Thursday, September 30, 2010

thursday

I sometimes wonder if Slater deals with this being away from home thing as well as I do. Or if it's all some sort of act. Does he, like me, ever wake up and think this is different, this is strange?

I've never lived with someone for almost nineteen years straight. My parents come in a close second for the Shea Book of World Records. It is strange, I think, to remember those thoughts of he's in there, he's breathing. he seemed happy today. gratitude.

In those times which are some and more often than I care to admit even to myself I like to think he's over there, he's breathing. I'm sure he was happy today.

this is when I get the visual of his smile right there in my head 'cause I remember it.




gratitude.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

defensive clothing

It could be that my idea of defensive clothing is your idea of offensive clothing. Kim understands immediately what I am saying. For clarification purposes we will just say that I emotionally wear my clothing. It becomes an old friend who, if replaced with a new friend, would haunt me.

Quick writing break for me to realize how absolutely insane I am.




There. I'm okay with that.

Anyway, I don't shop much. Despise shopping actually.

This kinda sucks since if I ever decide to put ads on my blog I just sealed the deal that Macy's will not be on my site or maybe it will for those people who want to be opposite of me. Total marketing strategy: Be unlike Shea.

If my old friends get all torn and stained then I'm even more loyal to them. Josh asked me last Christmas if anyone ever just walks by me and gives me a dollar in the assumption that I'm homeless. I told him that was how I payed my gas bill for a couple of months.

The meat of the matter, my friends, is that I am going to have to go shopping. Just typing that makes the muscles in my shoulders and upper back tense, they tighten. I get anxious, nervous.

I am going to have to find something to wear to a wedding where I am a photographer.

What is that outfit?

Seriously.

It's got to be comfortable, right?

Comfortable to me is my purple pants with the bleach stains and the small holes around the ankles and the thinning of the most perfect material on the face of the earth although I have no idea what the material is called. They are just good pants. They are at least a decade old friend, and they are COMFORTABLE. And I'm going to be taking pictures, hopefully blending into a background, squatting, moving silently but quickly, always focusing outside myself on all the wedding parties' most important people. Studying faces, smiles, the one instant when all the emotions come up and burst out onto the skin when one is least aware of anything that is anywhere but within.

But.......

No Kim, I am not wearing the purple pants. Don't worry. Rusty would kill me. Rebecca may look at me in disbelief and disappointment. Rick would just stay opposite my space before, during and after the ceremony. So no purple pants.

What I would really want is a t-shirt, a white one to go with a pair of black pants. Maybe a V neck. Nothing fancy but one I know would become an old friend. A shirt I would wear because it would mean that the day would be good. One that I could lounge in all weekend while wearing my purple pants. It would defend me against all negativity and ensure I would hear the birds sing, notice the clouds, pay a particular interest to new and beautiful music.

Another break for crazy.



Okay again.

It is most likely too late for an order. In thirteen minutes it will be Wednesday and the wedding is Saturday and I am going to have to punt I think.

Punt it is.

Yet I would like to go ahead and get an order in with that baby brother o' mine.

Dear Josh,

I want a V neck t-shirt with that guy from your sketchbook on it. No writing. Put him anywhere on the t-shirt you would like. I just want to wear him. I like him. He's already an old friend. Just email me with the cost, man.

Love,
Shea


Post script: Here he is.



Gratitude.

Monday, September 27, 2010

fatigued

Crowds are exhausting, and you most likely need to understand that my crowd is any more than five people. Or maybe four people. Or wait, maybe any more than one high energy person. A psychologist friend once told me the majority of experts agree we are hardwired to be either introverted or extroverted. We can't change it.

We can play with it, but when we are being true to ourselves these opposite natures take hold on us. Part of me fights being a victim to anything, but I think my true self knows within which persona it is more comfortable.

Simply explained an introvert can be in a room full of people and find it completely exhausting. In the exchange of human energy an introvert gives theirs away, while an extrovert gains the energy. A crowd feeds an extrovert, fuels them.

It is hard at times and almost completely impossible at others to comprehend someone could have such a drastically different perception of the world, such an innately opposite interaction with life. But they do. My experience is that it is true.

Landscape by Josh Miller

I am exhausted. This past weekend was incredibly fun, but I find myself spent. The energy level is simply too low. I have to refuel, and I can't think of a better way than to come here and relax and write you and look at art and listen to music and read.

Alone is not lonely for some of us.

I am so very grateful for moments like this.

Slater's ink

The whole world slowly spins into the center of the field where I hear the enemy. Balls start hurling through the trees, one narrowly skimming my head. I can smell the paint as it splatters on the tree in front of me. Fear surges but I have nowhere to go except to the next bunker. I hear two different guns starting to fire from my right and use that only to fuel my speed. I slam into the small black barrel that has been the object of my desire for so long. I could not wait to be here yet now I have made what seems to be a horrible mistake.

I suddenly remember what the website said about this course. Ambush: Our most popular scenario field. This large 3.5 acre wooded course has two opposing forts between bunkers made out of pallets, tractor tires and 55 gallon barrels. A team must strategize a way to take over the opposition’s fort without sacrificing their own base.

I feel now as if the opposing team may have out strategized me. The two enemies are now spreading out and doing a flanking maneuver to both sides of my barrel. There is no doubt Seth’s primary motive is to get me, and I know he will be trying as hard as he can to knock me out. My new objective is to move. There is no time to sit and think. I have to get away from this barrel. It was golden only moments ago but I now realize it was no more than fool’s gold. I can only stay here for a couple more seconds before they come and get me as a team. I will then be completely screwed.

