Hello there, lovelies!
Did you miss me? Did you notice I was gone? Well, you don’t need to answer, just let me tell you: I surely missed you.
The funny thing about missing someone or something is, though, sometimes you don’t even realize it until you accidentally run into them on a Sunday afternoon and remember how they always
forget neglect to comb their hair, smell like coffee and say something that resonates with you deeply and for days to come.
So here’s me running into you on a Sunday afternoon and, holy hell, you’re still looking good.
A confession: I have thought about entirely deleting this precious, little blog more than once these past months. I haven’t posted in ages and thought,
maybe it’s time to move and let go why not free up some of that internet space for someone who’s actually going to use it.
And then – as you do – I started looking through all my pieces of (blog) writing until I hit the very first post: 8 years ago (seriously?). Some made me cringe, some made me laugh out loud and, surprisingly, some made me think: hey, I still agree/I’d still share this!
So then I thought to myself: I’m not ready to
let go free up any internet space just yet. I’m simply going to take my writing into a slightly different direction. Which makes sense, because who has ever ended up exactly where they started out, in the very same way they started out?
Bowie, for example, recorded this song in 1967:
It sure is kind of catchy, but I’m pretty sure we can all agree on the fact that we’re happy he didn’t think to himself after recording this gem: Heck, that’s exactly my sound and I’m going to stick with it for the next twenty years at least! Also, I hate space and all space related things such as space oddities, the concept of life on Mars, and who could ever love the alien? Not me.
But I digress.
What’s that different direction of writing, you ask? Well, this post is called With a side of mixtape for a reason. Making mixtapes has been one of my favorite things to do ever since I made a birthday mix for my Mom about 20 (yikes …) years ago. It was called “at the car wash” because it was meant to be played, you probably guessed as much, in her car. Not only at the car wash, of course, but there’s no song that’s called “in the car at all times”, is there? If there is, please let me know, and I’ll update the tape.
Another one of my favorite things to do – at least before the invention of Spotify etc. – is/was reading music blogs and listening to and reading about other people’s mixtapes and random music recommendations. Here’s the link to my all time favorite blog: I am fuel, you are friends. It isn’t updated anymore but you can find the author on Spotify and she still makes the best mixes (that is, next to my friend Anna, who makes the best-est mixes). HANDS DOWN.
And guess who else is on Spotify AND who is eager to share super awesome sometimes nerdy new old random well-known music with you? It’s me,
Mario Lisa! Are you excited? Again, you don’t have to answer, just let me tell you: I am! I’m so excited, it’s enough for you and me – even enough for the guy/girl that’s been reading along with you while sitting next to you on the subway (why don’t you follow and read for yourself? It’ll be fun!).
Here’s today’s playlist for you: With a side of mixtape.
If you’re still unsure if this is worth your time, I give you three reasons why you should have a listen:
1) Joasihno: Grounds
Don’t just listen to the song, watch the video – you won’t regret it. These two guys know how to work their instruments. If you can call it that. Maybe they know how to work their tools. I also don’t know if you can call it that. They surely know how to work whatever it is that produces these weirdly mesmerizing sounds.
2) Grandbrothers: Bloodflow
Another two guys making beautiful music using a traditional instrument in a not quite traditional way. What’s that instrument, you’re wondering? I’ll give you a hint: while they might well be called Grandbrothers because that’s how I’d describe their music, the more probable reason is that it’s got something to do with that instrument.
3) MAITA: A Beast And Her Sores
Okay, Lisa, another song by two random dudes? No! This one’s a classic singer-songwriter piece by a wonderful … well … singer-songwriter. Duh. I’m stupidly in love with her voice and her honest but also poetic lyrics.
Enjoy and have a wonderful Sunday,
What good is a letter if you never send it? A very good question.
Well, just as some words are left unsaid, some letters remain at the bottom of a drawer. Because that’s where you’ve hastily stashed them away right after you were done writing. You don’t know what I’m talking about? You’ve never done this before? Good for you. God knows I have.
Here’s one of them.
Did you know that thinking of you still makes me so sad? Sometimes I think it’s because I know that I will never be the one you want to fall asleep and wake up to. I hate the thought, but I suppose there is someone else whose eyes are your very own dawn, your very own dusk; whose taste is the only flavor that doesn’t feel odd or wrong in your mouth.
