Tuesday, January 30, 2007



this is what i started the other night, it was thursday i think:


as i sat down to write this new blog, i broke another wine glass.

this time it didn't slice my finger off but rather collided face-on with my laptop.

how did this happen, you ask? well, i was sort of holding both, idiotically, in order to ... now i can't even remember what. i wasnt even drinking....the wine glass was left-over from the night before....i was tossing the dregs of it in the sink, and the computer? i think i was moving from one place to another. the screen sustained minor injuries and my floor probably has some hints of shrapnel embedded amongst its inhabitants (note to self: don't walk around barefoot until you vacuum....or better: just dont walk around barefoot, at least until the glass has ground itself into the carpet and floorboards, THEN walk around barefoot is OK). but it's a greater symbol. i have been a complete flake lately.

i've missed interviews, forgotten dates, locked my keys in my car, forgot to show up for my second day of jury duty (i ALMOST got the rape case on day one but was dismissed on account of being "bohemian"....no shit....i went up and was questioned by the judge and lawyers of the case and then had to stand aside while i heard mumblings of "mrmrmrmmmm bmbmmrmmbohemianmmrmrmmrmmmrmgrmgrhrgggbohemian?mrmrmrmrhhm hhmhmrh mbrbmbrboHEmian,mmrm rmrmrrrr......juror dismissed" WHO fucking uses that word anymore? i loved it) and have sliced my hand, fucked my finger, whatEVS, the list goes on.

what is happening? i think i'm giving myself too much freedom, i mean, i'm rushing around so joyously enjoying my freedom that i forget there's also respoooosiobiloioto


that was not a typo.

that was my keyboard dying a liquid death.

i should have known. why did i leave my delicate electronics ON when i should have shut the bitch down, turned it over, hit it with the hairdryer, chanted, done a rain dance?

why? because i'm a fucking post-modern addict and i felt the need to blog about my misfortune instead of handling it like a sane person. wait. not sane. there's got to be a better word. responsible??

was god laughing at me by making my keyboard die exactly t the time i was typing out that fucking word? for fuck's sake.

anyway, things went from worse to worser. i drove cloud one into a curb and blew the tire within 25 hours of destroying the mac. miss glenna and i waited in the car for two hours for triple A to show up and two me back to the cloud club...it was late late, we'd been dancing, drinking, screaming, yelling, laughing....i had thought i was ok to drive. was i? was i not? was it just the excitement of the night? was i sober...yet special?? i must have been out of my mind. i'll never know. i've been pushing the limits over the past few months, always managing to stay within the scary grey area of not drunk but fuzzy enough that you question your own questioning and then turn round and question that. its not something you ever want to discuss, i fear even discussing it here....because admitting that i may have been too drunk (notice the qualifier) to drive feels like a black mark that land on my head like a 276 pound guilty weight, i can feel my mother's email right now. better to face up to it, better to admit it. i have a breathalizer coming and i will be keeping it in the glovebox. i am not into taking risks, not these kind. no fucking way.

i offered glenna an apology in the morning. we had loved the tow-truck driver. an experience, we agreed, not to be rgeretted. sxip and the luminescent orchestrii (www.lumii.org) who had provided the soundtrack for the dancing all came out to breakfast with me and glenna, becca and max. we feasted. back at my house, i played them the song i'd finally finished after months of putting off. i'll try to debut it on wednesday at joe's pub. it hurts to play, its a pounder, i'm proud of it. i knew it was good when sxip winced and whispered "oh my god" during the last verse. maybe it was "oh jesus". either way, it was all i needed.

it's called Guitar Hero.

it was max's birthday, so we went to the gardner museum and sat around, looking at the beauty and talking about life. that's the perfect day. and then later a movie too.

but my head kept nagging, the tire was another nail in the coffin. why am i so distracted, amanda amanda amadna, why am i moving so fast? i went to yoga yesterday and upon leaving almost pulled straight into a truck. punch drunk on my own freedom, moving so fast to fit in my life that i've missed so dearly, my self that i've missed so much.....and i've just scheduled myself to the teeth for the next 4 months, so i'm not even that free. maybe that's whats killing me. i don't know.

