Cary Me Home

Empty wine bottles fill the table top, while snow begins to drift down the window pane.  My friends and I sit around on sofas that know our history. We make jabs at one another and laugh till our vision becomes blurred. The bartender knows us and the high school teachers hate us. It took a town to raise us and now we remain nestled at its breast. Still the little spoons in the village bed. We look to one another and love is in our eyes. These are the friends that our children will call family and who have helped us grow. We've laughed, loved, and fought, but still we come together in fierce unity. Men may walk in and out of our homes, but only one of them for each of us will come to realize this intimacy we share.

We'll see you at the Tracks someday. Need some fresh air? We'll walk with you to the Jewel. 
We'll hold your hand when your heart breaks, and take you to Galatis so you can just talk about it. If one goes down on the tiled battlefield, you'll hear our high heeled footsteps rushing to your aid. We've spent days driving around and choosing new favorite songs. We know every back road and have ambled through the Hollows.  

Five years ago we set sail in our tiny boats. Weathering storms and avoiding pirates, some days we thought we wouldn't survive.  The lessons we learned we shared in one another. We've defended each other and when one is attacked, we gather our armada. No one fights back alone and we'll celebrate with a bonfire, our flag flying high. 

When we cross over the bridge back into town, we'll bring new people and share with them the story of a few girls who made this town shine. They'll call us "oh the girls from Cary" and never realize that the farthest place from anywhere gave birth to the greatest story ever told. For it's the small town girls that birth the biggest dreams. 

And with friends like these...we're an army of homemade. We're a revolution of old and new.  We'll become the song you want to hear again. And when the big world becomes old and not so new, I'll Cary You Home, so you can find your dreams again. We'll drink cheap wine and sit around laughing at old jokes. Snow will begin to fall and so will our eyelids. Our hearts beating together, seemingly at peace, finally back home in our village bed.




Fifty Shades of [Me]

With a guitar strumming in the background, I laugh as the sparks from the fire illuminate our youthful grins. Looking from face to face, we cheer each other on in telling our tales. Tell us where you're from, tell us about the people you love. When it's my turn I talk about my pals back home, my family, but my thoughts stray to the stars, so watchful and mindful of our playtime. With a fire and stars as our only source of light, we feel secure in a once fearful darkness. The words we share will stay in these woods. And the ideas we share and create will one day move the mountains that surround us. The world outside might as well be on the other side of the starry skied curtain. We are young, carefree, and full of faith. 
But how does it end? 

He asks me laying down my manuscript, my child. What becomes of you all in the end? Dressed in a black hoodie and ripped jeans I shrug and reach for my works. Flipping my hood to cover my hair, I wish I could pull it over my face. I should never have let him read this I think angrily to myself. He urges me to write the end and turns the music back up in the room. I look back at him, my eyes trying to convey my emotions but my poker face is too good, too perfected.  His hands me a song written just for me, and it takes me only moments to recognize the lyrics from the radio. Stolen words, I think bitterly, how appropriate.

Years later the hoodie still hangs in my closet, wrinkled and still smelling of ash. I sit at my computer, my easel and oils awaiting inspiration, piling up in my head until I'm unable to think. With each word written my mind is unplugged, unstopped, and every though put in neat boxes unhinge their doors and cross the threshold.  Now in my 20's so many memories I once coveted seem more like scenes from a shelved novel. I am constantly amazed with what the mind chooses to dance with. What song my ears yearn for, and the melody that serves as my buffer. Music is still my filter, still the lens that allows a horrifying memory to be painted pink with nostalgia. Listening to a sweet guitar, humming me back to the basics, it is so easy, so effortless to just type a sweet sounding story. My keyboard is the piano man's baby grand.

They say your 20's are the best time of your life, and yet they have sang the same song for high school and college. I have a funny feeling this is a verse people cling to. They cling to this as to justify their lives, instead of just recognizing how beautiful each day, each sunrise, each cerulean sky can be. What I'm coming to understand is that God does not care about my plan. How selfish I must look, telling him what I'm going to do and the things I want. But I have always been a go-getter, it's in the blood of my generation. As a child I would bargain with the Holy Ghost. I'll be nice to my brother Mr. Ghost, but only if I receive the beanie baby I saw at the Hallmark store. And if you don't listen, I'll go run to Mother Mary. My eight year old self learned early the value of a deal, and all too soon the value of an agreement documented in ink.

Sometimes, and maybe my fellow writers or artists can relate, I find myself so afraid to write. I tell myself I'm just putting it off because I'm tired, or there's other work to be done. But when it comes down to the grittiness of being an artist, to the rawness of creativity, the reality cannot be buffered with a sweet song. Because one cannot reside in the valley of a mountain, having only friends and stars to hear and read you. One was given the gift of creating to share it, to defend it, to fight till you're hagard to retain it. My story is not one written in order, or maybe it is, and I'm just figuring out what goes where.  And then the scariest thing happens, you're asked to share. You fall in love, you make a new friend, and you find yourself opening your secret notebook of musings. You pray they'll see how precious every word is to you, how cherished every stanza of thought, and you look up at them with hungry eyes.  You're famished for understanding. You've let them into your soul's playroom. This is what makes me how I am. This is what makes me not just another blonde with a nice laugh. This is what makes me a composer, a woman, a humble child of the divine.

Tonight I'm giving myself a few blank pages with which to keep on writing. To keep evolving this humanity that we so often ignore and would rather materialize. I'm letting my mind unfold, keying the words that might never make sense. A selfish act, but selfless as I bare my overflowing notebook, every page scribbled on with thought, observation, and memory.  I smile softly at the memory of first loves and nights in the mountains of North Carolina. I have not taken time to notice how much they have shaped me. I am smiling now as I look to a bright new year, my new blank notebook.  You have time, I tell myself and my friends. We all have time. Seven days in and this night feels inexplicably new.  At least once a week this year I will write. I will compose and create something that will be posted on the world's wall. Because if we don't share our gifts... then what empty conversations we have ahead of us. Someone very dear to me challenged my current antics, keeping all my words in my head, saving my writing for a never arriving tomorrow.  And although I admit this only here, in the protection of written words, he is right. This new year will be about growing in love and acknowledging more of this soul. Soulful, I heard someone describe me once as such. I'd like to get back to that.