groove tube

This is weird junky writing, but it was interesting to me at the time. Maybe I’ ll pick it up again some day. I may need to start drinking or something to ever become a fiction writer:


The world is being swallowed up by cheap music, tacky visuals, bad smells, meanness and artificial foodlike substances. This happens, has happened in the past. Will happen again.

The groove tube is invisible by not hiding. This is easy in the city. Throw a metal tube over it, or a metal box… people don’t even see it. All around mpls and saint paul there are groove tubes. The groove tube is used for what?

The groove tube is for music. It sends grooves up and around the city, from the city out into the country. It’s filled with a slurry of grooves, beats, melodies, riffs, tunes, bass runs, harmonies, rhythms, rhymes, songs, lines.

Grooves, beats, songs, rhymes

Tunes, riffs, melodies, times

Harmonies, tones, good vibrations

Echos, descants, incantations

Bent notes, straight notes, grace notes, trebles

tremolos, vibratos, arias and bellows

rhythms, hooks, codas, rests

pianos, fortes, birdsongs, trills

So they flow through there into the sewer system or into the gas system or electric lines. Then music is released around the city, pumped out to the country or out from the country. There’s a kind of musical density that wants to equalize. Sometimes there’s too much music out-state, that gets shipped into the city. Sometime there’s a glut of music in the city, that goes out to the suburbs for consumption there.

If the instruments don’t get back to their rightful owner, the flow of the groove-tube will be blocked and get stagnant. V and E and their rightful owner were actually a key part of the system of musical equilibrium. A song in, a song out. That’s the rule. But since TV there haven’t been as many songs in, people still took songs out, oh sure they did. Songs and music. Music was all sorts of things. Door hinges squeaking, cats purring, water flowing.

V and E needed to get back to Wizzary.

That way crickets and door hinges, waterfalls, aspen trees, chickadees, robins, tap-shoes, door-bells, soundtracks, train-tracks, all get to keep their music.

One thing that keeps things in line is the groove tube. The groove tube is filled with good, groovy things. Instruments, sweets, salts, spices, music, symmetry, balanced asymmetry, lines and circles, angles and intersections. It hasn’t always been a groove-tube. Once upon a time it was system of springs and underground streams. In places where the underground has been disturbed and remodeled, the groove tube had to be laid out on the surface.

It’s connected to cold-air returns, sidewalk vents and dripping faucets all over the world. If you really want to know about the groove tube, you’ve got to let go of whatever it is you think is actually being piped around the country in those random pipelines. Oh sure, some of them carry oil or natural gas, some are conduits for electrical and fiber optic cables. Sure. But some are full of inspiration. Grooves. And sometimes, just like with oil pipelines, they do spring a leak.

Why don’t you hear about an inspiration leak? Well you do. You just didn’t know that’s what it was. Silicone Valley? Massive Groove tube breech. Motown? Catastrophic break. Cuba? Slow leak. Southern Soul food ? Groove tube failure. The Gettysburg address? Random spring in the middle of nowhere, stepped in by a lanky gentleman racking his brains about what to say to a country ripped ragged. Memphis, New Orleans, Switzerland, Hollywood, Italy, Ithaca New York, Weimar in Germany.

Ideally, the groove tube disseminates inspiration evenly around the world. It works about as well as anything else, which is to say, meh, it’s ok. But without it, the world would be a bleak, bleak place indeed. There are agents of the groove-tube, there always have been. Mostly these are people with their own jobs, living lives completely under the radar, but maintaing the tube and the flow of inspiration.

In addition to the groove tube there are other groovy items. Instruments, pots and kettles, perfumeries, pencil makers who knew?

If these forces win, the world will be a bleak place indeed.

diversity class

I majored in Linguistic Anthropology in my undergrad. It’s all about culture, right? And language? How people can be different, how they can be the same. I did two (one an independent study) classes on the philosophy of race. Every program I’ve done has had a requirement for diversity training. Every class in my graduate program has at least a section on diversity. It’s cool. I like diversity. I like it a lot.

