October 17, 2002

polyphonic hand-wringing

In high school I was a huge band geek. In jazz band we would work our asses off for months, practicing, rehearsing, pouring over parts until all our efforts were optimized for generating song. The world would always pay off with the emotional rush from playing a rocking concert together. You could feel the wires threading through every member of the band into a thick cord that shot out into the audience. The days and days of rehearsal came down to that one hour of playing, but it was always worth it. We were united in our singular purpose. After these concerts I would float, all worries cast aside in that one burning display of artistic accomplishment.

I don’t get that anymore. Jazz band in college is academic. We go through the motions but never seem to scrape the surface of why we produce music. Everyone in the band is pressing their buttons at just about the right time, but there isn’t any drive behind their actions. I don’t feel the soul, the heart, the passion. I haven’t felt it while playing ever since leaving high school, and that is one reason I must have ducked out of my jazz studies major. It lost its glimmer. The love was gone, replaced with rigors.

Now, I love rigors, as the only way to get better at something is by digging into its guts and whoopin’ away at it. The only reason I am a better writer now than I was a year ago is because I’ve taken a ton of classes that have demanded I write, and I’ve disciplined myself into writing in this crazy site at least a couple times a week. I will not get better at writing by wishing that my experience of writing was wrought with flashing lights and girls in thongs and tall bottles of gin. I will get better at writing by writing no matter the circumstances I am given. This is the drive, the applied force vector. This is good. This keeps me moving.

My interest in my classes is waning, which acts as a definite drag coefficient. I am becoming bored, and I can’t stand to be bored. Boredom implies idleness of the mind. I can’t concentrate on my readings (of which I have plenty) because (a) I find them boring and (b) there are too many other thoughts rattling around in my head. These thoughts are all vaporous and unformed, as it has not yet proved itself conducive to go through the work of extracting them. They are thoughts of little significant meaning, but they bubble up from the boredom that comes from reading a conspiracy theorist’s book about cognitive science.

I feel reduced, like I’m this little speck on the face of the earth of no consequence, and I cannot stand this thought. I want to mean something. I need to mean something. To feel like I mean something I need to do something, but my fidgety hands are tied behind my back with these boring rigors of higher academics. There’s no doubt that I need this education’ I just wish it didn’t feel so counterintuitive as I move through it. I wish I could just go to bed and wake up after I’ve graduated, and feel like I have some control over realizing my passions in my work.

Then I think that perhaps nothing will change after I leave college; that I’m bound to this track of malcontent and insatiable enthusiasm. I will continue to push myself, yes, because I can’t justify relaxing my grip of the reins. I will build, I will grow, but I will never feel a sense of accomplishment. I like to think that all my efforts in college will culminate in a final grand concert where I land a delightful job as a weblogger for a jam band, but most likely I will end up writing grant proposals and eating more shit. ‘Oh, you were a good student in college. That means you get to write business grant proposals instead of legal grant proposals.’ It sucks now, so on what basis do I maintain the belief that it won’t suck in the future?

It’s the classic Danish fretting. Oh, where is the train? Maybe the train won’t arrive. Maybe the trains don’t run on Sundays. I wring my hands over things, and I can’t help but do it. I don’t want to fret. Worrying is a complete waste of time, as it has no effect on the outcome of events. No one ever comes up to you and says everything turned out alright because they spent their time worrying about it. Worry is a horrible time sink that chews up the day with stress and inactivity. There is no logical reason for it, but I can’t help but fret.

Fuck this, motherfretter.


I wonder which is better… chronic worrying or chronic apathy. I think I’m more a victim of the latter, with occasional spikes of the former intruding on the otherwise artificially placid surface of my consciousness. Being in this Weird Tokyo place has really been a shock to the system… It won’t help, but I’ll say it anyway: don’t worry. You have something good going on. The worst case scenario will find you with a job you don’t care for and plenty of free time to pursue what you love. You’re a member of a priveliged class, yo.

A wise person once told me that the worst enemy to happiness was one’s self. I truly wish I had half the talent as you Dane. I think I have proven, however that as long as you can put in enough effort to make you happy, the end result is irrelevant… (My piano playing is one true example! 🙂 ) So as long as the SONYGURM! still makes sense, you’re doin’ okay in my book.

LUKE says that once you graduate college, you realize now you now have the time to fully put your efforts into an equalizing counter-intuitive job. Thats why i went to grad school, I dont wanna have a job. I wanna push rocks down steep hills. sigh.