Wednesday, October 12, 2011

about mi bebe, my memoir

In the past year or so, I've become an aficionado of Hall of Fame speeches. It started with the moving and ridiculously eloquent speech Emmitt Smith made when he was inducted into the NFL's Hall of Fame. This fascination and admiration grew with speeches from the likes of Jerry Rice, Dennis Rodman, and Shannon Sharpe. I love watching them on YouTube to hear what motivated these extraordinary athletes.

Some of you may know how much I love Metallica. So imagine the excitement I got when I realized that there is a YouTube user, somewhere out there in this strange universe, who took the time to upload the speeches they made when they were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2009 (bless you for it!)

I watched all their speeches: Newsted, Trujillo, Hammett, Cliff Burton's dad; my boy, James Hetfield, and Lars (my least favorite band member). They were all nice. More ra-ra! and polite instead of insightful or moving. But Flea's 10-minute induction speech of Metallica is another matter altogether.

His speech was unbelievable. So many quotable gems——about the genesis of their music, the cathartic beauty of thrash metal (or whatever you may call it), and about Metallica and their music. I couldn't help but get amped when he talked about the first time he heard Metallica, "Fight Fire With Fire." He was spot-on when he said that Metallica is a "mighty force of nature." It's a fucking deep speech full of unabashed gusto and eloquence, the most moving words I've heard about Cliff Burton. To boot, it comes from a man who also happens to be a kick-ass musician. I've listened to it a few times at work because of the passion he brought to his speech. It also resonated deeply with me because of what I'm trying to do with my post-cancer life.

This is my favorite part of his speech:

"It is always really absurd to me when I hear people speak of heavy music——angry, aggressive music——as being negative, or unhealthy for children, and so on. Firstly, the playing of ferocious music is the healthiest release of anger for the performer of it. It is alchemy; it is a metamorphosis; it is turning something potentially destructive and a source of misery into something beautiful——something rocking, and something uplifting for the band and for the audience."

And that's what I'm trying to do through my memoir, too.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

a well-trained cancer survivor

A while back, I awoke in the middle of the night. The bedroom in my still-sort-of-new apartment was practically pitch dark. A faint pale light seeped through the window curtains. From my pillow, I could see the reflection of the room in the closet mirror. My eyes shot open, my limbs stiffened when I lifted my head and saw what looked like the reflection of a dark hooded figure, standing and looking over me while I lay in bed. I stared back at that shadowy reflection in the corner of the mirror. I was prepared to bolt at it. Wring its neck. Grind my teeth and tell it, You’re not taking me now.

Once my eyes adjusted to the dim light, I realized that my supposed deathly visitor was nothing more than the reflection of my dark blue curtains. I sighed. A grin came over me as I laid my head back on my pillow. I was pleased to know that I would not have hesitated to wrangle with Death.