It’s been a while since I recorded new music. Recording at all still makes me think of the boat. I don’t really think it’s possible for me without long stretches of uninterrupted time. Maybe that’s the greatest fantasy, one that’s continued to grow since I first thought of asking my parents for 24 unattended hours for a birthday present.
My bass sits next to me. Still in tune, picked up not infrequently but not often enough. The amp that I bought, thinking I would be playing through it, ever, really, and never doing so.
So too with some stories, though I find great contentment in writing simply and briefly in my notebook, at night. Particularly between bouts of reading; I wonder if it’s part of some input/output cycle. Read/write. Listen/play. Watch/do.
I just finished David Foster Wallace’s The Pale King, which in many ways was simply wonderful to read. I love having Wallace’s words in my head. I love the casual voice of such sophisticated perspective, how it evades some of the stereotypes I have about authorial voices. I wonder if any of this would be different if I had a different job. If I had any of the things that I – and so many others, purportedly – dream about. Not leisure, itself, but circumstances that afford leisure.
I think I would be a wreck, trying to take it easy. I would be endlessly on the go, whether literally or not. I don’t know if I could afford to rest, were I to have the time, mostly, and to a lesser extent, really, the money.
It would be all those read/write cycles: watching the landscape pass on the Amtrak.
Watching the waves and skies pass on the deck of the Almaviva.
Strange how the compulsion is so faint when there’s a prescribed future sitting there, as though attention was a tunnel and beyond what’s expected or known to be coming is nothing else – the space of possibility already inhabited before it even comes to pass.
I wonder if getting into bikes was just a way to make the interim more material – I could count miles ridden in a way that I could not count pages rambling on towards to definitive end, or musical patterns that come into focus to simply dissipate. None of the songs on the album are even really constructed, they are simply happenstance. A riff, pushed to repetition; that repetition, pushed to further suggestion; all of it, an arc of emergence, not of planning, not even of will.
But rides have starting points and ending points, and consequences to come if by a given time one isn’t at a given place in a given condition, ie, neither dripping of sweat and knackered nor seeking bed after a night carousing. What is the condition? Presentable, and ready for a task. That’s the universal starting state, particularly for the directionless. I suppose I am one of those.
There is a place where oceans meet, North of the Danish coastal village of Skagen. There is a rippling line that extends from the beach towards the horizon, the currents brushing against one another, neither joining nor prevailing over the other. They simply collide, and still, in a way, never meet.