This post is veering from my original intention for it, but I’m going to toss in some stuff that didn’t make it into my first post, so maybe my original idea for this one will get posted at some point (it was a really funny allegory, at least I thought so. Then again, I came up with it during a bout of my traditional post-migraine euphoria where everything seems amazing and awesome and wonderful, so I don’t totally trust my judgement.)
So, more stream-of-consciousness from the wild river of my mind. Ever since the new year began, I’ve been trying to get my life better organized. Since I work retail, during the Christmas season laundry/cleaning/dishes/etc. built up, and now I’m doing the fun task of trying to catch up on all of it. Yay! I’m also doing battle with an evil mouse that has invaded my apartment. It’s some kind of evil genius and has figured out how to eat the peanut butter off the first two kinds of traps I set without getting killed. I will be deploying the fearsome glue trap tomorrow.
Anyway, I’ve been working on all of this while continuing to work as many hours as I was during the Christmas season, and doing lots of little chores day after day. Obviously, there’s not a whole lot of improvement from any one thing. So my life recently has been kind of like, “Yay! I made it through another eight hour shift! I went grocery shopping! I’m sticking to my budget! I brought my lunch! I did the dishes! I’m building so much character and perseverance! Yay!” and “No, you don’t need to buy that Rolling Stone magazine, it’s not worth spending $4.99 just so you can read the interview with Stevie Nicks, at which point you’ll probably either toss it, or more likely, leave it sitting around until you lose it, and then find it two years later all crumpled-up and gross-looking. Also, you don’t need to buy that chocolate mousse either. It’s $3.50 and you already had a cookie today. Go home and eat some fruit.”
(I want my “Adulthood Trophy” as the brilliant Allie Brosch put it in Hyperbole and a Half.)
After several weeks, it’s been finally getting to me. The blog post I wrote last week helped- I got in touch with a bunch of people I hadn’t talked to in a while, which reminded me I wasn’t just some kind of productivity machine. Then yesterday, one of my supervisors at work mentioned that they were thinking of training me to advance to the next level, and he asked if I would be interested in that. I said yes, so hopefully that works out. Anyway, that helped some, but I’m still feeling like each day is the same.
I’ve learned that this means that I need to add more joy to my life, because otherwise I start unconsciously imitating the writer of Ecclesiastes and being like “Life is meaningless, a chasing after the wind.” At which point I become a hermit and hole up in my hermit cave. So that’s partly why I’m trying to do all this organizing, so I’m prepared to move out fairly soon and find some place with more windows, no mice, and that allows cats. I’m MUCH happier when I have a feline overlord to serve.
I’ve not been having much luck though. A friend of mine and I were planning to go to a Fleetwood Mac concert, but the cheapest seats they had were $60 a piece, so it wasn’t really affordable for either of us (Side Note to Fleetwood Mac: Why are your tickets so expensive?!?! Aren’t you already really rich?) Hopefully I can think of something else soon that’ll actually end up working. Right now I’m gradually working through all the Diane Keaton movies that the public library has, but I feel like I need something with more sense of adventure. I’m feeling like the narrator of “Thunder Road” (which is an amazing and brilliant song that you should totally listen to). Anyway, this post is kind of all over the place, (and much less profound than I had hoped it would be) but I needed to get this off my chest. As always, feedback/communication of any kind is appreciated!
The last few weeks have been pretty stressful. I’m not going to go into a lot of detail, but my dad, brother, aunt, grandmother, counselor, English professor, doctor, psychiatrist, and multiple friends all think I need to get away from home, at least for a while. I’m continuing to look for a job and apartment in Missouri, but it’s a very time-consuming process. In the mean time, here are some song recommendations for you all (in no particular order), since what is life without music?
“It’s All Over, Mary Ann”- written by Jim Croce, performed by Jim and Ingrid Croce
This is one of Croce’s less well-known songs. Jim and Ingrid’s vocals are amazing, and the harmonies are absolutely wonderful. The extremely simple accompaniment (one guitar quietly playing the same two arpeggios over and over) allow their voices to really shine.
