Author: Whitney

"The world is full of clocks and mirrors."

If Any Followers Are Interested…

I will be mostly posting here now.   I will still post here occasionally, but will be updating my new blog frequently as opposed to spurts of posts and then nothing.
Thanks!

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Leslie Hall: Legend

I created this lovely wallpaper have used it everywhere.  Leslie Hall is really just that great.  She is a constant source of inspiration and I owe any fat face pictures any of you have received to her.  My favorite person.
I think a Sandlot inspired quote is necessary:  “Heroes get remembered but legends never die”.

AA

New Year’s Eve

So here I am, approaching a new year chowing down cough drops and reading a book.  Not that I have any complaints, I outgrew the “let’s begin the new year shitfaced” a few years ago, but it’s low-brow enough to be a high-brow thing going on here.
I spent the last two days of my Christmas vacation sick at my mother’s and the first hour of my return home silently crying in the backseat of a car, wishing I could be sick at mama’s house again.
Not often do we get to have our mother’s take care of us and pity us when we’re sick once we’re grown and moved out, so I sort of basked in it… I have to admit.
I bought a new journal during my trip home which is always exciting for me.  It’s like a fresh start, however, it always ends up filled with the same crap at the end of it’s lifespan.
At some point, even our pleasures become cycles – dull patterns of our life that we get stuck turning in.  Not to sound pessimistic, I’m certainly not viewing it all that way, but there is a sad truth to it that can’t be ignored.  I’m not really the free-spirit type, more of a silent, creative-type that moves along in the background and freezes up when any of the last shines close.  I shy away from any recognizable credit but still beg for it.  I’m still not entirely sure if that’s an insecurity or just a personality trait.

I don’t even really know what I’m talking about, I picked up a computer to write and crap came out.  It happens.  I just figure writing is the important part.

some old thangs

I miss writing poetry.  I recently bought a small pack of moleskine “mini journals” to begin writing poems again.
I used to be decent… I think…
I’ve always preferred short, simple poems with depth over long, detailed ones.  The challenge of being able to press incredibly deep emotions in to so few lines is amazing when done properly, plus, it’s easier to maintain the interest of the poem-reader.  Something Emily Dickinson knew how to do well.  I’m not claiming that I’ve done this all the right way, but this explains the length of the poems.

Here are a few poems from the past:

Phosphorus
The match meets the box
The wick has browned
It’s remainder dances
But dwindles down

xx not title xx
To feel so much –
There is no better thought to humble –
The turmoil of it’s darkest hour.

The Plague
Through the many suns
Does love exist?
A colossal feeling
of pain and bliss.

Spoons
Spoons.
Hold little,
but fill large bellies.
All upon a gesture.
How swell!
An arm –
To be so humble,
To fill my needs
Even when the taste is foul.

Selfish
The storm drew back
a hell of breath
That blew rain across the open fields
It licked low-
To the thirst of the bare
And I still know not why-
I weep with despair

xx no title xx
Love, like a balloon
Slowly losing air
Soft and soggy
Though sharp edges become less threatening
The shape loses it’s will
And becomes submissive

Haiku
I like to pretend
That I am very clever
But mostly, I’m not

another day at work

ME: Here are the tote labels for China, I didn’t print V2 because I don’t have a recent build for it, so I guess they’re going to build it this week, so I’ll print the labels once it’s built… Do you want me to just put them on your desk?

CO-WORKER: That’s fine, do you have the V2 labels?

 

 
Get me out of here.

the beauty of giving music a second chance

When I was a teenager and impressionable rather than cynical, my love for music flourished beneath my pain.  I let music guide me through everything I couldn’t handle.  Part of me still clings to that sentiment, but I’ve found that musicians and songwriters are just as fucked up as (if not more than) I am and it’s like the blind leading the blind.
Of course, I still look to music first when I feel like I’m drowning, but age and experience have provided me with heroes and role models to help with the mental pain while music mends the emotional bumps and bruises.

