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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…

proof, or not (it all matters)


We all have our sweet tooth, our weakness. Honestly, there is nothing inherently easy about pictures of children on playgrounds, or empty swing sets, or old men playing accordions, or faces behind the windows of train cars. But we may have seen enough of them at this point. Maybe not. I like to go out with a camera in my bag and take no pictures, just walking, my head craning around corners. Sometimes that magnificent collision of life and lens, f-stop and shutter happens, on other days it does not. Like a lottery, like fishing, you have to put your pole in the water - a leap of faith, a little wish or something you just imagined you might find in the world. I have come to believe that the act of intention, the process is what counts With a picture as proof, or not - it all matters. 

A week ago, there was an hour or two before V's birthday party. The house smelled of good food, the dishes were in perfect little stacks on the table. The wine was getting good and cold. We were all showered and changed. V wanted to dance, and we wiggled around in the bedroom, me acting like an electric eel her like a baby swan. We ran from one end of the room to the other, lip syncing to Stevie Wonder. Her laughter arrived in great waves, splashing into the hallway. I might have taken a picture then, but decided to just enjoy the moment for what it was. Something fleeting, and inspired. 



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