Grey Revell

Of Red Giants and Skip James

I remember a story about how a local shop owner told Skip James to stop singing outside his store. The spectral quality of his voice was freaking out the customers. What is it about certain people that makes folks uncomfortable, and forces them to retreat or resort to less savory ways of keeping the ghosts at bay? What is it about some individuals that compels people to slink back into their most tribal instincts, and hold the truth at arms length?

Sometimes it feels like some of us are karma bound to live lives on the periphery, forever looking into the lit windows from outside, listening to the laughs around the fires, while we stamp our feet, to keep out the cold. With frosted breath, we watch and listen, catching the details lost in the din and the comfort. If it's someone's destiny to tell the tales, doesn't it stand to reason that the majority of that life will be spent on the edges?

That being said, it may not make it easier to the poor bastard who's tapped to be the sooth-sayer, the bard, the shaman. At least in some cultures, these people were given their place, and even some merit. But here, in 21st Century Western Wonderland, they're more likely sweeping floors in a Subway Sandwich shop, or sleeping in a weekly motel. 

What happens to a soul consigned to the borderlands? What happens to a heart not watered by empathy, and the fellowship of it's own? Does it grow stronger with every injury? Does the resolve crystallize like coal underground, into a diamond, solitary and beautiful? Or does it gradually collapse, brilliantly maybe, from a flaming star to a red giant, and finally into the cold void of a black hole? 

Perhaps it sings it's song, on dusty street corners, until the shop keeper shoos them away. Scares the customers. 

- GR

Charlotte, September 2018





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