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the long way around

The living room is a forest of mic stands and cables. A cup of coffee, a large glass of water and a shallow shot of whiskey sit on the tiny white table. I alternate between them, making sure the guitar is in tune, trying to understand if the chair will creak when I lean my head back on the second chorus.  There is a hush in the room. I can hear my own heartbeat. The lyrics are printed out on a fresh piece of paper, large and thick so I can read them easily even though I sing with my eyes closed and will surely forget a handful of words no matter what I do.

The guitar sounds dry, perfect - even honest. I can play a simple D chord with a long strum, or the side of my thumb and it sounds so different. I record a few takes, barefoot in the bright room. I am going too fast in some parts, and my fingers are already sore from the chord changes.

And then all at once, I am thinking of a show I played in an old factory in Brooklyn, way back when I had just started writing songs almost twenty y…

on refrigerators


V's feet are slapping against the floor. I hear her before she bursts into the kitchen, a leaf of paper hanging from her hand.
"Papa. Papa. Look. Look." She howls.
The paint is still wet. It is a flurry of brown and blue, some red. My eyes jump wide. I clap my hands.
"Put it on the fridge!" I announce, and she does.
A smile, an expression of complete satisfaction presents itself. She runs out of the room, to do it all again.

This is what all of us want, I tell myself. To be appreciated. To have our work grace a wall. It seems so simple, but in an adult life - how often does this happen? How rare is this?

Then, I remember Jan Groover telling us to tape our latest photographs to the door of the refrigerator. "If you still like it after a week, then you have something." She added, a long thin cigarette dangling from her lip.



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