Sometimes, the Universe just speaks to me. And when I'm especially lucky, it sings to me in verse.
There are two new albums that are just emerging, and I swear they're made just for me. Whether the artists know it or not. I don't guess that matters much. With any art, you can make it yours no matter what the artist's intent was. I always liked keeping the meaning of my artwork secret. For many reasons, really, but among them, because I wanted people to connect with the images without preconceived notions, even if those notions were mine. And it's always better if things aren't spelled out. When they are, they can be trite... so much so that they make my stomach turn. Ah, the power of the metaphor. But if someone who knew me, like really knew me, understood the actual meaning of my work without me having to tell, that has always been my favorite thing, personally. But that's about feeling understood as the maker. Which is separate. I think for the experience of the observer, the artist's meaning is a wholly independent thing altogether. As the aesthetic experiencer, we long to be understood, but we get to create the meaning and weave it in with what we observe, feel, and hear. When we give images or music our own meaning in our own situatedness, they become more special to us. They actually become a part of the layered canvas that is us. And in that way, we get to live and breathe in the new creation. Pretty amazing, when you think of it. We humans are good for something, it seems....
So these two artists with the new albums I mentioned just turn me upside down and inside out and melt my insides time and again. Always attuned with my spirit. And the albums aren't fully released yet, so I get to watch my iTunes for updates when new songs show up from the pre-orders I've placed. Sweet tuneful anticipation, indeed.
The first one is Beast Epic by Iron & Wine (who I get to see in Dallas this November, which makes me so damn giddy every time I think about it). There are two songs from the album out so far, though the rest of it isn't released yet. But those two. Whoosh. Just try to listen to them without your heart soaring and sinking all at once. So beautiful.
The first is Call It Dreaming, which came out a few weeks or so ago.... Here's a little excerpt:
"Where we see enough to follow
We can hear when we are hollow
Where we keep the light we're given
We can lose and call it living
Where the sun isn't only sinking fast
Every night knows how long it's supposed to last
Where the time of our lives is all we have
And we get a chance to say
Before we ease away
For all the love you've left behind
You can have mine."
And then Thomas County Law, another by Iron & Wine, just came out last week, and it's been swirling in my head since then.
"There's nowhere safe to bury all the time I've killed
There are castles for kings
There are birds without wings
I could whine 'bout it all,
But I won't....
When they hold 'em to the light you can see right through
Every dreamer falls asleep in their dancing shoes
I may say I don't belong here
But I know I do."
And now for the new one from my singing soul sister. I just discovered this song last night on the new album called Native Invader, and it's been ever present with me since then. I think I even dreamed about it. I don't know if Tori Amos can actually feel the seasons of my life (surely not), but it's always, always felt that way. I guess the Universe helps out with that. First off, this song is called Cloud Riders, which appears to me to be an evolution from one of my old favorites of hers, Cloud on My Tongue. Probably better to ride a cloud than to let it sit on your tongue. Anyway. In her very first line of this one, she sings about cliffs. Cliffs. She had me at cliffs. But then she also saw shooting stars at 4:22 a.m. And she brought a blanket to ride out a storm. And was touched by the holy ghost. And then she reminds me: "Girl, it’s time you take back your life."
Sometimes the Universe truly sings; we just have to listen.