Sunday, February 14, 2010

Day 219: Yes, Virginia, there is a Charlie Parker.

Oh my friends, forgive me, for it's been four days and no writing... but frankly, I've just been having too much darn fun. Life has been kind of nice lately, in a "I love my kid" kind of way. When you feel like that, it starts to feel as if nothing else matters. Except that it does.

A long list of terrific things have happened. I played in the band at the prom, and all the boys wore ruffly tux shirts, while the bari sax player dressed in so much silver that she looked like a size-12-albeit-shapely baked potato. I brought a stack of helium-filled balloons home for my gal, who has told me she loved me, unsolicited, at random intervals, about fifty times in the last three days. Together, we baked a heart-shaped cake. We raced at 85 MPH to make an Irish dance class that it turned out was canceled anyway. I sipped tea and played Coleman in a hidden cottage that love built, tucked away on a back road in my hometown. I had a rehearsal with Caravan, and meditated on sound, accompanied by a Sruti box and two magical fellows. I contemplated the development of a musician's mind, and tried to define the point at which it is appropriate to start teaching. I've practiced every day. I've attended one of the most enjoyable Irish music parties I've been to in a long time, and enjoyed the peace of knowing that I have true friends... friendships that music has glued together, more instantly than time. I didn't clean the kitchen, nor did I put away the laundry. Still, I fell in love with my hub-zind for the fiftieth time.

But I haven't told you any of this, til now. You know what J. D. Salinger said? He said,

"There is a marvelous peace in not publishing. It's peaceful. Still. Publishing is a terrible invasion of my privacy. I like to write. I love to write. But I write just for myself and my own pleasure."

Oh my goodness, J.D., I do get it. Surely, you left volumes there, tucked away in Cornish, New Hampshire. Write every day, and the audience be-damned, right? After several months of blog-induced anxiety (serious psychiatrists diagnose it as hypershare-a-phobia) I do believe I now understand why J. D. Salinger has spent the last, oh, fifty years or so in silence. It is a joy to write. But my goodness, it's scary, too.

Poor auld J. D.... Someone once said to me long, long ago that what you say about others often reveals more about you than it does about those of whom you speak. J. D.'s posthumous peanut gallery agrees. They say that his fiction characters reflected who he was.

Whatever.

Listen to what I read last week in the Boston Phoenix newspaper, from an article about a new album from songwriter Stephin Merrit. He said:

"If you're not writing about yourself, you can say anything you want, and it will probably be more revealing of your personality than if you're writing openly about your own life."

So, allow me to write about someone else: The Kid.

Last night, I had a rehearsal and brought Wee-One/She-One along. Driving home, it was late. Normal people would have had their kids in bed by then, but we like to be the exception that proves the rule. We are not normal. Our abnormality helps you normal people to feel like you've been making the right decisions all along.

So... 11 pm and WGBH was playing jazz. Oh, Charlie Parker and Dizz, to be exact, from classic 1940s Dial masters. It was after 11. Wee-One/She-One appeared to be sleeping. It was quiet. Then, suddenly, from the back seat, a sleepy little voice said, "Mommy, is this bebop?"

Be still, my beating heart. We've been doing something right, after all.

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