8. Fisk Memorial Chapel

One of the nicest spirits in Nashville lingers at Fisk Memorial Chapel. Most of the time, she is more noticed in her absence than her presence. You’ll walk into the empty chapel and the air will still be humming, as if someone has just finished playing the organ. Or you will shuffle into your spot in the choir loft and there will be the faint smell of rose water, as if a woman was standing there just seconds before you.

The reason she is one of Nashville’s most beloved ghosts has everything to do with the women’s restroom. You see, to get into the women’s restroom, you open a door on the north side of the vestibule and immediately, you must step down a set of stairs. These stairs are incredibly steep, each step so shallow you think your whole foot might not fit on it, and then the whole thing takes a sharp turn to the left at the bottom, into the actual restroom itself.

No matter how sure-footed you are, if you are in heels, taking those stairs is taking your life into your own hands. And yet, if you are at the chapel for any length of time, you will have to take those stairs.

And, often, as you have your right hand stretched down the wall to steady yourself and your left hand is out behind you, tightly wrapped around the banister, and you are half-leaning forward to see if anyone will need to squeeze by you on the way up, just at the moment you feel like you are about to tip forward and end up sprawled in a broken heap at the bottom of the stairs, you will feel a firm but gentle grip on your arm, a kind fellow visitor setting you right again.

But, of course, when you turn to look, to thank your rescuer, the steep stairway is empty.

Some people have been known to leave gifts of appreciation for her on those steps, but I must implore you not to make them any more dangerous to traverse than they already are.

Dropping Books Off

This morning the Butcher and I dropped all the books I have in the world, except two, off at the Southern Festival of Books. If you have never been to a conference before, the most fun part is when people are getting ready. Today, for the Southern Festival of Books, is no exception. Large men were hoisting tables already stacked with books into position. More large men were yanking large ropes that sent banners up into the air. Police chatted amiably with people parking quasi-illegally along Charlotte to unpack.

And there went my books. Off into the hands of people who will put them on long tables.

And we will all hope someone who might like it will pick it up and bring it home.

Tomorrow, I have the stage for a whole hour. I’m supposed to be spending some time today figuring out what to read.

I’m excited. I hope people come. My parents will be there, so, if you’re in Nashville, and you’ve ever been curious about who would raise me up, you can meet them. My secret goal is to make my mom scream or yelp or something. That would be awesome.

Happy People Make Boring Bloggers

I am sorry, y’all. I feel like things around here have been a little dull. But the truth is that I have just been happy. You think you’re suffering, think of all the poor Pith readers who have been subjected to happy trips to the park or the cemetery or whatever. Okay, I guess that’s the same as over here.

Allow me a little moment of woo-woo crap. (Fair warning if you’re not interested).

But when I first started running into the Old Man, I kind of liked him because I already recognized that kind of energy. I already knew and was intrigued by secret things and boundary pushing and niceness that could snap back into meanness. I knew what it was like to love words and, hell, to feel like words were your secret thing. And I was not that far removed from my experiments with death.

Yes, there was a lot that blew my mind, but at some level, damn, it felt like coming home. I really got that.

A few weeks ago, I had a vision that we were sitting at a table and he introduced me to his red-headed son, who was large, literally and figuratively. And he was simple, in a way. Solid. Good. Proud. Content. Not energy I’m used to, frankly.

And that’s who I feel I’m getting to know. And I feel like I’m starting to get why we were so loyal to him, back before.

You know my theory–that Santa Claus is just a disguise the Old Man and his red-headed son settled on so that they could come with us into the Christian era?

It does kind of feel like Christmas around here, but different, too.

I feel deeply Lucky.

But it sometimes makes for boring blogging.