Then something amazing happens.

I hear a twig snap and look back. Through the dirt and sweat encrusted mask I was forced to wear I see him. I slowly start to smile. My dad is crouched in the woods behind me and has his gun pointed past my bunker apparently aiming at the guy coming up on the left. I start to move and all of a sudden a thunderous storm of paint slams into the barrel I am hiding behind. This being my first game I try to hug as close to it as possible, hoping it will save me from the onslaught.

I am sitting with my back to the barrel in almost a squat position when I see Seth running into the brush line. I quickly maneuver myself to the other side of the barrel just in time to watch a large man with what looks like a minigun get pelted by 3 or 4 paintballs. They explode in a red mist across his chest as my barrel gets slammed again by another volley from Seth. I fire a couple of bullets toward his general area, but they seem to have a mind of their own as they spray out in all different directions. I realize at that point there is no way I will be able to get my gun to shoot that far accurately. Seth has chosen a great vantage point being the tactician he is. There is no doubt in my mind he has played more than a few times.

From what I am seeing this was an intended massacre and I was supposed to be the sacrificial lamb for the slaughter. Looking back I probably shouldn't have talked all that smack at the start of the game. When our only two other teammates were engulfed in a bloodbath early on it really did a number on what I had thought of the odds.

Dad once again disappears and I decide that I need to set up a new goal.

My new goal is to escape Seth and his deadly aim. There are some barrels across the field that almost look as if they are impenetrable. The only problem is there is no easy way to get there. A flurry of orange balls flies from the woods. Five or six of them seem to be homing on me as I slide back behind the barrel because they follow me and slam into it. I wonder how much homing bullets cost Seth. I sure hope he had to pay a lot because the psychological advantage he now has on me should be worth millions. I am afraid to move because the deathblows to the barrel are leaving me panic-stricken. They sound as if they will be able to rip arms off if I let him get a shot in. I hypothesize the barrel can handle it much better than me and have no intention of testing my theory.

I start to smell the oily grime of my sweat mixed against the small bunker and know I wasted too much time there already. I decide to flush Seth out after he shoots another barrage of death beams at me. I get ready to run and map out my strategy to escape to the next bunker. The bunker itself looks pretty nice from what I can see and I know Seth cannot see any of it. I can only glimpse a small bank of dirt with a wood shipping flat beside it. The bank is about a foot high. I think it can make a very nice defensive base if nothing else. The only problem is getting there.

I want to make a run from here to there but there is so much in the way. There is a tree fallen across the middle. There is very little visibility through my mask and it feels like I am breathing steam at this point. The fog on my mask seems to prove it. I grudgingly stare through the net of grime and hope for an easy way across. Then I hear the bullets glancing across my barrel and know what to do.

I run out with my gun blazing toward Seth as I bound across the field toward my sweet fortress. The unthinkable then happens. I trip over a tree root. It feels like slow motion as I stumble forth four or five steps and then lose the fight against gravity. I quickly attempt to recover myself and make it to cover. I see a nearby log and decide it will have to do for now. I hop behind it and lay as flat as possible against the rough bark. After a couple of very tense seconds I decide it is time to peek my head out. Doing this I see Seth slowly moving through the bushes. I quickly position myself for a shot on him and start a large barrage of my own, hoping I had gotten some of his homing paintballs. I didn’t. I instead reveal a well concealed position.

Luckily Seth mimics my good luck with tree roots. He falls to the ground and starts to fire. I immediately hunker down in my mini bunker. As I do this, however, I feel my chest explode with what feels like 20 bees stinging me. Seth has won. I can smell the oily paint as I fall to the ground. The sweat has nowhere near the stench of this paint. It is not the paint that was so horrible though. It was the feeling of defeat. That, coupled with my chest being now rockier than the field showed me I needed to learn much more about paintball to be able to defeat my new arch nemesis, Seth Reinsager.

Some people might wonder how a simple game can affect a person. I could not have been affected by something more. This fifteen minute game shaped the rest of my life. I became a much more determined and competitive boy. It led to make me much of what I am today including all of my stubbornness. I think it helped me to become a much more rounded individual. Someone shooting me multiple times in the chest actually made me a better person.
Slater Goff, author and son extraordinaire




Gratitude.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

moment(s)

Billy Sue was there in the form of a goat with a goiter and loads of insecurity. Back and forth overcompensating his leadership role by attempting to maintain balance in a scattered herd. For me, the goat was preshow entertainment.




The whole scene was actually.

I kept thinking who dreams this big? who has a plot of land and shares it so exquisitely with the world?The answer would have to be the very fine folks at Cedar Hill Farms in Love, MS. The effort it takes to do what they do is mind boggling. The location for the music fest was the most perfect venue for family, respect of nature and witness to the most incredible music. It was an honor to have placed a blanket there, have pulled up a cooler and watched magic on a clear, cool, starry Southern night.



It was an energetic atmosphere and, for the most part, I stayed on a back plot behind the crowd, taking in all the stories around me. Naturally main stage was where the meat of the novel was. A two piece band taking the floor and allowing us to watch as they checked the sound.

Check.

check. check.

syllabus. check.

up. acoustic in the first one. drums. more bass.

check. syllabus. syllabus. check. check.

I stood there and watched as Priscilla first got off the blanket and began skipping toward the stage.

Then Seth and Slater quickly stood from the hay bails they had been sitting on and walked past me in a beeline toward the center.

Within moments Josh rolled off the blanket and silently marched forward.

