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"My work is loving the world."

from Messenger, by Mary Oliver´╗┐


Early 90s Music Flashback: Let the Next Life Off the Hook

When this song came out in 1992, I didn't yet understand the value in buying an entire album instead of a cassette single when you liked a song from a band. So instead of plunging head first into the Indigo Girls' music then, I played this track over and over and over, and that's all I knew of their music until 1999, when a friend introduced me to them as an actual band.

The harmonies hooked me first, then the lyrics. Reincarnation -- such a cool concept to a romance-obsessed fourteen-year-old! And now, I'm completely delighted by this video with its captions and the laughter between the two singers.

My friend, Gareth, who has seen the Indigo Girls in concert countless times, tells me that she's heard that Amy and Emily deeply dislike playing this song live anymore. I can't blame them, considering how many times they must have performed it since it hit the charts in 1992. Which makes the video that much sweeter -- they're having such fun together, being so playful and smart and sincere with a song that captured many hearts when it came out.


One Becoming Two

It was my senior year in high school. I was getting into costume with my fellow cast members in the high school band room which served as a dressing room for our UIL theatre competition that afternoon.

When my mom came to that band room door, bearing a broad smile and a full size envelope with my acceptance letter from New York University, I did not think about her. That is to say, I was entirely immersed in my own experience of that moment; I was eighteen and nothing else. I was going to move to New York City and begin my life. I did not consider how it must be to hand over the letter that will send your daughter halfway across the country, far away from your own roof, under which she had lived her entire life.

In the same way, when my son is eighteen, and ready to move away and begin his life, I know he will not think about me. I understand; this is the way it is, the way it has to be (in our Western world), right? Children are the arrows, they move forward, they dwell in the house of tomorrow. Often during the first month of his life, I cried without warning, overcome with the inescapable awareness that he would one day leave. To begin a relationship as one physically connected beings, then slowly transform into two whole, separate creatures -- surely, this will be the hardest emotional path I will ever walk. How do you begin as one, then separate into two? I have no idea.

I am thinking of this life moment today because my dear friend Suzi's son has just finished his final day of high school. He graduates on Sunday. She writes so beautifully about this on her site, Laundry Line Divine (here, and here). As I told her there, that life moment still lives so presently for me. I feel it thrumming in my bones, in my tissue. I am halfway between my experience as the child and her experience now as the mother in this situation. She stands on another side of this sculpture, seeing all the angles and curves there. What a privilege. What a challenge. Suzi also shared with me a New York Times blog post where Lisa Belkin wrote a ten-point list of "How to Send Your Son Off to College" that brought me to tears all over again (5-10 are where it gets good).

For now, I can only imagine (and imagine I do) what it will be like to stand and wave as my son leaves home. It seems so far from today, when our sitter arrives and he tells me tearfully, "Mommy. Stay home," or when his entire body glows with a smile when I come home from work.

What a mystery.

Suzi, as you cheer on your son, I cheer every visible and invisible act of your mothering that helped him reach this day. My heart is with you.


Early 90s Music Flashback: I Was a Short Fuse

1993. Mm hm hm. This song had my soul from the first strikes of the electric guitar. I bought the cassette single immediately. Just looking at that cover now, with its rich magenta against the blue back, wakes up a whole world of memories for me.

This is my first time seeing the video. What was with the bright flash transitions in 90s music videos? They're dramatic and catchy, sure, but boy, they saw a lot of use.

Trivia from Wikipedia: co-founder and band member Peter Hook has said that this song was the last good New Order song.

Judge for yourself.



Early 90s Music Flashback: I'm Enraptured

A young Björk! Creepy dolls! Unintended pregnancy! Hooray, it's the Sugarcubes!

When this song came out in 1991, 104.1 KRBE would play it during their alternative music show, which aired after 8 or 9 on weekdays. This is before alternative music became just regular music.

My pre-teen American ears heard her sing, "I've been hit with your child" instead of "your charm" and "I lie in my bath" instead of "my bed" so for the last 22 years, I've been certain that this video was going to involve a pregnant woman doing a lot of splashing in a bubble bath.

Missed opportunity for the Sugarcubes? Watch the video and decide for yourself.


A Sacred Debt to Yourself

You take small assignments. You can't know more than you do. You start where you are. It won't go that well, but you do it because you have a sacred honor. You have a debt to yourself, a sacred prearranged debt to yourself to try to bring this work forward.

--Anne Lamott

Ever the genius. A sacred prearranged debt.

I like this so much. It helps me allow space for my writing to take precedence over whatever other debts in my life that I perceive need my attention: financial, time, relational, laundry… Those can wait, even the ones that are sacred in other ways. I will meet them as I can.

But this one -- this one is my own, and no one else can meet it but me.