Tuesday, April 29, 2014

The bottom line

"Accidents and inspiration lead you to your destination."

The bottom line is that there is no bottom line.

I'm not sure how many times I am going to need to teach myself that lesson.

In context, I am referring to trying to analyze and figure out what bead customers want and will buy.

It's not as though I haven't done a score of shows where I've proved over and over that if beaded keys sell really well at one, and I go home and make a bunch more, beaded keys will languish on my table at the next show.

So, the obvious answer is to make what you love and, even if the money doesn't follow, you'll have made what you love.

Apparently I'm a bit daft because this is a brick wall that I continue to hit my head against.

On the bright side, I've been selling a lot of beads on Facebook at Lampwork Beads For Sale and Lampwork Bead Market. You have to be a member to participate, so if you are interested, visit the page and send a request to join and someone will almost immediately approve you.

You can see lots of pretty beads for auction and for sale and you can hang out with fellow bead lovers and feed your addiction.

I spend a lot of time in those Facebook groups now, probably because I'm being intermittently reinforced. At this time I can have up to three items for sale or auction, each of which is to be posted for at least 24 hours, unless someone opts for the Buy-it-Now (BIN) option. Then you can list something to replace the sold item.

So, some days I have three items that are gathering virtual moss. Likes are nice but not really helpful, comments are the next best thing to bids because they bump your item to the top of the list. Recently, at the end of a very long 24 hours without traction, one of my auctions ended (without a sale), I listed a new item and 37 seconds later I had a BIN. That's also a shot in the arm.

Sometimes though I'll have a whole series of BINs. As fast as one item sells and I list another, it sells. A few of those and I start feeling overwhelmed. I can always slow things down with a 24-hour auction without a BIN, but usually I just list something expensive that is less of an impulse-provoker. Usually that works. Sometimes I get surprised.

Yesterday I spend time taking apart all the sets in my show trays. Most of them were 17 beads, including 9 of the main design and 8 coordinating accent beads. I pulled 6 beads out of each set, and my new 11-bead sets are priced to sell and doing well. Since these are mostly simple frit beads, I'm starting the auctions at $11 with a BIN price of $16.

It's a good deal for me because I've had those beads for a while and I don't have a show planned until the end of July. It's a good deal for the customer, especially those who are buying several sets and leveraging shipping.

And with the 6 beads I took out of each set, I've been stringing orphan pair lots, some to go up on eBay and some for my online trunk show.

Oh yes, my online trunk show. It's this weekend, May 3-4, at Glass Open Market. You have to join that page too. For two days, actually starting on May 2 at 10 pm CDT, I have the page exclusively and I get to have a rolling 20 items listed. As items sell, I will replace them, and if they don't sell within 12 hours I will replace them.

I'm planning to have a lot of variety, my new smaller sets, beaded keys, reactive stacked dot beads, floral beads, discounted focals, orphan sets, and whatever else I conjure up from my trays and boxes. I may even scavenge my Etsy shop, deactivating items and listing them in the trunk show. If they don't sell, I'll reactivate them on Etsy.

I have a lot of deadlines looming. I finally finished and turned in my draft story about Glass Sorbet for Glass Bead Evolution magazine. I have two more paragraphs to write and add and I've committed to have that in on Friday.

Tomorrow is the deadline to register for ISGB Gathering before the rates go up. It's also the deadline for one of the juried exhibits, Fired Up! – A Personal Interpretation of Inner Light. I've planned all along to enter, I just need to wire some pendants and take some photos and pay the $25 fee, but as I sit here, I'm contemplating blowing it off. I have a gut feeling that my work won't be accepted. It's not novel enough, or complex enough, or just plain brilliant enough.

Then again it is just $25 and a few photos and there's always that long-shot chance.

Saturday is another deadline, the Bead Soup Blog Hop Reveal. I have one piece done, using both the required components, the focal and the clasp. I'm pleased enough with how it turned out. I still would like to make one more piece with the other beads I got, Well, there's still tonight. And Wednesday, Thursday, and most of Friday, since I'll photograph whatever I've got and post it here at midnight on Friday. [April 30 update - The BSBH Reveal is postponed for a week. Yay. More time to make another piece.]

