Sunday, September 14, 2008

Hurricane Kip

Last night I just stared at the screen, a list of tasks urgent in my head, but not an ounce of energy to motivate myself into action.

Perhaps this could be because Saturday nights are supposed to be frolicsome rendezvous with pals and lovers, while I was home and very much alone. Maybe it could have been knowing that my son and his mother were dancing at an annual event where we had all been together a year ago.

I know I could not move, lift a finger or blink an eye. I was done for the evening but still unable to take myself to bed. And this morning feels little better, grey with remnants of a hurricane spitting its last gasp on us far to the north of where it showed its mightiest power.

Fortunately, I can look back on a week that began with strong words leaping to pages on the screen. Ideas percolated for stories stretching towards print like the hurricane gathering moisture. For several days, thoughts raced through my mind. Even as I dutifully wrote out bills and proposals for the construction work that feeds my family, characters formed on the horizon as light and dark clouds.

In the middle of the week, music embraced my attention, pushing me up the street to play in public for the first time in many years. Inspired and compulsive, on the verge of obsessed, I worked late into several nights to get old music online, establishing a few minor chords of bragging rights to illustrate the tugs and twists that color my personal midlife, an upheaval of mixed metaphors storming around a half-centered third eye.

How strange it was to be so immersed in the blogosphere of my imagination, conjuring dreams of an appearance on Oprah to talk about surviving Hurricane Kip and playing a song or two from my hit album with my hot band, only to be humbled by jumping into my truck—late as usual—with its cracked windshield and dents, in my dirty clothes to pay the bills of reality.

By the end of the week, I had to be fully engaged in late night painting sessions to transform the interior of a deli that had to remain open each day. Working alone, as people stroll past between restaurants and the theater (yes, we have culture as well as cows in Vermont), enjoying their evening, disorientation and delusions spin ugly thoughts.

Into every life there must be a healthy measure of balance. Work and family, art and finances, music and the hum of daily activity—the balances and blendings must be found to create a well-rounded peaceful life. Even the tension between joys and pains must be balanced (not necessarily equal), like day and night, sunshine and rain, activity and rest: one infusing the other. Without these dances--balanced harmonies--crisis is certain.

So I can forgive myself, after finishing another wall, and cleaned up enough to face my list of tasks. I can understand why my fingers refuse to budge. And in the morning, after a good night’s sleep, they seem to be doing better.

Now if I could only explain this to my mortgage company.
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julochka said...

very interesting post...i got a good sense of hurricane kip. :-) and life is a balancing act, isn't it? duty and pleasure. work and play. travel and home. it's all about hanging it all together, isn't it? i find that writing my way through it helps immensely and it seems that you do too.

Anonymous said...

I think that I hear where you're coming from Kip... When I get lost in a fantasy I find the 'reality' somewhat bitter and I have to fight to ground myself again.

A very thoughtful post. Thanks for sharing :-)

Hayden Tompkins said...

"music embraced my attention, pushing me up the street to play in public for the first time in many years"


Ok, now my question is...are you doing it for music's sake? Or recognition? In order to figure out what will make you happy, you have to figure out what you need.

This is SO EXCITING. Baby steps. :)

Kip de Moll said...

Julochka, you certainly have some time on your travels across the world to write, a fascinating break from the daily life of home in a different country and work in yet another country. Amazing that you can balance it (or even know what language to speak on a given morning!).

Carol, all week I was painfully aware of not wanting to DO the carpentry business anymore. It's been trying poorly to pay the bills all these years when what I really want to do is write the stuff I'm doing now.

Hayden, the recognition is nice (who could not like the feel of the eyes of 20 somethings staring up dreamily as you tell them to stay true to their dreams and passions?!), but the sound of your own voice coming back to surround and envelope you, twisting the phrases eveer more subtly because you can hear every nuance...THAT is beauty! Something akin, I think, to that groove you reach in your best moments of dancing under the right lights.

Hayden Tompkins said...

Kip, you totally speak Hayden. :)

Ok, so I didn't explain that well! Both my father and brother are musicians. My father loves the interaction between him, the music, and the audience. For him, playing 'by himself' is kind of sterile.

My brother, on the other hand, prefers the pure act of creating music and doesn't care about any interaction with the audience.

They're both musicians but need completely different things. You definitely sound like more of an 'audience interaction person.

Kip de Moll said...

Well, I acknowledge and appreciate the audience (as I remember way back), and I carry on a conversation because I'm in the spotlight, but the music really is the thing. It's like the audience is the extra musician, one more instrument added to the experience. As part of an audience, I've participated as if my applause and appreciation could make the show last all night (there is NOTHING like a Grateful Dead Concert to feel like you're playing with the band!)

Anonymous said...

Kip I have been where you are. Believe me it will be better. You need to move on though in your personal life. I think you are so talented that it shouldn't be a problem. I remember when I used to dwell on the past and my marriage, then I made an effort to date and move on. Today I am married again to the true love of my life. Hang in there my friend.


Pauline said...

That awful wonderful tug between the life inside one's head and the life outside it! You've described it well.

Laurie said...

I tend to get into trouble when what I feel as reality is really fantacy. What I mean by that is not that I have lost my mind, although there have been close calls, but more that I have a relationship with someone and I feel really connected with them then circumstances prove that they meant much more to me than I did to them. I had that happen today as I was really dissapointed in someone I thought included me in some imaginary circle but I was obviously wrong. Dissapointed? No, hurt. I am hurt.

Your story is so nice. I love it. Keep it up.

Kip de Moll said...

Thanks for the good advice. I'm in relationship with myself right now, something I've never really had before. This looking back is with a studious mind that wants to understand some ways of behavior so I can modify the traps that have sidetracked me before.

Thanks, Pauline, I didn't start out to write about that push/pull, and it's wonderful how these essays just evolve into cohesion despite all my attempts to make it more complicated than it really is.

That sounds painful, Laurie. I hope today has been a better day. Sometimes our best friends are the ones who have been standing just off to the side all that time.