Sun, Sun, Sun

This time of year is hard enough when the only sun you get is that brief time between dawn and when you get out of your car.  But there’s been no sun in the morning all week and it’s been damp and closed in and I wake up in the dark, go inside, spend all day under the long-tube lights, and go back into the dark.  I feel closed in and bothered.  It’s hard to say by whom.

But I miss the sun.  I miss waking up to light slipping in the windows and across the floor, the bed, my face.

I’m having a hard time of it latelyand I more than anything want to be left alone and them am irritated when I am.

But then I come home and I stick my nose in one of the squares I have done and it’s all Kool-aid-y and clean-smelling and it makes me happy.  It smells like hot days without much to do.

Two Things

1.  Soon enough, everyone even tangentially related to your healthcare will be able to weigh in on it.  For fun, I’m going to stand in the aisle at Walgreen’s right in front of the condoms and knock them out of the hands of people trying to buy them and shout “Baby killer!!!!”  After all, who are condom-users to decide which, if any of your sperm, lose the opportunity to take a shot at an egg.  I mean, it’s not exactly baby killing, but it’s only a step back from what Plan B does and they can refuse to hand that out of they think it might be an abortion, so let’s just have some fun with it, you know?

2.  I know I should be outraged, but I just can’t work up the effort to give a shit.  There shouldn’t be ministers invoking or benedicting or praying or asking some god’s blessing at the inaguration period.  I don’t care if it’s some rabidly homophobic jackass like Rick Warren or some old guy who looks like a peanut M&M like my dad.  Does it grate that there’s going to be some homophobic zealot jackass speaking for and to his god at the inaguration like the difference between homophobic religious zealots who want to control women and everyone else is just a difference of opinion?  Yes.  But why is any minister there in the first place?  Wake me up when we’re having that discussion.

If you’re outraged, point and laugh while he talks.  That’s what he deserves.  But he sure doesn’t deserve to be at the inaguruation.  No minister performing his pastoral duties does.

Ain’t No

When I was an English major back in 1833 (or whenever, I can’t remember) we were in the middle (or at the end of) a long discussion about whether there was a canon, if there was a canon, if that was a good thing, and whether we should do away with the canon or expand the canon or what.  I don’t know what they ever decided.  Probably nothing.  I don’t guess the resolution is the important part–it’s the questioning and trying something new that has the value.

But it still remains an interesting question.  Is there some core set of knowledge people should try to have, at the least so that they can understand and refute what other people are saying?

I was thinking about that this morning because I have “Ain’t No Grave Can Hold My Body Down” by Bozie Sturdivant in my iPod just because I was, at some point, making some effort to know the things that people who know things talk about.  I wouldn’t go so far as to say that it’s a song I like, though I think it’s an interesting song.  Sturdivant is doing some interesting things with his voice that make me think more of what you would hear on the radio, not in church.

I wasn’t trying to listen to “Ain’t No Grave Can Hold My Body Down” this morning, though.  I was actually trying to listen to the song that is 9 of 855 on my tiny iPod, not the one that is 8.  Nine of 855 in alphabetical song order is “Ain’t No Sunshine.”  And I mistook one “Ain’t No” for the other at the stop light.

And I would have cleared it up sooner if Sturdivant’s “Ain’t no” didn’t seem so much like Wither’s “Ain’t no.”  Listen just to the opening two notes of each song and tell me if those aren’t close cousins of each other.  And I keep listening to the songs back to back, trying to decide if the echo is intentional, one younger song nodding back to another, wondering what it might mean to find that the two songs were deliberate sonic siblings, and suspecting it’s just the kind of coincidence facilitated by modern technology.

Still, it’s kind of cool.

In Which I Confess I Find the Oxford American Music Issue Unsatisfying

Granted, I’m not through the whole thing, but I eagerly await it every year and I am always vaguely unsatisfied in the same way by the issue itself.

See, here’s the thing.  The music is always so damn interesting.  It’s not always good, but it’s always one after another of “What the fuck am I hearing?”  And, in the best years, once the novelty has worn off, you’re left with some songs you want to hear for the rest of your life, like, for instance, “Grits ain’t Groceries.”  Will there ever be a day when you don’t want to hear “Grits ain’t Groceries?”  I hope not.

So I finally broke down and bought the issue last night because I couldn’t wait any longer and it is apparently never coming to work where I can steal it (though, you know, I say that and it will be here today).  And I sat in the parking lot way down by PFChang’s ejecting CDs from my car stereo while impatient shoppers honked and their cars steamed throught the streams of their headlights all hoping to get my spot when I left, if I left, and finally, I get the CDs in and I pull out and I’m listening.

And I’m thinking “Neko Case?!  What the fuck?  When did she become Southern?”  Which I believe would be the question on anyone’s mind when that song came on and yet, in the magazine, there’s a story about how her red hair is like foxes.  Fine.  And nice and funny about how the author gets self-conscious about writing about hair and foxes.  But it didn’t tell me what I needed to know at that moment, which was the answer to “Neko Case?!  What the fuck?”  I mean, don’t get me wrong, I went along with it, because I’m sure some fool somewhere thinks Tiny Cat Pants is a blog reflective of the life of some particular Southern girl and the blurring of that truth also tickles me.

But, more importantly–and granted, I’m not even through the whole first CD yet–was the bigger “What the fuck?!” moment that delighted me so much I was almost afraid to listen to it again for fear that it might not be true.

Ella Fitzgerald singing “Sunshine of Your Love.”

It sounds like the TSU marching band has crammed into a tiny jazz club and is trying to play nice, but what’s the use of having all those horns if you’re not going to hear the bite of the brass?  And then you have Fitzgerald singing like she might have used to have known all the words to the song ten years ago, but she’s going to have to fake it some.

But her voice!  Oh god, her voice is like smooth ice on a warming lake, just cracking and letting go of the shore.

And so, when you listen to it, it’s the sonic equivalent to that marching band setting out over that ice, which seems solid enough, but it’s March (ha!  March), so you don’t know and will everyone make it to the other side in one piece?

And they do!  And it’s just so fucking delightful.  And I listened to it twice and the whole way through I was like “What the fuck?  What the fuck is this?!”

I don’t know.  I came home and tore open the magazine and the story about Ella Fitzgerald seems to be about some guy and his lost love and there’s nothing about marching or ice or just what it means to listen to that song.

It’s fine writing, beautiful writing.

But, oh my god, it’s not about this song and that just seems like such a squandered opportunity.