Friday, January 29, 2010
Last night, with my 10 week baby in tow - Ryan and I packed the car and headed for the city of San Francisco, to play some banjo tunes to start off Nick Flynn's reading of his new book, The Ticking is the Bomb.
After 4 months of nesting (and wonderful months they have been) it was exciting to drive over the Golden Gate bridge and to the Zen Center for the reading, to see the bright lights of the city over the Bay.
We were greeted with smiles by Susan, a warm woman from the Zen Center, and Nick himself, with a big smile and hug. We met him several years ago on tour, in Tucson, where he happened to be at a show. We've kept in touch through email, and it's a great compliment to me that he's listened to the music while writing, since his books have inspired songs of mine as well. (Particularly Heaven Help the Day from Crepusculo was inspired by his amazing memoir Another Bullshit Night in Suck City.)
After nursing Luna I grabbed the banjo, headed up to the stage, tuned and started to sing. Eyes closed, relaxed, happy to get to be doing what I love, I thought of the full moon outside, I thought of my son Otto and my daughter Luna, I thought, "I just want to be in this place, of contentment with the world."
The people in the audience quieted, and listened. And this is rare and always feels wonderful and kind, to be able to present a song from my heart to people who accept it gracefully. Thank you! I think I should always play for literary Buddhists. It's a change from the bar scene.
To play for my little girl, see her in the audience, sitting thoughtfully in her daddy's lap, brought me straight to the center of my happy heart. She makes me so happy, everything else is just extra, and I can really enjoy it.
Nick Flynn read from his new book, about his upcoming fatherhood (his daughter is now 2) and the torture of Abu Ghraib. He was writing about Abu Ghraib when his daughter was conceived, and the two experiences ran together, opening up new places in his heart, of love and fear, which informed the stories he heard from those who survived torture. I can't WAIT to read it.
For someone who has gone through much loss and disappointment in life, he is a sparkly person, a warm person, someone I admire for his keep-goingness in life as well as his story-telling.
And so went my first outing as a second-time mama, and I'm so glad we rallied to do it.