Currently, in the Pocket.

Note: to drummers, when you’re playing and you feel locked in to the groove, playing not only on beat, but feeling that you are in the beat, and can manipulate it with fills and rolls of all speeds, and still land back on that beat without throwing the song off rhythm.

It’s a curious sensation, knowing that I can talk about myself, my life, with absolute clarity.

I take it for granted now.

Which is also its own kind of weird.

I’m able to talk about my life matter-of-factly.
I don’t talk about it to get pity. I don’t speak about it with frustration or rage. I’m not trying to make myself look like a saint.
I am grounded by the knowledge that I have no desire to please or impress others anymore.

My life is.

My life was.

Facts. Not emotion. Not sentiment. No color commentary.

The suffering I went through was mine. I made my choices. And I faced the consequences of those choices, good or ill.

And I don’t really know if it’s due to the three years of taking my medication for my adult ADHD and Major Depression finally taking effect, or if it’s the strength I gained from taking care of my father – or some combination of both.

But I’m in the moment.

I’m in the now.

I’m present, current. There’s no “what ifs” or “I should’ves.” There’s also no “one day I’ll” or “someday,” either.

And maybe, some of you might consider that a bad thing, and, depending on your circumstance, you may be right.

But I ride the waves.

I feather the wind.

I’m focused.

For the first time in my life, I focus on what’s in front of me, and addressing it, paying attention to it. As a result, it’s incredibly satisfying dealing with things as they come when they come, instead of ignoring it or trying to rewrite the narrative.

What a strange pleasure it is, and a metaphorical irony, playing drums for most of my life, and at forty-three, finally being in the pocket.

In Memoriam: My Aunt Baby.

I did not know how to say how I loved you.

Once I knew you had passed, my mind began to map out the area of three-dimensional space you had inhabited in my heart.

I never knew just how much.

And once I had mapped it, I knew its breadth, its height and its depth.

It was vast.

I was sad.

Your absence left a vacuum in my life.

It’s palpable.

My Aunt Baby passed away this past Tuesday. Her real name was Viola, but her family nickname was Baby.

Oldest sibling of my mother’s five – two males, four females in all – my Aunt Baby was a formidable woman – strong like a granite fist, her mind for most of her life, razor sharp.

Yet she laughed at the ridiculous and the absurd – and that’s one of the things I loved about her. She also had her fussy ways and I know that despite the distance that created between us, she loved me.

The love I felt from her was like the love you’d want to feel from your favorite elementary school teacher, or librarian.

It was distant, but it was neither cold nor dismissive nor neglectful.

It was a very certain and specific love, the dimensions of which were easy to comprehend. And yet, maybe, in spite of that, or perhaps because of it, you knew that she loved you to the near-bursting point of those boundaries.

And it was that knowledge that made it good and true.

It made me feel safe, the reliability of it. The security.

It was balanced, and it was nice.

I did not know you that well while you lived, but your presence served as one of a select few guideposts that defined my life:

Be well-read.

Don’t hide your intelligence.

Speak your mind.

Live with dignity.

Enjoy the small things.

I am so thankful that you were in my life, Aunt Baby. I didn’t know that I needed you in it.

1930-2018