i am taking the time, real time, to slow down soon. part of me doesn't want to. im going on a 8-day intensive yoga retreat at the end of february. no phone, no computer, no shit. may is earmarked for a month, also without accouterments, in bordeaux france where i've landed a sweet-ass apartment for free through the city's arts council. i imagine myself eating croissants and finishing a book every other day and occasionally practicing a chopin prelude while my friend jean-francoise lights a hangover cigarette from his spot in the bathtub.
"amONdah, what eeees thees thing we are calling LIFE"
and i answer
"jean-francoise, do not ash in the toilet, i get you an ashtray"

i am starting to worry that i am fucking up because i can pay for it.
has this happened to anybody? i'm not rich by any stretch of the imagination, but i'm not scarping my rent together anymore and i don't sweat getting parking tickets like i used to. as soon as i was able to not sweat a parking ticket, i found myself lazier in racing back there to feed the meter. what the fuck, i think. it's fifteen dollars and probably not going to happen. fuck it. these choices can make life dangerous. i can fix the tire. i have the money. i can fix the computer. but not everything is fixable by far. with money or not. do the rich, the truly rich, live carelessly? if so, have i not noticed? i think it's a personality thing.

i know that a large part of me is just distracted by the pain of huge change. i'm used to seeing brian viglione the drummer every day, have been for years.....i'm used to being part of a whole no matter how unwholesome, and the void hurts. i dont talk much about our relationship here (against the moral code of blogging) but it's no mystery that its a long and deep and complicated one. the play was a brutally painful way to end things, for me at least, with so much weirdness in the air. blah blah blah, we need our space, i know how it goes, time will heal most wounds. we went on too long, way longer than we should have, about a year or two longer than we should have. i voted for a break before the last record and got vetoed. brian tried to veto the play and i strong-armed him into it. we kept at it. maybe we shouldn't have. maybe it would have changed things. maybe it wouldn't have changed dick. we were running on tired and toxic fumes for the past year. who knows. nobody's asking any questions and so nobody's thinking much about answers. still, i must remind myself that nobody will ever care about our relationaship as much as us. weird as it seems. i watched the raw footage for the roundhouse DVD tonight and it seems like a relic from years ago....we were trying, trying, trying so hard.

i am putting all of my solo songs from the last many years together for pre-production on a new record. i laid them all around me in a pile on the kitchen floor until it was covered. i was happy with what i saw. norah jones it will not be. commercially viable,,,,well, no. probably not. no way. more like a travelogue in music of the past 5 or 6 years. all the intimate, long, commercially-unviable, this-one-is-way-too-long/slow/whatever-to-go-on-the-record. my own choices, how overwhelming and frightening and beautiful and scary. any blame and glee will be mine all mine to put on myself. i cant wait to begin, i can't wait to hear the sound of the piano coming through my headphones and to know that it's my voice in there, my notes, the sound i can make, as ugly and beautiful as it wants to be, with nobody to answer to but myself.

lee put a bell above the stairwell leading up to the top floor. a bell on a string at head-height. if you're not paying attention, you walk straight into it and smack your head on the thing. and it rings, oh it rings. lee calls it " the consciousness bell: a friendly reminder to stay awake and aware". i call it "the masochist bell: an evil reminder that we deliberately put shit in our own way." we joke. but it's all too fitting. we do these things to ourselves, we build up more and more levels. when do you decide that something is there as a god-sent reminder to stay present and patient and when do you see it as something caustic that just brings you anguish? it's like tying a red string to your finger to remind you to take the trash out....and you sit there admiring its pretty color and texture as the fucking truck pulls away.

like the old man on the porch with his dog sitting next to him, yelping in pain.
"why's he cryin'?" asks a neighbor passing by.
"sat on a nail" answers the man.
"why don't he get up?" asks the neighbor.
"don't hurt enough yet" shrugs the man.

i was thinking about the party metaphor from the last blog. and about what bands in general go through. a party, a scene, a band, nobody wants to be a member of a club thats huge and non-exclusive. wait, i take that back, lots of people do. thats why we have sports. sports sort of represent the opposite. but the downtrodden, the self artists and misanthropes, the thinkers, the hopeless romantics, they all want to find a smaller elite. i remember being shocked when people started posting things to our board about liking the band more before we got big. we got big? when did that happen? why didn't i get the memo? people may adore you until you hit the mainstream and then you're just as useful as the red sox, a team taht anyone can love and so the bond formed over a beer and love of something in common becomes about as meaningful as a love of...i don't know, beer. or food. or air.