I think I was a witness to what good music does. I, standing there in the dark, barefoot on a beautifully manicured field, a herd of goats to my right, am here to give my testimony of a church service on God's green Earth last night. When it's real and guttural and connecting then you can't help but be moved towards it. People were.

I was.

I wish this morning that I had a song list.

I don't.

There was one new to me, and I think it was called Remember My Name or Remember Me. I don't know, but I've got to find out more about it. Study it. It interested me.

But even more than that was the feeling of the entire show. There were kids running around swinging glow bands, people dancing in their own temporary property. Woodstomp providing a celebration of sorts, a metaphoric fireworks show. I think the thing about it is you can't help but celebrate when you watch them play. Their music is a celebration.

They are two very happy guys when they are doing what they do.

And you would have thought that would have been all there was. All there needed to be.

Yet Gary Burnside, one of the very talented sons of Mr. RL Burnside, walked on stage to jam with Woodstomp on their last song. This, my friends, was the moment when what I thought was all there ever needed to be became more. The celebration written of earlier was amped up.



All on party.

Soon after The Burnside Exploration got on stage and gave me the feeling I was a part of a historical moment, the FIRST EVER LOVE MUSIC FESTIVAL.

I was there. Privileged. Honored.

And grateful for the climatic moment of all moments when I joined the group, sat on a hay bail as Charlie and Connor from Woodstomp came back on stage to perform what I must call magic with Gary and Dex Burnside.

So very grateful.

If you're around, today is the last day so you may want to catch what that is. If you missed last night, well, all I can truly write is I'm sorry.....maybe next year.


Photos from the talented Priscilla Miller.

Gratitude.

Friday, September 24, 2010

sight & sound

This is happening.

Remarkable videographer.

A look at the building of a show from an artist's standpoint.

The music is fantastic.

The faces.

The smiles.

A beautiful way to end the day.

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bitchy

I bitched yesterday. For those of you not so familiar with the American slang I will say the verb bitching can be best defined as the act of being a bitch, or sour and ungrateful. That was me.

I was a bitch.

I was a bitch because I thought everyone around me was too needy. The first four hours of my day presented me with at least four people whose lives were not so great and thus I needed to make them greater. So what did I do? I became them and by being a bigger bitch than they were I helped them not bitch anymore.

Totally not proud of this.

Yes, there is a self in me attempting to walk around with a smile on her face the ENTIRE time. Yet then there is this other self who beat the crap out of the smiling self today. Total struggle where good lost, bad prevailed and I was a bitch.

Looking back now I will say there were highlights. I got to talk to Slater. And Kim. And Rick. And Charlie. A Shelby email. A message for my Dad. A late call from Priscilla who is obviously trying to sabotage the writing. Did you pay her to do that?

It's okay. Someone linked to me from facebook. Thank you.

The day was not a bad day. I woke up breathing and God knows I've smoked enough cigarettes.....well, let's just say MIRACLE. Seriously, the fact that we breathe this mix of elements and our bodies translate those elements into ourselves and these fellow humans we come across every day....well, yeah, MIRACLE. Or evolution. Whatever.

Anyway, we got breathing out of the way so we know it started off good, right?

Then there was coffee.

Billy Sue.

A bath.

A drive in a car along a safe path while listening to music I love.

A friend who brought me breakfast.

A distracting conversation.

A nice visit from someone new.

A lesson in patience.

Understanding that sometimes the world is just not out to fill my need for absolute and sheer joy coming to me from everyone else I meet may be essential to me not being a bitch. Those other humans around me, they're dealing with their own world and I see their point and I want to help. I feel responsible. Yet tonight as I'm writing this I think the best way for me to help is not to become them. Rather listen. Breathe. Relax. Possibly nod.

Who was it that said, "Stop carrying the world around on your shoulders. It will go on with or without you."

I'd rather it go on with me so I'll try to stop carrying it around.

Gratitude.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

grip, part two

I know two guys who pilot airplanes. I don't think I could do that. I think it takes too much focus, but the last guy who talked about it with me, said it was a great way to not think about work. There is too much to do, his son sits right next to him and there are so many things to focus on he can't focus on anything else. If he thought about work he'd crash.

I get it. Or I get my version of it.

His flying is my writing. It is focusing on breath, letting the mind go wherever it decides to go. I think in writing you just casually walk behind the head, smile at the thoughts,jot them down and continue to follow. You let go, and it's quite beautiful.

I am obviously paying a price for this type of meditation. My relationships consist of checking the voicemail at about 11pm every night and returning calls at other parts of the next day, but it's tricky 'cause we are all working, going to school, doing our own thing. The evening calling plan, which used to be my norm as well, has become anything other than evening while typing to a friend, short bursts of did you call? This is not something I'm all that proud of, more like I try to figure out how to correct this situation.

So we go to The Love Festival.

We go to a wedding and out for drinks after.

We make plans to visit the ocean together.

We find ways to relax with each other.

We name our beach trip calling it "everyone take care of themselves, do what you need to do" beach trip. We don't make any group plans at the beach. We don't take care of each other at all. We simply let our mind wander out into the sea, following a bird over the wave, swimming alongside a boat with the sails full, laying facedown on a pier and watching as the fish swim to maintain their position while competing for food.

We speak to strangers fishing on a dock and find they have these incredible stories of life.

We relax and listen.

The steady hum of a boat motor, the lapping of water over itself. Conversations normally only happening in your own head become terms of agreement with friends.

So then you laugh. Laugh at the sheer joy of realizing someone else thought that exact same thing.

