Are you listening?

How many of you are real? All I see are “likes” and status updates and opinions.

How many of you are robots? Google bots and algorithms masquerading as people, trying to make humans feel as if their writings and ruminations have a purpose, a reason?

The future is now and it’s a sad and lonely lonely place. I have a screen, not friends. I have a website, not a community. I have a blog, not a conversation with individuals.

If I died right now, would the robots notice? Or, would I have a whole bunch of “likes” and followers on a blog that nobody cares about? Does it even really matter?

Give me the red pill. I liked the illusion better than the reality.

#tinystories 2

…This is me as a part of your life. trying to understand that life and you, drinking beer with your friends, drinking beer by yourself. Drinking beer before work by yourself. Smiling with your friends and smiling at your work and sitting dead-eyed and silent for hours in your living room wearing a polo shirt and khaki shorts, crying without making a sound or moving, the silence of tears down your slack, boyish face…

This is you and I’m trying to understand.

#TinyStories

Memories are ghosts. They haunt a beleaguered soul. Torturous monsters that are first drowned, then thrive in the cup… The delineation had never been sussed.

Nothing to nobody

It seems this “blog” is lost and floating in the ether… This is fine by me. It’s an accurate reflection of the author’s worldly experience and it should reflect this, no?

To that end, this “blog” shall be the author’s new avenue to spill random thoughts – depressing as they may sometimes be – in the form of “Tiny Stories.” I’ve no longer the time, nor the inspiration to write long form poetry; the Genie has moved on and I plan to spend the rest of my earthly time in the drink and typing random things on this site.

*Fair Warning*

If you are not interested in the random ruminations of a drunk and depressed individual, move along. I’ve reached a point where I no longer care about the opinions of strangers. I have no interest in impressing people or worrying about status: I’m old. Perhaps when I die, this site will serve as an insight to the folks who wish to know about the inner workings of my mind.

…and now, on to other things.

The Beauty in Struggle

Henri Matisse (Painter, 1869-1954) was once quoted as having said: “Much of the Beauty that arises in art comes from the struggle an artist wages with his limited medium.”

This strikes a chord with me. First, a little background: I remember buying my first recording device somewhere around 1996. I sat in my room for hours and hours at a time, putting together little “experimental” noise jams and writing terrible songs and recording them. Around 1998, I got a 4-track cassette recorder, discovered how to bounce tracks and started trying to put together more elaborate songs, struggling all the while against the hiss of the crappy tapes I bought, while trying to stay focused for so long.

As home recording started taking off, 4-tracks got cheaper and I ended up with a pretty nice tape recorder that had an onboard EQ. By this time, I could play the drums and bass and I started going wild with making recordings. It was fun but it was still a struggle – I had 7 tracks, at most, that I could record to and then I would record that to my mom’s stereo tape player, so that I would end up with a cassette that I could listen to in my walkman. [This means that for a three minute song, I would have to spend at least 25 minutes recording it, not including FF & RW time and providing that I pulled every track off flawlessly the first time - which never happened.]

Today, musicians have access to almost unlimited available tracks to record to on their home computers. For just a few hundred dollars’ investment, you can make an epic recording with 6 guitars, 2 basses, 25 mics on your drum kit, 5 tracks of vocal harmonies, a tuba, flugel horn and viola – and then double track those and still be able to invite the neighbourhood kids out to do a vocal track each.

This is a pretty awesome time to be a creative musician.

All the same though, when I think about those old songs and I listen to those dusty tapes, I feel like there’s something …’more’ in those recordings. I’m a much better writer now and I understand a lot more about audio and recording than I did then. I have better microphones and I still try to write and record songs that are dynamic, layered and interesting to listen to but somehow, the ones from when I was younger just FEEL more.

I think a part of the reason is because of the struggle that it was to capture my ideas back then. The fun turning into frustration, morphing into motivation and finally growing into the sense of achievement at having completed a song, no matter how crappy the song might have been – that kind of stuff comes across in art. Nowadays though, I can do whatever I want and if I screw it up, I can just punch-in a new part. I can sing the refrain once and just copy+paste it, I can sample literally any song ever recorded and just add my voice on top. I can change any sound so that it sounds like anything I want – and I do! But it doesn’t feel quite the same as it used to.

Maybe this is a part of the reason why so many complain about the “state of music” these days. Maybe it’s just that we’re not having to fight so hard anymore and so we lose the feeling of sweat and inspiration in the recorded material. Maybe this is why so many bands’ debut albums touch us so profoundly but their sophomore releases get bad reviews. Maybe, like Henri Matisse said, when a thing becomes too easy, much of it’s beauty is lost.

I think I’m going to dust of my old 4-track cassette recorder and try giving it another go …I’ll have to find a place that still sells cassette tapes. Maybe I’ll write a song for my son, Quest. Maybe it’ll be almost as beautiful as he is.

A Parable

A young man who desired fame and riches applied to a much older and successful man and asked him the secret of his success. The old man told him that he should meet him the next morning on the beach and all would be revealed.

The next morning, the young man waited eagerly on the beach for the old man to appear. After the old man came and greeted him, he restated his request that he should like to know the secret to success. The old man told him he should walk out into the water, so he did. He walked until the water was waist deep and turned around to see the old man was right behind him. The old man then told him to walk further, so he did. He walked until the water reached his chest and turned around to find the old man lunging at him.

The old man held him underwater until the young man felt that he would drown. He scratched at the old man’s arms and tried to scream and swallowed much water but the old man would not let him up. Finally, after what seemed like eternity, the old man released him, dragged him back to the water’s edge and laid him down.

“You would know the secret of success?” the old man said. “When you want to be successful as badly as you want to breathe, then you will be successful.” And with that, the old man walked away.

The Water’s Edge

Come and join me tomorrow at the water’s edge, my love.
There, in the morning sun, we shall cast our dreams from the beach
And watch them try to take flight as they skip across the bay.

In the afternoon, we will build a castle of sand
And fill it with the dreadful things as we watch it melt
Into the sea with the rising of the tides.

In the evening, I will embrace you under the setting sun
As the madness of the encroaching twilight enrages the blue sky
And it fades from red to purple and into the black of night.

There, in the darkness, I will kiss you
And whisper sweet vowels of comfort in your ear
As you lay your head down to rest.

There, as I kiss you under the moonlight
And the orchestra of the night croaks and chirps it’s concert
I shall sing for your pleasure:

“Close your eyes, I’ll be here in the morning.
Close your eyes, I’ll be here for a while…”

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