There’s something else, though, that makes me even sadder: to wonder whether I’ll ever see you again. To think that maybe I won’t is breaking my heart. Over and over again. Of course, there’s nothing original about any of this. It’s a cliché, the size of a billboard. It’s hard to miss. To me, though, it feels painfully unique. Much like an original Van Gogh; like it should be framed and hung up in the Louvre. Or in one of those peculiar cafés that support local artists and always smell funky (that strange mix of stale cigarette smoke, coffee and incense).
It’s strange to think that hearts are broken and the world just goes on and no one gives a shit. Did you know that the average heart beats 100, 000 times in a day? I’ve been wondering how many hearts are broken in a day and whether this means they start beating faster or slower or they just stop altogether and whether any of this is factored into the calculation. I’ve been wondering if it’s possible to break a heart and not even know it. Have you ever wondered about something like this? I think you might not even know that you’re breaking my heart. I really think you don’t.
I never told you: did you know that I’d be happy to simply sit next to you and not say a word? Every now and then, I would catch a glimpse of your eyes or your smile or the way your hands can’t stop talking even when you don’t say a word. It would still break my heart, but it would be a different kind of heartbreak. More bearable. In a way, thinking of you is like listening to a requiem: it pulls apart each and every corner of the soul and yet it’s impossible to stop. It’s so heart-wrenchingly, hopelessly and incomparably beautiful. I keep thinking of you – a silent lament; lacrimosa. Nothing’s ever made me feel so alive and so numb at the same time.
You must think I’m silly or crazy or maybe just a child to think and feel the way I do. Get over it, you might say. I guess that’s the reasonable thing to do. Hopefully, someday I’ll be able to think of you differently. I might simply think of you as that one beautiful and sad and inspiring boy who made me write all these words, hushed songs and love letters (who made me drink and smoke a little too much for a while). If I was an instrument, I could simply think of you as the one who pulled one of my strings, pressed one of my keys and created so much music, by accident. The most beautiful melody, just by accident. Maybe that’s enough. Maybe that’s all you were supposed to do. And maybe I should be thankful for that. Someday I will.
No more ‘I love you’s.
PS: There’s a soundtrack, too. In case you’ve been wondering why I’ve been such a lazy blogger lately: I’ve been dabbling in songwriting, This is what it sounds like (but watch out, the sound quality is quite crappy): https://soundcloud.com/lisa-wer
What’s been going on this weekend: It’s incredibly hot. I got a fan! I died my hair (which isn’t nearly as spectacular as it sounds because it doesn’t mean “Hey, I have blue hair now!”, but more something like “Hey, I just died my hair!” – “Really?” – “Yeah, it’s darker now, what do you think?” – “Really?”) and I also just started writing different parts of a longer story I’ve been meaning to write for a while. Okay, this is a weird preface, but here comes the story!
After seven hours on two different planes the city welcomed me with a six hour time difference, the funny smell of a bunch of people who’d been in the same clothes for too long and five different but equally long lines at customs.
I spent about an hour watching the same “welcome-to-America” commercial on a large screen above the official’s booth over and over until it was finally my turn. I was half-expecting him to quiz me on it – he surely could have; I would have aced it, hands down.
Instead, the guy simply looked at my German passport, took my German finger prints and told me that he’d been to Oktoberfest about 11 years ago. He loved the German beer. Of course, everyone does – or so I’ve been told. He was still daydreaming about it whenever he had a Miller lite, quite understandably. I smiled politely which, apparently, was good enough for him; then I left him to his beer-filled memories. There’s nothing better than having your entire cultural heritage reduced to one single stereotype. You travel a lot lighter.
When I stepped outside it was already dark. The fireworks would probably start any minute now and I doubted that I would be able to see anything at all standing just outside of Logan. I quickly got into a cab and gladly paid the heavily overpriced fare when it stopped in front of the hostel just 20 minutes later. I wouldn’t have been surprised to be stuck in traffic or just stuck in front of a barrier for a lot longer this late on a day like this, but even the roads were free on the 4th of July. Go figure.
I quickly got my key and dragged my luggage up to the third floor to be able to at least catch a glimpse of the fireworks above the city. I took some blurry pictures for my mom and enjoyed the warm evening breeze. There’s something about having the ocean right at your fingertips; at the tip of your toes. I took a deep breath because that’s what people always do in books and movies when they want to hold on to that one moment; really live (whatever that means). I’m not sure why, but it does help. Maybe it’s because of all the oxygen that’s suddenly pumped through your system – a sudden and brief high of O2; O2 and fumes.
