Archive for December, 2008

Ten That Made My 2008 A lot Better

images11. Impossible Germany                                 

Wilco

     Nils Cline guitar wizardry

2. A House Of Gold                                            

Tim O’Brien and Darrell Scott

     Country Gospel with hair on it

3. Track #23                                                        

Yalta

     A Joyous hoot

4. Suicide Will Make You Happy            

Mazarin

     The Keith Moon Award

5. Midnight and Lonesome                        

Buddy Miller

     Redefining real country 

6. On a Neck, On a Spit                               

Grizzly Bear

     Try getting this one off the hamster wheel in your head

7. Tear My Stillhouse Down (live)              

Gillian Welch

     Welch and Rawlings on top of their game 

8. Poor Boy                                                          

John Fahey

     The late Master gives a clinic

9. Dark Come Soon                                         

 Tegan and Sara

     So underrated 

10. Crawl Back Under My Stone (live)        

Richard Thompson

     The true guitar god

Three Days At Stratton

images

 

Disbelief

Attends the start of  each new winter season 

I really can’t be doing this

Seventy-one years old and bundled against the arctic cold,

I am once again atop a mountain, on a snowboard like some stoner kid

I  flinch, almost botching my first turn

Tensed against the profound improbability of all this, I am getting in my own way

Dropping down, bending my knees, I rotate my upper body into the next turn

That’s it, that’s it

I begin to fly, carving the sunlit snow

The board sliding and edging under my shifting weight

Lost in a rush of adrenaline and joyous terror, I enter a state of pure kinetic form.

The ecstasy of being alive is again my own

 

 

 

A Crumbling Narrative

The physical decline that marks the aging process is generally taken, if never fully accepted, as part of the game. Now into my seventy-second year, I grouse about and lament the inevitable losses to the dictates of time.  What’s come as a total surprise is a growing awareness that the narrative constructs that provided the foundation for what I can only call my “self” have begun crumbling.

The narratives we create to explain our selves to ourselves are dynamic structures, organic in their lifelike mutability. We process what we think know of ourselves, of our lives and our relations with the world, all of it an evolving storyline that we conjure up in real time. We become the story of ourselves. The title of the Elvis Costello song, “Every Day I write the Book,” may be the closest take on how we internalize and explain our own story to ourselves. 

Part of what we do in constructing, integrating and revising these interior novels or movies, the leading role is always reserved for you know who, is to create an acceptable  self, one we can live with. We rationalize, we explain our experiences, our weaknesses, our vices, our virtues and our desires until we find an acceptable way of carrying on in our interactions with both objective and subjective reality. The measure of success in playing your own tale to yourself may be like the taste of the pudding, how well does it go down? How well does it allow you to go on, to forgive yourself after the losses of innocence? How well does it permit you a viable life in the face of your own shortcomings, betrayals, defeats and more dangerously problematic, your successes. 

A viable working narrative of one’s life has to be rooted ultimately in a humility that allows you to walk that razor’s edge between the extremes of over-reaching delusions of singularity and debilitating states of worthlessness and self-loathing.  A sustaining, self-correcting narrative is one that reasonably can handle the seductions of achievement while also letting you pick yourself up after the ego-punishing drubbings that every life encounters. The humility required for a humane personal narrative of one’s life is not the false humility of self-effacement, but a humility rooted in as rigorous an honesty as you are humanly capable of honoring.

By the time I realized I was living according to the novel or movie of my life that I myself had authored, I was already moving past the point where I probably no longer needed it to defend myself against the abyss. Like everyone, I’ve been tried by life and found, in many cases wanting, and in others discovered whatever virtues I might possess. My narrative for better or worse, permitted me to continue to function within the contradictory context of both continuity and change. We change over time, and our narratives change, and yet we remain the same people. 

My own story of myself, like some novel I started writing and reading as a child, has begun, like memory itself, to unravel and fade within my mind.  It may be that the path toward any achievable acceptance of our own temporality comes only, if indeed it comes at all, when the protective burden of our interior narrative begins to crumble and dissolve. 

I will certainly be revisiting this subject.   

Flyers and Ex-Flyers Carry The Night

Flyers 4; Tampa Bay 3 in OT.

But…All seven goals were scored by current and former Flyers. For Philadelphia, two from Jeff Carter and two from Mike Richards (one of them short-handed).

For Tampa Bay; one from Vinnie Prospal (ex Flyer), one from Mark Recchi (ex-Flyer) and one from Steve Downie (ex-Flyer).