oh, hi.

i'm glad you could make it.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

some things you might like.

Last week in St. Louis we met some new friends.  That's what you call fellow bands and venues these days to keep from seeming too anal and/or professional about the work that you're doing as a modern musician.  Also, some of them really were our friends previous to the trip, and some were after.  

I would like to recognize this band particularly, because I thought they were nice and they're music was cool.  So were their skinny jeans and hairstyles: Pet Lions.  They also had good teeth and are from Chicago.

I want to tell you about another fine lady and her band, Caitlin and the South Paws, but I don't have any web address for them right now.  They are so, so new.  So maybe it's important for you to just remember the name and occasional search for it to see if you can find it.  It'll be like a game.  And if you forget, I'm always right here for you to ask.  Or just re-read this post.

Other things happening with mallory graham and her invisible friends?  We got a new drummer.  His name is Brock and he's better looking than most of us and fits in like a worm in dirt.  He doesn't really look like a worm, though, and we also like that about him.

The only other thing you should probably know is that my dog got very, very fat while I was away and I must now leave this post to go and walk her for the millionth time so she can eventually fit in the door again.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Trading My Freedom for Cigarettes...

...to quote myself.  Yeah, I went there.  Or, in this specific case, trading my freedom for song lyrics.

Whether it's the curse of the artist or the narcissism of the person-- I'm not sure, yet.  But I've caught myself in a constant state of trade-- taking life's hand crafted moments, and prodding them right then into lyrical form.  Maybe that seems like a good, natural thing for a songwriter.  Maybe it is.  But, frankly, I feel cheap.  Like I'm sticking my finger on the top of an it-took-me-all-day-to-make-this homemade cake before anyone had the chance to finish singing happy birthday.  Like lighting the post cigarette during the orgasm.  I'm digesting the moments before I've had a chance to live the moments.  It seems unfair to life's few finest.  It seems unfair to me.  And to anyone who listens to me.

Okay, a for-instance:  I spent the better part of my 40 hour work week nannying three very charming, well behaved kids.  Not a bad gig by any stretch, but seeing as I am not accustomed to the consistent presence of children (10 hours stretches), there was an afternoon where I was feeling a little overwhelmed.  So, while we spent a couple hours swimming, I took that necessary moment, headed to the deep end, and plunged myself to the bottom for a minute of quiet.*  It's a weird place, being underwater.  Quiet.  Timeless.  Bright.  Comfortable.  And I had this thought-- what if this is what happens after death?  Except with breathing?

And in this 15 seconds of seamless serenity, I picked it apart.  Floating underwater in the deep end of a pool in Nashville, where I had for-- just a second-- touched eternity and fearlessness, I rattled my brain with, "Now if I just replace 'death' with 'in love,' this could be a real punch of a line..."

And then, in the process of trying to craft this song, I forgot that,
1.) I was enjoying a moment of thought and peace;
2.) Not everything has to be a scheme for songs, and;
3.) I was still underwater and therefore still not breathing.

And now, to throw a little meta into it, when I discovered this revelation of cashing in present moments for perpetual songwriting at 1AM last night, it took me only a matter or seconds to flip on the bedside lamp and scrawl on the back of a wedding invitation a couple of words so that I could remember to blog it today.

Maybe I'm a hopeless case.

Maybe someday it'll pay off.  Maybe someday what I write will matter to you in your moment, since I can't appreciate it in my own.  Maybe my lack of writing restraint is okay.

For me, too.

*please note that all children were secured, happy, and still supervised during this time.  


Saturday, July 16, 2011

sometimes kids say things. sometimes i do.

Toska:  (Russian, coined by Vladimir Nabokov) No single word in English renders all the shades of toska. At its deepest and most painful, it is a sensation of great spiritual anguish, often without any specific cause. At less morbid levels it is a dull ache of the soul, a longing with nothing to long for, a sick pining, a vague restlessness, mental throes, yearning. In particular cases it may be the desire for somebody of something specific, nostalgia, love-sickness. At the lowest level it grades into ennui, boredom.

It always happens at a moment I least expect it, and I can never pinpoint when it started.  Except I think I believe now that I could have been born with it, thanks to a 2-year-old.  But it's good to know there's a word out there to help dispel it-- or at least describe it.  In that completely indescribable sort of way.

Born with it?  Because of this:  sometimes very respectable and rational human beings ask me-- even pay me!-- to watch over their children.  They do so with the understanding that I now have influence over these kids' lives.  Willingly.  But that's not the only unbelievable part.  I "have" this 2-year-old two to four times a week that is precious and charming and blue-eyed and probably everything I wasn't as a 2-year-old.  She's ideal.  Except when I first started nannying her, she would occasionally have these strange bursts-- maybe every other week-- also known as "The Rage."  

"The Rage"  isn't a particularly good way to describe it either, though.  Sometimes there are fists, but mostly it's just a scream/cry-- a weird desperation that is not remedied by any amount of soothing words or lollipops.  I started asking her questions during these moments, hoping to get to the root of the problem.  And then one day, together, we finally saw each other eye-to-eye.  

We were driving to go pick up her older brother.  I had reached my darkest moments earlier that afternoon in true artist form and continued to my job in true needing-to-still-comply-with-social-norms-and-the-rules-of-getting-and-keeping-a-regular-income form.   The little one was completely fine-- as fine as bubbles and Cheerios.  But as we proceeded to our next destination, The Rage started.  It was sudden, loud, and terrifying.  So I started asking questions:

"Helen*, are you thirsty?!"


"Helen, are you hurt?!"


"Helen, do you miss your mom?!"


