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Okay friends and readers, I’m writing a post that I really do not want to write. Politics is a very un-favorite topic of mine. On the other hand, this particular year, I feel compelled to open up this conversation.

In short, I’m trying to understand why Donald Trump is so popular, and with whom.

I have my opinions about these things. Journalists and pundits are busily broadcasting theirs.

But I’m interested in hearing from actual people I may be acquainted with. And in my own social world – physical and virtual – I really haven’t come across friends or acquaintances who support him; and when I imagine a Trump supporter, I have a hard time picturing anyone I personally know.

So am I that out of touch with my community, my country? I could easily identify many acquaintances as Ted Cruz supporters, and though I disagree with them, I feel like I basically understood where they were coming from.

But Trump. Why? And the question that haunts me even more, do I know anyone who’s supporting him, or are we such a polarized society that someone like me can be so isolated from the majority of Republican voters?

I welcome your comments and conversation here. Because this is a potentially VERY explosive topic, I will be moderating comments for respectfulness and do my very best to make this a safe place for genuine listening and conversation. It’s not easy for me to delete comments, but I’m willing to do that if I deem it necessary.

Also, if you are not a Trump supporter, I ask that you refrain from posting your own opinion about why people are supporting him. If you can relate a story or observations about actual people you know who are Trump supporters, that might be helpful. But there’s no need to explain why you disagree with them or with Trump. That’s a separate topic that I’m not interested in discussing here.

Alright, nervously pressing publish in 3, 2, 1 . . .

Your Call

Every moment of your life is a gift. You can stack all those gifts on a shelf and save them for later, but the little gremlins of time and urgency will tear into them and do with them what they will, and then you will be left with cleanup duty. Or you can quit waiting on everyone else, everything else, and take each gift in your arms, each moment, as it arrives, open it up, live it with intention. You can answer the call with your own voice and actions – take full responsibility, full pleasure, full heartache, whatever it is – from each moment.

My song for Week 20 of #songaweek2016 reflects on the passivity I and many women learned by osmosis growing up in a fundamentalist environment, and the ongoing conversation I’ve had with my younger self to work through it. So that even those moments I passed on the first time have become precious to me, have shaped me, as I perform the aforementioned cleanup duty.

It’s all good. All shall be well. This I still believe.

Hey little girl with the starry eyes
falling in love for the very first time
you always keep your toes in line
you always keep your tongue so tied

don’t hold back the words you need to say

You should tell him
you should tell him ’cause the mystery haunts my dreams
or you should leave it
you should leave it ’cause the mystery inspires me
I just wish that you had known that it was all your call

You spend your afternoons in secret gardens
writing all your secret thoughts
waiting for the world to come and find you
waiting for permission to come alive

don’t hold back the moves you need to make

Get up and dance now
get up and dance because my memories could use more joy
or keep your quiet
keep your quiet ’cause my memories could hold more peace
I just wish that you had known that it was all your call

but i’d never go back
not for a minute
and I wouldn’t trade it
not for a million
’cause I’ve learned that every moment is my call
and that my life is ringing
off the hook

 

Luminescent

Some of us are just destined to do most of our work in the dark. We choose it – sort of – and it seems to choose us too. Not much spotlight, not much sunshine – but oh how we glow in our finest hours – alone in the studio at midnight, on a stage in front of five actively listening people, putting the finishing touches on a poem in the corner of a busy coffee shop.

My song for Week 19 of #songaweek2016 is dedicated to all the introverts, melancholics and not-so-go-getters who persist in loving this noisy, busy, sun-worshiping world through the deep, dark, luminescent art they faithfully create.

 

I’m the glow after the blaze

More subtle glance than open gaze

I’m understated

not overrated

i like my coffee black

i like a strong dark beer

and if you want to be sweet with me

be bittersweet

 

I’ve been singing in the shadows

From the day that I was made

I’m luminescent in the moonlight

but in the sunshine I just fade

 

Don’t cover me in kisses of pure joy

I cannot play along

mix them with tears

be salty sweet

My daydreams never hold a candle to

All the beauty I dream in the dark

Keep your sparkling diamonds

I’d rather have stars

 

I can’t tell you why I’m like this

It’s just always been this way

I’m luminescent in the moonlight

but in the sunshine I just fade

Blinding Noise

Here’s my song for Week 18 of #songaweek2016. I took a poem I had written last year about my fascination and frustration with the Internet, and set it to music, sort-of loud music:

No no disconnect me

from the bluster and brooding

from the bright and blare

This is a hole in my heart

This is a tunnel to somewhere

I can’t remember

and can’t get back

and cannot banish

it

will not vanish

Thoughts transfer

from brain to brain

meat brain

to silicon brain

I have cut out the middleman

skipped the paperwork.