I did a certification program in interpreting for medical interpreters. In the end, I didn’t have the cojones to try to interpret in such a high stakes environment, but I learned a ton of really good stuff doing the classes. Some of the program was, as you can imagine, about being a cultural broker. At least half of the students were immigrants. We shared a lot about how people of different cultures can have trouble communicating, even when they don’t have a language barrier.

I live in a diverse neighborhood which borders a neighborhood where white people are the minority. I am conscious of racial, sexual, economic, religious and many other kinds of diversity in a very real way. I have said before, I am a racist person. I know it and I struggle with it. I believe anyone in our country who says they aren’t racist has little personal insight, little contact with people who are different from them on a daily basis, or is an extremely rare kind of person.

My last course in my Masters program is a class on diversity. As a liberal, I don’t mind being in the class. I understand why it’s a good idea for people to learn about their unconscious biases and do battle with them. There are conservatives in the class with me. I can’t help listen to the whole course as if I were one of them.

There are holes in the class.

I mean to say, if you ask a class full of adults to think of a way in which gender could be a liability in our society, it’s fair to expect someone to mention the whole ‘women are paid less than men for the same work’ issue. But when someone says that being male is a liability as far as life expectancy goes, you’d better be ready to accept that this is also true, because it is. And when someone mentions that girls’ math scores drop in middle and high school, you’d better be willing to acknowledge that boys and men consistently get lower grades and higher disciplinary referrals from kindergarden through college. Because they do. This is how gender can be a liability.

You should also be willing to acknowledge that every time a woman is assumed to be the best primary caregiver, or teacher, or nurse, it assumes a man isn’t the best primary caregiver or teacher or nurse. These are liabilities for men and women.

In my diversity class, when I suggested one of the above in answer to the question about gender liabilities, the professor was confused at first. He asked me to say more, which I did. I described some of the other liabilities of being male in our society. We were missing each other. In the end I said, “Did you mean to ask for examples of gender bias against women? Because forgive me, I have sons and their liabilities come to mind first.” He said yes, that’s what we were talking about, gender bias. But gender bias against women isn’t what he said.

He assumed we would all know that gender bias could only apply to women. Which is not only ridiculous, but dangerous and bad for his cause. Not just because we all need to be more aware of how hard it is to be a boy or a man in our society (it is), but because this professor has a captive audience consisting of liberals and conservatives.

I feel like I walk that line between the two because I’m a critical thinker who is acutely aware of the voice of my conservative friends and family members in my head. This guy has a chance to make some people aware of things they haven’t considered in the past. He can’t do it if he blows off some of the facts as not relevant.

If he doesn’t acknowledge that diversity is a complicated issue with at least two sides in every discussion about it, the conservatives will know he’s not telling the truth and stop listening before he even gets the chance to open their minds.

It’s ok to tell the truth, even if it seems like it calls your ideas into question. Especially if it seems like the truth doesn’t match your contention, you should acknowledge it and maybe even question what you think the real story is, because someone else might be waiting in the wings to call you on the details. And the truth matters. And the truth will eventually help the right cause. Don’t be scared.


Practicum Internship Lessons

A practicum is kind of like a residency. An internship where you do actual therapy work supervised by more experienced people who sign off on all your work. My practicum internship was hard. One of the hardest times of my life. But not because of the clients. Below is a reflection from the middle of my internship:

I look forward to most of the interactions with the clients. I like the kids (most of them) and I like their parents (most of them). I actually love the kids, it’s like my heart is made of velcro and almost all of them stick onto me. Not all, but most. I’m excited to meet each one and hear the story, try to put the puzzle together with the clues they share and the ones they hold back.

I like being the person who hears their complaints and their skewed versions of their lives. I know it will be very different from their parents’ versions, and their teachers’ versions. I like being the one who listens as if what they say is true. I also like gently pointing out their doublespeak, their evasive tactics and the holes in their stories.

