Monday, October 12, 2009


Despite the brilliance of leaves turning and dropping, this time in Vermont can be very gloomy, thick with clouds, heavy with rain, dreary with the thundering silent approach of winter. At least this year, rather than dreading the struggles of cold and snow, I anticipate the pleasure of skiing with my Skatter Monkies.

Like a squirrel counting his nuts, this seems a time of taking stock, measuring the size and quantity of my supply before hunkering down. Compared to the panic of last year—when the economy threatened to exterminate our way of life—some have learned to moderate their consumption and others are back to the race, sobered, but thirsty. I have learned to live with much less and stay close to home, but I am earning what I keep, and by staying within my means, living with so much less stress, I am able to feel joy.

This past year, for me, has been a revelation of creativity, an indulgence of musical blossoms that has brought fantasies into sharper focus, actually close to reality. Watching a video recently of John Oates and other notables on the Bitter End stage, I was awed to consider that I had played that very same piano just a few weeks after him and possibly sang into that very same microphone. I finally got to see my idol Jackson Browne again, then within a month played my own music in that same meadow.

This precious time with my son has finally created some of the bonding experiences he should have been receiving throughout these many years. So open and honest with each other, we have had the conversation that in many ways he has had to be the parent in his childhood, tending to his mother and father as they battled to keep a marriage together. Now he enjoys each as they recover into whole beings with the energy and time to spend supporting his growth and discovery.

We finally travelled to Oregon to link a large piece of my own past, and more importantly, to connect with his sister on her turf. The emotional neglect she suffered from me in these twenty years is shameful, but her heart, so huge, welcomes me back, the father she once knew now growing into a better man.

I am learning that love does not have to hurt, is not about sacrifice or measuring up. One does not have to prove oneself to be loved, strive to be more, or settle for less. Although I have been loved for who I am in my lifetime, it has taken a really special person and circumstance for me to actually feel it.

The inspiration for my writing has lately been very subdued to the point I thought perhaps my crisis had passed and I have settled into a sort of routine that no longer demands expression. To pay bills, I have put the nail belt back on and am currently on top of a roof with plenty of thoughts, but too exhausted by evening to set a word to paper. Somehow, in the weariness of that self-satisfied rest, those words of passion seem less important.

The wages of a carpenter—without the business of employees—can be a respectable living in a humble home. I am loved. I give back with music. I could easily slip into a quiet obscurity, a blessed anonymity.

Still, the de Moll “Legend”, as I call it, runs so very deep, I awake at night, bones rattling to the beat of my mother’s stories of this relative and that, generations of accomplishments that branded my soul with the belief that I too would amount to something more than this. Peeling away the skins of my marriages and addictions, flaps of other layers loosen and my thoughts—like passing a bloody accident—are unable to turn away.

Much I have learned in this cave of a home, but the space is dark, unfinished and crowded with too much. The furniture is ragged (the rejects from our home or garage sales), the dust swirls, mice find access through many holes. In the day it is dark, at night it is drafty. To work, or on errands, I rumble along in my rattling Redster, racing stripes, luminescent stick shift and lighted mirrors features that do not resonate with me.

My self-worth is not reflected in these myriad things, but has certainly been floundering these many years. Taking charge of my life, I begin by sweeping the floor, measuring the cabinets I will finally build, and envisioning the car or truck that better suits me.

The full moon of this October howls that there is plenty more mystery and beauty to discover, uncover.

Please share with your friends


Hayden Tompkins said...

This may not be what you want to hear but I have to say that I wonder if you are just not pursuing the right thing? I do think that people need to learn that they are not the center of the universe, yes, but I also think there is a place for you to shine career-wise. I really think you did a fantastic editing job and wonder if you could concentrate in that area? Or does that not appeal to you?

laughingirl said...

It's great to hear your voice in writing again. This was reflective and realistic (though you dislike the practical).One more positive outcome of a blustery day: time to write.

Laurie said...

The de Moll legend? Most legends are just that, legends. If you were to make a list of what makes a quality person, I dare say your list would include words like integrity, authenticity, honor, etc. I doubt the list would include a six figure income, a 5000 sq ft home, the letters MD after the name. Consider perhaps Kip, that the legend is hooey and maybe it's time to redefine what legendary should mean when associated with the de Moll name.

While your income hasn't launched you into a higher tax bracket, your personal growth reached new highs. You are risking where it counts, pursuing your musical passions, and living from your authentic core. While it would be icing on the cake to turn your passions into income, many people feel joy from work that allows them to live their passions after they clock out. There is nothing wrong with that.

As always Kip, you inspire me.

Anonymous said...

Kip, I was just thinking the other day that my humble existence enables me to live a life that is considerably less stressful than someone who earns many thousands more than I do. The higher the income, the more stress there is to achieve more or to maintain it. While there are times that I feel that I could be doing more, my humble existence allows me to live more joyfully.

I sense that you have reached that too :-)