Archive for August, 2009

The Process (now with more bees!)

Posted in Uncategorized on August 27th, 2009 by admin – 12 Comments

When I started this blog, I truly intended to write in it a bit more frequently, but life keeps getting in the way of my social networking. How am I supposed to keep up with Myspace, Facebook, Vampire Freaks, and Live Journal when I have to leave the house? Not to mention all of the online geography games I like to play. And what about my drinking? Fortunately, there’s always time for whiskey. I am of Welsh and Irish descent, after all.

So between packing and moving and writing and recording we have been busy bees. Speaking of bees, I was stung by one yesterday. He got me right on my middle finger, which is now considerably larger than my other fingers and incredibly itchy. I don’t think I’ve had a bee sting since I was about eight, and at one point I was trying to decide if they really hurt as much as I remember, or if the pain was magnified by little kid glasses. Well, I can tell you now -it hurts like a mother. Steven said, “Well, if it’s any consolation, that bee is dead now.” But to me, all that means is that the bee is feeling no more pain (or whatever sort of suffering it is to be a bee), while I still am. But I can’t really be upset. He was just being a bee, doing his bee-y things. Viva la bee. And now I’m going to stop saying bee.

The new album is nearly done. It’s dark. Darker than I expected, darker than our previous material. But I trust our instincts and I trust our audience to be open to what we’ve done. It’s been a difficult labor in many ways, but well worth the pain. I recently had to come to terms with the fact that I do not like writing songs. I love performing them, and I love that they are ours. I love touring. I don’t even mind recording, though it’s not my favorite step in the process. But song writing turns me into a fire-spewing demon, and I pity my husband or anyone else that may ever have to work with me. It’s odd, since I enjoy writing just about anything else. But songs do not come easily to me, and that -in the past- has made me question if I’m doing the right thing.

Which of course, is a ridiculous way of looking at things. Steven pointed out that it would be silly to believe that you need to love every second of every step on your path in order to know you’re on the right one. I’m not sure why I didn’t see it that way before. I mean, I love touring. Just love it. I never questioned if it was a good use of my time and my life, because I knew in an instant that it was. That said, I do not love the napping-nights, as I call them. Those nights where you have just enough time at the hotel for a shower and a brief nap before the day starts all over again. I am a sad, pathetic creature at 5 AM, especially when we only got into the room two hours before. I do not love being exhausted and malnourished for weeks at a stretch. I do not love when our van starts making a noise I am unfamiliar with (and when you’ve driven one vehicle across the country eight times -I logged 50,000 miles last year alone- you know every single noise). I especially do not love it when that happens in the mountains or desert. I do not love driving through the Rockies or the Sierra Nevadas during blizzards, or through the Mojave in a dust storm, or through midwest ice storms and tornadoes, or southern tropical storms where the rain is coming in horizontally. I am a relatively skilled driver, but these were some terrifying moments.

Yet I wouldn’t trade them. And I wouldn’t trade the song writing either. I’m proud of the work we do, no matter how difficult it is to produce at times. But it’s all part of the process. Years ago I had a process cross tattooed on my shoulder to remind me of this very thing, well before I ever imagined myself traveling around the world performing songs that we wrote. Sometimes I forget it’s there, but most of the time it serves its purpose. I’m remembering to accept and enjoy the process more and more.

And speaking of bees touring:

Tour Dates- Autumn 2009

9.25-27 Steven Archer & Donna Lynch will be reading and vending books, art & music along with Raw Dog Screaming Press at HORRORFIND WEEKEND, Hunt Valley Marriott, Hunt Valley MD

