rhythm of Life/Death/Life?  What goes on inside the darkness that makes everything possible again, anew?  This morning (my shivering walks to work are so good for pondering!) this line came:  When my death arrived I found I was no longer afraid of the dark.

The lyrics for the newer songs we've been working on have so much light swirling through them, though "tonight" seems also ever present...

You come home tired and beaten down, but your eyes they shine like a neon sign...
(Generous Soul)

My rearview mirror looks back forever on a dark road I might long to forget, but there are lights that linger on above the embers of every fire I've tended yet...
(Home Tonight)

Maybe it all ends right here tonight and all that's left will be me and the starlight...
(Slow Dance Slow)

A cold wind blows between us but I know that it's a lie 'cause I see your candle burning and I feel a spark inside... 
(Come Be Near Me)

The big bang had just begun when the lights came on and we all started to run...
(Vision of Perfection)

Even when you're hiding in the dark, brilliance spills out underneath your guarded door and it's so warm.  So when you're near me it's like I'm swallowed by the sun, and in your eyes I am burning...
(Nova Love)

Lots of light in darkness.  But I think we need a song with no light.  I like this idea of no longer fearing the darkness, of making peace with the cycle of life and death and life again.  Trusting that the light will return and with it new possibilities that could not have arisen without the period of darkness.  How dark was it for Rachel Sue in the womb?  It's a total mystery of course...but I'll bet she wasn't afraid.

P.S.  We played a full live set last night on WMFO Medford, which is now available (for one week) to listen to online.  Go here and then scroll down to Wednesday night's show, On the Town with Mikey Dee.  Select it and then you can start with Part 2 (just be sure to go back for Part 3 for the end of the set and the short interview afterward) - our set kicks off just about halfway through Part 2, starting with Come Be Near Me.  Actually, here's the whole setlist, chock full of brand new songs!

Come Be Near Me
Insomnia  (there's a moment at the end where another song plays over us, but it passes)
That Summer
Generous Soul
My Disgrace
As Ever As Always
Slow Dance Slow
Vision of Perfection
Nova Love
Leave Me My Mind


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