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Tag Archives: blood memoir

studio

Last years thoughts:

Studio: The place for the study of an art.

I was actually in the studio when I wrote that. In the producer’s chair at Jason Weinheimer’s Fellowship Hall Sound in Little Rock, working with H. on creating what would turn into his most recent release, “What It Is.” It was fun, it was informative, it was collaborative, it was music, it was indeed study.

Today, my studio is my desk, a guitar, my iphone, and google drive. I find that my studio is wherever I am — technology allows that and I am thankful for it. If I were a painter like Frida, I wouldn’t have the luxury of portability as much as I do. I can study my art in most places if I have something on which to write and record. All of this is to say I’m going to record an EP this summer to go with my memoir, and preparation has commenced.

This is probably no surprise to some. It seems my work is never completed around this subject — there is always more investigating to do, more explaining, more excavation of emotion and spirit and struggle and the hope for some exaltation at the end. Exaltation comes, but only in short bursts when I successfully describe, for myself, a feeling through a piece of art that came through the study of first, myself. Self-doubt creeps in when I wonder if it has any hope of doing the same for the reader or listener. No, my work is never done. But my work is also my purpose. What would I be without it? Is my mind my actual studio? Is my art my self? In some ways I think that is true. We are all our own works of art, as our lives are our works of art.

So far there are six new songs, one unheard original written by my daddy and my sister (she found a lyric he’d written after he died and put music to it), and I’m also going to revisit “Cold, Cold Earth,” the hidden track that was on The Hardest Part. In some ways it’s my belief that the whole thing exists because of that song, that song that tells the facts but not the truth — I’m a better writer now, I can dig out more subtlety, more complexity, and I’m less afraid to be honest. I want to finish the job I started when I wrote that lyric down over twenty years ago.

So here’s hoping I pull together a worthy, not only companion piece to the memoir, which I worked harder on than anything else I’ve ever made in my life, but something that stands alone as a document of its own merit.

I find that most artists’ works are connected — we all have our unique stories to tell and we tell them until they’re fully told, if we get a chance. I’m very thankful to have mine.

Happy Wednesday, Y’all.

AM

recess

Last year this title came to me because I’d forgotten the week before to do my blog post. I wrote about giving myself a break. Today I return to that thought.

Recess. To go back? As in the action of recession, to recede or make an indention in, or the suspension of a procedure. Like moving forward with something, an action or conversation, and then taking a rest from it. Oh well, language is confusing. No matter – I guess we can agree that a recess is an identifiable break. I think of it as a little notch. Yes, that seems to encompass all the possible definitions.

We need breaks. I needed that break a year ago. I have this conversation often — with friends, with H. — about how we need to step away from our devices, television, work, our mates, even our children, so that we can take a deep breath and center ourselves, so that we can hear our true selves talking. Do y’all ever wonder what your true selves are saying that you aren’t tuned in enough to hear? The idea that at least some physical pain is caused by unexpressed emotion comes to me… the tight throat, the knotted up stomach, the literal aching heart… what am I ignoring that desperately wants to come forward and make itself known to my conscious mind when I feel those symptoms?

I remember being a girl, around 12 years old, and having my Daddy come into my bedroom to talk to me. This was NOT a common occurrence, y’all. He and Mama had had one of their falling outs, probably, no, not probably, certainly over his drinking and violence. I don’t remember if we’d packed up and left and then returned home after a few days that particular time or not — we did that a lot so I don’t even know if I recall every time I shoved all of my clothes and shoes into the backseat of the car and we drove off to some friend’s house or to my grandparents’ only to return a day or two later, but I do remember how I felt as he delivered his  lines about how couples that had been together for 20 years didn’t just break up. And I remember thinking to myself that I didn’t understand why they didn’t, because obviously he and my Mama needed to do exactly that and then some. But I couldn’t say it. And every ounce of that unexpressed feeling settled in my throat because I wasn’t safe enough to let the words out. All I could do was cry.

I wonder what might have happened if I, or someone else like a responsible, clear thinking adult might’ve been able to persuade them to recess. How might things have turned out if they had been able to tune in to their true selves and honor them, and recognize their need for some space and perspective on the situation? It’s hard to think about. But I’m getting closer to letting our story out into the world and it’s on my mind a lot. I miss my Mama something fierce these days. I wish she’d had the luxury of a recess from her constant work, her constant worry, her constant battle just to exist. I wish I could’ve seen her at ease, even for just a little while. Selfishly, I wish I had a recess from being motherless sometimes. Just a minute with her would, well, I don’t know what that would do.

What I do know is that what’s missing in my life is now replaced with the desire for awareness of why the bel hevi takes up residence in my gut. What’s missing in my life is also sometimes replaced with the luxury of a minute to escape whatever is in front of me that I can’t bear to show myself to, so I can wrap my own arms around myself in, I don’t know, let’s say a restaurant bathroom when I have to leave the dinner table to keep from ruining a nice evening because I need a minute to shed a tear or two when a song comes through the speakers that conjures her memory so palpably my heart hurts. The other night it was, “Night Shift,” by The Commodores. No, most times we don’t see it coming.

We can’t face it all all the time. Sometimes we need a minute, or more. Overwhelm accomplishes nothing positive — we can only react when cornered even if it’s only by our own emotions. I think about my 12-year-old self in that bedroom, feeling cornered by my Daddy and I want to bust up in there and rescue myself. I want to tell myself that it’s okay to take a minute to locate the feeling that was coming from my true self instead of letting him have control over me. Those tears I cried came from utter helplessness. And I want to tell that same thing to him too. I wonder if someone had comforted him through his own overwhelming emotions, if someone had given him the luxury of a recess, if he might’ve taken a different path.

That got heavy. Sometimes it does. I’m not deleting it, my hour is up.

Peace and love and happy Wednesday, Y’all.

AM