Wave Goodbye

I’m sitting at my laptop shaking. I’m in tears. I am debilitated with a sudden, horrible, all-consuming grief. I’m trying to sob quietly, because it’s almost 2:30 in the morning and Trevor has to work in the morning.

But there’s nothing quiet about this. My heart is screaming.  My mind is wailing and reeling, grasping for a reality that can’t possibly be this.

I’m sitting here, in the relative dark, sobbing my eyes out, in my Chris Cornell concert t-shirt, listening to every song the man ever had a hand in.

Because he’s gone. Chris Cornell, aged 52 (younger than my dad!) has died.

I don’t really have any more words than that. I just… I loved him so much. His music saw me through so many stages of my life. My aunt’s death, my move to Oregon, my wedding. All my favorite shirts are from his concerts. So many memories attached to this glorious, creative, and immensely talented man and his music. All my favorite karaoke songs!

So much of his music, of his art and wonder, has coiled itself up into my life and I didn’t realize it until now. Now, so many cherished moments are so, so, sad.

And I’m in disbelief. I just saw him in November! He just tweeted 8 hours ago about how excited he was to play his next show! He was so alive…

This blog is named after a lyric in Say Hello 2 Heaven! It’s tattooed on my skin!  I carry him with me, everywhere I go.

And now every single song aches…

I know that eventually, I’ll be able to listen to his music and it will help me through all these emotions, but right now every note of his voice, every guitar solo, is just pure pain. Pure Mourning. No Euphoria in it yet…

 

And then I scroll through tumblr and facebook, and I see all these people who feel the same as me. They grew up listening to his music. First Soundgarden, singing all the words to Black Hole Sun, before I could ever hope to understand them or appreciate their grace.

And then my Junior High and High School years, worshiping the funky, grungy vibes of Audioslave, to the point that I still consider them my all-time favorite band. The shirt I stole from my mom in the seventh grade is one I still wear on a weekly basis, and it shows. It’s grey, instead of black, the logo is faded and cracked, and the collar is fraying. But it’s my favorite shirt that I own.

And then my early college days, trying to connect to something I’d thought I’d lost, so I found the Temple of the Dog CD used, and played it on repeat. And then my aunt died unexpectedly and Say Hello 2 Heaven was the song that helped me through. It’s the song I named this blog from. It’s the song I have inked in my skin.

And then, my wedding. We danced to his cover of Led Zeppelin’s Thank You. It’s been one of my favorite songs, and hearing Chris perform it just brought it from the otherworldly realms of Robert Plant and gave it this humanity that just suited starting your life with your best friend.

I first saw Chris in Arizona, with my mom as a joint birthday present. It was the original Songbook tour, the one I got this shirt at, and it was this magical evening of time travel via an acoustic guitar and his voice.

Then, I saw Soundgarden in Portland the first winter I moved to Oregon. My mom flew up and we went together. And it was… mind-blowing. I danced. I sang. I screamed.  For a little while, I was certain I had transcended, especially when they played Tighter & Tighter. Hearing that song live, singing and dancing to it,  I was more than what lives in this skin. And it sounds crazy but I don’t know how else to describe how Chris Cornell at his best makes me feel.

Shadow face
Blowing smoke and talking wind
Lost my grip
Fell too far to start again
A sudden snake
Found my shape and tells the world
Remember this
Remember everything is just black
Or burning sun
And I hope it’s a sweet ride
Sleep tight for me
Sleep tight for me I’m gone
Warm and sweet
Swinging from a windows ledge
Tight and deep
One last sin before I’m dead
A sucking holy wind
Will take me from this bed tonight
And bloody wits
Another hits me and I have to say goodbye
And I hope it’s a sweet ride
Here for me tonight
‘Cause I feel I’m going
Feel I’m slowing down

And then,  just in November, we went and saw Temple of the Dog in Seattle, on their final night of their tour. It was an amazing experience, one we almost didn’t do because it was so expensive. And while I thought it was worth it on the drive home at 4 in the morning, now I KNOW it was worth it. It was the last time I’d ever hear him sing live again…

And every single song just takes on new meaning now. My world view has shifted. As ridiculous as it might seem, as much as I’m trying to tell myself to calm down, he’s “just a celebrity” I know that’s bullshit.

