listen to this, meg says listen to this

Listen to This: “Counting Blue Cars”

This morning, Dishwalla’s “Counting Blue Cars” came on the radio as I was driving to work, and I just came unglued. I’m a nineties kid. Of course I know the words by heart, and I knew what was coming, but when they got to

“Must have been late after noon
On our way, the sun broke free of the clouds
We count only blue cars skip the cracks in the street
And ask many questions like children often do”

I feel like it broke me a little bit. First of all, this song is a classic, secondly it lends itself to multiple interpretations (existentialism, philosophy, religious connotation, mental health, the whole shebang,) thirdly I think it’s a great jam. Also, sense of “community” has been heavy on my mind and heart and I feel like this song opened the flood gates somehow. I was thinking about our underground networks of communication. I was thinking how sometimes, distance doesn’t matter – kind words from someone near or far, can really touch our soul.. While in some situations, a tight bear hug would be much preferred, it’s no reason to shrug the extension of kindness through communication, or support in the form of an open ear, or someone that just attempts to understand, or those quiet “me toos.” There are so many ways we can reach out and hold someone’s hand in pain, metaphorically and literally. I was thinking about how pain, grief, and uncertainty are like sitting in a dark room.When we let someone in, when we open up, when we ease the weight of some of the load we carry by not hiding all these difficult emotions – it’s like a light coming on in that room. Maybe not the big overhead light flooding the room in a warm glow, but even a little dim nightlight in the corner that helps light the path. Sometimes, you sit in the dark room for so long it’s hard to remember that the light can seep back through the sliver of space under the door. My point is, we all need each other sometimes. Be kind, be open, be compassionate. This song also makes me think about child-like innocence, and that sting in a wound when we’re vulnerable, and also about how easily our perceptions are shaped when we’re young. Be the light in the dark room for each other, okay? And if you don’t know what song I’m rambling on about, or you just want to jam out to it today, listen to this:

Read This

Read This: mouthful of forever

Tuesday was World Poetry Day, and since it’s still the week that celebrated this day I thought I’d share one of my favorite poems with you. Clementine Von Radics “mouthful of forever.” The moment I found the line, “i will love you when you are a still day. i will love you when you are a hurricane.” a few years ago, it found a spot in my heart and mind and has been there ever since. The poem reads almost like a vow, and I just think that’s beautiful. Plus, “I know sometimes it’s still hard to let me see you in all your cracked perfection” it just strikes a chord…every time. You know when you read something, and it feels like you’re reading your own thoughts back to yourself? That’s “mouthful of forever” for me. I hope you enjoy it, and dig into some poetry this week – Mary Oliver, Shel Silverstein, Walt Whitman, Robert Frost, Pablo Neruda, Emily Dickinson, Maya Angelou, Nayyirah Waheed, Atticus, Tyler Nott Gregson, Nick Miller, Andrea Gibson, Derek Walcott – I could go on and on, whatever your fancy…just read some. And without further adieu mouthful of forever:

I am not the first person you loved.
You are not the first person I looked at
with a mouthful of forevers. We
have both known loss like the sharp edges
of a knife. We have both lived with lips
more scar tissue than skin. Our love came
unannounced in the middle of the night.
Our love came when we’d given up
on asking love to come. I think
that has to be part
of its miracle.

This is how we heal.
I will kiss you like forgiveness. You
will hold me like I’m hope. Our arms
will bandage and we will press promises
between us like flowers in a book.
I will write sonnets to the salt of sweat
on your skin. I will write novels to the scar
of your nose. I will write a dictionary
of all the words I have used trying
to describe the way it feels to have finally,
finally found you.

And I will not be afraid
of your scars.

I know sometimes
it’s still hard to let me see you
in all your cracked perfection,
but please know:
whether it’s the days you burn
more brilliant than the sun
or the nights you collapse into my lap
your body broken into a thousand questions,
you are the most beautiful thing I’ve ever seen.
I will love you when you are a still day.
I will love you when you are a hurricane.

listen to this

Listen to This: Say You Won’t Let Go

Driving home from work on Monday, I heard this song on the radio, and I was immediately intrigued. The lyrics are so vulnerable, and raw. Musically it’s beautiful, and of course I’m a sucker for an accent (no shame in admitting that.) I sent the song to a friend that night, and they sent me a YouTube video from the X-Factor in which James Arthur won in 2012. I can’t believe I’m just hearing him now, and I’ve missed out on a few years of getting to hear such a great voice. Upon a Google search you can see that there was much controversy surrounding his lyrics and musical choices in the years following the X-Factor win, but hopefully this fabulous single from his album Back From the Edge shows a different direction he’s taking with his music. I mean, I’m well aware I’m a sap and I’m all for a beautiful declaration of love, but how can you not melt at these words?

I met you in the dark, you lit me up
You made me feel as though I was enough
We danced the night away, we drank too much
I held your hair back when
You were throwing up
Then you smiled over your shoulder
For a minute, I was stone-cold sober
I pulled you closer to my chest
And you asked me to stay over
I said, I already told ya
I think that you should get some rest
I knew I loved you then
 
Anyway, here’s wishing much success for this artist and more from where this beautiful song came from. If you haven’t heard this song yet, check it out:
Read This

