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Jett Superior laid this on you on || November 27, 2013 || 1:05 pm

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Veterans: Let’s do the dang thang.

Newcomers: My friends have Big Personalities and this thing is a hoot. We have a lot of fun doing this; don’t be afraid. Sign up in the comments below (don’t forget to include your email address!) and wait for further instructions via email. To get more of a gist, you can refer to previous posts about the swap here.

I’m capping this year’s participation at fifty swappers. You have until Wednesday, December 4th to sign up; I’ll close the list and start pairing folks then. Yippee kai ay!

 

Jett Superior laid this on you on || July 27, 2013 || 12:39 am

I have a manual typewriter now. If typewriters had vehicle classifications, this one would be a cast-iron tank. It squats elegantly –if imposingly– on the livingroom desk. It would make a good burglar-killer if I could get that sumbitch hauled up over my head without tipping over backwards. This typewriter was built to outlive my grandkids and maybe even their kids. It is not fucking around with its here-ness.

I hope there is at least one person out there who never gets tired of making ribbons for it while I still have breath in me.

I sat down to write on it for the first time a couple of weeks ago, and I was unsure of how firm I should be with the keystrokes. What passed as a comfortable action for my fingers felt somehow soft and insubstantial, so after the first couple of words rendered with two hands I poked the keys without mercy, two-fingered and savage.

Oh Lordy, the typos. But I am more adept at keyboarding  with two fingers and ten minutes than some people are with ten fingers and two hours, so there’s that. It’s like my favorite drunk says: “It ain’t braggin’ if it’s true.”

The paper kicked up above the platen and I noticed little stars in it. For a minute, anyway, that’s what my brain thought, “Now there is a brand-new one: You have gone and typed stars onto paper,” then the inner capitalist kicked in and next I thought, “Holy SHIT, am I ever going to be RICH.”

Then sense came in and started stamping out the flames of imagination delirium: It was only the loud bulb of the lamp shoving its way through tiny holes I’d made in the paper with my no-holds-barred two-fingering madness*.  There were no stars on my paper. I’d knocked out tiny holes; I was using my typewriter as a paper punch: Cut that shit out.

I unclamped the beginnings of the letter and pulled it off the roller to examine it. It was after three in the morning and I wasn’t about to retype it.  I did, however, marvel at the mess I’d made of its backside before rolling it back into the machine, lining it up again as best I could, and finishing it off.

I even remarked on it in the text itself: Holy crap, I’ve made your letter into braille. The recipient will be able to read it into her old age, no matter if time steals her eyes. My overeager indexes outdid themselves. Kind of. I guess.

I’m pretty good at humiliating myself and most of the time I’m comfortable with that state of affairs.

Here I was, though, having sent what I thought was my haphazard braille out across some miles and the recipient said back, “You made lace of the paper.”

I looked at that letter and saw braille. She looked at it and saw lace. Perception is weird like that.

The people that can see the lace are the good stuff of life, and I’m sort of prone to finding them in the oddest ways.

::: :: ::: :: ::: :: :::

Is there a non-WASPy way to say, “Hey y’all, I’m in a really great space right now.”?  Because I am. My bones holler and fuss. My heart sings to spite them. I am glad for today.

*Google is going to LOVE that sentence

 

Jett Superior laid this on you on || June 19, 2013 || 9:22 pm

You know, for some years now I’ve been trying to ‘get a hold of myself,’ to be even and mild and measured.
I’m thinking that I’ve put in a lot of work that was antithetical to who I’m supposed to be.
I don’t want to be gentle and quiet as a rule.
I want to roar, both in my laughter and my rage.
Supplanting that roar with a Mona Lisa mouth makes me feel all odd angles and unsatisfactory leanings.

I can whisper when I’m dead.
And if I can’t, I won’t know the dang difference anyway.

Tell me about your misplaced work, sugar. I miss your voice.

 

Jett Superior laid this on you on || March 20, 2013 || 9:58 pm

Hey, so….it’s time once again to launch myself into the Woods of Wunder with all my Doo brethren and sistren!

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I thought I might send a postcard from the artist village to whomever might chance to want one this year.

That’s right, I’m gonna send postcards to my pals from the heart of Doo-Nanny. If you want one please put your John Henry below in the comments-place (I’ll collect your address afore we pack up to leave out at the beginning of next week). International friends, you are most welcome to participate!

Here is the catch, because there is always a catch, son: It may not be signed by me. It may be signed by a world-famous folk artist! Or just some freak who likes bonfires. Or the one laydeh who always hangs around the kitchen, waiting for me to put out more salsa. You just never know!

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DOO-NANNY! \0/ Collaborate, initiate, investigate, propagate, stay up late, create, inflate, relate! Burn stuff! Whoop, holler, dance, sing, hug a neck and pat a back! Amen and amen.