He’s not just a celebrity. He was Chris fucking Cornell, and he was my all time favorite artist. He was the soundtrack of my life 50% of the time. He’s on every playlist, at every karaoke jam session. He is the artist I turn to when I don’t know how to feel.

The others, I know what I’m looking for, I know what they offer. Snow Patrol is love. AFI is angst. Night Riots is a little of both. Halsey is there for a good time, but you might want to forget about it later. Linkin Park, System of a Down, Korn, they’re all there for anger.

But, Chris Cornell is there for when I’m not sure who I am at the moment. When I need some words that go beyond their purest meaning and have this symbiotic relationship with the music that surrounds them to become something more.

Even one of my favorite holidays is connected to him! Every year I try and “light a roman candle and hold it in my hand,” just in honor of that song!

Because Chris Cornell, in every iteration, has interwoven himself into the fabric of who I am. Temple of the Dog. Soundgarden. Audioslave. Chris Cornell. Forever.

I am so heartbroken. And I know that this grief is nothing in comparison to that of his family and bandmates. I know. And I know that I am not unique in my loss. It has been expressed by thousands already, and as the morning creeps up on us, more and more will know.

I guess… It’s time for me to go to bed. Or lay on the floor of my office in the dark, listening to his entire catalog until I can figure out how the hell I’m supposed to function tomorrow.

Chris Cornell

How do I say goodbye to this man in a way that can ever actually express what a HUGE impact he’s had on my life? How could I ever pay homage to someone so unarguably beautiful and talented? How do I cope with the fact that the vast majority of the music I love and live by is now dripping in tangible grief?

fell on black days.gif

I don’t think I can ever write words I will find acceptable. They don’t exist. But, until they do:

Goodbye Chris. You were my rock n’ roll soulmate. I felt like your words and your music were part of my soul. I promise, some day I will lay a dozen white roses on your grave.

Love,

The girl sobbing in her oldest Concert T-shirt, listening to your voice, no matter how much it hurts.

Alive in the Superunknown

I knew when I sat down to write my last post that it would garner a lot of attention. That’s what controversy does. But, I didn’t quite expect it to snowball like it did.

Wednesday saw a near record breaking amount of views in one day, and the blog has been in double digit views every day since then. Even today it’s poised and ready to tick over into double digits, and I haven’t even posted this yet.

I want to be clear. I did not write that post in order to inflate my viewership. I could less give a damn how many readers I have. I am happy just knowing I HAVE readers at all.

But, no one’s accused me of being purposefully controversial. No one’s left nasty comments. No one’s emailed me to tell me off. In fact, the reaction to the piece was overwhelmingly positive. Many of my Facebook friends left comments praising the subject as well as the actual writing. And a relative of mine asked if she could send it to members of our family that may not have seen it, because she felt it expressed a message she’d been trying to convey for most of her life, and that, maybe if our family heard the words from someone else, they might be a little more understanding.

I cried when I got that message. Not a lot. Just a welling up and a couple trickled tear drops. Because, for the first time I knew what it felt like to have my writing truly mean something to someone. And, a little bit out of heartbreak for my relative. That she could feel so alone, and helpless, unable to get our family to understand her point of view.

Because, isn’t that what we all want? Someone who understands? Isn’t that why we write? To share experiences, fictional or not, that resonate with someone you don’t even know? That’s the magic of writing. That’s what has always enraptured me about it. That, through a system of figures we’ve assigned meaning to, we can communicate and cause an emotional reaction in another human being.

A special kind of magic indeed.

Anyway, I fully expect the viewership to diminish back to its handful-a-day status, and that’s fine. It won’t keep me from writing here. Or anywhere.

The idea of obscurity always bothered me far less than that of fame.

So, let’s talk about today.

It’s a rare sunny day here in the Pacific Northwest, February exiting the building with a bang. It’s noon and already approaching 60 degrees out, and the sunshine is actually WARM!

I stood my bare feet out on my front step, soaking in the rays, letting them saturate my ghostly pale toes for the first time in months. It’s one of my favorite practices to welcome the spring.

On days off, when I’ve got the time to languish on the stoop, I’ll sit in the doorway, my feet on the single stair, and just let the pre-noon sun warm me from the toes up. That’s my favorite way to welcome the sunnier seasons.