Between now and then, I have my second-to-last Digital Photography class on Thursday, and all my homework for that yet to be done, 40 photos with a monochromatic theme. I have a volunteer shift at Sugar Land Animal Services tomorrow morning. And this is the last week of my online Colgate class, The Advent of the Atom Bomb. I finished the lecture videos today, I have two films to watch and I want to post some thoughtful comment in the last weekly discussion.

There's also a Colgate classmate doing a book reading on Thursday night, but I'm having to cheer-lead myself to go and it's not working very well. I don't know the author, but she's a friend of a friend, so maybe I'll suck it up and go.

Not everything worth having is going to be easy.

I said that to Neil the other night. We were driving home from dinner and somehow the conversation veered to how much less stressful some aspects of life are now than they were in our dating days. There were so many balls to juggle then, jobs, kids in high school, homes 25 miles apart. We navigated those complexities for 4 years and change and it really is so much nicer to be living together, even if we're both always going 100 miles per hour in different directions.

But we did what we had to do to make it work, because it was important. And what I started to say was, Nothing worth having is going to be easy. But as I started to say that, I reflexively thought about how some things worth having really aren't all that hard. Sometimes it's just a matter of luck and timing, sometimes things just fall into place easily.

But not everything, maybe not even most things. Certainly not everything.

"You could be this man, he's got it all worked out
To the nth degree, no fears, no doubts
He'll retire at thirty to his big-ass house next to the putting green
Now he's got a picture in his head of the perfect wife
Their perfect children, their perfect life
Nothing wrong with that, coming home each night to his cul-de-sac of dreams

Funny now how it all went by so fast
One day he's looking over his shoulder at the past
When everybody had to go, had to be, had to get somewhere
How did he forget about what got him there

Now you could be this woman, she's the CEO
She's got her power suits and her IPOs
She punched a hole in the ceiling years ago, and she hasn't pulled back since
Now there's a gardener for the flowers, a cook for the meals
A maid for the laundry, an accountant for the bills
A walker for the dog and a trainer when she feels the need to lose an inch

Funny now how it all went by so fast
One day she's looking over her shoulder at the past
When everybody had to go, had to be, had to get somewhere
Somehow she forgot about what got her there

Accidents and inspiration lead you to your destination

Or you could be the one who takes the long way home
Roll down your window, turn off your phone
See your life as a gift from the great unknown
And your task is to receive it
Tell your kid a story, hold your lover tight
Make a joyful noise, swim naked at night
Read a poem a day, call in well sometimes
And laugh when they believe it

Funny now how it all goes by so fast
One day I'm looking over my shoulder at the past
Now everybody's got to go, got to be, got to get somewhere
Baby don't forget about
You really shouldn't forget about
Baby, don't forget about
What got you there
I think it's what got you there
Yeah, it's really what got you there
You know what got you there
Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah."

(Mary Chapin Carpenter)

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

A hard black rain

"I heard the sound of a thunder that roared out a warning, I heard the roar of a wave that could drown the whole world."

Lately, I'm having a hard time doing what I need to do and not doing what I don't need to do.

For example, I'm putting off writing a magazine article I've committed to write, and I'm making beads, although I have plenty of beads already made that aren't selling nearly as fast as I'm making more.

Some of the things I don't feel like doing lately include wearing makeup, wearing jewelry wearing a bra, wearing anything besides soft pants and a tank top. I'm kind of into looking like a slut, around the house at least.

I don't feel like going to the grocery store. We're down to the last can of cat food, so I won't be able to put it off very much longer.

Things I do feel like doing include writing this blog, taking photos for my digital photography class, and keeping up with my online class on the advent of the atomic bomb.

I don't feel much like making anything with my beads, which is bad because I have two deadlines coming up, one for an ISGB juried pendant show, which I need to make six pendants to enter, and finishing my bead soup blog hop project. I have a necklace using the focal and clasp about two-thirds strung, but I can't decide how I want to finish it.

I do feel like buying beads made my other bead makers. In fact, I've been a little trigger-finger happy with the bids and the buy-it-nows. I feel like I've been a bad girl, but my artist bead collection grows ever more amazing. Neil's dad bought me a little file cabinet from the Container Store and I fitted it out with trays and liners with compartments from Jemco for the new beads.

I got the ice-blue one.

Today I was sad to read that this week is the penultimate week for my Colgate University online atomic-bomb class. It's so interesting, I want it to go on forever.

Oh, some of the political and historical mission details have gotten a little bit repetitive and dull, but I can't seem to get enough of the science and the ethics.