All this high-tech transcendence

makes me dizzy

I am falling down a hole

falling down a tunnel to somewhere

I can’t remember

and can’t get back

cannot banish

it

will not vanish

Sleep baby sleep

your dreams have all been written

watch the screen

breathe easy

lullaby

LOL-a-bye.

 

A long time ago in Copenhagan, I walked out on my husband.

We were young, and hadn’t been married more than a couple years. We were traveling with his best friend, and I don’t need to bore you with the details. Suffice it to say, I was insecure, he was insensitive, and I felt angry and desperate. So I said some things I don’t remember in our little hotel room and stalked out, not sure where I was going or if I would come back.

I made it to the lobby, where I sat with a book and waited while I imagined him imagining the worst.

The next thing I can remember is the three of us – Nathan, Chris and me – happily sharing a pizza at a little hole-in-the-wall restaurant walking distance from our hotel.

That wasn’t the first or the last huge fight we had, but it’s one of few moments that stands out for both of us as larger than life, a bold dot on our timeline where everything could have gone very differently.

Marriage is one of the absolute most difficult endeavors any soul can undertake. Parenting is another, and it compounds every stress fracture in a marriage. Somehow, through grit and grace and multiple layers of privilege and support (I connect with so much of what Mrs. Frugalwoods wrote about her own privilege in this post), Nathan and I have arrived at yet another yearly celebration of our wedding, now eighteen years ago.

It takes two to keep a relationship alive, two people who choose one another over and over again, and I am grateful that through a constellation of factors much larger than my wisdom, I ended up with Nathan, who continues to choose me, just as I continue choosing him.

Here’s my song for week 17 of #songaweek2016:

 

 

Every Single Star

Stars are glowing mysteries. Science and wonder collide in those incomprehensibly giant and mind-bogglingly ancient balls of fire that appear to little you and little me as tiny points of light.

They are countless. There are more stars than humans who have ever lived. A quick Google search tells me there are maybe “1 billion trillion” or “100 octillion” stars in the observable universe.

So it seems both fitting and misguided to me that we call people who have set themselves apart, people who dazzle us from dizzying heights, stars. If you can somehow distinguish yourself from the masses around you, maybe you too can rise and become a star.

Why are stars so remarkable when there are so very many of them, each shining its light out all through the universe? For all of human existence, we’ve been staring up at stars on clear nights, lost in wonder, drawn far beyond ourselves or deep within ourselves, like our parents and grandparents and distant ancestors long before us.

But you are remarkable too. And so am I. And our neighbors, and coworkers, and everybody who calls and tries to sell us something, and all the old people sitting in the assisted living place down the street. Every politician, every middle-schooler, every complaining customer and annoying coworker, every single life.

So be you, you bright star. Shine on.

And rest in peace, Prince.

The song I wrote for week 16 of #songaweek2016 has something to do with the above thoughts, but it’s still not all untangled for me. See what you can make of it:

 

Pretty Baby

I wasn’t planning on having children. Actually, I was planning on not having children. Until my now-firstborn, now-twelve-year-old, first made herself known. That extra pink line on the plastic strip might as well have been an angel, and I would have benefited from the routine angelic greeting, “do not be afraid.” I admit I cried myself to sleep that night, but it seems I always take a night to freak out before changing my plans in any major way. Sometimes even the sweetest surprises are first met with salty tears.

And now, we are two-thirds of the way to that tiny baby’s high school graduation.

Week 15 of #songaweek2016 included an extra challenge, to write a song in the form of a recipe. I already felt like writing a song about my daughter, so I found a way to squeeze it into recipe form too.

Take a smidgen of him and a dash of me
Bake for nine months at ninety-eight point six degrees
Then when my body feels like it’s about to break
It’s time to open up and meet my babycake

Pretty baby pretty baby with her daddy’s eyes
Pretty baby pretty baby mama’s sweetest surprise

Give liberal breastfuls of milk to my sugar and spice
Try not to scream the first time she bites
Blend up some squash and put it on a teaspoon
Pretend it’s on a mission and she’s the moon

Pretty baby pretty baby with her daddy’s eyes
Pretty baby pretty baby mama’s sweetest surprise

In a medium class combine her with twenty kids
Sift through all her papers and art projects
Roll out chores and charts so she gets her work done
But ditch the cookie cutters, let her make her own fun

Pretty baby pretty baby with her daddy’s eyes
Pretty baby pretty baby mama’s sweetest surprise

Sometimes my little sweet gets a little saucy
Sometimes she flames up like bananas foster
Then I let her settle

Let her sweetness age, let her take her time
Gotta wait patiently for the finest wine
Then however she decides to pour herself out
She’ll outsparkle all I’ve dreamed about

Pretty baby pretty baby with her daddy’s eyes
Pretty baby pretty baby mama’s sweetest surprise

 

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