So, I did that for the first time this year, and though I took a picture to send to my family and friends, I won’t shock you with the whiteness here.

I even opened the moon roof and cracked the windows on the drive to Starbucks, though the breeze was a little crisp. I’m willing to have goosebumps in order to soak in all the vitamin D I can get. And, as the earth rotates around the sun, the patio chairs look increasingly inviting. Maybe by 2 I can grab my book and enjoy the sunshine for an hour or two.

On the docket today is finishing chapter 4. It’s nearly there, and I woke up with some good ideas on where to take it, so I’m feeling pretty good about finishing it today.

In other news, Soundgarden’s album Superunknown is 20 years old this year. Facebook just told me, haha. I listened to it on the way in today, and found a lyric I never really appreciated before. In the titular track there is a line that goes as follows, “if this isn’t making sense, it doesn’t make it lies.”

If this isn’t making sense
It doesn’t make it lies.

And for some reason it just really meant something to me today. Two lines, totaling ten words, but that carry so much weight.

If this isn’t making sense
It doesn’t make it lies.

To me, it means that, just because you don’t understand someone’s point of view or their lifestyle, doesn’t make it wrong. The whole song is a wonderful plea for understanding and peace. But this lyric hit me today. Because, a lot of times I feel as if the way I think, or speak, doesn’t really make sense to people. I’m self-concious about seeming a bit crazy. Because there are things that I believe. Even though I know that characters in film and books aren’t real, I still believe in them.

Even here I’m having a hard time explaining.

I believe in them because, despite being works of fiction, they teach me something incredibly valuable. And while my logical mind, what little of it I have, reminds me that The Doctor will never land on my back porch and take me away on an adventure to end all adventures, my heart knows that he is real.

Because the character’s values, the shows values, are instilled in me.

This is just one example. I guess I’m trying to say that the things I’ve learned from characters helped build who I am as a person, and so they feel real to me, because they are a part of me. And I’m real.

Aren’t I?

That’s an incredibly complicated topic for another time.

Anyway, I’m rambling. My brain is heavy today. Not sure if it’s just full to bursting with fiction, or I’m fighting off a migraine.

Hopefully it’s the former.

Good day all,

 

BZ

 

Not What I’d Had in Mind

Writing is hard today. Don’t know why. I’m sitting in the lobby of my Starbucks, freezing under the unnecessary air conditioning, and staring at the blank screen of chapter 11.

Chapters 9 and 10 were so good. And really came quite easily. Now I have to fight for 11.

It doesn’t help that my brain is clogged with other things.

I started playing Defiance, and it’s awesome. So of course it’s almost all I can think about. If I could, I would play 24 hours a day, that’s how much I enjoy it.

Also, I had a new story idea and it has me really excited, but I don’t want to even touch it until the rough draft of Vessels is finished. Which is really hard to do.

Add to it that I’ll have been at work for about 12 hours today, and somehow didn’t manage to drink any coffee, and I’m mentally zapped.

So, basically, Vessels has been ignored this last week. Except for when I shower. For some reason I always think about my stories when I’m in the shower.

Even now, as I write this post, I’m really just avoiding chapter 11. I tell myself that I’m just using the blog to work out my problems with the chapter, but so far that’s not really happening.

Maybe it needs to marinate? I don’t know. I have flashes of moments from the chapter, and they’re good. Exciting. I should want to write them.

But, once I actually sit down and rest my fingers on the black keys of my MacBook, nothing happens. 

I think I’m nervous. What if 11 doesn’t stack up? 9 and 10 have set the standard, and I’m terrified that 11 is going to suck.

How dumb is that?

Another method of ignoring this chapter has come in the form of editing the Vessels playlist on my ipod. This is the music I listen to while writing the novel. it includes the collective genius of Muse, 30 Seconds to Mars, Incubus, Cage the Elephant, The Civil Wars, Jeff Buckley, The Lumineers, Soundgarden, and Placebo.

It’s an odd playlist, but most of the songs make sense for the novel, either through the lyrics or the actual sound or tone of the song.

Anyway, this post has taken the better part of two hours to write, and as the evening persists, my mood steadily drops. I can’t write tonight, it would seem. I can’t focus. I can only scribble in purple ink the tenuous ramblings of my broken mind.

Impotence. That’s the feeling.

 

BZ