“Turn the Page”- written and performed by Bob Seger
The lyrics really get across the loneliness of life on the road. Seger’s understated delivery adds a feeling of weariness that makes the song even more expressive. And the saxophone part is just outstanding. It makes this haunting sound that I didn’t think saxophones were capable of.
“Tangled Up in Blue”- written and performed by Bob Dylan
In my opinion, this is one of Dylan’s best songs. His voice is at its peak (he’s actually on key for once!). The lyrics are creative and original, without delving into the excessive surrealism that sometimes marks Dylan’s work. The judicious use of the harmonica works wonderfully. Also, once you know the words, it’s really fun to sing along with, and very cathartic. It’s a little hard to figure out the story’s narrative, but you can get the gist of it pretty easily (Guy meets girl, keeps getting separated from her and tries to find her again. Despite what it sounds like, it’s really upbeat.). It’s not told in chronological order (I read somewhere it was inspired by Cubism (the art style)) so it’s got that Dylan strangeness that’s so appealing (well, to me anyway). I would suggest finding the original version from Blood on the Tracks. Apparently Dylan decided the song worked better in third person soon after he recorded it, and has performed it that way ever since. I disagree, but it’s his song, so he can do whatever he wants. It seems to have worked out well for him so far.
“Mercy Seat”- written by Nick Cave, performed by Johnny Cash
This is a song I would never have come across if Johnny Cash hadn’t covered it. I looked up the original recording by Cave, and absolutely hated his voice. (Which supports my axiom that everything sounds better when sung by Johnny Cash. Even if the original version was good, Cash’s version will sound better. It’s a fact of life.) I love the lyrics though, so I have to respect Cave for that. The song’s narrator is a criminal on death row who’s about to be executed, and who might not be totally sane. He keeps protesting his innocence, while going on a rambling stream-of-consciousness monologue that conflates the electric chair with the mercy seat (from the Bible, either God’s throne or where priests used to make sacrifices for people’s sins. I’m not totally sure. Either way, it’s got something to do with divine judgement, which is the important thing.) Cash’s voice is perfect for the lyrics- perhaps that’s why I hated Cave’s version so much. The ending is ambiguous- the narrator makes an admission that changes everything, and then falls silent (indicating that he’s died). At the end, there’s a lengthy piano solo that relieves all the emotional tension built up throughout the song.
“Carey”- written and performed by Joni Mitchell
You didn’t think I was going to let you get away before I recommended a Joni Mitchell song, did you? I almost recommended “Free Man in Paris” instead, since that’s probably more relevant to my life right now, but I chose “Carey” for its feeling of joie de vivre, which is something that’s rather lacking in my life at the current moment. It’s about a guy Mitchell was dating while living in a cave in Greece (Really! It was 1970, so I guess it was the times…). Anyway, “Carey” is the guy she’s dating that she’s going to break up with (Since apparently she didn’t want to live in a cave in Greece for the rest of her life. Totally understandable, in my opinion). But she’s decided to put it off for the moment and just enjoy the evening. The song’s syncopated rhythm is fun, and I LOVE Mitchell’s voice- it’s incredibly expressive. This is quite possibly the most flirtatious song I’ve ever heard. (Fun fact: Carey, the “bright red devil” in this song, also features in “California” as the “red, red rogue”).
I’m starting to die of boredom. Even though I’m taking a couple classes at Kirkwood, I still have a lot of time on my hands (cue Styx’s “Too Much Time On My Hands”). I’ve tried all the usual things like cleaning my room and doing a long-overdue purging of my book collection. And as you, my readers, know, I’ve started this blog! So I was wondering if anyone had any suggestions for other ways to constructively use my exile.
I’m thinking about starting to practice the piano again for half an hour a day. Other than that, I don’t really have any specific goals. I guess now would be a good time to read “Les Miserables” and cross that off my bucket list (the fifth time’s the charm!). All I know is that I feel like I’m just spinning my wheels here, and it’s slowly driving me crazy!