Posts Tagged ‘Birthday’

On Writing, On Blogs, On Trees, On Life

In Life, Writing on April 11, 2014 at 11:04 am

This is a tree with a bird in it.

Perhaps I never wrote my intentions as a writer, because I needed time to learn what writing meant. How would mine be different? How would it sound? Why would it matter?

I am rather weary of technology. Not the telephone or the tv screen, but anything that came into widespread use after I was ten.

So, I was wary to start a writing blog several years ago, from a computer lab in a rural town in Ecuador, because although I had experiences I wanted to share, in the plethora of travelogues, movie mom reviews, tiny kitchen cook-offs, and celeb hotspots, I couldn’t see how adding one more voice to the din would add anything but din.

And after a few years, I don’t think it has. Maybe my 2.75 readers would argue otherwise, but I can’t say I’ve thrown back my robin’s song to anything but the (illiterate though inviting) light of an early dawn.

Of course I approach philosophical waters here, the deep kind you find at the edge of a beach of white stones. Namely, I’m venturing to ask, as in writing, as in voting, as in thinking, as in living: what does being here, Here, in this room in this building in this world, what does it really matter? If we’ve so many bodies filling another chair, lungs taking another breath, eyes seeing another color that has been seen, is being seen, and will be seen by so so many for so many years gone and going by, why do our selves matter?

Let me tell you:

Let me just pluck one philosophical drop from those waters, one of which we are all already very aware how it wets our skin. But did know what it can do to your tongue?

Open up, I’m going to put a drop on each of you.

“If a tree falls in the woods and there is no one there to hear, does it make a sound?”

Does the tree make a sound? The truth is, that doesn’t matter, either. If no one is there to hear it, no one hears it and goes home to tell the tale of the mighty crack. To sit with a baby on their knee and impart to them the reverberating scurry of the mice and rabbits. Books are not written examining the fall from all angles, going back to just as close as the rings will allow, charting graphs and testing minerals to make some meaning of it all. Talk shows don’t run features on local lumberjacks; families don’t gather a little closer around the fire.

If we are not there to tell the story, our absence is the only thing that matters, not the sound. It is the story, not the sound. Because through the story, the sound is heard. It becomes wrapped in many voices making many sounds. That is how it lives.

And since trees are going fall in woods, since winds are going to blow and ants are going to gnaw, fungus is going to grow, and blight is going to strike, since trees are going to fall and everything is going to turn from alright to night, from time to time, we share our voices, when we need to, to understand and to celebrate, because, when we use our voices, even the end is a birthday. Our stories, our writing, our speaking, our sharing, our voices falling on each other when we are there to hear, when we are able, begins new sound, which is new life, is renewed life for us all.



What I Did When I Was 25

In Birthday, Life, Travel on February 25, 2013 at 8:21 pm

-Ate Obama-biscuits

Obama Biscuits





-Used the bathroom Mali style

-Helped make a djembe


-Took and enjoyed cold showers

-Shoveled shit

-Wasn’t sick often

-Hugged Ross, Rita, Ryan, Calvin, my family, Kate, Alex, Emily, Olivia, Victoria, Clare, Sil, Denise, Nora, Tom, Eric, Rhys, Liz, Jennifer, Thomas, Rockey, Kendrick, Louisa, Sophie, Cesar, Mary, Chris, Catherine, Garrett, Isaac, Mindy, Pat, Marie, Rebecca, Pauli, Duncan, Rie, Eliza, Michelle, Emily, Sophie, Tyler, Conner, Tara, Darragh, Catriona, Sylvie, Dan, Kari, Yang, Rick

-Visited Mali, Ireland, Scotland, England, Northern Ireland, Wales, Chicago, LA, San Francisco, Davis, New Orleans, New York, Door County, and Kalamazoo


-Gave up sugar, mostly


-Ate meat


-Listened to my first book on tape


-Climbed a TALL ladder

-Dated a boy I really liked

-Kissed a boy I didn’t really like

-Broke down

-Had my palm read

-Ice skated in Bryant Park at sunset

-Saw David Gray

-Went to two weddings




-Cooked with tomatillos and polenta for the first time

-Baked my first pie


-Was sad in airports

-Had a few amazing days

-Loved my parents

-Kept a daily journal

-Walked down a long pier at sunset with my best friend

-Got drunk

-Hung pictures




-Started a music club


-Played guitar on the porch


-Had abs

-Did laundry

-Was tipped


-Was lovesick

-Listened to records


-Did not really miss Galway

-Faced Anti-Semitism

-Volunteered for a radio station

-Got really hungry for breakfast


-Saudi Arabian boys bought me cake

-Swam in the lake

-Grew mint indoors


-Sang onstage

-Wore makeup

-Felt ugly

-Felt beautiful

-Was unkind

-Was kind

-Sipped my first hot chocolate

-Played with babies


-Lived alone


-Hugged a thug

-Got and gave sandwich kisses



In Travel on July 17, 2011 at 12:07 pm

I spent my twenty-fifth birthday in Africa.  On a flat roof under a hazy moon while the band played.  They called me on stage.  I sang the weirdest version of “Sugar in my Bowl” that’s ever met the world.  Assi sang about cheeseburgers.  The man in the blue shirt danced with me.  We hopped knees in the air.  The man on the mic danced with me; he ground me to the ground and I looked around, then ground to town.

We ate chocolate cake.  Djibi helped me blow the candles.  Upstairs, the meat sandwiches oozing oil.  Black luminescent bodies in headscarves, ornate fabric.  On wire chairs, metal chairs, wood chairs.  Holding babies who stared blankly.  White matte bodies in sweats and post-water sick stance.  And still we danced.