I'm not, after all, going to write a huge discourse on the "Big L"!
I said it was on the cards.
But the love I have in me, whether for women or a few fellers, is best acted on. People insist I've got plenty to give, which is true; that even makes sense, because Ursula's right. What you've got to give is by far your greatest wealth.
A woman called Janice, a sister-in-law, called me tonight for the right reason: apparently she had a vivid dream about me lately and knew it meant something, so she wanted to know what. Well, that's Orchard stuff of course, it belongs here.
As does the decision I made two or three weeks ago. There's nothing sillier than going around saying "I wanna be music" when during my life so far I've fallen madly in love with four women but didn't have a clue what had become of two of them and who and where they are today.
It was time to find out! That, in part, is what phones are for. Well, Ellie you know about -- all you're going to. Catherine, the Kid's mum, I don't see as often as I'd like because our time off takes us sometimes in different directions.
When I "surprised" Sylvie, she thought she might surprise me. I'd had reason to pop in her mind of late out of nowhere and she told somebody about me. Then I called, within hours of it. "Isn't that odd?" she asked.
"Well, actually," I had to tell her, "it's not. Because in light of everything that's happened to me this year, I'm no longer in the least bit astonished. That seems to be how it is if you're in tune."
Ghyslaine, where the Orchard now begins since I shifted stuff ages ago and made the first piece in it one about people I described in 2003 as some of my "gurus", fortunately doesn't object to being pictured there.
She doesn't look like an idiot. But I called her from work, that was our first new contact -- those since are not for the Orchard. And when I'd finished, and we knew, more or less, who we are today, a woman sitting next me said this:
"You, Nick, are having a typical male mid-life crisis."
I enjoyed that remark.
But what you lot know, if you're mad enough to be here, is that my male mid-life crisis was in October. And it was dire and exhausting! Still I don't know -- and the responses were simply too varied to enlighten me -- if what said itself then about sex and about music and the languages of both was a belated if inseparable connection made by a very slow learner or the real insight some said it was.
This much I do know and will tell anyone who cares. It feels really great to have those people back in my life, all of them, as well as my heart, because I love the simple presence in my world of people who already are music, regardless of whether they make it as a language they practice and perform.
That feels "right". It is harmony. It is music. And it's how it should be.
Such women have set standards, of course, for all their many differences, very high standards at that! Because like most of the singers here, they have shown me more of whom she is, that mysterious woman I've yet to meet, who will have very high standards herself and be beautiful.
After what I wrote last time, I'm no longer scared of the Big L despite the mistakes I've made in the past, errors I blamed on being in love as if it were love's fault and not my own.
I seem -- and I hope it's true -- to be doing a little bit better now because of those who told me to "shut up and listen". You've had less music this week than I'd hoped to write up because there've been mails to do, answers to some of those who needed an ear and say they're happier for the one I gave them. But I'm not proud of it and don't think it's anything special: it was just high time too, to pay a little attention and even, occasionally, hear the unspoken. I've got one more to write. That's been real negligence on my part. A girl asked for it months ago.
In fact, it's written, because the bank was very cunning.
This week, I also feel better not just for the break and knowing who my friends are, having them all back and mostly reached out to where essential, but since I've got a new bank manager ready to give me a fresh start. Just not straight away, but next month and without revolting intermediaries to whom I've been as uncharitable as they were unprofessionally intrusive with me. This man will at least deal direct and let me do what I wanted in the first place. It's evident I've been incompetent with money and only knew why once I'd also listened to people who don't work for banks and told them the truth, which meant being both grateful and taking responsibility.
No sooner had I seen the man, however, than the "holes in the walls", the cashpoints, said: "Sorry, mate, you're flat broke again!"
It wasn't true, to my relief. That was their computers, an error. But it made, after the last music splashes of 2005, no more budget at all except a tiny reserve if some woman does something indispensable, for an extremely economical week! And thus one really to catch up, where even the log took second place in a "woman and music only" time.
Up front, I've mentioned a subscription taken out to "Rockrgl'. This place can't do without it, I'd even like a back issue or four. I'm delighted to have found you some really good sites where the musicians come first, not the critics and their egos and fads.
And that last "chick" close to hand and due a mail -- well, I did hesitate because she really rocks! Ours was one of those chance encounters that are far more than that, another meeting of souls where you both know it. Neither predestined nor accident, but the kind of "good fortune" I can only understand now I know what that so-much studied 'I Ching' means by the term.
But good heavens, is she music! Trilingual, adventurous, in total harmony with herself, very good at asking the right questions and leaving out unanswerable ones, highly intelligent without being smart or cocky, just confident, and ... a major turn-on, she's a stunner!
So of course I've hesitated. Get her wrong, barge into her world, and it's a recipe for disaster now I'm ready for love again. She's yet more proof of what's also up front. Wisdom and age. I must be two decades older than she is.
