Wednesday, November 26, 2008

...during the Ray concert in october.
In a fabulous venue, lights turned off, and nothing light about the words he sang..
now i'm just remembering the feeling of listening to his voice in person. it was a sort of quivering chill sent through every listening cell in the room.. his words are raspy, patient, fierce- burdened, yet bold. upbeat or low key, catchy or crawling, you could never accuse a song of his to be lacking passion.

"I never learned to count my blessings
I choose instead to dwell in my disasters.
well I looked my demons in the eyes, laid bare my chest, said
do your best to destroy me..
you see, I been to hell and back so many times I must admit
you kind of bore me"

have you ever heard words strung together as these? ...empowering through pain.

Monday, November 24, 2008

a rhetorical nightmare:

It’s a Monday, late. My face is looking as weighted as I feel. A stranger even said so! A little pissed that this adorable town can’t keep any warm place open past 10 for a girl to read a damn book and write. Mostly though, I feel wilted. (but all too emo for saying that, if we’re being honest)

I have a hard time with things that aren’t fair. And unfortunately, much of the time the unfairnesses of life are quite out of our control.

I feel like I should be channeling this state I’m in into some brilliant and poetic prose, or a stunning piece of art. Or if I should choose to ‘talk things over’ with someone close by I’m certain it would turn into some rhetorical nightmare, me- rapidly shuffling through uncertainties and what-ifs and why-the-hells.. I’d be talking, not looking for a response, but just a wall, really, to hurl my questioning frustrations at.

But more honestly, what feels the best right now is sipping this tea and listening to the drums wailing from my tiny speaker and looking at things green and growing and dressed up in holiday twinkle lights (thank you, City of Monrovia) and just letting everything absorb. not for the purpose of churning it all out again in a vigorous act of rebuttal to these things unfair, but letting it absorb just for the sake of acceptance of the way things are.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

there's tobin rambling on life again..

I heard somewhere this rhetorical question: “Why are we always apologizing to corpses?” So by the same token, why are we always crying at the beauty of a loved one as we look at their picture once they’ve gone? And why do we decide to see the truth and power behind someone’s art only years after their funeral?... and on and on…

Now I should emphasize first that I do believe the world is already running on the blueprints of a plan much better than anything I could scheme up or even comprehend for that matter. But for the sake of curiosity- wouldn’t it be weird to imagine if funerals were never ever sad?

Like think of the reasons why you cry at any sort of ending- a lover moving away, a family member passing away, a child growing up etc. The most probable cause for tears or heartache in such cases is this theme of LOSS. Loss of a number of things whether it be companionship, laughter, adventure or whatever you shared with that person. When you come to the end- the point where it’s gone- you’re incited to reflect on what “once was.” And so you cry, because what once was is no more.

But here’s the weird thought just for the sake of well, thought: what if each day, during the typical, ordinary, frequent interactions with others, we let ourselves (or trained ourselves) to be overtaken by gratitude for those very things worth crying for at someone’s leaving? What if I cried for you today the way I would cry at the memory of you after you’ve left?

What if by allowing ourselves to supremely cherish those things consistently, always renewing our gratitude, then when it came time to let go, we could do nothing more than reflect on how privileged we’d been for ever having experienced it in the first place. And not the kind of recognize where you notice it then move on, but the kind where you legitimately let yourself FEEL the honor of knowing this individual. And then what if when it came to goodbye, you could find no use for sadness? Tears of pain and remorse would have lost their place to the active gratitude you entertained each living day.

Now I know this is not how humans were made to behave. And I trust that we were not wired like this for some good reason (whatever that reason may be). I can also acknowledge that this train of thought doesn’t line up in all areas... I know it doesn’t sound right to think of moving yourself almost to the point of tears for appreciating every single interaction you have throughout the day. I know that there is actually a phenomenal beauty in those moments that occur unacknowledged- the ones unplanned, they carry you away, effervescent with spontaneous joy. I know that having balance between light moments and heavy moments is right. But I still can’t help but think there’s got to be a better way to indeed keep living openly free and content in the moment, but still remain mentally and emotionally present enough to feel maximum gratitude as it happens.

Hmm but maybe it really just isn’t possible to fully grasp the full value of another’s life until it’s gone, because maybe full comprehension of something’s value can only be reached in retrospect.. ?

But to loop myself back again, I’m sure there’s a reason that for the most part, humanity compartmentalizes the daily experience of relationships from the whole-hearted recognition and gratitude for such.

..ah well, just a thought ya know

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

3x - 42a= 6.739 + 1/2%(15x + 9.23ab)

I dreamt about math last night. Serious. Equations and square roots, and even some logarithms, although I couldn’t remember how to carry them out. I think it’s because numbers oddly comfort me. They’re so logical, and feel even more so when all the real stuff of life is lacking logic.

