Monday, January 31, 2011

Hair Update

It's been more than five months since I've done one of these, so I figure I'm overdue.

For those readers unfamiliar with the tradition, I've been growing my hair for a bit over four years and back in 2008 started making a habit of posting pictures of it each month.

I mentioned in a recent entry that my locks, which many of you seem rather fond of, have reached quite an absurd length lately, but until today there's been no visual evidence to back up my claims.

You'll find below all the proof you need. This is what my hair looks like now:

This is by far the longest I've ever had it, and I've been rather flattered of late by the number of people, many of them random strangers, who come up to me and tell me that they find my hair to be quite beautiful.

Of course, the long blonde waves tumbling halfway down my back can, in conjunction with my slight frame, fair complexion, and smooth skin, lead to occasional confusion regarding my gender.

"Dude, is that a guy or a girl?" a young man gestured toward me at a recent party.

In his defense (and mine), he was a bit drunk.

When his friend squinted at me curiously, I ended their uncertainty with a quick declaration.

"Guy," I announced. "I am definitely a guy."

About a month ago I was waiting in a restaurant to order my lunch when a member of the staff walked up to me and asked, "What would you like, miss?"

I laughed and tried not to blush.

"I'm sorry, but I'm not a 'miss,'" I answered, fighting my embarrassment.

An older woman behind me looked up in surprise.

"Well no you're not," she smiled and turned to the waiter. "He's not a girl. He's just a young boy with very lovely hair."

Periodic speculation concerning my genitalia aside, I'm not planning on getting a haircut anytime soon.

I like it long.

Plus, the onset in a few months of summer and the attendant light clothing it brings should leave no one in doubt about my sex; however androgynous I may sometimes look, there is no girl out there blessed enough to have my thighs nor cursed enough to have my chest.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Snow Day

I think it says something about college students as a group that, three days into the semester, we were all wildly excited at the prospect of getting out of school for snow.

Campus seemed strangely subdued Wednesday afternoon as we waited for the weather event to begin, and there were few cars on the road when I left Major University several hours early to avoid the storm that was slated to hit just before rush hour.

As it turns out, I was smart to head out when I did; I was still on the road when the heavy rains turned into thick snow, and the furious system chasing me home left the highways in an ungodly state of gridlock until nearly midnight.

The snow was coming down at a torrid pace when I arrived at my house, piling up at the rate of two inches an hour.

"This is crazy," I told Powell when we went out for a grocery store run around five.

"I know," my brother responded. "You literally can't see to the end of the street."

Armed with ice cream, potato chips, chocolates, and chicken bouillon, we walked out of the supermarket and headed to the side parking lot where I'd left my car.

The snowfall was heavier than any I'd ever seen, and in the twenty minutes we'd been inside shopping my windshield and rear window had been totally covered in accumulation.

I wiped the fresh snow from atop my Oldsmobile and then, doing well under the 25-mile-per-hour speed limit, drove home through a town that was disappearing into the swirling hurricane of white.

The sky was the color of iron and fat snowflakes rushed down from it in an alabaster haze, raining down upon Mountain Town like paratroopers from an invading winter army.

I couldn't believe the intensity of the storm. The snow was so thick that it obscured nearby buildings as it blew sideways, and its component drops raced toward the ground.

Usually, at least around here, snow tends to float gracefully on the wind. This snow, though, moved like stones shot out of the sky.

"I wonder if this is what it's like to live up north?" I thought aloud.

When Powell and I walked through the front door we found my mother in the kitchen, conjuring up a huge pot of her renowned chicken noodle soup to fortify our household against the cold deluge outside.

Her efforts were very much appreciated, not only by her four children but by the cohort of young associates ambling about our house: Black Boy and Younger Neighbor, 19- and 18-year-old brothers who live next door and are close friends with Thomas; and Coffee-Shop Girl, a 17-year-old high school Senior who has dated both Thomas and Powell.

Our kitchen table was crowded as eight people drew up chairs and helped themselves to full bowls of the delicious steaming soup.

"BB, don't take pictures of me," my mother admonished.

"I'm not," I said. "I'm taking pictures of the food."

My mother sighed and Pie, with a straightforward look, informed me matter-of-factly, "You're weird."

The next day we slept late, then bundled up to go sledding.

At first I was quite irritated at being pulled away from my books and warm couch to shepherd Pie and Mischievous Boy, our six-year-old neighbor, to the site, but after we actually got there and started racing down the incline on our inner tubes and plastic toboggans I forgot my initial reluctance to go.

It was all great fun, and we were really very fortunate that the couple whose house happened to sit on one of the best sledding hills in the neighborhood had no trouble with a bunch of random children--and one 22-year-old--occupying their backyard.

It was a nice way to spend a Thursday off from school.

