Happy Talk

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By Oscar Hammerstein II (1895-1960)
As featured in the 1950s series of This I Believe

“I have an unusual statement to make. I am a man who believes he is happy. What makes it unusual is that a man who is happy seldom tells anyone. The unhappy man is more communicative. He is eager to recite what is wrong with the world, and he seems to have a talent for gathering a large audience. It is a modern tragedy that despair has so many spokesmen, and hope so few.

“I believe, therefore, that it is important for a man to announce that he is happy even though such an announcement is less dramatic and less entertaining than the cries of his pessimistic opposite. Why do I believe I am happy? Death has deprived me of many whom I loved. Dismal failure has followed many of my most earnest efforts. People have disappointed me. I have disappointed them. I have disappointed myself.

“Further than this, I am aware that I live under a cloud of international hysteria. The cloud could burst, and a rain of atom bombs could destroy millions of lives, including my own. From all this evidence, could I not build up a strong case to prove why I am not happy at all? I could, but it would be a false picture, as false as if I were to describe a tree only as it looks in winter. I would be leaving out a list of people I love, who have not died. I would be leaving out an acknowledgement of the many successes that have sprouted among my many failures. I would be leaving out the blessing of good health, the joy of walking in the sunshine. I would be leaving out my faith that the goodness in man will triumph eventually over the evil that causes war.

“All these things are as much a part of my world as the darker worries that shade them. The conflict of good and bad merges in thick entanglement. You cannot isolate virtue and beauty and success and laughter, and keep them from all contact with wickedness, and ugliness and failure and weeping. The man who strives for such isolated joy is riding for a fall. He will wind up in isolated gloom.

“I don’t believe anyone can enjoy living in this world unless he can accept its imperfection. He must know and admit that he is imperfect, that all other mortals are imperfect, that it is childish to allow these imperfections to destroy all his hope and all his desire to live. Nature is older than man, and she is still far from perfect. Her summers do not always start promptly on June 21. Her bugs and beetles and other insects often go beyond her obvious intentions, devouring the leaves and buds with which she has adorned her countryside. After the land has remained too dry for too long, she sends relieving rains. But frequently they come in torrents so violent that they do more harm than good. Over the years, however, nature keeps going on in her imperfect way, and the result – in spite of her many mistakes – is a continuing miracle. It would be folly for an individual to seek to do better – to do better than to go on in his own imperfect way, making his mistakes, riding out the rough and bewildering, exciting and beautiful storm of life until the day he dies.”

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2017 Firsts and Finallys

I know, it’s been almost three months to the day since my last confession. Can’t say that I’m very sorry for not being active here… I’ve been enjoying the Me, Only life. but I am about 30% remorseful, I miss the feeling of accomplishment that comes from thinking up something to write about, or even taking up the Daily Prompt, and then actually scraping my thoughts together.

Anyhow, here’s something that I completely forgot to share here on December 31st.

While 2016’s big thing was relocation, 2017 kept with the theme and became my biggest year of travel yet – but you’ve already read about that. Cheers, 2018, here’s to many more miles.

2017 Firsts and Finallys

– Finally became roomies with my best friend
– Became Auntie Bethy for the first time
– Finally got a passport, and promptly
– Crossed the Pond, backpacked the U.K. solo, then promptly
– Got literally lost in a foreign country for the first time
– Saw my first musicals on Broadway and at the Globe Theater
– Finally broke down and tried mussels. Ain’t so bad.
– Finally saw my first Degas!
– Saw my first Rick & Morty episodes. Not sure why I waited so long.
– Saw some celebrities in the flesh for the first time: Jimmy Fallon, Ben Platt, David Tennant, Parker Stevenson, Pamela Sue Martin (and attended my first ND convention!)
– Finally went to IKEA
– Joined my first non-profit organization
– Attended my first ACL, first Austin Celtic Festival, and first UT football game
– Finally got to New York, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Maine, Alabama, and Florida, and laid eyes on Canada
– New beaches: Old Orchard Beach, South Beach, Gulf Shores, Perkins Cove, the cliffs of York, the English Channel, and the North Sea
– FINALLY went to 221b Baker Street, crossed Abbey Road, and Saw Plymouth Rock
– Threw my own shows for the first time
– Finally saw ZEDD, Vulfpeck, Haken, The Killers, Gorillaz, and the Cult
– Planned travel specifically for an art fair for the first time (and first Art Basel!)
– BREWFISH IN TEXAS WHAAAAT
– Talked a New England venue owner into bringing in BÖC
– FINALLY ran around Harvard. Bucket list item for as long as it was Rory’s
– First dog vs. skunk encounter
– Toured my first castles in Wales, Scotland, and England
– Attended my first Vegas wedding
– Saw my first polo match
– Air traveled with an instrument for the first time
– Was finally told about Steam! Why’d y’all wait so long?! Got no less than twenty ND PC games for no more than 24 bucks total
– Finally rode a/some subway(s)
– Saw Ernest Hemingway’s, Orson Welles’, Ray Bradbury’s, and John Lennon’s typewriters. They live.
– Gave in to chicken and waffles. Not half bad, but only half great.
– Finally walked the halls of the Blanton Art Museum, Harvard Art Museum, London National Gallery, Tate Modern, Scottish National Portrait Gallery, National Gallery of Scotland, Museum of Fine Arts, Dallas Art Museum, and Pérez Art Museum Miami
– Had my first real Christmas tree