however, song on radio is one thing and reading paragraphs of the written word is another. maybe why this blog works, why i continue to feel so connected to all of you reading it. it doesnt take as much effort to hear a song on the radio and like it. it does take some degree of effort to sit your ass down and read this far into a bunch of word typed out by a maniacal songwriter who is a self-admitted mess (but aren't we all?) a perpetually recovering narcissist, a serial epiphinast. you can only relate to me because i can relate to you. every comment that i read back proves me righter and righter. i know i'm not talking into a vacuum. is that so odd? the fact that you have arthritis, messes, pains, NPR addictions, jobs as pool designers, dying fathers, it kind of doesn't matter, all the shit that goes down, its a small little world, we're sharing it in spades, all the time. there's no way around it.

on that note, some thoughts on the last round of commets, while we're at it:

myspace "kudos". right. i have no idea what they are, except that in the land of myspace, it is the potentially lame and misguided name that they have given to what i would prefer they label "acknowledgment". what i find totally bizare is that you can either give one "acknowledgment" or two. i mean, how can that be? don't you either "acknowledge" something or "not acknowledge" it? what i weird fucking word. acknowledge. stare at that one for a minute and see what i mean. ACK. but i mean really. if you give one kudo, does that mean youre only half-acknowledging what the person has written? and how fucked is that?

the possibility of commenting back to someone's comments on myspace....thank you all for pointing that out...i'd never noticed that you could indent the conversation thread that way. now i am happy to know that one comment can give rise to another.

avril is recording a new record? o good. so is panic at the disco. our lord works in mysterious ways.

the onion cellar blog, i 'm still working on it. distance is lending perspective to that dark time of my life already. i learned more lessons in that few months than i may in my lifetime, and i'm still processing it all.

some german fans decided to make a video about baking a chocolate zucchini cake.
i watched this and peed my pants with glee and wondered in awe at the randomness of the world. anything can happen.
small things like this make me happier than you can possibly imagine.

the finger. the finger is healing, slowly. acupuncture before bedtime is helping.

"You're left with flakes of paint and corners of posters left from old and reccurent efforts to create a bohemia."
whoever said this....you summed up my life nicely. thank you.

i have to thank all those of you who have recommended books via this blog in teh past year or so, i've kept them piled up and i've been devouring them lately with (finally, joy) time to read again. towelhead, don't lets go to the dogs tonight and oracle night all came from here. i ate them up. oracle night (paul auster) fucking blew me away. i want to recommend it back to everybody here. i didn't want it to end so i ordered the book of illusions and that too was quickly gone. he has ten more books. i'm working on timbuktu.

my total lack of caps.
for those of you upset or querulous about my lack of capitalization, i have only one thing to say to you:
please note how they fucked up his name in the url.

"It's also comforting to me to see how much what goes on in your head resembles my own thought patterns. Are most people like this? And we didn't realize it until now with the invention of the blog where everyone's thoughts are made public? Somehow all the zines and novels failed to capture this accurately."
i must say. i think most people ARE like this. we all deal with the same shit. most people just don't talk about it.

and everyone we know.

i'm going to new york in the morning. i'll be there all week. i love the train to new york more than life itself.

i was listening to someone's demo CD (sort of ambient techno, a la the great aphex twin) tonight and was really impressed by the way they managed to create a really cool song using the sampled sound of a skipping CD. it was done truly artfully, the skip never lasting too long and not sounding too perfect or precious or too random. id been wondering when someone would finally use the skipping-CD sound to create a whole track. i enjoyed it for about fifteen minutes then decided it was actually getting a little too wanky and irritating. plus i needed to concentrate on something else. i went into my bedroom to kill the sound.

i was wrong.

the CD had been skipping for fifteen minutes.

indeed, again,
it's strange how sometimes the fuzz between stations is sometimes more compelling than a clear signal from either side.