I like making the really sad ones smile. Even getting them to furrow their brow feels like entre with some of them; the ones whose affects are flattened or who can hardly hold their heads up. It turns out that many of the things that make me awkward with adults, actually work pretty well with troubled kids. I am often impulsive, irreverent and weird. I have no poker face and other people’s emotions get under my skin quickly.

I wish I could draw people a picture of these kids and what I like about them. I find the boys especially easy to fall for. When I meet them, I want to hug them and hold their faces in my hands. What I do is shake their hands and look them in the eye. If they have a good handshake, I compliment it and ask them who taught them how to shake hands like a gentleman (even if their girls). If it’s a terrible handshake I make a mental note of that.

What they do is break my heart. The kids I see are on the troubled end of the spectrum. Somehow they’ve gotten onto the radar of the The County. Could be because the school social worker is worried about the mental health of a kid. Could be that their probation or parole Officer thinks there’s more to a kid’s truancy, shoplifting or assaultive behavior than just badness. Might be that a Child Protective Services worker meets the kid and family and believes there’s a mental health problem with the kid. Every once a while, it’s a parent who is desperate to get mental health attention for their kid and doesn’t know where else to turn.

The other big way I meet kids is if they, or their parents, or their school calls the children’s crisis line. For example if a kid at school says he or she wants to kill him or herself, they might call the crisis line to assess the suicide risk for the kid. I go out on crisis calls sometimes, even though my main job is to do diagnostic assessments on kids who are not in crisis at the moment. Often the crisis line will refer a kid for a diagnostic assessment and referral for services.

Often, there’s something wrong with the kid. I see lots of kids with anxiety, lots with depression (they’re best friends, anxiety and depression). I see kids with PTSD and kids who are grieving and can’t move through it without help. I see kids who are stressed out, who have personality disorders and kids who are just pissed off. I see kids who are low functioning intellectually, in low functioning families, in a world that is fast moving and tends to prey on the easy marks.

Some are, for whatever reason, just rotten or naughty. They are making their families miserable and they are unwilling or unable to behave and stay out of trouble. Some have lost multiple friends to gunshots, jail, heart failure, car accidents. Stupid bullshit to have to deal with when you’re 17. Two the kids had lost multiple friends in the previous year. And by lost I mean either to death or to incarceration.

Many of them have problems with drugs and alcohol. Almost none of those kids are ready to stop using substances that seem to tame their biggest demons, but sap their motivation, kill their ability to tell the truth and cause them to hurt themselves people who care about them.

One of my kids doesn’t sleep well. His apartment has rats and bedbugs and they wake him or scare him. Many of my kids have serious mental illness in their families. One kid is really worried about growing up to have schizophrenia. She has family members on both sides who are schizophrenic. Lots of them are unsure where and with whom they will live in six months. Christ! Of course they’re troubled.


Because I don’t feel good right now. Because it’s too hot. Because someone might come home. Because I should be doing homework. Because I should be looking for a job. Because I should be doing laundry. Because I have to take X to X appt. Because I want to talk about X person in a good way. Because I want to talk about X person in a bad way. Because I’m worried about X. Because I’m worried about Y. Because I’m worried about Z. Because I didn’t get good sleep last night. Because I should be working on X. Because other people are home. Because other people might come home soon. Because I’m sleepy. Because it’s almost time for X.

Because I have nothing to say. Because what I have to say could make someone mad. Because what I have to say could embarrass someone. Because it’s nobody’s business. Because nobody cares about my boring life. Because the interesting parts are nobody’s business. Because I hate when I hear people say they’re writers. Because I love people. Because I hate people. Because I hate myself. Because I’m a freak. Because I’m totally normal.
All the reasons I have had for not writing. Here they are.  So easy to go shopping or wash a floor instead. So easy to log onto fb instead. And I am hungry, and sleepy, and tired, and I don’t feel good.

Hi.I’m trying again.