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Notes From The Flip Side: 10.14.2001

I'm doing something odd - I'm cleaning. I haven't done that for months. Given how old these unfiled pay stubs are, I'm going to venture a guess that I haven't cleaned in any meaningful way in over a year. And for some reason, I'm okay with that.

Maybe it's because I prefer to spend my time at shows and with friends, writing and talking, learning and teaching. I feel blessed to have the friends that I do - to a one, they are all people who amaze me every time I see them. I always learn something from them and I consider it to be nothing less than an honor to spend my days and nights with these people.

It occurs to me that I don't let them know how much I appreciate them as often as I should; that I don't tell them how much their smiles, hugs, kisses and laughter mean to me; that I frequently forget to mention how our conversations linger with me for years and that I seem incapable of ever forgetting these days, that I don't see how I could ever not remember these moments.

And it seems that we all live this way. It appears that we all appreciate these moments because joy and beauty persist, stubbornly and willfully. I was talking to a friend of mine this afternoon; he told me that he has no love in his heart for people. I asked him why he does his art and we were able to summarize his response thusly: because he sees beauty and wants to share it with others. I noted that his response sounded like what Sharon Salzberg has called lovingkindness. He stopped for a moment ... and then started roaring with laughter as the sun sank into the western sea with a golden explosion of light.

This, after I had lunch and coffee with Candy and Stoney from Sin Sin 77. Candy and I used to work together; she and Stoney live together. They are both astoundingly kind and profoundly decent people (and their band ain't half bad either). We spent about three hours today discussing our lives in a freewheeling conversation over vegetarian food and coffee that covered cooking, Stoney's vineyard, their band, leftism, and how we reconcile our work with our lives and politics, just to name a few topics. These are people who opened their home to me and a few other people who had nowhere else to go on Thanksgiving a couple of years ago. And this is what I mean by profound decency. And I'm not sure that a more gracious couple exists.

And these days are all I could have ever dreamed. Beauty and joy sustain us ... and they persist.

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Dragons, "Rock 'N' Roll Kamikaze"; Thursday, "Full Collapse"; American Nightmare, "Background Music"; Watch It Burn, "Radio Pollution"; One Time Angels, "Sound Of A Restless City"

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Wallace Stegner, "Joe Hill"; Bernard Lewis, "The Assassins" and Farhad Daftary, "The Assassin Legends"; Italo Calvino, "t zero" and "if on a winter's night a traveler"; Jerzy Kosinski, "Cockpit"; Jeroen de Valk, "Chet Baker: His Life And Music"

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Last modified on Wednesday, March 26, 2008