Friday, January 23, 2009


For the beauty of the earth

There is so much grace in the world. It’s so funny to me how we are always given enough grace. Always.

I say that it’s funny because I think life is generally comedic. Even when it’s sad, there’s an element of humor, of joy, of promised restoration. Even when you feel so low. Even when you don’t know if a situation will end well. Even then.

I went to a wedding on Friday. Beth described the evening as “romantic,” which just happened to be the perfect adjective. We all stood on the front lawn, bare legs and shoulders, toes eased out of uncomfortable shoes. It was one of those firefly evenings, in spite of California.  The suspense of gold champagne in glasses, hovering between mouths and fingertips. The elderly and middle aged (their eternal moments still shining, but stuck in some previous era) gravitated toward the house, sat indoors on the antique furniture, discussed, I don't know.  Politics, maybe. Maybe marriage. I’d like to give them credit, knowing they were once us and that someday we’ll be them.

But we were not them on Friday. Almost everyone under the age of thirty draped themselves on the front porch, cotton and silk dresses flowing down from one stair to the next.  It was like -- I don't know -- a declaration to the world that we were standing on the brink, the edge, perched and ready for our chance, but still indulgent, enjoying one another while we could. Laughing.  The wonder was not then and will not be lost on us, not for years.

Even a wedding, which some might think is the end of being reckless, is heroic, epochal! How could anyone be so brave to love so deeply? How could anyone sit on the steps in the waning sun and laugh when we have lost wallets and keys, minutes and hours, built and burned bridges, inflicted and felt wounds? And some of us have lost friends. And some of us have lost faith. And some of us know that the house we’re sitting on will deteriorate, succumb to entropy, and that so many circumstances are, even now, not kind and not warm and not forgiving. How dare we dance, loop arms around waists, lick chocolate frosting off our fingers?

Why was I sent a quiet friend to sit with me, unjudging, when I have been so wrong? Why was I even allowed to hold the hand of someone I hurt so deeply?

Grace. Only grace.
There is so much grace in the world. 

Thursday, January 15, 2009

In case of JEOPARDY

The category is…Trixie’s Albums That Just Don’t Get Old.

For $100:

This 2003 release stunned me with its lyrical complexity and rainy-day mellow sound.  The artist, though male, evokes in me memories of the vocal stylings of a certain former roommate. 

For $200:

This 2002 soul-influenced rock album is maybe the sexiest collection of songs I’ve ever heard.

For $300:

This 1993 compilation album is a family classic and takes its name from a once-popular geography-based TV game show.  Featuring bands such as Urban Blight, The Persuasions, and 3 Brave Woodsmen.

For $400:

There’s nothing not to love about this 2005 solo effort by a female English singer-songwriter.  The sound ranges from alternative to electronica and the lyrics are almost dialogue, asking and answering questions.

For $500:

Though not their first album, this 2001 release was my introduction to my probably all-time favorite band.  They’re prolific, consistent, and generally have the respect of the public and music snobs alike.  The night I heard this album, I knew it was love.

And please.  Remember to phrase your answers in the form of a question.  


Sunday, January 4, 2009


I’m back.  Okay.

I’ve wondered often what causes crassness.  Why do some people insist upon being crass, upon being vulgar?  What inspires profanity?  Damn.  I’m not sure.

Perhaps the world is a crass place.  You have to understand, I’m not talking merely about people saying four letter words.  I’m talking about a general disregard for the sacred or the serious.  I’m talking about people who make a mockery of intimate things, people who scream out things that should be secret or quiet, people who throw beautiful things in the mud.  That’s what crassness is.  And I do it, too, sometimes.  Perhaps we all do. 

Probably there are many different reasons.

But I guess I sorta think that it must be a defense mechanism.  Just like everything else.  We’re all fucking scared, right?  We don’t want to let people in.  We’d rather be hard and inaccessible.  Nobody wants to be weak.  I don’t want people to think I don’t know how to use four letter words so I’m gonna say them, goddamn it.  Right?  And the world is a scary place – a flawed, imperfect place, a crass place – and if you go around bashing things open, tearing down stained glass windows, and laughing at prayer, then you don’t have to see!  You don’t have to know!  You don’t have to feel!  Stick your fingers in your ears and la la la la I’M NOT LISTENING!

And you can make things funny.  It’s funny to swear sometimes.  It’s funny to be a little dirty, a little obscene.  Nothing wrong with that.  I really think so.  Sometimes it’s nice to be surprised.  But that’s not crassness, I don’t think.  Not always.

I watched Good Will Hunting again the other day and again appreciated the writing.  That movie is hilarious, really hilarious.  And it is incredibly crude in places!  Minnie Driver’s joke in the restaurant?  Pure genius.

But the worst part about that movie is the scene in the bedroom.  Minnie Driver asks Will (Matt Damon) to move to California with her.  And he flips out.  “That’s a really serious thing you’re saying.  That’s really serious.”

She knows, of course, that it’s serious.  But she loves him. 

And then when he turns her down, when he gets up and gets dressed and tries to run, when they’re screaming at each other and she’s crying, she starts to beg him for the truth.  “I need you to tell me you don’t love me,” she demands.  “I need to hear you say you don’t love me.  And then I won’t call you and I won’t be in your life.”

And for a second you think he won’t say it, he can’t, and then you suddenly know that he can and he will and you begin to hate him for it.  And he does.  He says it.  “I don’t love you.”  And he leaves her there.

He looks her right in the face and tells her he doesn't love her.

Crassest thing in the movie.  Maybe one of the crudest things I’ve ever seen.

Because it’s not true.  Because it’s Will Hunting with his fingers in his ears pretending, pretending that there isn’t something true and beautiful in existence anywhere.  Being a coward.  A fucking coward.

And that’s most of us, most of the time.

So I don’t care if you swear or talk about sex in public and I don’t even much care much if you have sex in public (just not around kids, okay).  But I do care about crassness, real crassness.  Don’t be a coward.  Don’t say something that’s not true just because you’re scared. 

Don’t be that guy.  Okay.