Sonnet the Third

Your shine compares to Perseus above
My head, and while I ponder everything
You make appear minute, I can’t but love
The small existence of my lone being.
This myriad of scattered thought’s so quick
To coarse through knots of synapse, just to leave
Me stumped once more, irrelevant as tick
Of yesterday… His games… They come to tease
My solo essence. Why do I yet cling
To anxious frailty? You, sweet sky, are still.
I fret. Among my trouble, where this peace
Abounds with patience, come alter my will.

May all that binds me tight, rope taught and strained,
Be as a harmony, be as the rain.

– B. Rider, 2014

 

Entry: Las Vegas

Entry: Las Vegas

(lôs vāɡ’əs)
Of Overpopulated English. Geonoun.


1. A much-too-expensive electric bill.

1(a). A much-too-expensive everything bill.

2. Prime escapist masking of unhappiness, rejection, and self-loathing.

3. A buffet table of the world’s best buffet tables.

4. The inspiration to introverted solitude upon departure.

Alone.

When you
are alone,
the world’s left you
behind, don’t you fight me.
Lonely

ain’t kind.
You’ve got your
freedom you want
to hold on to. Don’t you
know… don’t

you know
someone should
hold on to you?
Hold on to you… Hold on
to you.

I can’t
see what’s been
keeping you from
me. You got kicked around,
found a

lonely
sound. Darling,
Please pick yourself
up off the ground, so I
can hold

on to
you, hold on
to you, hold on
to you, darling, when you’re
Alone.

Lyrics by B. Wolff,
Arrangement by B. Rider

10 Things That Could Crescendo Forever

It’s the simple things that keep this life pleasant – like a musical crescendo to satisfaction. If these things were looped to crescendo forever, I’d have zero complaints.

Screen Shot 2017-09-08 at 3.58.08 PM.png1. Hearing a song I used to love and completely forgot about. Recently: “Fernando,” by ABBA. I then fell down a rabbit hole which revealed that Benny Andersson is still putting out music! If all my favorite artists could just suddenly resurrect ten years from now, I’d be okay with it. “If I had to do the same again, I would, my friend.”

2. The sound of a baseball smacking a bat. Not the other way around, and whether it’s destined to be a home run or not. Yes, there’s a degree of nostalgia, probably, but still.

3. Seeing someone walking alone randomly smile at their phone. I’ve done this while alone in public, and there’s something about that feeling of being unable to hold in that smile because I don’t want to look like a loony. Pure pleasure. I’d wish that particular smile on anybody.

4. Wildflowers across the fields of Texas when spring arrives. Likewise, the first really wintery day of the year. Just bring me some very grassy daisies and buy me a new coat, and I’ll love you forever.

5. Hearing that my friends landed a desirable gig. Even better: hearing that my favesies band from another state landed a desirable gig in my town and I finally get to see them play live. AND they’re sharing a bill with more friends of mine. To make this paragraph even longer: finding new music, stumbling across a new band, and then finding out that they’re going to be in my town later that month, is the best in the world. Totes meant to be.

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6. Getting to visit little-known vinyl/book stores. Maybe it’s the things I’ve filled my newsfeeds with… but hearing about such great, semi-invisible indie book and music stores and then finally getting to visit them in real life is the literal best.

7. Late-night showings at off-the-beaten-path movie theaters. It’s like I get the whooooole couch AND the remote to myself. Even better if I’m lucky enough to score a long-distance movie buddy and our cities are showing the same thing at the same time. Group text has never been more fun.

8. Turning a corner and being faced with something I didn’t realize I was going to get to see that day. Like stepping into a new room at a museum and being smacked in the face with a work by my favesies artist. Or, waking up in a new city and realizing that you’re literally across the street from the best music school in America. And then, being unable to move.

9. Coming home to a clean house after a trip. Even if I have to stay up late the night before a flight, cleaning my house so I can come back to a clean space is one-hundred-percent worth it.

