|Dallas put me out of sorts last night. Usually when I see downtown in all it's shiny towering splendor, my heart skips a beat. Every time, without fail, for the past 8 years. It's like catching that first glimpse of the face of that person you love and have missed. And the highways are so carefully constructed to keep that view under wraps until you're RIGHT THERE. One bend in the road, and there it is. Aw, Dallas. |
Last night that revealing bend did nothing for me. Stupid, dying, unmoving, unsparkable city. I wanted to kick the buildings until they crumbled and something green and new came up through the cracks.
The familiar roads took me to a familiar place, with an unfamiliar name. The wall that Frank used to paint so amazingly was now a display of the "Periodic Table of Dallas." So many of the venues that were listed as "elements" have been shut down. It's only been up since November. I cursed under my breath and kept moving.
I didn't let myself look down Elm or Good Latimer. I did let myself look at the stencil of the razor blade with the words "give up" that was painted on a curb. Apt.
As I waited to get into the venue Joel spoke about the only local band that anyone seems to give a crap about. He seemed upbeat. Joel was a bright spot. He did a good job running the boards for Anathallo, too. No small feat.
From the stage Matt asked why everything was being shut down. "Nobody cares." "No local bands." "Crappy city hall." The usual suspects. He asked what was good about Dallas, and nobody could think of anything. Joel mentioned that the Rangers won their game the night before. Thanks, Joel.
The drive home stung. Everything I saw brought a memory that made me bleed. This is the place where I walked across the street barefoot after I just couldn't wear those heels anymore. Dana's wedding. The ledge where Charla balanced a red heart and grinned so perfectly. The cobbled plaza where we batted around a yellow balloon until the fake canyon wind took it up over the sharp angles of Fountain Place. The sidewalk where I watched Ken and Tiffany dance and just knew that they'd never dance with anyone else. Where Jordan and I realized that we actually were NOT going to be able to watch Ms. Badu. No way.
I cursed again, turned up the stereo, and attempted to think of something other than Tom Leppert and Cindy Jacobs and Angela Hunt and that coffee shop and developers and that guy who had the tent up by Baylor hospital last summer, and all the times i've ached and cried for this city.
It's stupid to fall in love with a vision of how things could be. I am very stupid. Repeatedly.
My lease is up in March. I could go somewhere else in March. Somewhere flippin' drastic. Where I could start over, and nobody would know my name. I could become someone different and not fall in love with the way things could be. I could plug my ears and wear sunglasses even inside and never pray again. Not about places, not about people, not about anything. Just live life numb and normal. Turn off the part of me that sees things that aren't there. Portland, maybe. Not Austin. I've seen Austin already.
I don't want to give up. I need ideas. I need big shoes that can kick buildings.
Years ago I was active on the Dallas Christian Music message boards. There weren't many of us.
One day this stranger popped up and announced that he was opening a recording studio in Garland. His website was extremely sub par, his equipment was sparse and mediocre in quality, and it just didn't seem like he had what was needed to make a solid go out of a studio.
Feeling cheeky, and rather sure that he was just spamming the boards anyway, I tossed out a post that spoke of my doubts. I think I said that he'd be shut down within 6 months.
He wasn't just spamming however, and he came back and fussed at me. We IM'd for a while, and I apologized for my flippancy, he forgave me, and we talked about his business and marketing plans. He even called me one saturday to come out and tour the studio, but I was busy and never followed up.
He was found dead outside that studio yesterday. He had two young kids.
|I gave blood at lunch today. With the Fourth of July coming up (on a Friday, no less), there's bound to be an extra dose of drinking and driving and stupid mistakes and ER visits that could easily turn into trips to the morgue. So go give blood and save a life.|
If I have inspired you to do a good deed with that last part, hold on to it and don't let this next part deter you.
After getting back to the office, I threw up and blacked out twice. This was my 13th donation (not superstitious) and I've never been slammed this hard. It's over 7 hours later and I still get woozy if I stand up too long. It was disconcerting at first, but now that I'm safely home I've been playing with it. Standing over my bed until I see stars and then falling forward, causing the down comforter to poof up around me like a cloud until all the colors settle down into their proper places. Don't fuss. I've only done it once. Or twice. The first time wasn't on purpose, so it doesn't count.