Not that any of you are just dying to know what the hell I’m on about, but my god, I’m not often blindsided by music these days.  I feel like my ongoing 14 year music search has turned up quite a bit and provided me with grade-a band-aids for my pain.  But, every couple of years I go back and listen to bands I never quite grasped before, and a lot of the time I actually have a change of heart.
Recently it was Fleetwood Mac (the Stevie Nicks years).  I used to hate Stevie Nicks (no reason, just didn’t like her), but now I find myself reading everything I can about her and bookmarking sites with the cheapest Rumours and the self-titled 1975 re-prints.  Whatever I didn’t understand before, makes total sense in my life now when I listen to the Mac.  That is the most wonderful thing about age.
But that’s not what I’m going on about.  Fleetwood Mac didn’t’ blindside me, I just found warmth and understanding in a place I felt unwelcome in before.

No, it was The Jesus and Mary Chain.  Yesterday, they came at me like a sledgehammer.  I used to hate them.  I remember buying a Sebadoh album and a Jesus and Mary Chain album at the HUGE Warehouse Music I used to go to every weekend when I was a teenager.  My love for Dinosaur Jr. folded over in to Sebadoh so my guard was down on that one, but the Jesus and Mary Chain.. forget it. “Go back from whence you came!” I said when I put that album in a garage sale and that was the end of that.
But what’s this?!  Welcome back 27-year-old pre-mid-life crisis crisis Whitney who happened to put her not-enough-room-for-shit iPhone library on shuffle yesterday after downloading Darklands and Psychocandy a couple of weeks ago without yet a listen (this run-on sentence is absolutely necessary)…
I cannot explain the life that exploded inside of me the second Deep One Perfect Morning shuffled it’s way in to my life.
Who says:

“Deep one perfect morning
As the sun is heading up
Into the sky
And i’m sitting here warming
To the coldness of the things
That meet my eye
Something in me’s stirring
And the moon and all the stars
Fail to comply
And my thoughts are turning backwards
And i’m picking at the pieces
Of a world that keeps turning
The screws into my mind …”

behind such a wonderful backdrop of musical melancholy and understanding?  It’s those two elements combined that keep my head afloat when I’m lost somewhere in the dark moments of my past.  It’s those ingredients that have given music just the right amount of fluff through ages of amazing talent and made those with the gift legendary.  That place where you can feel miserable and listen to miserable music and feel understood and welcome in the world that seems to be pushing you out.
It’s one thing to be a talented musician, I have infinite respect for those who have that sort of natural partnership with their instruments, but to put down words that echo across an abundance of feelings and tie them all up neatly in a 3 minute song.. you have to stop and wonder “wow, what the fuck just happened to me?”
Poetry is like an amazing drug that lies in a world where music doesn’t need words and words don’t need a meaning.  Where all of the letters blend in to perfect metaphors of things only the irrational mind can understand.
But when you can take the components of that world and mesh them into the world of the rational mind… then you have something rare. I’m not saying that the Reid brothers are the best songwriters there ever were, I’m just saying they are part of a rare breed.

This meaningless blog post is just me welcoming The Jesus and Mary Chain’s Darklands to my future and to my coveted list of comfort albums.  It’s also me kicking myself for thinking of all the holes that could have been filled in my past if I’d just saw the JAM Chain (like that?) through instead of putting a $2 sticker on their album and forcing it out of my life.
Growing up has so many benefits but with the benefits come regret.  Second chances are always worth the risk.

Writers Block/Writing Tips?

I’ve discovered the best way to find out if you’re a convincing writer is to put personal ads on Craigslist.
I have created 14 different people so far, and even the “character” I put the least effort in to ( a 37 year old being kicked out of his house by his mother) received nasty responses from people who thought it was a legitimate rant in the rants and raves.
Immature or not, it doesn’t really bother me, it’s an amazing way to practice your writing skills because each person needs a different voice.

