I was born in the mid 1960’s in the second largest city of any state in the midwest. I was the night time janitor singing emotive, annoying social lyrics to all the guitar riffs I loved because I couldn’t identify with the subject matter of Pop songs. It was a bit of a torture to say I liked Foreigner or Boston because I actually did, but if I said I did I would be identifying myself with a category in which I don’t wish to be associated.
In my 1970’s work crews, at the various jobs and in the high school cafeteria, with the radios blaring songs longing for love? Blah. Or getting ahead? But then a Rush song would come on and I would turn the volume knob up if I could. There didn’t exist all the alt media of today. There was the magazine racks at Meijer and 7 Eleven. And whatever I was told was cool by Creem magazine or Circus is what was cool to me. But regardless of genre, most songs were love songs and I just didn’t relate to any of it. I was, am a writer. And like you, reader/writer, needing your space to read and write, to figure things out, I worked it out the best way I knew how without causing people around me harm. It’s not that you ask for things a certain way; your mind acts a certain way and you learned long ago you can’t change that. And sometimes you just have someone else’s presence or whatever they are doing interfering with your own creativity and you need to separate from them.
If your mind is musical you will recall how, while listening to batches of the same songs played throughout the day the mind picks out arrangements of notes and melody and distinguishes the same tone patterns and sequences in a variety of different songs in a variety of genres. Unfortunately, that recognition carried with it the perpetual song that got stuck in my head. No. Let me rephrase that, a chorus that got stuck in my head. Over and over and over and over and over.
It was terribly annoying for me. I found it hard to learn to play guitar because it was like my mind was in its own arena making its own music, establishing the patterns that would distinguish themselves in unique ways evoking different moods and emotions. And I would be doing that happily until that one infernal song chorus would get stuck in my head because the juvenile lyric became a mnemonic.
I listen to all music, even opera. All of it has its place. But I prefer classical, Handl, Beethoven, Mozart, Bach, Chopin. I also like the British chamber orchestras. But I am woefully ignorant about any of them or the music. They were just crucial in allowing me to read. The choruses of music that constantly got stuck in my head would often interfere with my reading. But the classical music drowns out the chorus stuck in a groove and I can comprehend what I am reading.
I always found the study of music distasteful because it was packaged into a logical/mathematical language that my brain couldn’t or did not want to relate to. For me, music was always emotive, like Nietzsche’s premise in the Birth of Tragedy that music is the language of Dionysus, the language of the chaos, the wild horse before the reins of the mind establish form. The mind is like the rider taking the horse through the steps of it routine, but in this case coming up with a variety of different feet and tones playing for hours in monotonous bliss. Mine likes measures with three verses of 12 beats, or 11 beats with a rest on the 12th.
This excursion on the history of my monotony is intended to show that while being boring, I am not bored.. And I imagine all of us solitary persons with our solitary existence working as little as necessary in order to have the freedom to write. Because we are human we wish to have children. But because we are a self absorbed thinkers we know it is best for us not to have them. Our minds are engineers that can evaluate a process painstakingly while never having to substantiate the sacrifice needed to write so incessantly. It would be too much to expect competitive people to understand they are an annoyance to our brain’s incredible need to create things because creativity takes our focus beyond confrontation and contention. And that take a great deal of focus. And indolence.*
The product of all this indolence is a language, a conjuring. Schiller wrote somewhere because Nietzsche said so, that his works always began as a musical feeling. Nietzsche enlarges this premise in his The Birth of Tragedy. Again, I am not a scholar and debating gets on my nerves. I enjoy reading all the philosophers because I am too stupid to solve the Rubik’s cube. Philosophy and scholarship of all kinds excite me, expanding my network of knowledge. But music is the language of the chaos come to order. Without it the movies aren’t the same, the social gatherings, sporting events, car rides are not the same. I often made fun of muzak but I would rather have it during my shopping experience than without. And now that I am much older I have the ubiquitous muzak player, constantly in my head, monotonously slogging through one of my compositions while some person or another is trying to tell me about that one song that I just have to hear right now. And I politely listen to it and make a casual comment that comes off a bit pompous but only because the other person doesn’t know how important it is that I solve the puzzle of that segue into the third bridge I couldn’t figure out that morning.