Thursday, June 26, 2008

summer naps: you might never wake up the same

So, it's hot and you've been working hard at stressful stuff, and you're sitting on the couch reading tweets when all of the sudden 'BAM' you're asleep and having f-ed up dreams that you can't seem to escape.

My subconscious knows how to tell me I shouldn't be asleep, It sends me into dreams where I can't see very well, where my vision is faltering or inaccurate in some way, and this fact is keeping me from either a) knowing what's going on in the dream, for real, or b) from staying safe from harm.

I just had this dream where I forgot I was supposed to fly to Connecticut, and ended up enacting some old, discarded plan from long before I'd booked a flight. I was driving through New Mexico, looking at some crazy landscape reminiscent of North America's rowdy volcanic years, when I stopped at a B&B to reserve a room, not just for me, but for the whole quintet.

And as I looked at their room rates, my eyes started to squiggle, and readjust, and squiggle, until all I could make out were numbers and they didn't have any bearing on the information I was looking for. I know you're not really supposed to be able to read in dreams (or did I make that up?), so it seems that once I'd tried to read, everything else went haywire. I couldn't see were the road was leading, it seemed to leap up and away at every turn. And the sky was turning ash black and patches of maps I'd seen of completely different places began to superimpose themselves over my actual vision. And then like that I realized, 'I'm not supposed to be doing this! I've got a plane to catch!'

And I woke up.

No more summer naps for me until...well, probably tomorrow.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

to the power of literature

It's been a rough couple of months. In between bursts of adventure, fun, and general relaxtion have been periods of disatisfaction and unease, a general ill-feeling compounded by the amount of stress that moving and making plans for a summer away bring with them.

It's been difficult for me to come to terms with my move away from New Mexico, in part because I will have only been there a year at the time of my official departure, and in part because life there has been sweet and fascinating in all respects. I've been trying to take the high road and simply feel blessed for having had the experience of living there, but it's a bit like breaking up with someone before you're ready (something else I have experience in tandem): the scope of what's left to explore and experience seems overwhelming, and there's a great loss attached.

I lied to myself about this for a little while, trying to make myself ready to move and to justify it over and over again in whatever what I could think, but in the end I had to accept that I didn't want to go. And that, career-wise, I really had no choice but to go.

That was the first step.

The second was examining my place and my relationship in the quintet, and making sure it was what I wanted, that it was worth moving across the country again for this ensemble. It took a while, things got ragged when we weren't rehearsing or gigging, and it became hard to remember what enthusiasm had driven me there in the first place. But I had to remember that it's difficult with a member of the group out of town, in a place where there's no work, and that a week, now...all this will change and it will change permanently. With plenty of playing to do this summer and plenty of work waiting for us in Minnesota, we'll have an entirely new set of problems but none of them will seem as deep and upsetting as they do now.

But even with these two realizations under my belt, I still felt like I was missing something. I felt like the poetry had gone out of my life, like I could look at something beautiful and feel little, like I could be a part of an amazing night and remain cold and distant. I have never felt this detachment in my life and it was frustrating and disturbing.

And then I picked up a book.

It's not that I've lost my sense of adventure. It's that it's changed in a way I hadn't anticipated. I read through Steinbecks's Travels with Charley with dogged interest until I got to the end, and he spoke of his journey 'having left' and deserted him, that his adventure was over long before the travel has, and home lay before him on the long stretches of road, beckoning.

I understood, but it wasn't identification. I've felt that way before, but what opened up for me in this instant was the realization that my journey has left me, too, and it is waiting for me somewhere else. It's changed from a restless traveller to a bit of a homebody, of a spirit seeking a permanent destination. It's not that I no longer want to travel, or see the vast stretches of beauty left in the world, it's that I want to have a home base that I know, intimately. It's that I want work and family, and friends, to come together and build a foundation that I can use to explore around me in more detail. I need a home, I need a place. The endless moving across country, the yearly trade of friends and faces in my life, that needs to slow dramatically. The space around me needs to be familiar and beloved.

I could easily do this in Minneapolis. I have little strength to move again, so I'm going to have to, anyway. Once I get there I plan to take steps to mold me life into the environment and in turn structure a place where I'll only be lonely if I want to be, where my dreams can find footholds, where things will blossom and bear fruit. The only problem is, I have to wait. I have two months of festival, and then more waiting and traveling, and then the usual transition period once I finally arrive. But I'm getting good at that; in Albuquerque it only took me a month to find a solid friendship and an orbit of others around that. I know the kinds of things I want to see and do, and what places I would like to eat or drink at. I know that there's beauty around every corner and that around one of those, maybe soon, there'll be someone who wants to hold my hand and experience them with me.

Until then, I'll be patient.