August 6th, 2003

abstract butterfly

Dance the Frog

"There is no pain, you are receding.
A distant ship's smoke on the horizon.
You are only coming through in waves.
Your lips move but I can't hear what you're sayin'.
When I was a child I had a fever.
My hands felt just like two balloons.
Now I got that feeling once again.
I can't explain, you would not understand.
This is not how I am.
I have become comfortably numb".--Pink Floyd song

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abstract butterfly

middle ground

"You'll do better, Licinius, not to spend your life venturing too far out on dangerous waters, or else, or fear of storms, staying too close in to the dangerous rocky shoreline. The man does best who chooses the middle way, so that he doesn't end up under a roof that's going to ruin, or in some gorgeous mansion that everybody envies"--Horace (tr. D. Ferry)

I think sometimes that it's easier to live in sweeping theories and in impossible expectations than it is to live moderately in an immoderate world. If one sets one's goals unrealistically enough, then one can assert that (a) all worthy goals are unattainable and (b) all goals which are attainable are unworthy. The resulting frustration gets kinda comfortable, like a huge scab over a wound that festered way too long.

Living in moderation, though, struggling to find one's values and one's life both are workable--much more challenging, and yet much more worthy. The middle way--to live in this world, awful as it is, and try to steer things towards the good--is the Way. It's unromantic, this middle way--it's just what works.

But it lacks the radical highs and lows which appeal so much to the doomsayer or the triumphalist. It requires perspective. As Horace says "be resolute when things are going against you, but shorten sail when the fair wind blows too strong".

Seventy to ninety years, this all lasts, if one is particularly fortunate. That's not long enough to live in frustration and still live at all. It's far too long to live in disappointment.
abstract butterfly

acoustic madness, sans drums

My friend Scott and I wish to do more recording, as we had such a grand time putting together "Vibrating Electric Fields", which has now sold a grand total of 3 copies, making it at least as successful as most indie label releases. Heck, we may even recoup our zero advance. I've been asked to contribute a track to a compilation album of effects, using those zany electric football fields, which we'll have to record soon.

I have this hankering now to go in a different direction. One nice thing about doing projects as silly fun is that one can go whichever way one prefers to go, within reason. Accordingly, Scott and I decided that our next recording will be an album of actual songs. I was going to say "folk" songs, but that conjures up a lot of associations about traditions, poignance and talent that really do not apply. Then I was going to say "folk/rock" songs, but again, that seems a bit grandiose. What I really mean is that we are going to do acoustic-driven, drumless tunes in which three chord melodies accompany lyrics I write, although, as I write that, the whole affair begins to have an Aztec Camera air about it. I liked the old band Aztec Camera, but I don't confuse anything I do with the kind of earnestness and talent that marked Roddy Frame's work.

Instead, this is music as extended joke, except that I plan to sing. My singing voice could be charitably described as thrift-store-quality, but I love to sing. Scott and I have a mutual friend, Del, who has volunteered to be our bass-voiced background singer.
We may not be good, but we will be bad in multiple parts.

I suppose that the key challenge now is to write lyrics. I must write 10 sets of lyrics for Scott to set to music. Del to write 2. I tried to write song lyrics in gurdonpoems, but I was not happy with the results. I want to be pithy, but pithy in rhyme and meter. But I am really a free verse kinda guy.

Maybe the key is to make songs out of weblog posts. That might work, provided I don't mention "art", politics, positive thinking, chess or guppies. On the other hand, maybe chess and guppies are okay.

In the Fall, I complete my novel from last year, and self-publish as I promised myself. Then it will be November, and I'll write another novel. Perhaps this novel will have a plot. Perhaps I'll do without talking whales. Perhaps I'll write about real people and how they do the most amazing things. Perhaps instead I'll set it on an android planet. An android planet without music. But then--a drum falls on a meteor. Everyone gets caught up in the rock n roll madness. Well, never mind.