Some of the films we've watched recently include Trinity and Beyond: The Atomic Bomb Movie, a 1995 documentary film narrated by William Shatner, and the 1996 documentary Hiroshima - Why the Bomb Was Dropped, an ABC News special narrated by Peter Jennings.

I had to watch the first one twice. It was too much to take in the first time. It covers almost 20 years of testing of nuclear bombs, especially the megaton fusion bombs which were detonated everywhere from under water to under ground to the atmosphere, launched by rockets. And the most sobering thing about it is that many of the three-hundred-some nuclear bomb tests took place in my lifetime. It was happening during the first ten years of my life and I never knew it.

The second film takes a critical and perhaps controversial look at the reasons the decision was made to drop the first and second bombs, implying that much of the decision was essentially a chain of circumstances that led to the deployment of Little Boy and Fat man, rather than a well-reasoned, thoughtfully considered conclusion.

One of my fellow alumni "classmates" said this.
The bomb did come into play, and there is considerable evidence that decision was driven not by the war on the ground, but by the agenda of those who had spent years developing the bomb. Using the bomb to end the war became the validation and justification of their efforts, and the costs associated with that effort.
And I commented.
Exactly. Thanks Paul.

With Stalin's promise to enter the war against Japan in August, with reasonable concessions regarding Hirohito to unconditional surrender by Japan (that were ultimately made anyway), with military intelligence that American casualties would be a much lower than the numbers retroactively publicized, we had alternatives, at least as argued by Peter Jennings in Hiroshima: Why the Bomb was Dropped.

Nonetheless, the a-bombs were dropped.
The two most recent films we watched were White Light/Black Rain: The Destruction of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, a 2007 HBO documentary, and Barefoot Gen, a Japanese anime series based on Keiji Nakazawa's experiences as a Hiroshima survivor.

White Light/Black Rain features interviews with Japanese survivors of the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombings, as well as American members of the Enola Gay crew. We talked about how the horrors of the a-bomb aftermath are minimized in our culture, as compared to the Nazi atrocities. I said this.
As Peter Jennings reported in Why the Bomb was Dropped, the Smithsonian was forced to whitewash its exhibit on the 50th anniversary of the a-bombs dropped on Japan, due to protests by veterans groups, etc. We don't have commemorative museums for Hiroshima and Nagasaki because we were the perpetrators of those annihilations.

If there is anything that can be said in our defense, these were new weapons, tested once. We knew they were big. I'm pretty sure we didn't know the entire horrific extent of all the consequences, including long- term radiation effects, hereditary implications, and to me perhaps saddest of all, the shame the survivors feel and the way they have been stigmatized.

Also shocking in White Light/Black Rain, is how few of the Japanese citizens, shown in the first interviews of the movie, associated the date 1945 with anything historically significant.
And rather than restate them, here are my copied-and-pasted thoughts on Barefoot Gen.
I finally watched Barefoot Gen last night (while the rest of the family colored Easter eggs).

In some ways, growing up with cartoon violence, where characters are crushed or shot or blown up, and are fine two minutes later, made me a little numb to the anime version, although I did shed a few tears at the end.

One thing that struck me was how quickly the characters seemed to bounce back from profound tragedy. Grief was brief and then life went on, in the new normal. For the children, it is more understandable, but still unrealistic. It disturbed me that Gen replaced Shimji with a new "brother" so effortlessly.

Even more disconcerting was how quickly the mother seemed to accept what happened to her family and her world, and moved forward with life. She still had a child to care for, and maybe stoicism was more part of the Japanese culture than our culture today of "first world problems" and "FML" whining.

It's interesting, but not surprising, that White Light/Black Rain used animation and artwork to depict the brutal human suffering in the aftermath of the bombings. Camcorders and cell phones with video capabilities were not around then, yet we have film of the Nazi death camps and footage must exist of Hiroshima and Nagasaki shortly after the bombings.

I'm pretty sure that seeing actual footage of the agonies depicted, the burns, the blindness, the amputations, the starving, homeless orphans, would have been so terribly disturbing that it would have deterred people from watching. Even with the violence in entertainment media today, we know that the blood is ketchup, the explosions are special effects, and the good guys always win in the end.
(Yes, I actually referenced "FML" in my "scholarly" contribution to the class.)

