opus one

Every day is a symphony.

The first movement opens with a shrill beepbeepbeepbeep beepbeepbeepbeep beepbeepbeepbeep, followed by the rustling of sheets, the rustling of clothes, a fountain, a flush, a backpack’s zipper, and the squeak of a door being closed slowly as to not awaken the roommate who woke up with the first beepbeepbeepbeep but is kind enough to pretend that he is still asleep.  Rubber-soled shoes squeak on linoleum and patter on stone.  The pattern of the patter is altered as staircases are descended.  A silent door is opened and for the first time a low murmuring of voices can be heard.

The tenor opens his mouth in a brief solo.

“Good morning.”

A lower voice responds.

“Good morning.”

Silverware jingles and plates clink.  A chair scraping against the floor marks the end of the first movement.  The soloist sits down to breakfast.

art songs

For Mom, on her birthday:

My mom told me that when she was pregnant with me I would kick her in time with the church organ.

My mom told me a story that I now tell anyone who will listen.  It is about me when I was a toddler.  I didn’t like being alone.  If I was bad, my parents would threaten to close the door during nap time.  This achieved its desired result because to me a closed door meant being cut off from the world.  During this stage of my life, Mum and Dad sang me to sleep every night after the Lord’s prayer and final bathroom run—which had various code names like “Ooka laka.” (Don’t ask.)  After this ritual, Mom often rested on the rug next to my bed until I fell asleep.  If she didn’t, I wouldn’t.

On this specific occasion, my mom thought I was asleep.  She got up and started to quietly leave the room.  I noticed and said, “Mommy, back to your mat!”  That was the last time Mommy slept on her mat.

But the singing didn’t stop.  I don’t even remember what my parents sang to me besides Swing Low, Sweet Chariot. There were a good number of hymns, like A Mighty Fortress is Our God, often sung in harmony.  I remember one non-hymn that Dad sang by himself.  It went: Continue reading

approaching saturation

“You Can Only Live Once” by the Strokes: the springs of 7th and 8th grade
The rest of  the album First Impressions of Earth by the Strokes: the winters of 9th and 10th grade
Supertramp and Abba: doing chores and making up dumb little dances with my sister in the old brick house in Manchester, NH.
How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb by U2: my family’s trip to Riviera Maya, Mexico for spring break of 7th grade.
“Fall Creek Boys Choir” by James Blake and Bon Iver: goofing off with my Blacber in our dorm room last year.
21 by Adele and the Ladder by Andrew Belle: Homework late at night during my senior year of high school.
the National: many things, mainly the more depressing parts of the last few years.
the Goat Rodeo Sessions: Mapping out essays on white boards with Brian last year.

Our brains link noise to memories.  For me, it has come to the point where most of the music I like is already claimed by a specific memory or feeling. “I’m sentimental if you know what I mean,” says Leonard Cohen in “Democracy,” but let’s not even go there.

X & Y by Coldplay: flying to Seattle for the first time.
The Silversun Pickups: turning any summer car ride into a joy ride through Western Michigan.

It used to be that I would just know what to listen to, but now, not always.  I need to start listening to new music.

“I was born with the gift of a gooooolden… ticket?”

I bought my ticket to see Leonard Cohen in November!  He will be playing at Key Arena in Seattle, and I have wanted to see him for… well… a solid year.  I haven’t been a fan of his for a long time, but he became one of my favorites this past year and a half or so.  He is old, wise, and a little on the creepy side… like an ideal grandfather!

The title of this post comes from the following song.  Enjoy!