Tuesday, December 8, 2009

The Sweet Trade of Self-Centeredness and Settlement

I stumbled on a quote the other day while reading one of Lesley Jane's editor letters. The Editor-in-Chief of More was having a bit of an identity crisis and was quoting a colleague, who had informed her that the minute you have a baby, your narcissism falls down the stairs and break its neck.

I have spent several moments in recent days thinking about this. Thinking about when my reasonable amount of healthy narcissism slipped on a banana peel and did the ten-banana-cream-pie header down those stairs. I am thinking she likely busted her bones long before I became "Jackson's mom". I think it's quite possible that she started her tumble when her terrified, but utterly smitten, heart was taken hostage. Sounds all piratey, doesn't it? And a bit romantic to me. I love pirates. Well...the garish vs. Somali kind.

However...if we're being brutally honest here, I think this identity crisis of my own likely happened when I just *yawn* kind of surrendered my creative heart to the daily grind of life in general. Jeez. The resurrected art and life lover in me (side note here: I have also happily discovered that this sense of self, like a zombie or cat, has more than one life. She might be down, but don't count the girl out...) wonders just when did naughty narcissism ever think it wise to half-hold up a limp wrist to weakly wave white and surrender the ego that fueled her own gaudy garish daydreams? To dream an other's? Where in the hell did my muse and my self go? (Davey Jones' locker comes to mind...)

Ugh. How simply ugly and lame to think of it that way, though. Almost seems like I didn't really have my own back during that time.

After mulling all of this over a bit (when not thinking about Mr. Depp in pirate gear) I have come to think the following: In the end, maybe it does all of our egos a smidge of good to surrender sometimes. I wouldn't want her to walk the plank into the drink again(as she did for what seemed like a good 8 years of my life). But maybe she should lay low in the galley once in awhile. Because I truly believe that this is also when any meaningful relationship (be it with your child, your friend, or the love of your life) might be at its absolute best. Finding incredible and defining loves in our life will never solve or even salve our problems as we often wish or falsely expect them to. Instead, at times, it compounds them. Relationships that are worth our while will challenge our narcissist to negotiate. To divvy the loot. To compromise. And at times, whether we like to admit it or not, to concede.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

What's the frequency, Kenneth?

I'm sure the lady unloading her shopping cart next to me was wishing she could have dialed that frequency up last night at the local checkout. From the look on her overly concerned and puckered face she was surely having a William Tagger moment and wishing she could find the frequency to stop the clairvoyant crazy train from circling her mind. At least she didn't jump me...

But let's back this up a bit. Up until approaching the checkout tonight, this had been one of those weeks. A week that military-marched in with steel-toed boots to kick some ass. Mine, to be exact. However, it was also a week that was supposed to end with an amazing and much-anticipated hug. A sweet warm place returning to tangle and untangle promised arms and traveling yarns. A welcomed light at the end of a dark tunnel, which unfortunately turned out to be the lights of a barreling train. Yes, the combat footwear of this week found clandestine means to kick even those highly-needed opportunities quickly to the side gutter of a raw city street. This war zone of a week slowly and methodically kicked my ass. And instead of finding my own bootstraps to pull myself up by, I just clung to the words and shoulders of others who understood. The week was littered with balls of mascara-stained Kleenex and lots of loud, oscillating swear words, and visits and calls from really great friends. I mean it is so damn dark before the dawn, isn't it? I was reminded of this by a friend's gentle, poignant words. And by the week's unruly events.

My "dawn" was proving to be Friday night. This was a chance to get part of the original week's perfect plans right. To see some great friends and hear great tales of Mr. Ray Davies and guitar capos sung by two of my favorite singers accompanied by one of my favorite drummers. So I pulled my riding boots up over my tights, brushed down my skirt and left for Somerville to salvage the week as I've salvaged many others over the last few years. I stop to grab some wine to go with dinner...

So here I am at the checkout line with the women with the aforementioned worried and puckered brow. The one soon to be called bat shit crazy or clairvoyant, depending on who is retelling this story. I'm third back in the express line holding a bottle of Red Zin and another spicy blend of red with clever marketing that pulled at my silly sensibilities, waiting to pay. I hadn't really even noticed her at this point as I was too busy staring at wall of tabloids and wondering when Jennifer Aniston might ever wear something other than the color grey. I did hear her, however. She had a very loud and concerned voice.

