A dream of Jasmine

Since my last post i have shed an obsession that has eaten years and motivation from my life, and while the poison of misuse drains away, i vacillate between tears and elation. Having a new Radiohead record to play on repeat helps, (whether you like them or not give a listen to The King of Limbs, it’s download only at the moment – the physical product is due sometime in March) some suggest the title refers to a 1000 year old tree, i like the mythology and magick around trees, but best of all i love that they breathe! feeding our atmosphere with oxygen. (i particularly like hanging out in a tree, ear pressed to the trunk, you have to become very still, still even on the inside, to hear the tree singing in the breeze, they make beautiful music if you have the ears to hear it)

Another great love of mine is canine energy (don’t get me wrong, i like cats, and birds and snakes but i really ‘get’ dogs) my father raised bull terriers when i was a little thing, a deep and abiding bond was formed for me with these amazing creatures. Yet when i would speak of this love, people would look at me as though i had just said my soul mate is Hitler, and i want to sacrifice my children to the devil… i’ve gotten used to it over the years, the mass misunderstanding of these much maligned creatures. it used to hurt me that people would be so willing to hate by hearsay, as i gained maturity i would ask people how many bull terriers they’ve known, how many people they know personally who have been attacked (by any dog for that matter)? Always bringing it into their personal experience, some people would acknowledge that they had none, while others had stories to tell,  my ex would always talk about how their neighbours terrier petrified him as a kid, and once when he climbed over the fence to fetch a stray ball, the hound sat watching him silently until his foot touched it’s ground. then it made a threatening noise, and sent him scuttling back where he came from, the ball now belonging to the dog. I’d always say – the dog made no move on you but gave you fair warning that you were trespassing, and that your presence was not welcome – if it indeed were kill crazy it would have jumped you and ripped your throat out, not sat patiently watching you cross a line, and then offered you an opportunity to change your mind and retreat. in all the years i have known and been around terriers they strike me as intelligent, loyal, and loving (but i’ll admit i’m biased). Recently Michael and i had an uncomfortable confrontation regarding my admiration across all terrier breeds – something he couldn’t understand (for as much as i’m a lover of the canine, he is besotted with the feline) he recently met a young bull terrier pup, and had his heart touched, to the point where he agreed i could start looking for a puppy for us. in that gesture he untied the love that i have borne bound up within me,  in a flood of emotion i have been searching the internet for my princess.

I replied to every add, searched every kind of puppy site, found several litters in gauteng and expressed my experience, passion and interest. The replies were slow in coming, each one sorry to disappoint me, but all the females have been placed or taken. Broken hearted this morning i lay in bed, pulled the covers over my head and cried myself to sleep. I dreamed of a pup with a patch over her eye, she said don’t loose heart i am here, and i am yours, my name is Jasmine. i woke showered, dressed, made a cup of tea, came to check my inbox, and there was a message referring me to a breeder in Johannesburg with a litter just born on the 8th of February…i called her right away, had the most uplifting conversation with a fellow lover of these incredible dogs. She (the breeder) is 70 years old, but kept young by these vibrantly alive dogs that fill her life and home ( i had to admit to her that in dreams of my old age i see myself living surrounded by bull terriers, so in a sense she is living one of my dreams – we giggled about it, she knows that i’m the right mom for one of the three females she has – all incidentally with eye patches.)

Have you ever loved anything, and felt you had to hide that love, bury it deep within perhaps never to see the light again? This is my story of hope for hidden love.

how did this become my life?

In 1994 i wrote a melody that stuck, because it was fun to play, and it would give me a place to hide all the secret feelings i was having, all the thoughts that would be considered evil by my mother and disrespectful by my father… well… in 2004 it got some lyrics when i was writing out all the frustration around my loveless marriage, wrestling with the responsibility to change the things that were so wrong about my life… naturally it took another three years before i become so uncomfortable in that relationship that i asked for a divorce. The song took another rewrite, a whole new attack that finally matched the defiance in the melody, and the hook of the song is ‘how did this become my life?’ (the time she sounded best as a performance was at the playhouse on a really cute harpsichord standing rotting in room full of instruments all wasting away) today i find myself asking that question again…my sleep has been woven densely with nightmares, my waking life a study in fight or flight (when flight is not an option)

Michael and i had our first meeting with the Reverend Susan Wheeler(and her very cute dog) at her home in Pretoria, we’re both still married according to the department of home affairs – in other words we have to get the South African legal system to give up a decree of divorce for Michael, and the department of home affairs to process those divorces by the last week in march the absolute latest. Real 11th hour shit – which has me singing f/i/n/e… bless song for coming to comfort me again as she has so many times throughout the history of me.

