An Ode to Guy Clark

guyclark

Oh Guy Clark.

You wordsmith.

You craftsman.

You Texan.

A few years ago I went to a show at the Country Music Hall of Fame. They have an “artist in residence” series in the Ford Theater there. The place seats like 200 people and these amazing people play there once a week for a month….it’s one of the ways that Nashville IS Music City. One of the first people to be the “artist in residence” was Guy Clark.

I hate to admit it, but for most of my life I’ve taken Guy Clark for granted. His music has been a constant for me, and I didn’t even know it. So many hours on road trips listening to Jerry Jeff Walker cassettes with my dad and I didn’t even know how those words were permeating my being, let alone who wrote so many of them. I knew I liked any song that talked about vanilla wafers, but didn’t know of my fondness for the man who wrote them.

Upon getting immersed into the world of “Alt-country” or “Americana” or whatever you want to call it, Guy Clark is like one of the apostles.  While standing in the Georgia Theater in Athens GA selling CDs for a band I loved, “Desperadoes Waiting for a Train” came on and I just started singing it. I don’t recall hearing the song before, but I knew it and it knew me. The headliner of the show that night was from Texas and he happened to walk by while I was singing. He nodded at me and said “Ain’t nothing better then Guy Clark!” I nodded in agreement and made a mental note to find some more Guy Clark music ASAP.

A couple years after that fateful night I was in the Ford Theater. I have only fleeting memories of that evening because it was all simply TOO GOOD to take in. I know that Rodney Crowell performed (always a good thing) and that Guy called Vince Gill out of the crowd to join him onstage (also a good thing!). But the clearest memory I have is the feeling in my stomach when I heard him sing the opening lines to “Dublin Blues.”

I wish I was in Austin
In the Chili Parlour Bar
Drinkin’ Mad Dog Margaritas
And not carin’ where you are

My stomach dropped, in that horrible yet wonderful way it does when you are on a roller coaster.  Those 21 words encapsulated my general feelings that day more then any I could have come up with myself.  I looked at this man who is 15 days older then my father and fell madly in love. I’d heard the song countless times, but that night, sitting in that room, it was all different.

I have since seen Guy play a few different times and a few different places. I love to hear his stories about his home here in Nashville during the ’70s, which sounds like my dream scenario of a “Home for Wayward Musicians.” I love hearing the way he talks about his wife Susanna.  I long to own one of his handmade guitars because I am sure that it is built in such a way that even I could make beautiful music with it.

The life that Guy Clark writes about isn’t always easy and isn’t always fun, but it’s always good and it’s always the way it should be, whether we like it or not. His song “The Cape” in my opinion, distills his general theories on life in the following words:

He’s one of those who knows that life
Is just a leap of faith
Spread your arms and hold you breath
Always trust your cape

1guyclark

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Come take a ride on the hormone coaster!!!

It’s week 3 of my little packet of birth control pills. Sometimes I’d like to think that I take BC to allow me to be kinda slutty, but it’s mostly because my periods have a mind of their own. (overshare…sue me!)

However, these tiny little pills have a strange effect over me for one week every four weeks. Week 3. Sometimes referred to as the “green m & m” week as I can tend to be hornier then a teenage boy. Sometimes I am all sad and dreary during week 3. Sometimes, like this week, I have such crazy mood swings that I think my hair gets blown into knots from all the ups and downs.  Of course, I’m a good mid-western girl who tries to hide these mood swings as much as possible, but inside my head is a mess.

Last night on the way home I went from feeling like I was totally alone in the world to being so thankful for my friends and back to being alone all in the time it took me to drive about 2 blocks.

I will admit that there are some things going on in my little world that aren’t helping to calm me down. For example, I’ve recently decided to buy a house. Well, I’ve decided that I want to buy a house. I have no savings and iffy credit, but am bound and determined to be a homeowner by the end of the year. I’d like to say it’s just because I want the $8000 first time home-buyers credit, but I know it’s more then that. I want roots. I want something to call my own. I have finally realized that thinking I will have a husband to buy a home with is holding me back from having things I really want and seems like something I can no longer chase, it just keeps running and I’m tired.

There’s the baby thing….but whatever, that will work out somehow. I truly believe that things work out as they should and am trying with all my might to let things happen instead of trying to make them something they are not and possibly never should be.

