#BookOfQuestions | the "perfect" evening?

What would constitute a “perfect” evening for you?
— Book of Questions, Gregory Stock

I would be alone at my home.

Okay, the dog can be here.

No phone would ring; no texts would come in; no emails would arrive.

I would be able to eat what I wanted without having to later pay for the gluten content. I don’t know whether I would choose a really good pizza or Taco Bell bean burritos. Can I have two “perfect” evenings? Regardless of the main course, I would have a bowl of ice cream later.

I would be able to pursue the vices I have given up. I’d be able to drink. I’d be able to smoke.

That would be pretty much the perfect evening.

Musician Nick Cave's Poignant Thoughts on Grief

My latest listen for my 1001 Albums Project was Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds' album The Boatman's Call. I liked it very much. The lyrics are poignant and his voice is engaging in a mournful, poetic way. But more meaningful -- at least to me -- was it reminded me to go back and read a quote by Nick Cave that I saw a few weeks back.

Nick's 15 year old son died from an accident recently. A fan wrote to him asking if he felt his son communicating with him now in some way as this fan believed several of her departed loved ones were appearing to her in dreams. His response was beautiful.

Dear Cynthia,

This is a very beautiful question and I am grateful that you have asked it. It seems to me, that if we love, we grieve. That’s the deal. That’s the pact. Grief and love are forever intertwined. Grief is the terrible reminder of the depths of our love and, like love, grief is non-negotiable. There is a vastness to grief that overwhelms our minuscule selves. We are tiny, trembling clusters of atoms subsumed within grief’s awesome presence. It occupies the core of our being and extends through our fingers to the limits of the universe. Within that whirling gyre all manner of madnesses exist; ghosts and spirits and dream visitations, and everything else that we, in our anguish, will into existence. These are precious gifts that are as valid and as real as we need them to be. They are the spirit guides that lead us out of the darkness.

I feel the presence of my son, all around, but he may not be there. I hear him talk to me, parent me, guide me, though he may not be there. He visits Susie in her sleep regularly, speaks to her, comforts her, but he may not be there. Dread grief trails bright phantoms in its wake. These spirits are ideas, essentially. They are our stunned imaginations reawakening after the calamity. Like ideas, these spirits speak of possibility. Follow your ideas, because on the other side of the idea is change and growth and redemption. Create your spirits. Call to them. Will them alive. Speak to them. It is their impossible and ghostly hands that draw us back to the world from which we were jettisoned; better now and unimaginably changed.

With love, Nick.
— Nick Cave as shared on "The Red Hand Files" website

My mom, who passed away a couple of years ago, is often a character in my dreams. Not speaking to me, but reminding me of her influence in making me who I am today. And reminding me of who I am is something that always needs reinforcing. Thank you, Mom.

Book Of Questions | If you were able to live to the age of 90...

If you were able to live to the age of 90 and retain either the body or mind of a 30-year-old for the last 60 years of your life, which would you want?
— Book of Questions, Gregory Stock

I suppose my 53rd birthday is a pretty good time to consider this question.

Over the last couple of years, I have noticed my body aging. It’s more difficult to get down on the ground, and more difficult to get up. I’ve got aches and pains when I get up in the morning. I’ve noticed a reduction in my physical strength. I just can’t lift as much as I once could. It’s harder to open jars than it used to be. And although some of this change can be attributed to being in less than optimal physical shape…

There’s no denying it: I’m aging.

So, how do I answer the question?

I would really like to have that 30 year old body back. And I would continue to enjoy having it until 90. (I promise to take better care of it this time.) And I’m willing to be a senile old man with a 30 year old body. The retirement home will be loads of fun.

One of my photos was used in a music video and they even asked permission!

"La Posada Gift"

"La Posada Gift"

It comes at around 54 seconds in Lisa Wilson's song "Christmas Dreams". Thank you, Lisa, for reaching out to all the photographers and asking permission before using our work. It's the right way to do things. Give it a listen to show you support independently published music and the respect for intellectual property.