The Grapes of Wrath, and the Great Recession
[note: please donate to corrente if you're not already as fucked as I am and living in bank-account seized hell over medical bills. This is not a game. This is a war.]
I'm reading the Grapes of Wrath for the first time ever.
"what land's outside the door? How if you wake up in the night and know — and know the willow tree's not there? Can you live without the willow tree? Well, no, you can't. The willow tree is you. The pain on that mattress there — that dreadful pain — that's you." - The Grapes of Wrath
When I was a kid, I was a sci-fi fan and always imagining my future-self as being "that random woman" everywhere. Like, I'd see a woman who kinda looks like me out in public, and wonder if she was Future-Self, and wonder if she was about to about to come over to me and give Younger-Self advice. I was a weird kid like that.
I sang with Justin Timberlake in the Mid-South talent show circuits in the late 80's and early 90's (as kids, of course.) We kind of had a racket going on. lol (If Justin performs in "song and dance" and Kelly does "vocals" we'll win ALL the prizes!) I mean, our guardians DID coordinate/orchestrate it, but Justin and I talked, too. And he was always, ALWAYS such a nice person. Any time I won, he'd come over and offer his hand for a shake and congratulate me. I always returned the favor, I think, although it became irrelevant once we both/all (hello, Ashley!) went to Texas to audition for the Mickey Mouse Club.
I'm not surprised that he's grown into who he has become.
I was also, at this time, a "star" at a megachurch. I was 10 and singing solos in front of thousands of people monthly. Yes, my ego was hugely tied up in it all. But hey, I was 10 years old. I was also a contentious objector to the whole popularity caste system of elementary school. For real, I just didn't participate. That defacto made me lowest caste.
So life goes on. Guardians die and I join the Rainbow Family. Eventually I met my husband and we made a band, which was eventually signed to Sony. Weird shit goes down at this point. I was 18, and the recording engineer was literally putting Satanic symbols on the walls of the iso room. A mutual friend said he was some sort of neopagan who was trying to use his occult skills to seduce me with that stuff. COMPLETELY weird. Also, he was clearly trying to get me drunk so I'd boink him. Weird into the stratosphere. My spidey-sense called out "FLEE! Flee!" and I fled. And so did the whole band. Then the band fell apart.
But we've at least always had instruments. And pawn shops are seeming a lot sadder these days.
From the Grapes of Wrath: (about home eviction)
"what land's outside the door? How if you wake up in the night and know — and know the willow tree's not there? Can you live without the willow tree? Well, no, you can't. The willow tree is you. The pain on that mattress there — that dreadful pain — that's you."
The pawn shops these days are full of great finds for musicians with money.
But what is a musician without his music? Are you your music? What's left after your instruments are gone? What's left of the hiphop lyricist after the drum machine and mini-PA are pawned?