I’ve been working hard on my Jazz BM here in Orlando. Just had my junior recital that went relatively well except for an extra A section here and an extra four bars there (improvisation is key!). One of the Yen-Yaw tunes, “Bridging the Divide/Dividing the Bridge,” came off EXTREMELY well and I’m proud of all the performers who made it happen (despite the bass being off [technical difficulties] during the first four bars of the tune). I was asked by two of the professors to write tunes for the respective classes (Jazz Workshop and Steel Band), which gives me more room to stretch.
The mind “plays tricks.” It literally presents an imitated version of what is. It is a “play.” And the “trick” is that it is crafty. It is resourceful. The mind uses the outside world to imitate the way it works. It says it is you.
The mind plays tricks because it knows how long things take. It can perceive time, though you, the human being, cannot. The mind is there to take, to make decisions. It’s real use is for survival (so it says).
The mind created this too. The mind is crafty. It is resourceful, says the mind.
Laughter stops it for a second.
Observe the mind! See what it thinks. See what it tells you. It tells you these are your thoughts. Laugh!
I beseech you: laugh! Observe it and laugh. Guffaw. Chortle. Snicker. Chuckle. Titter.
To observe it to listen without an thoughts. Probe your thoughts and let them make noise. That’s all they are. They are a monologue about you. Inside of you, they are having a meeting.
Your mind has a name: it is the ego. The ego is afraid of itself too. It’ll defend itself by putting itself up. Don’t listen to it. Let it be. Let it be gone. Let it make noise and fight. Invite it to take over for a moment while you listen for it. It plays like a child. It makes crafts like a child. It dances and sings. Let it be!
Let it be where it is and let it make the noise it wants to make, but don’t gratify it. You’ve done that long enough. Just smile. Only smile. Only laughter. Breathe in, breathe out and smile long and hard. Don’t think. If you have to think, start to listen to the nonsense clatter.
The clatter is made up of observations: this is stupid, where is my mom, i am an alcoholic, i am bored, this is too long, there are too many stupid people, i am dumb, this is dumb, what could i be doing, where is he, my brother is dead, i am here, i am meditating, breathe in, breathe out, these words, i am not reading them but i am, here we go, who is we, shut up neighbors, noise noise noise, shhhhhhhhhh….
This is all clatter. The observation doesn’t make a sound in the mind. The observation is not consciousness, it is awareness of the life. Awareness of the being and the being to be true. To forget death and find oneself as of value. I am alive and I am, so there. There is nothing more to say. I am to exist and nothing has stopped me, says the ego. So says the body and the soul, the human being underneath. Here it is, the ego says, while holding tape and handcuffs for the rest of the mind. Here it is, come and see.
Let it be. Don’t let it whisper to you, whisper to it and accept that it is a part, but is not you.
“It’s a pivotal, it’s a seminal, religious day when you get to both hear and feel your destiny at the same moment, Jim. I got to notice what I’m sure you’ve noticed long ago, I know, I know you’ve seen me brought home on occasions, dragged in the door, under what’s called the Influence, son, helped in by cabbies at night, I’ve seen your long shadow grotesquely backlit at the top of the house’s stairs I helped pay for, boy: how the drunk and the maimed both are dragged forward out of the area like a boneless Christ, one man under each arm, feet dragging, eyes on the aether.”—David Foster Wallace, Infinite Jest (via postconsumerperson)
“‘By which,’ he said, ‘I mean true heroism, not heroism as you might know it from films or the tales of childhood. You are now nearly at childhood’s end; you are ready for the truth’s weight, to bear it. The truth is that the heroism of your childhood entertainments was not true valor. It was theater. The grand gesture, the moment of choice, the mortal danger, the external foe, the climactic battle whose outcome resolves all—all designed to appear heroic, to excited and gratify an audience. An audience.’ He made a gesture I can’t describe: ‘Gentlemen, welcome to the world of reality—there is no audience. No one to applaud, to admire. No one to see you. Do you understand? Here is the truth—actual heroism receives no ovation, entertains no one. No one queues up to see it. No one is interested.”—
Dream Sketch by Brad Mehldau Trio from Ode (2012, Nonesuch) album
“Dream Sketch” is the lone solipsist of the bunch. It’s an ode to one of my own dreams, or, more specifically: I dreamt the tune and woke up and immediately wrote it down. I have tried with various degrees of success to write down stuff I dream and of course most of the time it’s lost or mangled; sometimes I grab an idea that will then lead to something that I flesh out in full consciousness. In this case, I got down on paper more or less what I dreamt when I awoke from an afternoon nap, which may have to do with the fact that the theme of the tune is quite simple and short and doesn’t develop much. That had never happened before, and it was a happy rest of the afternoon.
I've read What is the What. Much better :) I agree, my opinion about DFW is flippant and half-hearted, mostly because I wasn't enthusiastic about Butler OR DFW so I lumped them into one post. The moral of the story: I'm just not that interested in the plight of middle class white people anymore. There's enough out there, read too much. And reading about the tedium and boredom of a white collar job...was tedious and boring. But thanks, I appreciate the feedback!
The Pale King wasn’t finished. Try reading his shorts (Brief Interviews with Hideous Men or Oblivion or Girl With Curious Hair or Consider the Lobster) or The Broom of the System.
Thom Yorke cites [Romeo and Juliet (1968)] as one of the inspirations for the Radiohead song “Exit Music (For a Film),” which was written specifically for the ending credits of the 1996 film William Shakespeare’s Romeo + Juliet. Said Yorke, “I saw the Zeffirelli version when I was 13, and I cried my eyes out, because I couldn’t understand why the morning after they shagged, they didn’t just run away. The song is written for two people who should run away before all the bad stuff starts. A personal song.”
Ever seen a sandcastle being eaten by tides of the ocean? It’s like a zoom-view of a body breaking down. The sand is already somewhat moist, but that is what is keeping it together. It keeps it in form, in a positive shape against the negative space about to slosh from under it, not over it. That’s another problem with watching this happen: one might always say the sandcastle was taken from above. The waves might appear to wash over it, to build intensity and smash against that first barricade that was crafted as a failsafe dam to protect it. It isn’t as elegant as the rest of the sandcastle. Its mounds upon mounds of sand all thrown together while panting mouths start to dry and eyes start to widen at impending doom. This is a doom that is always foreseen. It is not unlike death.
So the moment comes and it is true that the sandcastle begins to break from the bottom down. Once the dam is breached, the water starts to erode away at the foundation, usually mildly wet sand that beach-goers might have started on. The time it takes is now cut in half because once the wave hits the side of the front of the castle it pushes downward, letting the feet of the structure give out. So the sand appears to have dropped from above, but it is giving out from below, like the legs of a gazelle after the teeth of a lion sink in.
The seven year-old son of the two middle-class parents begins to soften his salty eyes and falls to his knees. His hands clinch the warm sand underneath, no longer hot. A cloud looms overhead, perhaps rain: another deterrent for his industrialization of the beach. He begins to sob, because between the video games and the nacho chips, the soccer team Gatorade breaks and the math competitions, this middle class average Joe hasn’t had a chance to make anything with his bare hands on bare, man-made lands. He knows the beach too is a fraud, that if all these people were gone, the beach would be covered in dense brush, thick and spiny trees full of thorns and too many branches. There wouldn’t be sand anywhere for him to build with. Somebody gave him a chance at something completely different, even if it would have only stood for a few days before the weather got to it. But after his half of an hour of labor and preparation for the worst, he sees that sometimes you lose even when the intentions are good.