December 11, 2001

rumbling veins

It takes two to sacrifice

Three if you count the deity

Four with the french whore

Ok, it’s time again to reconcile existential quandries. In English, another rant about school is on the way. Luckily this one isn’t taking place in the wee hours of the morning, so it will be far less entertaining and not very insightful.

In the past few months I’ve been inundated with reading in the veins of Thoreau, Emerson and Walt Whitman, and it is reawakening individualistic urges that I’ve been trying to suppress ever since entering college.

Freshman year was very dark for me; trying to adjust to college (and living around people with subwoofers), not having any time for friends because of the demands from music and school, and trying to figure out what direction I wanted to go in music. I could not figure out how to spend my free time. Do I compose four hours a day? Practice four hours? Kick major ass in my classes and push my passions aside, for they cost me too much valuable time? Play outside?

This was the subject Natasha and I discussed at Du Nord that year; the conversation I mentioned on Nov. 29. I came up with no resolution, but it still felt good to release the pent-up mental dissonance. Wooch! was a beautiful tonic, and it was that cathartic trip that kept me sane enough to manage the rest of the year.

However, the freshman bitterness still prevailed. When the 2000 census came around I refused to put my residence down as Duluth. “This isn’t my home. I have no home. I don’t have homework, for that implies a home. I simply have work, and I hate it.” I swore out my window on 60 degree March days as hundreds of kids played outside, while I was stuck indoors writing papers for Human Diversity. It all paid off, I suppose, because I managed straight A’s in my 10 classes each semester… except for Human Diversity, which pulled a B+ for some goddamn reason.

Sophomore year was similar, only it occasionally involved more pleasant thoughts and cowboys than before. I tried to have a girlfriend, but my time constraints quickly quelled that interest. Most of my days were spent in class, rehearsing, practicing, doing homework, sleeping or stressing about all five above.

Until something clicked. How do I minimize my suffering, I wondered. I hate the way my life is conducting itself… How do I get control back in my hands? What if… I changed my major?

Suddenly, last February it was all clear: Writing will cure my soul. Cromlech was born. A custom writing major was drawn up. My feet didn’t hit the ground for weeks. I left the School of Fine Arts with academic pyrotechnics. Four straight semesters on the Dean’s List and the highest grade percentage in Theory IV. Things will be fine from here on out. Dane will maintain Cromlech. Dane will write articles. Dane will play Wooch! Dane will snowboard. Dane will love school.

Erm… not quite. I have a bit more free time under my new system, but I still push myself for academic perfection and jeopardize everything but school. The question was raised today in American Lit, “If you knew you only had six months left to live, what would you do differently?” Well, I thought, pretty much everything… and I realized I wasn’t satisfied with that answer.

I work as hard as I do in school not because I sincerely want to, but because I want to have an enjoyable job when I graduate. I love the learning aspect of school and many of my classes fascinate me, but I fear I do an over-dedication. My classes ask much more studying from me than I actually do (I haven’t cracked my Geology book since the last exam) and yet I still spend an uncomfortable amount of time doing homework. During the school year I don’t have/make time to read books for enjoyment, and that scares me. I’ve only been to the Nerd House twice this year, to hang out with people I visited nearly every day for part of last year.

So, everything will be ok when I graduate and get a job, right? I doubt it. If I don’t resolve this eventually, it will follow me right to the grave. I skimp on life now so it’ll be more rewarding post-college. I’ll work hard then and climb the wobbly ladder of figurative success, work harder so my kids can go to college, work more to have a safe retirement… and die at fifty with nothing to show for it. But wait, where did those kids come from? How the hell did I find time for a woman, even less a wife, with all my crap?

I find myself enticed by individualism, and three years of rationalizing has not quieted that buzzing in my ear. I can ignore it for long periods but I always come back to the same core passions. I want to do something I find rewarding, that allows me time for the people I care about, that pushes me and allows the growth I desire. There is a dichotomy between my genius and my actions, and I do not enjoy that one bit.

She says your d´┐Żbutante knows what you need, but I know what you want.