Thursday, 19 January 2006

World, My Navel. My Navel, World. Looking over what I've written these past many months I notice I've fallen into a comfortable rut of public consumables and quasi-private communications. A canny manipulator would claim this had been the plan all along: you come for the satire and general vituperation but stay for the desperate pleas of a random but individualized dissertator. Tonight I embrace the oscillation: Earlier Adam confessed he "sometimes gets sick of listening to music all the time." I'll match his confession with one of my own: I never listen to music anymore. Not really. When I cook. Or do the dishes. Or have the radio on in the car. Or when it cheaply manipulates my emotions while watching something. (I'm looking at you, Mr. Braff .) I still want to listen to music . . . only I find it difficult to find the right accompaniment to what I'm reading or writing. Once upon a time I could pair my literature with my music with ease. I would read Thomas Pynchon and listen to Lotion or couple James Joyce and The Levellers . A perfect fit? The Pynchon truly truly. The Joyce and every other novel I read and every other band I obsessed over were paired according to a logic predicated on nothing more than Kaufmanian contiguity. I read X while listening to Y and the two are now bound by Krazy Glue in my memory. Since I don't make many memories anymore which don't involve my desk and books and chair and daily writing routine I no longer create even random associations. In its place I become slave to a tune. What tune? Whichever one stuck in my head while I cooked or washed dishes or drove somewhere or watched something. If my iPod could do more than tamp down Adam's manuscript I wouldn't be in this mess. But it has lost the will to play. So I'm stuck with random hooks setting up house in my head. Or doing dishing constantly. Or having the gorgeous soundtrack to Battlestar Galictica on heavy rotation. (Were it not for the artificial drama it adds to the most mundane activities—Can he finish morning ablution before that Cylon RIGHT BEHIND HIM strikes!—I probably would. Who wouldn't want to listen the Gayatri Mantra in Sanskrit all the time? Especially when so beautifully rendered. But still.) The only alternative is to interrupt my vigorous wall-staring with the latest Wilco . . . but that would lead to some unwholesome associations. Who wants to associate breathtaking music with the suffocation of dissertating? I certainly don't. But what choice do I have? Blog under musical influence? If I listen while I blog my sense of my words will be scattered by the lyrics in my head. I have a quiet style any accompaniment will ruin. (Stop laughing. I do too have a quiet style.) I know the real solution is to find appropriate music for writing about S.W. Mitchell and evolutionarily-influenced historical romances about the Revolutionary War. I don't...

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