Five Days

I’m depleted. I’m talking about that all-consuming exhaustion that creeps into the bones on a cellular level, sucks the very life out of a person and basically renders her brain dead. My body is running on empty at present and even the smallest exertion of energy feels hopelessly cumbersome. If I stop for even a second, I risk stalling out completely. Worse, my mental faculties are completely dulled and foggy. Some kind of base, reptilian autopilot is running the show. It’s a wonder that I’m even sitting upright to write this.

The past several weeks have been heinously busy. Between writing my ass off, a fair amount of gigs and rehearsals, a CD release, freelance jobs, mom duties and my teaching gig, I’ve been on overdrive. Demands have been aplenty and hours in the day few. Sleep? Ha! It’s no wonder I’m fried. Given how I feel right now, there’s not enough caffeine in the world to bring me back from the dead.

So I’m taking a break. I’m taking 5 days off to trek back to my home state of Oklahoma, visit my Mom and attend my 30th high school reunion with my good friend Cheryl. Granted, a trip to Oklahoma is hardly a dream vacation for any sane, normal person, but it’s something. And the 30th reunion is sure to be an interesting and entertaining trip. (Thanks to Facebook, I’m already somewhat reacquainted with several of my classmates. I have a good idea as to whom I want to hang out with and whom I should probably stay the hell away from, lest we lock horns over politics.) Cheryl and I have agreed to play it by ear; if the reunion just isn’t happening, which probably won’t be the case, we’re open to bagging it and kicking up our own dust. God only knows what it will be like, but I really don’t care. I only know that I need to stop for just a little bit.

Spinning multiple plates is hardly unique. These are modern times; everyone’s doing it. Some of us do it quite well. In general, I can burn pretty intensely for a pretty long time, but when I’m  this tapped out, all bets are off. There’s a line I just can’t push past.  As a vocalist, it’s much easier for me to function from a space of total exhaustion. I’m not sure how or why, but I always seem to be able to pull out a little more game for a gig, even if every ounce of energy in my body is zapped. As a writer, it’s nearly impossible. I get to a point where I have nothing to draw on. The brain shuts down, and there is no secondary server backing things up. It’s like trying to wring out a sponge that’s already dry. It’s not a case of writer’s block, which I don’t believe in anyway. It’s simply a matter of needing to replenish before I can expend again. I once saw an interview with my hero Joni Mitchell, and the interviewer asked her how she balanced her painting relative to her singing and songwriting. She likened it to crop rotation. I think she’s right. Usually writing and singing (and parenting and teaching) dovetail together in perfect synchronicity, each enhancing and inspiring the other. But sometimes, you can drive too hard. Gears grind into oblivion. You walk around like a drooling zombie. That’s where I am now.

On Thursday, I grab my suitcase and a fat novel and hop on a Southwest flight to Oklahoma City. I will spend some time there with my big sis before blasting north to Ponca City. It will be great fun to hook up with Cheryl, my shit-disturbing partner in crime throughout high school. It will be good to see my Mom, who will have (hopefully) just gotten out of the hospital. The reunion should be a gas. Lots of people have expressed interest in buying my CD. I’m toying with the idea of bringing some along to sell, although I really don’t want to be a self-promoting CD ho’ at my reunion. Really, I just want to be. When I get back, there will be gigs to play, blogs to write and music to make. It will all be there. But for now, I just have to go out there and get some more juice. Trust me, the motor will run much better that way. See you soon.