Art in Real Life

Last week, I had the opportunity to see Over the Rhine in concert. I can die happy now.

But seriously.

It's taken me this long to synthesize what I want to say, and even so, I'm sure that I won't quite be able to say what I want to say. Such are the perils and promises of written communication.

For those of you who don't know, Over the Rhine is an Ohio based band, husband and wife, who write gorgeous, simple, articulate, complicated songs about living, dying, loving, stealing drugs, getting old, making (and breaking) promises, drinking and such.

They are perhaps better in person than they are recorded, though they are superlative as recording artists.

I sat in the intimate venue last week, suspended in time and space, in awe of the beauty that was presented to me, welcoming me in and inviting me to participate. Listening to Over the Rhine is like being in love, in a fight and weeping at a grave, sitting on your front porch sipping sweet tea and watching your dog sleep through dreams of grandeur.

They are who I want to be, except I want to write fiction. I've been trying to explain it for years, to find what I want, who I am, who I aspire to. I have. I want to write about the things that they write about, make them count in fiction and wrap them around those who read them the way their music wraps around me. They make life, in all it's mundane, precious dirt, seem sacred.

I'm getting ready to leave college and the life that comes with it. I'm entering into that mundane simplicity of eating and drinking and working and loving and being and cooking and watching and hoping and dreaming and sleeping and filling and emptying and fighting and crying and holding. Not that I haven't been here, suspended in life, suspended in the utter reality of every moment.

Sometimes it's hard living real life. I don't want to ignore that, Over the Rhine certainly doesn't. But, even as I was nearly crying with the pain of it, I was also nearly crying with the joy, last Sunday night. I want to make the pain beautiful, because it is. It makes the sweet sweeter and it makes it better when, at last, all the sad things come untrue.