I became insane with long intervals of horrible sanity.
Edgar Allen Poe
The trouble with fighting for human freedom is that one spends most of one's time defending scoundrels. For it is against scoundrels that oppressive laws are first aimed, and oppression must be stopped at the beginning if it is to be stopped at all.
- H. L. Mencken
Many people would sooner die than think; In fact, they do so
What I have been telling you, from alpha to omega, what is the one great thing the sigil taught me — that everything in life is miraculous. For the sigil taught me that it rests within the power of each of us to awaken at will from a dragging nightmare of life made up of unimportant tasks and tedious useless little habits, to see life as it really is, and to rejoice in its exquisite wonderfulness. If the sigil were proved to be the top of a tomato-can, it would not alter that big fact, nor my fixed faith. No Harrowby, the common names we call things by do not matter — except to show how very dull we are ...
-James Branch Cabell
June 03, 2017 - 11:40 a.m.
It's 10:21 in the morning and someone in the neighborhood has music blasting so loud that it sounds like I'm at an outdoor concert. That is not normal for City Island.
I did a lot of traveling yesterday which means I did a lot of thinking and had many ideas to write about. I didn't write them down so I don't know how many I remember. I also don't know if I want to share them. Some are about scary politics and some are about the scary space inside my head. I'm going to write about my day and we'll see how I feel after that.
It's Friday in May or June so I have a routine; Therapy up in Harrison and the Sunset Singing Circle at Robert Wagner Park at the Southern tip of Manhattan. The therapy and singing were great, the transportation was a challenge. The bus City Island leaves every half hour during the middle of the day. I made it to the bus stop a few minutes before the bus was due and there were people waiting so I knew I didn't miss it. The bus times website said the bus was two minutes away. Then it switched to it was at the terminal and waiting to leave. The terminal is three minutes away so it's not much of a difference. Then the bus just sat there; it never came. My guess is that it broke down. Making lemonade out of the lemons I had a very nice conversation with a grandmother, her daughter, and grandchildren at the stop. The daughter and grandchildren live in South Carolina and this was the kids' first visit to New York. They were going to the Statue of Liberty.
Even though I left a half an hour late I could still make my therapy appointment on time. I have a lot of down time in my commute. I had to take a train that left a half hour later and that one doesn't connect with the Westchester bus that runs only once a half an hour. In nice weather, I walk it but as I took the later train I'd have to walk very fast to make it on time and wouldn't have time to stop at the pharmacy first. I broke down and took a cab. That got me to the hospital with enough time to put in the order for my meds.
My therapist enjoys talking to me too much. Last week we talked about Buffy the Vampire Slayer, this week we talked about Martin Gardner. He was a family friend when she was a kid. She knew I'd get excited about that. He is one of my heroes.
If you're my Facebook friend, you know that every day I post links to my old blogs from 5, 10, and 15 years ago. Five years ago, was a very rough time for me. I told her how disturbing it is for me to read Wise Madness from then and that I was thinking of putting posting from that era on hiatus. She thinks that's wise so no more posts from five years ago.
My plan was to pick up my meds after therapy, catch the bus, and home the train was one minute late so I could catch the 3:52. That would give me time to stop at my PO Box and Trader Joe's before the singing circle. The bus was 12 minutes late so there went that plan. The next train is 4:25 which if things hit exactly right can get me to my PO Box before the post office closes. I used the time to go to CVS. I told you that I had poison ivy or something like it. I picked up some hydrocortisone cream. It helped a great deal.
As I bet you can guess the 4:25 was ten minutes late. It's a conspiracy I tell you. I had plenty of time to get to the singing circle and maybe even Trader Joe's. To save money I don't take the train to Grand Central Terminal but to Fordham in the Bronx and catch the from there. I walked to the subway station and there's a train in the station. It isn't moving. There was a stalled train in front of it and they didn't know when the train would start moving. I waited a bit then realized I should just walk a few more blocks to the . That's better for me anyway. The only makes sense for going to my PO Box. But of course, now it was so late that I didn't have time for Trader Joe's.
It was too late for Trader Joe's but too early for the singing circle. I got to the park 40 minutes before the singing starts. I did what I do when I got there late. I laid down on the grass and took a nap. When I woke up I saw Fred sitting nearby looking at his phone. I said hi and we walked over to where the circle is. The guy with the yoga mats and songbooks was setting up. We grabbed ours and staked out prime turf; that means close to Terre with our backs to the setting sun. I always love the singing circle but it's even better when I'm with a friend. I'm glad that Fred could make it.
Friday is mental health day, therapy and the singing circle. Every week I exhort you to go. Terre Roche has been doing this for 15 years and you haven't done it yet. If you were a tourist and heard this was going on you'd make sure to go. It's not just Terre, she brings other musicians with her. It's a little folk jam band with banjo and guitars. They even have special arrangements of some of the songs. I really need to learn the other musicians' names. I know them, they know me. It's gotten to the point where I'm embarrassed to ask their names again.
There are great musicians but it's not about listening to them play. It's about singing yourself. That's what I go for. I'm lyrically impaired but there are song books; song books with very large print! I can read them. People shout out requests. My rule is that if people are being shy I request something. When people are making requests, I keep quiet. I go all the time. They will eventually get to my songs. I got the ball rolling with Shenandoah. They guy next to me made a list on his phone of all the songs played. Hey guy on the phone, if you read this can you send it to me? He brought chocolate candy for everyone, everyone but Fred and me. I'm pretty sure that was an oversight. I should get to know him, he was fun.
I didn't take any pictures or make a set list because I made a conscious effort to be mindful and be in the present. I sang the songs; I watched the people; I watched the boats go by; I looked at the moon high in the sky as the sun set; I look at the sunset; I looked the statue of liberty.
We always end with Goodnight Irene. It moves me every time. I decided to end every edition of Wise Madness when I go to the sing with a different rendition of the song. I hope I remember to do that today. I could do that now but I don't want to break my train of though. I'm still in the moment.
When Goodnight Irene ended and I went to put our songbooks back in the bin I saw a friend to be named later. She had never been to the circle before. She didn't say she went because I wrote about it and I didn't ask. This way I can give myself credit for it and have plausible deniability if I'm wrong. I talked to her and introduced her to Fred. Then Fred and I went over to say hello/goodbye to Terre and I got my hug.
Oh, I had a brilliant idea. Someone who was there by chance asked Terre what the name of her band was. This of course is not a band, it's a song circle. They don't perform they participate. But I did come up with a great name if Terre wants to start another band. She was of course in The Roches. She was Terre. For a while, she performed as Terre Roche and the Mood Swings. I loved that name but not as much as the one I came up with, The TERREstrials. Terre's niece, Lucy Wainwright Roche, was there yesterday. If she came in as a special guest the band would be The ExtraTERREstrials. Feel free to use this Terre. You'll be a billionaire.
I had Fred's company for two stops on the subway on the way home. Singing has healing powers; the ride home was easy. When I got to Pelham Bay the bus was 5 minutes late so I made it instead of just missing it.
I've written 1532 words. I'm not going to write any of the scary things I was considering writing. That's appropriate; Fridays with therapy and singing is one long meditation; it lowers my stress and brings peace. So does ham and eggs and that's what's on today's brunch menu. Then I'm off to see Gina Forsythe at a late afternoon show at Rockwood Music Hall. If you are around come join me. She's great. Then comes choices. Do I just come home and have dinner or do I go see The Merry Wives of Windsor at Bryant Park? If I do that I have to remember to bring my stadium seat again. I brought it yesterday and didn't forget it once! That's a miracle. OK now to eat.
Brother Brothers in Arms - October 01, 2017
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