Still…

i am a little kid, arrested somewhere in a juvenile relationship with my father – i painted him a water colour for his birthday – now that i have given it to him i feel as exposed as a new born, and as vulnerable. i intend to cut the chord of home, to release us from each other and be free and peaceful about being an evolution on his understanding as my children are of mine – i want to go gently and quietly without notification, without announcement. Take that arrested juvenile, and give her to my husband to be, if he will have her for his own…my most inner being craves belonging, and yet has always felt outside of my father’s love somehow – and this week has brought with it the challenge of feeling outside of Michael’s love, and he outside of mine. just a kid looking for someone to love her as flawed as she is. (without all the girlie cutes, in the body of a 33 year old mother of two who eats carbs, and doesn’t exercise)

Today my cousin commented how my honesty was a little too honest, and that i should make an effort to not feel how everyone feels, or at the very least not express it where she can hear me – i get this reaction a lot. Somehow always after people have resonated with what i just said, feel the breeze against their naked thought, retract, recoil, and call me bad for having called it out. How did this become my life?

Now for those of you in South Africa and divorced – if you have not taken your decree of divorce to the department of home affairs and had them switch your status from married to divorced chances are the records reflect you as being married – you can find out your official status by sms – send M and your identity number to 32551.

proof of the pudding…

We have just had one of those weekends that prove the love we have is nothing shy of a miracle!
Friday, we spent the better part of the morning at the high court in Pritchard street, going from queue to seemingly endless queue to get the paper that grants me legal divorce from the ex… through the town traffic, the hassle for parking, the lifts that don’t work we kept the tone and mood as cheerful as possible.
Saturday we needed to get the supplies for some DIY we had planned, only to have those screws and stain stolen from the car while we were getting the fixings for supper…it was a shock, but we comforted ourselves and each other, had some toblerone went back to builders warehouse and duplicated our earlier purchase using the previous till slip as a guide. Upon our return home we started one part of the weekends work. Today we finished two of the things on our to do list, had walls crumble in attempts to afix mounting brackets, Michael got caught in the kind of traffic that makes you abandon your trip and come home only to discover that my pc is very ill, (yes that means I’m blogging from my htc). The miracle is i have only given you the highlights (or low points) of the weekend, throw in that one of us is menstrual and the other in pain, but we did not have a moment of tension between us, not one nasty word, or critical comment. I can hear his breath as he sleeps here beside me and I am filled with the deepest gratitude for the life we share, and this love that blesses us both into being the best people we know how to be.
I just had to share.

glam hats and tea music parties

first let me tell you why i don’t really support live music in johannesburg, and probably why my “musical career” has been so fucking slow to take off – the major obstacle i have to overcome is that i have two underage (very underage) kids, so if i want to go out for a night it requires outside assistance…Meaning…the reason for going out has to be very strong. Nothing that i have seen or done has been that strong, exciting, uplifting or even entertaining – mostly people are hanging out to be seen on the scene with the perpetutraitors of (as Michael so elegantly put it) “the Emperor’s new music”. Otherwise the poor muso is playing to a room on a serious mission to get pissed, and you’re just singing your little heart out to a bunch of sales reps who are going to prove to you that they can be louder than a girl with a mic. Then there are the obligatory BIG screen TVs in EVERY SINGLE FUCKING VENUE  – even the so called music venues?  how do you get heard? most local bands/performers solve the disinterest by turning the volume all the way up (ear bleeding loud) a major turn off, particularly when the venue is small and not designed to deal with the sound waves crashing off of every surface making a muddle of noise somewhere just above your head. Then there is the problem of not actually liking what anyone is doing because it feels so fabricated, so synthetic, faked. if they can actually play they mess it up by trying so hard to be cool that they succeed only in becoming aloof, and if they can’t? well they just unashamedly sound exactly like someone else. Perhaps other people don’t mind, but when your references become your style you’re not much more than a photocopy, perhaps even a photocopy of a photocopy. But if you can play and you won’t do it with your heart all the way open, you’re even worse, you’re a waste of talent. pretty much everything i’ve ever seen is somewhere between those two extremes.

Now let me get to the part about what i would actually like to see, what would i want to be in front of, and therefore what can i get behind? I would like a reason to glam up (and not for a fucking casino!) for a beautiful space with a real piano, to play for a qualified audience who might appreciate it, even if that means i’m playing to four people in a house with zero amplification, like the days before radio, before the record player, when the way to hear music was to make it or to be witness to someone else who was. it is so personal, so right to be back at the start where you make real contact with the people you play for, you find a way into their vibratory space, and let that inform your attack and the content of your set, you just do it in the moment. but in order to be this good, this sharp and ready requires a daily practice, a living relationship with your instruments and real context on the songs you are interacting with – this is the kind of thing i would go out to be a part of – a sacred intimate thing that builds bridges of imagination and love from each heart in the room out into the world, in which case four really open loving hearts is a lot… this is my plan: i offer this experience to those who will accept the invitation, we together will  document the journey, and share that with those who were unable to be physically there.

If this excites you, and you want to share in such an experience let me know that you accept my invitation.