Thursday, May 14, 2009

Lyrical Loveliness : Ray LaMontagne

Image via Flickr

Music is my first love. I was a tickler of ivories before I was a reader of words. It seems increasingly rare these days, but when you find those musicians who are also true lyricists - who set the poetry of language to the mastery of their instrument - that is a treat to be savored. Raymond Charles LaMontagne is just such a treat.
She lifts her skirt up to her knees,
walks through the garden rows with her bare feet, laughing.
I never learned to count my blessings,
I choose instead to dwell in my disasters.
I walk on down the hill,
through grass, grown tall and brown and still
It's hard somehow to let go of my pain.
On past the busted back of that old and rusted Cadillac
that sinks into this field, collecting rain.
Will I always feel this way?
So empty, so estranged.

And of these cutthroat busted sunsets,
these cold and damp white mornings
I have grown weary.
If through my cracked and dusted dime-store lips
I spoke these words out loud would no one hear me?
Lay your blouse across the chair,
let fall the flowers from from your hair
and kiss me with that country mouth, so plain.
Outside, the rain is tapping on the leaves,
to me it sounds like they're applauding us the the quiet love we made.
Will I always feel this way?
So empty, so estranged.

Well I looked my demons in the eyes,
laid bare my chest, said "Do your best, destroy me.
You see, I've been to hell and back so many times,
I must admit you kind of bore me."
There's a lot of things that can kill a man,
there's a lot of ways to die,
listen, some already did that walked beside me.
There's a lot of things I don't understand,
why so many people lie.
It's the hurt I hide that fuels the fire inside me.
Will I always feel this way?
So empty, so estranged
- Empty (Til the Sun Turns Black - 2006)

Monday, May 11, 2009

Lost and Found : Homeward Bound

Image via the incredible Jon Klassen

Home. The word evokes a certain wave of feeling accompanied by images of a warm hearth or a thoughtful spread. The idea of home seems simple enough: a place to lay one's head, a roof to shelter you from the elements, a quiet respite from the pace of the outside world - maybe it will even yield a pleasant memory or two. I grew up in such a place, so I believe it exists. Somewhere along the way, though, the importance of home seems to have gotten lost in the name of job performance or the challenge of living on slave wages. As I've discovered after many eager home-finding attempts turned wary, home is not such an uncomplicated concept as I'd hoped.

There is first the way you feel when the manager-on-duty (or, in some of the unluckier cases, the realtor-on-duty) turns the key in the door (hopeful), second, the way you feel upon occupying the entryway (fresh, that new paint smell), third, your thoughts upon discovering the master closet (where's the rest of it?), fourth, your thoughts on hearing the owner's asking price (are they serious?!) and finally, turning to your fellow home-finding mate and admitting defeat. Again.

There is the quickness with which a week passes (wow, it's Friday again already!), the precedence climbing the job ladder seems to take (just one more year like this!) and the prioritization reality forces upon you (credit card debt, anyone?)

There must be more to a home than those aforementioned simplicities - intangible qualities that make you feel cozy and secure and nested. Yet, they can't be as impossible to recreate as they seem in the throes of this current plight. It reminds me of one of my very favorite childhood storybooks,
The Lost & Found House. I doubt it was ever very popular or widely-read but it is a sweet, tenderly illustrated little tale about Cricket the mouse and his search for a place to call his own. He didn't mind committing to hard work or lengthy repair processes, and he seems to believe that even though his first home was lost and swept away, a new home could be created in its place. Despite stormy weather, unfriendly landlords and a particularly serious cold, Cricket pressed on, undaunted, and eventually found his way home.

Faith, persistence, togetherness. Sometimes the simplest lessons are best.
There in the corner was a tiny house. It was slightly falling apart, but it looked empty. His heart thumped as he pushed the door. It creaked open. Inside the house, the floor was covered with odds and ends, and broken bits and pieces. He went upstairs. There was nothing there but a rickety bed and a mattress that needed stuffing. The place was really a shambles.

Cricket set to work at once. He swept out the odds and ends with a broom. He glued the broken bits and pieces back together again and stuffed the mattress full of soft hay. He made new shingles for the roof and put up the fallen shutters. Then he painted CRICKET'S HOUSE on a sign and hung it over the door.
The Lost & Found House by Consuelo Joerns (1979)

Friday, May 8, 2009

Words 'Round the Web

Image via ffffound

Happy Friday! A collection of this week's loveliest from the world of words:

I get nostalgic coming across the childhood titles my mom and I love. Happy mother's day wishes!

I love the idea of these classy lady-loving signature calling cards from the creatives at Mr. Boddington's Studio.

There's no task too daunting for The List of 100. (Thanks Jenny!)

Moving? Lending? Combining libraries? Keep track of beloved friends with The Little Chickadee's wonderfully vintage-inspired book plates

Very into Patrick Watson's words this week... especially from the title track "Wooden Arms."

When it comes to Audrey Tatou, no words are necessary. (via Concrete & Honey)

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Fashion Fixation : Plaid Rebellion

Salinas Cool Shadows two piece via

"Summer imminent" means swim and sand and rouses that desire for freedom and adventure. While I'm not yet in any position to be thinking about donning this sweet, girly bikini, I appreciate the sentiment. The long hangover of school-aged anticipation leaves that familiar tingle on my tongue as the weather warms and the freeze of worries begins to thaw. I am reminded of high school Lit class and Edna St. Vincent Millay - deciphering the meaning of her Catholic schoolgirl resentment and a need for self-expression beyond the strict margins allowed her - relating to her plight in seeking something more. Well, Ms. St. Vincent Millay, I've found a plaid rebellion against that abhorrent dress. Fashion and flirtation are always trusty accomplices on the mission to break free...
Strong sun, that bleach
The curtains of my room, can you not render
Colourless this dress I wear?—
This violent plaid
Of purple angers and red shames; the yellow stripe
Of thin but valid treacheries; the flashy green of kind deeds done
Through indolence high judgments given here in haste;
The recurring checker of the serious breach of taste?

No more uncoloured than unmade,
I fear, can be this garment that I may not doff;
Confession does not strip it off,
To send me homeward eased and bare;

All through the formal, unoffending evening, under the clean
Bright hair,
Lining the subtle gown. . .it is not seen,
But it is there.
The Plaid Dress by Edna St. Vincent Millay