Wednesday, January 17, 2007

news from the crippled front


so i found out that i have arthritis in my right index finger, from overplaying. It's been bothering me for months, since about september, but i've been doing almost nothing about it. now i'm facing the ice and the arnica.
despite that news, i sit here and type away, exacerbating the problem i am sure with my clickity clackity habits. late last night as i was bemoaning the state of my sad swollen digit and washing out a wine glass in the sink, the glass exploded (i was NOT drunk, yet) and gashed a half-dime-sized chunk out of the finger on my OTHER hand. so now i'm a fucking bi-lateral cripple. actually, i am writing this using a stick in my mouth.

the rest of the night was good. we took all the cash that we'd collected for the pan 9 fire disaster (give at www.par-don.com/pan9) at the onion cellar and steven counted it on my kitchen table and all the piles of cash were funny so noah and becca and katrina and i set up the table to look like a drug den. we used white face powder for cocaine and dumped it all on a falco LP (yes, "rock me amadeus" falco). steve bundled up the tens and twenties while i shot pictures, trying to make everything look incriminating. if the feds come, i'm fucked. maybe this entry will prove me innocent.

the responses from that last entry destroyed me. how many times do i have to say it? yes, i read every comment. every comment on myspace, every comment on the website journal page.
it blew me away to imagine so many people within such a short time reading and responding. must have hit a nerve. i will come back to this. it got me to thinking about why i love this so much, why i do it.

i am constantly called on to explain, to journalists, to whoever, why i do what i do, why i write, why i perform. i feel like it's taken me years to discover (admit?) what it is about this that's compelling.
people laugh nervously when i tell them that i'm not passionate about music and never really was. i've always been passionate about what music DOES, what it CREATES. when and if i find other ways of doing it, it's all the same.
making theater can be similar. music has it's own special magic that nothing else touches, nothing achieves. but being honest about it seems to ruin the fun for people, for fans, for journalists. i don't LOVE writing songs. i love having written them, i love HAVING them. i love watching them WORK. it's hard to explain. i try:

when i was 10 or 11, i remember being really bored one summer weekend and coming up with a fantasy that i could create a fair/circus in my parent's backyard. oh my god, i was unstoppable. i wasn't as concerned with the details of how to arrange for people to attend this stupendous event as i was with spending every waking minute of the next three days sitting behind my parents ancient apple IIe and creating a FLYER for this non-existent wonderland. i created a map of what it would like like, where the rides and vendors would be, what you could buy at the merchandising stand. this was, fucking, 1986. then i got distracted by the likelihood that it would be an abortion-like, unromantic yard sale with the neighborhood kids and i moved on to other things.

when i was 18 or 19, i remember living in the basement of eclectic, the society i belonged to at wesleyan university. i had somehow gotten ahold of a 3-disc collection (stolen from the college radio station, i'm pretty sure) called "the beat generation". it was a compilation of wicked hip 50s ephemera, music, spoken word, it truly set the scene. allen ginsberg, lenny bruce, recordings of kerouac reading aloud, bop and more bop, burroughs....they were all there. i was unhip. i'd had no idea. it was like all of a sudden someone had walked me in the backdoor of a place i'd been craving to visit since birth. i remember freaking my shit out night after night thinking "what are we DOING???? we're doing NOTHING!!! fuck. we could be DOING everything!!!!" i felt like i had found what i came to college for, but instead on it being on campus, it was on compact disc. eclectic was an old house with lots of character and there was a large room across from mine, in the basement, with a padlock on the door. i found the key from someone and came upon an empty, dingy space the size of a large living room and my mind went wild: "yes, YES ! here ! this is where we'll put the tables and chairs. this is where we'll put the stage. i'll make coffee. we'll drink whiskey. we'll chain-smoke. fuck this is going to be AMAZING." i even (and this part i'm embarrassed to admit) started donning my hip russian sailor shirt and hep fifties beret when cleaning out the space (oh yes, with awl and broom and vacuum, it took days, and my papers and grades suffered most likely). i was so convinced i would create bohemia for my campus. the only problem was, i had no friends and no idea what to do next, after i'd cleaned it. so i got distracted by the likelihood that it would be an abortion-like, unromantic cesspool of unsuccessful beer-drinking and uninspired chain-smoking, much like the parties we were having weekly on the top floor, where even things as hip and hep and shooting heroin didn't have any substance, everyone was just so blase, bored and over it all. i moved on to other things.

when i was 24 or 25, i moved into the cloud club and immediately started organizing events. the cloud club is a fantasy space, four floors of architectural exploded vintage wonderland gaudi bliss. pope would help me run the parties...we would have 300, 400 people over. we called them (after the shadowbox theater that i was running at the time) the Box Events. The first was Box I, the second Box II, and so forth. I booked performers of all kinds...bands, dancers, poets, filmmakers, whatever, we squeezed it all in and people performers upstairs in the attic-space, in the garden, in my bedroom, in the empty apartments, wherever there was space. but i noticed something about my quality of time during these events. i was RUNNING them, not really attending. much like the brigade nowadays when we're on tour, i couldn't really enjoy what i had created.

