Thinking with Sad Ears and Fingers

I begin to write this at 10:29 pm on the evening before I will post these words. That’s the time I started writing this post; time will tell when I finish it. As I write this, I am listening to Surrexit Dominus – Tempo Pasquale: Ad Cenam Agni Providi.  Something about this Gregorian chant disturbs me. It is not a calm chant; it is full of energy and chaos. It does not calm me. As I listen to it, I am not happy with it. I want something different. But this is what I have; I have choices, but none I can make at this instance.

All right, I’ve abandoned chant in favor of Los Centzontles playing Voy Caminando.  That’s better. I feel closer to the musicians and singers; they are my people, despite my inability to speak their language.  Now, I continue listening to Los Centzontles, but I move on to Sueños, with Taj Mahal singing. I love it!

So, now I move on to Nina Simone and My Baby Just Cares for Me, then What A Wonderful World by Louis Armstrong.  Then, changing gears abruptly, I listen to Old Number Seven by The Devil Makes Three.  Then, Land of the Bottom Line by John Gorka.  And then to Antje Duvekot’s Lighthouse.

Some evenings, my melancholy can be kept in check only by music; those nights are the ones I think I should have attempted to be a song-writer. I can write the lyrics, as I often do, but the tunes elude wme; I am incompetent with the mechanics of music. Maybe I would have been a good partner to someone who writes tunes; that’s a “what if” I’ll never know, though, isn’t it? Occasionally, the pain of knowing what will never be is more than a soul can comfortably abide. Yet the soul just keeps on going, doesn’t it?

And that leads to what’s on line now. Hey Joe. Jimi Hendrix. “Where you going with that gun in your hand?” And so now I’m back to the real world. The world in which we kill people who don’t conform to our expectations and demands.  Better turn that off!  There’s better music, music better suited to improving my mood, don’t you think?  Yep. “Castles Made of Sand,” another Hendrix piece is better.  But still more ugliness. Crap! Can’t I elude this mood-murdering stuff?

Cat Stevens. Morning Has Broken. It’s a piece of religious music!  Not my style! But I love the tune, I love the words. My eyes cannot remain dry when I listen to it. I melt into an emotional heap when I hear it. I wonder what the hell it is about this music that impacts me so much? It’s raw and powerful; it tears the fabric of my soul. If only I knew what the fabric was; and what that soul is.

The mood has changed!  Memphis in the Meantime by John Hiatt has done it! My melancholy has transformed into something radically different.  I am ready to dance, something I don’t do…ever. I wish I had learned to dance, though. I have always been embarrassed to dance; I’m a clutz. But I think dancing has the ability to fix a broken mood, or maybe even a broken soul.  Some day, maybe.

But then Have a Little Faith in Me, came up, another John Hiatt tune. My mood drifts south a little.

And now, Janis Joplin, Piece of My Heart.  I hate that she died so young. She was a rebel who deserved to live and teach us the value of rebellion. We lost a lot when we lost her. Like we lost a lot when we lost Molly Ivins. I never heard Molly Ivins sing; I wonder, did she? Probably, but not in public.

Okay. I’ve changed gears again. Dejame Vivir by Jarabe de Palo. I love the music, though I can only barely (or not at all) translate it.  And, also by Jarabe de Palo, Depende.

Music has the ability to spread salve over pain. Even when we don’t know what the hell the pain is all about. What is this pain? What pain?  Is it something I’m making up? If so, why? If not, what the hell is it?

I feel like I’m at the bottom of a well, feeling the water flood from the surface down on me, not knowing how to break loose of what’s tying me here to the bottom, but knowing if I can’t find it I’ll drown. Somewhere, in words, there’s salvation. In words there is a path to the surface.

I am relatively certain I’ll regret having written this stream-of-consciousness drivel in the morning.  But I’m scheduling its publication, nonetheless. I’ll be up earlier to write my rumination for the day, so I can stop this from “going to press.” But if I have guts, I’ll let my odd little rant go online as I’ve written it. Maybe, in the morning, I’ll know more about what all this means. I’ve been in front of this screen for an hour. I deserve some sleep. I really believe I do; anyone who’s had to endure these thoughts for an hour deserves sleep.

A night of sleep has cured the melancholy mood. This morning, I’ve re-read a short story by a writer friend and offered comments and suggestions. I’ve been through two cups of coffee. Even though I arose later than I expected to, I’ve been reading and writing for long enough this morning that I know words really are salvation. Words are far better than drugs at fixing what ails you; they target malaise.





About John Swinburn

"Love not what you are but what you may become."― Miguel de Cervantes
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3 Responses to Thinking with Sad Ears and Fingers

  1. I think. I write. I wish. I wander. says:

    Thanks, Holly! Great quote. And you never pass up a change to suggest a nom de plume, do you?! 😉 But, as you no doubt know, the quote has never (to my knowledge) been reliably traced to Mary Ann Evans. Nevertheless, I love it. And maybe I’ll try to live it.

  2. Holly Forrest says:

    On this question of you as lyricist who missed his chance, remember what George Eliot wrote.

    With all the ways to connect via the inter webs, you could find your tune writer easily.

    For the record, this is not drivel; I am glad you shared your words and playlist. Much goodness there.

  3. Trisha says:

    Yes, the dance, John! Does wonders for the spirit, and if you ask me, not to late to learn my friend! 😉

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