After a while, I don’t think the images mean anything.
Strange arrangements of columns have followed me around in life, from The Prisoner and Johnny Got His Gun, to some strange park my parents used to take me to that had a strange arcade of columns — I’m not sure those really existed. I’ve dreamed of columns repeatedly, and they continue to recur throughout my life, and I don’t know what they mean. It’s easy to see symbols everywhere, if you’re looking for them.
I felt a deep calm and sense of belonging in Seattle, like I was among my people, and then: columns. Comical, because in the early 90s, it seemed the very opposite of a place I would have wanted to be; back then I was sure I’d live in London or New York. It’s good to know I’ve been around enough to know when a place feels like home, though I’ve still never been to England.
posted 17 February 2014
Good heavens I am so easy to understand.
The Twitter feed is a funny thing; I guess the cliche is that it is an alt-lit fortune cookie generator, and I have contributed to this in some certain way during my time there. I’m not sure what else to do but put those things in there — little thoughts that have no other place or venue. I am not good at using it to find out information or network with interested people in the way that LiveJournal worked in its estimable heyday. I miss the latter and how it laid our psychologies bare, but I do not believe we can ever go back to that time (it is beyond my capability), and I think internet “progress” has made that type of community impossible. Maybe in some far future when we have forgotten how to curate our own personas online.
Other than this site, I have no other venues online. It suits me, it seems to help preserve what little mystery about myself remains online. I think about coming back to these places in twenty or thirty years and trying to figure out what I meant when I wrote certain things. Or maybe I will know, maybe the words will take me back instantly to all the tiny frictions and minute revelations from this era.
posted 31 January 2014
The concept of progress is something I find myself thinking about constantly.
Are we far enough along given the time that it has taken to get here? What does that say about our overall commitment to getting there? It’s hard to know, it all seems very arbitrary. It might be considered from multiple angles.
For my own part, despite it being a core element of my career’s job description, I have a very difficult time measuring true progress, even in the broadest of increments. Have I gone far enough? Could I have done more? Was I working too hard at ensuring the wrong outcomes occurred? Despite Buddhist thinking to the contrary, comparison with others’ presumed progress is all I find it possible to do in these instances.
In 2013, did I go far enough? I don’t know. I traveled much more than ever before. I felt as though I made a lot of discoveries about myself within a kind of vacuum (and loneliness or aloneness) because I was the only thing in my life that seemed willing to move forward, even if that internal pace was far too slow for my liking. The time is now done; it has to be enough.
In 2014, I have set the milestones on a private calendar of my own making.
posted 20 January 2014
Stayed out late Tuesday night to see Stars of the Lid play Brooklyn, in a big church in Sunset Park. It was real pretty.
I keep looking for patterns in things, most specifically in life events, and it’s really a fool’s game. The patterns are the ones I cause myself, by acting or reacting in the same ways repeatedly. I’ve tried to ease that in myself, but it’s not always easy to detect when it’s happening until afterward. Trying to detect things happening inside of me, as they happen, is the kind of meditation practice that will likely take a lifetime to master.
Case in point, when the band played through “Requiem for Dying Mothers” (so resonant in such a large space, there were times it felt like the church was vibrating), it made me think of a song that started so quietly (and played so long) that it was undetectable for years. That’s something strangely familiar to me: currents that work their way through me for years undetected until I finally wake up and notice what’s been going on around me. I’ve gotten better at that in the last two years, listening to that voice deep inside of me, actually communicating what I want out of life. It’s been a hard road in some respects, but I can feel it getting easier all the time, gradually resembling a kind of flow where I’m just me, all of the time, without notable interruption.
posted 21 December 2013
Despite not feeling much in the holiday frame of mind this year, I felt genuinely warmed by the Yo La Tengo show on Friday evening, my first.
The venue had a big beautiful painted buffalo over the stage and, for a moment or two, for some reason I was transported to the West in my future, the one I have imagined. I wanted to hug everyone around me in the audience, as the band thrummed through 12 minutes of “We’re an American Band.” I haven’t had a lot of concert experiences like that before, when it feels the music and the night and the venue slot so perfectly into a place in life. Three months ago, I wasn’t even supposed to be there.
I came full-circle with Yo La Tengo Friday night, as I don’t think I’ve felt the same number of open doors before me since I first heard them in 1996. To this day, I still wonder what happened to my girlfriend of that time (I have only one picture of her, and I don’t recall her last name: for the best). I still have her copy of Painful, after all this time. Life has tugged me in some strange directions since then, and I’m still in awe at how many surprises there have been, especially at times when I thought all surprises were done. Things that I’d thought meaningless in 1996 have had ripple effects ever since then, and I’m still detecting them all these years later.
As I left the Bell House, they had a little table of barbecue food for sale (this venue knows what they’re doing, with lovely coat-check girls, fancy craft beers in cans, post-show BBQ tidbits that smelled like really good hot dogs) and, well, I can’t explain it, but it felt like a good capstone to my year, as I remembered all I had done and seen. I will not be sorry to see the end of 2013, but I know it all happened for a reason.
posted 15 December 2013