Are you alright? It was sharp. Almost urgent. But I half paid attention because damned if I was going to turn around and have to perform CPR on someone who had stumbled on the checkout floor. Hell no. Not this week. I was on a mission to chase a delicious Zing pizza with copious amounts of red wine and then see some Rapid Shave. So didn't even turn around the second time she half-shouted the words again.

The third time I heard the frantic are you OK I had to look. The guilt was getting to me I guess. With a bottle of red in each tightly wound fist I turned to see what the commotion was. And you know what? It appeared that she was looking at me!

Her very serious eyes never left mine as she reached into her basket to continue to unload her piles of groceries. Are you going to be OK, Miss? she asked me. And she was indeed worried.


I gave her a very half-assed DiNiro impression and ask her "are you talking to me?" Because right now, we have an audience of at least eight. Two girls at the checkout, the baggers, the couple in front of me, and the few single others waiting to cash out their stuff. All eyes volleying between this frenzied woman with willowy grey hair down to her waist and my now very-anxious self.

Yes you, she replies rather seriously. You. You are GRIEVING. You are so very sad and filled with grief and darkness. Your aura. I can feel it. See it. Are you going to be OK? She places a roll of Brawny paper towels on the belt and pauses. Me? Oh how I'm wishing I had an opener for the wine. I feel like I could really benefit from an immediate haul off one of these bottles.

The guy in front of me gives me a wink and then an eye roll towards the woman who has not stopped unloading her cart, nor staring right into me. He's giving me the ol' Holy-shit-dude-that-lady-is-fucking-insane look. The guy is clearly amused. And hell. So am I. But obviously for very different reasons.

Am I wrong she inquires? I don't think I'm wrong, but I could be off today. I see these things you know. And right now I see darkness around your tired heart tonight. I don't think she has blinked since we started our conversation....

I begin to wonder what I must look like to her. Because damn. I'm showered. Makeup is where it belongs vs. running down my cheeks all Tammy Faye horror-like as in the several days prior. Had she seen me Thursday afternoon, well OK. I can understand how she might have been concerned about my aura and shit. The horror of the aura. Seeing me in the middle of one of my Oprah-coined "ugly cries" even gets me a little worried because I soooo hate to cry. It's messy and rarely makes me feel any better. But it's been hours since I had teared up. Damn it. I thought I at least could pass for content tonight. Maybe I need some lipgloss...

She apologizes over the whispers and snickers of the people around us. I tell her it's OK. I tell her she's actually right on the money in many ways. She nods and says she knows. And if I wasn't next in line to ring out and so anxious to get the hell out of New Hampshire and get myself in front of the eyes of good friends, I would have asked her a few more questions. After all, I was rather gobsmacked. (Gobsmacked. What a fucking fantastic gift from our former colonial overlords. I just love that word, by-the-way....) So yup. I'm all gobsmacked because here is this perfect stranger reaching out with such sincere and intense concern. As though she saw and tallied up the events of my week. As though she understood that indeed some days are, as Dean reminded me, so fucking dark right before the dawn. I thought about this my whole ride into Cambridge. This woman. This week.

Suddenly I find myself turning onto Auburn Street. And there is a perfect parking spot waiting directly in front of Shari's place. The wine we share is spicy and amazing and the sweet delivery boy brings us this thin-crust pie with spinach, sweet butternut squash and even sweeter caramelized onions covered with blue cheese. The night unfolds gently and I get to see Kevin and Jason and meet their lovely girlfriends. I hear Mike and John sing sweet harmonies and tell stories and I drink winter ale with Shari. We leave to laugh and act like teenagers, playing Rock Band and KILLING our favorite songs into the wee hours of another morning. This stuff....this night...it inspires the good tears that come now. The ones that acknowledge that even in the midst of rather rough and unpredictable weeks, the sun can and will eventually agree to show her beautiful kind face again. She battles as hard as I to show her happy face. And to kick that very last, very cold, dark hour to the curb.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Site for Sore Eyes...

Latest confession? Internet dating.

This is an overdue post, really. I've been mulling penning about the topic of internet dating for some time. Before diving into the .com dating pool, it seemed like such a very odd and highly embarrassing place to dip my toes. But then I thought, hey now! I'm rather friendly with Little Miss Embarrassment. I've met her on several occasions. In fact, she is the one who tapped me my on the shoulder with a big shit-eating grin a few years back, pointing out that I was one of the last people on the seacoast to know what my husband was up to. And I survived that bit of strange horror, right?

