Monday, February 15, 2010

Crazy Heart

Nick took me to see Crazy Heart last week. It was a weekday matinee, the only time I'll go to a movie. I like the empty theater at a midweek midday matinee. Nick and I usually talk politics, but for some reason neither of us had much to say. Politics is making me sad these days. I feel very sorry for our President. The country is weary. War weary, sad and losing heart along with the good job and the new house. No one can afford to get sick. Even if you have insurance, you can't afford to use it. I'm almost afraid to talk politics for fear I'll just breakdown in tears. I was in the mood for a good movie, a distraction from one reality to take me into another reality.

But Crazy Heart took me into the one of the saddest failures of my life; it took me back to the days of living with and loving Tom. When I first met him, when we were teenage kids, he was just learning to play the bass. He was into Jazz then. But when we got together in midlife, after our divorces, he was playing Country/Western music which I didn't entirely appreciate since I was still into Jazz. When I first knew him he played an acoustic bass. When we were in midlife, he was playing electric bass and guitar. I'm not a big fan of amplified, electrified instruments. But I fell hard again for Tom and since I had run from him the first go round when we were kids, I maintained in midlife that I didn't want to be a couple, I just wanted us to have fun. But when you've always been in love with the man and he gives you the key to his house, it's hard not to become a couple.

When the band he was playing in rehearsed, they did it mostly at Tom's house and I was there. I don't know why so many musicians are hard drinkers, which seems to lead them into all sorts of other bad behavior, but in the bands Tom played with, that seemed to be pretty universal.

Tom's two youngest children were age four and six. They were lovely kids and I did enjoy their visits when it was his turn to have them. And because Tom always had gigs during the holidays and on New Years Eve it was I who took care of making Christmas away from their mother and their real home as much like a real Christmas as possible, with a tree and shopping trips and presents under the tree and hot chocolate and popcorn at night watching a rented movie. I was home with them when he was gone every night playing in some honkytonk or toilet in BFE. And I quickly grew to love his kids. And I grew to see him as a neglectful and insensitive father. He became a man who drank too much almost all the time. I know he had his reasons. I know they all did.

And in truth, I was much too crazy to really work out the other problems in our life together. I knew the root cause of my craziness, but Tom didn't want to hear about it, wanted me to get over it and move on without having to talk about it and the way the present reminded me of the past.

Crazy Heart reminded me of the past and the only man I really ever tried to love. Crazy Heart was a little too close to home, a little too real. And near the end of the movie I wanted to get up and run. I wanted to flee my past again, like I did when things got too bad with Tom. I used to decide in an instant that I couldn't take it anymore and throw all my things in garbage bags and leave without a word. The only real sound I made was when my tires were squealing out of the driveway and I was headed down the canyon road away from Tom and his insensitivity to my needs.

So when the movie ended I was ready to cut and run; before the credits even rolled I was trying to exit the darkened theater as fast as I could and I fell in the dark, hard. I didn't really hurt myself, but it all hurt, and I couldn't hold back the tears. And even now, even all this time later, I still can't think of Tom without getting a lump in my throat and fighting back tears.


quin browne said...




Wait. What? said...

Is it as it is said: better to have loved and lost, than never to have loved at all.

Utah Savage said...

Hi Quin, thanks for the hugs.

Cat, in my experience love hurts.

Unknown said...

that's some Valentine, sweetheart.
I went backwards too. but I didn't fall hard. I'm just grateful to have had such a good friend who might have lived some bit of a romance with me. a better friend, than bedmate.
was I lucky? or did I miss something?... is what reading this provokes me to wonder.

yeah, like quin said;

Anonymous said...

First of all, I left a long, loving comment here last week and Blogger ate it, I'm having a hard time logging in, and it won't accept me as flawedplan. Normally I would just say fuckit, and I did for a few days, but I now know I'd log in 20 times if that's what it takes to talk to you.

I don't know if you want to hear my initial reactions to your writing, because the first thought is not to praise you as a great and gifted truth-telling writer that's sure to take you places. That's a given, ok? My first reaction is to be thrown into my own life, because you're writing it, and that never happens so I don't know how it comes off to jump up and say "oh my god yes, I do that, it happens to me, and did you ever, jesus isn't that something?"

You know Sexton's poem, MY KIND, that speaks to me, my search for intimacy and conversation with MY KIND, romantic, unfriendly women who lead chaotic, troubled, epic lives of pain and beauty, who are socially marginal, dismissed, disenfranchised, misunderstood and unrecognized, except for our mistakes, failures and imperfections. These women know how the world works, and there are lots of them in the world, are my heroes, touchstones, and I claim them as my sisters. I've met 2 of them online, one who killed herself, and I dedicated my website troublewaits to her, and the other is New Zealand, we've never met but have been online friends for 6 years, and we're tight. That's 2 out of hundreds of people I'm familiar with in cyberspace. And if I do comment on a post that hits close to home, I know for a fact that I will not be understood, which is not to say un-appreciated, just that people who live with ordinary emotions and experiences lack the reference points to put things I share in context. I get polite responses, and that's better than nothing, but it puts the chasm in bold relief -- oh, they don't get it, so they're going to say something safe and warm. I befriend Loneliness, it's so tangible I expect it to rent out my room someday, but nothing beats community, and I feel that when I come here, that I'm part of this world. Welp, I don't mean to scare you, let me know if I do.