I woke up (hadn’t remembered the mathematical dreamstate yet) and found a knot to un-do. I sat on the edge of my bed Indian style and proceeded for the next 23 minutes to work at untying this knot.. as in, it seemed not a single other thing clouded my mind while I worked feverishly with the string.. straightening what was crooked and lost. If this inclination can be attributed to anything, it must be that I feel there are things {things bigger than string} I need to make straight that are a little kinked and confused. Freeing string from twisted restricted knots make me feel better when I’m feeling this way.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

on the christening drive


“I wish we were driving in a firework thunderstorm” {me}

“Congratulations” {he}


OhhhhhhhhhHHHhhhHhhh I’m breathing a new independence right now, I think I might be taking more than my fair share of the sky tonight.  And there’s stars out!  I smiled so much it hurt, but in a good way, and only for a second.  Somehow in the same frame of time I was flying off to fantasy-land, while being sobered by that frantic joy.  It was that kind of feeling where simple is right, gratitude is key, and companionship is the kicker.  There was this tickle of curiosity and satisfaction just for being in the place I was in, at the time that it was.  There were a lot of pure moments on that drive.. 


“The way we see other people is usually the way we see ourselves. If we have made peace with our flawed humanity and embraced our ragamuffin identity, we are able to tolerate in others what was previously unacceptable in ourselves.” –b.manning

-after reading this, I realized- damn. I’ve got some work to do in both respects. The source of value we hold for ourselves, and the way we treat others and perceive their value- these are the separate but layered frames that ask how seriously we’ve taken life, and then go further to dictate the answer.

apricot contentment

Right now it’s lovely you see because in this exact moment I don’t care for makeup, or blow-dried hair, or busy agendas, or having some place to be. 

I only want my candle burning that smells like spiced apricots, and the playlist I made precisely for moods like this.  And for my hands to write, and create.  I’m so grateful for those.  I shouldn’t let a day go by without being grateful for my hands and eyes.  And actually, it’s such a shame I don’t use them well more often. I use them all the live-long-day.. but all too often in such futile and narcissistic routines..


>a note I scribbled to myself one day as I was frustrated typing on the computer. It felt impersonal, unnatural, and so forced. I still felt like I wanted to get something on the screen, but then I realized I’d rather get something down on paper. So for me what works is writing words then cutting them apart and rearranging them, letting me visualize connections and transitions- the flow of my thoughts. the flow of language in fact, becoming something physical i can hold and move and make. mmm this method naturalizes the creative process for me rather than forcing myself to sit down clean and cold at a keyboard, sinking me into my own wallowing attempt to write a bit of magic that became nothing more than obligatory and lackluster..

--yes this works for me. it moves me forward.

{And james, please keep reminding me that scrappy is exquisite and that unpolished can be even more striking than the refined.}

Learn, but hold on loosely..

I woke up, looked in the mirror, and did it again.

Took a sip of coffee, did it again.

Putting on my shirt, stepping into some too-tall shoes, doing it again.

Yes I know, I already know this is a waste, please don’t think I’m unaware. It’s just that it’s harder than I can say to just stop something so addicting and creepily comforting, cold turkey. In those moments that are dangerous, the ones that teeter totter between settling for contented, comfortable self depracation - and decisive confidence.. in those moments i try to remind myself that I simply don’t have the time. (or i shouldn't give it time). I have got things much more eternal to get to, thank you. Be on your way, there’s nothing for you here.

Its like I’ve been this all-too-hospitable caretaker, in fact a protector, of my insecurity. But I know I have real guests to attend to, productive parts of my life throwing pebbles at my window for attention, while poisonous insecurity dressed up as a helpful friend, is uncovered as nothing but a snarled and hurtful weight in me.

I won’t call them purposeless though. Struggles are anything but purposeless, I’ll stand by that. There just comes a point where it is most certainly time to move on and away from them. In a way, these things we wrestle with, that we’ve clung to forever it seems, have been a close companion. No doubt they served to teach us things we’d never know otherwise. But as with all good things, we have to be able to let go of the thorns in our sides that we’ve ironically come to hold so so dear.

Thursday, November 6, 2008



It’s night now, it got darker earlier than I wanted, t’s been doing that more and more.  And I’ve been letting mediocrity come too close lately.  Not in the routine of schedule, but in routine of thought. I’m getting lazy on my ideas. It’s a sad and wasteful thing.. for me, it’s spending countless hours crafting these intricate plans to paint more color into my life, and then just waiting and staring at the paints until they dry up, so I can say “ah welp, guess it’s too late now..”


I find myself swimming in all these unfinished or un-started projects and un-actualized ideas. Oh the sting!  ‘...So go, do.’ (I try to urge myself to get a move-on) (it often fails)


But I did have this moment, it was a sudden kind of thing while we were at Denny’s [and by the way this was a particularly juicy episode] and as we talk about our plans and ideas that make eyes sparkle, I was so stricken by the realization that we can, in fact, be the stories that we so desperately want to write into existence.  The ambition we draft into words and poems and stories may just as well be made real through our trips. and talks. and tears..