It’s no secret I’ve been sick for the better part of a week, because, like everything else in my life, I’ve told you about it. The weekend was horrible, and it prevented me from driving back to The Undisclosed Location because the last thing you want to do is get behind the wheel of your car and drive 150 miles when you eyes hurt.
So, finally, yesterday, I was able to muster up enough strength to drive for any distance. I waited until about 4:30 or so to leave, but leave I did.
It was On The Road Again Time, and away I went.
Now, normally, I’ll think about stuff all the way down. Sometimes I’ll think about stories, sometimes about games, sometimes about things that affect me personally.
Last night, I did none of those things. I put on some music and just listened. No getting into my thoughts or ideas, just listen. And take in the darkness.
It’s no secret I’m bummed about my current lot in life. I’m staying away from home, doing a job that, to me, is very transitory. I’m looking for work closer to home as we speak. But I’m also writing, working towards my dream of becoming a professional writer. It’s a pain in the butt, and the last month has been a strain. I think it’s affected the way I write–or at least it has until about a week ago.
The combination of being sick and doing something I don’t much care for twisted me pretty hard. Throw in a few other things, and I was ripe for slipping away and falling into the abyss again. But that hasn’t happened. For some reason I’ve been clinging onto reality and hope, because the last thing I’ve wanted to do is crash and burn.
One of the things I’ve latched onto has been a song: Telegraph Road, by Dire Straits. It’s a composition that, in my opinion, makes it one of the greatest songs ever written. If you’ve got fourteen minutes, click on the link and give it a listen. It’s about a real place in American, the area along Telegraph Road in Michigan, and it’s a song of creation, hope, desolation, and despair. Just the sort of thing writers love to dig into.
I’ve listened to this maybe three dozen times in the last four days, and I keep listening. I don’t know why; maybe I’m just struck by the majesty of the song, maybe the act of creativity that came about to make this song leaves me in awe. Whatever it is, I haven’t been able to get enough of the song.
But I didn’t have that last night. I had something else. I had the second song disk from Bubblegum Crises, and for the hell of it I threw it in.
Bubblegum Crises was an anime released in the late 1980′s and early 1990′s, and it what you would call seminal. It was one of the first direct to video animes to have a huge aftermarket in terms of music, and thought most of their CDs are out of print these days, the music is still much sought after. It’s a combination of hard-driving J-Pop and soft, melodic ballads. It’s really good–you have to trust me on this.
I listened along until the track, Say, Yes! came on. I love this song; really do. Its starts off slow, and just keeps building. When it reaches its crescendo, then it lets you down very easy on the way to fade out. I listened, then when it was over, I listened again. And then again.
Something clicked. I put the song on repeat, keep the car going about 70, and tried a different route back to the shack.
Driving through the night, I just kept going, not feeling bad, but for the first time feeling very good and sure of myself. I felt–dare I say it?–happy. For the first time since making this move I didn’t feel like I wanted to find a steak knife and run it up and down my right arm until the pain went away.
I felt so good that as I passed the downtown of the city where I work, I flipped it off and laughed. Screw you. You ain’t getting me down.
Then I set up my computer and got to work writing. 800 or so words later, I finished Chapter 9 of Couples Dance. Nothing fancy, just getting the words down and doing what I’m suppose to do–which is write.
Telegraph Road is also about the possibility of redemption, and you find it here, in this stanza:
Well just believe in me baby and I’ll take you away
From out of this darkness and into the day
From these rivers of headlights these rivers of rain
From the anger that lives on the streets with these names
‘cos I’ve run every red light on memory lane
I’ve seen desperation explode into flames
And I don’t want to see it again …
I have my dreams, I have my ideas, and I have the ability to do it all. I just gotta do it. And this damn job ain’t gonna make my life hell.
I am not defined by the misery around me.
Cause when you see the English translation of Say, Yes!, you know why it was speaking to me:
I just live more passionately than yesterday…
…because I’ve known a loneliness that can’t be healed.
If you can hear me,
answer me, saying:
I CAN BE
I CAN DO
I CAN SING
I CAN LIVE
Damn right, man. It’s time to start singing.