Utah Savage said...

Gwendolyn, thank you for letting me know this strikes a chord for you.

Writesafely, this is the very best comment I've ever read. I want to post it since it deserves to be read, because it's so powerful and true. One of the writers in my little circle of bloggers killed herself a year ago this last Xmas eve. She too was bipolar, a poet, a great photographer and in love with a man who didn't get it, didn't deserve her, couldn't respond to her pain and need with anything but rejection.

You truly do get me. That's worth everything to me--to be understood and appreciated for laying myself bare "like a patient etherized upon a table." Many people look away in embarrassment. I can't begin to tell you how much I appreciate this comment. If you could see the tears dropping off my cheeks, sliding down my face, you would know how much this means to me.

Anonymous said...

Of course the comment is yours to do as you wish, just call me flawedplan, and put the word "in" between "is" and "New Zealand" okay?

I believe we are bonding my dear. I want to read the book you entered into the contest. Is that possible? I can send postage if it's in hard copy. Otherwise, link me!

And I want you to spend some time reading my stuff from the pre-blog times. Here's a link to my collection, set up by a third party:

I'm Robin Plan, pictured next to the late biographer of Anne Sexton. I read her book in a parallel universe, I wanted Anne Sexton to be a good person, a guru or healing mother, and she wasn't, she was an awful, irresponsible handful and I read about her with disbelief and sour, bitter judgment. I'm over that now and *allow* Anne to be Anne in all her impossible dysfunction. There's 1 benefit to growing older.

Dominick said...

You do paint pictures very well with words. I saw you in my mind's eye making a bee line out of that theatre.

PENolan said...

I'm just glad you didn't get hurt in the movie theater.

As for this post of yours - you know I'm always wrapped in my own bullshit like a shawl, but I've been wondering if romantic love relationships force us to look inward. Some of us, anyway.


Anonymous said...

Here are 51 browsers showing the Ellavon homepage. What are you getting when you log on?

Dominick said...

Hey Peggy, you forgot to tell us if the movie was any good. lol. Not that I would go see a movie like that. I like the stuff on IFC and The Sundance Channel.

Utah Savage said...

Dominick, Crazy Heart is up for three Oscars. It's so good it might as well be the real deal since I reacted so strongly to it.

Nicks comment was that it's territory that's been done enough. But for the genre it's very good. Musicians lives are so often fucked up and addicted to one thing or another and their families are also victims of their demons. Much like artists of all stripes. Creative types can be very difficult. I know. I am one.

Utah Savage said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
mstrburton said...

Oh I remember too!Yay for me.
Why do I feel like the forgotten one?
I remember being a TEENAGER and going to My dads gig in Park City.
I remember that Peggy drove me because Tom had an early sound check.
I remember watching Tom drink from the bottle of Jack Daniels on stage(rock and roll mama).
I remember watching Tom kick in the bathroom door because he had to pee and someone was taking to long.
I remember getting the band stoned at the break because I had the california weed, better than Peggys(utah Savage?)Hey dude it's Toms son!
I remember driving Peggy home through the twisty Emigration canyon road because she was too hammered to drive.
I remember being scolded for splashing the toilet seat at the club(not).
I remember the sound her urine made on the side of the road splashing all over her shoes.
I was so buzzed I just guessed on the corners.
I remember Peggy insisting we smoke dope before bed.
Before she took her sleeping pill.Before Tom got home.Our little secret.
I listened to her tapes. I shouldn't have.

My son is One years old born feb.15th the day of the post(blog?).His name is Apollo.

I'm an electric bass player, and I'm drinking right now, and I'm dead flat ass broke.

So fuck it.

Utah Savage said...

Mstrburton, congratulations on the birth of your son. Tom will be delighted to have a grandson. I hope he's a better grandfather than he was a father.

I'm sorry for my sloppy behavior with you. Do you remember how old you were when we had that stressful ride down the canyon when I pissed on my shoes and forced you to smoke pot with me? Did you have a driver's license?

Have you seen Crazy Heart?

I'm pretty much broke too.

You've never been forgotten. But it seems to me that I knew you as a baby and then as a teenager. So when you came for winter visits you were you're own person, might even have a friend with you. And you always brought your own pot.

You got the musical genes. I hope you keep playing. You are a monster talent. So is your mother. I hope she's well. How's Tom?

no_slappz said...

you wrote:

"And in truth, I was much too crazy to really work out the other problems in our life together. I knew the root cause of my craziness, but Tom didn't want to hear about it, wanted me to get over it and move on without having to talk about it and the way the present reminded me of the past."

Since you dropped the preceding sentences into your post, you really should reveal something about the "root of your craziness."

Without a few details, there is no way understand your conflict.

no_slappz said...


Crazy Heart is a touching movie.

Utah Savage said...

I had been sexually abused by my dad when I was 6,7,8,9,10 and I was bipolar.