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10. Eating dessert out of a stemmed wine glass. Here’s my life hack gift to you: Bake something that’s yummy when it’s warm (brownies, cupcakes, muffins, cookies, basically everything (realized that after I opened that parenthetical comment)). Scoop a few forkfuls of your warm yummy into a wine glass, or champagne flute, if you’re real fancy. Scoop some ice cream on top of that. If you’re so inclined, pour a little wine over your fruity yummy, or a little Scotch over your chocolate yummy. It’s basically like getting away with ALL the things… and SO yummy.

09.06.17

And on Wednesdays with dates containing strobogrammatic numbers, we write.

While out with a friend of mine this past holiday, the topic of blogging came up within conversation. Though our shared brunch proved to be a worthy distraction, I came to a realization that is about to change one of my oldest defining characteristics as a person. Some years ago, I began blogging for several reasons, some reasons a mere variation of others… Today marks the first day that I choose to say that I blog for very different reasons than the ones that originally set me down this path.

Perhaps the most cliché blogging excuse is my oldest one (naturally). As a one-and-twenty female who had been through more than her share of learning experiences, I felt driven to see if journaling was as therapeutic as therapists say. It’s my fear and anticipation of disruption and confrontation that keeps me from being the strong communicator that I once was; when I first began to write, I basked in the idea of being able to spit anonymously, having control over who could be affected by the things that I thought. Waverly At Dawn has since become a little less anonymous (don’t worry, entries have been changed to protect the innocent), but I’m not so desperate to “spit” as often.

As a self-proclaimed non-writer, I also wondered if I could actually write. While in grade school, I discovered quite the disdain for creative writing assignments – not because I didn’t want to write, but because I could never figure out what to write about. In another sense, as a musician with some extremely talented songwriters as role models, I have zero confidence in my lyricism, and for the same reason. I not only never know what to write about, but I also have the worst of times trying to put any thought into the right combination of words (unless there’s rules, like the fun ones that helped me write Repeat.). I’ve since learned that this is something that exactly 100% of the other writers in this world struggle with, at least once. So much for THAT excuse.

While running around as a newly active member within the arts community in the city in which I was living, I began to recognize the impact that a good write-up can have on an artist’s renown and potential opportunities. I am an INTJ with a personality profile of a “Companion,” and I am most fulfilled when I find myself in a position to help somebody else reach their goals. This passion was almost immediately manifested into my sister blog, a bookish blog that I use to help authors market their writing (ironically enough). I am also currently working on my inaugural music review entry for my new arts review blog – stay tuned for that one. If I haven’t been one for opinionating, I’ve been forced to move closer to it.

All this to say, I no longer can honestly state, “I can’t write, I’m no good with words,” like I’m so used to saying. Writing is therapeutic, and writer’s block is a real thing. But, I can write. I know some great words, and I like to use them. I am a writer.

A mere personal challenge born from a desire to change a state of being is all it takes to inspire kinetic movement.

writer

Entry: city limits

Entry: city limits

(sit’ē lim’itz)
Of Outed English. Geonoun.


1. The physical point beyond which all responsibility fades into the cloud of smog behind you.

2. A favorite party house for remote, incandescent balls of gas similar in nature to the sun.

3. A motivating force behind music blastation.

Repeat.

Repeat.
Closing in,
you overcome,
ushering in your storm.
Thunder,

sometimes
I think back
on our midnight
broods, looking for metered
feeling

to prove
synchronized,
when my own rough
existence hinted at
no storm’s

eye near.
Promises
of denouement
laugh at my outcry, as
never

a still
to be had…
My own trouble
is this, riparian,
alone,

hidden
in confines,
not to be blamed.
You are my petrichor;
I breathe

in you
and your peace –
panacea,
just for a time, until
Repeat.

8 Things To Do On Eclipse Day

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  1. Begin your morning with eclipse sweeties, and drink your coffee from a mug depicting a near-eclipse.
  2. Wear tennis shoes, in case the eclipse turns out to be an alien attack, and the Doctor urges you to RUN.
  3. Ponder the word, “eclipse,” so as to perhaps discover your inner poet by suddenly penning an eclectic eclogue about eclairs.
  4. De-stress by giving into your perpetuating earworm by ending every sentence with, “… total eclipse of the heart.”
  5. Wonder if poking a hole into a piece of cardboard to see the effect on shadow during an eclipse actually works total eclipse of the heart.
  6. Catch yourself fifty times before mentally concurring that “eclipticals” are for leg workouts, and THEN learn that “ecliptical” is actually a real word. Well, a real Urban Dictionary word.
  7. Appreciate the precision that is the Creation of our universe to not lurch idly about, spurring reality of your favorite dystopian sci-fi which may or may not include multiple angry and lingering eclipses.
  8. Go out and enjoy the eclipse, for it shan’t happen all too often, though the rain, it raineth every day.