Later you wake up whenever you want to and tiptoe to a patio, taking refuge in the great expanse. It's still quite beautiful at 3am but now it's different. The ocean is so powerful it is actually circulating the air around you, blowing your hair, kissing your cheek. The movement of the water has changed as if it's now telling you a secret. A steady whisper of power.

I always used to say the ocean was as close as I could feel to God. For me it was as if that was as close as I could get to him saying This is how small you are. This is how fragile and precious life is. Know your value and know there is no greater or lesser in all that there is. It is all incredibly, fantastically, wonderfully, masterfully, how did it get so good, beautiful.

And now I am sitting here writing that.

Flying.

Writing.

Breathing.

Gratitude.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

book

Angie called today 'cause she needed a book for Madison. Important, priority. I couldn't answer the question, though, 'cause I was busy with work. So tonight at 11:30pm I need a book to tell her.

I need your help as well. If you are a woman or you know a woman who you know well enough to ask please ask her what her favorite book was when she was ten years old.

She just got finished with Are you there, God? It's Me, Margaret by Judy Blume, and she loved it. That was my favorite book at her age as well.

It was very much a girl book absent of any physical violence, any real harm at all and filled with all kinds of questions going through a girl's mind at that time. Boys, boobs, practicing kissing on a pillow, what is sex, whose boyfriend is whose, menstruation, am I popular, whose popular, why.....and on and on. If you, yes, you, reading this know of a book like that or if you have a book that distracts Madison from all those other questions then please leave the name and author in the comment section. You can even be anonymous.

It is interesting, I think, to consider how books shape us, what they say about us. Shelby and I have reading in common, and she once asked me what my favorite books were. It was a charming question to which I had a favorite four. It was great to think of them actually, remember reading them, what that time in my life was like.

Maybe I should just tell you about one right now, 'cause I get all wordy, ya' know. It was one of Shelby's favorites as well.

To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee.

I love the story, the characters, yes my car's name is Scout, the intrigue, the mystery. Atticus is a downright dreamboat, excellent man. Justice wins and you hope people see how absurd they were. The landscape is the South, and it makes me proud to live here. Ms. Harper Lee has been reported, I've never actually heard her speak a word to me so it's at the very least hearsay, to have the novel to be painstaking in it's creation. She was from Alabama but living in New York when she wrote it. Her friends made her, got together and paid for her to take a year off work. She did it, she hated it, someone published it and then she ran away ..... to Alabama, to not write to the world, to not say so much out loud. My assumption is she didn't care for all the attention. Heck, I'm just glad she wrote it. Much gratitude goes out to her from my heart. I mean, seriously, it's one of my top four.

In fact, Angie, I think this would be an excellent book for our sweet Madison! Yay, we found her next book.

Gratitude.

Monday, September 20, 2010

woodstomp

This weekend we, all the we that can make it, are trekking out into a field and claiming a piece of temporary property with a blanket, some chairs and a cooler (cans only, my friends). We will get there early enough to strategically place ourselves in a spot that has both quick bathroom access and clear viewing to our favorite band, Woodstomp.

I never imagined that I would be a groupie. I had nothing against those people that fell in love with a band, their music, their story and then decided to spend the next however many years of their life figuring out how to get to next show. People slapping a bumper sticker in honor of the kings of their music, the makers of their soundtrack, I was cool with them. I thought everyone should just do what they needed to do.

Not me, though.

That is until I got to know Woodstomp. Josh compares me to the crazed fan in The Flight of the Conchords. I have a bumper sticker on the back of my car, Scout. First time I ever tattooed a car.

Woodstomp will take the main stage at 7:30pm in a group dance appropriately tagged LOVE OUT LOUD.

Yeah, my name is Shea and I'm a groupie. Does this make me a woodhead or a stomphead? Oh good gosh. Damn it.

It all started when I met Charlie and tortured him before realizing he was a colleague. Long story short: Stick shift and a hill. Stopped. Facing fear. Laughter. Overcoming fear. Hired. Colleague.

He's quite genius actually. I felt a momentary lapse of genius just for innately knowing that.

And I was going to wait until the Woodstomp album came out before writing about the band, but why wait? I'll have more to write in the future. The Love Festival is just as good a time as any to tell you about these guys.

Here is where I convey my humility: Nothing I write is going to do for you what the experience of seeing and hearing Charlie and Connor perform live what is called Mississippi Hill Country Blues as they pay tribute to some of the GREATS, such as Junior Kimbrough and RL Burnside. If you don't know those names, it's okay. You've heard their music. The original Mississippi blues found in this area has blended itself into some of the greatest songs you've heard through the ages. The smartest musicians have studied them.

It's pure.

A hunger of the soul perhaps.

Pure survival.

A celebration of survival from a people who knew about survival at it's core.

Back in the day I would have said that no white person had a right to play the blues. They couldn't do it. They knew not of the blues.

Johnny Lang was the first one to prove me wrong.

Kelly Joe Phelps looked like he was channelling the blues.

Then came Joe Bonamassa.

The Black Keys snuck in there.

After that was Woodstomp. Now, for me, the blues thumps. It rocks, a forced stirring of the soul. It makes my head nod, my foot tap. Then it begins to twist me a bit. Before long Billy Sue's thinking, I'm sure glad nobody else is here to see this.

Now I think anyone can play the blues. Any human. Anywhere. We are not separated by it. We are connected. My theory is to do it like Kimbrough and RL you have to pay the dues. Any human can. Woodstomp did and they've come to play us the music from that experience.

A hot summer.

Working in the sun.

