tomorrow, i’ll see my first love for the last time. the one who held my hand for the first time. the one who guided me through relationships. the one who took me to coffee shops in the morning to wake up, in the afternoon to work, in the evening to converse. the one whom i sat with for countless nights, discontent as a teenager in the dimly lit streets of the suburbs. the one who carried me to safety from the storms. the one who would sit with me on new years eve when there was no one else. the one who let my hair feel the wind and my shouts ring through the freeway air. the one who heard so many tough conversations and never left. the one who carried me away from loneliness. the one who became my home when i didn’t know where else it could be. the one who gave me freedom and an identity. the one who helped me learn what community really means. the one who held all of my stuff as i moved. and moved. and moved. and moved. and moved. and moved. my consistency.
adventure in the midst of bore. joy in the midst of depression. grace as i learned to love. sharing my joys and laughter and fears and tears and excitement.
last tuesday, this one was hurt by an accident completely out of my control. i wasn’t hurt, thankfully, and this car collision didn’t look like that big of an event. but, as cliche as it sounds, i didn’t know how much this one meant to me until it was gone. when i got the call on yesterday that that was it, my car had been totaled, i went into business mode and started figuring out what actions i needed to take, what the insurance would take care of, what forms i needed to fill out, blahblahblahblahblah. then, thankfully in the midst of the most loving, caring, honest, gracious group of women i know, it hit me, accompanied by a whole load of tears. i loved this car. i didn’t know how much of my self was tied up in this big pile of metal. it had been a huge part of who i was. and yeah, it’s just a car. i know. i’ll get a new one. i know. i’m lucky in that. but there was something about all that i had experienced with this car and all that i had grown with this car. it was just being taken away from me. i’d always expected it to keep going until finally it couldn’t go anymore. then i would get to say a proper goodbye. but someone else decided that it was time. that i couldn’t have it anymore. that it’s damage would cost more than its worth. i wanted to tell bob at the repair shop that it was worth more than he knew. more than he could write me an insurance check for. but really, what would that do? nothing. it was gone. tomorrow i will go pick up the pieces of my life that i had left behind in it and say goodbye.
i’m sure this is just the next step in growing up. seems like i’ve left behind nearly everything else that defined me in my youth: houses, cities, places, clothes, guitars, old friends, singledom. a part of me knows that it’s time. time for me to move on and move into the next breath of my life. but it almost feels too soon.
so maybe i’m over-dramatizing this. and given, i’m still processing. but different things are different big-ness to different people and i’m not gonna be ashamed for spending a night bawling in the arms of the one i love about my pronounced-dead car. i care about this thing. so dammit, i’m gonna be as upset as i need to be and you can’t tell me that it’s not valid. it is. i am. this is what i feel. don’t tell me not to cry. to calm it down. not to be so extreme. to be reasonable. i am an emotional creature.
and because music helps me process, i will now go make a sentimental car playlist, full of cheese and beach boys songs. but the one that comes to mind first is by a family favorite, nanci griffith, called “ford econoline”: a song about a woman who finds freedom through this ford econoline. so i’ll allow these last lyrics to rush over me and speak truth and hope to me. and though i don’t hope i get a coupe deville, i know that once i get my next car, i’ll sing these lines about me and my lovely little honda:
“she drives a coupe deville but her heart rides still in that ford econoline.”
and i said to him, are there answers to all of this?
and he said, the answer is in a story and the story is being told
and i said, but there’s so much pain
and he answered, pain will happen
and i said, will i ever find meaning?
and he said, you will find meaning where you give meaning
the answer is in a story and the story is unfolding
the question is not where but how
the question is never finished or exhausted
and the question’s in the asking not the answer
the answer’s in the breathing of the question
in the love of holding onto what was never whispered, never seen
but what we dreamed of in the morning
then forgot while venus crept around the nighttime of our sleeping
the answer is in the living not the knowing
the answer’s in the telling of the story
in the half-forgotten memory and all unfinished stories
the answer’s in the showing time of senses
the answer’s in the question, in the learning
in the faded page of writing
in the letters sent to lovers
in the paying for the other
the answer is the generous, is the truthing
the absolutely truthful anger
and forgiving is the giving of what you don’t deserve
it’s what is served because you’re hungry
even though you may not know it
the answer is in the living and the dying
in the trying for redemption on an empty hill of crosses
it’s the shoring up of hope and the gathering of losses
it’s the looking for companions in the hills and in the glens
it’s the waking up and walking up and starting up again
the answer’s in the living and the trying
and i said to the wise man, what is the answer to all of this?
he said, the answer is in the story and the story is just unfolding.
