Keep Singing

You know, no matter how hard I try, I can’t really store bliss up by overindulging for a while and then denying myself after.

Just listened to “Limehouse Blues” and had the treat of hearing Rosemary Clooney do a Nelson Riddle arrangement of the tune in 1996 and then hear her 1961 version of the same chart.  One is pretty, one is masterful, both are beautiful.

It lead me back to think of my pal Jim.  Either we were brothers and he was gay, or we were sisters and I am lesbian.  I was too stuck when I knew him to let go, and I miss him — and the huge bag of my vintage cosmetics that burned when Robert & his store burned down.

At one point Jim took my picture to a psychic. She looked at it, identified me as trans, and had two words of advice. “Tell them to keep singing,” she said.

Odd words because I never really have been much of a singer.  My grandmother, my maternal grandmother, the only one I knew, never even had a record player in the house, just one table radio tuned to CFRB.  I can’t remember my mother or father ever buying or owning an album. Hell, they never even went to a performance of the Grand Ole’ Opry until last night.

I have never really been a singer.  But I have remembered that advice, “keep singing,” and it has resonated with me somehow. 

I don’t keep playlists, but when I do find some music that moves me, it moves me powerfully. 

Bette Midler once joked that Freud was crazy taking all that time to find out what women want — we just want to dance.  She was remembering the days she was young and free in a leotard in a dark club, days I seem to have missed.  After all, with that tranny stick up your ass, dancing isn’t easy, even if I remember one crossdressers wife pointing to me dancing with my hips and said to her shoulder-dancing husband “See, she knows how to do it!”

Hell, when I think of a safe and peaceful place to be, it’s usually not a garden, it’s a stage.  TBB & I were recently remembering the days when The Drama Queens took flight and how magical those moments felt, to let loose and fly.

I think the beauty of a stage for me (and my perfect stage would have a great band) is the idea that with an audience there I would get feedback, get energy, get heard, get seen, get live & real.

I know that this idea is just a fantasy.  The reality of a stage, much like the reality of having a book published, is that lots of other people have their own needs to be met and compromise is the order of the day.  Once we make our art public, we can’t own it anymore, which is why writers are different than authors, why philosophers are different than gurus, why singers are different than performers.

But still, it’s the part I miss.  I sit here with my time winding down and Rosemary Clooney sings, two ways, two times, two Rosemarys and I am moved.  She got to be out there.  When I was a kid I didn’t go to Jacques because I thought it was about being a gay man.  Now I know that it was about self-expression, and that the femme part of my heart would have been illuminated much, much sooner.  Yes there would have been complications — Bree’s mother still expects Stanley to push her chair in — but somehow. . .

Listen kid, let me say this to you, now: keep singing.   Brian McNaught said that our job is to sing the song our creator put in our heart and that resonates with me too.

Now, I guess, I try to sing here, my music freeze dried to ASCII characters.  It’s not very satisfying, and not very potent.

But sometimes, in my heart, even in the midst of all the despair and loneliness, I hear a song and it moves me.

So, whoever you are, keep singing.