Strange Things In My Brain

January 5, 2018

There is a pain in the brain that begins
When we come out the drain
And by that I mean, momma. . .

Phew.  Weird times.  All sorts of upheaval, and yet this pervading sense of calm.  Today someone at Calarts asked me if I sang “full-time” — I was confused for a second.  No, I don’t sing full-time, I admitted.  I sing. . . part-time.  I reflected on this, then I said, I sing ANYTIME.  It was a nice 30 second sequence where I started with the automatic / shame thing, moved to the truth thing, and then just started laughing. Mostly to myself, like a regular weirdo.

I’ve been working on a new record.  It was recorded a long time ago — at least the instrumentalists, the band — back in 08, when everything in my life started a dramatic morphing process that felt very much like being abused with a large stick.  I used overdraft checks to pay for studio time at Raymond Richards’ Rockets Red Glare.  We had a marvelous time.  I was having an out-of-body experience.  I had taken up smoking cigarettes to feel a basic sense of will and motivation.  I just remember my time with the very ripe, inside-of-the-mouth colored figs that were hanging from a tree growing in the back of the property.  They were such extremist figs.  Explosive, whore figs.  And then inside the studio was the stable quartet of men who were helping me record the thing.  MC, my ever faithful friend who has since fallen in love with a dog, I’m not speaking of his incredible girlfriend here, but an actual dog.  RP who is heavy and trustworthy with stick, JM who is like an angel moving over flat stones along a brook on bass.   ME came by and did some charming things as is his style. . .and RR proffered the creative space and environment and world of good sounds that we lived in for a few days.

-Outside lately there are what sounds like planes flying next to my window.  It’s a little disturbing to have that roar build up the way it does.-


My point is not to write about the past.  But about the present.  This discovery about the difference in myself then and now.  In 2008, I couldn’t deliver in the studio.  We recorded vocals — but they were missing something.  In addition, something was not compatible about my vocal range and the songs I had allowed my band-mates to choose.  As it were the whole album retired to a hard-drive while I tended to other more pressing matters.

3 years later. . .I love the idea that the pain of existence might add a few notes to your vocal range in both directions.  It’s cheaper / more organic than surgery.  It brings me to my closing point (which was supposed to be my opening point)– that what we consider pain is really a series of perceptions potentially more exhilarating that we might allow.  Things like having to pee, being so cold you shiver, being burned by your toaster oven — these things are all material facts.  However, there’s a whole series of judgments that we often overlay on simple physical / existential / circumstantial developments that fixes and limits our sense of experience.

I decided to take a very wet walk around the pool today.  I thought, instead of thinking, IT’S SO COLD I CAN’T TAKE IT THIS SUCKS THIS IS HORRIBLE IT’S HORRIBLE TO BE SO COLD I thought I would just breathe and walk and pay attention.  It was a rather tingly experience.  Less cold than I expected, but more like silver machetes sliding over my ribcage.  That was what was neat!  By not defaulting to the first set of judgements, I ended up experiencing the cold in a strangely new way.  It was still cold, but it was so much more. . .fun?

So. . .for example.  Instead of my heart is broken this sucks it’s so horrible the pain the pain. . .I think it might feel more like my baby acorn is crushed and the birdy inside it with wet wings has no food, and my turtle of hope can’t swim up.

Which is. . .the beginning of a twisted children’s book.

Happy to report that I’m not heartbroken, and that was truly just an example.

With love,

Alanna Lin

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