Monday, September 5, 2016

The Beginning of In the Beginning...

Enjoying the Labor Day of no labor. Sitting in a coffeehouse, drinking an expensive coffee, and listening to minimal ambient groove. I've been avoiding working on the memoir. It's a thing now. Over 100 pages. The most I have ever put into a single work. It's daunting and has grown strong enough to take from me what it wants. I'm working on our relationship. There's only so long you can bully your offspring before it calls you out and makes you show where things are. At some point a detente must be reached. I can't give up on it. A younger me would. No more excuses. I will do this, better or worse, and I will send it out into the world to fend for itself, its successes and failings always rippling back to the source. Pride or disgrace in the work of parenthood. And, of course, likely to be somewhere in the middle.

I'm working on a chapter about my love affair with sound...first music, then songwriting, then voice as the elemental that strikes me as the marriage of sound and meaning. I think it will be called "In the beginning was not the word." Wrestling with how much to include, trying to remember that this phase should be about including everything, leaving editing for later.

Here's an excerpt from the chapter in progress.


"When puberty sneaks in, music becomes a place to go, like the mall or the dam to drink, laugh, and discover the bliss of unrequited lust. For some it reveals a place to hide. Like the green hillsides and darkened woods in the Goodwill paintings my parents filled the living room with, melodies introduced themselves as portals. The days I spent staring, trying to wish myself into those infinite summers. 


I remember the Beach Boys’ idyllic portraits of some coast with souls and skin the perfect hue. I lay on my stomach, chin in hands in front of the dusty speaker trying like hell to make that place real in my head. Everyone seemed so well fed. If there were bullies, you were one of them, or at least invisible enough to find solace. Muscle cars meant no fear of bathrooms, third period, or vicious gymnasia designed to part wheat from chaff..."


Working on finding the proper balance of digging deep and grazing wide. No new struggle there, as those writers reading this would attest. The excavation is fascinating and sometimes painful. You come across pockets of gold but also raw nerves that may have been better left alone. But if you're going to tell your story, this is part of the work. Some tell it hard and straight, and some wax poetically until it's more about the present than the past. Some are minimal like the music around me and some leave in all Proustian loose threads and dusty baseboard scrabble. You decide where you fall and how it needs to be done. You listen to it as it is conjured, as much audience yourself and composer. Balance of power. Middle Way. Flowing with it so that music is made and, hopefully, not the sound of something breaking you want to remain whole. 

1 comment:

Viga Boland said...

Your words flow like poetry. I think you are a poet, no? A deep thinker too. This writing is more than memoir ... much more.