There is a delicious little caesura every morning before the hard, rocky facts of life come in, before you consider things like the date, or whatever emails you have to send, or wherever you have to be in a couple of hours. A few moments of clean, blank, white room bliss when you've just woken up. No fear, no anxiety, no anticipation. Remember that this moment is possible and that it will be available to you the next time you wake up. Maybe you could stay in that clean, blank room a bit longer - it's a little flickering flame of calm that you can pass your hand over without getting burned.
Hi - -
Back to writing and music every Thursday!
It’s been weirdly hard to start back up again. I keep psyching myself out - I’ve written a number of drafts over the past few months that I failed to actually hit send on. I kept waiting for things to feel different, somehow, or maybe to have more to say. I think I wanted to feel happier, less touched by mourning, or maybe just more full of energy - I didn’t want to burden your inbox. But like any habit or any practice, you just have to do it. So I’m here doing it.
I kept thinking that I’d have to catch you up, like I’d have to fill you in on all the developments big and small since I last wrote. But I don’t have to do that! The intervening months between July and late November - which notably included an incredibly wild six gigs in Switzerland, running a 5k, and a 72-hour long rave in the woods, among other things - can be just for me.
One thing that’s changed is that I’ve switched email services - this one allows me to put the weekly music right inside the email - see the soundcloud button up above - in hopes that readers (you) will be more encouraged to listen and read at the same time. That’s what you should do, btw, you should listen to the track while you read these. The music this week features a recording of a waterfall in Ohio that nicely melts into white noise as the instruments fade in. At some point I also might take advantage of the fact that this service allows me to charge for writing, but I won’t get ahead of myself.
Here’s something - I am about to go on a tour! Doing a run of solo shows with my buddy Sinai Vessel in the northeast. Here are the dates - including my living room on Friday - would love to see you out there if you are out there, ask me if you want the info for any of these shows:
Nov 15 - Brooklyn - Tortoise Town
Nov 16 - Albany, NY - Chateau
Nov 17 - Hudson, NY - Spotty Dog Books
Nov 18 - Rollinsford, NH - Sue’s
Nov 19 - Boston, MA - O’Brien’s Pub
Nov 20 - Providence, RI - Machines with Magnets
Nov 21 - Bloomfield, CT - Slumhouse
Nov 22 - Philadelphia, PA - Free Candy
Nov 23 - Farmingdale, NJ - Little Hollywood
Nov 24 - NYC - Trans Pecos
The other day I was talking to a friend of mine about living how our two friends, both lost, would have wanted us to live. We said that in the soft indent they’ve left on our lives (like laying in tall grass and standing up suddenly, leaving the shape of their body behind) we find ourselves doing whatever we want and thinking, smiling to ourselves, “yes, this is what my friend would have wanted.” We think this often, in matters big and small. We think about our friends approving of the people we love, of what we do with our lives as we get older and they stay the same age.
But there are smaller instances, too, where we imagine pleasing our lost friends. For instance I said my friend would have wanted me to stay out late partying often. And for instance my friend I was talking to said that his friend would have wanted him to eat the entire large sandwich he had just eaten, even though it gave him a stomach ache. But I realized that I, too, would have wanted my friend to who I was talking to eat the entire sandwich, and that he, also, would want me to stay out late partying often. I realized that we were with each other in that moment, talking and walking down the street. There was no need for “would have wanted” because we were able to tell each other what we wanted for each other, and what we wanted was happiness, we want each other’s contentment and enjoyment of life, in whatever way suits. After that, if I remember correctly, we ate a nice lunch together, and we smiled at each other smiling thinking about each of our lost friends smiling back at us.
We honor the lost, in whatever way suits. This past week, there was an unexpected milestone. I and many others were knocked over by this particular date, there were photos and videos shared and tears shed silently and smilingly at my desk at work. There’s been a Spotify playlist circulating the past few months, one that my friend liked to put on while she cooked, one that I had been not ready to listen to until that unexpected milestone. But for whatever reason, it was the right comfort that day, and so my coworker - also a friend of my friend - and I found ourselves listening to Billy Ocean, Caribbean Queen extended mix, eyes glistening, synth bass bouncing, saying “wow, this is such a good playlist” as an office-friendly substitute for everything else we wanted to say but probably couldn’t.
Later my friend told me he took a walk around the block and, passing in front of the fire station around the corner, he felt like he needed to scream, like he just needed to yell it out a bit. He asked the firefighters standing out front if they would mind. They shrugged, said sure, no problem, and he screamed. He said it made him feel better, the firefighters in their red suspenders didn’t mind at all.
Later another friend told me that her parents used to love Billy Ocean, her mom listened to it all the time, in fact she listened to it so much that once her father threw the tape out the window of their pinto-bean-colored minivan (I imagine it landing in tall grass off of a highway, blades of it poke up between the holes in the tape, in this image the tape is glistening with morning dew).
Later my friend - the one I walked down the street with from before, the one who ate the big sandwich - told me he listened to the helpful cooking playlist while he cooked. He said it made him feel regal and calm. I smiled at my friend thinking of me being smiled at by my lost friend, synth bass bouncing. Loops close, doors open, we honor the lost. As Billy Ocean sings “no more love on the run.”
But what if when you wake up in that blank room you discover that you're sleeping above a cobra nest, a roiling den of rattlesnakes? Do you walk into the valley? Or just hope that you don't get bit?
But you? Are you happy or relieved that this small gesture has landed once again in your inbox? Is there anything you want to fill me in on from the last few months? Any triumphs or tragicomedies? Are you dressing warm enough?
Glad to be writing again~