Wednesday, July 01, 2015 12:00 AM
Today as I tried once again to make the perfect playlist I was eventually lost amongst a directory of albums in My Music—an eclectic music-lover’s senior-level over-profusion. In a lifetime of seeking out and collecting every possible type of music (though I don’t enjoy every type of music I’ve found) I’ve accrued a collection too diverse and frankly just too large to be encompassed in a single playlist. It haunts me.
It’s also an apt metaphor for my intellectual life. I’ve learned enough history that any part of it resonates with the echoes of similar eras, similar fears, similar crimes—even victories that have to be won again and again. Hook that onto my semi-awareness of current events and now, all the news reports send me into spirals of hope, dread, exultation, and despair—but mostly into extended musings on the tragedy of human nature.
My sheet music collection is stacked all about my piano—thousands of incomplete attempts to learn the music of a hundred or more composers. Then there are my piano recordings—I’ve uploaded over 1,700 videos to YouTube over the past several years. There’s no way I’m ever going to get that organized—or even get a vague sense of what the whole mess amounts to. This writing I’m doing right here—just the most recent addition to tens of thousands of pages of random, disorganized essays, poems, memoirs, anecdotes, and other involuntary effusions of erudition—although it could be described differently, depending on the reader.
I don’t see how anyone could enjoy it more than I do—it’s pretty egocentric, in the main. And even I don’t care for a lot of it. It’s not easy to write something worth reading—and I’m too OCD to simply delete my failed efforts. I’m an autobiographical hoarder—and the result is a mass of writing from which no one will ever extract a polished diamond, as Ezra Pound did with T. S. Eliot’s original manuscript for ‘The Waste Land’. My writings are destined to be merely a waste land—strictly lower-case.
If you’re not me, it’s kind of funny. All my life I’ve heard people talk about how you have to focus on one thing to ever get anywhere. I’ve ignored that bit of wisdom and here I am, at 59, running right into a brick wall of infinite beginnings and limitless unrealized efforts. It turns out there’s a reason why eclectic-minded people are usually a little screwy—being unfocused is a poor survival strategy—hell, it’s a poor strategy for anything—so you have to be a little crazy to go there.
I never get bored, at least. I do get confused however—but it’s a nice sort of confusion—the world is so big, so varied, so infinite—it’s like being stoned without being stoned. Not that I could speak to that.
Now here are two videos. One is very silly, because I just sing the word “Hey” over and over. The other one just has a silly title (a la Papa Hemingway) but the playing is serious, for me at least.