Ennui Entree

Dear J-

It was tough getting up yesterday morning but this morning? Way tough. Plus I’m pretty sure I would have been better off sticking a beanie under my helmet; it’s getting a little cold again. It might rain next week. The weather is fine, wish you were here. that last I do, you know: I’m getting more used to having people to talk to and listening to music gets me only so far in this world (most of it characterized as “anti-social” and “isolated”). You do what you need to do. We have little enough time as it is. Cliches and catchphrases litter my life: sure, we can do that. One thing at a time. We’ll get there. Banal reassurances that we’re doing the right thing when I don’t even know if we are.

If it’s ___ then it must be right, is that how it goes? All things that take effort are not necessarily art. Listening to the same songs over and over does not make you better, by any means; the subtle confirmation bias that you are the high arbiter of taste means every time you hear that again you joyfully declare within just how wonderful you are, how subtle and nuanced your musical palate. Are pop songs the equivalent of musical junk food? Or is there artistry even there? Wouldn’t these singers and songwriters and producers and recording engineers have gotten where they are if they didn’t have any talent at all? How much do you reward the talent versus the tenacity?

I just finished a novel by Michael Chabon — Telegraph Avenue — and I’m finding it hard to get into the next one. It’s not a perfect story, but memorable enough and skillfully written, full of one-line in-sentence jokes that make me question all other writers’ ability to turn a phrase. Better to be right than clever. Better to be … well no. Who knows? Perhaps my steady diet of junky music has resulted in something in my body screaming out for … something different. Better. More. I dunno. All it means is that at this point, with days of music at my fingertips, I keep scrolling through, convinced there’s some album I need to listen to but haven’t yet, but it’s hiding out on me, so I keep going and eventually, bored, I’ll stop and listen to something I’ve heard a million times before because it’s familiar and comfortable.

New experiences? This is why.

Mike

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