Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Remember when I used to write songs?

As our wedding is now 199 days away, Meghan and I have been having a lot of discussion about where our future will be. There are a lot of factors that will drive the decision, many of which I won't be writing here. But among them is the reason I left Georgia in the first place in the mid-summer of 2005.

As we were talking about this yesterday, I was remembering my time in Nashville. As usual, I remember the good and forget most of the bad. The thing I miss the most is the feeling that I was making progress toward my goal of getting a cut.

When I really sit and look at how I was spending my time, however, I know that I wasn't always making progress. There were some lazy days, some brutal hangovers, some wasted days spent in the fetal position on the couch watching "West Wing" and trying to feel comfortable enough to go outside the apartment, and some wasted nights spent as a spectator at a club rather than as a participant. I am rather convinced that I gave myself so much credit for moving to Nashville that I really didn't take advantage of the time I had there.

As my back continues to recover, I am getting the itch once again to get back into whatever is left of the songwriting community. I would think that the possibility of our moving to Nashville is probably pretty slim at this point, and I'm not sure that there isn't something positive in that. It's quite possible that I can get more done in three to five urgent days per month than what I could do in thirty complacent ones.

It is one thing to write about this, and another to do something about it. So, for the eighty-something-th time, I jumped back on the horse again today and did. Here's to sappy love songs, bitching about bridges and lifts, lost capos, and dusty guitars.

Saturday, December 06, 2008

On Wrapping Gifts

When I was a child, wrapping Christmas gifts was a joy that was easily lost on me. My mother was an exceptional craftswoman, and took great pride in the presentation of every gift she gave. While she tried to pass her care and technique along, my brother and I were typical boys. We wanted to do right by the recipient of every gift we wrapped, but our products were most often notable for the faithfulness of our attempts rather than for the beauty of our results.

As I aged and life became busier, I had no one to watch over my gift-giving habits. The way I presented a Christmas present said much about me and about the recipient, though perhaps not in the way you might think.

After returning from the bowl trip to Hawaii in 2000, I returned to Athens on Christmas Day to a pile of unwrapped goods. I called my mom and told her that my return home would be delayed by my last-minute preparations. She told me not to worry about wrapping everything and to come on home. Giving naked presents was an apt metaphor for that time. I was consumed with my job. My relationships were secondary. I was busier than I had been at any point in my life.

By the way, once arriving at home and exchanging presents, I fell asleep and stayed that way all afternoon.

A few years later, I found myself with friends whose gifts received different treatments based on what I knew about them. My oldest and dearest friends likely received something that wasn't wrapped. They knew my life was out of control, and that simply buying something was more difficult than I would let on. My newest friends (some of whom may or may not have been women I was trying to woo) received gifts that got the royal treatment. I was trying to prove something - trying to win an affection that I would learn years later couldn't be bought.

Since I went to work for myself and life has calmed a bit, I notice that the care I lend to a gift is much more like that which my mother tried to pass along. Some of this is simple maturity and respect. Some of this is the product of a much simpler life.

More importantly, my new caution comes from learning that the presentation says as much about a giver's sentiment as does the item itself. The symmetrical placement of the box, the deliberate measurements needed for the ends of the item, the steady cutting, the wise and efficient use of tape, and the pressing of the corners into a Marine-like crispness have become less inconvenient chores of adulthood and more valuable opportunities to send a message.

I could try to speak or write my thoughts for you, but no overt expression will ever be enough to let you know how I feel. All I can do is carefully consider and slowly execute each cut, each measurement, and each fold... and hope you realize that I am trying to give you something perfect.

Wednesday, December 03, 2008


I was just reminiscing last night about the times surrounding the beginning of my blog. They are far more complicated than I wish to rehash. But it was a particularly fun time since everyone seemed to have something to say much of the time. In fact, I recall a bit of shame in not writing something on a given day.

Naturally, things change. Today there are far more internet outlets available to all of us, and our blogs certainly seem to be an afterthought compared to what they once were. Though I'm not particularly proud of my two-plus-week hiatus, it does not in fact make me much less prolific than most of my blogging friends. Perhaps that will change, or perhaps blogging will gradually fade more fully from our collective consciousness.

Remembering the earlier days of my blog reminds me of when I wrote in an overtly emotional fashion. So, for old times sake...

I am nearly three weeks removed from my surgery and things are basically fine. I have a limited amount of pain on occasion, but it is expected and pretty rare. I still won't be allowed to bend or twist or to lift anything heavier than about eight pounds for several months. Otherwise, I feel as physically well as I have since the early spring.

However, physical aspects of my injury, treatment, and rehabilitation have affected other elements of my life in negative ways. It has been necessary to be waited on for much of the last half-year, as I have been unable to retrieve many things near the floor, sit or stand for long periods of time, or move quickly enough to justify someone else's watching my labored attempts to fend for myself. Because I have been unable to drive, someone (usually Meghan) has had to alter their schedule to fit mine and cart me from one place to the next.

Perhaps most unfortunate, though, is the emotional state in which I have found myself from time to time. I'm not sure if it is the constant yo-yo of chemicals in my body from changing medications, the changes in metabolism that result from my body's stillness followed by its self-healing, the bursts of attention contrasted with lengths of isolation, or just the now-fading helplessness. But it has been - and at times, it continues to be - a little rougher on my psyche that I would readily admit.

Fortunately the proverbial light at the end of the tunnel is in view, and things should begin to return to normalcy in the near future. It will be nice to worry about the normal uncontrollable things - the getting older, the drinking too much, the dearth of money, the balding, and the Dawgs - rather than this.