Happiness

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I never knew what happy was, I still am unsure. My life has been a series of disappointments with sprinkles of hope mixed in. In the great words of Cornell West “I can not be an optimist but I am a prisoner of hope”, that would be my deal. I am not just some tragic figure but more so a broken child who never quite healed. Scars have formed where my innocence once lived. While wonder is still in my DNA, the callouses have made it hard to believe in much beyond today. Years of crashing and burning left me smoldering. My ashes have not fully transformed to beauty but there is still time. I have a sliver of faith, that mustard seed phenomonon, that is said to move mountains. It is not a faith in a Religion or really a diety perse, but in the greater spiritual universe that seems to impact us in mysterious ways. It is the best way my rational mind can live with my romanttic heart.

Perhaps happiness is just moments? The glances of beauty that pass by us in the rush of daily business. That poem she wrote for another boy who broke her heart. Many of the memories that float in the lonely bottles we threw into our oceans. It might be in the laughter of silly moments and corny jokes. The grins of a flirty afternoon coffee break or a awkward train ride. Imagine all the possibilities and the times a smile graced your frowning heart. If that is all happiness really is I would hold dear the tiniest of these moments. For life passes and pianos drop from third story windows onto our expectations, crushing our ideals. It is important to love bigger than we cry foul. Live life in ways that these happy accidents of joy become more likley and the tragedies seem to be further apart. Keep your eyes open for the girls who are shy but desire to love greater than any one in history. Take lovers, even the temporary positions available, for love will refne us like fire.

The Importance Of Layers. 

  
I’ve been to Memphis a few times, mostly just passing through but the last two times I stayed a few days. Both of these times it snowed. Dumb luck I suppose? It’s a reminder that life is unpredictable and we should always be prepared. 

I’ve learned a few things growing up in Cleveland and in Pennsylvania. First is that you need to adapt to change as it comes and second put value in layers. We live in an always changing world where we get exposed to many things. Weather patterns are a part of nature and life. Emotions blow back and forth and circumstances are in constant movement. Climate change is a scientific fact and a fact of life. The heart is as much a sunny day as it is a stormfront. Our coldest days often bring forth the warmest smiles and the warmth can wear us down unexpectedly. 

Be prepared! Layer up! Stay beautiful! 

Protect your heart! 

Human Hearts & Cloudy Days 

  
Sometimes we just feel blue. It’s part of the life that surrounds us. As a human we feel things that we often rather not, emotions that haunt. In every loss is a victory and in every victorious moment there is a level of heartache. Today the clouds have come back to me covering the sun that I hope for. Is it seasonal depression or just the reality of being alive?

Love is a crushing force that breathes life but also brings death. Inside the soul of each of us aches a yearning for intimacy. When that intimacy is lost we mourn, not daily, but often. You feel strong on the rough days and weak on the best ones. Such conflict drives us into places of great creativity or disturbing darkness. When we harness the two we build fires of color that paint our realty in vivid emotion. It’s a wonderful tragic sadness in which we find our truest self. The naked truth. 

Don’t stop hurting because it’s what’s real but don’t stop burning for love either. Stay fiery soul rebels and never close your eyes no matter how cloudy it gets. 

Stay beautiful. 

Walking In Memphis 

  
I arrived in Memphis TN last Thursday. This gritty Southern city is one of my musical Meccas. From Elvis to Sun Records to Otis Redding it is the cradle of American rocknroll and soul. 

  
I’ve been in love with Memphis music since I was old enough to appreciate it. I’m staying with a Memphis family with ties to the old days of this music town. Getting filled with southern cooking and stories of the greats who built this cities culture. 

  
Along with the musical ghosts are the painful reminders of a time not so long forgotten. Standing just feet away from where Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Was murdered chills me more than the current winters weather. The truth of a system that still is unbalanced here. It’s a chocolate city, black and beautiful but poor. A reminder that King’s dream is still not realized. 

 With all the history here, good and bad, one thing  remains. Grit. Memphis is a tough town. It’s like a Sourhern Rustbelt city. Reminds me of Cleveland or Detroit. Music is it’s backbone culturally but hard work and struggle make Memphis what it is. 

Georgia On My Mind  

Last weekend I got to go to Atlanta with my old friend Josh. It has been 13 years since I was back there. It was a quick trip but a good one capped off with eating shitty burgers at The Majestic, a greasy spoon diner that was my hangout when I lived in the ATL. Though we did not stop at the Claremont Lounge I did think about it. 
  
  
  
Josh also took me to the Booth Museum of Western Art in Cartersville GA which I had no idea existed. It was a very impressive collection of Western American Art and oddly located in Northern GA? As perplexing as it is the exhibits were beautiful. Ranging from cowboys and Native American artifacts to modern works portraying the American west. I highly recommend searching this place out. 

  
While in Cartersville be sure to stop at The 4 Way Lunch which is a diner that is as tiny and greasy like you’d expect. The chili dogs are great and so is the Georgia peach cobbler. Friendly southern hospitality and genuinely American fare. Cheap too.

   

  

Week 1 Southern Comfort

  
I set out on my journey a week ago with no real map except a one way ticket from Cleveland to Nashville. A romantic idea for sure but as I’ve learned in 40 years of life, you can’t really plan for things because life has a way of throwing curve balls. I was never a good hitter so I just swing for the fences and hope for the best. 

  
My first few days were spent rolling around Nashville with my buddy Mke in his Ford Ranger. Mike, an electrican by trade, is a walking social network. Everywhere we went he new some one. This is a plus for the traveling troubadour. From the church folk at Anchor Fellowship to getting me a fresh cut at Monte’s Barbershop it seemed I chose the right host. We even scored a truck load of free beer. 

  
Nashville is an eclectic mix of good ole bots, rednecks, business professionals artists and hipsters. Mike seems to know them all and his electric personality seems to make everyone energized. A cigar buff, he took me to The Smokers Abbey in East Nashville. It’s a smoke shop run by some old friends of mine, it’s friendly and relaxed, also affordable. 

  
Mike’s main venture is booking and guiding the Nashville Brew Bus, a brewery tour service that charters private and public bus yours of Nashvilles many micro breweries. Tagging along for one I found even as a sober person it is a fun time. Mike’s strong relationship with the local brewery scene makes for a much more personal experience. It’s safe to say, love his ways or not, it’s affective and he knows his shit.

  
If you love beer and want to have a blast visiting breweries check out the Nashville Brew Bus. Also get some hot chicken but put some toilet paper in the freezer, you may need it!