keep art alive; “divine indifference” by scott altmann

Old journal writings from August 4, 2007:

Waiting in the Target dressing-rooms, circles around the cars Max thinks are best; I fancy the Lightning McQueen with his tongue sticking out, though Veronica scrunches her nose up and calls it rude. Suppose I like to be a bit rude, now and again. I always find it amusing that people who do not know me well find me so serious and serene, either overly-kind or somewhat distant. I’ve been called mysterious, a poet, an artist, a lover, a mother, and occasionally a bitch. And, yes they are all part of who I am, some days I’m more one than the other. But rarely, if ever, do people pick up the sarcasm, the sense of humor that is rather warped, nor the snarky side. Of all the things I know I require trust to let out, I never thought being silly or inappropriate was something I only allowed certain people to see.
 If you asked my closest friends they would tell you I can be quite a slag at times, that I laugh as easily as I cry, and that most days I am just a dork. That car, the McQueen with the tongue stuck out, that is who I am sometimes; irreverent and a bit of a brat. And if I love you, if you matter to me, I will tease you – at times showing very little mercy.
Part of it comes from the family I grew up in. We can be a bit of a rough crowd for the fragile, or ill-prepared. We are all very competitive, and have a strong command of words, and know quite well how to use them to wrestle and conquer one another. We are a family of mockers and miscreants, but under all of the snide comments and taunting jabs, we love each other.
My brother once told me that he would sit down any new girlfriend, before he brought them round to meet the family, and go through a de-briefing; basically recanting any and every embarassing story, or topic that could be seen as fair game, so that we would be rendered powerless on meeting the new her. I laughed at him and said “you forget that I’m ten years older than you. I have stories you don’t even know existed that you were part of.” But, then again, he has quite a few on me, too.

While standing in that dressing room, picking out the tongue-wagging McQueen and waiting for Julia to ask for the next five tops to try-on, my cell phone rang. I put it to my ear and hear Pete Yorn singing the line “convince yourself that everything is alright, ‘cos it already is.”

For a moment I am transported to Chicago – Grant Park, to be precise, and I am among friends who are screaming and singing along. Last night I was saying how much I wish I was there, how after the week I’ve had I could use the company of friends and music, and she said to me “Lucy, what do you want?” and then a list of artists and bands were laid out before me. It was Pete that I chose because right now I need a dose of the familiar, a song I can sing along to, and the hands held (and lighters raised) way that music can travel through the distances and bring me right where I was longing to be.

I was supposed to be among friends today, actually. The beach and kids running in the sand, music and arms to wrap around me that understand what this week has been for me. But, the week has taken it’s toll on me, or I suppose, I have allowed it to beat me up. I feel a bit like a scene from Fight Club, walking about with bruises from my own internal Tyler Durden. The marks and sore spots are inside, though; a sore throat and headache, my stomach feeling like i’ve been held upside down and shaken, or that i’ve just exited Montezuma’s Revenge loopy roller coaster. So, instead of the sand and the much needed water’s edge (the ocean, she soothes me), I am back and forth from the couch, slipping into dreams and shivering under a blanket even though it is sweltering outside.

The last dream I had was of climbing a tall tree, and I was up there balancing on it’s twisted limbs. my hands were shaking and I felt like the little girl I once was who took that dare from the neighborhood boys, and climbed all the way to the top of the tree-house tree. I remember that feeling, I think they call it vertigo, where everything looks jangly and out-of-focus. I thought I might die, that I would never feel the ground beneath my feet, that I would tumble and fall down some proverbial rabbit’s hole and never be seen again.

In this dream, I felt the rush of that, the lack of control and that unmistakable fear trembling and vibrating just under my skin. And then I opened up my mouth to scream, but instead of sound all these feathers flew out. And then the music started, from somewhere below, and with the music came this overwhelming feeling of safety. And with that, I woke up.

My subconscious loves to take the wheel when I allow it, especially when I feel ill and let myself collapse. My dreams are always in color, and they always have a running soundtrack; even in sleep I am singing. The feather girl that I was this afternoon climbed up the tree and was singing along with Adam Duritz, this line is the one that I woke up with, just waiting there on my slightly parted lips.
“She’s my angel,
she’s a little better than the one that used to be with me,
cause she liked to scream at me,
man, it’s a miracle that she’s not living up in a tree.
I may take a holiday in Spain,
leave my wings behind me,
drive this little girl insane,
and fly away to someone new.”

Holiday in Spain :: Counting Crows

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