For quite a while after the fireworks I was so tired I couldn’t sleep. I watched a couple of innings of a Red Sox game rerun in the community room and would have killed for a cup of coffee. Unfortunately, I didn’t know who in the hostel I would have needed to threaten in particular so I decided that the next morning wasn’t too many hours away and that I might as well wait and be civil about it.
I texted Michael to let him know that I’d made it safe and sound. That summer, I fell for this city and for him. Sometimes I wonder whether two summers later the same city was what made it all fall apart. And then I think it probably wasn’t the city. I’m not exactly sure what made me fall for him, but I’m sure he’s loved me for all the wrong reasons; he’s been in love with someone that wasn’t really me and, which may have been worse, never wanted to be.
When he finally did see me (behind all the things he’s imagined me to be), he was so full of disappointment, that there was no room for anything else anymore; let alone something like love. This city, really, never had anything to do with it. It was just the one thing that remained; a road sign that remained and kept me aware of everything that didn’t.
It’s easy to get worked up about love, even if you’re not sure that that’s what it is; it’s easy to get worked up about something you’ve lost, even if you’ve never really had it.
There are times that walk from you like some passing afternoon, Mr. “Iron and Wine” Beam sings in one of his songs (songs you can often pull over your ears like you would your blankie, back in the good old days).
If you’d ask me what I did last week, my answer would be very short. Not because I didn’t do much. I studied, worked, studied some more, had an exam. I could say a lot more about all this but it doesn’t really seem to matter in the light of last week.
Don’t worry, I’m not going to write about bombs, terror, injustice, fear – a lot has been written about it already, probably in a more eloquent manner than I ever could. Besides (as one of my friends rightly pointed out and is all too obvious): you could always write about any of that.
Whenever someone tells me we’re currently living in one of the longest periods of peace in a long time, I wonder what they’re talking about. I wonder if they’ve watched the news lately. War (terror) doesn’t have to blow up right in your face to be real. So that’s that. Let me rephrase: I’m not going to write about bombs, terror, injustice, fear – not any more than what I’ve written so far.
But if this isn’t about any of that, what is it about? Perspective, maybe. Realizing what really matters and what really doesn’t, maybe. Also, realizing that sometimes, even though something matters a lot, there’s still nothing you can do or say or feel that is going to change anything. And then, realizing that none of us is immune to pain and fear, no matter how much we’d like to believe it.
It’s about building a shell all around you to distance yourself (from whatever, really), only to find out it just doesn’t fall to pieces as long no one tries to break it – because as soon as they do, it’s falls apart all over you and it knocks you down or out right away. It’s also about how things like that often happen when we least expect them.
No, actually, I take it back. They always happen when we least expect them. Like that phone call happened just like that, this one summer day when you were simply having ice cream with your best friend (your grandmother died). You’re never prepared because there’s no way to prepare yourself for something like that. That’s what this is also about, maybe.
And it’s also about how life goes on, just like that. Because it’s that moment, when life just decides to go on (no matter how much you think there’s no way that this is how it works) and you’re not sure if you’re just dreaming and you decide you wish you were so you just try to numb all your senses (not temporarily, this is not something a couple glasses of gin could do for you; rather, you will your body to go numb – because there’s nothing else you can do) – these are times that walk from you like some passing afternoon. Thank you very much, Mr. Beam.
So this last week’s just walked by me – and if I’m really honest with myself: not just this week. And if you’re really honest: do you remember what you did last week (last year maybe)? It’s scary to think about how life slips by if we’re not careful; if you let your suffering, your fears take the upper hand. Life just goes on, that’s the way it’s always been and although it sounds tacky: this is how it’s always going to be.
We wake up the next morning, to dirty dishes in the kitchen sink, work, another day, brief moments (a fifty-fifty chance: meaningless or meaningful) and all of this is going to be there – no matter whether the times just walk by us or we try and walk with them.
That’s the challenge: to try and keep up. I guess that’s what this is about: keeping up. Even if this week, that’s the last thing on earth you want to do. Especially if it is; especially this week (and other weeks like this).
I make playlists. Because I like lists and because I love music. I make playlists for friends because that’s my way of letting someone know: hey, you’re, like, really awesome, and, like, I thought you should know. I also love to find other people’s playlists in this wonderful, magic, attic-like place called the internet because it’s a fun way to discover new bands or realize that some random stranger on the other side of the world shares your taste in music. So, internet: you’re like, really awesome, too!
