Sunday, July 17, 2011

Are we there yet?

I found myself this weekend missing a few things (and of course there are a plethora) about my 7.5 years of living in NYC. Friday night I went to watch some of our friends play a show in NE Portland. I don’t know if it was just the conversing with like minded people, especially those my age, that left me thinking where I have come from, where I am at in my life now at the age of 35.  I was longing for those late nights in Manhattan down in the basement bars, being way too mischievous and watching the sunrise while a cab driver zooms me home across town along the deserted avenues, sure that he was incredibly intrigued with all that I had to say. The Rolling Stones playing in the background, the bar hopping, the smell of the subway and the smell of pigeon shit on a hot steamy day after a rain. Why these things in particular? I cannot say, but they are missed for whatever reasons and I am thankful for all those memories and the ability to return. Manhattan is definitely not going anywhere.
I start school again in the morning, the summer quarter… the last quarter of my first year. A bit unbelievable, really. I am looking forward to getting back to the routine. I believe I am becoming a bit more at peace with being a student and not trying so hard to juggle both school and keeping up with touring or other production work. The connections are there, I will take what I can, when I can and in another year or so, it will be time to start really marketing myself and getting fully back in the game. It has been a bit of a soul search, or more of a search for balance really. I was losing identity, fearful of what I was doing, fearful of losing those contacts. Right now though all seems well. I know I will graduate and have more of an advantage than I ever had before. Teaching, practicing, traveling, tour managing, coordinating, writing, painting… will all continue. Love and partnership will find me and I am happy to drop some recent baggage in my life of those who had been such dead weights in my heart… I can feel the arteries and veins clearing up already. Nothing like cowards who cannot accept choices they have made to really bore the hell out of you. Guess what? They will never change. It is as if they are stuck in the transverse colon and failing to move into the descending colon… a malfunction with their splenic flexure no doubt. Do yourself a favor and find you own way down to the sigmoid colon.
It has been a very short break and regret not being a bit more productive with my time. I have these visions for another series of paintings, yet have only sketched my thoughts out, while the turpenoid and bristles of the brushes cry out for my company. I envy my sister and mother, as I know they have been busy with their artwork, but who is counting canvasses here?  I have been playing the piano, but have fallen short in my discipline. I registered to take German in the fall at the community college (while continuing with my masters program). Though I know it will be challenging, I feel I need to do this. I have Rosetta stone, but I want to be in a class setting as it will be more engaging and feel I will absorb more. I still have no idea why I have this enormous desire to be fluent in German, but it still haunts me… so I will listen. I want to learn more languages and quite frankly a bit ignorant to only know English. We shall see how this goes.
I speak and think as if fall were here, but honestly it basically is (sorry). 6 weeks of this summer quarter will fly by (especially with another 5 days of work in the Midwest I have taken on), then what… 2 weeks of another break, then fall. I am ready. I like being busy and with two more years of school to finish, I am slightly tied down. Is this what marriage is like? Eeesh. Last week I made up a clinic shift at school where essentially I observe the 3rd year interns (where I will be in 2 years). We had an 85 year old patient. She was incredibly bitter, lonely, and obviously in pain. It forced me to realize that my compassion and desire to nurture will always remain. It also taught me that I am really going to have to control my emotions because I just wanted to tear up. As soon as the needles were in she began to lighten up a bit, crack some jokes and this helped me to understand the enormous amount of people out there who sometimes just need to be heard. The fact that I have the opportunity to also poke them with needles and see instant relief and changes is just a bonus. I will enjoy the process of learning and continue to brainstorm for the future, and take pride in knowing these are all just layers of cells in the life of complex connective tissue that help maintain both the structural and intentional integrity of where I want to continue to go. 

'Went out walkin' through the wood the other day
And the world was a carpet laid before me
The buds were bursting and the air smelled sweet and strange
And it seemed about a hundred years ago'
100 Years Ago - The Rolling Stones

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Time stand still...

I was 17 or 18 years old when I ventured to get a tattoo. I was back home in Houston, drunk, most likely on something not preferred by the authorities and brought a huge banner of the Rush 2112 star dude into a tattoo parlor and insisted it to be forever marked on my left breast. It is my hope now to try and restructure this tattoo into a nice flower design of some sort based on my paintings, and sleeve it down my arm. I mean really... Rush? I grew up with older brothers and a sister, enough said. Photograph by Def Leppard is still the best classic rock song out there.

