Monday, May 29, 2006

Change of Life

As I've mentioned in the past, I'm involved with a fantastic group called IllumiNation, and we were in Lyon, France a couple of weeks ago. I've actually been busy, despite the loss of my day job, so this is the first chance I've had to really write about the trip.

First, I have to say this was easily one of the best weeks of my life. The media is alternately a gift and a curse; it informs, and it mis-informs. Lots of Americans are walking around with a nasty idea about the French, especially that they're snooty or hard to get along with. That couldn't be further from the truth -- the French know how to have a good time, and love meeting and talking with people.

Paris is a lot like Manhattan, busy and glitzy, somewhat elitist in its sense of self. When one thinks of France, Paris comes to mind first, and rightly so, just as when one speaks of New York, they think of Manhattan (even if they just think of Manhattan as "the city") first. But the city of Lyon is like Brooklyn, with a laid-back, casual attitude, plenty of relaxed places to hang out and eat or drink (you can get a beer at 8am if you want and no one cares), and a diverse population. Everyone in Lyon isn't White and thin. In fact, I was pretty comforted when I saw full-figured girls on the street just doin' the damn thing.

The group we went to fellowship with, La Jamaa, was amazing; amazing singers, amazingly warm, amazingly welcoming. We had a great time. Telios & I are already thinking about going back in December, but our schedules are a little full, not to mention that we're going to need to watch our expenses.

I probably should have called this post Upheaval Part 2 because my life is rapidly changing, and the trip was a huge part of that. I don't have audio files (working on that), but pictures will be up on the IllumiNation site soon.

More later.

Thursday, May 18, 2006

This is Important?

As you know, I've expressed my support for same-sex marriage, not because I'm in one, but because I don't see how its existence is such a threat to an already-changed social landscape, including redefined families. I've shared my disgust at changing the Constitution explicitly to forbid something, which I believe goes against the spirit of the document in the first place.

I actually thought it wasn't possible that our government would actually stoop so low as to ignore the widening gap between rich and poor, the rampant privatization of everything, including a prescription drug plan that is supposed to help senior citizens but is so confusing that the majority of those it is supposed to help couldn't figure it out in time for the initial application deadline, a military action that is supposed to stretch into the next Presidency, Americans who fell for the SUV's are great okey-doke just a few years ago now facing a giant bite in the ass thanks to skyrocketing gas costs, dirt-cheap adjustable rate mortgages now coming home to roost, and post-9/11 impulse-buyers facing bills they can't pay that they would actually take the time to approve legislature that has all but put the last nail in the coffin to officially outlaw marriage between two men or two women.

This is important?

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Upheaval

I often vacillate between publicly journaling my personal struggles and simply sticking to expressing my opinion on a variety of things. It has become more and more difficult to post here because there is so much in the news to write about, and there has been quite a bit in my personal life as well.

In the past, I've written about my relationship with the lovely Telios, and I've also written about old friends (some of whom have contacted me, which has been lovely). Once I even shared a long-term struggle I've had with my creative longings, something that is rearing its head again.

So, I'm taking the public journal route in the hope that perhaps my perspiration will be someone's inspiration. The universe has a funny way of making things happen when we won't make them happen for ourselves. People come into our lives, leave our lives. Jobs come and go. Disappointments mount. Sigh.

I've been laid off my job. I can't say I was surprised, but it sucks anyway. The truth is I grew to depend on that regular check, and the regular benefits. The truth is I like having a routine, even one that isn't that great. Waking at a certain time, wearing certain clothes. You get used to that. You get used to seeing people most of the week. I'm okay for money right now, although I'm not sure why I've sort of been hiding from my landlady. The rent will be paid on time and in full for most of a year. I have a part-time job, and I can pick up another one, or even temp. Telios has partner benefits at her job, and I can get on her insurance once mine is done. She's a little conflicted about hers, though, so I do feel a little bad about sort of forcing her to stay if she isn't completely happy about it.

The greater thing, the scarier thing, scarier than money, more frightening than making sure I stay healthy and uninjured is that I really don't do many things well other than music. I don't think I do music that well, so I have a small problem. However, others would disagree about my musical talents, and so I've been making concerted efforts to browse the musician listings on Craigslist and respond to postings I think I might be suited for. Wonder if I should freak out because no one has responded to any of my messages even to say "we're not looking for 40-year-old church musicians who play by ear better than they read, with no jazz experience, no Berklee or Julliard or Clive Davis School degree bullshit-ass wannabe career changers going through a midlife crisis, so have a seat, old lady."

Sigh. I don't have to financially freak out yet. I do have a severance package, and a church job. I'd just like to feel a little more confident about the whole thing. I should probably just stick to my original plan which was to:

1. Get a piano teacher to help with improv and theory
2. Buy a guitar and teach myself enough chords to play music to entertain the hoardes of babies in the nabe lucky enough to hang out in coffee bars with their work at home moms
3. Try to write more and get published
4. Take the summer off, work on my resume and get another job or register with a temp agency

Perhaps I should just not attempt anything major until a full month has passed (it's only been three weeks). Perhaps I should just act like I'm on vacation. Perhaps I should just have another cup of coffee, reminisce about last week's incredible trip to France (another post, I swear!), and learn the music I need to know for tomorrow's rehearsal for the job I do have.

Sigh.