Read This: Talking As Fast As I Can

A few weekends ago, I finally got my hands on a copy of Lauren Graham’s Talking As Fast As I Can. I was really excited to read this one. Of course, I loved her as Lorelai Gilmore on Gilmore Girls and Sarah Braverman on Parenthood, and in anything else I’ve been able to watch her in. When I’ve read interviews, she seems so personable and real. I don’t think it’s a stretch to imagine parts of her own personality come shining through her characters in certain moments. Since middle school (yeah, I named characters in my short stories for English class Lorelai,) I’ve admired her. We know she’s an incredible actress but she’s also a phenomenal writer. I thought about this a lot while trying to figure out how to put into words the way reading her book made me feel. Lauren Graham’s writing is like sitting on your best friend’s bed in one of those just absolute down in the dumps moments, and knowing there’s not another single place you could be that would provide that level of comfort. (You know, the ultimate look of understanding your pain even if there aren’t any words for it? And how there’s a spot just for your head on their shoulder while they listen to you cry, or tell an angry story, or whatever it might be, and the way their pillows seem so much fluffier and better than yours in that second because you’re just not alone?) Lauren Graham being real about her own struggles is so refreshing to read. But the thing is – she’s not complaining, it’s just life, and she’s just putting it out there. She worked her ass off for any piece of success that has come her way, but the cool thing is – she didn’t do it for the success per say – it sounds like she carefully picked projects where she felt connected to the characters and wanted to invest in something beautiful with the cast. How wonderful is that? I firmly believe this book found me very specifically at the time that it did (or I found it, and I’m not just saying that because I was cooped up in the house for the weekend feeling gross not being able to shower for almost 60 hours) because when I reached the hundredth page, there’s a passage that spoke to me so loudly it brought tears to my eyes and I re-read it a few times. I wouldn’t normally include an excerpt, but I am sure there are others out there that may need to read this right now:

Because here’s the thing: I was fine on my own, and so are you. But it can be hard when you feel ready for Happy Couplehood and you seem to have missed the train. As my friend Oliver Platt used to say to me about hopes and dreams I’d share with him: “It’s coming, just not on your time frame.” I find this a helpful reminder in any number of ways: not only when you’re hoping to meet someone, but also when you’re waiting for a better job or some relief during a bleak time. When Peter and I held hands that night all those years ago, I had no idea we’d end up shopping at REI together one day. It might have been nice if he could have turned to me and said: “Look, tonight isn’t the right time, but we’re going to leave here and learn a bunch of things that are going to make this work approximately five years from now – see you then!” But life doesn’t often spell things out for you or give you what you want exactly when you want it, otherwise it wouldn’t be called life, it would be called vending machine.

It’s hard to say exactly when it will happen, and it’s true that whatever you’re after may not drop down the moment you spend all your quarters, but someday soon a train is coming. In fact, it may already be on the way. You just don’t know it yet.

I’m not going to lie, I desperately needed to read that. The last six months have tried my sanity and strength so hard, and that was the most appropriate reminder. Reading can be a portal to escape, but it can also be a bridge of understanding between author and reader and that quiet whisper of, “I know.” Don’t get me wrong though, you don’t have to be in the throws of a life crisis to appreciate this book. Aside from Graham’s words of wisdom on timing in life, she also has great anecdotes of friendship, and quirky stories that will make you laugh out loud. Plus, I think she gives good advice about acknowledging the time we have with people we hold dear, and not taking it for granted. She shares parts of her own journey, which I think is important because she didn’t wake up one day as the star of a TV series that ran for seven years, without putting in work to get there. (And she had her own series of disappointments and speed bumps on the way.) Beyond that, she’s like your cool older sister reminding you not to waste time on people who treat you like crap. Obviously, easier said than done but it never hurts to remind people of having positive self-worth, and not to settle. Somehow she conveys all this with a gentle subtlety, and firmness. One of those where if it were in person, you know you’d be disappointed in yourself if you didn’t heed the advice. Plus, any Gilmore Girls fan will love the insight into the re-boot. I’m telling you, if you’re looking for a book that will make you laugh, make you think, and make you appreciate the little things – read this.

listen to this

Meg Says Listen to This “We Used to Wait”

It’s no secret I love to make mix CD’s. I love to write snail mail. There’s something different about meticulously choosing the songs you’re going to add, the order they’ll play in, the mood progression it creates, when you burn them to a CD, draw up a little “cover,” and stick them in the mail. It’s a world away from handing somebody a flash drive, or sending them a link to something on YouTube and telling them to check it out. (Though I do that on the blog posts here so there’s a convenience factor to it, I know.) There’s something special about a handwritten note, addressed, licking the envelope, putting a stamp on it. I think it takes more thought to write a letter, than it does to send a text message. Of course,  you can’t share something urgent in the mail seeing as how sometimes it takes about a week for a note to make it to someone, but there’s still an art to splashing your heart on a page with ink. There’s something exhilarating (or nerve wracking,) about the anticipation of exciting news, or a delicate apology, a reminder of love, or revealing the longing’s of your heart being discovered in the mailbox. “I’m gonna write a letter to my true love, I’m gonna sign my name.” Every once in a while I like to put “We Used to Wait” by Arcade Fire off their album, The Suburbs on my mixes. I think it encapsulates the beauty of the lost art of letter writing. I guess on a deeper level, the art of a permanent communication, or at least a more intentional version of it. It reminds me how much better is it to know someone took a pen to paper, thoughtfully wrote down their words, maybe you can see the parts where they hesitated and the heights of the letters change, or they got excited and started writing fast and sloppy – it feels so much more intimate to hold that piece of paper in your hand, than to stare at empty words on a screen. The world is constantly changing, but there are some tired and true things that are worth keeping around “Now our lives are changing fast, hope that something pure can last.” I love singing along to this song, but when I let the words sink in it always wrecks me a bit. All that anticipation, and excitement, or sometimes disappointment… “We used to wait, sometimes it never came.” I guess it covers it all.