All posts filed under: Mind

“Turn and face the strange, ch-ch-changes” speech

This is keynote speech I gave to a cohort of certified change makers for the Idaho Commission on the Arts on Nov. 4. It now serves as an uncanny pep talk/reminder to my profoundly-changed future self on Nov. 14. But that’s how stories happen by nature. They take you by surprise.  A CHANGE WILL DO YOU GOOD? It’s a complete honor to be here before you amazing souls and creators and community powerhouses. I feel like saying… Much respect Namaste, like in yoga. Or, “we’re not worthy,” like in Wayne’s World. I’ve been meaning to plot out this speech on change-making for weeks and weeks, but instead, I’ve just had that one song playing over and over in my head, “A change will do you good.” And as if from over your shoulder, “Will do you good.” [looks back] Shut up song! Because, really? Will it? Really? I think we raw, raw, siss, boom-bah change all the time. It’s hip and rock star and bold and stuff. Without really acknowledging the fear and chaos it unleashes in …

“The line dividing good & evil” story

A true story I told on Monday under the theme “EXPOSED: I Did What?” has become quite the topic of social media blowups and public controversy. But there is speculation and there is source material. Feel free to judge me harshly on either one. Or on both. That is your choice now. That is your business. I want to make it clear that absolutely no one knew the content of this story before I told it except me. Not Story Story Night’s board or any Treefort/Storyfort organizers. This was my choice alone. There is much to condemn me in this story. But I do not condemn myself for telling this story. People are complex. Reality is not always pretty. And public facts do not belong to any one person. The specific events I outline—other than my own personal terrible choices—have been part of a highly, highly public record for quite some time. I included links not to expose, but only to underline this. I feel absolutely terrible for using this person’s real first name at the show, and …

[BREAK-UP DIORAMA VII] Her Apartment / ‘You’re A Big Girl Now’

Be kind, rewind. And fin. Read the Museum Plaque Introduction» A change in the weather is known to be extreme But what’s the sense of changing horses in midstream? I’m going out of my mind, oh, oh With a pain that stops and starts Like a corkscrew to my heart Ever since we’ve been apart —Bob Dylan, ‘You’re A Big Girl Now*,’ (Blood On the Tracks) [Figure i: The Break-Up Dioramas. Right after they broke up, she drove to the California coast with her parents to attend a family reunion. Fuming down desert highways in a fog of resentment and pain in the back of a compact car with one’s parents was made substantially more apocalyptic by the replaying, then the replaying, then the replaying, at full volume in her tinny headphones, of her bitter Bob Dylan break-up soundtrack. A playlist of stuck devastation. 6 songs to match each room in that house that was hers but not for that much longer. One to fit her new place (but where was this new place?). She measured out each nasal lyric to weigh the exact …

[BREAK-UP DIORAMA VI] The Studio / ‘One of Us Must Know (Sooner or Later)’

Well this is awkward. Read the Museum Plaque Introduction» I didn’t mean to treat you so bad You shouldn’t take it so personal I didn’t mean to make you so sad You just happened to be there, that’s all —Bob Dylan, One of Us Must Know (Sooner or Later), (Blonde on Blonde) [Figure i:  Strangest places. Right after they started dating, he wrote a solitary song about her called Strangest Places—about the Darren Aronofsky film they saw, the windy conversation they had, the surprise connection they found—on their first date. She used to tear up when he played it. Every single time. For what is a lover but a muse?] When I saw you say “goodbye” to your friend and smile I thought that it was well understood That you’d be comin’ back in a little while I didn’t know that you were sayin’ “goodbye” for good [Figure ii: LTR groupie. After they broke up, they still lived together, they still slept together, for 3 unwittingly cruel and unusual months while she searched for an apartment that fit …

[BREAK-UP DIORAMA V] The Office / ‘Just Like a Woman’

Seriously, WTF? Read the Museum Plaque Introduction» Nobody feels any pain Tonight as I stand inside the rain —Bob Dylan, Just Like A Woman (Blonde on Blonde) [Figure i: Read the headlines. “Hey, I probably won’t have a job when I get back,” she said to him, nonchalantly, reading the headline on the cover of The Oregonian while they were on vacation, walking through the foggy drizzle of a coastal town. It was September 2008, and the headline read: Dow drops 500 points. Seriously, like she knew what that meant. But she did know her smallish advertising agency—where she had been employed as a copywriter for barely a year—just went through a second round of lay-offs after similar bad news earlier that summer. When she was called into the conference room the next week, she already knew. She had presaged it via mass mediums. She mostly felt empathy for the woman who had to lay her off. Then she went to the back parking lot and called him. “It is done,” she intoned, with near Biblical prophecy.] Everybody knows That Baby’s got new …