So what. If it saves a human life, I'd suffer a punch in the face. I'd eagerly part with digits to spare a stranger's life. Honestly, after that my willingness to sacrifice is measured by my regard for the life in question. I certainly hope I would lay down my life for another if the opportunity ever arose. Hard to tell. Selfishness overtakes me sometimes. Regardless, sacrificing a few hours of dependable balance is incredibly trivial. Go give blood.
I spent the better part of this afternoon reading Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close by Foer. It's really making me mad. Furious, even. Not because it's a confrontational book- far from it. Let me see if I can explain why it's having this strange effect...
When I read authors like Eggers or Foer, I feel I could write books like that. I love their work, it's entertaining, and poignant and beautiful and they pluck emotions out of you like birds picking bugs off trees. Then I think that I'm delusional (which I am), and I'm missing all the nuance that makes their work so embraced by the literary world (which is probably true), and that if I were to seriously attempt to write something worthy of publishing, I'd be hailed as a piker and run out of town on a rail. And then I think that I really don't want to write books, because the only people who READ books these days are writers. A quick look down that road reveals an incestuous community of self-congratulating, closed-minded intelligentsia. Yeah, that'll change the world. Oh, I forgot. Middle aged women read books by Tim LaHaye. And air travelers will read King or Grisham, but mainly just to keep them at bay from their fellow passengers on the way from New York to L.A.
Then I remember that there is nothing I want to say, so my ability to write a book is moot and I'm getting upset over nothing.
But words are the only things that seem to do what I want. My guitar doesn't work, paint doesn't work, movement doesn't work, and singing DEFINITELY doesn't work. I can usually get edibles to fall in and present themselves, but that's so hard to share with people.
I'm starting to remember why I fell out of the habit of reading books. They hurt. Maybe I should just stick to Watterson.
The new apartment is really becoming quite a home. There have been masterpieces created in the kitchen, sweet dreams slept in the bedrooms, and plenty of good music and side-splitting laughter in the living room.
Over the weekend I fell in love with our balcony. It's on the third floor, with only one open side, looking down on the pool even though a great oak tree blocks out everything but a roof and swatch of sky. This morning I watched that sky warm up from navy to pink to blue as I read and pondered.
Psalms 17: 5-8
My steps have held closely to Your paths [to the tracks of the One Who has gone on before]; my feet have not slipped. I have called upon You, O God, for You will hear me; incline Your ear to me and hear my speech. Show Your marvelous loving-kindness, O You Who save by Your right hand those who trust and take refuge in You from those who rise up against them. Keep and guard me as the pupil of Your eye; hide me in the shadow of Your wings.
Psalms 37: 3-7
Trust (lean on, rely on, and be confident) in the Lord and do good; so shall you dwell in the land and feed surely on His faithfulness, and truly you shall be fed. Delight yourself also in the Lord, and He will give you the desires and secret petitions of your heart. Commit your way to the Lord [roll and repose each care of your load on Him]; trust (lean on, rely on, and be confident) also in Him and He will bring it to pass. And He will make your uprightness and right standing with God go forth as the light, and your justice and right as [the shining sun of] the noonday. Be still and rest in the Lord; wait for Him and patiently lean yourself upon Him; fret not yourself because of him who prospers in his way, because of the man who brings wicked devices to pass.
I started thinking about a few actions that are begging to be executed. They are entirely motivated by fear and self-preservation. But how do I remember that I am guarded as the pupil of His eye, when I want to build myself a little fortress and disappear for a while? How much damage would I do if I 'helped' Him out a little? How do I patiently.... lean?
My friend Timothy blogged about this today. He's a cool kid.
After pondering the confusing things, the question marks turned into notes on a staff, the music was perfect and the lyrics said this- I am guarded, regardless of my rememberance. I have a good Father who takes care of me. The Love we have is growing from my end. It's already infinite from His. What can destroy that? What can trivialize it?
Not a darn thing.