Forecast for the Future

"Every individual without exception bears a potential writer within himself. The reason is that everyone has trouble accepting the fact that he will disappear unheard of and unnoticed in an indifferent universe, and everyone wants to make himself into a universe of words before it's too late. 

Once the writer in every individual comes to life (and that time is not that far off), we are in for an age of universal deafness and lack of understanding."

- Milan Kundera, The Book of Laughter and Forgetting

Monday, January 28, 2008

Week 4, Day 2: Trying to Enjoy The Silence

It's only been 44 hours and already my Last.fm looks sad and lonely.

It has become clear to me in just this brief amount of time that I need for music more instinctively and deeply than just about anything. I have been a smoker since I was 12 years old, but right now I feel like I wouldn't think twice about going a million years without a cigarette in exchange for some "Teenage FBI" or "Gouge Away." All day long my heart has panged and panged as song after song bursts into head and then I am let down upon remembering that I'm "not allowed" to put the songs on and run with them. A refrain from the Beck song "Nicotine and Gravy"--"I think I'm going crazy / Things don't even phase me / Her left eye is lazy / Nicotine & Gravy"--in particular has been stuck in my head now and is repeating non-stop, with me occasionally stopping to sing along to the melody powering itself along through my brain. Last night, when another song was stuck in my head and I started singing it out loud, I suddenly wondered if I was allowed to sing. Yes, I thought, that seems ok. Revelation! So can I bust out my guitar and start writing songs? Maybe this is the perfect time for me to begin writing the three songs to be played and recorded by The Heart Beats. But then I thought again: no, cheating. No guitar playing. No music writing.

And also, unfortunately, this means no music seeing either. Meaning, most disappointingly of all, that, in adhering to "my crazy rules," I am going to have to miss out on two exciting activities I'd previously planned for this week: Joanna Newsom's performance at BAM this Friday and the Thermals' Insound Karaoke extravaganza on Thursday. Missing the Thermals is not the end of the world, though it would have been fun and free, but the other... well, oy vey. Those of you who know me intimately understand the depth of my love for the strange elfin creature that is J. Newsom--featured in Saturday's harpsichord mix--and the thought of passing up the opportunity to see her in this elegant setting (and at a 120 min show!!) is straight up "pretty fucking depressing." Not to mention the fact that the show has been way sold out and Doorknobs had to go to strange means to acquire the tickets for us in the first place (going to the apt of a Dude he met on a music discussion group)--and so it all adds up to something just sort of soul-crushing.

Obviously none of this is really "a big deal"--humans survived just fine for thousands of years without being able to hear music on-demand. But I'm interested in the ways in which we rapidly adjust to our surroundings and situations and then get used to having things that way. I live in an environment now where I can constantly envelope--and insulate--myself within a shieldwall of music, and it's become so natural I don't even think twice about it. Being aware of that sensation though seems pretty powerful, and I'm curious if i'll still feel this way by the end of the week or if I will have already returned to the normalcy of a world without tuned sound.

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2 comments:

elizabeth said...

did i tell you i heard joanna newsom in prague in september? at the risk of being unsupportive, i think you have a scheduling problem.

Professor. said...

I forgot my ipod one day and I felt lost - not being able to star in my own personal music videos made my daily routine so dull. I am a true music insulator. I understand the pain.

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