but i sort of enjoyed it that way. i sort of loved floating around all night, wearing a stained and ripped kimono and always having a sloshing wine in one hand and a nat sherman cigarette in the other and feeling like i was some sort of self-made art deco portrait gone bad. greeting people, meeting people, but most of all (my favorite) wathcing people come into the house and seeing their reaction to the atmosphere. watching people light up, watching people get inspired, excited, everyone sharing some feeling that we were somewhere special, all together and maybe never to be repeated. good conversations come out of a space like that. it that sense, i always assumed, that's what these events were for. the art, the performers, the stained kimono were just there so that person A might actually get into a better conversation with person B than if they met at a downtown sports bar. i loved running through my kitchen to by bedroom to grab something and seeing people i barely knew sitting on my couch, engaged in some sort of profound conversation. my head would turn and see them and say YES YES YES ye sYES !! this is why i do THIS//////but i could never slow down to sit there and be a part of it. i was always moving too fast. this is what it's like at shows. no matter how much i want to enjoy the world i've created, i'm usually too tired or too busy and distracted. i always wish i could bottle it, take it home and enjoy it in peace, in small and luxurious doses.

here;s the thing. in a totally bizarre way, i feel like the blog fills this gap. though there's no hep music and no intimate mood lighting to enhance your experience, these calls and responses are basically distilled essences of profound party conversation. even better, they're here for me to peruse at my leisure and respond to at will, without having to rush off and make sure the house/club isn't on fire. the quality of the comments is exactly representative of the party swath. some people don't respond, they stand in the corner and smile and clutch on to their beer for dear life. some people add sharp and short but perfectly timed comments. some people talk a blue streak (i was mesmerized by the 2-foot comment one of you left about your entire life and ex-girlfriend sasha and how it';s all intertwined. jesus. but awesome). but the fact that we're all here at the same time, riffing on the same subject, this is miraculous. there's an incredible book by nicholson baker called The Fermata in which the protagonist has the secret power to stop time and move through the world as everybody and everything else holds perfectly still. this is sort of how it is: the blog is like a fermata at a perfect party. you can stop at one conversation and enter it. you can skip forwards and backwards in time and find those things and utterances with which you connect. the band did have to come first, but jesus, now there's tHIS? how did i get so lucky? i finally went to visit pete wentz's blog to see what he was writing about. i was disappointed. i want DETAILS, motherfucker. give me some soul. lets' not even get INTO avril's blog., it's a tragedy. the only thing i regret is that the comment section of these things doesn't work like a forum in which you can comment on people's comments and actually start a conversation. this would be more interesting. maybe you can do that. i am a luddite.

anyway that is my I Am Amazed By technology speech of the day.

i was driving home yesterday (in my benevolent landlord's car, which is named cloud one, which is what the license plate says, since the volvo is resting peacefully in inert woe) from having dinner with my folks out in lexington. this fucked up thing had happened earlier in the day to the driver's-side window...it just broke off it's track and jutted out of it's window-bed like a huge menacing triangle. it wouldn't roll up or down, it was just stuck and letting in all of the freezing rain. i cranked the heat and was barreling down route 2 and listening to NPR, which had been loaded with martin luther king (jr) speeches and stories due to the holiday. somewhere, the windshield wiper in front of me stopped working. i mean, it moved, but the wiper blade just crapped out completely and the freezing rain collected in front of my field of vision, blurring the road completely. i tried, at two separate red lights, to get out and wipe the blade off, straighten it, tame it, but it was fruitless. the blurred patch in front of my face (whihc was really only about 4 inches, but it was EXACTLY where i needed to see the road ahead of me) was still covered in frozen schmutz.

so i was getting freezing-rained on while trying to figure out which was wiser: try to adjust to the blurry version of the road through the frozen schmutz or try to artfully tilt my head to one side, to the left or the right by 4 inches, to get a clear view of the road in front of me. while i listened to martin luther king rallying for the general strike in memphis. it occured to me that this was fucking life, most of the time. you don't ever get a clear view of whats in front of you, the wiper can't be fixed, and you';re basically left with the decision of whether to adjust your eyes to the blur or crane your neck. your choice, but you gotta make it or you're going to crash, motherfucker. when king started to ramp up the speech to the part about not fearing anything and how the march had to be and stay non-violent, i lost it and started to bawl. three days later he was shot. this really helped in the visibility department. wait, it gets better.