[BREAK UP DIORAMA IV] Kitchen / ‘You’re Gonna Make Me Lonesome When You Go’

Chew on this. Read the Museum Plaque Introduction» I’ve seen love go by my door It’s never been this close before Never been so easy or so slow Been shooting in the dark too long When somethin’s not right it’s wrong Yer gonna make me lonesome when you go —Bob Dylan, You’re Gonna Make Me Lonesome When You Go (Blood On The Tracks) [Figure i: The bourgeoisie hunting party. She knew it the first time she saw his house, one week in. This was never going to work. The kitchen curtains depicted a hunting scene with British bourgeoisie on horses sporting riding crops and foxhounds and bloodlust on thick plasticized 1970s polyester that only hung 3/4 of the way down the window. The dingy oil-based yellow paint that started in the studio ended halfway down the kitchen wall, picking up in dull white primer where that left off. One and a half years later, she found herself driving 30 miles to a second Pier 1 Imports in Eagle to snag a second panel of those $11 (org. …

[BREAK-UP DIORAMA III] Living Room / ‘Shelter From the Storm’

Make some sense of this. Read the Museum Plaque Introduction» It was in another lifetime, one of toil and blood When blackness was a virtue and the road was full of mud I came in from the wilderness, a creature void of form “Come in” she said “I’ll give you shelter from the storm.” —Bob Dylan, Shelter From the Storm (Blood On the Tracks) [Figure i: Overview. The carpet wars. It was their first relationship standoff. She hated the carpet. It seemed to have existed there for 30 years to collect intractable dirt, fray at the hallway to reveal only a naughty tease of hardwood, and eventually annoy her to hell. Besides, carpet was plastic and she despised plastic. She eliminated it from her environment like a pogrom. She was a decor dictator. She dispatched her enemies, no matter how ruthless and cunning she had to be.] And if I pass this way again, you can rest assured I’ll always do my best for her, on that I give my word In a world of steel-eyed death …

[BREAK-UP DIORAMA II] Bathroom / ‘Buckets of Rain’

Why’s Bob Dylan in the toilet? Read the Museum Plaque Introduction» Buckets of rain Buckets of tears Got all them buckets coming out of my ears Buckets of moonbeams in my hand You got all the love honey baby I can stand. —Bob Dylan, ‘Buckets of Rain‘ (Blood On The Tracks) [Figure i: Overview. She had been in man bathrooms before. She knew what they could be like. But this was another story. This bathroom was bar none dis-gust-ing. The ceiling and walls were splotched with blights of mold. The bathtub was potentially unsalvageable—the white of the porcelain unseeable, caked brown. She felt dirty after sitting on the toilet, after taking a shower. Before she moved in, his friend Scott took a razor blade to the shower walls, then rooted out and replaced the moldy caulking, telling her, “I just couldn’t imagine you living here like this.” It was certainly the worst of it. It took her two days of solo painting. First a few layers of Kilz. Then the cover up. She choose deep purple …

[BREAK-UP DIORAMA I] Bedroom / ‘Visions of Johanna’

What, pray tell, is this? Read the Museum Plaque Introduction» Ain’t it just like the night to play tricks when you’re tryin’ to be so quiet ? We sit here stranded, though we’re all doin our best to deny it And Louise holds a handful of rain, tempting you to defy it —Bob Dylan, ‘Visions of Johanna‘ (Blonde On Blonde) [Figure i: Overview. She remembers that last night here, which was not the last night here, not by a long shot, but that last of the long lonely nights waiting for Godot, or him, as it was. It was the night she had decided. And when such a thing has been decided it was decided. It was over. She just needed to say the words. And when she did, he shrugged. It was decided. She just needed to say the words.] Lights flicker from the opposite loft In this room the heat pipes just cough The country music station plays soft But there’s nothing really nothing to turn off Just Louise and her lover so entwined And these …

[the BREAK-UP DIORAMAS] Museum Plaque Introduction

i. A five-year installation, the BREAK-UP DIORAMAS are part decor slideshow and part emotional memory as can only be communicated through a Bob Dylan soundtrack Bob Dylan has carried me through every breakup, like Jesus on the beach. This one was a Blonde on Blonde and Blood on the Tracks breakup. In my mind (alone, I assure you), in my final days there, each room in Dan and I’s home took on a song from one of these albums. This could be worse. I once had a Highway 61 Revisited and Time Out of Mind break up. Caustic. Dark. ii. Dan and I broke up in June. After much extended agony. We made it public in July. Finally, in late August, after a nail-biting apartment search, I moved out. Only then, we stopped pretending nothing had changed. We stopped. Full stop. We had dated for six and half years. I had lived with him for five. iii. A breakup is a fugue state. It’s a David Lynch movie. You have lost the thread. You are disturbed, disoriented, …