improvisation in the key of life

Sunday, June 11, 2006

The Story of How We Met

I was playing in a band with Aaron Blanding. I liked playing
with him because the arrangements were loose and it sounded
a bit like Tom Waits. He also usually had steady gigs in San Francisco.

On this particular weekend, he had scheduled a gig during the
day on UC Berkeley's campus (the "boar" something or other?)
and later that night, with the full band at the Lost and Found
Saloon in North Beach.

It's a thrilling way to spend a weekend, playing enjoyable music
on stage in front of people.

This was the night I met The One.

ok, i'm going to have to just tell this story as it happened
and as i remember it, because i'm taking too much time trying
to weave the thread.

shannon was aaron's exgirlfriend and jenn's best friend from highschool.
shannon came to the Cal show and we talked for a while and she
was really quite spectacular. She said that she was having a 'girls night out'
that evening and would try to stop by The Show at the Lost and Found
with her friends.

Lost and Found

That night, we were the second of two bands to play and the Girls Night
pack came during our set. I saw the group and one long haired big eyed
girl stood out like a red balloon over a black and white background.

After our performance, I came down with Aaron to greet Shannon and her friends
as we made the introductions around the table, I couldn't see or hear or think
anything about anything, except this woman before me.

I said a few words and soon Shannon's group left.

A few weeks later we were again playing a show in SF, this time at
the Brainwash

I asked Aaron if his exgirlfriend Shannon was going to the show,
he said "Yes, but not that whole group of girls. Maybe just her friend

I got there early and so did Shannon and Jenn. I was wearing Tony the Tiger
fuzzy bath slippers and a Santa Claus red jacket. We three talked for
some time before the show and I felt like the connection between the
three of us was unusual and electric.

Jenn was sitting on a chair painted like Andy Warhol's soup can
and during the show i couldn't take my eyes away from her eyes,
again glowing against the background like eyes that do that.

after the show a small group of us went to Pigalle in Hayes Valley.
there we continued the 'before show' electric connection.
after Pigalle closed, we all walked to Jenn's apartment. There
we had merlot and cigarettes and talked about things.

i didn't want to leave, but Aaron drove me and by 4am he was
getting antsy to get home. This was only after Jenn invited us to
her 28th birthday party, we offered to 'play' the party as a duo.

A few days later I suggested to Aaron that we write a set of songs
about Jenn and sing & play them for her birthday (wouldn't that be
nice?). He preferred to sing his own songs, so i got an idea.

i started to write 28 poems, one for each of Jenn's years.
For 3 weeks I wrote each poem and tried to channel her life
through my hand. I asked Shannon for a picture of Jenn and I
enlarged it and drew a portrait as an illustration to the the 23rd
poem which went something like:
"If they asked me, I couldn't write a book
about the way you walk and whisper, but I could paint..." (23 syllables)

the idea being that i didn't 'really' know her, but in drawing the
portrait and channelling the experience of what led to her image
in that photo (which turned out to be an old passport photo) I
was getting to know her.

Each poem was in the meter of the year, so poem 1 is single
syllable, "Blink" etc. and poem 4 is in four syllables "In-dul-genc-es,
be-yond the mean"

My sense with this book of poetry for a woman that i was buzzing
with electricity for, was that whether it resulted in a true and deep
connection. the feelings that i was feeling were real, and deep.
i didn't want those feelings to escape into unrecorded time, so i wrote
them down, and presented the book to her (sort of) at the party.

I was certain that people at the party, all people i didn't know
except for Aaron and Shannon, would question the meaning of
a book of original poems and a portrait for someone i hardly knew.
so i addressed that in the 4th poem "Indulgences beyond the mean"
I figured they would ask me to read something from the book, and
I would then read number 4 and it would predict their request
and also explain my answer to their unasked question:

Indulgences Beyond the Mean

Say it outloud
we want to hear
go on, say it
(she taunted him)

flushing - silence
and his eyes closed
(presently he
began to speak)

I wrote this book
(he said, in tones
measured and clear)

to celebrate
the beauty of
you and of life
(at this he stopped
picked up his things
and poured a drink)

So often (he
called as he poured)

The things that give
us the most joy
are left untouched




  • At 11:14 AM, Blogger blue][erring said…

    so that pretty much takes you up to the 'party'. things i left out that are sort of interesting... my favorite color is and always has been blue, but at that moment in my life i was jumping out of ruts. i had no rhythm and could never dance, so i took a ballroom/swing dance class and ballet.

    yes, ballet... size 13 slippers. i took a ballet '1' class at deAnza and in talking to the teacher found out that the San Jose Ballet Company was in some serious financial debt. i thought i would go to a meeting there because perhaps i could help in some way? or at least listen to how other people might help in that situation (which i could then use later on ).

    The SJBC also puts on the annual Nutcracker, which I went to just about every year of my life at the Civic Light Opera house in San Jose, so I wanted to see.

    so i went down there, and they mentioned how this year's Nutcracker was particularly important and also that a few of the Adults that do the Inconsequential Dancing in the opening sequence and in the party scene had dropped out and would anyone be able to fill in (and make the rehearsals etc).

    So that was happening during this whole time, a period of several months in late 1997. So after I went to the party and Jenn read the book and then we went on a 'date' the next day, which hasn't ended yet (9 years later), so a week or so after that party, I invited Jenn to San Jose to see me dance in a ballet in front of 5,000 people.

    "Hello, I am your future husband"

  • At 11:18 AM, Blogger blue][erring said…

    ohh right, so blue is my favorite color, but i was jumping out of ruts (an excellent hobby, highly recommended). and so i chose to bind the book in RED rather than BLUE and as it turns out, Jenn highly identifies with her favorite color, which is RED.

    so a week or two after the party, when we were naming our future child... i said that obviously, the universe will have our first child be a girl and we will name her "Violet"


    (as i'm writing this stuff down, it seems
    positively amazing)


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