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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…

the daughters of time


Truth is the daughter of time, not authority. 
Yes, I thought as I read this. The text is attributed to Francis Bacon, but Mary Tudor before that and truly Cicero before her. It is an old idea, profoundly comforting in this age of un-reason. In time, this will all make sense.

The rooms are dark. I work in silence, bare feet sweeping across the floor to make coffee, to hang the wash to dry. The light is soft and dim in the windows. The snow has come, a sort of relief. A filthy wet blanket, a constant. My hands smell of garlic and ginger. There are great cups of hot black tea, steam climbing to the ceiling.

The little one is triumphant, marching around half-naked with her head flipped all the way back in a great laugh. My wife is half-whirlwind, capable of the impossible before breakfast. My older daughter is a mysterious collection of bones and thoughts, a jumble that aligns itself when I look out of the corner of my eye and then hides again. I have a small pile of new pages, a new book, a plane parked on the runway but at least in the airport. The camera is full of fresh film. There is money in the bank. There is a little ice cream left in the freezer.

Maybe everything will be ok.

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