Wondering where your next dollar is coming from.

Praying to Mama and God.

Having a good man/woman you desire who makes it all right or crooning over the bad one who made it all wrong.

Going to the juke joint.

Dancing barefoot on a concrete floor to a sound with complete presence in a space of shared love and passion and hard work and celebrating good times 'cause you saw the bad. No shame 'cause you know you did the best you could.

Learning something and then telling people about it.

Walking home.

Finding a place, a space on the Earth's forest floor which down in Mississippi we call the woods, and sharing a survival dance to music that connects us within the deepest parts of ourselves. All of us. Together. Surviving. LOVING OUT LOUD.

Be there.

The stars will be out.

Charlie and Connor will be playing.

Priscilla will be smack center dancing with her arms up in the air.

Josh will be alternating positions between gazing at her with the sappiest love look on his face as he does his own little groove and coming back to our base blanket where most of the rest of us will spend the majority of the time grooving in our own little circle, protecting the cooler.

Kim will force me to go into the corn maze. We'll get lost but hopefully she can call Cedar Hill Farms' management from her cell phone so they can come get us.

We'll get to meet Cannon's girlfriend. There is no doubt that boy will be dancing!

Slater and Shelby should be there loving love and loving Woodstomp.

Hopefully I'll get to meet some of Slater's Ole Miss friends for the first time.

You should be there too. You'd know it and love it. I promise.

Gratitude.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

beeta faye & beulah

It was, "Aunt Beulah and Uncle Jack," to me Daddy always said. I didn't quite understand why everyone else called them Beulah & Jack. All I knew is that for me I had to address them with certain titles. It was related to the ma'am and sir found in most respectful Southern upbringings. Titles given to adults showed that you respected the older, possibly wiser humans of your life. Respect to my fellow humans was important in my raising.

Thank you, Mama and Daddy.

But Beulah, Aunt Beulah in my outer conversations, was simply, wonderfully Beulah in my mind. I loved going to her house when I was about seven or eight years old. She was the first hoarder I ever knew. Way back when they didn't have a TV show to show you what a hoarder was, and I must admit Beulah was never that bad. More organized with it, I'd say. Nobody needed to come and fix her.

Beulah's house was a country child's Disney World. There were mountains of things there. Everything that had ever been made seemed to be stacked upon each other right there in her house. Mamaw and I would stop by to get Beulah's grocery list before we went to town. I think she enjoyed the company.

Mamaw would always be scolding me, Shea, get over here! Stop messing with that! Put that down!

Beulah would just laugh. She seemed to love the fact that I loved her stuff.

I'd stop whatever I was doing and walk over in obedience to my Mamaw, wait a few minutes until those women, who seemed to enjoy each other, got going again with their gossip and then I'd mosey back on into the Magic Kingdom that was Beulah's place. Beulah had created an adventure land of sorts in her home.

Jack, Beulah's husband, was like Beulah in that he always had a smile on his face. He never said much, always taking care of his own boyhood dream. Ya know, the dream of owning your own land with a pond on it and some trees. A little piece of heaven for Jack, and there was always something to do on it.

I think there is always work to be done on your heaven, whatever that is. The secret I think Jack knew is there is no reason not to smile while you are doing your work. I know, I know sometimes life is working on you and there is just no way you're gonna smile. I have at least four t-shirts from that amusement park, but the only way I've ever seen to get back to sailing on an ocean of blue is to start thinking about how beautiful the water is. Jack and Beulah were pretty poor, had worked hard for what they had and neither seemed to be in much shape to make it to the grocery store yet they appeared to be riding some killer wave.

These people, to me as a kid growing up in the South, were happy people. I saw it on their faces and heard it in their laughter. I guess by society's standards they wouldn't be. You never see a commercial with an actress, who looks like Beulah in her moo moo, in her recliner, in a very dimly lit house with stacks and stacks of things surrounding her and a big grin on her face, opening up a Bud Light, taking a huge gulp, looking into the camera and giving a big refreshing Aaaaaaaaaah with a wink.

Beer was never on her grocery list.

Not that I have anything against beer. Rock on, beer! Beulah, as far as I knew, never had a taste for or of it.

This weekend I got a glimpse of what Beulah and Jack had. I went to see my friends, Donnie and Ellen. They shared their bliss with me, a SEC football game, the serenity of living above a lake, looking off a porch in the early morning light, watching as water turns from glass to a slow rolling, glistening fluid. The thoughts of two people you know to respect because you feel love for them. Thank you, Donnie and Ellen, for sharing your space. It was beautiful. I am honored.

When people share their happiness it's as if they've let you in on a secret. It's easy to bitch. There are some sad ass stories out there. I intimately know a few myself. It just seems that all those people I know in those sad ass stories, they got happier again. Even happier the next time 'cause they knew what sad ass was.

Maybe Jack and Beulah lived through the Depression. Surely they didn't realize happiness there or maybe they did.

Monday, are you getting close? What, oh what, are you going to put on my table? A feast, I think.

Gratitude.

Friday, September 17, 2010

the whys

I got an email earlier in the week from a colleague.

Interjection to say that I think a colleague is someone you essentially tortured in an interview and they survived. My Dad taught me that technique of quickly getting to know someone. It's like Maya Angelou once said, You can tell a lot about a person by the way he/she handles these three things: a rainy day, lost luggage and tangled Christmas tree lights. Dad and Maya, they would have a wonderful conversation.

Anyway, I initially tortured Daniel.

And he lived.

