Drunken Monkeys and Big Feelings

I’ve missed writing here. I’m not lacking the ideas or impulse of course, but I haven’t made the time. The longer breaks between posts, the more clogged and messy the ideas get and I start to wonder what I might find when I reach in my hand to pull one out.

The first handful of the tangle is tasks, mighty To Do’s associated with being on tour now. From there many of the tethered strings have to do with events around the corner, events that take months of planning to launch. An April tour in British Columbia is getting its finishing touches, April 29th is poised to be the UK/EU release of The Living Record, and May will take me to England, and then Belgium, The Netherlands and Germany, to sing the ol’ songs in person. I’m going to try and release a music video in April too.

Much of that is very exciting news. The details of it all are dull.

And I’ve been busy with the details. Before that were the holidays, for which I kept my head down both to get my job done, and to escape what aches at that time of year.

I’ve also been busy, recently, having fun on the road – from the mayhem, magic and madness of attending the Folk Alliance International conference, to bounding around southern Ontario and into Quebec. I like this part of the world very much, and some of my favourite people are here.

But I don’t mean for this to be a summary – goodness knows there’s enough “sorry I haven’t written I’ve just been So Busy” blogs out there. I mean for this to untie my tongue. I’ve been tripping on my words before I can get them out lately. Truly. In conversation where I might have been grounded and clear before I’m stuttering, hm-ing, unsure of how to piece it together, succumbing to a clamour of drunken monkeys, in the Buddhist sense of such a scene.

I went through a phase when I was a kid of loving monkeys. L O V I N G, in that fanatic and seeking to establish individuality kind of way. It was, for a time, My Thing.  Other than reading key articles in my Ranger Rick magazines, thinking that Project X was one of cinema’s most moving achievements, and being star struck by the gorillas at the San Diego zoo, I had various memorabilia, from a small chimpanzee figurine (named Monkoo) to a life sized stuffed Orangutan (Renzo). It was a modest collection, but my feelings for the objects were big.

I’ve been struggling to articulate lately partly because I’ve been so deeply involved in the business side of my job these past few months that I started to feel very far from the creative spark, but also partly because of big feelings, like the yes-I-desperately-need-to-laminate-the-floor-to-ceiling-poster-of-the-gorillas-in-order-to-preserve-it-better kind of big feelings (though at age 12 when they had to cut the poster in half in order to laminate it, I no longer wanted it, a thing being ruined by being cut in half and pieced together of course).

These days the feelings that overwhelm have little to do with material items, but still to do with a sense of ruin. Beauty too. I’ve been in a heart-on-sleeve kind of way, crying during every episode of My So Called Life that I’ve been re-watching while on the road, and feeling all sorts of sadness, tenderness, and having no words to describe it. It feels like a zillion stories and memories are being pulled up and flung across the room, like every dresser drawer of anecdotes has been dumped on my bedroom floor and I’m digging through them trying to find SOMETHING.

I know it’s here somewhere/it’s nowhere to be found.

But I digress.

Monkeys. Big feelings. Blogging. Back to work.

I am glad to be back on the road. Being able to share my songs, in person, with other people, holy crap I’d missed it during the winter months. It means the world to me to be able to do it.

It’s a kind of fuel that I can’t find anywhere else, and when it’s poured on the fire even the drunken monkeys stop to take in the glow. When I’ve got their attention, I don’t mind so much the mess they’ve made in the meantime.

So maybe that’s where I’m at – working on enjoying the moments of clarity when they come, not minding the noise in the meantime, and aiming to put some of it into words when I can.


Late night glow at my home away from home in Toronto.


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