Monthly Archives: July 2011

What is Up With the Age of 27?

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I am flummoxed, having just read the New York Times article about Amy Winehouse’s recent death. The end of the article states,

Ms. Winehouse is not the first singer who died at the age of 27. Jim Morrison, Janis Joplin, Jimi Hendrix, Kurt Cobain and Brian Jones of the Rolling Stones were the same age.

Are you kidding me? They all died at 27? That fact startles and disturbs me, and adds to my low-level sadness this weekend. Tomorrow my nephew Alex would be turning 28, if he hadn’t followed the template of tragic deaths at age 27.

Alex was a gifted musician too, and spent a few years getting good on the drums as well as guitar when he lived with us. One of my favorite memories of Alex was at a Rock ‘n’ Roll Summer Camp the year he turned 14. He was Mr. Cool on the drum kit for most of the bands that formed there, taking pride in being a kind of wild big brother to the younger kids. They all looked up to him, and it seemed like he had found the perfect outlet for his energy and his desire to lead.

The first year after somebody dies is full of “firsts,” and getting past the birthday is a big one. I don’t know what I will do tomorrow to commemorate the day, but it may involve playing lots of Janis, Jimi, Kurt, and Jim.

In a Position to Write

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June may have been Pagan Values Month for some bloggers, but for me it was the Month of Random Shit Breaking. Among the random items breaking down all month: various car parts, household goods and appliances, and worst of all, my laptop.

It was a 7-year-old laptop, so old that it barely talked to other, newer pieces of hardware, or even rendered web pages reliably. But I didn’t really care since I used it mostly for writing. Not work-associated writing, though. The laptop was what I used for lying back on the sofa at the end of the day and reflecting, churning through feelings and impressions to come up with blog posts that answered some question I had been asking myself.

In its absence I realize that it is hard for me to get that same receptive state of mind while sitting up at my desk in my office, writing with a desktop computer. My analytic mind dominates in the office, while my poetic mind perches on the couch. And so here I sit tonight, weirdly upright and with too many papers spread out around me, trying to re-enter the musing frame of mind I just had on the couch before coming in here to write. Nope, not really happening.

One thing I have learned in the last few years is that even if I can’t see the way forward, things come through when I really need them to. So while I feel stymied by not having a working laptop I also feel weirdly serene about it, and kind of curious as to what will happen next. I have had to find serenity with a lot of things this year, mostly with my nephew’s death which is still very much an open wound. I don’t have as much energy for taking care of things as I used to have, so when stuff breaks unless it’s essential to my livelihood I tend to just leave it.

If it were my desktop computer that broke (God forbid) I would be all over the internet finding a replacement asap. But it’s my laptop, an almost ethereal companion that helps me dive deep and surface with something to say. Its loss I am taking more as a conversation with the Universe about what to do and how to do it right now. Maybe I need to bring that poetic mind into my office more. Who knows? At least I was able to write this tonight, and hopefully I’ll be back with more to say in the weeks to come. Meanwhile I’ve been writing a column for SageWoman Magazine the past three issues, so if you’re looking for longer musing pieces there is at least one other place to turn.