Column: Fun with Shrapnel
Ah, new digs!
Let’s pretend, dear reader, that we’re old friends. I mean, we sort of are (old friends), and I’m going to tell you a lot of stories about maybe familiar people. I’ll, of course, change the names to protect the innocent, but I can’t promise some of the tales won’t be scandalous. I’ll try to limit the scandal to my own.
I’ve been mining myself for tales about my experiences as a Louisvillian. I have kept journals for more than 20 years and filled about 15 volumes with youthful fantasies, yet, as I shed my nervous skin, they became stories of my need to act. My stories changed from fantasies dreamed to fantasies lived. I’m not special, just willing to try.
When LEO offered me the chance to change speeds and write more freely about subjects other than music, I was intrigued by the chance to share stories about other things. I’ve played in many sandboxes, and I want to speak of those places and experiences. I’ll tell some directly, just as I did when I wrote about my self-inflicted high-school nickname. Some, however, will require a little more care and the chance to be posited somewhere not so personal.
I’m a big fan of memoir and personal narrative, so I do enjoy telling you these things. I think my life has been unique in that I’ve done more than I ever expected, and I’m old enough that embarrassment is non-existent. Being candid makes me feel that others can become complicit in my madness. I think, definitely, it is on you as my reader to feel responsibility for my tripping and falling in the middle of Bashford Manor Mall being a smartass. I did it so that years later, I could tell you all about it. Own it, reader. Own it.
When LEO asked for my point of view for the new column, I was at a loss. I’m changeable, so do I have a definitive point of view? Yes. That point of view is, to quote my favorite Scandinavian, Bjork, “Lean into the crack and it will tremble.” In other words, truth comes from being authentic. So, love your scars. You’ve earned them.
I adore my wounds and my stumbles. I feel as though I am the most authentic in my struggles. Some struggles are minor. For example, today I was watching a man in a Sunny Acres tow truck eating crackers. I almost missed the light because I had constructed his entire genetic legacy back to middle-age merchants. My need to fabricate an entire story about this fellow is a mystery, but it is a behavior I wrestle to control. I am constantly in character development. Ask my husband about the “Chinless Bastard.”
Other struggles are bigger, such as learning to be a mother. Learning to love the yellow, naked stranger pulled screaming into my life has taken a bit of getting used to. I was not a mother who instantly attached to her infant. That came later for me, and I’m not ashamed of it. It was simply the way it happened for me. It was my crack to lean into. I felt guilty about it, and then I got over it. I love him now, and that’s what matters.
It is important to be willing to trip and fall knowing you aren’t the only one who has done it, and that all of the bits and fallout of our lives become part of the character we are. We are our shrapnel.
I definitely won’t always write stories of how screwed up I am or how I think the world is broken. I won’t, in general, get that preachy. If you think I’m screwy, that’s OK. I think you are, too, and I like it.
So how do I write a column about Louisville, about me, about you? I’m not fully certain, but I think I’ll begin the way I find most comforting. I’ll tell you a story.
I plan to tell you about the sluts, the geeks, the freaks and the ones who saved my life. I hope you can relate. I hope what we began back in music will translate into something deeper and perhaps a legacy that I create with you. Maybe it will be like group therapy, a bedtime story or, possibly, it will just make you laugh while you relax on the porcelain throne after a really long day.