Friday, February 01, 2013

Room To Breathe

"Rock n' roll is a voice that says here I am...and fuck you, if you can't understand me."
-Jeff Bebe

What a few months. Months of hard nights in Barry's Bay, and rough, dark mornings on a long road that stretched the start of every week into a bear of a day. Nights of whiskey reflection, sitting in my living room and smoking menthol cigarettes, as the bay light burned into an orange trace of a skyline.

Since then, I have retreated to a strange place. It's not a place that I enjoy and it is a place, in more ways than one, that I wish to leave but which I must endure for the time being. 

I have drifted from the starry-eyed, youthful betweener I was last year, where I spent two weeks sleeping on a bus with Doc Walker and waking up in a different city each day, along the string of the astral-like map of Eastern Canada.

But tonight, I am alright.

Tonight, I have found it. That space. That enjoyment. That room that I go to that plays the distant coo and tinkle of a grand piano; a piano that is entrenched in a catacomb of disappointment, past mistakes and hollowed out, forgotten dreams.

In the room that used to be my brother's - and in the quaint suburban house that I grew up within - I have touched on something, and on this arid beast of a dead-breath winter's night, that something has been deep down and set aside. I pump my fist into the terse January northwind, and I open the door.

Enjoyment. Understanding. Enrichment. Peace.

Sometimes, I get lost in who I am. I don't like to admit it, and I like to pretend like I'm that fairly together, laidback dude, who you can usually chuckle and drink with, and forget the pressure with - but I am not that guy.

I am uncertain, I am self-conscious, I am an average artist and I am a compartmentalizing, self-obsessed child.

And tonight, I think am okay with that. Because I found the space. The magnificently lit, motorcade of dreamy thoughts, acceptance and light within the heart and being.

It's the space that we find as children, but only rush to forget as quickly as we can, as our responsibilities and bills increase, and our bones creak and gain rings in diameter, like the trees of our lives.

Some will talk of regret - and that regret shaping the paths of their lives.

But broken down rock bands in dirty suburban basements will be a testament of the things we tried. Playing Lenny Kravitz at the volume level that goes off the knob, with a shy best friend but thoughtful drummer, a loyal guitarist, a lanky bass player, an unsure lead man with artistic skill that is otherworldly -  and only to be 'ear-plugged' by a parent sitting in the audience.

There may have been a girl, at one point in my life, who I should have told something to - but I never did. That may haunt me a bit, but timing is timing, and its heavenly clock is above and beyond all of our earthly minds.

How about...

Starting a music festival for kids to come and enjoy themselves within. Traveling across Canada as a musician. Playing a shitty show in Calgary,  squabbling with the staff about how money was owed to me and my musical partner, and hating everything about that town. Connecting with an old friend who I thought was lost forever, but who has some dark nights ultraviolet in brightness. Being there for a cocooned, childhood pal who is going through a world of shit, depression, hurt and pain. Supporting a friend who is losing a dad, faster and faster, with every waking hour to the horror of cancer. Losing a young friend to suicide, who I dreamed that made it to heaven, after I prayed over his coffin, and he emerged from while taking deep breaths and hugging me. Having the cigarette-wielding Dave Marsh tell me, outside of the Carleton in Halifax, that I have a great voice, and saying with a conviction and honour.

You and me, kid - we did the things.

Sleepovers at my grandma's house, under starched sheets with my brother or my cousin, continue to replay in my mind. I would be staring at the wild, flowery wallpaper with an interest and an engagement that is all too easily lost, as the daylight quickened away and scampered into a tight darkness. A distant and strict grandfather that actually recited scripture in his sleep, would often haunt the dreams of my brother, and even to this day, the figure sometimes returns.

The distant notes of a Wakefield church hymn, to the tune of 'great is thy faithfulness', reminds me of my grandma and how good of a lady she was. She set the tone. She promised and she followed through. She was tender - but she was fierce. A woman of God she was - and beyond the doubt of the hardest, cloudiest atheist heart, this lady had God in her. You better fucking believe it.


God like we used to talk about in sunday school, when we wanted to help and love everyone, and think was impossible. God beyond any culture-obsessed, hipster home-group, misanthropic cell church could speak so lustrelessly and hiply about. God beyond any oil baron's trophy wife, convertible-driving, multi-bling wearing, status-figure and appearance-lover of an excuse for a pastor. God beyond any home-field advantage wielding, self-righteous church that preaches love and exudes hate and segregation.

The God.

The God that touches your heart, and makes you feel scared shitless, because you don't ever want the natural soothe and stinging wind of that encounter to fade.

The God who is sometimes absent, but who is, most of time, working behind the scenes, like the princess in the room, weaving the loom and unraveling the string that leads us home.

I don't know what happened to that kid- that kid who slept over at his grandma's house with dreams and characters and books floating in his mind. That kid who rode the purple trike in a field of grass. That kid who remembers the Hatcher boys making movies and kick the can with Trevor. He grew up, got scared and adapted to an easy path.

I want to find that kid again, and I want to tell him that even though being me will be tough, it'll be alright.

I have taken some lumps, made a few mistakes, and I will continue to trod along the rocky path that is beset, but I will navigate. I will jag when I hit a red light. I will push beyond the mediocre and be excited of the potential of the earth-shattering and the inspiring. I will not be imprisoned by my thoughts, by my fake lovers but true haters, and I will shake those motherfuckers to the core and make their eyes come alive. I will take down those old, passion-less robots, who squat on a land that is not theirs, and cast judgments upon the hard-working and the pure of heart.

I will write circles of intense expression and cogent communication around those who arrogantly think that they understand journalism, and the essence of words.

I will dive inside of them like Neo, and come out the other side in a ball of fire and truth from their comfortable, posery, deceit-filled, deadened bodies.

Think what you will, but the best is yet to come.

I'm going to make you believe. Just you wait and see,

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