I have friends who are going through all kinds of things in their lives and I don’t know how to help. I don’t know what to do because so many things have to do with their relationships. I officially declare myself unable to be of any help in relationship issues because my lack of experience makes my opinions useless. I find myself thinking of what I should say to make the outcome what benefits me most, not what is necessarily best…and I hate that.

The grass is much greener wherever I am not these days. Making minor changes of my immediate surroundings helps for awhile, but then I start daydreaming of being somewhere else. Austin, Los Angeles, Michigan, places I associate with fun and being loved. But then again, I only go to these places long enough to have fun and be loved. It’s not that I don’t feel loved in Nashville, it’s home and it always will be, but it’s just different.  Again, it’s the difference between a date and a marriage…..but I’m not well experienced in either of those things, so I just want the easy thing. I want the long random conversations. I want to be able to talk about things to someone who knows little about them but is interested anyway. I want new experiences and random silliness.

But I also just want to be home. Snuggled with my furry friends and puttering around doing lots of nothing.

I guess I am mostly just ready for week 4 of the bc pills. Cramps I can handle, my crazy mind I cannot.

Austin: a week later

So, I’ve been home from Austin for a week now. But, for reasons unknown to me, I can’t seem to get over it.

Each time I go to Austin, it is harder to leave then the last time. I literally wept on the flight from Dallas to Nashville because it meant that I was leaving Texas. The only time I have cried on a plane simply because I was leaving a place was my first trip after moving to Nashville. I couldn’t figure out why I was leaving my new found home…and it felt just like that when I left Austin.

Why don’t I just move to Austin? Well, for whatever reason, I just don’t want to. I mean, I want to, but if I move there it will change. It will no longer be this oasis in the middle of a huge state. No longer will it be where I can go purely for fun. I wouldn’t be able to spend my days drinking frosty drinks and hanging at Barton Spring. I would probably tire of going to see music every night of the week (as I have in Nashville) and being around the people I know in Austin might lose some of the specialness that comes with seeing them so infrequently.

But still, my dreams are consumed with desolate landscapes and bbq smoke. I’ve written bits and pieces of countless stories since I got on the plane in Dallas and they all take place in Texas, they all deal with joy and heartache and they all make me want to jump in my car and find a abandoned house off 183 or some farm road and just move in and start a whole new life.

However, when I remove myself from fantasy land, I know that Nashville is my home. It just is. I feel more rooted here then I ever have anywhere else. My life here has been created (for better or worse) completely by me and I love it.

Nashville is my home. Austin is my haven.

austin

Chemistry.com: The Truth

This is not some expose on a online dating site. This is, rather, a more truthful response to the extensive profile I filled out on the aforementioned dating site earlier today.

Who I am and who I am looking for:

I am borderline neurotic. I have a vivid imagination and a tendency to over-share. I can tend to be clingy, but need my space. I feel alone in crowds. I love my dog too much. Sometimes I forget to brush my teeth. I never put away my clean laundry. I like the idea of eating healthy, but eat crap out of convenience. I have pretty blue eyes, and I know it. There is no way for me to have cleavage. I fall down a lot. I laugh way too loud. Sometimes I hold in my sneezes in some weak attempt at femininity.  I enjoy museums and such, but spend large amounts of time watching random reality shows.  I sometimes think people are looking at me in admiration, but in my heart know it’s not true. I relate very well to gay men. Gay men love me. Straight men are much less interested. I sometimes have a horrible time holding up my end of a conversation. I try to be a people pleaser to the point that I either come across as super boring or eventually freak out and spill all the dissenting opinions I’ve been holding in. I was once a registered Republican, but currently am terrified by Republicans in general. I believe in God and think Jesus was probably a cool dude, but, in general, Christians scare the hell out of me. I don’t care what anyone does as long as it doesn’t hurt anyone else. Stealing is bad. I drive too fast. I sleep too much. Sometimes I take 3 showers a day. Sometimes I don’t shower for 3 days. I have 2 cats, and am ashamed of that sometimes.  I’ve kissed a girl. I can’t understand why people like me but am crushed if they don’t. I have a philanthropic heart, but a lazy ass. I love gossip. I may want to have children, but probably for all the wrong reasons.  I’m loyal to a fault. I’m nosy. I’m mostly a mess, the wants to be loved.