Not only did Daniel live, he also did what you could call on a judgement basis, thrive. In three and a half years he went from working in a foundry, describing himself as "shy", suffering from severe bouts of insomnia to where he would stop breathing so many times an hour that you have to figure he was actually not breathing more than he was breathing, being on several meds at once, seeing a physician weekly to....


Everyone hold your breath.



I'm serious.




He trained for and subsequently ran a triathlon. He became an Ironman and one of the top four decision makers in a national company with international reaches. He got married. He is having a baby. He is walking around with this HUGE grin on his face.

Interject to say: Now I know there is so much shitty stuff happening on this Earth at times. Especially if you watch any news. Shit. Shit. Shit. I'm with you on that, but I'm telling you that I don't think you're gonna help many people on this Earth if you don't start walking around with a smile on your face. The person you need to help is right out your front door. They are staring you in the face in the mirror. If you're not smiling...then figure that shit out. Cause, seriously, if you're anything like me, DUDE....you got it so GOOD!

So I'm saying Daniel knows he's got it so good. This is what Slater and his friends may call a swagger. I love that word. That word means that someone somewhere was loving his life so much that someone, maybe himself maybe his friend, had to say, "Ya' know that walk you do? That little bounce to your step? I think I'll call that a swagger."

Daniel has a swagger.

Getting back to the original story several paragraphs back Daniel, my colleague, emailed me Monday. This email is the rough thoughts of Daniel's book. The book yet to be written. Daniel wants to write 'cause he's wondering WHY. He wants to know WHY he could go from being so fearful that he needed to take medication to being medication free and sleeping well and not drinking and not smoking and....well, fuck, he didn't say it but I'm saying having a swagger.

WHY?

He's got a point. I see it. Daniel always does and when we talk I always argue with him. This is one of the things so lovely about Daniel..he is so open and ripe for debate. He loves to think with other people.


He is thinking about the WHY? and he wants to write a book about it.

So I told him I'd buy the thing. Seriously, what an incredible story. But then (just 'cause I will never not debate with Daniel, it's so much fun) I said, "Sometimes I stop thinking about the whys and just enjoy it. Just embrace it.....then write."

I get to see some incredible people tomorrow.

So incredible they raised a girl who got her license to drive a car the same day she received her license to fly a plane. Road and air all in the same day. My only claim to fame, what should be put on my tombstone, is that I played Frogger with her on an old Atari when she was, I don't know, eight years old maybe.

Yes, she beat me. I feel lucky she would even play me.

So fitting right now, I think, would be another Maya Angelou quote, "I love to see a young girl go out and grab the world by the lapels. Life's a bitch. You got to go out and kick ass."

Gratitude.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

home

I think he feels like home.

He refuses to compromise.

He allows and through his loving he opens even more for someone to be who they are.

He loves the clippie in my hair, right center top just to get the bangs outta my face.

I love that his hair is always a mess. It's beautiful that way.

He loves that I am messy and forgetful. He loves my purple pants.

I love the way the worn jeans fray around his old boots.

He loves eyes and smiles and he laughs.

I love those things and I love his hands.

He loves to investigate and ponder.

I love to pretend I know the answer and then watch as his face lights up and he grins at me. Shaking his head.

We love nature and water, the sand between our toes. Friends. Family. Dancing. Music. Teasing. Road trips. Rolling down the windows. Rain. Autumn. Trees. Squirrels playing in a tree. A toast to something. Hive fives. Making funny noises. Impersonations, he does the most incredible impersonations. Comfortable clothes. A large couch we lay in. Bed. Clean sheets. Pillows just the right size. Telling fairy tales and funny stories. Sharing. The excitement of a touch on the arm after being apart. The smell of sweet shrub. Peace. Calm. Respect. Honesty. Monogamy.

Home. It's good.

Gratitude.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

numbers

I have to read numbers tonight. It's already 11:01pm (number). I have had three(3) hours of sleep in the last seventeen(17) hours. I plan on getting four(4) more hours of sleep in the next nineteen (19) hours. Then maybe three(3) or four(4) more hours of sleep. Numbers (10) are my day job. Letters (5) are my night job. They are intricately linked. Dotted by bouts of sleep. So in twenty-four hours(24) I figure I get about seven(7) to nine(9) hours of sleep. From what I hear from others, no matter what you do...whether you are raising kids, writing, playing music, having grandkids, teaching, printmaking, nursing, going to college... you are getting about seven(7) to nine(9) hours of sleep, if not less. So I figure this is good. I am good with numbers and sleep. Numbers and life.

There are two(2) kids in Wyatt's class. He and a little girl he loves. She has been labelled LFMR, Low Functioning Mental Retardation in school. But Mom with her Masters in Special Education takes one(1) look at this little girl and tells me No, Shea, she is high functioning autistic. They have her wrong. But Wyatt, he loves her, he doesn't care what anyone calls her. He is so cool that way.

Shea, that is what love looks like. says Wyatt. No labels. No judgements.

Tonight the day job has slipped into the night job with it's numbers and it shows me how intricately linked numbers are to letters. These nights and these days when I have decided to stop caring how people tell me when I am supposed to sleep. I always call Mom, of course, and she approves so I figure numbers are letters, letters are numbers and I may as well get off my night job to do my day job right now. In my day job numbers write books. They turn into letters.

This is the capitalism of my life. I barter and trade for what I want.

Time.

Money.

Comforts.

Things.

Stories.

Numbers.

I feel we have to believe what we believe. We can't help ourselves but to do so. Yet I think we should always question our truths.

How did you get so great, Thursday, you Friday's Eve you? I see you coming. It's 11:57pm. Nirvana is Nirvana.

