I’ve thought a lot about how to poetically and meaningfully wrap up the conclusion of a post about M&M’s in my dad’s safe. When I sat down to write last week it made COMPLETE sense in my head. Something about how we treat the lousy art we create like cheap candy and lock it up in our brain-safes and hold it FAR too close to our hearts because it’s a literal product of who we are. Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE M&M’s. Do they nourish my body and soul and spirit? Well, I mean no. Then in my head I played around with how “valuable” and “meaningful” art takes time to create, like a baker that dedicates most of their time to finding the perfect balance of cream and sugar and butter, if only to find the perfect combination for the PERFECT dessert! Do I think about an almond croissant from La Boulangerie in New Orleans? Well yes. Does it nourish my body soul and spirit? Um. No.
Now I’m on my 3rd attempt to write and make sense of the chaos in my head, and there’s a saxaphone blaring my brains out at some generic coffee shop, and I had another week that was more on the discouraging side and tasted like golden calves hooves. I want to run away to France and proclaim “Oui! Oui!” as I judge all the different bakers’ almond croissants at the annual France almond croissant festival. (If artistry were to escape, I’d be the best escape artist in town.)
Well here’s the thing: art isn’t cheap. Or valuable. Or moving, really. It’s not most of the other dramatic adjectives I’ve used either. We attribute those things to art because of who WE are. And WHERE we are. Sometimes I feel so much for a song that I have to play it over and over again. Sometimes, I just need to hear Terri Gross interview someone interesting. What I’m saying is, we can’t live on M&M’s alone, people! We also can’t live on kale alone! It’s something I know but always have to remember. If I get too obsessed with something or someone or some way, it always goes bad. Too much of something overloads the system. Anyway. That’s my opinion. It makes sense in my head, which worries me for you, the reader. New Music coming soon, keep checking back!!!
Make sure to eat your M&M’s and Kale.
I come from a long line of emotional eaters. My maternal great grandmother was so eager to eat her chicken that she choked to death on a chicken bone. My paternal great grandfather started the company Blue Plate Mayonnaise and Wesson Oil (mother’s one-time heated and irrational statement on my failing social status was “I mean YOU are the Blue Plate Mayonnaise Heiress!! SHE (other, more successful debutante) is not!!” -no mother, claiming mayonnaise in your daughter’s blood doesn’t help her status). My aunt told me she ate all but 2 reese’s pieces in a 1 lb. bag because she was TOO JOYFUL one day. We were all rewarded or punished with sweets growing up, and between my 6 family members, an entire half-gallon of Blue Bell’s “Moollenium Crunch” didn’t stand a chance to rest in the freezer.
My sister just had her baby’s one-month check up. She found out that she produces enough milk for TRIPLETS. Quite literally, it is IN our blood folks.
Mom will not keep sweets in the house anymore because she got tired of having a sickness she invented called “the sugar shakes” which means her intake of sugar is making her hands shake, she needs protein and she needs it NOW before she faints (my sister will talk about her sugar shakes as well and I have to remind them this sickness is called hypoglycemia). Occasionally, when I’m visiting from out of town, we will finish dinner and I’ll ask for something sweet. Mom says “I don’t have anything but your father might have some peanut m&m’s in the safe.” That’s right: next to important papers, random valuables and money, there is the shining golden bag of goodness. Guarded by steel and a code.
The funny thing is there’s a huge world of desserts out there. Creme Brulee.* Heavy whipping cream.** Nutella. Stone Ground local Chocolates. Heck there’s a rice crispy treat in my kitchen infused with goo goo clusters. I’ll spare you any more desserts and long-winded side stories (plus I can’t really think of anymore right now: my coffee is miserably failing, and my blood sugar’s low wink wink).
In part 2 I will address these issues: why does my family lock up M&M’s and how can this possibly relate to music and creating? But first, I need something sweet, be right back.
*thank you Amelie for making it both sensual and absolutely adorable to crack the hardened sugar shell
**ridiculous side note: one time my father told us that Houston’s used real cream for coffee. I got the brilliant idea to blow bubbles with my straw in the ceramic cream cup until it turned into whip cream. My siblings and I continued this weird tradition for years after our warm 5-nut brownie plate had been literally licked clean and while my parents drank their coffee, until my mother couldn’t stand the humiliation anymore and told us to stop).
Sometimes you have to break up with your vocation for a few minutes (or 3 days) because it’s breaking your weak heart and you’ve made it into a golden calf and you realize you’re accidentally kissing it’s golden calf hooves. And that bitter metallic taste on your lips is disgusting.
Then, while you’re watching it melt in the fire that you had to throw it in otherwise you’d end up in crazy town, these little things happen and you realize later (after you wash the mascara off your cheeks, look up from your navel, and quit swearing like a sailor) that these are the things of grace.
Your friend makes this for you because you don’t answer the phone. And it’s so accurate that you somehow begin simultaneously laughing and crying.
You find yourself at a super swanky bar with beautiful hipsters hitting on each other, and you’re hugging a friend that’s crying because she’s just gotten divorced.
Your sister texts a picture of June. and I mean. Duh. I mean duh.
While you’re stacking 85 chairs at your day job and about to cry from exhaustion and feeling like a loser, a customer stacks his chair on the table he’s been occupying. The chair is all backwards and wrong but the sentiment is all beautiful and right.
A new friend thanks you for being a friend out of the blue.
And then you return to your vocation Monday morning and just treat it like your grandmother’s piano. Dust it off. Sit on the creaky bench. Turn on the metronome. Try again. Remember you are not your peers. Try again. Erase any shiny gold in your brain that might turn into a cow. And try again.