Sunday, October 12, 2008

She gets it.

(A post originally intended for the Halloween season, but giving birth has postponed it until now...more to come soon.)
For almost a year now, Olivia, my 3-year-old has had an unwelcomed obsession with monsters. I think we first noticed it one night when she came into our bedroom and said, "Jesus is bringing me monsters." Her exposure to said creatures has been limited. The most reoccurring ones appear to be ogres, giants, and wolves.
Olivia brought this monster home from preschool a couple of weeks ago. Based on the other monster pictures I saw coming out of the classroom, the mouth was probably supposed to be a smile, but she gets it. Monsters are unhappy. They show up in her nightmares. For any number of reasons, they are a rejected species. Shows like the Muppets or Sesame Street, even the movie Monsters Inc. are trying to redefine monsters for us, take away the scariness, but it doesn't really work. What you end up with aren't monsters at all. Monsters are never really happy, just ask Olivia.

Friday, October 10, 2008

The Novel

"...I think we have to continue to read novels. Because I think that the novel is a very good means to question the current world without having an answer that is too schematic, too automatic. The novelist, he’s not a philosopher, not a technician of spoken language. He’s someone who writes, above all, and through the novel asks questions.”

Jean-Marie Gustave Le Cl├ęzio, French novelist, won the 2008 Nobel Prize in Literature yesterday

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Better than Oxygen

I intentionally try to vary my mediums of influence, but music wins out time and time again. And again, it's Willy Mason's lyrics that are having an extended visit in this household. These days Brett and I play his songs as we're getting ready for the day or for a meal. Olivia sings her versions as she plays with her cars under our dining room table.
Maybe he's a seasonal association for us. We thrived during the autumns on Martha's Vineyard. But it's also this talk of "crisis," the election, the mood, the "heavy" that's bringing me back to his words. Now it's his song, Oxygen, perhaps best heard outside, under the trees next to Seth's Pond where Tom and Warren rig a killer sound system. But I'm sure something significant can still be conveyed if you just listen to it on your laptop. I've added a visual this time, which I'm quite certain was shot entirely on Martha's Vineyard.



"Oxygen" by Willy Mason

I wanna be better than oxygen
So you can breathe when you're drowning and weak in the knees
I wanna speak louder than Ritalin
For all the children who think that they've got a disease
I wanna be cooler than t.v.
For all the kids that are wondering what they are going to be
We can be stronger than bombs
If you're singing along and you know that you really believe
We can be richer than industry
As long as we know that there's things that we don't really need
We can speak louder than ignorance
Cause we speak in silence every time our eyes meet.

On and on, and on it goes
The world it just keeps spinning
Until i'm dizzy, time to breathe
So close my eyes and start again anew.

I wanna see through all the lies of society
To the reality, happiness is at stake
I wanna hold up my head with dignity
Proud of a life where to give means more than to take
I wan't to live beyond the modern mentality
Where paper is all that you're really taught to create
Do you remember the forgotten America?
Justice, equality, freedom to every race?
Just need to get past all the lies and hypocrisy
Make up and hair to the truth behind every face
That look around to all the people you see,
How many of them are happy and free?
I know it sounds like a dream
But it's the only thing that can get me to sleep at night
I know it's hard to believe
But it's easy to see that something here isn't right
I know the future looks dark
But it's there that the kids of today must carry the light.

If i'm afraid to catch a dream
I weave your baskets and i'll float them down the river stream
Each one i weave with words i speak to carry love to your relief.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

It's a Hard Hand to Hold...

One of the joys of living on Martha's Vineyard for two years was being exposed to the music of local artist, Willy Mason. He's 24 going on 60. I'm really not sure how he can write with such truth and insight, but it's there and I'd love for everyone I know to be in a room together for a Willy Mason listening party (preferably back at Tom and Julie Willett's house).
I'm sure I'll cite him again one day, but the discourse and feel of things around our country as of late has me coming back to some of his lyrics. The first time I heard "Hard Hand to Hold", I was riding in a car with Lindsey Czechowicz and Kay Zittrer. It was just over a year ago. We were on our way to Oak Bluffs. The windows were down, and they insisted on turning it up and playing it over and over again. Thanks girls, it's haunted me ever since.
So here it is, in full. Thanks for reading.

"Hard Hand to Hold" by Willy Mason

Look him in the eyes
There's no need to be scared
He's as powerless as you and me,
Though his face is well worn
And his clothes a bit torn
That don't mean that you shouldn't believe,
When he asks you your name
Says 'brother we're all here in the same game'
But you shrink back like he's a disease,
Yeah you shake and you moan
You say 'oh please take me home'
And the homeless all sing the reprise.

It's a hard hand to hold
That is looking for control
It is tempting to fight
When you know that you're right,
It's hard to lie down
When you don't trust the ground
It's hard to hold on,
It's hard to hold on.

Walking home again
There comes a battle with the wind
As it teases your provisions against shame,
Like all that wax in your hair
It becomes painfully clear
That as long as it's a fight, you'll never win,
And when you get to the door
You're still so busy fighting wars
That you can't look upon your lady as a friend,
You're trying so hard to be right
You miss the love in that first sight
And your lover feels alone once again.

It's a hard hand to hold
That is looking for control
It is tempting to fight
When you know that you're right,
It's hard to lie down
When you don't trust the ground
It's hard to hold on,
It's hard to hold on.

Entering the liquor store
You try your hardest to ignore
That street sleeper on your left there all alone,
And the young man on your right
With unchained souls and love of night
You look so scared they laugh and wonder if your stoned,
But somewhere deep inside
They feel the pain they've learned to hide
Because that same fear has brought much trouble on their homes,
And they know you won't feel safe
Until that cop car wins its race
And another life is driven off its road.

It's a hard hand to hold
That is looking for control
It is tempting to fight
When you know that you're right,
It's hard to lie down
When you don't trust the ground
It's hard to hold on,
It's hard to hold on.

It's a hard hand to hold
That is looking for control
It is tempting to fight
When you know that you're right,
It's hard to lie down
When you don't trust the ground
It's hard to hold on,
It's hard to hold on