Words of power

Here is a thought I had the other day: “Some people who are trying to use power will refuse to explain the meaning of the words and use a lot of specialty words and abbreviations. Then if you don’t know the meaning of this code, they will see you as not part of their in-group and therefore not cool or safe or allowed.”

This is a confusing subject and I’m sure many other people know much more about it than I do. A lot of times it depends on context. When I am grumpy sometimes I will resist explaining myself – but I usually do – you just have to deal with me dealing with my mood, which is often entertaining as I alchemize my bad moods through humor or intellectualizing or a combo of both.  Sometimes a person may be in a hurry and have no time or energy to teach, even though they might want to.  Some things we do because that is who we are, other things we do because of the circumstances we are tied to…


St. Patty’s at Cafe Coco.

How does a person live a transformative life, a life in process and development, a growing life? This is something friends of mine and I have been discussing quite a bit over the last week, although we are certainly not alone. The subject is so vast and all encompassing that this space of expression right here cannot answer that question. I don’t have an answer, and I’m not sure anyone else does either. We have attempts at an answer. Sitting here writing this is one such attempt in the form of an activity, a process.

Creating, sharing, interacting on a level of ideas is something that gives me happiness, that gives meaning to this space of time called my life. I’ve done this in so many forms. The forms that stick out in my mind are music, writing, legos, fort building, snow fort building, cooking, playing, tai chi. There are many others…maybe I can explore this further, expand on this tangent. My Music Theory professor Dr. Feldman gave us exhaustive essay projects at the end of each semester. They were both painful and wonderful as I typed and typed and edited and edited until there was nothing left to say about all the material we covered that semester. My fingers hurt right now as I type, and I’m only on the second paragraph – this would explain why I don’t type more than I do, and why I should type more – I need to condition my hands!

Over the last couple years I’ve gotten pretty good at jotting down ideas that sprout up into my mind, but resist like the plague the work of rereading, reworking, developing, expressing, and ultimately integrating these ideas into my life, using them to transform myself, inform myself, grow. All these little spurts of ideas remind me of little spurts of musical ideas that I get really enthusiastic about for a moment, but again don’t take the next step of working with, hold myself back, distract myself, procrastinate, and wonder why I don’t build confidence. How can I have confidence if I don’t put in the time and effort? I used to do this automatically, motivated by school, parents, competitiveness, etc, then my body just broke from my obsessive effort and for the last 5 years I have been trying to put my Humpty Dumpty self back together again. It’s hard to put in time and effort when you only have enough energy to take care of the bare essentials of continuing to exist. This has been changing and is picking up some momentum.

Just sitting here focusing like this, I suddenly find myself happy, recognizing myself again, it’s pleasant….It is a beautiful day outside, the nicest weather I’ve felt so far this year, a light breeze, 70’s and partially cloudy, people laughing and smiling getting ready for St. Patrick’s day carousing pre-gaming at the coffee shop. I’m enjoying the process of relaxing into this place, letting my mind move…..


For all the recent press on Nashville’s growing status as an “it” city, as “Nowville”, etc, there is one thing that the articles might be missing. In fact I am sure there are many things these articles are missing. They don’t tend to be complex reflections of the complex reality of Nashville, but are marketing tools, trying to help boost Nashville’s status. They remind me of what often bothers me about other people when I interact with them – overconfidence and a lack of ease and slowness for proper introspection.

The one thing that these articles are missing can be best summarized in one word…..”Nastyville.”

This is a term coined by the illustrious coffee drinker and local public intellectual, Maurice Kuttab. Many have of course heard about East Nasty, but few realize that the city itself on a whole has some nasty characteristics that are not brought up nearly often enough. I for one just don’t have the energy to exude (or ooze) enough positivity to keep my awareness of this nastiness at bay! How bout a bit of airing of grievances?

Grievance no.1 – Passive aggression. it is rampant, everywhere, it drives me totally bonkers.

Grievance no.2 – The sweet smell of the sewer as it fills the air outside of Fido in Hillsboro Village. Is there some strange addictive substance wafting out of that sewer? I swear it is addictive! I think it also makes me hungry. This is quite a conundrum for me, as I can’t indulge in this delicious setting to eat and hang out due to being banned, for of all things, playing the violin. Although it is still rather unclear to me why….I asked for clarification and the owner did not offer any.

Grievance no.3: No city wide composting! If we are serious about being sustainable and environmentally friendly as a city we should have city wide mandated compost pickup like San Francisco. That would be freaking awesome.

Grievance no. 4: Song Writer’s nights. I really don’t want to listen to most of the songwriters I hear at these things. Wouldn’t you go out more if you were being Serenaded by say, a String Quartet rather than what you hear at a song writer’s night? I just get really bored at people singing and playing guitar.  There are occasional glimmers of originality, but I’m not sure they make up for it. Furthermore, since most of these events are low or no cost for bars and restaurants, no one wants to pay musicians to play at their establishments, and what is considered music by patrons and owners is really limited.

Grievance no.5:  Allergens.  Yes Nashville is one of the most allergen filled cities in the world.  We literally live in a bowl full of all sorts of things that keep us constantly plugged up.

Grievance no.6: Weather: Although warmer than my hometown of Buffalo, NY, Nashville has huge and quick fluctuations of weather to a degree that if you live here there is a definite Bi-Polar aspect to your bodies personality (now add that onto passive aggression and that alone creates a lot of nastiness.).

Grievance no.7:  Keeping up appearances and being nice.  The most obvious example is the phrase, “oh isn’t that sweet,” or something like that, hiding your seething hatred behind words of cloying damp niceness.

Grievance no. 8: Inept service staff…..all those songwriters singing at the songwriters nights, well they are the service staff for the food industry in this city…and their artistic ego’s are sometimes too much work to deal with!  But than I am sure I can be a lot of work to deal with as well!