How we spent our days

I feel far from my Last American Childhood persona. More able to embody the traits I’d hoped to eventually embody by keeping this account, but separate from it, too, less dependent on a lifeline of 1s and 0s strung between me and the outside world.

It is the middle of May. Before we reach the end of yet another, I want to post this video Peter Norton made for the song "The End of May" from our unreleased EP by the same name. The song says most of the things I’ve tried to say on my blog, in the past 200 entries over the past 730 days of the past two years. 

And here is a song "476"—and video by Sean Eno—from even much longer ago. The video was probably done in the early 2000s. The song recorded then, too, though written in my sophomore year in college, for our band "You With the Face". 

What do these songs and videos have to do with what I’m trying to say now? 

It’s the feeling of something unfinished, something that hounds me, behind and before me.

I could also post here, but I won’t, video footage from last Friday of us being pulled back against a strong and unpredictable current in the San Francisco bay.

In these videos we have a little bit of a record, a watery one, compromised by a slanted view out of a doorway open only a crack, made blurry by a too-bright sun. In them we are blinking, not quite awake, or maybe covering our faces, dreaming of somewhere else. But, because of them, the reality of years passing can't be denied. The pictures time-stamped, even if I forget the dates. Here is a little glimpse as to how we spent our days. 

In Rebecca Stead’s Young Adult Newberry Award winning book When You Reach Me, in the chapter called Things You Push Away you’ll find this:

“Mom says each of us has a veil between ourselves and the rest of the world, like a bride wears on her wedding day, except this kind of veil is invisible. We walk around happily with these veils hanging down over our faces. The world is kind of blurry, and we like it that way.
But sometimes our veils are pushed away for a few moments, like there’s this wind blowing it from our faces. And when the veil lifts, we can see the world as it really is, just for those few seconds before it settles down again. We can see all the beauty, and cruelty, and sadness, and love. But mostly we are happy not to. 

I’ve thought a lot about those veils. I wonder if, every once in a while, someone is born without one. Someone who sees the big stuff all the time.”

For myself, I think I was born without one. The lack of one is what drives my music and writing. Probably it's the same for most people devoted to art. But it’s what distracts me from it at the same time, what makes it nearly impossible for me to finish anything, to carry anything through, those demons always visible on halcyon days. 

I am coming to accept that the process of writing might be this continual setback, the sense of regression, the dumfounded looks from others: "Can't you get past that?" And my obvious answer, explicit if not put into words "No I can't", just barely resisting the tide but somehow lasting until it has receded -- the act of trying to, but not ever really getting past whatever it is that will allow me to get on with the mythological “real story.” And in the meantime, writing a different one altogether. It will get written whether I decide to write it myself or not.


  1. The veil is something I want to think about more. I am going to will myself....or pray that I do so (because my will is weak) consider the veil daily. I so long for more moments where the veil is lifted and the light falls and the longing is there, in the throat, and we (the collective/communal we) Know the Things. My prayer is that I might do my part to lift it up, for myself and for others. Speaking of all this, what of Paul's words here: "Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known." (I Corinthians 13:12) We must ask ourselves, as artists, Have I lifted the veil, today? And if not, how will I? Is that too much to ask of ourselves, though, as mothers? I suppose we need only to reframe the question and pose it in the context of our relationships to our precious children. Yet at that point we cannot help but realize that they are in fact the ones who lift the veil for us. All to rarely is it the other way around...

  2. It's outrageous that I haven't answered this yet


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