9.30 Ego Likeness w/ NEW MODEL ARMY, The Rock n Roll Hotel, DC

BELLA MORTE w/EGO LIKENESS &
VERSAILLES

10.24 The 2nd Annual Vampire Ball, The Masonic Temple, Flint MI
(feat. Voltaire & The Hellblinki Sextet)

10.25 The Nite Light Cafe, Berwyn IL

10.26 The Darkroom, Chicago IL

10.28 Davey’s Uptown, Kansas City MO

10.29 Teatro Scarpino, Fayetteville AR

10.30 The Stafford, Bryan TX

10.31 Atomix, San Antonio TX

11.5 Uncle Paulie’s Pub, El Paso TX

11.6 Mardi Gras, Scottsdale AZ

11.7 Bar Sinister, Hollywood CA

11.10 Elysium, Austin TX

11.11 Rocbar, Houston TX

11.13 The Howlin Wolf, New Orleans LA

11.14 The Rutledge, Nashville TN

Over the river and through the woods…

Posted in Uncategorized on August 8th, 2009 by admin – 7 Comments

It’s been one of those tumultuous sort of weeks when I go from being restless and bored, to excited about upcoming projects, to extremely sad, to ridiculously worried and anxious…wash, rinse, repeat…in a continuous cycle, day and night. There is plenty for me to do, but I’ve been here before and I know that before long, my chemicals will change, and this will pass and I will be productive again.

We are still in the midst of moving. It will be a slightly drawn-out process, but that’s probably for the best. I’m hoping the days between now and when we are settled will buffer the strangeness I feel every time I go to the house and remember that my grandmother is no longer there. It’s been nearly three months since she died and I have been waiting and waiting for it to stop taking my breath away, but it hasn’t yet.

I have also been waiting to write this- to write about her- and now that I’m here I’m not sure I’m ready. But I’m going to try.

The night before she died, we were on stage in Charlottesville, playing the last show of the Bella Morte tour. It was May 16th. My mom called two days before to say that Gran was in the hospital with pneumonia, but she was hanging in there. In her 90s, she’d already kicked pneumonia a few times, and I suppose we took it for granted that she’d kick it once again. But that Saturday, before the show, my mom called again to say that the doctors weren’t sure if she was going to beat it this time. Fluid was collecting around her heart and lungs and it was a waiting game to see if they could get it under control. I wanted to come home then, but mom suggested we just play the show and come home in the morning. Gran was still holding on well enough.

That night, on stage, I did something I’ve never done in the ten years we’ve been performing. I cried. My voice cracked and I had to force my mouth to form the words to a new song called ‘Thirty-Year War’. And I simply could not stop the tears. I knew then, despite the little bit of optimism everyone was trying to muster. I knew because that was how it was between my Gran and I. It always had been.

We drove home that night, and arrived at the hospital around 7am. By noon she was awake and aware, but it had become clear to her doctors that she wasn’t going to be able to get rid of the fluid that was suffocating her. Her organs were failing and, after 93 years, wouldn’t be repaired. We could keep her alive on machines or we could make her comfortable and let her go. I’m still so grateful that there was no argument over the decision. She had always been such a strong, sensible woman.

Around 1pm, the machines were phased out, as the morphine drip was turned up. She and I talked, but not about what was happening. We talked about The Young and the Restless. We talked about the miniature horse farm we’d driven by in Ohio a few days before. We talked about the cats, and how lovely the Mississippi River was on the day we were in Lacrosse, and every other little thing until the morphine carried her away. Initially, I didn’t think I could be there when she died. I was utterly terrified. But as the minutes passed, I did not leave. I laid on the bed with her, kept my hands on her back and on her head, smoothing her hair back from her face. And this was how we were until she took her last breath. It was almost 4:30 in the afternoon.

Maybe I shouldn’t have written all of this. Maybe it’s too indulgent. I don’t know.  I’m resisting the urge to delete it right now, but something is giving me pause. I want to go on, I really do.

I know how lucky I am to have had her for so long, when some never know, or never have a deep connection to their grandparents.

I know she was 93 and had a life full of wonderful and terrible times.

I know everyone loses loved ones.

I know these things. But in the end, it doesn’t make me miss her any less. I’m not asking why, I’m not cursing any god for taking her, nor am I consoled that she’s in a better place. These things don’t matter to me. What matters is that the woman who raised me along with my mother is gone from this world, and I miss her.

When we were careless in the woods, and the wolves would catch our scent and we’d lead them right to the door, Gran would be there waiting for them, unafraid. Even when they got in, she held her ground, and eventually they’d run off, and she’d help us pick up the pieces.

I’m older now, and the threat of wolves is not as great as it once was, but when I get to grandmother’s house, she won’t be there.

She won’t be there to remind me to stay on the path she cleared. She won’t be at the top of the hill with a flashlight to guide me when I come home from the creek too late. She isn’t there to tell my mom and I that things will always be ok.

