The Ghost

wpid-20150731_153858.jpgShe didn’t sit in the dark corner of the room; she sat right in the middle, and a few, sensitive souls, acknowledged her existence.  Some of those less sensitive were aware of something there, but her presence only made them feel uncomfortable, while others ignored her entirely.  She haunted the room, alone and out of place. The one that has no place to belong to.  Neither here, nor there.  She spoke if spoken to, aware of her own out-of-placeness. But, where do you go when you don’t fit anywhere and, yet, aren’t allowed to leave and go to nowhere?

It’s true, she chose to haunt this place on this night.  It’s where the music was. And, she sang and played with the living, because the dream can’t rest any more than she can.  And, yet, the dream is as much a ghost as she is. And again, some listened, some heard and shied away, others laughed, and others ignored.

At times, she pretended she was happy, and that the space around her wasn’t empty.  She had finished with skulking in the corners, choosing instead to fill the centre of the room.  Let the living cling to the corners for a change.

She is me.

I don’t live. And, I’m not dead. I just exist. A lonely ghost. Out of the corners and poltergeisting the middle of the room.

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Something Akin to Hope

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Coffee and a good book, and, so, the weekend begins. It’s been some time since I blogged…regularity not being one of my strong suits (call it blogging IBS). I’ve thought about blogging, but (continuing the IBS analogy) there’s been no follow through. Ok, this is getting gross. Moving on.

While life continues in its frustrating manner, when battling chronic illness it can be very difficult to have anything close to hope. Hope for a decent future (quality – NOT QUANTITY – being EVERYTHING) just ceases to be. And, trudging on, you wonder how much more you can take, and when the final breaking point will come. Because, it will surely come.

In the midst of this trudge, however, sometimes there are surprise twists…

A musical friend wants to begin performing again and asks you to join with him…

Thus, “String Theory” is born.

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Mark and I have been rehearsing and, on Thursday, we played the Loughborough Acoustic Club.

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We did our set, Mark playing guitar and us both singing. Then, I was also asked to do a couple of solo numbers, accompanying myself on the club’s piano (which rarely gets used and they enjoyed the novelty of someone using it). And, thus, being so well received, I’m thinking Loughborough Acoustic Club is my new home.

I never would’ve gone there on my own, even though I now know that I could’ve shown up there any Thursday night and my music would have been met with acceptance and appreciation.  Well, at least, I know about it now. What a novel thing to have a local musical outlet! And, there was talk that paid gigs might arise from it.

So, I owe Mark a lot.  Now, I’m looking forward to next Thursday…and, looking forward to what might come of this. It’s something akin to hope.

Don’t fret? Apparently so.

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Here’s a picture of frustration for you, and a personal metaphor.

I’ve been considering my inability to play the guitar. In theory, this instrument should not evade me. I should be able to play it. It isn’t like it’s difficult, or a mystery. Except, I just can’t. Like being able (or, rather, not able) to cope and function in life, the guitar remains a source of failure.

It would be nice, helpful, perhaps profitable, if I could play such a portal and versatile instrument.

It would also be fantastic, helpful, etc., if I could make and answer phone calls and face social situations (i.e. going out my door), not either fall apart in or, alternatively, avoid stressful situations (stressful situations = life), not wish with every breath that it’s my last breath.

But, the guitar won’t let me play it…no matter how I’ve tried. And, life is just as contrary and hostile.

I can still make beautiful music, of course. Just as I still have moments of happiness, small victories while, ultimately, losing the war. But, the things out of my reach affect me greatly.

For the musically (or, humorously) challenged, the title of this post is a play on words… the guitar being a fretted instrument.  Don’t fret. Ha! Get it?

Why can’t I make the guitar and life sing for me? Well…it is what it is.

Not sure how to end this one. To stay with the music analogy, this post feels rather open ended and not resolving to the home chord…but, eh, I do that in songwriting all the time. So, yeah…life being as it is, I find it fitting to leave this…

Frosty

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Thank you to all of you who are reading my blog. It’s nice…it’s nice to have you here.

Today is a frosty day. The sun is shining, but I’m not going out into the cold (except for the obligatory school runs, of course; today I don’t feel like going out voluntarily). My body hurts with joint and muscular pain, my head isn’t up to the challenge of battling both physical pain and mental anxiety. Thus, here I sit, writing another post.

