Week 60 // My Lips Are Sealed

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I screamed at the top of my lungs
And all you heard was just a peep
It’s hard saying what you mean
When saying anything at all would make you weak

And at the bottom of the cavern
Wasn’t any further down that I could go
Until my mother and my father gave me shelter
And the room to grow

I said you’ll never see the rest of me
I think I died out there
So someone else could come to be

Oh God what I’ve seen I’ll never tell
In a house in the woods all by myself
In a heart locked down
Setting up to feed all the things I’m made of into me

You’re giving them hell
You’re giving them hell
You’re giving them hell
Is everybody better off for wishing they’d be better off?
Oh well

Haven’t you heard
Your luck could change
You cursed your voice
You cursed your name
Heaven forbid there’s something you would say

My God what I’ve seen I’ll never tell
Little house in the woods all by myself

I said you’ll never see the rest of me
I think I died out there
So someone else could come to be

Haven’t you heard
Your luck could change
You cursed your voice
You cursed your name
Heaven forbid there’s something you would say

Notes
 width= My Lips Are Sealed is not about keeping secrets. It’s about not being able to speak. The fall of 2010 was the weirdest time in my life. It was the culmination of a year long ordeal with a vocal cyst that upended all of my plans and put my life on a decidedly different path. I wrote about this as I reflected on releasing 60 songs in 60 weeks. It was a moment that my timeline hinged on. Without the weirdness of that fall none of these songs would have been written, and the most inconvenient thing to ever happen to me would never have turned into the catalyst for what I’ve begun to view as my life’s work.

I was hoarse for over a year, unable to sing, and unable to interact in a conventional fashion. I still have a knee jerk reaction to being in crowded places, because I fear the damage that raising my voice even a little might do. It was a very bad year and it did bad things to my personal state, but the weirdest part by far was the very end of it. Surgery fixed me up good, but after the doc cut me up I had to go on total vocal rest, which meant no speaking of any kind for any reason for a period of weeks. This song is about feeling trapped in your own skull because you can’t say a word. It’s about some time that I spent isolated in the woods in New Hampshire because being around people was too much for me to cope with. It is also about the immense gratitude that I feel toward my parents for helping me through that period of my life. It’s about being a different person later on.

Thanks for sticking around for 60 weeks! I love the hell out of all of you!

Here’s hoping your New Year doesn’t totally suck.
~M.E.

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Week 58 // Fight The Way You Feel

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Open up, look at the Earth
Like it is
Like it’s never been
Giving up, buying right in
To the concept we’re at the end

Shut your eyes, shut it all out
Take control
Take your medicine
Close your eyes, spinning around
Feeling something, now nothing again

You’re earning your stripes and your colors
You’d bleed for each other and your tyrants
But beauty is real
And you’d see it alright if you’d actually try
If you’d fight the way you feel

Promise if it aint the end
That you’ll live
That you’ll try to live
Promise you’ll begin again
You’ll put right all the things you can

You’ve lived this year spinning around
And your toes
They can’t touch the ground
Lived it frustrated and bound
To a future you haven’t found

You’re earning your stripes and your colors
You’d bleed for each other and your tyrants
And you’re still alive
But you’re seething and crying
Forgetting the meaning of kindness
And beauty is real
And you’d see it alright if you’d actually try
If you’d fight the way you feel

Notes
 width= This is the last Mount Everest song of 2011, and that got me thinking about the year that we’ve just had. For me it was a very good year, filled with art and growth and reflection and action. But I look around, and when I see the big picture I can only think of one way to describe how people felt in 2011: pissed off. It was an angry year full of accusations, assignations of blame, frustrated rumblings, and righteous indignation. People have a right to be angry. Things are tough, and it’s hard to tell if they are getting better. People also have a right (and sometimes a responsibility) to voice their anger and do something about it. But the public discourse has grown fatalistic. Perhaps it is an expression of our collective belief in the cultural meme that has grown around the fast approaching Mayan apocalypse of 2012. I’m not saying that many people actually believe this event is going to happen, but it seems as if we as a culture would be more satisfied if it did. It’s like the breaks have come off the car and the easiest way to slow down would be to plunge into a canyon. The problem with that attitude is that when a culture grows as restless as ours, it is difficult to see the beauty in our humanity. I know that I constantly write about the value of living in, and acknowledging the breadth of our emotions, so it must seem strange that I’m telling people to “fight the way [they] feel.” But, anger is one of those emotions that sucks up the other ones. If you have to feel it, try to see the beauty and the liberation that is inherent in it. Fight the urge to feel nothing else, even though anger can be so satisfying. Thanks for sticking around through 2011, and be sure to help me kick off 2012 next week! You are cool.

