Monday, December 31, 2007

Rebuilding A Bridge

One of the things I've learned over the years is that I can overthink stuff. Instead of just going with the flow, I try too hard to analyze or to find meaning where there is none.

This post is a perfect example. I'd been trying to come up with a subject to blog about on the last day of the year. I'd vetted half a dozen ideas, but none felt right.

I ran to the market yesterday afternoon to pick up some black-eyed peas and salt pork for the New Year (a Texas tradition I've embraced). My supermarket runs a loop of soft rock music targeted at Baby Boomers. As I entered the store, Art Garfunkel was singing Bridge Over Troubled Water. I hummed along while picking up the few items I needed. The song ended just as I got on the checkout line.

I never turn off the car radio so it comes on when I switch on the ignition. When I returned to the car, A Prairie Home Companion blared out of the speakers. God love him, I cannot STAND the sound of Garrison Keillor's voice. I've said it before: that slow drawl is like fingernails on a chalkboard to me. All that folksy humor makes my skin crawl. There's something about that show that just screams "smug" to me.

Trying to escape Keillor, I hit the first button on my radio, and Garfunkel singing Bridge Over Troubled Water eased my mind. I grinned at the coincidence of hearing the same song twice in ten minutes.

Last evening, a little over three hours later as I was winding down, I switched on PBS without checking the TV listings. There was a reprise of the Gershwin Prize show honoring Paul Simon. And, there was Paul and Art doing a duet of--you guessed it--Bridge Over Troubled Water.

Okay, I know it was a popular song, but that was almost forty years ago. Three times in less than four hours???? I sat on the den floor and watched the two men who've known each other, loved each other and sometimes hated each other for nearly fifty-five years.

At the time Simon wrote the title song to what would be their fifth and final studio album, the duo was pulling apart. They'd been singing as an act for thirteen years and being together constantly was wearing on their friendship. Garfunkel was off filming a movie when Simon wrote the song for him. Garfunkel initially resisted singing it, saying he thought Paul's voice was better suited to the piece. A couple of years later, Simon said giving that song to his partner was his biggest professional mistake.

The album Bridge Over Troubled Water was selected as the 51st greatest album of all time by Rolling Stone magazine in Dec. 2003. It was also Columbia Records' best selling album.

As I've made my goals for 2008, I've thought a lot about friendship. I've been blessed with friends I've known since junior high and high school. I also have newer, very strong friendships.

2007 has been the best of times and the worst of times for me. I saw my first novel released and a contract for a second novel offered. I also had three (count 'em THREE) auto accidents in 2007--my first in more than twenty years. I've been stretched thin and distracted a lot of the time. Most days I barely covered all my responsibilities. I suspect I haven't been as good a friend as I should be.

Two things brought this home to me. One was my critique partner disappearing from sight. I'd known she was under a lot of stress, but my own daily burdens prevented me from realizing how serious the situation was. I'm not suggesting I could have prevented her from falling off the grid; I'm not that arrogant. I just wish I could have offered more support.

What goes around, comes around. My feelings were wounded last week when one of my best friends didn't call, just sent a terse "good luck tomorrow" email before my surgery and then didn't check in for more than three days afterward. I didn't need help, but I could have used a shoulder to whine on {grin}.

Among my personal resolutions for 2008 is to be a better, more supportive friend. To do that, I'll need to manage my time better, which means not over-scheduling myself. Perhaps that will also prevent my being so distracted.

And maybe . . . just maybe . . . hearing Bridge Over Troubled Water three times was what it took to get me to pay attention to the message.

Happy New Year, everyone. The video below is my rainbow, shared freely with you.

When you're weary, feeling small,
When tears are in your eyes, I will dry them all;
I'm on your side. When times get rough
And friends just can't be found,
Like a bridge over troubled water,
I will lay me down.


Church Lady said...

I love that song, but "Sound of Silence" is my favorite.

The theme of your post is always an important one--to remember and respect those in your life who truly deserve it. I've cut a lot of people out of my life in the past few years who sucked the energy out of me without giving anything back in return. I'm left with a only a few friends. But they are real friends. I love them dearly.

Maya Reynolds said...

CL: I agree. Wisdom is learning to identify those special friends and in treasuring them.

My favorite S&G songs include "For Emily, Whenever I May Find Her;" "The 59th Street Bridge Song;" "Sounds of Silence;" and "Scarborough Fair." I tend to be a bit fanciful.

Happy New Year to you and yours.

Stephen Parrish said...

Happy New Year to you too, Maya. I'm grateful I found your blog. (Although it wasn't hard to find; you have lots of friends.)

Maria Zannini said...

You've had a trying 2007, Maya. And while we can't always know when our friends need us or when they need space, we can always leave the lines of communication open.

All of us lead such busy lives. I'm sure I've dropped the ball myself, but it's never intentional.

I wish you every happiness in 2008. You deserve it.

Maya Reynolds said...

Stephen: When I count my blessings, the friends I've made online are high on the list.

I'm so glad I know YOU.

Happy New Year, Stephen. I'm wishing you health, happiness and success in 2008.

Maya Reynolds said...

Maria: You're always a good friend, and I'm so glad we know each other.

Looking forward to 2008 and to reading your new release at Samhain.

Happy New Year!