Intuition said "Lay off a woman like that, whatever she asks, until you're darned sure you've still got just a little space in your heart left for one you fancy that much, when you owe to it everybody this place is really about now to keep ways of loving and fantasy separate."
I begin to reckon love can manage that if we can. And I don't want to finish 2005 and have re-read another of Ursula's "here and now" Utopias -- about our world could be if only we tried -- without sharing just a bit of her world of the Kesh people in 'Always Coming Home' (Amazon US again so you can take a "look inside") with everyone, not just a few musical friends.
But since neither woman will mind, I'll give you those Kesh "proverbs" the way I did one friend, with a comment or two:
"I've meditated on three or four of them for months," I declared and yes, really I did, and the first says, sure, let's keep it light, but...
'Care may be questioned with care, joy with joy.'
Right up my street, these two:
'Judgement is poverty.'
'Owning is owing, having is hoarding.'
"The longest I love: how she managed it, I understand better knowing she grew up with Lao Tzu:
'To be single-minded is unmindful. Mindfulness is keeping many different things in mind and observing their relations and proportions.
'To conquer is to be careless. Carefulness is holding oneself and one's acts in appropriate relation and proportion to the many other beings and intentions.
'To take is to be joyless. Joyfulness is accepting the given, which cannot be earned by mindfulness nor deserved by carefulness.'
"That last bit, to say 'the given ... cannot be earned by mindfulness nor deserved by carefulness', since July, I think that's a knock-out.
"It's mean to do that without:
'If you don't teach machines and horses to do what you want in their way, they'll teach you to do what they want in your way,'
and this gem:
'Cats may be green somewhere else, but the cats here don't care'," from Some sayings, wise saws, and small stones from the Valley (pp. 311-313 of my 1988 copy, Grafton Books).
There are almost two pages of these among the prose, "future archaeology", poems, practices, myths, legends and a whole language Ursula found in her imagination for just that one 1985 book.
And the maps, pictures, drama, even music, songs included, for the Kesh have their own notation, symbolically related to their own sense of harmony.
Do you wonder I admire her? I can't say that is "quintessential Le Guin". She's too rich, full of stories and wise to take any one of her books for the essence of a lifetime of giving and sharing.
It'd be like taking just one album and saying "This is the musician." I can't even begin to do that. What became pricey in recent years was knowing I'd slowly, prudently have to build a library of lifetimes if I wanted to do this log well.
That "collection" is for me, priceless! Yet to write about Ursula, in this context, is to write about the "Big L" anyway. You can't attain her kind of age, sheer grace, stature and beauty without it and without a humility that will learn from almost anyone.
I don't imagine for an instant she's lived a life free of crises. Nobody does. But when she tells love stories, she's another singer who reminds me how wrong I've been to object so strongly to possessiveness and notions of ownership, especially with regard to people, I overdid it every time I dismissed the ideas of "belonging" and "need" as naturally wrong, inherent contradictions with true freedom.
To know better now and that an innate, intuitive sense of need and belonging with others because music has helped open that door to such real freedom, freely given and shared, has undoubtedly made 2005 one of the very happiest of the 50 years of my life, fuller of hope and less cynical than I've ever been.
To "own" so much music I love is to "owe" more than I can say to dozens of people whose stories I have yet to share with you. As for my lust, which has really taken some getting used to at this time of year when feeling so horny hasn't been one of my "wintertime worries" in absolutely ages, well ... this week I decided patience was preferable to "doing the I Ching"!
I'm no longer so sure, with a little help from the ladies, that 'Revolution' foretold the last time if I played my hand right it is quite over. I'm less keen to know what might be left on the cards straight away.
While people are pouring their own fancies and fantasies into my head so enjoyably, though many of the love stories are far from happy ones, I've also said thanks in a time of such obstinate patience to a few fabulous friends who aren't crazy but have ceased taking exception to my own outrageous expressions of unleashed fantasies on condition I remain relatively well behaved.
After all, I suppose there's an argument to be made for such appreciation! I'd not have this trying talent for imaginatively baring a few bodies if they weren't such musical ones and in good part I do so to help me out, while waiting, as I bear so much soul-stripping myself to shape a few songster's stories for you.
It really has been a very happy year indeed, a most "fortunate" one.
Though I've a plot or two left for the rest of it and possibly even what remains of Sunday once I've had some sleep after the yoghurts, I'm glad I didn't plan this past week too much, filling it well in my frequent absences here.
But if it fits into the holiday plans of others, I shall ask to make my next music break a bit earlier than usual. Too many people with "Best Ofs" have already written off 2005 as a very nondescript year for the new.
That's not what I've heard. It'll take time to go on telling it, but would be nice to begin the first full week of 2006 with a Bang!