Mid Breaking

I woke up at 6 filled with anxiety about all the scholarship I’m not publishing, so I got up with the intention of “working on something.” It is dark as pitch out there. If you’d told me at age 15 or so that as a grownup I’d be awakened in the middle of the night by terrible stomach-nerves concerning whether or not I should try to publish some book chapters as articles are stick to the book project, I don’t think I would have known what that even meant. I’m sure at 15 I thought that by 36 I’d just be an old hag with no joy in life. I have no memory of what I thought 36 would look like, at 15. I bet it looked pretty funny and inaccurate.

Luckily the coffee place opens at 6:30 even on Saturday, so I came here and had a chat with the lady working here about how gross and horrible it is to be here at this hour. While I wait for my brain to achieve appropriate levels of caffeination and thought-generation I am watching youtube videos of Nico Muhly interviews.

For the first time in my entire life, I am having that thing where you long to be in a certain city because of the ART being produced there. I never got this before. I have so many friends who moved to Portland for the punk scene but I had no concept of that at the time, and chose to come here only because it rained a lot. I’ve never had that yearning toward LA or New York or Paris that so many people experience. But now I’ve found a reason! And I think the reason is cool, because it’s still just live music. In this day and age, when you thought everything was accessible via the internet, it turns out you were wrong. It’s very beautiful that celebrated, world-famous dudes like Muhly are putting on their operas at THE MET, and you still can only hear them by buying a plane ticket and then a ticket to the show. It feels good–old timey in a cool way–to gossip with friends about music you have no way of hearing but are dying to. “I know someone who saw Two Boys–he said it was incredible.” You scour the interstitial bits of the music that periodically interrupt interviews, trying to build an idea of the music in your mind. You calculate show times and bank account balances and school breaks. A week in New York would give me so much goddamn material. And I’ve never even liked it there that much. It’s dense and filthy and expensive and the weather is horrible. But now how I yearn toward it!

Is it sad to yearn for New York not as an artist but as someone who wants to see art? You know how I feel about the whole “those who can’t do teach” thing, which is that anyone who says it automatically reveals that they are a monumental dipshit. Thinking about art and synthesizing those thoughts and the thoughts of others into new thoughts and then expressing them in an elegant and compelling fashion to other people IS art. Thoughts are art. Teaching is an art. Writing is an art. Okay I just decided I feel okay about my life.

Which one of you recommended Richard Ford’s “Canada” to me? I just finished it. It was so beautiful. Thank you for telling me!! Next up is MY STRUGGLE by that scandinavian dude.

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4 Responses to Mid Breaking

  1. Matthew says:

    Hitler was German, not Scandinavian! Geez.

  2. Stephanie says:

    Canada would have been me. :)
    I’m glad you liked it!

  3. MY STRUGGLE. I cannot wait! I read a few chapters and then passed it off to someone I knew would enjoy it who was amid a journey, knowing that one day I would get back to in when I had a SCORE of time. I was about forty pages in and realizing “Oh, this is why this dude autobiography is six long-ass books, it just took him 22 pages to describe this one time his dad came home and the interminable dread of a span of what was probably 16 minutes.” I thought that was great, because when you are a kid everything lasts forever but I was also like BULLSHIT you remember someone honked a car horn and why tell us that when really, it’s not important. Someone honked a car horn in the distance, once 36 years ago, he recalled. BUT it’s full it’s own style of macho-emo; I could see why My Struggle would perhaps not take hold in America so greatly as it did in Europe.

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