Turning 35 is, like for many, a slightly big deal. It is a milestone (just Google 'turning 35'). I think the biggest hurdle I am trying to jump over is the fact that I am still single. I have moved around a great deal, I have been working on the road the past ten years. I have been progressing, seeing things, experiencing, and gathering chapters for my inevitable book 'Rock and Roll is neither a rock or a roll' so why expect to be settled down?  Now being here in Portland and almost a year through graduate school, spending relentless hours of studying and memorizing, it is slightly different. It is challenging. Tour managing… yeah I get it, blindfold me, I can do it in my sleep. Its not that it bores me now, in fact it sickened and stressed me out two months ago having to turn down a few incredibly huge tours which just may have paid a chunk of my entire tuition, but to what cost? Keep taking the tours? Keep taking a year off from school? Regretting being out on the road when I desire to finish this goal that I only have 2 years to complete? I know I will continue to learn new modalities, new challenges and to integrate what I can into my current and future careers. The music business will never let me go, its like this magnetic vortex of superficial ego candy that has glimpses of pure beauty with the melodies that exude, and these are the moments that one can feed off of for awhile. I love the business, the clients that have become friends, the fans that have become friends, and of course the crew… the damn crew.

I am more aware now than I have ever been. I have had to let go of many relationships, or better yet just stopped trying of taking initiative to reach out to people who just have no knowledge of the word reciprocity. I have realized I have dear friends who are not here in Portland, but everywhere else (and I miss them all very much) and that relationships take time to cultivate, but there is a limit. I am lucky, worked hard, experienced so much already, and know more opportunities will open up and look forward to seeing who sticks around the next 35 years of my life. I cherish the special people in my life and will continue to make more, but energy should not be spent so carelessly especially when it is not needed. I would be remiss if I failed to mention how incredibly happy to have met such wonderful people at school this last year, and the other amazing people who have become so important to me. I also must mention that although I may not hear from you that often anymore, I often think of those beyond my reach and look forward to catching up here or elsewhere.

There is a good deal to experience out there and I am incredibly thankful to feel that my age should really be 30 as opposed to 35. I feel it, I look it (thank the devil) and have never been so dedicated on preserving what I have, than I am now. I thank  my determination for going back to school. The discipline is hard, when temptations seem to be at every turn, but I know I am more aware now and able to digest it, come back with more skills and more importantly, do what I can now (whether juggling tour managing and school.... yeah THAT was a cake walk, thank you month of May) or simply drowning myself in my studies. It all comes back to school... the medicine... the human body... the acetabulum... kidney 2 being located in the medial side of the ankle just under the navicular tuberosity… these things. What’s up Bilirubin and ileocecal valve?

A wise and dear friend told me back in Brooklyn earlier this year whilst on tour that being on the road for me is a drug, which it is for many of us... this is not a bad thing... its just a realization that I needed to hear. I love having the best sleep of my life in my bunk as the bus drives to the next town, I love the awkwardness and weird habits you see in people 2 weeks into a tour, I love having to tell people it sounded great when I am not even sure the guitar and vox were even in the fucking mix, but I want something more along with that.  I want to add skills to what I already have. I want to constantly add skills. The tough part is you have to master the skills (at least in the world of medicine) before you can actually integrate it into a current skill. I don't like this of course, but I honor it. No one said it was going to be easy. Momma said there would be days like this. You have to sacrifice to succeed in life. It is going to hurt you more than it is going to hurt me. No sugar tonight in my coffee. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees… these types of things.

So in 10 years from now, when I am 45... what will become of me? Amazing sensational touring acupuncturist to the rock stars? A wife? A Georgia O' Keefe type person painting and putting up with bullshit from a photographer named Alfred while sweating her ass off in New Mexico? (Relax, I know Stieglitz was a huge influence and help for her). Or I could just be Joy Earl... honest, genuine and hip. And my… doesn't she look great for her age?!

-Then as it was, then again it will be
An' though the course may change sometimes
Rivers always reach the sea-

Ten Years Gone - Led Zeppelin