So screw that bitch. I can handle Little Miss Embarrassment's assaults. And just to prove my point, I posted a profile.

Plus...let's face it. I'm a divorced parent of two young children. As I recently wrote to a friend...time flies on her broomstick with witchy, bitchy purpose. She is never around in the manner in which I need her. And guys! Please listen up! I've got Lego Y-wing Starfighters to build and tiny toenails to paint. Since I'm not able to parade around town at my leisure, pen and checklist of unconventionalities in hand to see who might match up, match.com it was.

Just to note....my account has been inactive for a few months. I know that's sad for a few of my co-workers who enjoy perusing profiles for sport. Truth told, I just figured out how to get rid of my actual profile tonight. But not before sending out a *wink* tinted with sarcasm. "Cyberwinks". Nothing says "I have nothing original to say or to offer" quite like a lone cyberwink. (I'm thinking he'll get the snarky joke...)

So for three months I became engrossed in the fascinating, engaging culture of internet dating. In all of my poetic clueless-ness I would open my email box each day and enter the busy little profile playground where boys tossed flirty words and favorite song lyrics at me like rocks to get my attention. Siiiiigh, right? And some were indeed boys. A few just turning 21.

And that's fun to think about for a few minutes, isn't it? Some of those e-mails were my favorites. They went something (well exactly) like this:

Tonyy123: "You look amazing. Beautiful. What is a gorgeous woman like yourself doing on a site like this? You prob have guys lined up down the driveway, don't you ;) ???"

Me: "Well aren't you full of silly, unsuccessful flattery, Tony. FYI I am currently on this site because I'm single after a damn long time. Seems like an option for meeting some interesting people to hang out with. In other words, my driveway is currently open..."

Tonyy123: "So when are you going to let me park my car?? ;)"

Me: "I think you should ask your mom, Tony. She might not appreciate that idea. After all, I think it's quite likely I went to high school with her..."

Tonyy123: "Ha. Good one. i still would tho. Get at me... ;)"

Now, how can you not love that (very) young Tony? After a few glasses of Malbec and a long day at the office, young Tony has some fine entertainment value. Especially mid-week during re-run season.

Internet dating. It serves up lots of dating potentials.

The "mature" kind (ie people much much MUCH older than your dad). I'm not sure if there are enough blue pills or life insurance payoffs to ever get me to go that route. Let's see. You've got the "embryos" (ie people who you could have given birth to). But who, btw, have INSANELY rock-hard abs that make you want to do delicious lines of Pixie Stix off that fab six-pack they're sporting. Since, hey, they are just minutes old enough to drink. And candy is the way to any kid's heart. Alright. I'm feeling a little dirty now....

I cannot forget the happily illusioned "fairytaled & fetished"( ie people who send you pictures of their gilded genitalia). And guys....if you had the *literal* balls to send those to me, please know that I have forwarded them to all of my friends who have not had the pleasure of having you stalk their profiles and send them the same photos. You've been warned...

While I hate to, I will push the jokes to the side for a minute to say this. I have also met some very amazing, smart, witty, beautiful people. I have met uncommon, interesting, and honest men. I think you know who you are. There are some who still correspond with me. Some who I count among my friends. Some who I might count as predators and enemies. And a small few who I have yet to actually meet beyond things analog. Who knows? I might eventually get the chance...

All this unpredictable fun and potential for $60.00? And maybe, just maybe, FTW?

Shhhhhhh. Let a girl enjoy the dulcet tones of her silly .com dreams.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Dealing with a Colorful Pallate of Mistakes and Learning the Creative Art of Forgiveness

Have you ever thought about forgiveness as a little gift...not so much for the person who has wronged you...but for yourself? Kind of like the online retail therapy for your tattered soul? I often like to think of forgiveness that way. Like the sweet Laylana Doc Marten's (thank you Zappos) that give me an extra 2 vertical inches. I sure like the way they make me feel, and oddly enough, forgiveness can have that same effect.

But sometimes it's a really long path to that point of purchase. Knowing when, and even why, to forgive can be a real hangup and leave you standing at the ol' checkout for some time.

