Tuesday, January 26, 2010

a liquid blanket

Everything I know about coffee is the SMELL.

The smell, Tully’s Cafe, Starbuck’s, some breakfast place, it didn’t matter; they all meant Seattle. I always wondered what it would be like to drink the stuff—to differentiate FRENCH ROAST from CINNAMON VANILLA—and would I take it with cream and two sugars or milk or hot and black and strong?

Coffee was like a world I had stuck my head into, with the remainder of my body dangling out the back, head immersed only in SMELL.

Business people drank coffee. So did homeless people. So did my best friend Natalie’s parents—I would poke the bags of beans in their freezer when we were getting fudge bars, just to see if a poke could release that aroma. An aroma spicy, warm, comforting and unique like nothing else I’d ever set my nose to.

Instant cool, too. Cool and collected inside a space with windows to look out on the dribbling gray outside; a space where you can pick up the recommended Tuesdays with Morrie, or pitter away on your laptop, and you and your extra tall mocha latte with no whipped cream are safe.

This is comforting stuff, safety. Like for three dollars you can get security in a styrofoam cup. No wonder people shell out for it. 

Like swallowing a liquid blanket.


(but hey. I don’t want to drink coffee. just to let you know. the smell is all I need.)

Monday, January 25, 2010

It’s REAL, yo. Dreams and all that stuff.

Why haven’t I written about that day yet?

It doesn’t feel like it happened.

It feels like a dream, I still wake up pinching myself.

Plus it’s easy to write about one emotion, one snippet of time, the smell of coffee, the hole in my sweater.

It’s harder to write about it when your whole life peaks at this one moment and you feel like, YES, yes, this is IT! This is what I want my life to be from here on out! Don’t let me out of here.

Sheer happiness. How do you put words to that? It’s disbelief, for me.


January 18, 2010

I cannot believe I am here at this moment. Here, at the celebration of Martin Luther King, Jr., about to direct a gospel choir full of people. A gospel choir that is mine. Like, I’m the director. Officially.

Heaven has opened its arms and enveloped me in this incredible, amazing gift. Here, Brooke, here is your dream. Hold it and hug it and love it for a few seconds and then you can give it away to this audience. And there will be leftovers, you know.

I look up at the lights to try to pierce through to the sky for just a second to say, Thank You.

It really is a dream.

Martin Luther King had a dream, too. He dreamt of the fulfillment of the pledge of allegiance. Liberty and justice for all.

I want to make people free, too. What do you want the audience to get from our performance? I asked them to write it. A moment of escape, I wrote. Freedom.


It was freedom, being up there. No nerves. We all just felt it. The audience shouted out their love to us. And now we’re a big deal and they want us all over the place. February 20th, UVU. Black History Month, the Terrace. Motown Dance. Genesis fireside.


Join in.

Rehearsals, 7-8pm, every Thursday, room 3250 WSC.

I’m going to be there, you know, because, well, I’m the director.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Swallowing the whole world

DSC_1839b A great majority of our lives are spent discovering who and what we are NOT. We feel great satisfaction in stripping this crap away—layers of an onion or a parfait, and at the end we discover roots that make us cry or berries or yogurt that could be confused with pig fat and our lives have meaning because we have all the sudden brushed off our hands the sheet rock of the excruciating work of discovering the core of ourselves.

Sometimes, we forget, what we got; who we are, and who we are not. There is so much more in love than black and white… (AMOS LEE)

When we uncover a shred of the black or the white we sit back with beads of sweat dripping down the rocking chair. At this point, one of two things happens:

1. We feel content, for the moment, and can gulp a glass of water and doze off, or, 2. We feel ravenous and feverish with a beastly desire to swallow the whole world so we can know all the shades of gray, too.

Usually, my discoveries take the form of the latter—and I’m okay with that.

Santa’s OJ

GospelFinal250 Every year seems the biggest of my life.

Just when I am sure my life can expand no wider, each year gets huger and more expansive and crazy and FULL of STUFF—and for all the times I am sure the seams are about to bust the stretch and let me grow up and out and more. Looking back I am mouth hung open in wide disbelief like WHOA—nu uh. This is my life? Get out of town.

2009 brought me a brother home from Japan, another couple roommates to tell stories about, another bout of darker hair, an empty room for the first time in my college life, and a violin to learn to play. 2009 meant I am a legit college person—JUNIOR year.

2009 was the year I fell in love.

Oh, and signed up for my first real boyfriend.

This was the year, too, that I started to (gasp) like kissing.

In 2009 I stayed the summer in Provo, and moved out of a castle and into a mothball potato bug love house. I got rejected from my program of choice, to come back to his office a few weeks later and try my hand at humility and real search for improvement. In 2009 I spent hundreds and hundreds of dollars on voice lessons and tuition and books and sidewalk chalk. In 2009 I started writing for real, trusting the value of my own words and aching for time to get them down. I picked off and reapplied probably POUNDS of mascara and cried off more. I read some life changing books and jammed on the piano in various classrooms and auditoriums. I learned about even more pain, things like abuse and rape and sexual assault and eating disorders—for someone who refuses to watch the news, this was a series of cold wind slaps in the face with a couple nights crying about why, why do people do these things to each other—but like all other painful things, these facts have taken their proper place in my mind and I am better for the knowing.

