Can’t Find My Way Home

blind faithLucky happenstance brought me to Can’t Find My Way Home, a onetime alltime favorite song of mine.

Onetime? Only because I fell in love with it at first listen, but knocked it down an unmeasured number of positions once I decided that the lyrics didn’t contain the depth of analytical, tortured meaning that my reaction to the music required.

What the fuck is wrong with me?

I mean, seriously. What did I want? Why I can’t find my way home? Who the you is? What the throne represents? Where I am now? I’ve said that I want to get into opera someday, to have that experience of connecting with the power of the music itself, without any understanding of the foreign and exaggerated words; to have a potentially lifechanging experience. Y’know, like Cher in Moonstruck. But I’ve been surrounded by music my whole life. I have been moved by music my whole life. There are countless songs that make me cry if I try to sing along with them – and I always sing along, and find new heartbreakers All the Time. Most of those have lyrical meaning for me, but certainly not all of them. There are definitely a handful of tear-wrenching songs that I do not understand at all. I have no control over or justification for my reaction.

And yet I have still clung to this idea that the words in a song have to have explicit, profound meaning if the song is to be considered a complete success. What more could I possibly ask of Blind Faith than what they gave to us? What more could I possibly ask than Stevie Winwood’s haunting vocals, Ginger Baker’s percussion, Eric Clapton’s guitar (and the other guy – I’m not going to pretend I know who he is). What more could I even ask from the lyrics? The impression and the transmission of loss and longing is inescapable, and the sound of the words is the perfect . Even the content of the lines is perfect. It’s just enough to support the soft whirl of the quartet without forcing a narrative. The song as a piece is the story, and it isn’t a story you read, but one you experience.

I chalk this stupidity of my ways to White Supremacy.

Some White people have a hard time identifying ways in which whiteness hurts their lives. They may have a great understanding of how it fucks over Black people, but other than segregating everyone and hurting our fellow humans, they struggle to pinpoint how whiteness hurts them.

It reduces the joy I get from art.

Among other things, whiteness is about (what it perceives as) logic and critique and rankings and the actual literal (literally). It encourages the rules of religion, but not the surprise of spirituality. Whiteness is materialist, and does not suffer experiences left to their own devices, untranslated into words. I’m good at logic, which is one reason I veer into that whiteness. Another reason is a continuously negative mediated experience of the spiritual growing up.

To be fair, I also connect to lyrics because I don’t play an instrument, so it’s my most intimate bond with the song. I’ll always be a lyrics junkie, but I really have no excuse here. Please, welcome home to one of the greatest rock songs ever.  And leave your body and mind alone. Haven’t we had enough of them, already?



holocaust walk
Holocaust Memorial in Germany

I don’t have a problem with the annual memorializing of 9/11. But last month marked the 400th anniversary of the beginning of slavery in the US, acknowledged only by some segments of the press and small memorials here and there. It would have been easy to miss it entirely. It makes me wonder what we commemorate and why.

I’ve been listening to the White Lies podcast, which is ostensibly an investigation into the murder of the Reverend James Reeb, beaten to death after joining the movement for voting rights in Alabama. But really it’s an examination of the South, and culpability, and how we lie to ourselves in order to absolve ourselves of responsibility. It’s not just the South that excels at this. Our country loves to forget the horrors we’ve committed. Unless we’re turning our crimes into victories, which is a specialty of the South. As is the “memorial as fuck you.” Not just Confederate statues deep into the 20th Century, but a statue of the Klan’s first Grand Wizard a week into the term of Selma’s first Black mayor. In 2000.

Perhaps this makes sense to you. A country doesn’t want to rest on its mistakes and crimes, it wants to celebrate its achievements. It wants to encourage pride and patriotism. So we remember “good” things we’ve done and times when we were victimized, but not anything for which we were responsible, in which we fucked up. But I keep thinking of Germany and the ubiquitous reminders of the Holocaust. There is another way to do things. It might help our understanding of history and mitigate our arrogance if we acknowledged African slavery and Indian genocide in the same way.

Of course, Germany made reparations to Jews. I don’t know if they could memorialize if they hadn’t. How would we feel in this US if we were constantly reminded of those crimes against humanity, while simultaneously recognizing that the structural racism and oppression continue. Someone might want to do something about it. Who knows where that could lead.