After two hours hurling ourselves head-first, backwards, and sideways down the steep mound we hitched a ride home with my mother.

I ate until I thought I would explode, then slept like a baby through a bitterly cold night.

Monday, January 24, 2011

The Star

Note: I am well aware that the subject matter of this poem may cause concern for my wellbeing. I would assure my readers that the piece was an exercise in venting pent-up anxiety and nothing more.

I am so sorry
That I could not be
The things that You hoped for
That You gave to me

I am so sorry
That I fell so short
My voyage was wayward
And soon will abort

It's not that I'm thankless
For soul-shaking flights
For glorious sunshine
And probing starlight

It's just that those diamonds
Made me search within
And witness a struggle
I'm never to win

The truth that they showed me
Was too much to bear
So stark and unsettling
In their gorgeous glare

I am a dark hole in
A sky filled with white
I'll not shine and glimmer
Though so hard I fight

I don't understand why
You set me apart
Perhaps I am weaker
And fainter of heart

Much ligher than You thought
More craven as well
With more mournful sorrow
Than I've words to tell

I'm sorry to do this
I'm sorry to go
But each day erodes me
And carries me low

I wanted to join with
The rest of your stars
And glow the way they do
So bright from afar

Do you know what it's like
How it makes me cry
To look like no other
You've put in the sky?

I wish for but one thing
To be as they are
Undamaged and normal
An ordinary star

It's all that's worth having
It's all I can't have
The star that's denied it
Is bound to go bad

I know that I'm awful
But I can no more
Endure all this sadness
All this hurt ignore

I ask Your forgiveness
Your mercy and might
As a single black star
Burns out in the night

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Moving Ahead

"Now, BB, you're going to need to pace yourself here."

I looked over at the man from behind a tall microphone.

"Seriously," he said. "These next couple of tracks aren't meant to be keepers. You still have a lot of singing to do tonight and you don't want to blow your voice out."

"Alright," I answered. "I'll take it easy."

I have not been entirely inactive on the music front, though the dearth of information I've posted regarding the topic of late might give that impression.

After I returned in October from an unsuccessful meeting with record executives in Largest City, I fought off a surge of melancholy and, as is my manner, pushed ahead even though I didn't really feel up to it.

Failure is never easy to deal with. Failure on really quite a large scale, regardless of whatever success accompanies it, is doubly hard.

Still, I knew that there would come a time when I'd be raring to strike out again and decided to lay some groundwork that I might be in a good position once my high spirits returned to me.

That groundwork consisted of finding a band (Indie Pop Band), allowing them to compose instrumental parts to my original songs, and locking down a studio where I could record a demo at a reasonable cost.

We had two numbers done by the middle of December and were originally scheduled to go into the studio on December 17th, but a spate of irresponsibility and bad luck intervened.

On the afternoon of our first demo date, our guitarist (an otherwise upstanding individual) showed up for practice drunk. His impairment was explained away as flu to the studio owner and we rescheduled for January 3rd.

The same guitarist had a mishap on Christmas Eve, however, falling down the stairs and breaking his hand ten days before our booked session and three weeks before Indie Pop Band was to leave for an East Coast tour.

With only a bit more than a fortnight left until the onset of a tour and searching for an interim guitarist, the members of Indie Pop Band showed their true decency of character by insisting on honoring their commitment to me despite a significant time crunch.

Their bassist learned one of my songs in five days while simultaneously helping out the new guitarist, and on January 10th we were at last in the studio.

Once behind the mic we moved a lot more quickly than anyone anticipated.

Three run-throughs were all that was needed to get acceptable bass, guitar, and drum tracks, and I did only four vocal takes before the somewhat surprised owner declared we had enough material.

"I think we're done," he said in an almost-puzzled manner. He looked at his seventeen-year-old son, who was serving as our engineer, like he wanted confirmation.

"I'd say so," the boy answered. "Everything sounds good."

"Wow," the studio owner noted. "We got through that entire thing in an hour. You guys sounded awesome."

The musicians nodded politely but I felt I should clarify as to who exactly was responsible for the positive showing.

"You know," I declared, lifting my hands in an expression of bravado. "When you have a good frontman, everything else just sort of falls into place."

"Oh, yeah," the band members guffawed, gently ribbing me as we prepared to leave.

The owner placed the headphones over his ears and took in a bit more of the preliminary track.

"This is going to be a really, really solid demo," he said. He seemed like he hadn't expected that. "It won't be radio ready, but it will definitely be good."

The track is still being mixed and mastered, and will be completed in about a week's time.

I'm quite excited.

My considerable vanity makes me want to post the song here but my considerable fear of identification has led me to refrain.

I'm facing now the same issue I've been facing for roughly a year: on the one hand, I want success and want my readers to hear about it, but on the other I want to keep my anonymity.