For some reason we've departed from the syllabus, which lists Dr. Strangelove as our next movie. But I think I'll watch it anyway, since I didn't get it the first time I saw it, which was when I was a student at Colgate. Funny.

"Oh, where have you been my blue-eyed son?
And where have you been my darling young one?
I've stumbled on the side of twelve misty mountains
I've stepped in the middle of seven sad forests
I've walked and I've crawled on six crooked highways
I've been out in front of a dozen dead oceans
I've been ten thousand miles in the mouth of a graveyard
And it's a hard, it's a hard, it's a hard, and it's a hard
It's a hard rain's a-gonna fall

Oh, what did you see my blue eyed son?
And what did you see my darling young one?
I saw a newborn baby with wild wolves all around it
I saw a highway of diamonds with nobody on it
I saw a black branch with blood that kept dripping
I saw a room full of men with their hammers a-bleeding
I saw a white ladder all covered with water
I saw ten thousand talkers whose tongues were all broken
I saw guns and sharp swords in the hands of young children
And it's a hard, it's a hard, it's a hard, and it's a hard
It's a hard rain's a-gonna fall

And what did you hear my blue-eyed son?
And what did you hear my darling young one?
I heard the sound of a thunder that roared out a warning
I heard the roar of a wave that could drown the whole world
I heard one hundred drummers whose hands were a-blazing
I heard ten thousand whispering and nobody listening
I heard one person starve, I heard many people laughing
I heard the song of a poet who died in the gutter
I heard the sound of a clown who cried in the alley
I heard the sound of one person who cried he was human
And it's a hard, it's a hard, it's a hard, it's a hard
And it's a hard rain's a-gonna fall

And who did you meet my blue-eyed son?
Yes and who did you meet my darling young one?
I met a young child beside a dead pony
I met a white man who walked a black dog
I met a young woman whose body was burning
I met a young girl, she gave me a rainbow
I met one man who was wounded in love
I met another man who was wounded in hatred
And it's a hard, it's a hard, it's a hard, it's a hard
And it's a hard rain's a-gonna fall

And what'll you do now my blue-eyed son?
And what'll you do now my darling young one?
I'm going back out 'fore the rain starts a-falling
I'll walk to the depths of the deepest black forest
Where the people are a many and their hands are all empty
Where the pellets of poison are flooding their waters
Where the home in the valley meets the damp dirty prison
And the executioner's face is always well hidden
Where hunger is ugly, where souls are forgotten
Where black is the color, where none is the number
And I'll tell and show it and think it and breathe it
And reflect from the mountain so all souls can see it
And I'll stand on the ocean until I start sinking
But I'll know my song well before I start singing
And it's a hard, it's a hard, it's a hard, and it's a hard
It's a hard rain's a-gonna fall."

(Robert "Bob Dylan" Zimmerman)

Friday, April 18, 2014

Don't let go

"I never give you my pillow, I only send you my invitations, and in the middle of the celebrations, I break down."

Today I have another glass-gone-wrong story for you.

There is an Italian glass color (#082) called Lavender Blue. Lavender glass always color-shifts, depending on the light, fluorescent or incandescent. Sometimes it looks more blue and sometimes more pink.

A few years ago, there was an odd batch of this glass that came out with an amber cast and was nicknamed Amber Rose. There were later odd batches, a rosier pink version and a lighter pink version.

I had some of those second-generation odd batches in my stash. I never had any of the original Amber Rose.

Quickie iPhone photo of my glass, taken in natural light on an overcast day.

Photo of the original lifted from a sold item on Etsy. It appears to be taken in studio light, so not a fair comparison, but it's all I've got. The number on the tag is 591082-A.

There is other glass available in this colorway (Czech, Lauscha, Messy Color) that is just as nice in my opinion, but people still pine for Amber Rose. I decided to sell mine, in the Lampwork Etc. Garage Sale.

The rosy pink batch sold quickly and the buyer was thrilled with it. The lighter pink batch drew some interest but no committed buyers. Then someone who shall be called Destiny (not her real name) asked if I would take a 20 percent lower price thank I was asking, and I agreed, glad to see it go.

I shipped it off. I made one fatal mistake. I didn't relabel the glass, which still bore the original color number.

Yesterday I got this message.
Liz, I did not receive Amber Rose. You sent me Dark Lavender Blue which I can purchase for $22 at Mountain Art Glass. Where is my Amber Rose?
I replied as follows.
Hi Destiny - I bought it as Light Amber Rose. It's a different shade than both the 082 Lavender Blue and the 083 Dark Lavender Blue that I have.