But I won’t let what she taught me be in vain. I intend to stay on my path, and I will carry my own flashlight in case I stay at the creek too long. And I will know that no matter what happens, things will always be ok.

And as for the wolves…

Well, let’s just say we have an understanding. I am my grandmother’s kin, after all.

HWW

July 28, 1915 – May 17, 2009

Home

Posted in Uncategorized on August 1st, 2009 by admin – 11 Comments

We are in the process of moving; leaving the city after more than a decade and returning to the house I grew up in, which means we are about to become one of those crazy artists couples that live in the woods making their crazy art and getting crazier in their solitude. Except we’ll still go on tour, which is good, because it means we will still experience civilization for a few months of the year, although it might also mean we’ll end up as one of those crazy couples that drives around the country selling their crazy art, picking up stray animals, making really out-of-the-way side trips between shows to see the country’s largest rubber band ball or The Salton Sea or some other oddity, and digging in desert canyons to find animal bones in which to make more crazy art.

My husband Steven is happy to be moving; certainly for the space and the art-related possibilities living in the woods affords, but mostly because the house and property are ideal in the event of a zombie apocalypse. It’s a very old and sturdy house that sits high on a hill, surrounded by densely wooded cliffs, making it difficult to access, but easy to defend. It also has its own well, and could easily go off the grid, so Steven says. He’s probably right… after all, the house was built before there was any real grid to speak of. The land is rocky, but fertile enough to garden, and there is a fresh water source at the base of the hill.

Also, it has a hot tub. A modern one, too, not just a metal trough that you fill with water and let heat up in the sun like mom had when she was a young girl. And not like my “swimming pool” either, which was just me in the bathtub, in my bathing suit, sitting in about three inches of cold water after 45 minutes of whining. I probably could have used more than three inches of water, but I didn’t want to be the reason the well went dry. And according to my Gran, that is exactly what I’d have been.

So, yes…hot tub, seclusion, safe from zombies…I’m happy to be going home, too. The house is part of our family, but its more than that. In an ironic way, it is an exercise in non-attachment. Now, I know I just personified the house, like, two seconds ago, but that’s just the sentimentalist in me; the girl that used to name the rocks in the driveway and the multitude of squirrels in the yard. But it’s that very sentiment that has brought me to this place of resolution. See, I love my house. And I love my family. And I love every single happy and ambivalent moment I spent there. I love that my grandfather designed it and built it. I love my memories of holidays celebrated there, all the years I had with my Gran, all of the things I made there with my mom, the animals we had, the way the woods looks when it snows, the red-tailed hawks that nest there, the foxes, and the colts that play in the neighbor’s field every spring. I remember all of the drawings I did by the fireplace while Gran and I watched The Young and the Restless. I remember the games I made up and my playhouse, and the black snake that lived in the shed for years. I remember mom and I taking care of our goat, and picking blackberries. I remember so many wonderful, wonderful things.

But I also remember the terrible things. The fear I felt, the anxiety, the shame…consequences of deeds done when I was too little, or later, too helpless to stop it. The house was the witness and there were times I hated her for betraying me. Why did she let those people in? Why did she ever let them stay so long? I’d thought we’d had an understanding. I loved her, and she’d protect me, shelter me, as any good house should. But in they came, slipping in through the cracks the way the mice and salamanders do. And it seemed she could not stop it.

But it’s a house, you may be saying. Isn’t this blame just a tad misplaced?

Of course. But when you are young, you blame the constant, because the constant won’t leave you. I had some constants, and regrettably, I blamed them all. The house was no exception.

I have since made peace with my constants, recognizing now that even the things that would never choose to leave you, will, in fact, one day have to leave you. Knowing this, it seems silly to waste even one moment ever being bitter.

So, I have forgiven the house. And I am pardoned for ever being so angry at her. I can not erase what we saw and felt there, and I no longer need to try. I will simply do what one does in a house. I will make things, and write music, and read, and sleep. When we want to go south, we will take what we need and go for a while, then we will come back to her. When we want to go to the desert, we will leave what is not essential and we will go for a while, then we will come back to her again. We understand each other now, and I am ready to live there once again.

Plus, you know…the zombie thing.