as i pulled onto storrow drive, i started to get static. this has been happening every day for the past 2 months, since i've been driving on storrow to get from boston to cambridge. it's only with NPR, it's just like a void that cuts out. you can get about 45% of whats being said but i usually get so sucked into the news that i deal with the static for that 3 minutes, knowing it will go away. it usually sounds something like this: ".BRRRZZZrrrrrttttsaid that the US shshshshhhshhhhtackle the violence or it would spiralsshshshshshsggghhh as a result of Shias killing Sunnis anzzzrrrrrrrrrromments came after 70 people ZZZZrrrrrrrrSHHHHH injured in a double bombing at a Baghdad univerZREEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEblew up outside Mustansiriyah UnivzzzrrrrrrrrrrKAAAAARRRKKKKAAAAAsuicide bomber then targeted studeBBSSSSZZZZZZttttt" etc. sometime there's some beats form a nearby frequency in there to give the news some nicely needed soundtrack/irony. anyway, i was dirving into the static pocket and for some reason, instead of just static it was a complete warp between two stations. i recognized the song. o, did i recognize it. it was "lost cause" from beck's Sea Change album. the universe was definitely lining shit up. it was pairing up the song (beck would have loved the poetry of this i'm sure) with MLK jr's "I've been to the mountaintop" speech and it sounded sort of like this:

pzzZSHHHHHHHHHHZZZZHhhh/KKzzzi'm tired of fightingzzzzzzzrrrrrreZZZZZZZZZZhhhhthe nation is sick, trouble is in the land, confusion all aroundzzzzzzhhhhhthe masses of people are rising upzzzhhrrrrrr assembled today, whether they are in johannesburg, south africa; nairobi, kenyazzzzzzzhhheeeI'm tired of fightinghRRRgggggyork city; Atlanta Gerogia; zzzzzzzrrror memphis, tenessee, the cry is always the same: we want to be freeZZZZZZZHHHHHHfighting for a lost cause.....

it dried my tears and made my entire night.

p.s. no word from mr. dark haired/hat man.
then again, i haven't emailed him.


Wednesday, January 10, 2007

On Not Taking Home A Stranger.


be honest, she kept saying.

fucking, with who? when? all the time?

life seems to be a beautiful game about using and abusing honesty.
it hurts, heals, it changes, it doesn't even fucking exist.
it exists as much as truth exists. it's relative and Not Real.

i was lonely tonight. i've been lonely for a while. i have my friends, my confidants, my intimates.
my secrets, my pains and worries, they don't go unshared.
but i do miss holding someone in bed, being close with someone, whispering things, doing lover-like things. i get my occasional fix, but it's small and rare and mostly insignificant.
it's been this way for years. i get glimpses, but i've more or less forgotten what it's like to have it on a regular basis.

there were two guys who came to the last three of four shows at the onion cellar. obvious fans. i liked them. they were sweet, we greeted and meeted and did the things that you do. the way to interact when you are rock-singer and fan. i found out they'd traveled all the way from the other side of the country for the show. they'd taken trains and busses and were staying in a hostel in boston, just to see our show.
this sort of thing still moves me, though it doesn't floor me as much as it used to. you get used to hearing things like this. "we came form australia just to see the play."
"we came from kansas city just to see the play."
"we came from germany just to see the play."
i hear it and try to let it all sink in, imagining the plane ride, the organizing, the amount of effort it took for this one person to be standing here in front of me. my imagination can never fully appreciate it, i know.

so when they came tonight, i recognized them. the quieter one, the dark-haired one with the hat, gave me a folded letter. i've gotten used to this too. i have. i could have guessed, by the weight of it, that it was going to say something more than "wonderful show, your fan, x". you just know. by the way something gets handed to you. by the way someone says nothing and presses something into your hand, shying away. you just learn.

the crowd had cleared out of the theater. i had stayed late tonight to finish an interview with NPR. i liked the reporter. he'd come to my house yesterday. to interview. we drank merlot and ended up really talking. that'll happen sometimes. it's rare. press = people , real. then you can talk and talk and talk. sometimes i miss talking to people.

so the theater was basically empty, the crew was still cleaning up, fireproofing the paper confessions, sweeping the floors. the dressing room was empty. it has a piano in it.

i don't play the piano anymore.

