Sunday, October 30, 2016

Throwback to Childhood: October Obsessions: Halloween

I've been absent a lot lately, I think.   Between traveling and absorbing the world; school and absorbing (or trying to) my studies; and life... I've been engaged but absent.

So in a throwback, I give you my Halloween Obsessions, past and present, this October.

Hocus Pocus.  And scene.

Doing double duty is The Nightmare Before Christmas.  It's half Halloween and half Christmas and all good all the time.  I know that everyone loves it, I know that everyone knows it; but there's something about 'What's This' that gets me every time.... Disney went dark with this one, but in a way that makes perfectly wonderful sense.
The monsters are all missing
And the nightmares can't be found
And in their place there seems to be
Good feeling all around... 
This one is new- but it's eerie enough to make the Halloween list: Twin Peaks.

Also eerie, bloody, and sordid enough to make the list the Halloween? Luther.  Idris Elba is a miracle of modern filmmaking in this series.  His voice is simultaneously lulling and lunging, it's absolutely perfect.  And one or two episodes (I'm being brave here) made me hide behind the pillow... the dude in the mask... Cripes.

Witches.  Been one for a while...

Dia de los Muertos.  I'm desperate to experience this most sacred of celebrations someday.  In Oaxaca if I can manage...

Candy corn.  Oh my yes.  Once a year, every year, this sugary, sweet, tooth-decaying candy hits the shelves and it's like heaven to me.  The orange-white-yellow of the classic corn; the orange-green of the Autumn Mix pumpkins.  If I could eat this and french fries every day for the rest of my life... I might do it.

They did the Mash....  I mean there's a whole litany of perfect Halloween songs- but this is the top of the tip of the iceberg.

Trick or Treat.  Or wine.  Every year, after 21 of course, that I was home for Halloween, mom and I would sit out on the front lawn with our next door neighbor.  And a bottle of wine.  And a basket of candy.

And that's where the magic happened- not the wine- but the front lawn and the candy and the camaraderie.  And the kids who still believe in ghosts and ghouls and the things that go bump in the night.  That's the crux of my October Halloween Obsessions... the magic and the mystery and maintenance of childhood.  And what childhood can keep and hold and bury within us.  The sacred traditions that we keep holy even in our innocence.

Ah Halloween- Happy Day to All.

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

To My Recollection- This is the First. Curse. Word.

So lately I've been plotting how to sneak my buddy overseas, into a suitcase, and across borders.  You know, like you do.

I'm thinking about it presently because I'm sitting in the airport through which I'll likely have to change planes- i.e. the airport in which he'll be manhandled and tossed about whilst hiding in a checked bag.  See what I mean?  Like you do.  (Also, this plan is way less nefarious than it actually reads... sort of).  And I'm listening to the artist that unknowingly put the whole plan in action.

Bon Iver.

And here's the thing- he's good enough to break some rules.  He's good enough to break some rules for.

If you've never listened to his jams... I don't actually know what to suggest.  Except to pick one of his albums, stick with it, and enjoy.  And then move to the next and the next.  And then listen to them all again, in different succession, until you get it.  He might not be your cup of tea- but he's something exceptional.  He's a repeat offender on this blog for a reason- his music is conceptual and frequently difficult- emotionally and lyrically.  He's challenging and never pulls a punch twice.  For Emma is vastly different from Bon Iver which is vastly different from his most recent, 22, A Million.  Believe me when I say, he's challenging... But so fucking worth it.

For example: I've talked about some things I've been through- once or twice.  And I've written about what has happened to me because of those things- that thing.   What I let happen to me.  And I've railed about almost everything I can.  I've tried to heal myself.  And there have been days when I could, days when I couldn't.

Enter Bon Iver, Bon Iver.  I heard it the first time years ago- when the album dropped, I feasted on it.  And it dropped right around the time I fell... apart.  There were days when I couldn't heal myself- most of them- and then there were days when I sat down and quieted my brain for a little under an hour, and listened.  And when I listened, there were still days I couldn't rally, but there were moments when I could, because I could break through the fog of my non-existence and seize the rawness of his music.  Front to back, it's stellar- it's strong material.  And then... Holocene.  And that was my rallying cry.  The almost holy track simultaneously broke/breaks my heart and healed/heals my head.  It mended/mends wounds and always reminds me of how blindingly brightly brilliance can shine.  I listen to it like a zealot.  I feast on it like a starving man at a banquet.

It is my drug.

So full round, full circle.  I am sitting in Schipol Airport in Amsterdam.  I'm listening to 22, A Million, but also to 'Holocene'.  I'm considering the cool fall that will shortly be winter in Scandinavia and how every Autumn I've known since Bon Iver has been defined by Bon Iver.

And I'm trying to sort out how to sneak my buddy overseas, into a suitcase, and across borders.  Oh- so that he can come with me to Paris, where I have tickets to see Bon Iver.

And now it's time for the next plane.

Thursday, October 6, 2016

Same Mistakes.

Last Thursday I flew back to the US (the flight shenanigans- going and coming- are a different story altogether).  And for the past week I have sat, immersed, with my personal history.

A couple of months ago- actually sometime in the middle of the summer- my parents put my childhood home up for sale.  Not that I can claim such innocent ownership over it, but it was-is- the house in which I more or less grew up.  And in just about a week from today, they will close on it and head onto their next adventure.

And, in order to help them in getting to that next adventure, I decided that it was high time to sort through the 32 years of life that had accumulated there- the 32 years of my stuff that is interspersed and intermingled with theirs.  In the middle of the first morning, I was literally surrounded by myself- as an aside, it's amazing how much stuff one can actually acquire over time.  Little things, signs.  I found the first travel diary I ever seriously wrote (Paris).  I found my first little-girl diary; my first hand written poetry; the treasure trove of letters written back and forth between my college roommate and I when she was in the Peace Corps.

I found the wrenching years of being lost and losing myself- the notes, the photos, the size-in-the-negative jeans (that I still sickly and weirdly want to fit into again).

And especially in those things, I found patterns.  Patterns of mistakes that I have made in the past, and continue to make presently.  And will likely make again, at some point, in the future.  I was astounded by the repetitiveness of how I have maneuvered through this world.  I have done many things, seen many things, traveled many places.  And I came face to face with the evidence of it all-hiding under my bed, in my closet, in the dark recesses of a dresser that has no rhyme or reason to it.  I have hitherto had a full life, no doubt. But I just keep making the same mistakes through all of it.

Some mistakes are bigger than others, some are better than others.  Regardless, I just keep cycling through them.

I suppose there's a lesson in there somewhere.  For now I'm going with "minimalism."