Thursday, September 28, 2006


All in all, I managed to wring a productive day out of this one. Cleaned my room, did laundry, deposited a check, got my emissions tested and then my car's--passed, renewed my VA registration, pushed the big pile of change on my dresser into a plastic bag and used a Coinstar for the first time ($25.00, give or take), had dinner, went to campus, gave Jay a CD I made for him with the program from our night at the Kennedy Center, plus various pieces from various composers intended as an introduction to classical music, went to the gym (6th day in a row! I can take tomorrow off!), practiced the piano on the beautiful chapel piano at the law center, Beethoven, Op.28, the Pastoral Sonata, got home, drank a protein shake, listened to jazz, wrote some emails.

I noticed that when I got done playing the piano and started listening to my mp3 player, the music sounded much more alive (Bartok's Cantata Profana). I could hear details I usually don't notice. I wonder if, for musicians, that's how listening to music always is.

Things I've been listening to: Bartok's Cantata is great--I need to find a translation--I've lately noticed how much more enjoyable all music is when you know what the singers are saying. He has a number of choruses for children choir that are lots of fun, rhythmically punchy, nice counterpoint. Bluebeard's Castle is one of the greatest operas ever written--overblown Freudian libretto nonwithstanding. Poulenc's Gloria is silly, but man, so enjoyable.

The rain was falling on a sunny day this afternoon. I spotted a rainbow over Arlington.


I recall Schopenhauer writing that the reason the curtain falls so quickly after the hero vanquishes the enemy and claims his bride is because there is only misery to follow. And that's the case for any accomplishment. But pessimism makes for bad theater, and so the playwright drops the curtains like guillotines. Ah, this takes us back, back to my junior year of high school, when I carried around a copy of Die Welt als Wille und Vorstellung and lost myself in the only person who seemed to understand anything about the world.

Now I don't think that's true as a rule: there are, to be sure, things life which I am glad to have done, things which even now I know were the right things to do (but too few, too few! [and what were they? a friend afraid he had HIV, and so I told him I'd go get tested with him, a few love letters sent, conversations with my mother, those nights I kissed my brothers' cheeks when they were sleeping, going to San Francisco with cobloggers, and yes, even the sad, after Nicole broke up with me and I spent night after night listening to the second movement from Tchaikovsky's Fourth, that was right, too--is there a pattern here?). That it should be hard to rest content is no argument against accomplishing the intitial feat. And satiety happens, if rarely.

Oh, but I sympathize, Arthur. So many things in our lives (or maybe just mine) are not what we'd hoped they'd be. One scales a cliff only to find the view a trifling thing. Is it all cliffs? Or just the ones you picked?

Maybe the bottom always falls out. Maybe hope is irrational, and no one thing will be what's expected or anything good at all. Never what you wanted, maybe it's only an excuse; maybe we don't know what we want, but we have a need to do something, goddamnit, and so we (or I) just push out of our minds the nagging fear that what we're heading for is not what we want. And instead we just concentrate on getting there--wherever--because that's concrete and easy, while figuring out where you should be going is a great and terrifying thing.

Why indeed did I come to law school? Straight to law school, no less, without a moment of meditation. (something anything, there wherever)

Tracks are comfortable--gentle progressions in romance, and we date, and cuddle and cohabitate and then marry, or each day throw on more weights at the gym, or lock in the set course of a graduate degree, take it all class by class, or find a book, page by page, volume by volume, whether or not you enjoy it or there's even a reason to be reading it, easier than wondering what you should be.

If I had had any guts, I would have tried to write fiction for a living.

But I was desperate and sick of an old passion. Or just as lost as always. And scared sometimes; that's a problem, too.

Oh, I don't know, I don't know what I should be knowing.

Maybe it's temporary. Maybe there's a task to be done that should be done, a girl that will fit and make you know it, a place, a time where it's all what you dreamed of. Maybe there's something to tune into, a frequency that tells us why and what to do, and I just need to read it. Some way.

I heard from an old friend tonight for the first time in a long time, and it made me smile.