i've been noticing, through the show, that if you play some sad, slow chords underneath almost any dialogue, that you can make it seem sad and more meaningful, or add a depth of incredible profundity that wouldn't have otherwise been there. that's what music does. the soundtrack of our lives.

about a month ago, i was hit by the impulse to break out an old recording of my grandfather's 90-minute cassette-tape recording he made, right before he died, about his adventures at sea with the british merchant marine. just pressed play and pounded slow, minor piano chords while he talked. oh, it worked. his voice sounded all of a sudden weighty like it never had. so i knew.

i took the letter upstairs. went to the men's bathroom, like evry other night, and slathered my face with cold-cream and wiped off the excess with a towel. went back to the dressing room and put the letter on my arms at the piano and played e minor and c major with some random notes up top while i read. and of course

....of course it worked.

i mean, this would have been a sad and beautiful letter anyway, and anyone would have been able to guess by the length and the small hand-writing and the scratches-out that this was going to be a good one.

i wonder where they are, where;d they go? i wondered.

after the NPR reporter left my apartment yesterday i was too drunk with wine and conversation to do any work, so i took myself out to dinner, alone. i was feeling oddly depressed.
i ate and wrote and pondered my useless existence (this is fun!) and went home, watching the sidewal blur under my feet, all of a sudden light because i remembered lee had left a DVD copy of "adaptation" with nicholas cage on my desk and i'd been wanting to see it, and fuck the work and the catching up i had to do i could do anything i wanted i'm a free woman and it's a free country and i don't need to answer anybody i'm freeeeeeeeeeeee so i watched it. i paid later as i fought sleep realizing that i had neglected answering emails that had to be answered today and i had fucked myself.

it was a beautiful film. it reminded me of too much. how we try so hard to make meaning. you can make meaning out of anything, really, if you try. the idea is always better than the reality.

i kept trying to remember the writer of this letter, his hat, his hair, his sheepish grin as he handed me the paper. i've done this before. how many times? a lot. after so many shows. people hand you things. you know.

i played the chords and i read. i played a little soundtrack to this letter, a sad one, a perfect one.

when i got to the part, about halfway through, about his response to the pieces of paper, to be filled out by the audience, that the cast hands out in the play : "when was the last time you cried, and why". he didn't respond. he saved it (did he? or did he answer on the paper during the play?) for this letter. did he? i don't know. i read his story. him sitting there alone in the back room of the place he works, cursing himself. dragging that safety pin across.....but now, how much am i taking advantage of him? it's his story, his story. not mine. it is mine. he gave it to me. my heart cramped up.

my own little onion cellar, up in the dressing room and all alone. fucking, of course. My Own Private Onion Cellar starring amanda palmer and river phoenix. Ha - never on the stage, where i wanted it.

i imagined myself on closing night, fucking up the show, ignoring "coin-operated boy" and whipping out this letter, playing my sad chords and reading aloud. was this what i wanted. of course it was.
is this what anybody wants to watch, to hear?

i read, thinking already...will he leave a phone number at the end of the letter? sometimes they do. sometimes they do.....and if he did, i say to myself, i swear to fucking god, i'll call him. i will. i'll call him right now and pick him up from whatever bus or subway station or youth hostel he's at and i swear to god i'll drive him home, back to my apartment, pu thim on my comfortable couch and give him wine and tea and soup and a night he'll never forget, i'll hold him and hold him and stroke his back and hair and kiss his arms clean and unscratched and take all of his pain and hurt away and feed him breakfast and give him love he's never known.

this is where my brain hurts.

very funny, amanda.

can one really do that? isn't it impossible? i mean, wouldn't it be so impure? like: through his mind would be coursing Oh My God, I'm In Bed With Amanda Palmer From The Dresden Dolls, the girl to whom i wrote this long passionate fan letter, and she called me. (bad narcissist amanda! bad bad bad!). and now i'm in her bed. My Life Is Surreal. can kisses like that count? for real? feel real? or would i just be taking advantage of something...a modern day jimmy page ransacking a perfectly innocent person because of my own emptiness and need for a cuddle?

and could he even give up? could he forget who i am and just surrender to I'm A Boy You're A Girl and Here We Are....put your arms around me, hold me, forget everything, let's be Young and Free and Fucked and Spontaneous.....i don't know. i mean, really, there is no answer to this. people meet in the strangest ways.