Me, exasperated, needing someone to relate: "Helen, is the sadness of the world just too great for us?"

"Yes, Miss Mallory, it is!"

Ah.  Toska.  Helen and I have seen things much clearer since then.  And The Rage hasn't occurred since.  Sometimes just a quiet murmur in the backseat while we're driving up the interstate.  

And I say, "Toska."  

And she answers quietly, "Okay."

We got this one.

*name has been changed for the usual reasons and also so I can stay employed.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

what's been happening.

i've been a blogging failure last month.  but it's for good reason.  i know i usually reserve this space for all my fleeting thoughts and general insecurities, but i thought maybe an explanation was necessary.  especially for my one very dedicated follower (thanks, Lace-Face... oh, and Mom).  here you go-- you're in the loop.

as of one month ago, i went from having one baby project to two toddler projects.  mallory graham and her invisible friends is going through a transitional phase-- new members (although you can't see them) are about to be trading in, new recordings are about to be made (end of july), touring in St. Louis is scheduled for september, show dates are being arranged in Asheville for october, and of course the constant of songwriting and planning for the next record (i can't give you the name, yet.  it's kind of an invisible secret).  you can still keep updated on those show dates, etc. at www.reverbnation.com/mallorygrahamandherinvisiblefriends 

of course, i wouldn't even mind if you liked me on facebook while i'm working so hard to bring you delicious jams www.facebook.com/mallorygrahamandherinvisiblefriends.  thanks to bandmate Mike Shannon so delicately prostituting himself out to facebook, we have earned almost 200 fans in one month.  join the movement (or some other motivational phrase).

i'm growing out a teeny tiny hipster ponytail.  also, i have been cutting off jeans and wearing my woody allen-esque glasses more often to appear more aloof and therefore more appealing as a musician.  for you.

ah, yes.  and project #2.  i have teamed up with current bandmate Scott Tyler (http://scotttyler.tumblr.com/) to form a sad-song-singing, chord-organ-and-potentially-bicycle-wheel-playing duo called The Rough & Tumble (you can decide who is who).  we purchased a toy piano yesterday.  we've been writing for weeks.  we have recording dates and shows approaching. we've had photo and video shoots.  busy.  more to come.  you can go to our website if you want, but you won't find much yet.  www.reverbnation.com/theroughtumble. don't worry, i'll keep you updated.

okay, aside from various dirty laundry and walking my dog, you're filled in.  i'll do better this time.  probably.  mostly.  i think.

Sunday, May 29, 2011


sometimes i like to sit in my living room and utilize the weird things my webcam can do in order to make a profound statement of current being.  Hence, title of blog, followed by picture.  then, explanation following so that everyone knows that i know how silly what i just posted was.  maybe it's irony?  meta-blogging?  maybe it's just that i want to believe the picture-worth-thousand-words business so that i can free my brain of it's thousand words with only a quarter the effort. 

it's not working. 

Nashville.   it's not working.  i need to find a better title.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

just for fun. sort of.

***I would now like to clarify-- since I have evidently upset my mother (possibly the only person who reads this) into thinking that any of these comics are a direct representation of my feelings-- that none of the above reflect my true outlook in life.  They are only another show'n'tell of other people and their perception and feelings on invisible friends.  Geez, mom...

Saturday, May 7, 2011

tell no one

i am moments away from a pot of coffee and a tiny book that has been hidden under the far left couch cushion for days.  i'm well aware of the freedom to read whatever i want in this country, but it's not the government i'm worried about.  it's you. 

three days ago a friend gave me a book with a post-it stuck in the front with this notice:

"Mallory- This is for you. 
Read it in the most quiet,
most secret, most hidden
place in your house.
Tell no one.
Be glad and confident."

the book has since been in the front of my mind without having read the first line.  we know the history of sacred literature, of banned books, of notes passed with "for stacey's eyes only" scrawled on the front.  with all of the literary liberty we can ask for, we have constructed a system of censorship. 

sometimes it's for our own protection.  the, "Ew, you like that stuff?" still rings in my head from when i was spotted still reading the Babysitter's Club in eighth grade.  what we read (and watch), and therefore what we recommend, is still a prominent definition of who we are.  i don't have enough fingers to account for how many times i've been caught with a guilty pleasure piece of media and quickly, entirely unprompted, spat out, "oh, my friend is making me read it."  or, for my own protection, the number of books i've read that i would never tell my mother to read because it would break her heart.  because, for some reason, she would connect the ideas in that book to what her daughter really thinks.  a recommedation is an endorsement.

but then there's this strange other side.  the sacred censorship.  it's the recommendation because you are the worthy recipient.  because this book has had a profound impact on the reader and, like a good secret, needed someone who could relate and relive what the reader has found.  it's the difference in telling a room of acquaintances your favorite book and telling that one worthy recipient that what you have found out was information meant for only them, and you are amazed it has taken the universe so long to find them.  my thoughts on this were confirmed yesterday when my non-recommended book spoke it back to me:

"I hid behind a mound of earth that had been dug up to make a grave for some old books, literature was the only religion her father practiced, when a book fell on the floor he kissed it, when he was done with a book he tried to give it away to someone who would love it, and if he couldn't find a worthy recipient, he buried it" 
 -- Jonathan Safran Foer, Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close

it's a strange love of a book that we believe we would rather have dead than to belong to the wrong person.  it's a sacred text that we feel self conscious evangelizing to the masses, but that we believe that one day, one pure-of-heart may come and know the goodness and peace that the text gave to us and will also give to them. 

it's enough weight to make me more aware of the words put down on a page or in a song-- that they should perhaps contain something more than juicy fiction and a self-imposed deadline.

the coffee is done.