I sold some to [a well-known bead maker] a while back and she seemed happy with it.

But if you're not happy with it, I will refund your money.

I was miffed to get this in return.
But how can you say that it is Amber Rose when the tags so clearly say otherwise? Why didn't you just say that it is Dark Lavender Blue? I really feel ripped off, which I have never experienced on LE.
That got my back up. I usually don't show my derriere but I was upset.
Destiny - I already said I'd refund your money. I also said that I bought it myself as Light Amber Rose. And the tags say 082-B and I believe Original Amber Rose was 082-A. It never had a separate number that I know of.

I am offended that you are suggesting I "ripped you off". If it isn't what I bought it as, and what I thought it was, then it was a honest mistake that I've already said I'd put right.

This is what she said next.
The tags say 082. And I was expressing how I feel, not that you intentionally did anything to rip me off. I just found that number at [a large glass vendor] for $15 a pound. Yep, I guess I want my money back and I'll get this in the mail by Friday. I'll send you an invoice that includes the shipping I paid. Thanks.
And before I could react, she followed up with this.
So what is the best way to go about this? Not been here before.
Destiny has 70 posts on the forum. I have 4,850. Just saying.

I had to run then, to go to my volunteer shift at the animal shelter. I accidentally left my phone at home, and I felt bummed out about it for the rest of the morning. When I got home I sent this note.
I've issued a refund to you. It would have been sooner but I had to run out to my volunteer shift at the animal shelter and I was so upset about this that I forgot my phone.

I've been a long-time member here, have bought and sold many items in the Garage Sale, and have never been anything but honest or had my integrity called into question.

Don't worry about returning the glass. Make some beads for Beads of Courage or donate it to your local glass group.
And that, it appears, is that, since I've heard nothing further.

Again, bad on me for not soaking off the tags and replacing them with tags that read "Second Generation Pale Amber Rose 082-B."

I'm over it now, or maybe not, since I'm posting about it. But I'm gonna chuck it in the fuck-it bucket and move on. (God, I love saying that.)

I don't care about the glass, the $40, the shipping costs. I care about my reputation.

Speaking of which, this little gem popped up on Facebook yesterday. It was a graphic and wrongly attributed, so I've re-keyed the message. A lot of people must really have time on their hands to sit around making cutesy graphics with messages like this. But apparently not enough time to check their sources. The quote is from Seven Steps for Overcoming Ego’s Hold on You and the author is Wayne Dyer, author of self-help books and speaker on the same topic.
Stop being offended
Let go of your need to win
Let go of your need to be right
Let go of your need to be superior
Let go of your need to have more
Let go of identifying yourself on the basis of your achievements
Let go of your reputation
Now, he had me up until that last notion. He elaborates at some length, with what boils down to this.
Your reputation is not located in you. It resides in the minds of others. Therefore, you have no control over it at all.
Ah, there I disagree. Your reputation is based on your actions. And omissions I suppose. While I agree, for the most part, that "what other people think of me is none of my business," I believe you do have some control over that. Not total control maybe. There are always going to be honest mistakes, like the one I chronicled today.

There will be unintended slights and misunderstandings and misperceptions. You will rub some people the wrong way, just as some people rub you the wrong way, and not everyone will love you. But throw integrity and honesty and kindness out the window and you will have no one but yourself to blame for the destruction of your reputation.

Reputation is not to be confused with character, but reputation follows character. Don't let go of it.

"Once there was a way to get back homeward
Once there was a way to get back home
Sleep pretty darling do not cry
And I will sing a lullaby

Golden slumbers fill your eyes
Smiles awake you when you rise
Sleep pretty darling do not cry
And I will sing a lullaby

Once there was a way to get back homeward
Once there was a way to get back home
Sleep pretty darling do not cry
And I will sing a lullaby

Boy, you're gonna carry that weight
Carry that weight a long time
Boy, you're gonna carry that weight
Carry that weight a long time

I never give you my pillow
I only send you my invitations
And in the middle of the celebrations, I break down

Boy, you're gonna carry that weight
Carry that weight a long time
Boy, you're gonna carry that weight
Carry that weight a long time

Oh yeah, all right
Are you gonna be in my dreams

And in the end, the love you take
Is equal to the love you make."