 

Jett Superior laid this on you on || March 13, 2013 || 5:38 pm

Since the dawn of Nick’s new man-sized stature and 34″ inseam, there has been some frustration over jeans and khakis inside our normally-peaceful four walls. The kid is an absent-minded genius and just grabs pants that look like that could maybe-probably-perhaps belong to him, no matter what methods Maxim has employed to deter this sort of thing.

“Listen,” Maxim said tonight as we all stood in the kitchen conferring on dinner, “I just bought a bunch of new jeans with the money that Sam sent me for Christmas. I’m  here to tell you, son, that I am going to go ballistic if I have to go chasing them down even one time. I’m serious as a heart attack.”

Nick, now fully one inch taller than Maxim, looked passively on, nodding. I was amused, because I know what’s coming. Still, I added my two cents in:

“Don’t steal Daddy’s pants, don’t get anyone pregnant: Those are the rules around this joint.”

It was here that Maxim nodded sagely, “If you steal my pants, you are very likely to get someone pregnant.” He slung a thumb in my direction, “See her? I just touched her and here you are, son.”

 

Jett Superior laid this on you on || March 11, 2013 || 6:19 pm

We gather in warm brick houses with brocade paper on the walls. Candles burn in jars and the hands of the boys move so quickly that they become blurs as they play.

The people are happy, the people are smiling and clutching one another mirthfully as they dance. Singing, urging the band on, they are fevered and joyful and shine; the people shine so hard that the stars would be jealous if the roof was not protecting their feelings.

There is shalom in every bounce, in every handclap, in every laughing face of every dark-haired girl.

Dance, women.  Shout, men. Play on, beautiful music-makers. Hold back the evils of the world, make us one with each other. Help us to hear God.


(a very special thank you to Demian, to Katy, to Derick, and to the Flying Balalaika Brothers for the amazing time….also to Sean for that crazy-assed drink that I still don’t know the name of but that suited the mood perfectly)

 

Jett Superior laid this on you on || January 24, 2013 || 11:43 pm

In the last several months, while hysterical things were happening to our finances, I found myself fantasizing about money over and over.

It’s not like you think. What I found myself fantasizing about was giving away money to people who need it. Just, you know, wandering up to someone on the street or in the Wal-Mart parking lot and saying, “Here. This is one-hundred dollars. You’re supposed to have it.” and shoving the money onto their person before they had time to react; I would walk away before they got their wits about them and began doing something foolish like asking questions or trying to give it back.

I want to give something to someone, I don’t want them to owe me anything, I want to facilitate a blessing when the Spirit moves me. That’s right, I capitalized Spirit. My doing so probably made you squirm in your seat, right?

::: :: ::: :: ::: :: :::

Six weeks ago we are lolling on the couch together, hanging out, when I tell my husband that this is my fantasy of late.

“Can you imagine,” I say, “Can you just imagine how that would feel, to help enable some financial freedom in someone’s life?

“Just walk around, listening for God, waiting to hear That one, yes, her over there and moving into the gap at the necessary moment.” I say it with excitement and surety.

“I’m going to do this one day.”

Maxim doesn’t flinch when I tell him this, doesn’t bat an eye. This is his endorsement. This is his statement of faith in my mission or me or that the universe is wobbling in just the exact right way. Maybe all three. He is sometimes enigmatic like that, enigmatic in a comfortable way.

Comfortably enigmatic sound like some sort of fictional state, doesn’t it?

::: :: ::: :: ::: :: :::

I keep watch on the walls, Maxim keeps watch at the gate. This is good in a friendship. This is completely stellar in a marriage. Keeping watch on the walls and at the gate isn’t always a defensive thing. The Watcher on the Wall sees the first dangers, but that vantage point offers the first advantages, as well. The Watcher at the Gate might take a beating holding back the unwelcome, but also gets to fling wide those gates to receive visitors or facilitate an adventure.

::: :: ::: :: ::: :: :::

This past two years has consisted of a bunch of crazy, seemingly-mismatched surges forward. Rocking along and living life and then PUSH and trying to get bearings and oh look this way is up and I have my legs under me and there goes three feet behind me, ten feet, eighteen and PUSH oh God let’s find up again, again, again and again.

::: :: ::: :: ::: :: :::

A couple-three weeks ago opportunity came knocking. Like, right on my forehead. I embraced it and probably even dry-humped it a little. I wanted take things to third base with opportunity, but it didn’t have a condom and momma dint raise no fool, child.

With opportunity comes excited planning. Opportunity gets your blood up and working.

About a week later Maxim’s boss showed up at our house and delivered the news right there in our dining room.* There would not be a company soon, because the company would fold in on itself and well, here we are. Let’s pedal as fast as we can over the next few weeks and see what happens.