Then again, right wing racists are on the rise in Germany, too, so maybe nothing does any good.

Now I’m in a bad mood.


Sinema Sworn in on a Law Book!

sinemaWhy is this worthy of comment? Why isn’t this the standard? Did the book burn Mike Pence’s fingers as he briefly touched a symbol of our country’s founding fucking secularism? What does it mean that she is more unique in Congress for being “religiously unaffiliated” than she is for being bisexual?

More questions:

  • How fabulous was her outfit?
  • Why does it make me cry when I see a swarm of women of different colors sworn into Congress?
  • Why did the fight scenes in the Wonder Woman movie make me cry?
  • Why did 2 male and 2 female white, cis-gendered heteros in near-middle age all cry when we saw this ad four years ago?

Have our bodies known for years, decades, millenia, what we’ve refused to say out loud to ourselves? How we have been diminished, oppressed, terrorized?

A New Year is Here.


Ritual (Christmas)

openThe sky was fucking gorgeous this morning – ice blue with a smattering of fluffy white clouds, stained golden yellow where the light of the rising sun illuminated them from below. Sub-zero, though. The coldest Minnesota winter in decades, they say, and I had forgotten V’s coat, with the sudden 20 degree drop, so we weren’t out long.

This year is forcing me out of my Christmas rituals. For a decade now, I have made the longish trek to one of the handful of restaurants in the Twin Cities open during the day, luckily one of my favorites, and indulged in a long breakfast with lots of coffee and a good book. But the Jewish owner has betrayed the chosen people and the ritualistic weirdos (I’m somewhere in there), and is no longer honoring his sacred responsibility. Even if it were open, it would border on dangerous to walk there in this weather, especially since I recently moved several miles further away than I had been for the duration of this ritual.

Why, anyway? I have no religion, no contiguous family songs or habits or food passed down from generation to generation. I am almost a cartoon of the American Individualist, if not by choice. And Xmas has never meant much to me, for those reasons and others. I decided to stop coming home for the holidays my Sophomore year of college, in which I spent my first Xmas on the cold beach in Southern California. I liked it. It was crisp and quiet and empty, and what life there was was friendly and respectful. I tried to make that into a ritual, but it didn’t always work out. When I was married, we decided that we were not going to either family’s houses during the latter-year holidays, and we announced as much to both, so there wouldn’t be any expectations. We spent Xmas in a very Jewishy manner, except for the presents and, typically, a tree, with a slow morning, dinner out, and a movie. It was a ritual of sorts, a nice one, and one I wanted to wipe clean once we divorced.

Once alone, I spent a few years traveling to see friends during the holidays, then settled into what seemed an important pattern: spending the opening scene of the day alone, and part in the company of unknown others. I can explain the meaning, though I’m sure it’s fairly obvious. I wanted to reinforce to myself that I didn’t need a partner to make the day special, to be content, or to feel at home in the world. I don’t doubt this often, but nonetheless it seemed important to act it out on this day, every year.

I still could, of course. There are a few (I think my hundreds of facebook friends have come up with 3) restaurants in the Twitties© open on Xmas day. But they’re far, and I can make some good French Toast with a loaf of brioche I bought yesterday, and we’ve got some delicious fake bacon that I hoarded when it was on sale a few weeks ago. I ‘m mid-way through an excellent novel and have plenty of time to be alone – the bf wakes up 4-6 hours after I do – and the world is there for me if I want it.

And the sun is shining! You can’t bask in it for fear of frostbite, but you can see it and maybe feel it melt some of the icy winter depression, even through the storm windows. It is breathtakingly beautiful.

I’m Not Religious. But I’m …

I lied. At the end of my last post, after writing about my problems with the word ego, I promised to steer clear of any more wonky language rants and post my next update instead about the concept of separateness. But as I started researching that topic, I ran into a snag. I came across another word I realized causes just as much confusion and raises even more questions than the word ego, and I decided the meaning of this troublesome word ought to be clarified before I move on to other subjects, because it’s so central to what this whole blog is about.

The word I’m talking about is “spirituality.”

Continue reading “I’m Not Religious. But I’m …”