wake of dust
Sometimes you have to drudge through the mud for the people you love
— you have to wade through a whole mess of dark spaces to find what you’re searching for, but it’s there if you search hard enough. And I searched like hell.
It’s in this searching that Wake of Dust was born — a collaborative work, blending mediums of art (and life), storytelling through prose and song. The three-part series will be bound as a limited edition soft cover book that holds glimpses of the stories that will be unfolded within my memoir and shares the story of what it’s like to be human, to explore all the messy and dark interiors of life, and to allow something beautiful to be built from stepping back into the darkness.
The book will be released alongside a cassette tape by Perry Rhodes. Side A features three singles from his upcoming album that coincide with the stories within my memoir, plus a bonus track. Side B will have live recordings and never before heard audio clips of interviews with my Mom, captured during our time in the desert gathering stories for my memoir. Each cassette will come with a download card so you can have a listen to Side A and B in digital format.
You can pre-order now—limited quantity available. The first hundred people to purchase get a signed copy with an inscription from us. Release coming mid-December.
I want to thank those of you who’ve supported me up to this point, who’ve taken the time to read my words and step into the world I’ve lived. If you’re someone who likes to hold something physical in your hands, I’d so appreciate your support in this project. This is the precursor to my memoir that I hope one day you can also hold in your hands, feeling the weight in your palms and the pages beneath your fingers. But until then, I hope you enjoy Wake of Dust.
a piece is in all of us
It’s been almost three years since I began writing my memoir, a story about surviving the chaos that comes with being a child of a life-long meth addict—the cops raiding the house and taking Mom away in handcuffs, the fumes seeping through the walls from the meth lab Dad built in the garage, the diet of sugar and the absence of sleep, and the fluorescent visiting ward with Mom’s eyes glistening behind bullet-proof glass.
I was (am) forever being pulled back to the dust of where I came from, to the soul-crushing town where Mom calls home, pulled back to the meth house on a forgotten street on the edge of nowhere.
Most times it’s because the cops took Mom away again, leaving my ninety-year-old Grandmother sobbing on the couch that sags in the middle and smells of old sweat. Other times it’s because Mom’s in the hospital—a broken foot from kicking in a door to a house she was robbing, an accident at 3am and another totaled car, a coma from a bad batch of meth or an OD.
It’s been over thirty years that I’ve lived this story.
Thirty years thinking this story was normal.
It wasn’t until Perry Rhodes, the love of my life and rock in all things, illuminated my reality in such a way that made me truly see it for the first time in my life. And in no way was it normal.
Thirty years, surviving.
But I was barely living.
I stood on uneven ground, full of trenches and ruts. It smelled like broken earth, like salt and brine from the long since dried up salt lake in the distance. Like sage brush and creosote. Like desperation.
Until Perry said, “Why don’t you write about it?”
“This. Your life. Everything.”
“Why would anyone want to read about that?”
“Because a piece is in all of us.”
So this time, I went back to the dust of California, with Perry by my side. Back to the outskirts of nothing where the desert was a state of mind, survival gone rancid. Back to the meth house that's forever spilling over with people—where the carpet has been worn down to brittle threads from the constant coming and going of Mom and her favorite homeless, desert strays of the moment, where the bathroom gets more use than the public restroom at the gas station up Seventh Street, where unsettling sounds bounce around in the dark and police lights splash across the walls like the juice of fresh picked plums, to the house where sleep never finds you.
To go back to the beginning.
I thought if I understood how Mom got here, how I got here, maybe then I could break free of the desert’s dry and burning grip around my throat. Maybe then I could stop searching for her love and for the love I gave her, the love that she let spill out onto the floor. Or maybe I’d be left scooping up the remains, rushing to soak up every drop before it soaked into the cracked earth.
The need to write carved out a path in my heart with a machete. Perry felt the weight too, but with the morning air filled with the slamming of doors and lonely televisions shouting to each other from every room, the house was a battle of sound. We focused on gathering stories, our field recorders glowing red, we tried to capture coherent thoughts from scattered minds.
It was there that we found inspiration to write, there in the darkness that had swallowed us. Our notebooks began to fill. We spent hours along side each other running out the ink from our favorite pens. Perry rested his steel guitar on his lap and brought his calloused fingers to the strings. Melodies and lyrics exploded from his heart and spoke to my soul.
We’re all in the Wake of Dust, feeling around in the grit and the chaos, trying to navigate the complexities of life to live more fully and present with those we love.