I guess I like to think there is a Richter Chart for classifying mistakes that might warrant forgiveness. The smallish mistakes & quakes, well they are easier to forgive. You know what I mean. Those "dummy moves" and blunders that barely register in your life for more that a couple of days. For example, forgiving your pal for dropping your iPhone into the lake mid-swig of his Sam Summer Ale, well, that's an easy forgive(especially since I don't have an iPhone). I would say this. Just drink a couple of your pal's Sammy's (that he clearly owes you for silencing your communication with the world for an afternoon) and believe his promise to get you straight to the AT&T Store after the sun goes down, and all is forgiven. You'll be back to your ol' Texty McTexterson self before you know it and maybe you'll even brush up on your communication skills(a nice bonus in my book)!

Then there are these other kinds of mistakes that require a quiet, patient kind of forgiveness. I reserve these for my really good friends who make really good mistakes. And often make the same mistake more than once. Mistakes that cause my head to tick-tock in utter disbelief. I'll use the example of my former college roommate, who I'll lovingly call "K-Pin" for this one. (I've always wanted to just write about her 4th quarter college escapades, so here's my chance to selfishly indulge). With her senior year in full swing, and recent split with her boyfriend fueling her every move, K-Pin decided to replace her Journalism II class with Binge Drinking 101. Suddenly our sweet, shy and meek little roommate had become an amazing force to be reckoned with.

Shortly after the said binge drinking began, I happened to leave campus for a weekend. Upon my return, I was greeted by a cyclone of roommates from our small apartment complex immediately upon putting the car in park. Everyone tumbled and twirled out the door, talking and dog-whistle squawking at once "You're not going to belieeeeeeeeeve this...get in here NOW...OH MY GOD..." (Obviously I had missed something very good).

Well it appeared that our timid K-pin had engaged in a dangerous night of drinking and debauchery while I was away. Not only had she doubled up on her beers, she had doubled up on her men. Our very sweet girl had stuck her halo on the shelf and enjoyed a little two-on-one action the night before. She was now sitting with her head in hands, sobbing out the delicious details. She was clearly very distraught about her actions. And here we all sat, her friends working tirelessly to beat down silly schoolgirl laughter and wisecracks. We worked feverishly to conceal our surprise as the details unfolded. Together we developed a plan to move her forward from this incident. To move her past the big embarrassment. By the day's end we had a small smile back on her face with the promise of brighter days ahead. So where does forgiveness fit in here? Well, we must fast forward a few mere weeks to the SECOND incident.

Oooooooh yes. There was another. Fool me once...well, you know the deal.

As we fast-forward to this particular eve, our gaggle of girls (and most of the campus) happened to be downtown for beat-the-clock drinks. The beers started at 25 cents each. Bless the marketing wiz who came up with this idea....this very fast track to sloppy make out sessions to Madonna's "Crazy for You" on the beer-soaked dance floor. Somewhere in the middle of this event, with beers likely up to a mere 75cents, word gets around that K-Pin was being escorted out of the bar by a couple of not-so gentlemanly friends of ours for what appears to be round 2 of the "double-your-fun" event she only semi-enjoyed (and then endlessly cried about) two weeks prior. Knowing the horror she would feel Sunday morning, a few of us departed to go grab her up from the apartment where we knew the transgressions were about to take place. You see, we knew the two and a half gentlemen in question (I say two-and-a-half because the guy hiding under the bed during this melodrama only had groping and visual privileges with K-Pin). And he's not a very tall guy. Hence, I can't count him in 100%.

So we arrive all "supergirlie" to save the day and we are met with a very determined, drunk, and voracious K-pin. She instructs us to leave. Immediately. She called us some damn ugly names as I recall. We stood our ground and vigilantly reminded her how she felt after her last trip to the boy buffet. Not so hot. "You were MISERABLE," I pleaded. "You went out and chopped your hair off and got a terrible perm... you cried like a toddler...please do NOT do this again..."

But there was no reasoning with this Colt 45-fueled mirage of fun. The draft beers and flailing hormones won out and this train was on time and scheduled to wreck by the 4:00 a.m. "walk of shame" home. We stood there, rather helpless, as she essentially gave us the finger and closed the bedroom door to go wrestle off her clothes and in and out of the arms of the boys.

