Conversation about a pivotal summer

Do you remember your summer of 18? 18 years, I mean, not 2018. That hasn’t happened yet.

That was the most jacked up summer.

In what sense?

Emotionally. Revved up like a Camaro spinning whirlies on a slick street under a full moon. Flying on an airplane to a beach town when I craved being someplace else, a photographic mountain town with a boy I knew well but had never gone all the way with so he pegged me a virgin. All that latent longing and dizzying depression and unspent ambition and thwarted intimacy and fraught connection pummeling my heart with a whack ack ack!

Ouch!

Yeah, and the feeling that whatever was mine to grab would be gone by the next time round the sun,  And the dread of knowing that I was too chickenshit to go for it, that I’d have no one to blame but myself for my pathetic spiraling out.

Have you experienced such self-loathing since?

Fortunately, no, but I suppose it’s there, if I dig for it.

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The Magic of First Takes

The putting together of this project/ feels so analogue and piecemeal/ not at all peaceful/ her friend says to record it when the feeling hits

It’s strange to listen back.

It’s 1995, I’m living at the Parkside, 19th & Aloha. I’ve taken to writing poems on tiny white pads of paper. In my mind, they’re just frenzied mental notes, slated for the scrap-pile. One day I press record on my Sony Walkman and speak the bits into the room. Later, I listen back. The thing that hit my ears is astounding – polished and confident! I’m ashamed that I had thought so lowly of my scribbles. They’ve morphed into something real, something worthy of existing! Now I have something I have an obligation towards, something to preserve and protect. I stash the cassette in a box and later find the tape has tangled with another tape and must be cut. I keep the damaged tape for some time, but eventually throw it out,  tired of seeing it un-mended.

Flash forward to March 27, 2018. I soak in the tub and listen back to a recording on my phone. It’s rough. I’m playing a few coarse chords on the piano and singing words from my journal about the impossibility of capturing the essence of the moment. Body submerged, the sounds coalesce. The content strikes me as raw, yet perfect. Once it’s in my ears, I know it has become a thing that will hold up for me, that I’ll expect. That I’ll defend. If I hadn’t recorded it, I wouldn’t give it the time of day. The recording makes a claim on my memory, fixes it in my brain as something worth saving. What is behind my fascination with first takes? Is it blind obedience, or something higher, something approaching grace?