Gratitude.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

continued space

Like I said, the people in my post from yesterday, they make me smile. His writing, the photographs of her and them, the yays at the end of this video. Well, like I said, beautiful. The music makes me think of how much I love Jesse.

Special note directed at Josh and Priscilla, I claim this album as the Christmas gift for Jesse. Total Aunt Shea gift. It would also be an Uncle Josh and Aunt Priscilla gift so the claim has now been posted on the internet. Certified. Official. Aunt Shea gift.

In fact I just want to give it to everyone.

Streaming on in the conscience I start thinking about other beautiful things. Like Michelle. She is one of my favorite writers, like a good TV series without the TV. She is unabashedly herself, both in her photographs and in her words. You totally gotta love that about a woman.

And/or for all the same reasons I have to admit I've gone mainstream. No longer am I a part of an underground culture, as if Ben Harper got all famous. Maybe it's the 40 thing, but I'm saying I feel like I've read every word this woman has ever written, seen every photograph that she and her husband have taken, watched her links, listened to her music. It's beautiful. You won't waste a single moment checking it out.

And then I think about Slater, our conversations about school this past weekend. Biology. Chemistry. Calculus. The fact that he shaved to go out Sunday night. How much I love him, how cool it is to know him. That freaking smile, man, it'll melt your heart.

Billy Sue. She's snoring right now. Sleeping lulled by the tapping of a keyboard.

Jason. I'm glad Granny thinks you should have been my boyfriend and she calls you hers. I am glad I know you. And I will forever, like the thousands of others, stalk you. When we talked the other night it just felt like you and me we grew up too fast. Where did time go? One more night of riding around the Sonic until we ran out of gas, you laughing. You have one of the most beautiful, musical laughs. I think she gave that to you. As a mother I think the best thing you can ever give your child is laughter. Definitely a one in a million queen.

I think about Mom and Dad, their relationship, their connection to Wyatt.

Wyatt.

Jesse. Tap shoes and dance. Music.

Josh and Priscilla.

Jason and Madeline.

Sweet Shelby.

Ellen. I've got to email her letting her know that I'll be in the area Saturday night and I want to come, sit out on her dock and have a drink. I'll even bring the spirits.

Charlie. Your story is so beautiful. I want to write it but you already are so I listen. Calling your music art feels like I'm placing it in something that can't even contain it. So it's water, maybe. It is experience, it is beauty. Thank you for playing it. I won't be able to catch the show this weekend, but the following weekend, man, I'm all about some Love Festival. I hope the whole rest of the world is too.

Kim. Go to the Bahamas. I will so come visit you there.

Peyton. Oh, the stories about Peyton and work. The girls at work.

Angie. I wish we had time for lunch or a longer phone call or hell, I'll just check your facebook page. Look at the pictures. At least we'll see each other at the wedding we're shooting. Dude, can you believe we're actually shooting a wedding? Oh. My. Gosh.

Colby. I love Colby, Madison and Katie.

Mike. I can't think about Angie without thinking about Mike.

Nan. Sweet Nan. I need to take Nan out to lunch. Why haven't I called, Nan? Maybe by reading this she will know I am thinking of her.

Sherrie. We have to take some time out to see each other, to laugh, to inspire.

Shenna. Good for Shenna.

Cannon. Oh, Cannon!

Warren.

Rick. I'm going to try and not call you this morning. Talking to you is like an addiction and I feel like you're wanting so much more and I think you deserve to have absolutely everything you want. I love you. But I'm just me. And right now I'm thinking that is all the world can handle in one moment. Me, right now.

Rusty. Go, Rusty.

Rebecca. Rusty's space.

Kay. The Courtyard. Josh, sorry man, but we're gonna have to get to work on our Courtyard project. Seriously, Kay is expecting it. Great things. Right now, you and me, we can't even imagine what it's gonna be so we just have to take the first step, I think. I need to edit, don't I?

Daniel. I will buy your story. Write it.

D. with the little line in the back of the letter. Poet. Artist. Your call was a gift last Friday.

Chuck. Beautiful, beautiful Chuck. I treasure that space.

Then it stops. I stop writing this but it will never be complete. I will always want to come back here and write more about the people and things I love. In fact, I'm sure I've missed a million beautiful things just by writing this.

As you already know sometimes I just like to write off into the sunset total pun, totally cheesy and I am okay with that to music.....just listen to the whole album while you do whatever you do.

Lovely, lovely Wednesday. Samsara is Nirvana.

Gratitude.

space

Rick and I had a conversation last week about bytes. He said he thought I didn't know what a MB (megabyte) was, and I responded, you're right, I don't really know. All I know is that a megabyte is a lot of KB (kilobytes). He said, 1024. Yeah, I said. A thousand. Like the metric system, right? But, Rick, what is a byte. What are we counting a thousand of?

He said, Space.

Now I think about space. Bytes. In this thinking I consider my spaces. My home. My car. My body. My relationships. My life. My world. All in all, I get incredibly narcissistic.

But that's okay, 'cause I think about how beautiful space is.

The space I share and that others share with me. It's quite nice. This space.

I think the people who took part of the following video share a beautiful space. After you watch the video you may want to read some of his writing about his family, about his six year old son, about an album that is out right now. He, she, they....everyone connected to this guy....remind me of how beautiful my space is.

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Magic- A Belly Grows from The Panic Room Videos on Vimeo.

