“Those things” are that which leaves us breathless, renders us speechless, and reclaims the sands of time until we feel as if we’re seeing the world anew.
They can be mundane and they can be extraordinary. They are the bedrock for our imagination, forming the soil of our motivation, and eventually yielding fruits of our thought and labor.
And they’re everywhere. It could be a brilliant moon framed against a freckled sky; a blade of grass pushing through the crack in the curb; a simple* painting; an elegant argument; a new discovery; a moment of unspoken connection with a stranger.
They should be there. They have to be. But every day it seems a little more difficult to find that spark. Is it callousness? Burn out? Or do they really not come here anymore?
Maybe the world really is ending? (Oh boy where do I begin)
Or my corner of the world is ending? (Shout out to the Big One)
Or my world is ending? (Drama sucks. Relationships are ass. Death and dying are some trash)
Or my inner world is ending? (If only I could also be a very stable genius)
It’s probably that I’m sort of middling in life. Not exactly a complete failure, but not a success either. Can I accept this if this is all I’ll ever be?
So to the people who once believed in me or looked up to me: I’m sorry. My silence doesn’t mean I don’t care or that I’ve forgotten you. As selfish as it sounds, I don’t want that Potemkin village standing in my name to fall just yet. Because until that day comes, I can hold on to the shred of hope that this village will become legitimate (build some respectable infrastructure, raise the GDP, increase the literacy rate, maybe pair up with a twin town or two). And I’ll know I’ve made it when I can sincerely deliver my Pavlovian response to those three empty syllables: “How are you?”
Albums that hit the right frequencies for me:
Karate - Unsolved
Lambchop - Is a Woman
Songs: Ohia - Ghost Tropic
Other albums that are great but are infinitesimally off resonance:
David Thomas Broughton - Crippling Lack
Elizabeth Cotten - Folksongs and Instrumentals with Guitar
(whoever coined the term “Cotten picking”, I hope you think long and hard about what you’ve done)
Ichiko Aoba - Origami
Peter and the Wolf - s/t
I hate that I’ve been singing in the key of Mi throughout this email but I swear this is pretty out of character. I usually say (or type) nothing at all, especially to a large community of strangers. It’s more fun to listen. That’s why I took the gamble and joined theListserve! Too bad I lost. Thanks for helping me procrastinate these past 4 years, everyone. I look forward to procrastinating with you more in the future.
Send me whatever: your heaviest dream, your favorite proverb, your future pet’s name, etc (no viruses pls). I’ll definitely read them all but I probably won’t respond. Don’t take it personally.
*I’m thinking of Goya’s “The Dog”, which must be deceptively simple.