Here’s hoping your Monday doesn’t totally suck.
~M.E.

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Week 56 // Mortality Shimmy Shake

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You touch on the good that you set aside
But somewhere your heart feels you burn alive
It’s someplace you’ve been
With trees and gardens
With love and moonlight
It’s at the end
And what does it mean?
We’re gonna fade away?
That all of your friends could leave you here one day?

As plain as it seems yeah
That human beings
We got boiling blood
We’ve got hopes and dreams

So it wakes you with a start just to know
That every last one of us was built to grow
That every last heart’s got a seed to sew
And you can keep it or you can live and let go

But you let the beauty in the thought pass you by
Because it shakes just to know that we’re bound to die
Yes, you’ll die
Yes, you’ll die
You will die
But know this:
Until then
You are alive

And what does it mean?
We’re gonna fade away?
That all of your friends could leave you here one day?

As plain as it seems yeah
That human beings
We got boiling blood
We’ve got hopes and dreams

Notes
This week I managed to make the poppiest, most danceable tune in recent Mount Everest history, and I went ahead and sang all about death. But really when you are singing about death, you are actually singing about life. At least that’s the way that I do it. I am afraid to die. I don’t think about it very much, but now and then it catches me: the inevitability of it. It is something I’d rather never do. How much easier would it be to live out your days in unending certainty that one day would be followed by another and another and on and on without end? You would have little to fear, but certainly you would have little motivation to use the time that you have for something that has a point to it. Here’s the point of what I’m trying to say: Life is wonderful, and death is a part of it, so no matter how scary death is, there is something beautiful about it. It frames our experiences, and pushes us to create. I causes us to reflect on those we love. It inspires us to action. The greatest comfort that I draw from my fear of dying is the fact that I haven’t done it yet. It is a comfort so great that the fear washes away immediately and I am overwhelmed by the beauty of possibility. You will die, but know this: until then you are alive!

Here’s hoping your Monday doesn’t totally suck.
~M.E.

P.S.
Thanks to JWG of Big Sir Projects for this week’s artwork!

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Week 54 // Alone In A Crowded Room


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Featured Performers:
Jesse Mitchell Lindsey
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Are you learning to forgive?
Not getting what you want
And wanting what you’ve got

“And seeing how you live your life alone
It gets me down”
I’m getting that a lot

And other people got these expectations
Wearing at my patience
Like I forgot

Oh God it’s a lonely world
I’m alone in a crowded room
And living can’t be such a lonesome word
And trying never gets you through

And every time I think about my life
I’m thinking living’s like a single thought

And at the center of my thinking
Was the reason people grieved and loved and fought

And living life alone can get you down
But there’s no reason not to live the life you’ve got

Oh God it’s a lonely world
I’m alone in a crowded room
And living can’t be such a lonesome word
And trying never gets you through
Trying never gets to you

Notes
 width= Alone In A Crowded Room is a bit different. It has this single piano banging out solitary notes and no other melodic instruments. It’s got these busy drum programs competing for attention and easily overpowering the piano. I am the solitary piano notes. The drums are the crowded room. The song is about being single and how everybody else thinks that it’s their business. It is sort of about being okay with being alone, but it is also about how not okay it is. Whichever perspective you read it from, it’s one of these introspective songs that attempts to superimpose my feelings on everybody else whether they have them or not. I refer to myself in the first and second person. I refer to other people in the second person as well. You’ll never know if I’m singing about me or you! Except when I’m definitely singing about me…

Here’s hoping your Monday doesn’t totally suck.
~Jesse

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