My Hermit Hole

About a week and a half ago, my friend sent me a picture of a set of yellow knickknack shelves she saw at Goodwill.  Determined to see if they were still there, I went last weekend and they were…. Also there was a 70’s television set for $1.00 that I have talked about on every social network I have a profile with…
This weekend will be gutting this bad boy and converting it in to something, I just don’t know what yet.  But gutting it and seeing what I have to work with is step one.  Because I feel the need to flaunt my incredibly outdated cozy hermit hole that I’ve worked so hard to get juuuust right, here it is:
A for bookshelf my entire library and all of my records are next on the list… also a proper space for my record player…

photo 3photo 1

Lou Reed

On October 27th at 11:46 AM, I opened a text that said “Lou Reed died”.  After reading it, I immediately felt a plunge in my chest and realized I was actually crying.  I knew I loved Lou Reed but I had no idea how much he meant to my life until I read that text message.  The only other artists I’ve ever cried for are Etta James and Elliott Smith.  Elliott Smith’s death hit me like a sledgehammer; I opened the newspaper and saw a picture of him in his white suit on the upper corner of the front page.  In excitement, I turned to the article and was completely blindsided in the middle of my High School Economics class as I read he’d stabbed himself in the heart twice.  Amid all of the dates I can’t remember, I have never forgotten Elliott Smith died on October 21, 2003.

My interests swim all over the place.  I pick up a hobby, hang out with it for a while and then drop it and move on.  I’ve always been this way, just bouncing around trying to learn a little about everything because I’m interested in more than I can squish in to this life.  Music is one of the very few things in my life that I’ve stuck with since the moment I realized how much I truly needed it and never has there been a moment when it wasn’t entirely significant to my well-being.  It took me a while to summon the proper words for Lou Reed because he has been a major part of my growth as a person and as a music lover, and I still don’t know where to start.

When you live the most vulnerable part of your life with your emotions on the front line infantry, you’re inevitably going to have some internal scarring.  Thus far in my emotional journey, I can count on one hand, the bands/artists that have truly nurtured the wounds suffered on that battlefield and The Velvet Underground is one of them.
During a miserable bout of a “what does it all mean” crisis in my late teens/early twenties (before you could just downloaded music from home), I came across a copy of The Velvet Underground’s Loaded Fully Loaded Edition at a local record store.  Since that day, I have never once considered removing them from my Top 5.   For days, maybe even a couple of weeks, I listened the Ride in to the Sun and Sad Song demos and felt my entire life fold into and around itself.

Unfortunately, while I do enjoy Reed’s solo work (who couldn’t love Transformer and Berlin), my love lies in the late 60’s and early 70’s VU albums.  Candy Says, Stephanie Says, Louise, Pale Blue Eyes, I Found a Reason, I’m Set Free, Who Loves the Sun, Sunday Morning… the list just goes on an on.  These are songs I have worn out, made terrible life decisions to and redeemed myself to.  I feel like the Velvet Underground has been playing in the background of my life since I first let them into my weird little world.
Lou Reed made sense in the fog of drugs and liquor, in the loneliness and depression of solitude and introversion and in moments of absolute joy and bliss.  His music is like an emotional chameleon that promises comfort and understanding because his pain is your pain and his words are your life.   And I still feel this way.  There isn’t a single emotion that can’t be emphasized by listening to the poetry of his own experiences.

The musicians he influenced and the music he has inspired are endless lists of amazing talent.  To think that without Lou Reed there would be no David Bowie (another top fiver), I can’t even imagine what sort of turmoil my emotions would be in.  But still, in spite of all of his glory and his inspiration, one of greatest things about Lou Reed is that he somehow always manged to hold on to that “cool guy” persona that he greeted the music world with.
He remained ageless with the greats that died young like Hendrix and Joplin.  The name Lou Reed never drew to a mind a picture of an aged musician struggling to be hip.  Just sunglasses and a black jacket.  Lou Reed was a rare bird that glided gracefully across the generations and his significance remains untouched by time just like Johnny Cash and Hunter S. Thompson.  He was a pillar of the music world and the hole left by his death is as significant as the torch lit by his life.

The generation of music that truly changed music is slowly beginning to crumble and break apart and it’s incredibly painful to watch and experience. But like great literature, there will be those that refuse to be forgotten and Lou Reed lives among them.

