Artist in Residence 2017, Lily Maase
Revelations 9:10-20; 11:3-7; Isaiah 8:11; Proverbs 4:23
They had tails with stingers, like scorpions, and in their tails they had power to torment people for five months. They had as king over them the angel of the Abyss, whose name in Hebrew is Abaddon and in Greek is Apollyon (that is, Destroyer).
The first woe is past; two other woes are yet to come.
“And I will appoint my two witnesses, and they will prophesy for 1,260 days, clothed in sackcloth.” They are “the two olive trees” and the two lampstands, and “they stand before the Lord of the earth.”
This is what the LORD says to me with his strong hand upon me, warning me not to follow the way of this people:
Above all else, guard your heart,
for everything you do flows from it.
September 11, 2017
So, about that whole ‘end of the world thing.’
Nine months after I first laid him to rest, I went on a brief vacation to finally (FINALLY) visit my father’s grave. It was a wild time, which is saying something when you have been going to your quiet desert hometown every summer since you left at the age of seventeen.
I had no car, no instrument, no plans, and very little money. As a result I had a beautiful time carving new paths through achingly familiar terrain. It was late July in the desert. I lived in an airstream trailer in the middle of a sculpture garden, right in the heart of the city, the guest of complete strangers just miles from where I was born.
I allowed myself to break rules that I didn’t know I had been clinging to until I broke them. I bathed outdoors in a shower made of reeds and wire (I am notoriously private); took up company with a man I met at a karaoke night (I absolutely detest karaoke, and I have spent the time since my father passed preferring the company of absolutely no-one); spent a week away from my instrument (to me, the guitar is basically the perfect drug); and I allowed myself to grieve.
My father’s final home is beautiful. It was a blessing to be there and to find that so many had left gifts and flowers in my absence.
I got back to New York feeling a little bit like I was master of my own universe after a long and harrowing dream. Balanced. In control for a minute. Somewhat clean.
So, naturally, there were two notices on my doors — one at my apartment and one at my place of work. Both my buildings had been sold or rezoned and I would have to vacate each by the end of August.
So the world ended. MY world ended. Again. Eleven years building a life in the big city, and it came undone in as little as a week.
Ultimately I think this is going to be okay. Change comes in waves — just the way my music seems to come in waves — and this one had been a long time coming. But it was crushing. I dealt with it by doing everything expressly the way I wouldn’t have before my father died: I gave up, and I let the tide take me. Apocalypse, all systems go. Let’s do this.
The last thing I did before leaving was sit with the gentlemen in the band that has been painstakingly assembling this music with me since January.
We sat in a circle in my studio — so lovingly built, now marked for death — looked each other in the eyes and sang this song that written with the pillars in mind, bearing witness to the end. The music has been finished and recorded for some time. This was the first time we had all heard the words.
Composed, Written, and Performed by Lily Maase. 2017
Read: 1975 (working title) lyrics
I packed up my home, left an alarming number of things behind, and drove myself back down to the desert. Mostly I saved guitars, art acquired during my journeys around the world, and the clothes that I am fondest of wearing when I’m onstage. The Devil can take the rest. I am also learning (somehow) to occasionally enjoy karaoke. I’ll be fine.
Since my father died, I have lost what felt like everything several times. The dark, greasy, bottomless kinds of loss. Losses that change you. Losses that can break you. I have discovered that I am afraid of nothing except for enduring the same loss more than once.
The only way to be fearless is to continue allowing yourself to overcome the things that scare you most. In this way, the world will never truly end. Because the world is you.
Today, I know in my bones, I am the strongest I have ever been. Apocalypse, all systems go. I’ll be fine. Just watch me. My faith is strong.
Follow the development of Lily’s project by reading her previous first and second posts written as a 2017 Artist in Residence.
All materials are copyrighted by the artist and used here by permission.