Greek-ish Chorus

I mentioned a couple of days ago on Facebook that my life needs a Greek Chorus. I think I was off the mark a little bit. I think that what I really need is to get my Greek Chorus into line. At the moment, they are more like what we see in the musicals Evita and Mamma Mia. Rather than a chorus talking in unison, I have a disparate group of voices chatting higgledy-piggledy. They follow me through my days, adding color and commentary to my life. When I'm feeling down they are there to echo my emotions, a sort of musical call and response. When I'm happy, we're dancing around the room, bowing to each other and lifting our glasses. If I can't sleep, a heap of them are sitting atop bed, discussing formulas for spreadsheets.

If I'm dizzy from my meds I have a very laid back guy saying, "Dude". Sometimes I'll be doing something – something productive, let's say – and I start to get dizzy. If I'm at home I generally take a nap, but if I'm out and about there's not nap to be had. I sit still a moment and think, what was it I was doing? Then we're all in the car together, happily singing along, ABBA blaring from the speakers, driving to Jerry's Artarama to get art supplies. Or, I'll be enjoying a nice cup of coffee and think about a beautiful tree outside the window. I'll consider that it is older than the building I'm sitting in, and suddenly there's all this chatter about what the neighborhood was like 50 years ago when it was all trees and fields, and how did they select this one tree to stay and lean on the railing of the porch, when they razed all of the others to make the shopping center. Sitting next to me, head-to-head, is a handsome Hispanic man and we're looking at each other knowingly, singing about the tree and how good the drawing is going to turn out. Then I take out the art supplies that I keep with me and begin drawing. Others chime in about the depth, and the need for shade in this one area and how this area is flat and they sing (in chorus) when I begin to make it better. And then the railing coming toward the viewer and taking a sharp turn, running parallel with the window I'm looking out of. Just kind of sketched in there, not detailed like the ♪ BEAUTIFUL TREE that is just outside my window! ♫♪♪ And the beautiful drawing that I'm adding to my journal, and I'm going to be able to retire from work and write and draw and a ♫ NEW EARNIE – A Rather Earnest Painter ♪ ♫ ♪ is coming into his own in a coffee shop in this wicked little town of Austin, TX.

Not quite the award-winning piece of art that my Greek-ish Chorus would have me believe, but they lost interest after about 20 minutes.

Other times they mock me. Why am I still working at this job where everybody is so mean? (In reality, the people I work with are delightful.) Why am I still sitting in front of a company computer marking time until I die? What happened to those wild dreams, when we were soaring and laughing and the Rather Earnest Painter was going to have it all? So, what happens now? Don't ask... any more. You made your bed, now lie in it. You have three novels started, you have writing skills that you've put into a drawer. At work I sit at my desk while, dancing around me, men and women sing about what I've done with my life, and more to the point what I haven't. Where is the success that would let me own a home in two towns, a place to get away and a place to come home to? Or, did I forget to try?

All in all I have to say that I like this group of singers, this Greek-ish Chorus, better than the one I used to have... or the way they used to dress? Does one lose the voices in one's head, only to be replaced by new voices? Or, do the voices age as we do? Anyway, I used to have voices taunting me about futility and ending my life. That group wasn't quite as much fun to be around. Even then I used to dream at night about being in a musical – a happy, upbeat musical that was my life and life was good. In the darkest times my chorus was there, somewhere, just out of sight, encouraging me, singing to me. I'd lose track of them and then they'd come to me in my dreams. Now, having moved beyond that other shady crew, I have with me a lovely, if somewhat bewildering, Greek-ish Chorus.

And, we're gonna make it after all...

Quiet Time

March 23, 2013,

Coffee in the morning. It seems so natural, so right. This morning, in particular, it felt good. It's been a long week, a lot going on. So, last night I tried to go to bed early (it didn't work) and this morning when my internal alarm clock woke me up at 7 o'clock I went ahead and got up. My cat was bugging me for her moist food, anyway. I got dressed and went to corporate coffee shop.

A little over ten years ago I had done a Very Stupid Thing and I was having to work a lot to make up for it. I had a day job, Monday through Friday 8 to 5, then I had an evening job delivering pizzas. Pizza delivery was evenings during the week and on Sunday. It was mid-shift on Saturdays. I was off from that job on Mondays, but I didn't have an actual day off. I was at one job or the other, or both. It might seem like I would sleep a lot on Sunday just because I could. But, there was something delicious about getting up early on Sunday mornings, going to a coffee shop, still a little tired mentally and physically, and drinking coffee among other people. I mean, if I had been asleep I wouldn't be conscious of those precious hours to myself. I needed to be awake. And being around other people was particularly nice. Not necessarily people I knew – almost pointedly not people I knew. I could sit and read and watch people go about their happy lives and think about a day when things would be better for me. It was a good time (in my life) to be introspective and heal from the inside out. If I hadn't had those problems, then I wouldn't have had those Sunday mornings by myself – I wouldn't have appreciated them like I did, anyway. It's like a story my father used to tell me about a ranch hand who, every morning, put a rock in his shoe. When asked why, he said that the only joy he had in his life was taking that shoe off in the evenings.

So early this morning I got up and went to a coffee shop. It wasn't exactly the same – things are much better for me now in general. But, I have been working a lot these last few weeks and the stress level has been rather higher. So, I enjoyed, I savored sitting by myself in a coffee shop full of people, reading and watching people interact. Being alone, but around other people. Reading. Being awake and conscious of the fact that I wasn't at work and didn't have to be. Nursing inner bruises. I'm glad I can appreciate these moments still.


American Gods

August 14, 2012

A new kind of book. My Nook recommended a book to me a long time ago and I'm just getting around to reading it. It seemed good, and it still seems like a good book. It's intriguing. However, after I've read for a while I have to get up and wash the testosterone off my hands. The other day at the corporate coffee shop I had to wring it out of my shirt; the book was dripping virile hormone while I read. I guess I've been reading Agatha Christie and chick flick books too long. I'm not used to this. The main character's name is Shadow and the book opens with him getting out of jail. That should give you a good idea.

But, the title of the book indicates something, and the blurbs hint at a supernatural quality. It's interesting in its own way. The version I'm reading is the 10th anniversary edition. Apparently, the author was allowed to put back in some text that had been edited previously. He – Neil Gaiman – wrote an introduction describing the writing of it, and the opportunity to revisit it. That's what caught my attention more than anything.

It's dark; it's brooding. It's humorous in a disturbing and sinister sort of way. So far, it's not an action-packed thriller. That's not what I meant by testosterone. Relevant and prescient, American Gods has been lauded for its brilliant synthesis of “mystery, satire, sex, horror, and poetic prose” (Michael Dirda, Washington Post Book World). It's not a light book that I can read on a Saturday afternoon while I neglect laundry. This one engages the mind quite a bit more and holds my attention.

I had to be in the right mood for something like this, but I'm enjoying it. I needed to get away from my rut and experience new literature.

More later,