I am looking for a man. I like dark hair and beards. I want someone who listens to the minutia of my day and can tell which of my two friends named Erin I am talking about without clarification. I like boys who drive trucks. I like smart boys, who aren’t too smart to act stupid.  I want a boy who is more attractive then me, but doesn’t know it. I want a boy who will hold my hand. I want a boy with a healthy sexual appetite. I want a boy who understands the ridiculous nature of porn, but isn’t too “high brow” to enjoy it. I want a boy who cooks, or at least will eat my cooking. I want a boy who loves Nashville, but wants to travel. I want a boy who can hold his liquor….but doesn’t hold on to it too tight or all the time.I want a boy who will get pleasure out of seeing how excited I get at a Reckless Kelly show. I want a boy who thinks it’s great when I want to hang with “my girls” or even better, when I want to hang with “my boys.” I want a boy who knows more about me then anyone else, but still wants to know more.

I’m pretty sure that even if I had forked up the $50 to get an actual subscription to this dating site, had I filled out the form honestly, it would have been $50 down the drain. I’m all for online dating for others, but it just ain’t my thing. I lack the self confidence to open myself up like that and would much rather spend that $50 on shoes.

So there.

It ain’t easy being me

This was an email to a couple of friends. They said it should be a blog. I tend to obey pretty well 🙂

So, Tuesday night I fell off the curb at my place and screwed up my ankle and skinned my knee….just call me Grace!
Then last night I’m driving to the dog park. Out of no where the car in front of me swerves, by the time I notice this I see what they were swerving for and run right over it.
Of course, this big plastic bucket thing gets stuck under my car (turns out it was a kitty litter bucket–obviously the universe telling me to change the cat box) So I’m driving up 65 just hoping that the thing comes unstuck and doesn’t fly out the back of my car and hit the car behind me. This doesn’t happen so I take the next exit, go to a gas station and pull the kitty litter bucket out from under my car.
I think, at this point, everything is fine and we go towards the dog park. Then I hear another dragging noise and realize that the plastic guard thing under the front of my car is probably dragging a bit and decide I’ll look at it when I get to the dog park.
The noise gets louder and louder as I drive. Crazy homeless people are looking at me like I’m nuts. I’m pretty sure I saved a man’s life who was getting beat up because the thugs were so amazed at the white girl with the loud car. I finally pull over and take a look.  It’s basically holding on my very little plastic, so I get on my (skinned) knees, in a dress and proceed to yank the whole thing off. Just as I’m getting my injured, dirty ass up off the road, cute guy drives up and asks if I need help.
“Do girl’s in dresses with skinned knees and dirty hands carrying large plastic car parts turn you on?” is what I thought.
“Nope I’m good” is what I said.
Sometimes I wonder why I even risk leaving the house.

Eddy Arnold RIP

Eddy Arnold passed away this morning.

Not only was he the number one selling solo artist in country music history, but he’s also been a sort of common thread in my life.

My paternal Grandfather was from Manchester, TN. He wasn’t a huge music fan, as far as I knew, but he always had some Eddy Arnold 8 tracks around and played them when I would spend summers with my grandparents in South Padre Island, TX.  When you’re a kid, you tend to think a lot of that type of music is stupid or bad, but it definitely laid the groundwork for some of my musical tastes later in life.

Jump to 2001. I started volunteering at the new Country Music Hall of Fame. I hated it. Well, not at first, but pretty quickly I realized that spending 4 hours of my Sunday helping people find the bathroom and hearing snippets of songs OVER AND OVER AND OVER AND OVER wasn’t my cup of tea. However, there was one film that I loved to watch and when it was slow I would sneak in and watch the short documentary on Country Music in Television as many times as possible.  Eddy Arnold was featured in it and he was so handsome. Handsome in that 50’s tv kind of way. Handsome in the way that can only be captured in black and white. He had a soft drawl and a sweet face and I couldn’t believe that this was the same person my grandfather had listened to for so much of my youth.

Shortly after I became enamored with this documentary, I went to lunch at Melpark (now Sylvan Park in Melrose). Eddy Arnold was there. He ate lunch there pretty regularly. He looked nothing like the suave TV persona that I thought of him as. He was, rather, a frail old man. But there was still a twinkle in his eye. He was so sweet to all the staff there and they loved him right back. I’ll never forget one day he walked past my table and told me I had “lovely, shiny hair and amazing blue eyes and a silly laugh”….I wanted to say “Um, you’re Eddy Arnold!” But I think he already knew that and it’s Nashville, we don’t do that kind of thing here.

