Bob Seger is Like a Fine Wine (or how I learned to love the holidays)

First, play that video above as you read this.  Who doesn’t love a soundtrack?

Ahh…that piano beginning.

Onwards.

My holidays used to be super Italian, just household to household parties packed with relatives.  Cousins and second cousins and godparents and zios and zias and nonnos and nanas and great aunts and great uncles and people I don’t know if I’m related to but they were always there.  It was a lot (LOT) of food, hours of kid table Mafia card games as the adults yelled around long dinner tables.  It was dishes upon dishes upon dishes, hours of curling ribbon, the constant (and annoying) blasting of holiday music and then there was goddamn Bob Seger.

Bob appeared around December 27th, the time my folks packed me and my brother in our car to go to our usual holiday week in Tahoe.  Bob and his greatest hits would play the entire way there.  (This might be hyberbole, yes.  But he played at least 3 times each way.  That is approximately 6 hours of goddamn Seger. Hyperbole earned.)

My brother and I would be in the backseat staring at desolate views of the Seirra Nevadas as good ol’ Bob sang about himself as a rock, all this stuff about nights, etc etc.  And of course it wasn’t just Bob singing, it was my Mom with Bob.  My brother and I would complain and Dad would slam his fist against the stick shift to the beat of whatever goddamn song was playing.  And when my brother and I would be on the verge of losing our minds, Dad would nudge Mom in triumph, like annoying us was the goal of this entire vacation.  And then my life would flash before my eyes as Dad slammed on the accelerator to pass cars on the two lane highway.   It was hell in a white Jeep only made better by walkmans and jerky.

ahhhhh mennnn

ahhhhh mennnn

I haven’t been to Tahoe in probably thirteen years.  Over the last couple of years, holidays have shrunk as cousins move, babies get made and relatives pass away.  Nothing is the same but yet it’s the same old thing.  In a couple days I will be at home with my mom making the same batch of cuccidati, an Italian cookie that makes my life worth living.  I have been in sprinkle training since I was a pre-pubescent so when I go home, I am on duty.  As always.

You know when you get to that age where you realize nothing is permanent and that your family will never stay the same?  That right there is adulthood clocking you right in the face.  Do I love the holidays nowadays?  Not in the garland hugging, carol obsessed way.  Am I excited to get on a plane tomorrow to go home for the holidays?  You bet your right arm.  I will clean every dish, unfold every metal chair, I will even shop at Costco if it means I get to sit across the table from my family for an evening.  Cause that right there is what it all means.

The other terrifying thing about getting older is that you suddenly love Bob Seger.  I understand “We’ve Got Tonight” on a cellular level.   Give me a couple years and I will probably cry along to “Like a Rock.”  And it’s all okay.  Cause like Bob, family and even myself, age is like a fine wine** and nothing appreciates things more than time.

Happy holidays to everyone.  Love and peace.

**Full disclosure:  I actually don’t like wine.  I know.  I KNOW.  An Italian girl who doesn’t like wine.  Someone call my ancestors and while you’re at it, pass me a beer.

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1, 2, 3, GORGE

It is hard to stay hungry as an artist.  Grad school was quite easy, it was like having Thanksgiving all the time but instead of gaining weight I learned how to balance the weight of my head on my spine and left with binders full of plays.

But being a working artist is a career one part feast and one part famine.

Famine for this purpose is not about waiting for checks to come in and worrying about this month’s bills, it’s about the times when nothing satisfies.  It is that horrible ache because nothing is enough.  You find creativity nowhere, not a single place.  You stare at people walking the streets and you find nothing interesting.  You look at books and think they are too heavy to carry around.  You skip through your iPod and despise every song.

And the tired artist tends to morph into the bitter artist.  You see people’s achievements and you think, “Errrr.”  No movie strikes a cord, no articles make you think.  You are beyond blocked, you are barricaded in.  You throw yourself existential pity parties, you walk around sounding like a vacuum.

This came up on my search for vacuum.  I don't understand it but somehow, it works.

I did an image search for vacuum and found this. I don’t understand…but somehow it works.

And then there is feast.  Too many plays, so little time.  You want to see this, do that, write this, research that.  You want to hold meetings and can’t go to bed cause you’re thinking of scenes you aren’t sure if you should get up and write.  You’re researching opportunities, scribbling in notepads during commutes on the subway, carrying around books and scripts and tapping furiously to music that blasts from your earbuds.

You want to be part of the world.  You want to save it, scold it, recreate it and live in it.  You want to be big and bad and sing a song and rock some words and show some skin and make yourself cry and make other people laugh and write like you never have.  You want to be a rock star, you want to be a politician, you want to tell everyone it is going to be alright and you want revenge.

You have to gorge while you can cause while you will never feel full, you can always lose your appetite.

Right now, it’s all feast.  It’s been a long time.

Behold a sampling of projects.

So many trees for art’s sake.