These conflicting desires drove me to distraction last fall; the major record label I was in talks with would have begun promotional activity for me immediately if they'd decided to bring me on, and that would have put me right in the center of the public glare.

The company took a pass on me, but the issue remains the same: if I were to ever achieve substantial success in music and then be linked back to this site, embarrassingly intimate details of my private life could become common knowledge.

Picking me out would not be hard, of course. My hair alone would be enough to out me to my readers, but while this struggle I'm engaged in may eventually prove unwinnable I've decided I'm at least not going to make it easy by posting my song titles (my hair, by the way, is just ridiculously long now; I'll have to do an update soon).

For now, at least, I'm safely unknown. For now.

I'm hoping that the song I recently recorded may have the potential to change that and perk the interest of some record companies.

I don't mean to sound immodest, but I'm really an excellent songwriter. Breakup Song, which I so recently laid down, is cathartic, guitar-driven, and filled with a series of strategically timed hooks that get the tune spinning around and around in your head long after it's stopped playing.

"BB, that's really good," my brother Powell (who once called the idea my being a profitable recording artist "the most ridiculous thing [he'd] ever heard") told me yesterday. "I can see it being on the radio. It's catchy as hell."

I beamed. Given my commercial goals, being told that one of my songs is "catchy" is pretty much the highest compliment I can receive.

He added, with trepidation, "I hope you don't take this the wrong way, but one thing I think might help you is that you're willing to write the kind of music that radio wants to play."

I blinked.

"Why is that a bad thing?"

He shrugged.

"Well, you know, a lot of times that music just isn't very good or very authentic."

"Oh," I said. "That's not really the point, though."

My attitude toward music has been a source of amusement for my friends, all of whom seem to be struck by the corporate way I've approached this task.

The truth is that I see my music career partially in terms of artistic expression but primarily as a business venture. I am making and packaging a total product that includes my own crafted image and a series of enjoyable sing-along singles with the ultimate goal of selling records.

This straightforward mentality was off-putting to Local Records, which had Indie aspirations, but I think it will serve me well in the arena I wish to enter.

Response to the Breakup Song has thus far been mostly positive.

"BB, I'm so proud of you!" Black Dress Girl exclaimed after hearing it a first time and then insisting on listening to it once more. "This is really good!"

She bound forward, hugged me, and exclaimed, "You're famous!", drawing the stares of nearby patrons in the bookstore where we'd decided to meet up.

"So, you don't think I should have been offended by what Powell said?" I asked.

"No," she answered. "I mean, unless you were trying to do something new or innovative."

"Nope," I shook my head. "Not at all."

I have tried to disabuse myself as much as possible of any fantastic notions I might have concerning all this: I'm a good vocalist without being great, and am passably good-looking but in a way that is markedly boyish. There are plenty who are more talented and more beautiful than me.

Many of those people will not ever make it into the spotlight, though, and that's where I feel I stand out: I may have been given less than some but what I have is certainly sufficient, and I'm willing to wager that I put my lot to better use than those who might otherwise be more deserving.

I have a photo shoot scheduled for next week so that I can send out promotional images with my music. Wish me luck.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

I Depart on Christmas Eve

It's actually true, although I don't have the time just now to explain how.

I'm leaving for Anne's house, where I'll visit with my birth-mother for the next two days.

We're planning on having a Merry Christmas together.

Monday, January 3, 2011

A Question for Father

Note: After a reader raised concerns regarding the content of this poem, I feel compelled to note that the piece is meant to be a statement on my father's specific relationship with my mother and not in any way an overall indictment of women.

I admire and respect many fellow bloggers, most of them women, and hope that respect is not at all obscured by this post.

How is it as a woman?
Please tell me, is it fun?
I hope this wisdom you'll impart
Dear father, to your son

Do you ever find it odd
To go while sitting down?
Do you your face admire much
When no one is around?

Does it feel most airy there
That gap between your legs?
Where we men have an instrument
That our attention begs

And what of breasts upon your front?
Of that you surely know
When yours so shapely and so firm
Through thickest garments show

How is to be so weak
So smitten with a man
That you indulge his every whim
Obey his each command?

You're rather ugly for a dame
But it won't get you blue
For there's in sad and quick defeat
No truer dame than you

Do you shudder with delight
When Mother comes to bed?
And does she take you from the front
Or from your other end?

Do you pretend at modesty
And motion to decline
When she over your protests deigns
To have you from behind?

I love you father but I won't
Adopt what you hold dear
Your flaming girlish posture is
Too shameful for a queer

Unlike you I am a man
I stand strong as a rock
While in your dress lie folds and lace
In my pants is a cock

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Happy New Year

A Happy New Year to you all. A real post will be forthcoming, but this deserved to be said.