I once made my father sign a contract that if I were to die, he would stick a stake of holly through my heart just to make sure that I was not buried alive. I spent a lot of time on the document which was written on Big Chief Paper in red crayon with a black crayoned line for his signature. I'd been reading a lot of Poe and felt nervous, not so much about death, but about being trapped. My dad signed it, saying, Nobody is going to bury you alive. You have to have faith. Faith wasn't my strong suit in those days, even though I spent a lot of time with the Bible. One of my favorite moments in the Good Book was the one with the man who wanted to be healed, but couldn't believe that he would be. So he got creative and said, Lord, Cure me of my disbelief! I often think the same thing, that I have faith that I can be given faith.
I'm the type of person who takes things to heart, that carries the weight of the world, not that the world knows or gives one rat's ass. I keep waiting for things to get easier, to calm down. But they don't. It's kind of like learning how to swim -- I'd struggle to get to someone or something where I could relax. And I would, but then I'd have to let it go and keep going. No rest for the wicked! Eventually I learned lots of things -- how to tread water, how to jump off a high dive without crawling back down, how to swim without using much energy. The one thing I can't do is float. No matter what I do, I sink. But other people can so I know it's possible. And I've helped people to shore, been pulled out of the water a few times myself. I've heard it said that love is the truest expression of faith. So we keep struggling against the waves. Even when they threaten to overtake us, we keep going. Because there's nothing else to do. I suppose that's faith. And if it's not, then I have faith that it can be.
Michelle's Spell of the Day
"I submit to you that if a man has not discovered something that he will die for, he isn't fit to live." Martin Luther King, Jr. , from a speech in Detroit, Michigan
Drinking reading suggestion: Eva's Man Gayl Jones
Benedictions and Maledictions
I, like many writers, am superstitious. Almost every single day for the last ten years, I have listened to the same piece of music when I begin writing, a jazz composition written by Alice Coltrane in honor of famous husband John. I heard the song in an Alvin Ailey dance production and spent a huge amount of time tracking it down, given that there was no easy way to find things in those long ago, early Internet days. Alice Coltrane died yesterday night in L.A., far away from Detroit, where she was born and lived for a long time. I'm sure she had a devoted following, although I doubt that anyone spends quite as much time as I do listening to her one song, over and over again, as a form of inducing a writing trance. Many of my exes have a great dislike toward the song, a hatred one might say, calling it the "garbage can rattling lid" song. I, however, hope to spend the next ten years listening to it. Rest in peace, Alice Coltrane! And Happy MLK Day to all!