Because he lives, all fear is gone
Because I know he holds the future
And life is worth the living just because he lives” —
Stop all the clocks, cut off the telephone,
Prevent the dog from barking with a juicy bone,
Silence the pianos and with muffled drum
Bring out the coffin, let the mourners come.
Let aeroplanes circle moaning overhead
Scribbling on the sky the message He Is Dead,
Put crepe bows round the white necks of the public doves,
Let the traffic policemen wear black cotton gloves.
He was my North, my South, my East and West,
My working week and my Sunday rest,
My noon, my midnight, my talk, my song;
I thought that love would last for ever: I was wrong.
The stars are not wanted now: put out every one;
Pack up the moon and dismantle the sun;
Pour away the ocean and sweep up the wood.
For nothing now can ever come to any good.
I’m two hours back into schoolwork and my brain isn’t ready for this. so i decided to distract myself with sxsw blogging. one can only research the implications from the music of an italian neorealist film about the algerian revolution for so long, right? so, until i dig deep in myself to find motivation for school, and before i the cinematic and musical experiences disappear from my brain, i must write. First, film.
Trash Dance: ‘twas my first film of sxsw. and what a wonderful way to start off the week. i remember seeing portions of this film fall of freshman year in one of the boring, intro film classes. this was one of two lectures that i actually stayed completely mentally alert for. they were the two documentary lectures. clearly, this is what i love. all that to say, it’s been a long time coming. i’ve been excited to see this for a while. it’s made by an rtf professor, andrew garrison, who teaches the east austin stories class that i’m eagerly anticipating for next spring probably. there were so many beautiful aspets about this film. it was a pretty traditional set up for a storyline: following the process of putting on a performance. but it’s not just any performance and they’re not just any performers. these people are hard workers. not who you would traditionally pick to be involved in a dance performance. and they were very suspicious of their own involvement in this undertaking. but the arc of this movie was beautiful. by the end, everyone came around, put on a beautiful performance and showed the audience of the performance and the film that beauty and grace can be found anywhere. since this was the world premiere of the film, the entire cast of the film was present and it was so clear how involved each and every person was in the film, both physically and emotionally. this was a story that really matters to people. those are the stories that need to be told. stories of people and beauty and grace and joy and redemption. check it out at trashdancemovie.com
Degenerate Art: after i saw that wonderfully inspirational film, i saw degenerate art. the trailer made it look like it might be really interesting. there were some beautiful shots i then trailer and i could definitely see the potential for something really intriguing. but this was not. to summarize the entire film: pipes are cool, nobody knows about them, they’re art not paraphernalia, they should be celebrated. there was no emotional involvement in the story. and there easily could have been. i remember this moment where a pipe maker was talking about how his young daughter had to be a part of the dare program against drug use at school. police officers were telling her that these things were bad and she came ome that day and saw all the pipes on her dad’s wall. the pipe maker talked about how his little girl has to deal with and try to understand this tension that they live in. now that’s a story. i wish that’s what the whole film had been about. but alas, it wasn’t. if you’re interested, check it out here (http://www.degenerateartfilm.com/), but i don’t recommend it.
Girl Walk//All Day: i finished my first day of sxsw off with this film. in my journal, after i finish the film, i write a little summary of my first impressions of the film. all i wrote for this was “fun! fun! fun!” i didn’t know what i was getting myself into. the film is a flash mob, dance music video of 3 characters dancing through new york, set to the girl talk album “all day.” the filmmaker and some of the cast was in the audience, and after the usual no talking, no photography, no texting, no tweeting warning, they screamed out, “NO! IT’S NOT TRUE! TALK! TWEET! THAT’S BULL SH*T!” there’s not way to describe this experience. i’m sorry if you didn’t get to experience this film this week. i don’t know if it’ll happen any other time. there was a massive dance party after the film ended. there was mid-film dancing. the entire film’s online, and if you ever have a couple hours free, please watch it. and today, if you need a bit of joy in your so-tired-after-sxsw day, watch this:
i should probably get back to some for-school writing now, so i’ll finish this film update later. but now, enjoy your day back in the real world.