I appear to be on a roll here, blogging wise. Don’t expect one tomorrow, however. I wasn’t going to write about this, but I have an appointment tomorrow in Leicester (which means getting the train and probably a bus, but my husband is going with me, so I won’t panic…oh, I still might panic or meltdown, but he’ll be there to pick up my pieces). It’s a psychotherapy evaluation. Not a psychotherapy appointment, but an appointment to see if they think psychotherapy would help me. Anywho, yeah…even if I end up wanting to write about the experience, a trip to Leicester will drain me and it isn’t likely I’ll have the energy to post tomorrow.

But, today I have followed “the plan”: get the kids to school and then engage in some music therapy. I began with vocal exercises and then proceeded to play and sing, even looking up the music to some new songs, so as to give the brain something fresh to work on.

I’m not looking forward to tomorrow. Every night, as I go to sleep, I pray I won’t wake up. Every morning I am disappointed when I’m faced with another day. Couldn’t this time been it? Just fall asleep and have done with it. Rest. But, no… and it rushes at me, bombarding me. Nowhere for me to take cover. This is everyday. But, it’s especially  when I know a day will definitely contain added struggle and suffering.

Perhaps tonight will be the night. I’m always hopeful (which is why I’m always disappointed). But, yeah…not likely. Tomorrow there will be more than frost to face.

Withdrawing

My husband encourages me to get out of the house. But, I can’t bring myself to. Oh, just a walk would be nice, and I could play Ingress (blowing up things, even if it is only virtually, can be therapeutic). After all, as my husband suggests, no green butt will be kicked if I’m at home not willing to get off my blue butt. However, it’s not that I’m not willing or feeling lazy… I followed the plan (see yesterday’s post): after the school run, I sat at my piano, played and sang. Then, I even did some proper vocal exercises and, after that, played my flutes (all three of them, so none would feel left out…no, not at the same time, silly…one at a time).

Now I sit with a fortifying cup of hot chocolate and consider going out.

It’s that I might run into someone I might have to talk to. I can’t bear any social interaction at the moment. I feel nothing within myself that I can call upon to face the inevitable human contact that would occur if I went very far out my (rented) door. My mind reels with the frightful thought. The school run is bad enough, but I have to do that…I have no choice about it.

As I said in my last post, I have been withdrawing even more than my natural rather hermity state. No Facebook. No texting to reach out to anyone who has been considered a friend to maybe meet for coffee or whatever.

I told my husband that at least I’m not hurting or bothering anyone.  They’re certainly ok without me. I know he’s worried about me being ok…and we all know that’s the last thing I am.

But, the plan…yes, day 2 successful, music therapy applied…I feel like shit, but also feel like I contributed something just by filling the atmosphere with more than hot air…something beautiful, something that makes sense. Life doesn’t make sense, but making music does.

Yeah, it is a shame no green arse is being kicked and my advance in the game is being halted by my physical, mental and emotional state… but, it is what it is. I wish I felt better, but I don’t. At least, if I can’t find it within myself to “go out”, I’m not going straight back to bed. It’s something.

Friends

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Not the sitcom, of which I was never a big fan. Don’t get me wrong, there were times that I caught it and was mildly amused. There were even times that, being forced to watch it, I had a good laugh (Smelly Cat comes to mind) but, overall, it was never going to be one of my fave shows. But, I digress.

Friends. This is a tough one for me because of the few times in my life I felt like I had found that lifelong friend, only to end up deserted.

Now, to put this into perspective, I’m talking about someone local, someone I can see and hug and hang out with. I do have (have managed to maintain) at least one dear close friendship (someone who knows EVERYTHING about me and still loves me and wants to be my friend), but this is a long distance thing. To find (and keep) a friend to trust, who lives close enough to visit regularly and do stuff with, this is another story.

Of recent times, it was a young woman with whom I shared the passion for making music. There were other things in common (like an off the wall sense of humour and an absolute obsession for all things Tolkien). And, whenever she needed someone to talk to, I made myself available. I became very attached.

My friend and I performed musically together. For me, strengthening the bond. And, at least once a week we got together for a walk in the park or a chat and cuppa.

