You Know, Her Life Was Saved By Rock & Roll

Lou Reed passed away today. He had a liver transplant earlier in the year, and I was so relieved to read an article where his wife, performance artist Laurie Anderson, said he was recovering nicely. Not only was I worried about Lou Reed’s own health, but the thought of the two of them being separated broke my heart.

Lou and Laurie

Lou and Laurie had been an influence on me with their individual careers, long before I even knew about their long-term relationship. But since their marriage in 2008, when I learned that they had been together since the 1990s, I have always been filled with immense love and hope just thinking about the fact that they were a couple. Two amazingly talented and perceptive people, who may not go by other people’s standards of “normal,” but are beautifully intertwined by their confidence in and respect for themselves and each other.

While I am saddened by this great loss, I am encouraged by the thought that there even existed an artist and human being who could be such a profound influence on the world, and this very Creeter.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m gonna start dancing to that fine, fine music.

-Rachel Creeter

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Oh Hi, Neighbor!

Well, now, it’s been a little over two years since one of us Creeters has clicked on that “Publish” button. I have a draft in here that has been sitting since December 2010. It was about the (then) recent passing of artist and musician Don Van Vliet, known as Captain Beefheart. I suppose it isn’t relevant anymore. But since I never did get to put up a fitting tribute, I’ll go ahead and set this video right here:

I don’t even remember how to format these posts. Not to mention WordPress has changed a bit since a couple years ago.

I’d like to say that I’ll be posting every week again, and my other Creeters will join me so that we can have an update almost every day, but let’s not go chasing waterfalls. Amiright, TLC? You know.

This is just a check-in post, to see if this thing is still running. I miss writing. So much has gone on since I last wrote on here, I almost don’t know where to begin.

I’m engaged to be married. There’s a start. The last post by any of us was dear Sara Creeter simply glowing about her upcoming wedding (which has of course come and gone and been anniversaried already). I suppose it’s only fitting that the return of the prodigal post should announce my impending nuptials.

My fiancé is a sharp chap, and I’m very happy to have found him. To put it more accurately, I’m very happy to have had Erin Creeter introduce me to him. That’s right, it was a match made in Creeter heaven. He’s a writer too, which is lovely on so many levels. We talk about writing, he writes and I feel deep pride in him, then he laments that I don’t write much anymore. I lament, too, I just wish I would do something about it. Well, this isn’t much, but it is at least a start. You can’t call yourself a writer if you don’t, you know, write. I’ve had snippets of ideas or inspiration; fat lot of good they do if they stay on a sticky note on your bedstand.

Been trying to give it that good ol’ Writing Down the Bones push, keeping a journal to just get in the habit of writing something–anything–every day. Yeah, let’s not tell anyone I haven’t been keeping up with that. I have, however, been studying to get a license for my first-ever fulltime job (I’m an adult!). I’ve had the job for a year, now, and soon it will be time to take on more responsibility, to which I say, “Bring it on!” It’s a great job, too, and I’m very happy to have found it, as well. To put it more accurately, I’m very happy to have had my fiancé send me their job posting. It seems I thrive on recommendations.

Well, it’s back to studying for me, then off to work. If I don’t see you next Wednesday, don’t send out a search party. I’m probably just watching Doctor Who.

Signing off,

Rachel Creeter

P.S. I now contribute as a guest writer on my friends’ film blog, This Cinematic Life. (It was originally called The Cinema Nerds, but apparently someone claimed that name as theirs, so the title has changed although the domain is the same). We are currently hosting a poll of people’s Top 10 Movies released in the 1980s. You still have a chance to submit your list, until 10pm Sunday July 7th! I highly recommend both their blog as a whole and participating in the polls. It’s so fun seeing how different and how similar people’s lists are.

They go together like a horse and a carriage.

When you have to go back into your secret email archives to find your username, you know it’s been too long since your last post.

Little has changed, in some respects, since my last post – I’m still at the same job, with the same degree, with the same chum at my side and the same cat on my lap. I still think I’m too short, my back still hurts inexplicably, and I still sing to myself when I’m looking for things or running late.

But creeter-readers, in other respects, everything, everything, has changed.

My mom got married last summer. In 2007, my mom, alone and bored and feeling sorry for herself, did what every bored-alone-self-pitying creature does: started Facebook-creeping old friends to see if she could find someone more boring and less pretty than she was. Instead, she found her old high school boyfriend (whose heart she broke when she ran away from their relationship). 6 months later, I came home from Rome to find her ami in our kitchen.

“Hello,” said jet-lagged, freaked-out moi.

“Hello,” said OhnoI’mmeetingthehostileyoungestdaughter! him.

1 year later, I spent many an evening waiting impatiently for my mom to get off the phone with her boyfriend so that I could use the phone to call mine. Another year after that, I sang “Great is Thy Faithfulness” at their wedding, the song standing next to my mom’s extravagant happiness.