Forgiveness came early for K-pin. In the embarrassing aftermath part deux, fewer words were spoken. But friends were there. And here is the beautiful thing. A good friend will forgive. They'll make a little space in their heart and grab that glass of water and the bottle of Advil. They'll put that Kleenex box within your reach and listen as you apologize for backsliding. Friends will help you muddle through the horrors of the shitty choices they patiently warned and advised you about a few weeks earlier. And that's what we did that day. We tempered our disappointment and anger at her bad choices and shitty behavior long enough to prop up and forgive a very troubled friend. (Truth told, we took this opportunity to have a little bit of fun here. Yes, we were guilty of penning new lyrics about the mentioned incident to go along with "It Takes 2" by Rob Bass and DJ EZ Rock. Because we are not only forgiving friends. We are self-proclaimed funny friends as well). K-pin was deserving of forgiveness. She deserved one more final chance to keep her pants up in the presence of multiple men. We proudly coached her on to growing that unusual "Pat" perm out, to trying a little dose of celibacy, and ultimately on to sticking it out until graduation.

Sadly, there are mistakes that are off the charts. The kind that shake and split you open like the San Andreas Fault is running through your life instead of down the west coast. Theses mistakes, well they senselessly knock everything you had neatly stored off your organized shelves and leave you with one hell of a huge mess. Things broken, scattered and so frustrating to sort through. These miscalculations can send horrible aftershocks that shake well beyond your own heart and rattle up the lives of everyone in your loving radius. Forgiveness requires serious mental wrestling and effort. And maybe time as long in length as the San Andreas Fault.

When going through my personal earthquakes of separation and divorce, I was hyper focused on my children and myself. The amount of understanding and forgiveness which seemed to be required on a regular basis nearly tapped me out. The one thing I could not see in the midst of all this was how far reaching the effects and aftershocks of my own situation would reach. And how family and friends would have to challenge their own notions of forgiveness as they reorganized their lives around our very awkward situation. This situation was as ugly as a Walt Disney step-sister. While submerged in my own pain, I forgot that family and friends were grieving as well. They were reeling in their own pain and anger. They suffered tangible losses as well. They needed their own opportunity to decide how to proceed. And whether it would include forgiveness.

The Liberty Bell..well, damn. How perfect that she has a big ol' crack in her? In the pursuit of liberty from my ex, I had to draw my own crooked lines. Crack myself open a bit. Divorce doesn't just divide up the Bose docking system and wine glasses we've aquired. It divides family and friends. It splits well-loved traditions and events into splintered fragments. Divorce comes with more complex layers than that giant 4-tiered cake that fed the 200 plus guests at my rocking wedding reception. Divorce is one big' ol' messy mistake no matter how carefully you slice it. Many are able to move forward. But many do not get to the point of forgiveness.

When people ask me how I can forgive my ex, I say this. I have actually accepted that fairy tale...the one where the Prince and the frog were really the same guy. I guess I would rather accept the simple truth people are sometimes unpredictable, and just plain unreliable. They are boldly, sadly human. And that even the good and well-intentioned can make mistakes. They do terribly stupid things like drink and get behind the wheel. They say or do the wrong thing at the worst possible time. And yes, they cheat. I am finding it easier to accept people as they are, rather than expecting them to be something they are clearly not. Trust me. This took a bit of practice and a ton of time. It also included lots of meditative breathing and a few glasses of wine.

But really, I just made a decision for myself. I decided to give myself a gift not noted on our registry. It didn't come easy or cheap. But I was able gift myself, and yes the ex, with a bit of genuine forgiveness. And that gives me(and my fabulous Laylana's)an extra happy bounce in each step moving forward.

Monday, April 27, 2009

In the Dating Trenches...with Gratitude

When you are in the dating trenches, some days it's just plain hard to count your blessings.

And then some days are brilliant gifts in the midst of such warfare.

Saturday was just that day. With my head in the lap of a rather distracting, adorable guy I suddenly recall that one of my fabulous friends was due to go on a date just this past Thursday . So here we are, a full day-and-a-half later (I told you he was distracting), and I've heard nothing from my girl about her night out for drinks.

Nothing. Not a peep.

Being one of the smarter girls I am so lucky to know, I have no real worries. I know she's not struggling in duct tape in the back of some wackos trunk. But I am curious. Why the silence? I grab the phone to send off a text. It goes like this:

Me: "Did u go on your date, yo? Spill it!"

Fab Friend: "Suuuuuuucked. He had lady-hands."

There is something so wicked about instant hysterical laughter. Can you beat it? Not often, I say. I immediately dial the phone while trying to catch my breath, knowing I am in for a delicious tale that will provide as much solid entertainment as the Yanks being swept out of Fenway Park.

