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the letter reader

It is the third time I sit down to record The Letter Reader. The laundry rack has been pushed back, the lights dimmed. There is a flat grey sky outside the windows. The song has changed key three times. I even tried it a capella, the guitar just resting on my knee. The words felt hollow and empty when I heard them playing back. Unlistenable. The struggle is a familiar one - between the glowing idea of something butting up against the reality is presents as it enters the world. We are all famous in our own minds - heroes, geniuses, rock stars and saints. In the real world, we are flabby, and fallible. We are painfully human, and no angels. How to align all of this? How to put yourself in front of a microphone, or an empty piece of paper, an open road, a classroom full of children, an office?

Maybe there are glimpses of greatness. Maybe there are little cracks of something magical, if you wait for them, if you nurture them, if you struggle for them. I often find myself yelling at tv sc…

"None of us are Free"

That's Solomon Burke, singing in the dark in my studio.
And then he says "One of us are chained."

If one of us is chained, none of us are free.

It's more than a provocative thing to crow about, on a darker blues compilation I recently discovered. The world is getting very small. I share thoughts, perceptions and jokes with people thousands of miles away. My night is their morning, and we laugh as one. There is something really comforting about this. I may walk alone, pulling my scarf close to my throat on strange sidewalks - - but I am surrounded by people that care.

I recently threw a golden ruble into the street. It had rested in my left pocket for almost eight years. It was supposed to bring me luck, and I protected it religiously. I did let anyone touch it. In truth, I do not think it brought me anything but heartache and false hope. One night a few weeks ago, I passed some street musicians and randomly decided to give them a handful of the lucky money from my left pocket. The sheepish, mumbling fellows dropped their guitars and chased me down the passageway to thank me and shake my hand. I suddenly realized the golden ruble was one of the coins I had given them. In a heartbeat, they had inspected the change and realized I had given them some gold. The dark haired one quickly gave me the coin back - -he knew it was a mistake. Of course, I felt relieved and went on my way.

It was later that very same night that I realized the coin was desperately trying to get away from me, and I had screwed up a beautiful escape plan. I promptly went out on the balcony and threw the golden coin into the darkness. It fell on some grass, or a clump of dirt. Not as poetic, but hopefully free.

Maybe someone will find it in the spring, I thought.

Comments

brenda said…
yeah, like me, maybe. Find it in the spring, i mean. i would so love to be there, m. i miss it. but you, you are my lifeline. Even in the very dark times.

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