I continued to see him there at lunch time quite often. Just a few months ago I was sitting in the booth behind him and two other men, who had obviously been in the music business for a long time, and they were discussing Britney Spears….I loved it! I made it a point to make eye contact with him when he would walk by and he would always smile back.  Years simply don’t change a person’s smile.

A few weeks ago I heard his wife had passed away. I had seen her with him a few times and she always looked even more frail then he did. I worried that her death would speed up his trip to the end of his life. Turns out I was probably justified in my fear. But this man lived a life that few can imagine. He entertained countless generations of people. Sang songs that became a part of the patchwork of our American culture and always had a smile for those he passed, even at the little meat & three on Franklin Rd.

I’ll miss Eddy Arnold being on this planet. But I’m sure thankful for the numerous memories I have of him and the interesting role he played in the first 34 years of my life.

Single Girl’s Guide to Moving

I just moved into a new apartment. Two bedrooms, two bathrooms, gated community, super close to my favorite grocery store. All good things. However, I still haven’t quite moved completely OUT of my old apartment. I have until midnight tonight to make that break-up final. To take all my stuff, including all my trash, and be done with the place. I suddenly feel like one of those girls who can’t get out of a relationship without being almost in another one.

Here’s the deal with my old place. I’d been there 7 years. For the most part everything was cool. But we were just moving in different places. I was moving to a place in my life that I didn’t want to be packed like a sardine into my home and it was moving into a place where black mold grows.

If you ever want to feel completely alone in the world, move by yourself. Make sure you’ve lived in your place for awhile, have animals who like to place things under furniture and have a tendency to keep stuff longer then you should. In order to get the full effect and complete alone experience, have lots of random things that can’t really be boxed up and make sure to live on at least the second floor and move to a new place that is also at least on the second floor. OOOO…having a small car helps too.

Once you get the keys to the new place, bring over fun things, like clothes and such. Carefully consider the order of the new closets and take lots of time to place things just so. Only put a little bit of stuff in your car at a time so you can drive back and forth as much as possible, while fooling yourself that you are accomplishing things. Go ahead, take a nap.

Make sure that whatever outfit you choose to move in makes you feel especially unattractive and then work up a good sweat. i also suggest being in dire need of a root touch up and a bang trim so you have more hair ornaments keeping things “in place” then a Eastern European gymnast.

Pack your boxes as heavy as possible. Once you’ve lost the packing tape for the fifteenth time, start putting heavy things in trash bags. Then sort of drag the trash bags a bit so they start to fall apart as you put them in the car. Make mental notes of the things you need at Target, and then quckly forget it. Make at LEAST 4 trips to Target and spend as much of your hard earned money as possible at each trip.

Once the movers come…..oh yes, you HAVE to hire movers,with no upper body strength and a 99 Saturn Coupe, there ain’t no way that big fluffy red chair will make it to the new place.  Once the movers come, make sure you remember that you have a bunch of stuff in two closets. Fool yourself into thinking that it’s not much stuff and will be like one trip. Start to realize that your attachment to things lessens when you start to think about taking it up the stairs at your new place and finding a new place to stash it for another 7 years. The movers will be super sweet….awww, poor girl ain’t gots no man to help her move….and will move your stuff faster then any group of friends could think of doing, and they don’t complain to your face.  During this portion of the move, you will feel good about things. Try to remember that feeling later when you are sitting in the shambles of your former home disgusted at the dust bunnies and unidentifiable stains that have been hidden by the furniture for lord knows how long. Recall it also when you wish your dog could be trusted to run down to Lowes and get a new vent for the dryer so you could at least finish drying the clothes that are in the dryer….sorry Wade the mover, glad you’re so strong!

Go grab some lunch on the way back to the old place. Make sure you’ve been eating fast food for the past few days so you can push your body physically while giving it the worst fuel possible. Sit on the floor of your old living room and hold back the tears at the amount of crap that is still left to deal with. Realize that there is no one to call to get help from. Curse yourself and your chronic procrastination. Go into the closet and wonder if there is really any reason to hold onto the prom dress your mom sewed for you or your grandparents china.

Take a few bags of trash down to the dumpster. Wish that instead of watching 5 hours of America’s Next Top Model, you had gone out Saturday night and found some nice, strong boy who would love to carry heavy things and take trash out in return for sexual favors. Must be clean, cute is optional. 