That being said, yesterday I sent a cool playlist I’d just discovered on a music blog to a friend as my way of letting him know: hey, I can’t send you a playlist that I put together myself for the moment but that doesn’t mean I don’t think you’re awesome, so here’s someone else’s cool playlist for now (and if you think that’s a lot to communicate through one little playlist – well, much much mucho mucho more is possible, you’d be surprised!).
To understand the rest of the story, you have to know this: I am a girl. Always keep this in mind. If you think a boy is telling you the story, you’ll get confused quickly as you read on (because you’re reading on, right? Right???). So again: I am a girl. Now, let’s continue.
Whenever I make a playlist for someone else, it’s, of course, mostly pure altruism (oh yes, baby, it is). Mostly. Yet (because I’m a girl, remember?), I do hope the playlist-receiver will get the message that comes with the list, be happy, and say something like: hey, like, cool! What an awesome playlist! And maybe something like: I really like song no. 5! That’s what I want in return. I’m a girl and I can’t help it.
Well, do I have to say things didn’t really turn out as planned (I know I don’t)? I had looked up the songs on my Spotify (you know what I’m talking about, right? If not: look it up, it will make you very happy!), created a playlist there and listened to it before sending it to my friend (a last quality check). Like with any social medium, though, other people that are logged in can see what you’re up to – and in my case: listen to the playlist as well. So as I sat and listened (being quite pleased with the song selection), my Spotify told me someone else was, in fact, listening to the playlist: this random guy I’d met three years ago during a month-long volunteer project who I hadn’t been a great fan of (watch out: euphemism alert). What? No! Why? I wanted to stop him, but obviously, I couldn’t just reach through my laptop screen and punch him or something (although I would have wanted to, kind of).
Here’s some more detailed information on my non-relationship with random-volunteer-project-guy: me and a friend of mine (also a girl, again: important side note) were sort of the other kids’ boss, which means: also his. And guess what? He hadn’t been a great fan of us, either. He and his (guy) friends had semi-big issues accepting that two girls were more or less telling them what to do (what has the world come to? A female as a boss? What?) or more accurately: what not to do (such as: don’t get drunk before or during work, don’t wreck the bus we use to drive to work every day in the middle of the night because you’re drunk, don’t bring random girls to the house we all have to share because you’re drunk…but if you really have to: at least, please, don’t get anyone pregnant!). Boys are stupid sometimes.
They never understood what we were trying to tell them or why we were upset all the time (other side note: this wasn’t a volunteer project in a big city where no one really cares what’s going on – this was in a small town where everyone knew everyone and cared very much). I don’t get angry very often but and when I do it’s got to be pretty bad. Well, he and his stupid friends had me yelling at them two weeks into the project, swearing like a sailor (I think, in fact, any New Yorker would have been very proud). Eventually, we worked out how to co-exist, kind of. At least, we managed not to kill each other – that’s something, isn’t it?!!
Needless to say (but I will say it still): never ever ever, like, never nevereverever would I take enough time and care and effort and sprinkles and positivity and glitter and whatnot to make a playlist for that guy. He wasn’t supposed/allowed to listen to the songs! They weren’t for him – not fair, not fair, not fair (yes, sometimes I’m five years old, judge me if you must)! If I was to make a playlist for him (because the existence of the world or my favorite band or all the chocolate on this earth depended upon it), it would be one that says something like: hey, like, you’re one of the most un-awesome people I’ve ever met and it’s about time someone told you that you need to pull your sh** together, seriously. But there he was: listening, possibly feeling quite awesome.
It doesn’t really help that the friend that was supposed to listen to the songs in the first place is being mean and hasn’t yet listened to them and thus, hasn’t yet said something like: hey, thanks, like, that’s awesome (ok, he probably hasn’t had time because there’s other important things in life, but because I’m a girl, I don’t care – try and reason with me, world! I’ll just curse at the wind: I’m a girl and I don’t care – unless you bribe me with chocolate)!
Oh, you wonderful, magic, attic-like place called the internet: people keep saying that you’re making the world smaller. You know what? I think you’re just making it weirder. I’m sorry, but I find you majorly weird today. You know what else? I still think you’re mainly awesome, but you’re not getting a playlist any time soon. Not because I want to punish you (ok, maybe I want to…just a little…remember: I’m a girl!). But seriously: who knows who ends up listening to it. Well, I guess one song won’t hurt: