A Piece of Music I Will Not Compose

January 28, 2012 § Leave a comment

A piece of music I will not compose is a Concerto for Conductor and Orchestra.

It would change meter every bar, and the meters would be very odd and often compound. But the orchestra would simply hold one chord for the entire duration, each bar tied to the next.

So while the orchestra holds one long chord, the conductor is waving his arms in all sorts of difficult and constantly changing patterns.

But I will not compose it.


Finishing is a more important thing.

January 27, 2012 § Leave a comment

Today I finished my first novel.

It is not a good novel. But it is a completed novel.

I knew that it was awful about 1/3 of the way through. The question remains: why did I finish it?

Sometimes just being done with something is more important than the something.

But of course that makes no sense.

January 24, 2012 § Leave a comment

The most difficult thing in the world is accepting yourself, being okay with yourself. Not loving yourself – just accepting yourself. Just saying okay this is me now. I have done many things that many might consider difficult – I’ve written symphonies and I’ve learned not to hate and I’ve forgiven and I’ve lived in a van and I even made chicken ice cream once. But God knows I have not learned to accept myself.

I should have been an architect, should have been a doctor, should have gone to graduate school. I should have broken up with her sooner. I should have never broken up with her. I should have never tried cocaine or cigarettes. I shouldn’t have cut myself with that Buck knife back then. I should have worn more suits. I shouldn’t have left New York. I should have never gone to New York. I should have said the other thing.

But I didn’t. I didn’t. Because I cannot wear a suit. Because I did not say the other thing. Because everything was what it had to be, in some sense.

I think about being late for the plane, the plane, so much, all the time. If I am three hours late for the plane or if I barely miss the plane – which one seems to hurt more? The answer is obvious. Why? Because you feel like you could have made it. But you couldn’t, because you didn’t.

I want to be Spinozan about the whole situation. His logic I get, I do. But it doesn’t really make it any easier, the way you can know pain is a chemical but still feel the hurt.

Inevitability, mind you, is not the same as a “reason.” Things happen for a “reason” only in the sense that something came before that thing. But there aren’t any “reasons” such that you should feel particularly comforted by them.

You want to say: I could have been someone. But of course that makes no sense.


January 17, 2012 § Leave a comment

Saturn begins to return.

I don’t believe in that shit; still I hope. And I hope. And I hope.

On A Holiday, Lake Briggs, 2012

January 16, 2012 § Leave a comment

Rural Minnesota in the winter may be the most romantic place in the world. Ice fishing huts are scattered across the lake. Kids and parents and old fishermen go from one to the next to see who is catching what. Inside the huts people drink light beer and aquavit around tiny propane heaters and talk about how mild the winter is. A couple girls are playing hockey in a rink they’ve cleared. A middle-aged woman is trying to play catch with her new puppy, but he’s having a hard time not slipping and sliding everywhere. Smoke pours from chimneys around the lake as the sun sets and people start their evening fires. I can imagine, as it gets dark, all the fishermen going inside to sit down to a dinner of tater tot casserole with some kind of bar for dessert. After dinner they drink decaf coffee and talk about how every year it seems they catch less and less fish, every damn year don’t you know.

I miss Portland. Some days so much my heart hurts. I miss people with tattoos and I miss microbrews and sushi and live music and boutique groceries and the smell of weed wafting from a bedroom window on NE Alberta Street on a Thursday afternoon.

But it is hard not to see the earnestness here, the way people here love the simple things, the way they aren’t too cynical to admit how wonderful it is to pass a holiday afternoon ice skating and sipping homemade hot cocoa, and not fall into a sort of limerence with this place.

There’s a feeling that all you’d need to be happy here is someone to love you and a decent truck with four wheel drive.

What Happened?

January 13, 2012 § Leave a comment

I am in Florida, with my parents. They wanted to vacation down here, and asked if I needed to get out of the cabin for a bit. I said yes, because, as weird as going to Florida with your parents might sound, the truth is I did need to get out of the cabin.

Two things happened today:

1) We went to the Kennedy Space Center, by my request. We spent the day hearing all about how 40 years ago we went to the fucking Moon, how we made the longest runway in the world with one long pour, how 400,000 people in the 60s and early 70s worked together to achieve the greatest thing that man has ever done.

2) Back at the hotel bar, I ordered a vodka martini (not my usual drink), and the bartender made it with Triple Sec instead of Vermouth and put a lime in it.

I wish it was the sixties I wish we could be happy

The Other is a Plurality

January 12, 2012 § Leave a comment

Sometimes when I’m reading and looking at all the neat things on the internet that seem to surface everyday, I start to feel really poorly. I start to feel very bad about myself, very unaccomplished. Sometimes I forget that the entirety of neat that is on the internet was not created by one person. That many of these pieces of neat represent years and years of diligence, just to make one tiny neat.

I have to try to remember that I have not failed because I have not made everything that there is. If I can make one tiny neat, one day, that is enough.

Or is it?

Where Am I?

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