i assume so.
he didn't leave a number.
there was just an email.
i found myself wondering....oh oh oh maybe he's one of those modern types, who has a blackberry, who has a treo, ga gah gah if i just email immediately he'll get this message on his phone and then we'll, and then i'll...
i stopped right there.

the idea is always better than the reality, isn't it.

it's probably better, i rationalized.
i don't Do Things like that.
funny, i never really have.
not in a long time. i've always gotten too caught, i think, in the terrifying poetry of it all. who wants an unbalanced relationship to Start Out With? they all end up that way, for fucks sake, but at least you have that few months of bliss where you feel like One. who wants to be in bed an feel like some kind of otherworldy god?

jimmy page,,,,,


i remember once i was walking down mass ave between harvard and central square. i must have been 21 or 22. i walked by this incredible-looking guy. eyelashes, lips to die for. we caught eyes as we passed each other. we kep walking, as you do. and we both tuned around at the same time, as you sometimes do, to catch that second glance. and i remember thinking to myself FUCK IT FUCK IT and i walked right up to him and kissed him square on the mouth, tongue and all, thinking this was probably the most romantic and gorgeous thing i'd ever done in my life. and he kissed me back, and i kissed him back.

but then, HAha.

then what do you do?

then we were FUCKED.

the kiss was over and we sort of stood there, gaping at each other. if i'd been smart, i would have walked away, never said another word, blown his a kiss his way and winked.
done something perfectly cinematic, but no.

instead i spoke. we chattered for a second.
want to get a drink?
we went across the street to The Cellar, a perfectly quaint bar with wooden tables.
could've been romantic, no?
wasn't romantic. he was from brazil. a student. he loved soccer. i was into music? oh yes cool. that is cool. very cool. so you. what do you really want to do in life? do?
oh nothing. i am in school but i have no interests. i like soccer. drinking is also good.

this was hell. i had destroyed the most romantic moment of my life by inviting it into a bar.
now it was talking to me about the world cup and i wanted to vomit.

we never exchanged numbers.

as i left the theater i stuffed the letter in my back pants pocket. i walked by cafe pamplona and the waiter was pulling in the table from the patio.

"i heard your show was great tonight".

eh? from who?

"that couple, they were here after the show. they were talking about you".

the two boys? my heart jumped.

"which way did they go. they just left? just now?"

"they drove home, i think. the couple, you know...."

heart sank. oh, i know. this was the older couple i'd met in the cafe before the show. they were beautiful, this couple, in their sixties and making non-profit theater for woman and children with HIV and talking talking talking about pierrot and make-up.

i walked to my car and kept seeing shadows across the streets.
i'd seen them leave, these two boys, one of them my romantic letter-writer with the dark hair and the hat, they'd waved good-bye through the window. they were going back to the other side of the country. they'd said.

every time i saw a pair of people walking, i wondered: is it them? what would i do? accost them? tell his friend to wait in the living room with a glass of wine while i romanced his friend to DEATH in the next room?

i started thinking about writing this blog, looking at the bricks blurring under my feet. i thought about the film. i'm caught in my own screenplay, i laughed, i can never leave. i'm constantly writing myself into it.
i just played a soundtrack to a sad and beautiful and perfect letter, and the music is stuck in my head, and the last thing i am thinking about is taking home to the piano and writing a song. no. i want to blog. i knew it would come to this. i am no longer a song-writer, i smirk to myself, i'm a blog-writer. i'm made the switch to the dark side. and so i was thinking as i fished the car-key out and started the engine and drove home, calling pope on the way to see if he had a cigarette so that i could have something smoking in my hand so i could kick-start myself to combat the blank screen. better to write SOMETHIng, i said. better to blog than to sleep. better to blog than to go to the bar. who needs songs? you've written plenty of songs. when you need more, more will come? do you need more songs? right now? fuck no. what would you even do with them.

this is how i know i'm fucked. i used to only smoke at home while writing songs, now it's acceptable to smoke while blogging.
god, it's pathetic. i feel like nicholas cage except i'm not losing my hair. i'm losing my self. my hair is going gray. i dye it dark red.

i came home and poured myself a sam adams lager and started to write.

here we are. hi. hi. hi.

time for bed.

maybe this is better than a song?
instead of applause, i get comments.
sometimes they feel the same.
]sometimes i like the comments more than the applause.
i can read the comments, they're human. they make sense.
the applause. sometimes it just sounds like noise.

cross-posted to