She answers the phone without missing a beat:

"Yeah. I said it. Lady-hands." She begins to sing "Moist Ladieeeeeeeee-hannnnds..."
(I am laughing so hard at this point that my breath is actually hitching).

I think author and supreme SmartMouth Goddess Susan Jane Gilman may have said it best (a quick thank you Jamie for gifting me with this very smart book): "It's not a date. It's entertainment. Since ninety-nine percent of all dates we'll ever be on will end in disappointment, we're far better off approaching each date as a source of endless entertainment and mockery for ourselves and our friends." And let me tell you this. While I haven't been dating long, I have accumulated a few odd fucking tales to tell. Including the moron who talked through an ENTIRE movie. Plot points, opinions, and oddly-forced laughter for all to hear! While rifling handfuls of popcorn into his mouth, as stewing people look at me from all sides to shut him up while he's taking these slight snack breaks. People all around with eyebrows crossed into X's, their faces painfully begging me "Shut your asshole-of-a-boyfriend up, would ya?! PLEASE?!"

And me (on first date) wanting to bury my head in the popcorn bin like Buckethead.

In the midst of these moments, I am so happy that I have a few lovely, smart friends in the dating trenches with me. First, they enable me. Damn, they are brave in battle. They encourage and challenge me to do the unthinkable. They scoot the horror out of me, pour me another gimlet, spray a little Betsey Johnson on me and push me back into the dating game when I want to curl up and die from my wounds (many self-inflicted). They dust me off, put a band-aid on my scraped ego, and toss me good pain killers so I can forget how much my heart hurts in the midst of this guerrilla warfare.

They are so witty and wise. They know of my anticipation. They have navigated the delicate balance of head-in-the-clouds expectations and sobering reality that each date brings. They truly know and feel the pain. Most importantly, they will share (and listen to) stories about every faceache and idiot we might have to suffer through in our attempt to find someone we can truly love with abandon.

So tonight I raise my glass of Malbec (yes, it's been one of those days) and send my love and gratitude to all of my girls in the deep, dark trenches. And yes, that does include the wise ones who are still married and who endure. You know who you are...

I love doing battle with you.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

I Like Being Frightened...

I've been battling a bit of an addiction.

Happily, it's to a very manageable and affordable substance. I'm a hopeless junkie to a one-time download that grips me like a bad crystal meth habit. Minus the need for any dental work.

And the really cool thing about this is that it supports my very firm belief that every life needs a really good soundtrack.

I should first thank Rob for this bittersweet introduction to the elixir known as Frightened Rabbit. Specifically their album "The Midnight Organ Fight". (I would also like to thank him for writing very beautiful and severely warm e-mails to me during the first part of my separation and divorce. I am indebted to him. But that is a tale for another day...)

Who knew upon zipping a quick $9.99 to iTunes that I would become completely and instantly addicted? So madly in love with this as though I conceived and gave labored birth to it myself? Earlier this year I struggled with a mild habit to Connor Oberst and his solo album. However, I kicked that in a few short months. No twelve steps needed. But this? I still cannot go a single day without injecting this into my ears. Turning up the volume and hitting repeat until I feel the oddly necessary ache or the sincere relief that each perfectly symmetrical word brings.

Much like Pink Floyd's The Dark Side of The Moon syncs up perfectly with The Wizard of Oz, The Midnight Organ Fight syncs up perfectly with the past two years of my own life. It sweetly, boldly tells the tale. I listen and fragments of my damaged life (more black and blue than black and white) present themselves boldly etched in my mind like Edward Gorey is working feverishly away in my noggin. I listen as I lose bits of myself and bits of my children like a leper loses limbs...while I need good arms to fit perfectly or twist around my waist to bring heat around my cold, aching body. I hold my breath while I struggle to swim through deep, drunken, panic-stricken waves. I am on the brink of sincere sorrow, needing to speak of things that can kill, or possibly salvage, an important relationship.

Every raw and intimate detail. Every honest want and thought I've had over the past couple of years is addressed so clearly in this recording as though I had dictated my life out loud to these Hutchison boys (and they had seen fit to listen and create their brilliant musical interpretation). It is truly, selfishly, my personal soundtrack. It's become my musical habit of choice.

And much like the enlightening ending of The Wizard of Oz (the ending I have always been so madly in love with), Scott Hutchison's gorgeous songwriting reminds me every day that I have the heart, the brain, and the courage I had once sadly forgotten I had possessed all along.

No wonder I remain a hopeless mainliner.