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Why I Sing

August 5, 2008

I figured something out tonight. I figured out why I love the performing arts so very much. I watched some tap-dancing Broadway babies for a while on TV, and I suddenly realized: it’s not Life, it’s what Life Could Be that I love to see. Sometimes it’s What Life Is — listening to any jazz or blues singer for a while, and you find yourself saying ‘yeah, it’s like that, it’s just like that, and that’s why I feel it so deep…’. But that’s what I love. And that’s why I do it. And that’s why I like to watch it, listen to it, be overcome by it.

Why bother? With what particular arrogance do we find ourselves on stage, thinking we have anything more or better to say than anyone else before?

It’s because we need to know, we need to be reminded — often — that life is worth living. Life, in all of it’s glory, pain, exhaltation, horror, hysteria, impossibility and all the rest. Keep going. Just a little farther down that yellow brick road, surely we’ll find our way home this time.

I am tired. I am lonely.

In the awkward, strange and tragically funny category, I’ve managed to pull muscles in my neck. And some of the stress that I don’t talk about here has exacerbated. I alternate between feeling like someone is strangling me, feeling like I’ve swallowed a chunk of apple and fear that there is something really wrong with me. The chiro assures me all is fine, but I wish this would go away faster than it is.

I had a fun trip to the ENT who stuck tubes down my throat and assured me that my chords are fine. I try to be grateful for that in the hailstorm of chaos and stress I seem to destined to fight my way through. Again.

Singing is a bit on hold as I get through piles of work and waiting for this to clear up.

I am tired. I am lonely.

I write this only to remind myself that I am still here and that for some reason I’ve never really understood… I must prevail.

* * *

I Wish I Was In New Orleans — Tom Waits

Well, I wish I was in New Orleans, I can see it in my dreams,

Arm-in-arm down Burgundy, a bottle and my friends and me
Hoist up a few tall cool ones, play some pool and listen
To that tenor saxophone calling me home
And I can hear the band begin “When the Saints Go Marching In”,
And by the whiskers on my chin, New Orleans, I’ll be there

I’ll drink you under the table, be red-nosed, go for walks,
The old haunts what I wants is red beans and rice
And wear the dress I like so well, and meet me at the old saloon,
Make sure that there’s a Dixie moon, New Orleans, I’ll be there

And deal the cards roll the dice, if it ain’t that old Chuck E. Weiss,
And Claiborne Avenue, me and you Sam Jones and all

And I wish I was in New Orleans, ’cause I can see it in my dreams,
Arm-in-arm down Burgundy, a bottle and my friends and me
New Orleans, I’ll be there

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