Random Childhood Memories #1 (of about 10,000)

My Uncle Willie was the best storyteller I’ve ever known.  He was nothing more than an alcoholic country boy with Jesus in his back pocket, but when he  started in on his stories, there was no tearing yourself away.   The best memories of growing up are of the summers spent at the lake house with my uncle and my grandmother in the little town of Cisco, TX.
I was the “caboose” of all the grandchildren (as my grandmother always called me), and wherever my uncle and grandma were, I could be found. I have no doubt some would look those summers and shake their heads at the things I was exposed to, but the bonds of love and family were never stronger than those days at the lake house.
Perhaps it was the magnitude of their personalities, but even in my earliest memories, I recall preferring the company of my grandmother and her siblings over kids my own age, even to my cousins.

I owe any sense of adventure I have to my Uncle.  Not because he was particularly adventurous or even a daring sort of man, but because he always had a story to tell and no matter how dull it might have been in real life, he added just the right amount of garnish and you could visualize every moment in a sort of glittery shimmer.

His best known tale was the story of “The Old Man”, a sort-of swamp creature with one, big, yellow eye above his nose that lived at the bottom of the lake and ate raw fish and only talked to Uncle Willie. Any fish or animal bones found near the shore were just the remains of the Old Man’s meals. Nights when the coyotes were silent were nights you stayed inside because the silence meant he was roaming around looking for something to eat.
If you did go outside, you didn’t dare go without Uncle Willie because the Old Man wasn’t only ugly, he was mean and wouldn’t hesitate to make a meal out of you.

In the mornings, my uncle and grandmother would sit on the screened-in porch drinking their coffee and smoking cigarettes until everyone else woke up.  I was usually the first awake and I’d sit with them at the table and listen to whatever memories they were suddenly struck by.
Nearly every morning at the lake house, my uncle would tell me I fell asleep right before the Old Man came to visit him.
He’d brief me on their conversation and said he’d told the Old Man I was back (or still) in town. He always said he’d introduce me to the him one day and thought the Old Man might like me, but he probably wouldn’t like anyone else.  So, every night I’d sit up waiting to meet him with my uncle and grandma on the porch, listening to them talk until I eventually fell asleep.

Somewhere in the early 90’s Uncle Cliff married in the family through my aunt (my mom’s sister).  Cliff is 6’7 and 400 pounds of stupid but also 400 pounds of heart.  The first 10 or so years, my grandmother wasn’t very fond of him (she preferred my aunt’s ex-husband) and being blood, that meant Uncle Willie didn’t much care for him either.
Cliff was extremely gullible which made him the butt-end of countless jokes when he dared go to the lake house with the rest of the family.  Maybe he was too stupid to realize they were picking on him, but either way, he was always good sport about it.
Even in my single-digit years, I had my doubts about the existence of the Old Man but at 35, it wasn’t hard to make Cliff scared of the water.  I’m not sure he actually believed Uncle Willie, but he was still uncomfortable being out alone in the dark, nonetheless.

However it came about, one night he was dared to sleep on the fishing dock alone.  He talked big, but somehow my aunt ended up with sleeping bags on the dock with him.
At some point in the middle of the night, Cliff came bounding up to the house from the dock soaking wet, swearing the old man was after him.  To this day, no one is sure who scared him, but his delinquent stepsons weren’t his biggest fans.
Family legend has it that he couldn’t shut his eyes at all that night and heard branches cracking and something moving in the water.  In attempting to try to wake my aunt up, he swore someone grabbed his arm which scared him absolutely shitless, causing him to roll over and fall off of the dock and into the lake.  My aunt laughed at him that night and she still laughs at him this day.
Cliff has been dubbed the “titty-baby” of the family since that night.

Even when I was older and saw less and less of Uncle Willie, when I did see him, he’d always ask if I’d seen the Old Man lately.  For whatever reason, I always envisioned sitting at a picnic table under a tree by the lake house (even though there was no picnic table) and eating burgers with him and my uncle in the dark.  I remember thinking I wouldn’t act like I was afraid of him even if I was, espeically if Uncle Willie was with me.
Every time I watch To Kill a Mockingbird and Scout sees Boo Radley behind the door, I always think of the Old Man.  He is my Boo Radley, I just never stayed up late enough to meet him.  Uncle Willie died about 10 years ago and as I’ve gotten older and feel the sting of things I can never have again, I think the largest hole is reserved for summers spent in that shitty shack of a lake house in Cisco.