A Holiday Playlist

Confession: I’m not a huge holiday person. Dressing up as Dorothy this year, purely because it is my first Halloween in Kansas, on October 31 I usually sport a “This is my Costume” t-shirt and call it good.

This is the first year I live in a house with a residential neighborhood, so the first time I had to rush to the store to purchase forgotten candy for the costumed kids that will be knocking (good stuff, like peanut butter cups because I was excited to get those). Then comes Thanksgiving. Then Christmas. Then New Years. Then Valentine’s Day and Easter and Mother’s Day and Father’s Day and my birthday and Fourth of July and Flag Day.

Each is a way to express yourself, eat through love, show appreciation, mark time in a way that all blurs together.

To help us remember that every day is a celebration. And a gift.

 

Music on my Holiday playlist so far (2080, Yeasayer; Halloween Head, Ryan Adams; The General Specific, Band of Horses; Beautiful Day, U2; Gonna Make You Love Me, Ryan Adams; The Deaf Girl’s Song, Cloud Cult)

Catapulting Cows. Or Pianos.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

After consuming Frito pie and drinking a few beers while tailgating at nearby University, my boyfriend and I sat down for a discussion about Pure Moments.

He referenced the scene from Northern Exposure, where they capitulate a piano instead of a cow in efforts to experience a pure moment. We both agreed that a pure moment can’t be planned or expected. It’s the surprise or the unexpectedness in the expectation that is pure.

Francine Prose in Reading Like a Writer writes that “We all begin as close readers. Even before we learn to read, the process of being read aloud to, and of listening, means that we are taking in one word after another, one phrase at a time that we are paying attention to whatever each word or phrase is transmitting.”

Listening is a pure moment. Sometimes my mind wanders to plan the future or replay scenarios of possible personal failures or success as other speak to me. But when I listen, which I am learning to do in Kansas with its propensity of storytelling as a cultural protocol, I don’t know what I am going to hear. It is pure because I have no idea how the story will end, or if I think I know it usually never ends that way.

Writing is similar. The pure moments in writing are when we get out of the way of ourselves. Drop the expectations of being published or even that what we write is going to be good. Instead, let the pure moment flow from somewhere inside of you through your fingers and onto the page.

That’s purity. That’s truth. That’s why we read and write and tell stories.

A Death Letter

Dear Death,

Hello!

I just wanted to let you know that you have been on my mind of late, especially since turning 30. I fear you, big time, even though I have been gifted such amazing moments and feelings in this world. It’s more real now, getting older, and after meeting my boyfriend I feel that there is more to be possible in this world, and I have “more” to lose now too – a future I wasn’t expecting (which will of course not happen the way I expect anyway, so perhaps a mute point there).

So, just in case something does happen any day now (like dad comfortingly says, “if it’s you’re time, then it’s you’re time”), here are a few thoughts.

Key to accountability: self-forgiveness.

Key to shame: don’t be ashamed of feeling ashamed.

You’re ego: give it a hug – that’s what it wants anyway.

Don’t forget to breathe. Don’t forget to love. Don’t forget to not be hard on yourself. Don’t forget that you don’t have to earn self-worth because it is there the whole time. Don’t forget to smile. Don’t forget to be thankful. Don’t forget to love.

We all know these things. But, I need the reminders in a book or a movie or a song or a laugh or a landscape that angles these thoughts in a new slant.

 

 

 

 

 

It’s love. It comes down and back to that: love. So why should death be any different?