Do you ever listen to a piece of instrumental music and wonder if the person who wrote it spoke the same language as you? I read that the reason music resonates with people is the tones are tied to our own vocal ranges, which themselves are tied to emotion. But people speak differently with different languages. “Mm’ means something different when you’re Japanese.
These days, a lot of electronic music uses samples of ambient sounds – raindrops, moving cars. No-one questions that it’s music. Does that mean the world’s speaking a language, too?
I once stood in an ancient Greek amphitheater. We took turns standing on the podium and saying something softly, seeing if we could hear each other up in the stands. We could. The Greeks knew acoustics. They were kind of obsessed with sound. Eventually, that obsession was passed down through Neo-Platonism and led to Kepler learning orbits – he thought he was deciphering the ‘music of the spheres.’
I don’t talk on the phone much anymore. It’s all come down to texting. I remember this one time back in college when I asked a classmate for her number and called her on the weekend. She was so confused by the call that she said she didn’t want to see me, and the rest of the year she sat on the other side of the class. I asked a buddy what had happened, and he said I should’ve sent her a text.
Right now, I’m listening to music and whistling along. What language is that?
Coffee: Maxwell House Drip, Office Coffee; usually the office coffee tastes terrible but in a good way; today it tasted like nothing but in a bad way; I used the same scoops, same amount of water, same machine; no telling what was different.
The first day back to work after a vacation (even just one day off) feels momentous. All of a sudden you don’t recognize your coworkers. You can’t find that paperwork. Someone moved the stapler. The rest of the day it trickles back, these bits of beige confetti. “Hi Sandra, how’s the kids?” “Oh Steve, you joker.” But the suspicion that you’ve walked in on something – the whole entire world with it’s pants down – persists. By 5:00, you’re comfortable, but you’re keeping one eye open while you sleep.
I’ve got a short work week. Friday feels like it’s just a day away (really it’s three). I’ve got no plans for the evenings, no plans for the weekend, but spring’s perked up and now I’m restless – that feeling you should always be doing more. Ah, well. I’ll ride this wave as long as it lets me. I’ll write a little more. Or maybe I won’t. Either way, next week will be here soon enough.
Novel Count: 34,291
Currently Reading: The Sense of an Ending, Julian Barnes
Every person needs to take one day away. A day in which one consciously separates the past from the future. Jobs, family, employers, and friends can exist one day without any one of us, and if our egos permit us to confess, they could exist eternally in our absence. Each person deserves a day away in which no problems are confronted, no solutions searched for. Each of us needs to withdraw from the cares which will not withdraw from us.
It’s so hot outside it’d make the boys of 98° blush. That said, I don’t mind it. I’m reading an icy book. History of Wolves is something. It bounces around in time, place, but it always seems to be cold, even in the summer. There are lots of lakes and small Midwestern classrooms. Fridlund’s descriptions make me envious.
I spend most mornings thinking about what to write. I’ve started a first chapter half-a-dozen times. I’m scribbling stuff at work. I don’t have a story yet, just images.
There are five Greeks playing soccer in a lot. I see them above a glass of Kentucky. I sip. The tallest takes a shot – goal! Ball soars; Naxos’s lonely mountain. It’s easy being lost on an island.
Anyway, stuff like that.
A month ago, they repaved the lot outside our apartment. Yesterday, they got around to painting lines. I liked it better when the asphalt was black slate.
History of Wolves, Emily Fridlund (2017 Man Booker Prize Shortlist)
Coffee: Cafe Pajaro, Extra Dark, Trader Joe’s Brand
I drove home at 11:00 am. Not ‘current home,’ but ‘grew-up home.’ Burlington, NC – a squashed sort of town taking space between Chapel Hill and Greensboro. It’s everything American – diverse, suburban, stratified. The building’s are concrete, even the nice ones. The weather looks good from the west end and frightening on the east. Train tracks divide it like the sign outside the country club: “Proper attire, no loitering.”
I had to take my car to the shop. Nothing but family or necessity brings me back here. I have a lot of love for what the place made me and a lot of fear for the chippings left behind. I went to the old bookstore I worked at and some of the faces were the same. I drove Huffman Mill like it was 2008 and wished the country had grown up with me. Or maybe it has grown up – the way the snot-nosed kid on the playground grows, knowing better ways to hit you, more vocabulary for his prejudice.
It’s not all bad. I ate lunch at La Fiesta – a Burlington institution – and the salsa was good as I remember.
“I believe that one can never leave home. I believe that one carries the shadows, the dreams, the fears and the dragons of home under one’s skin, at the extreme corners of one’s eyes and possibly in the gristle of the earlobe.” – Maya Angelou