Friday, April 11, 2014

Finding my Nikon

"And while the future's there for anyone to change, still you know it seems, it would be easier sometimes to change the past."

I've talked a lot about my online class, The Advent of the Atom Bomb. I've barely talked at all about my art school class, Beginning Digital Photography.

That's a lamentable oversight, because I really love my photography class. Despite the fact that my main motivation for taking the class was to learn to take better photos of my beads, and so far, we have not covered macro lenses and I'm not sure we will.

I should have known, being an art class, it would have been less about technical aspects and more about composition, artistry, evoking a mood, playing with light. No matter, I'm enjoying it anyway. My teacher, who happens to be a jewelry maker who "moonlights" teaching photography, is great, very accessible and patient and even inspiring.

So, although I have no intent to become a photo artist, I'm enjoying what I'm learning and having fun with the homework assignments.

Our first assignment was to take pictures illustrating elements of desgin - line, shape, direction, size, texture, scale, repetition, color - to name a few.

For our second assignment, we took photos that demonstrated depth of field.

Positive and negative space were the nexus of our next assignment.

Then we moved on to contrast and color.

That took us to Spring Break and it was an extra week long because my teacher had a conflict. So, our assignment, What I did on my Spring Break, was to take photos every day that said something about our day.

I won't lie. I didn't take pictures on every single day of the twenty-one days. I did take pictures on more days than I didn't, I can say that much.

I got a bit into Vivian Maier style self-portraits. I'm still fascinated with them, and with her work.

Low light photography was our next assignment, including painting with light and ghost images. I hosed this one up because I needed a remote control for my camera (since Neil would not model except under duress) and the first one that I got with Amazon Prime 2-day shipping turned out to be incompatible with my camera. The second one, purchased at Best Buy the day before the assignment, was compatible but had, um, another issue. The user. In my defense, there were no instructions and it was not intuitive. I made do.

Last week, our assignment was motion. Freezing it, capturing it, panning with it. I was never quite coordinated enough to pan and depress the shutter at the same time. And for my best motion shots, I pretty much aimed at the road or the freeway and snapped away. I'd listen for the big rigs on the I-10 and try to time the photo to catch them. I had some luck and a lot of fun.

For some reason, I'm missing all the freeway shots. It's a mystery. I might be able to pull them next week from the ones I saved on the computer at school.

One of the fringe benefits of taking this class is learning a little bit about Photoshop. Of course there's a big difference between being a photograph artist and being a Photoshop artist. Since I'm not trying to become a photo artist, I'm having fun with it.

And this week, our assignment is photos representing the five senses, and a sixth sense - balance, perception, emotion. I almost had the perfect shot of a fully-dressed hot dog last night. Bun, dog, ketchup, mustard and relish. But my camera wouldn't take the shot, it didn't like the lighting or the ISO or some god-knows-what setting.

I messed with it for a few minutes, then gave up. My dinner was getting cold.

"Looking through some photographs I found inside a drawer
I was taken by a photograph of you
There were one or two I know that you would have liked a little more
But they didn't show your spirit quite as true

You were turning around to see who was behind you
And I took your childish laughter by surprise
And at the moment that my camera happened to find you
There was just a trace of sorrow in your eyes

Now the things that I remember seem so distant and so small
Though it hasn't really been that long a time
What I was seeing wasn't what was happening at all
Although for a while our path did seem to climb

But when you see through love's illusions, there lies the danger
And your perfect lover just looks like a perfect fool
So you go running off in search of a perfect stranger
While the loneliness seems to spring from your life
Like a fountain from a pool

Fountain of sorrow, fountain of light
You've known that hollow sound of your own steps in flight
You've had to hide sometimes, but now you're all right
And it's good to see your smiling face tonight

Now for you and me it may not be that hard to reach our dreams
But that magic feeling never seems to last
And while the future's there for anyone to change, still you know it seems
It would be easier sometimes to change the past

I'm just one or two years and a couple of changes behind you
In my lessons at love's pain and heartache school
Where if you feel too free and you need something to remind you
There's this loneliness springing up from your life
Like a fountain from a pool

Fountain of sorrow, fountain of light
You've known that hollow sound of your own steps in flight
You've had to struggle, you've had to fight
To keep understanding and compassion in sight
You could be laughing at me, you've got the right
But you go on smiling so clear and so bright."

(Jackson Browne)