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(looking for) the heartbreaker

It has been more than two months sitting at the little white table in the living room, writing. Pushing out pages, fixing these pages, living with these pages then waking up and chewing them apart again, then adding on a new section. It is a mill, grinding the raw ideas down to a fine powder that may somehow rise and become bread. Or it may not. So many thoughts begin with "what if". What if they get stuck in an old elevator? What if she is not home when they come the first time? What if she is coming back from the market and passes them on the stairs? What if the driver is older? Or younger? What if his brother shows up instead? The questions are greater than the results on the page, the dialogue is whittled down to nubs of something recognizable.

There are cold cups of coffee, emails that go unanswered. The light comes and goes, and most of the work is done in the dark in more ways than one. Cooking dinner helps. Playing some guitar helps. If you are not careful you forge…

every picture


It was too easy. At one point it seemed like there was an accordion player on every corner, or every underpass dodging the rain. I stopped taking pictures of them, these old men with grave expressions and a little cardboard box on the ground at their feet. The songs tended to be happy ones, nostalgia for the passer-by. Something from a Soviet cartoon, or a children's song.

Some say that every picture we take is a self-portrait, a mirror image of the person behind the camera. I want to agree, and when I do I understand that maybe I see myself as that old man looking out at the people, ignored. Maybe just for that moment. In the next, I am a child with a fresh drawing I am sticking on the door of a refrigerator. I am the chalk drawing on the pavement, the scrawled name on the wall.

There is something so metaphorical about the street musician - the giving it away, the humility of it all, and the occasional reward from a stranger. Great musicians started this way, busking for loose change. It may be the path to glory, or if all else fails, a bowl of soup. Somehow, this image sums all of this up for me - the hope, the ugly truth, the wish, the endless defeat, the fresh possibility.

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