i've got a blue motel room
with a blue bedspread
i've got the blues inside
and outside my head

will you still love me
when i call you up when i'm down

joni mitchell



Wednesday February 28. 2001
an on display collab : sound and noise

between the forceps and the stone

"Coyote, Amelia, Furry Sings the Blues, A Strange Boy, Hejira, Song for Sharon, Black Crow, Blue Motel Room, Refuge of the Roads."

I would repeat the song titles like a mantra until I knew them by heart. When people mention Hejira, I say it's my favorite album. They smile and nod, but I want to say more. I want them to understand what it means to me, that this album is etched in my soul and in my thoughts. It may sound overly dramatic. I know you're thinking "It's just music", and believe me, I thought that for a long time, too.

Sometimes things just click, you know? I remember late one night my first semester in college. My roommate was passed out on her top bunk, her wiry body sprawled across the thin mattress, snoring softly. Times like these made earphones a necessity, I had them affixed to my head as I drew my lines onto paper, seated on the floor. That night I played Hejira at least 20 times in a row.

After hearing it so many times, it becomes like a trance. The words that I had never listened and let glide over my ears suddenly popped into sharp focus against the sharp angles of the electric guitar and the smooth caramel of Jaco Pastorius' bass. My fingers were dark with charcoal. Smooth and powdery like the sand of the desert.

I was driving across a burning desert, watching those six jet planes trailing plumes of white. How I wish I could be the woman in those songs. A lean existence, living in your car, strumming your guitar and being full of longing for love and fulfillment. You leave behind relationships that still haunt you. You're pulled in too many directions. Too many people want you. You are discontented, but still searching.

How can I put these desires into words?, I think. My life is small. I am small. I need pyschic space. My thoughts have been running on one track lately, how I wish I could just expand myself like the blue sky in the desert. I look at my drawing. My drawing is on a 40x40 inch piece of bond paper in a small concrete box of a dorm room in North Philadelphia. There's no blue sky in Philadelphia, not like there is in the desert. I can look up and fool myself, but I am crowded by buildings as soon as I lower my eyes.

My bedspread was blue, then. The rain was falling softly outside the window as I lay down on it, and it made the window sill and the bed below slightly damp. I want to be somewhere else. Somewhere that doesn't drizzle perpetually like some kind of wannabe Seattle. Dry, open, miles of nothingness. Let me think. Get me away from here.

Will you still love me when I'm down?

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One Year Ago:
"I saw this one drawing that used this incredible navy green blue...that's as best as I can explain, it wasn't exactly navy blue proper, it had a little green in it as well. I can't wait to try that blue on something, it was quite heavenly."