My mom is one of my very best friends (oh, go ahead and boo my clichédness, it’s true). We’ve shared so many ridiculous life moments together, but one I never anticipated sharing was the awkward giddiness of a first date. My chum and I have known each other since 2003, been best friends since 2006, and dating since 2008. Simplified version. I’m missing out on whole lifetimes of one-sided obsessions and non-break-ups and time spent together in the backseat and time spent alone in Mexico. But the point is, my first “boyfriend” (ha! I find that word ridiculous) coincided with my Mom’s (reunion with her) first boyfriend, and it made our relationship into something more than mom & daughter, more than friend & friend. For the first time, I realized my mom was a woman just like I was, and it has forever, beautifully changed us.

When I told my mom that le chum and I were dating, that after 2 years of being friends and awkward friends and then not friends at all, I had realised I didn’t want to live without him, she turned to me and said, “I’m so glad you were braver than I was.”

Braver? I don’t know. I suppose it did only take me 2 years, compared to 35, to realize I was willing to risk changing my known life for one that included le chum. But then again, I didn’t have 4 kids and 30 years of assorted relationship history to take responsibility for, which takes a kind of courage that is only watched on a screen, not witnessed in your own home.

Every relationship takes extraordinary courage. Relationships are about trust, which is about risk, which requires an unusual confidence in both you and in the other party involved; a confidence that is a choice, an exercise, a perspective, and sometimes, an act of faith. Always, an act of humility.

Wish me luck, wish me grace, wish me supernatural courage and stamina. August 13 2011, five years to the day that we became best friends, le chum and I are getting married.

And I’ve never been so excited about where life is going next.

I Sing the Body Electric

This entry is a twofer! I’m putting a music video at the end, so it’ll count for Mix Tape Tuesday. Because I said so.

One of my most cherished friends gave me an iPod “just because.” She was able to get it for free after rebate and, since she had her own iPod already, decided I would appreciate it. Consider me thoroughly appreciative. I’m still in awe of how much love this woman has in her heart. Okay, I know that sounds cheesy, but there’s no uncheesy response to a gesture like that.

That being said, I’m quite proud of myself for coming up with the perfect engraving for the back of the iPod:

I Sing the Body Electric

It’s a reference to multiple things, it fits well in the context of a music player, and it’s a phrase that I’ve always found intriguing.

Poetry isn’t generally my cup of tea; I’m a prose girl. I have my fair share of favorite poets, as any English major ought, and I have penned my fair share of poems, as any writer ought. But for the most part I find I connect best with novels and short stories. That doesn’t, however, mean I cannot be passionate about a poem. And if ever there was a poem I was passionate about, it’s “I Sing the Body Electric” by Walt Whitman.

My first encounter with that phrase was through Rod Serling. (He is one of my heroes, but I will save my thoughts on him for another entry.) It is the title of an episode of The Twilight Zone written by Ray Bradbury (another of my favorite authors), adapted from his short story of the same title. I highly recommend both watching the episode and reading the story.

That’s all I have to say about that.

-Rachel

P.S. And now for something completely different, does this video remind anyone else of The Adventures of Pete & Pete?

“Rue the Day” by Young Knives, from their album Superabundance (2008).

Simple songs

Last Thursday, I had the opportunity to attend a Steve Bell house concert, planned by le chum‘s stepmom as a surprise birthday party for le chum‘s padre.

Steve Bell (or check out here), for those of you who are unfamiliar with the name, is a Canadian singer, songwriter and storyteller… and trust me when I tell you that he needs all three nouns to properly describe him as an artist. Steve is an incredibly talented musician (as evidenced by the two JUNOs that rest in his possession; if you’re still in doubt, listen to the guitar instrumental on Simple Songs and keep in mind that he is not using multiple guitars, as he was kind enough to prove to me on Thursday), but what sets him apart from other folksy/bluegrassy/jazzy/acoustic artists is the natural humour and wisdom that seep through his gifted storytelling that provide the backbone and lifeblood to his music.

Le chum and I arrived early at his padre’s house to help set up for the concert, but once the party punch had been mixed and the coffee carafes set out, there was little for us to do but sit down in the living room and get out of the way. So we cautiously sat at the end of one of the makeshift rows of chairs and listened to Steve finish up his sound check. After he was done, he came and sat down by us.

“Hey,” he said easily. “I’m Steve.”

Oh, really?

We got to talking about school and work and travel, and soon Steve was regaling us with tales of Istanbul and Galilee, of monasteries and mountains. More guests had started arriving, but he stayed where he was and kept on chatting. I assumed at first it was out of politeness (surely he had more impressive people to greet than a couple of twenty-something shmucks?), but even as the crowd grew around him, and some guests hovered awkwardly close over his shoulders, Steve continued to engage us in conversation, holding eye contact, and maintaining a sense of genuine interest in us and our dreams for our twenty-something lives.

Eventually, le chum and I bowed out of the way to allow the expanding crush of people to gain access to Steve, but later that evening, standing around in the kitchen, Steve sought us out and enthusiastically continued our conversation, insisting that when (not if) we head overseas, to call him first to get in contact with friends of his we needed to meet and stay with.

The concert? was wonderful, the music inspiring, the banter entertaining. But what made a lasting impression on me was Steve’s genuine love for people, manifested first in the sincere moments he spent with us; then in the passion of his music; and finally through the stories he wove between and among songs, stories stitched from bits and pieces of lessons learned while living life.