I experienced some of the most excruciating emotional pain of my life and the most exquisite joy, found in loving another human being.

Every year of my life holds so much—I’m still young enough to where each year is a bulging velvet bag, Santa style—spilling out with memories and little treasures of knowledge gleaned in classrooms and office desks and toys I’ve discovered like reading inspiring words and stalking photography blogs and going to Disneyworld. These things will flow to the new and up and coming years of my life—a steady stream of fresh-squeezed orange juice whose recipe is still under construction.

My life can sometimes be broken up this simply, into year-size stockings; but they’re all overflowing with the zesty orange juice of the vitality and flux of life. I don’t try to contain these juices. Bring it on.

I Remember...

I remember reading Writing Down the Bones in the back of our minivan without seats surrounded by all my possessions inside suitcases but mostly big black garbage bags and bawling when Kaylie finally called; I missed her extra, and plus, at the beginning of every semester I feel like my life is falling apart.
These things I say I thrive on, like change and leaving and stuff, there's a reason why people hate them.


I remember sitting in the interview with Dr. B and Miss Applonie turquoise glasses woman. I remember waiting outside the room for a lifetime and a few minutes, with the girl with the orangey fleshly nylons. Pink power suit, too. Did she get in, I wonder?
The office was small--keyboard, pictures everywhere, a desk. This is where some other music dude spends most of his life, and here some of the most defining moments of my life thus far have taken place. And I don't need to say I remember; forgetting is improbable.


I remember the movie "The Blind Side." I remember applesauce and seeing Katie in a sports bra, watching her wave a spoon around as she ate yogurt after a run. I remember runs along the Provo river trail and the one time I floated down the Provo river with Trevor Witham. I remember when and why I got my iPod and a time when I listened to each song on it. I remember typing for hours and walking through hallways and looking at books at Barnes and Noble and wondering what coffee tastes like. I remember Mista EEEn, his spirit and wishing I was magically in love with him and then the point when I realized I didn't want that at all.

I remember wanting a red coat. I remember getting my first pair of round, light tan glasses. I remember jeans and worries about being fat and haircuts to my chin, mistakes I made over and over again. I remember birthday cards and feeling bad for throwing them away. I remember a Saturday closet-cleanout, bawling because I had to unclutter my junk that somehow meant so much to me. I remember making lists of wacky colors and emailing them to my cousin. I remember pain.


I remember Celine Dion. Listening when no one else was the right person to talk to. Back when cd players were it and I had a floral bedspread. I was trying to figure out what my life was and tackling big questions already, nine or ten years old. I was lying on the floral bedspread at the time when everything in my room got washed gold by the drooping sun. It would get lazier; the room would get brassier, and Celine Dion sang loud in my ears.


I remember Mrs. Amatangelo, who had fake-dyed mousey brown hair that looked like a horse hair wig and enormous glasses. She wore frumpy teacher dresses to look the part; she put me on time out. I've always very sincerely believed that she permanently damaged me because I was such an impressionable kindergartner.


Summer meant delicious food: fruit, and gourmet salads! My mother was always an expert at salad making. It took me years to realize I was allowed to and wanted to take two or three hefty tong-fulls. The gold time was salad time sometimes, as well as Celine time. We'd sit around the same table we have now, and shut the blinds--I always wanted to keep them open. Yes, I remember SALAD.


Rain holds a lot for me. The rain was falling hard and collecting in little pools in Lakeland Hills park. Who was I with? A blonde girl. We weren't very good friends. But we splashed in the collections of sky water and felt on top of the world...
until our socks got soaked. But we, or I, rather, still puddle stomped when the rain fell other times. Like times of confessions, barefoot. Times of summer's steamy rainfalls and times of wintery chilly pools, barefoot and no. Rain holds a lot for everyone, I think.

a middle aged shack--resolutionless.

I don't make New Year's resolutions for a lot of reasons. I don't want to set myself up for failure. I don't want to acknowledge my faults at that level. I don't want to be stuffy and cliche. I need stuff that bleeds.
I feel like I need to make a getaway. I want to be a middle aged woman, wrinkled and looking out at the sea from a shack she's made herself.
But if I did make resolutions they would be these.
stand up taller. be more honest about my feelings in certain situations. trust myself more. pick up yoga. go days without makeup and feel more confident.
see. faults. you see them.
I've never REALLY actually seriously considered things like not getting out of bed for a day or REALLY eating cereal for every meal or following a fad diet.
But sometimes I still sell out.

Monday, January 4, 2010

just a big ol game.

I forgot my notebook/I hate typing/I hate computers/my eye hurts/I woke up thrilled today/I had revelations as I walked to campus/

Jared asked me today if this sweater was new—I said, no, I just never wear it

Because it’s pink?

Yes. Pink requires me feeling a very certain way.

What’s that?

Really happy and comfortable with myself, I said.

Revelations about gospel choir and marvelous medleys/do I have pink eye, maybe? HAH./ beach time in california—want/the name ‘joss’/ the name noah and how the two couples both want it/well, whatever/practicing was not torture today/lifeisjustabigolgammme to me.

life is just a big ol game to me.