Saturday, January 08, 2005

The Blues
I love the Blues. I think the Blues are like poetry: either you love it or you hate it. And, like poetry, the Blues are universal.

We all know what it feels like to have love go wrong, to feel like life is out to get us, and to know, deep down in your soul, that you are the only person in the entire world awake and alone at 4:17 am.

Because Blues is the sound of someone saying, "how could you do this to me?" It's the slam of a door with you on one side and your lover on the other. It's the soundtrack to the realization that in your necessity to earn a living you've given up on your dream to climb Everest or write the great American novel. Blues sets loneliness and regret, fear and desperation to music, and invites you to pour a shot and wallow in it.

But the great thing about the Blues is that it also has the power to remind you, when you wonder if the night will ever end, that there will be another day.. It makes you feel less alone, in a "misery loves company" sort of way. And it lets you know that everyone, with the possible exception of Keanu Reeves, knows what it's like to feel that the universe has a grudge against you.

So heres to Muddy Waters and Lightning Hopkins, Howlin' Wolf and Big Mama Thornton, and everyone who had the courage to share their pain with us in the hope that it might help get us through the night.

Monday, January 03, 2005

2004: The good, the bad, and the really bad
I don't know if I'm sad to see the end of 2004 of if I'm relieved to have made it out alive. Certainly it was an eventful year, possibly with more downs than ups, and with the usual crop of things to celebrate and mourn.

On the upside, for one brief, shining moment it seemed possibly to actually get George Bush out of office. On the downside, we were wrong. But there was a lot of hope and positive energy going on that felt wonderful. It was a refreshing reminder of the power of good to see so many people from so many different backgrounds uniting to work for a common cause. And then, everything went wrong.

On the severe downside the year ended with a disaster of an almost incomprehensible scale. On the upside, once again people are opening their hearts and wallets to make a difference. Nothing can truly help these people recover from all they've lost, except perhaps time, but it is nice to know that generosity and kindness are not dead. In spite of the Bush administration's attempt to throw pennies at the problem.

On the downside we lost too many good people, including Ray Charles, Captain Kangaroo, Christopher Reeve, and Artie Shaw. On the upside my world was added to by the birth of new friends....welcome little ones, I hope you enjoy the ride.

I quit my job in 2004, and now revel in the freedom to say "I hate IBM!" and I found a new one in the final week of the year that promises to be in an atmosphere of far more creativity and far less bureaucracy.

There were amazing days that I will always remember: most notably the weddings of Bridget & Dustin and Andy & Jess, because they honored me by asking me to perform there ceremonies. I will also remember watching the sun set over the Grand Canyon with my beloved, and views of Yosemite, Manzanar, and Death Valley that I recall clearly -- even without the aid of photographs.

2004 was the year of endless Scott Peterson stories, the election that consumed the world, hurricanes, a hockey strike, and Janet Jackson's breast (who cares?) It was far too much reality TV and far too little quality fiction in the world of books.

So what will 2005 bring? The usual crop of disasters, no doubt. But hopefully with a few delicious surprises along the way. I don't make New Year's resolutions, aside from an overwhelming desire to clean during the first week of the year, but I do hope to keep an open mind and be more optimistic about what the future will bring.

Happy New Year's everyone, may it be a year of peace, joy, laughter, and positive change for us all.