This House is Crowded

DaGoddess @ 06:09

This house, meaning my head. My mental house is crowded. Not necessarily a bad thing, but it’s the sort of thing that weighs heavily on my hear for many reasons. Crowded with emotion.

I’ve been listening to a lot of Crowded House lately only partly because Intriguer is still too many days away from its US release and the tour and I’ve been a bit obsessive about listening to whatever bits and pieces I can find. Another reason I’ve been listening a lot lately is because it takes me to another place and another time and another headspace.

Thinking too much about lyrics, feeling too deeply the rhythms, losing myself in the harmonies, and suddenly I’m sitting in Georgia at Willy’s house and seeing (I think it was) either Acoustic Guitar Magazine or Vintage Guitar Magazine on the table. I’d been talking with Rob about some of my favorite guitarists and Neil Finn was on that list. Rob said if he didn’t recognize the name, the guy must not be very good. Despite me rattling off every Split Enz and Crowded House tune I could think of, Rob wasn’t convinced that this guy could have ever been known by anyone but a few aging female fans. However, sitting there, on Willy’s table, was a magazine and Finn’s name was there in print.

“Ha! See? There you go, Rob! Neil Finn.”

He shrugged and walked away. I figured it was the end of the conversation. But he surprised me. At some point over the next day or so, Rob did a little Googling and said he liked what he heard, especially a couple solo Finn tunes. It was nice to hear someone like Rob confirm what I already knew, not that it was necessary. Just nice. And it was typical of Rob. Just when you thought he would forget something, he’d surprise you.

Recently, I gave a copy of Recurring Dream to a friend. We’d been talking on the phone one evening and he mentioned someone we knew had been rather nasty to him and he was at a loss as to how to deal with the situation. And then there came the comment that more shit was coming down on him than he thought he could handle with a couple of other people. I said, “you could always say ‘I don’t pretend to know what you want, but I offer love.'” He thought that was brilliant, asked me to repeat it so he could write it down, and then I told him they weren’t my words but rather words from Neil Finn. They were also words I felt rather deeply were the sort that would stop just about anyone in their tracks. And they are. I’ve used them myself. At the very least, they cause whoever you’re talking with to ask what the hell you mean.

Sophocles once said, “One word frees us of all the weight and pain of life; that word is love.”

The more my friend and I talked, the more I realized how much he’d probably like the CD and so I bundled it up and handed it to him the next time we got together. He’s listened to it many times now. We listened to it together a couple nights ago as we sat and talked for hours.

It wasn’t until this morning though that it dawned on me how much Rob and my other friend are alike. They both bear emotional scars that run quite deep. The beauty and the tragedy of their lives simmer near the surface and create this tantalizing mixture of strength and vulnerability that draws people toward them. There is nothing simple about either man even though it might seem otherwise. Just as there is nothing simple about a Crowded House song…even though it might seem otherwise.

Layers upon layers of texture and meaning. Words that paint pictures of people and places that seem familiar. Melodies that haunt you. Harmonies that twist and tangle around your heart. Rhythms that build and then ease tension. Complicated simplicity. Simple complexity. Either and/or both. From the songs and from my friends themselves. You don’t mind the complexity because the sounds, the feelings are so intoxicating.

So I sit here attempting to work, but I lose myself in music that fills my heart and soul with happiness as well as sadness. I have great memories of Rob, but miss him terribly. I have another great friend who is a bright, shining light in my life, but whose deep pain is slowly surfacing as he deals with some very big things in his life. In my mind’s eye, I see their similarities and I pray for both…for Rob to be at peace and for my other friend to find some peace, but without having to die to find it.

All of these thoughts fly through my head like something from a fevered dream. Like “Pineapple Head”.

I need to have fewer things clutch at my heart this week, but they won’t. I don’t think it’s coincidence that one friend is going through hell right now when the next few days become increasingly Rob-centric. It’s been four years this week, you know, since Rob left us. Four years of missing him. Four years of growth and insight into things I didn’t understand for a very long time. Things that help me see another friend’s pain and my growing desire to do something to help, even if all I can do is listen and hold a hand, give a hug, or hand over a CD of music that…I don’t know…lets him get lost in something else for a bit. But even though I do this, I see how alike they are and it hurts more to feel that connection.

Maybe some things just keep coming back at you because they’re meant to remind you of…a person, a place, a time, or of life’s fragility. I’m not sure what it is or why it is…it just is.

“I don’t pretend to know what you want, but I offer love.” Indeed.

Also, KPete has a tribute to Rob posted.


  1. Just… :hug: And maybe another… :hug:

    Comment by Pam — 2010/06/21 @ 07:41

  2. :hug:

    Thank you!

    Comment by DaGoddess — 2010/06/21 @ 16:50

  3. If you like acoustic guitar google my buddy Al Petteway. Completely different type of music from this – but he is something of an acoustic guitar God, and a damn fine man to boot.

    Comment by patti — 2010/06/21 @ 17:49

  4. I’ll check him out, Patti! Thank you.

    Comment by DaGoddess — 2010/06/21 @ 17:59

  5. Nice…

    Being able to listen is enough. Trust me.

    BTW did you know that Neil Finn is from my small town of Te Awamutu here in New Zealand. He and brother Tim played a small gig here in the town sports hall a few weeks back, lots of old school split enz and some crowded house too, but the new stuff is sounding pretty awesome too. :thumbs: :thumbs:

    Comment by KPete — 2010/06/21 @ 18:19

  6. […] he was alone in sensing a presence and to hear it was someone I knew. Max is also the same person who reminded me in an odd way of […]

    Pingback by DaGoddess.com » Year Five — 2011/06/26 @ 12:07

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