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this is the day

This is the day. The epic banging downstairs has subsided, appearing randomly at no earlier that 6 at night when it does. There is no good explanation for why I restrung the old guitar today, and then the new one. I am almost drunk on the smell of their cases, like a museum of good intentions - here are scraps of paper with old lyrics on them, a spare cable, a phone number from a show three years ago. I have been writing these songs for over a year now, and today is the day the good microphone went on a stand.

That is how things happen - when you least expect them.

It is a fairly terrifying moment.

I think we all like to say "we need to get out of our comfort zones" which mostly means something like bungee jumping, or getting a new haircut. The idea of singing the confessions of a bunch of imaginary people feels like walking a tightrope with no net. Seeing it done well does not give me any false confidence. It just makes me respect those brave souls that shoulder a guitar …

the heroine's coat


I took this picture right next to our house an a Saturday afternoon. The street this woman is walking down leads to a playground, eventually to a gate and a main road. The only people that walk here are returning to their parked car, or to find a child that has stayed on the swings too long. It occurred to me that this woman was neither of those things. She was just wandering away from traffic, away from the jangle of snowplows. Her hands clasped behind her back are an odd tradition here, some Soviet habit with no name. The snow was falling wet and heavy that day. I liked the trail of her footsteps.

That was almost two years ago.

Today I saw a long coat on a woman and suddenly recognized it. I still could not see her face, but that coat had become legend. I would recognize it anywhere. This is the minor miracle of the street photograph, recording the unnamable. She walked the same way, with a swaying side-to-side penguin shuffle. I hurried home, with a strange sense of satisfaction and possibility.


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