Friday, January 29, 2010

One Fey's Tale - A Blissville Weekend in Asheful - How to Have a Fabulously Fey 60th Birthday

When the time comes, forget about calendar restraints.
Who says it has to be a birth-day?

by middle
the latest of his "one fey's tales"

Why not a birth-weekend?

Set your intentions.  Imagine a space in time where you and your friends don’t just celebrate but live celebration to mark the occasion.

The occasion was the 60th birthday of a faerie friend, and the experience was an amazing gift.  For a number of years I’ve been struggling with yet unable to find the right balance between responsibilities and fun in my life (not that they’re always disparate).  I’ve wanted to visit Asheville for some time, and I’ve been in desperate need of something – anything – to get me out of a rut.  Two different friends unwittingly confirmed this by responding to news of my trip with, “what AIDS conference was in Asheville?”

In December, this manifested in a short bout of frustration, anxiety, and depression that led to what I hope was a minor breakthrough.  Thankfully it passed in time for me to enjoy the holidays; by then I’d finally decided to plan and aggressively pursue some changes in 2010 and beyond.  The birthday invitation helped me to identify a concrete way to cement this intention.

Afterwards, as I drove alongside the French Broad River through the North Carolina and Tennessee mountains, the idea for what follows came into my head.  How could I unpack what was for me a glorious weekend and construct a more balanced vision of living fully?  The big 6-0 isn’t really that far in my future, and I refuse to approach it with dread.  So, I created this fantasy version of how one faerie elder and his tribe came to enjoy this weekend-long celebration of life.  Think of it as a sketch of a recipe we might use to find our own similar paths.

How to Have a Fabulously Fey 60th Birthday 

First, live an amazingly free, radically queer, open life, spreading joy, (yes - that “joy” too!) happiness, wisdom, and music.  Love your queer self, revel in learning, embrace and engage counter-culture, practice varied rituals of your own choosing and creation, be an activist, create and share music, and contribute to others’ and your own healing.  Travel, exploring and adventuring in your region, your country, and the world.  Experience the loudest and largest metropolis, the quietest rural hideaway, and everything in between.  Make a gluttonously diverse multitude of friends, have lots of lovers, love and be loved.  Be both student and teacher, mentor and apprentice, without prejudice or bias about who plays which role.

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When the time comes, forget about calendar restraints.  Who says it has to be a birth-day?  Why not a birth-weekend?  Set your intentions.  Imagine a space in time where you and your friends don’t just celebrate but live celebration to mark the occasion.  Set (gasp!) an agenda.  Share your plan with everyone you know and love by all means – phone, facebook, email, and word of mouth.

Start on Friday with a theater event or show (better yet - pick one in which you’ll be performing.)  Go for one that’s thought provoking, entertaining, and interactive, preferably something that is at its roots experimental and therapeutic.  There should definitely be lots of laughter and maybe a few tears.  Follow this up with a quick but not lingering visit to a local watering hole for a toast or two before bed, preserving precious energy for the remaining days of festivity.

On Saturday, DON’T insist everyone join you for an expensive gourmet dinner in the city.  Instead, have a potluck.  Your fabulously fey friends will make sure the meal and libations are delicious and full of wild surprises.  How about not one, but two unique chocolate cakes: the first devilishly spicy and the second radically raw and vegan?

Have the dinner in your home (wherever you live, but a rustic cabin nestled in the crook of a gorgeous Appalachian mountainside is an excellent choice.)  Relinquish control of decorating the space to others who’ll make sure there is lots of candlelight and sparkle.  While you’re at it, let them help you assemble at least two divinely decadent outfits for the evening.  Invite those present to take turns entertaining with a song or reading.  If you’re truly lucky, someone will insist on your presence up front while they croon a romantic ballad to you, unaccompanied.  Someone will wow the audience with found prose from a rummage sale postcard, someone two decades older than you will read a James Broughton poem, and others will channel a Goddess or haltingly share their own very intense composition.  In turn, make your own contribution.  Try playing an instrument you don’t usually play, singing a song after telling the story of its role in your life, or performing on a kazoo or slide whistle.  Make a big “announcement” about some change you’re going to make in preparation for the next 60 years of your life.

On Sunday morning, invite everyone to dance.  Gather in a hardwood-floored auditorium at a local arts organization (or in a woods-wrapped pavilion, or wherever!) with (20 or 50 or) 100 or more – including some who shared the previous night’s revelry.  Shed shoes (and socks if you dare) and while daylight and fresh air stream in through the windows, collectively release your body to a ninety-minute “wave” of movement.  The music mix should deny genre-fication, maybe starting out with a slow blend of various world beats, building to a peak that includes club music, possibly branching off into folk or bluegrass before deftly relaxing into more meditative airs.

Meet afterwards in a locally owned eatery for an affordable gourmet brunch.  Cluster around tables with a still different mix of friends to share eggs and chorizo and grits, arugula and asparagus and trout, lattes and juice and tea.  Talk more.  Share.  Laugh still more.  Say your good byes to the travelers amid rounds of hugs and kisses.

Most importantly, breathe deeply throughout the weekend and give humble thanks for the many blessings of your life, for the blessing of your many friends, and most importantly for the blessings of this moment.

Remember to continue building the joyous source that was the weekend’s origin by pledging to:

Learn more.

Love more.

Play more.

Live more.

[Happy Birthday, Mountaine.]

Read more of middle's tales.


  1. inspired and inspiring, a true joy and celebratory essay sharing and honoring the ecstasy of our fey lives,,,,,thanks middle and mountaine for serving up these lovely life lessons and sisterspirit all ways,SoAmI

  2. Middle, you make it sound as absolutely fantastic as it was. Thanks again for being part of my celebration. I'm still smiling! Love always, Mountaine


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