Make sure to have an appointment on your moving day for something completely unrelated, say taking your dog to the vet for shots. Once you have cleared whatever momentum you had going, make sure to add as many expenses to the trip as possible. Extra heartworm pills and flea treatment….bring it on. You’re already hemorrhaging money at this point, what’s a couple hundred more dollars.

Work yourself to supreme exhaustion. To where you are driving in the turn lane for a couple of miles before you notice. Don’t take pain pills until day 3….then curse yourself for not working out more (i.e. at all)

Figure out a way to postpone the final cleaning of your apartment and go to your new place. Bask in the glory of being alone. All alone. Alone in that big apartment with a big new bed that you will also sleep alone in (save your pets, who are apt to be pissing you off at this point because they are stressed and you find yourself actually saying to them “what the fuck do YOU have to be stressed about?!?”) Take a bath and shave your legs above the knee for no one.  Figure out how to hook up your DVD player and watch a couple of hours of Sex and the City. Make sure to watch the season where Carrie has no man and such. Season 5 I believe it is. It’s all about confusing messages from males and such….good times! Go to bed, exhausted and already anticipating the pain of the next day and trying to divise a way to just leave your old place as is without going broke with “cleaning charges.”  Snuggle up to your dog and convince yourself that even though he can’t carry anything, or help pack or clean and has out of nowhere shit on the floor of your new place, you really LOVE being single.

What’s on my mind today.

  1. a certain friend who is being distant these days. When I ask them about something in particular they indicate that I don’t know what’s going on with their world right now and when I point out that the inquiry was attempting to remedy that precise situation, they say nothing.
  2. an email a friend sent me the other day about “farting strawberries” that continues to make me laugh out loud.
  3. how men can walk into the bathroom with a cup of coffee or other beverage in their hands and do their business. Even if they put the cup on the counter, who knows what kind of “spray” is floating around there. My office is across from the men’s room and I have offered my desk, etc…as a storage spot for beverages. Not nearly enough of them have taken me up on this offer.
  4. sometimes I think that I don’t express aspects of my personality and interest correctly. For example, I love to go to art shows, etc….but I think most people think I’m just a bar type gal.
  5. in addition to art, I also enjoy this immensely. If only I could roller skate and was at all a bad ass.
  6. I want attention from boys, but I don’t want to have to ask for it. Wait, correction, I want attention from certain boys.
  7. most people don’t get me. It’s not that I’m all complicated or anything, I think people just don’t know what to make of me a lot of the time. I guess it makes sense since I don’t know what to make of myself a lot of the time. Perhaps I need to find more folks who are willing to come along for the ride.
  8. There is a boy/man in my office whose hair I want to run my fingers through. In a meeting yesterday I could vividly imagine myself reaching across the table and doing just that. I even think my arm twitched a bit in an effort to move my imagination into reality.
  9. I can’t wait to move into my new place, but HATE packing.
  10. If I look just to the right of my monitor I see my Tim Gunn bobblehead and a chair that has one of my old bridesmaid dresses and a box with a broken piggy bank in it.
  11. My hair needs to be colored in the worst way.
  12. Everyone keeps coming in and “borrowing” my flavored coffee creamer. Whatever.
  13. There is a member of my family who is dying. This person has done terrible things and has pretty much ruined a segment of my family. However, they have recreated themselves for people who don’t know the “other stuff” and those people are completely devastated at the idea of the loss. I feel bad for the people who are able to live in ignorant bliss about this person.
  14. I miss my girlfriends in Cali. like crazy. Recently I’ve just wished it was like 9 years ago and we were all ruling the music department at a So Cal Borders with caustic wit and more estrogen then you can shake a stick at. The best part is that, even though we don’t see each other very often (and I see them the least of all) I know that they will always have my back and I will always have theirs.
  15. I really wish the damn IT guy would come load iTunes on my computer!!!!
  16. cupcakes again……
  17. my dog
  18. how my March madness bracket could have gone SO badly. However, not badly enough for me to be in last place in the work pool, where I would at LEAST get my $10 back!

Ok–that’s all. My mind has just stopped suddenly. I will now go watch the clock countdown until I will leave the office and go to the bar to play some trivia and drink some vodka…..but seriously, I do like art 🙂