Friday, September 19, 2003

Noonish on a Friday afternoon. For the fourth time this week I didn't get called in to work for the school district. This situation leaves me very perplexed, mystified, unemployed...

Tonight we leave to go up north and do some trail work on the Ice Age Trail. Always a good time with the Mobile Skills Crew. Much laughter, camaraderie, and yes, hard work, which is good for the soul. I feel like I'm in a funk the last couple days. Easy to figure out why. I haven't gotten enough exercise. This weekend should get me back on track.

Vocational failure is not an option. I've been writing more, this blog included, and like I said earlier, working on some fiction. The story I'm working on now is a huge departure from anything else I've ever written. I won't go into details except to say it deals with a seamier side of our society, and questions the very nature of reality. Ooohhhh. But also fun and kind of tongue-in-cheek humorous. My brother Ken said my writing can be heavy-handed at times, which is a valid criticism I've taken to heart.

After I leave here I'll go home and put on a t-shirt and then go mow a couple lawns, including Mary Machnik's. She may not be home yet, or still visiting with relatives, after burying her husband yesterday, but nonetheless she said her lawn needs mowing. I cannot feel pity for my well-fed, albeit broke and professionally drifting situation compared to the grief and heartache Mary must be feeling.

Last night I listened to some John Coltrane while washing the dishes. Man could he wail, and yet it's not his virtuosity that distinguishes him. It's that tone. That fat, full, sad and mournful, almost airy sound. Something desperate, sad, wistful about it, yet celebrating the beauty of life in spite of, or even because of, all the pain and yearnings that attend it. Maybe I'm reading too much into a saxophone riff, but Coltrane never fails to bring out those feelings in me. Just like Miles Davis takes me to some otherworldly plateau and Chick Corea, a la Return to Forever early 70s fusion reminds me of a summer day laying in a field of flowers. Music is about time, signature, tone, meter, melody and rhyme. All concrete concepts that can be analyzed and quantified. But that emotional element it engenders cannot be pinned. That's why hit music will never quite... follow a formula. Today's radio format force feed crap is trying. Such are the hallmarks of capitalism: homogeny and predictability. But music continues to follow its own slippery streamy course.

My favorite bands lately: Radiohead, Pink, No Doubt, Eminem, 50 Cent, Bjork, Pearl Jam, U2... that's a short list just off the top of my head. I haven't listened to much popular music lately, relegating my ear time to National Public Radio and CDs from my own collection and the library (that's where I got the 'new' Coltrane disk I heard last night). The library's got a pretty big jazz collection. It's going to take me a while to plumb its depths. But with all this free time I've had lately...

Well, lunch is calling... Time to eat, mow, pack and go... happy listening, happy reading, happy living, happy loving.

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