But, when I became more open, more myself, sharing more of how I was really feeling about the mental illness and sharing my real opinions on life in general, she went away. I could’ve kept her as my friend had I not been myself…but.

I miss her. But, I wish her well. Sometimes, I still post something funny (that reminds me of some private joke we had) on her Facebook wall, not to get her to come back into my life, but just to acknowledge and give thanks for those good times. No longer will I beg for friendship, crying, “Why’d you leave me?”

But, this sort of thing makes a person cautious, scared of friendship in general. Especially to a person who gives their all in a relationship.

Maintaining a certain level of detachment, while sharing your soul with someone you feel a connection to, is difficult. I fall for my friends. I fall hard.

So, lately, it’s been odd when friendship – not just one, but PLURAL – has arrived at my (literal front) door (one under very unusual circumstances) and I feel that falling feeling again.

Of the most unorthodox of the meetings (actually, because of the unorthodox nature of our meeting), we have found someone we can trust to talk about EVERYTHING with. No need to hide aspects. And, amazingly, she lives a few streets over from me.

So, here I am, finding myself with a friend (more than one even) again, and even a social life! This is odd. For me.

And, it’s very scary, too. Lovely. But scary because of its loveliness, its preciousness.

I think I will always miss that musical friend, even though I know she has very much moved on, but, I have to admit, being able to truly be oneself with someone is more important than making music together. Because the friendship where you can be yourself is where real harmony is found. And, if that’s the only music I get from this, I will take it and be grateful.

So, here I go…I think this is lifelong friendship here. But, I’ve thought that before. I just don’t want to mess it up by being me…but, apparently, I can’t help being me. Sigh.

http://www.autumndawnleader.com

By Any Other Name (a big decision to make)

wpid-20140719_163024_20140720144052585.jpgI remember a long time ago when a publishing company wanted my mother (author and artist Ginilou DeMarco) to write her books under a non de plume (for the slightly less aware, an alias; for the just plain stupid, another name), she didn’t want to do it, and I couldn’t blame her. Part of having talent and sharing it is getting the credit for it as yourself. But, more and more I’m thinking that maybe, just perhaps, that is our ego talking: our bodies have these names, but our souls do not. And, so… I am considering releasing my next album under another name.

I love my name.  I always have.  My name is cool. It used to be very unique.  It isn’t anymore.  Unique, that is.  It is still cool (but, of course, I am biased).  I was proud of my name even back when people never got it right because only a very small handful of people had named their child “Autumn” (much less “Autumn Dawn” – I believe, I was the first…I may be wrong.  But, of all the Autumn Dawns I have subsuequently found out about, I am the oldest…making me the original since 1974) and I got called every other name starting with A instead of my name. Or, worse (and this still annoys me to this day, because I still get it occassionally), they would call me only by my middle name.  Ugh.  My name is Autumn Dawn.  Or just Autumn. It is NEVER “Dawn”!!!

In learning soul consciousness versus body consciousness (the internal and eternal as opposed to the external and temporary), I know that while this is my present name, it is not, however, who I am. This body’s name is Autumn Dawn, but I am a soul. And, the thing is, my music has never been successful under this name.

Now, the talent maybe associated with my body, I know.  But, creativity is a spiritual quality, an aspect of the eternal identity, the being or soul. And, specifically, music is definitely a spiritual thing.

So, these are my reasons for considering a release in another name.  Authors do it all the time (when they want to), and look at Prince, or the artist formally known as, Symbol, or whatever he is calling himself and releasing his music under these days.  And, many musical artists chose from the first to go by another name.  Of course, I know, Prince may not be a perfect example here, because he was successful as Prince…  but, yeah… anywho. Hopefully, you see my point.

While I am proud of my lovely name and proud of my gift (music), it isn’t much of a gift if it isn’t getting the exposure and getting out there.  A gift should be giving.  I have tried.  I have failed and failed and failed.  Well, “Autumn Dawn” has failed and failed anyway.

Thus, this serious consideration to release an album under another name (not sure what just yet).  I would really very much like to hear what other people (you, my readers) think about this.  Talk to me.  I’d appreciate some feedback here.  It’s a big decision.