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The space of a sweet, sweet Tuesday. Samsara is Nirvana.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

when she saw him

Slater came home yesterday, about 6:00pm. He had called earlier to let me know about what time he would get here. Shelby was in Disneyworld and he thought he would come home. It made sense since we had already discussed our date tonight.

We're going to see a live band we both love, Woodstomp. One day I'll tell you about them when their first album comes out. I plan on giving some away right here.


Anyway, Slater drives up yesterday and Billy Sue and I are sitting outside, simply waiting, enjoying the weather, doing our thing. Until, of course, his car pulls up.

That's when Billy Sue freezes.

Absolute muscle paralysis.

The boy gives her a medical condition.

He was on his cell phone so the car sat there a minute while he exited the conversation. Then the door opened and she quivered. Little tremors. One foot out of the car, and she had a bit of a neck spasm. Other foot and she was paralyzed again. Then he started walking toward us with this HUGE grin on his face. If she hadn't had better bladder control she would have actually peed on herself. Her alternative was to do the yoga move, downward facing dog without taking her eyes off Slater. She couldn't move forward but her butt started twitching. I swore I thought that little nub of a tail is going to fly off. He went straight to her and his touch healed her.

No more paralysis.

I think this is one of the things I love about her is that what she is she cannot hide. Her love is that beautiful.

And she's got good taste 'cause what she loves is that beautiful too.

I think Billy Sue and I are happy Slater came home.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

let's pretend

The universe is simply made up of stories.

Everyone you meet, everywhere you go people are simply telling you stories.

Stories about their life.

They want to tell you their life story. Everywhere, even at that convenience store you stop by every morning. And what if you decide for one day that all you are supposed to do is listen to people's stories. You really don't say much. You just let them talk. If they stop talking you simply challenge them to go on.

But sometimes it's hard to hear their story because maybe there is a part of their life story which reminds you of your own. And you don't like that part.

And you get in a really hard day.

Like yesterday, Friday. My favorite day.

Right now is football season. I'm all about football season 'cause, well....I grew up in the SEC of the USA. I'm a bit tribal, let's say, and, well....there's just something extra special about a weekend or a Thursday night this time of year. That's all I'm saying.

So Friday is extra special this time o' year. And my Friday yesterday felt excruciating. That is not a word in my vocabulary that is supposed to describe a Friday. I guess what I'm trying to say is that yesterday was especially excruciatingly bad when it comes to what we call days.

Football has started. Mississippi State Bulldogs had actually showed up to the game the night before. Way to go, Dawgs. And way to go, Auburn, for making us show up. Good game. While I'm on it I must say, Way to go, Hokies as well. Monday's game with a three point loss against the number three team makes me think Beamer has a thing for threes so I'm hoping you rank at least third in the nation once it's all said and done. Ole Miss, Alabama, LSU, Arkansas....I'm rooting for you, too.

No day should be bad. So I have to ask myself why was that day bad? It's football season.

The Tide is on top, and my friend, Rusty, had one of the most successful days of his life. His life is absolutely beautiful right now. I can't even express my happiness for what that means to me. I love Rusty, and I love that he loves his life. As a result, I think, all good things are coming to him. His love for life is bringing all things that he loves to him. I think this is how it works. Life, that is.

But then this other guy finds that all negative things are coming to him. And, well, I have lunch with him, and he seems to be tied in this knot. I find I just want to untie him. I want to touch his shoulder and say, Hey, you, it's gonna be okay. Loosen up. He doesn't want to loosen up. In fact, he doesn't hear anything I say. But that's okay 'cause yesterday I just needed to shut up and listen to people's stories. We're all learning, right?

I was around so many people with so many stories and I felt like I really needed to listen to all of them with as much respect as I could muster but so many of them were telling their stories all at once. And it was hard to handle.

This is what an introvert feels like, I think. Too much stimuli makes you feel like you had a bad day. Thus, you possibly keep your circles close. Tight knit. I think this is one of the reasons I come here and write to you, my circle.

I'm just sayin'.... but maybe not.

Friday, September 10, 2010

back

It's hard to come back. When I started this again, this writing thing, I vowed to do 500 words a day. Sit at a desk and write 500 words a day. It was going to be a job I created, a job I loved. I do love it. Yet sometimes I stray away and don't do what I vowed to do.

That's when I have to tell myself it's okay.

Not just okay. It's good.

It's good to go to the ocean and spend time with some of the coolest people in your life. No, you weren't all there 'cause I'm saying if you are reading this you are one of my cool people. At the ocean there were people just like you, and we had a blast.

It was awesome.

And I read an incredible book.

It gave me a new mantra.

I've had other mantras, one of my favorite being Let go Let God. At any moment on any given day in the past three or four years if you had been standing within let's say five feet of me you would have heard me say Let go Let God. It has been a strumming bass to my music. It provided a steady rhythm to my life.

I think it may always be my bass.

At the ocean I found a new instrument. Samsara is Nirvana. In his book, Saltwater Buddha, Jaimal Yogis describes a journey he began when he was only sixteen years old. A journey to the ocean, to water. I won't give anything away here, no spoilers to keep you from getting whatever you need from the book but I do recommend it on the high side.

All that to say thank you, Jaimal, for adding a new instrument to my music. Samsara is Nirvana. I will treasure it just as I did my time near the water.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

dance

Just in case you were wondering what Billy Sue and I are up to...

(please double click on this video and make it full screen. I don't know why it only gives you half of it here, but you definitely need to see the whole picture).

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Let's all just dance today. I declare this World Dance Day. Why not? It'll be okay. Just for a day. We can get back to making all the wheels turn tomorrow.