Monday, February 11, 2008

La Vie Boheme

I finally opened our moving box full of CDs. We've been living in this house for over four years now and I just dug into the crate. Granted, we've been "officially unpacked" for some time now, so it's not like a celebration. In fact, it's a project waiting to happen, staring at me from the middle of my office floor.

The first thing I did was pull out my original Broadway cast recording of "Rent." Saw the show like four times or such nonsense when it was on tour in San Fran, circa 1999. Loved it, that edgy rock update of "La Boheme." I thought it defined me. Me, the Catwoman in all black attire with an ankle tattoo. So, eagerly I rummaged around for it in the box representing the melding our marriage: Stan Kenton jazz, Aerosmith and Al Jarreau for him, and Chieftans Celtic, Steely Dan and REM for her. Plucked it out like a lucky lottery ticket and proceeded to put hubby's bachelor-expensive speakers to the test (kids were in school, btw).

I set the volume at near window shatter and tuned my vacuum to rumble along blissfully with the gut-clenching bass. I surprised myself by remembering the words to the lyrics. All the words. Every swear word, every offensive sex word, every alternative lifestyle/anti-establishment word. I sang them out loudly at first, then, as song after song beat against the walls of my home and rang in my ears, I gradually lowered my voice. When the player switched over to the second CD, I hesitated to join in. Instead, I found myself questioning what was being said, why they were saying it, and for what purpose would it serve. Now in the process of mopping my floors, I wondered aloud what I had found so exhilarating about the show.

I felt like a co-ed, home for the summer, trying on clothes left in her closet. The shirt that had once laid smooth now pulled taut across an expanding chest. The pants that had slipped effortlessly over a young girl's slender hips now stopped short before a woman's curves. The styles were dated and fixed, and the desire to be seen in them had faded like old jeans.

The anarchist poet in me has entered eternal slumber. I have outgrown the anger which punctuates art seeking to shock and disarm societal sensibilities. The rebel in me is not dead, but metamorphosed into a creative constructionist. My artistic endeavors must now answer the question, "How does this make it better?" Not content to simply show life as it is, real, hard, and blemished, I must now enrich it.

Perhaps hastily, perhaps without considering future consequences, or perhaps a stark statement to myself, I threw my "Rent" two-disc CD set into the trash. "La Vie Boheme" is not my life.

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