Opportunity just turned into Just Enough.

::: :: ::: :: ::: :: :::

Most years Maxim goes to NAMM around this time. The trip was already booked, and so was our room in Birmingham so last week found us down in the city burning through the couple of remaining restaurant cards from our Christmas haul. We went for Italian that evening. A man kept catching my eye, even as we were waiting for a table.

::: :: ::: :: ::: :: :::

There seems to be a prevailing practice lately wherein individuals select a word at the beginning of the year to define or guide or gently suggest to the year that it might want to let this word represent it, pretty please, maybe? I have seen genuine anguish slathered across various channels of social media because HOLY FUCK GUYS WHAT IF I BOMB THIS WHOLE DEFINING-YEAR WORD AND MY YEAR IS TOTALLY SO TOTALLY BONED BECAUSE OF IT.

I don’t mean this as snotty, but it’s going to come across that way and so be it: I don’t really have any understanding of this practice, because the words have always tended to pick me. They snuck up and attached themselves to me and by the time I figured out what the the hell was going on it was just a relief to recognize what was up on and go all, “Oh! This year’s theme is ___________.” Most of them have been really good ones, too, the words. Hell, the last decade alone has yielded up kamikaze and warrior and song and spirited. There have been rougher ones like obedience and desire, but even those had benefit, once the callouses softened back up and some of the lumps went down.

::: :: ::: :: ::: :: :::

Before we left the house, I spied the grocery money Maxim had handed me earlier. I’d only half paid attention to it at the time, setting it on the taller of our two dressers as he and I talked.

For the third time that evening, I was moved to put it in my wallet. Half-exasperated, I pulled it down and headed out the door to the car where my husband was waiting for me.

::: :: ::: :: ::: :: :::

The man was small, his shirt was immaculate, and everything he did was crisp, efficient, quick. He did not stop moving and he didn’t piddle-ass around. Back and back and back my eyes went to him. I’ve known this sensation before. It’s the one that says I have something to do and I have to do it or it’s gonna bug me so bad that I’d regret not doing it. Which, when written down that way, looks sort of insane and compulsive, doesn’t it?

You’re just gonna have to take my word on this one, the word that I know the difference between mental illness and letting yourself help along something that you don’t have a great deal of understanding about. The line dividing the two, I’m sure, is pretty thin and open to a degree of interpretation on a case by case basis. Or maybe most people just waver oh-so-slightly back and forth over it, in microscopic drunken swoops.

This time was different, too. It was just slightly different.

“Maxim,” I finally said, “Do you have anything on you to write on? I don’t want to write on a napkin.”

He didn’t. He is no longer perplexed by these requests, if he ever was. I went in search of paper. I came back to the table and pulled my fancy pen from my wallet. I wrote down the words that were yelling to be let out and then I pulled out one-third of the grocery money –a twenty-dollar bill– and folded it up in that piece of paper covered in excited, inky loops.

I hunted up the manager.

“Now this won’t make much sense,” I said. I felt awkward. I didn’t care. I tried to hammer the words around the concept so he could at least get a feel for the shape of it. I said three sentences containing slippery words like ‘God’ and ‘anonymous’ and ‘led.’ He let me off the hook, “I go to Highlands church. I get what you’re doing. I understand.” And just like that I was thrilled to realize that it had started, this business of blessing strangers with cash, and that I had to give some twenties away so I could work my way up to hundreds.

Just like so many things in my life, it started before I knew it was time, before I knew I was ready.

I feel crazy-awkward telling you this story, because it could read as if self-aggrandizement is at play here. It’s earnestly not, though. It’s the biggest wash of humility when stuff like this occurs, because I don’t want to interlope on someone’s blessing by basking in it. There are certain profundities that I’ve gotten to witness that I had no claims to but I’ll be damned if they didn’t wash into me, too, just because I had the fortune of standing nearby.

It makes me feel like a Cosmic circus geek. Here, let me contort for you, it’ll be neat!

::: :: ::: :: ::: :: :::

My word for this year is soul, only like this: Soul.

Yeah, this year’s about Soul for me, about putting a little more English on everything I do. It’s about letting the roots go deep because the soil is finally rich enough to sustain them.

The roots go deeper, the fruit goes sweeter, the bugs are still bugs but they have better table manners.

Soul is about caring so deeply for the right things that the wrong ones can’t even catch your eye.

Soul is about a hip shake and a lip turned up in pleasure and a good ole impolite wail cooking itself up right there underneath those collarbones.

Soul is knowing where and when to assign the wail.

Soul tells you important things like,
You have to begin. You have to Begin. YOU HAVE TO BEGIN.

*(my dining room needs some good news –is a little overdue for some, in fact– so if you should see some, sneak it over in a casserole dish)