Couplet

While reading a De Quincey collection, I came across some lines of Shelley that I either hadn’t read or hadn’t remembered, but I immediately responded to them in this context:

With hue like that when some great painter dips 
His pencil in the gloom of earthquake and eclipse.

I genuinely enjoy Puritan writing, especially diaries and journals. I’ve discovering some interesting Victorian journals (not De Quincey) that I’ll write about soon. Some read like excerpts of the Psychopathia Sexualis, quite different from the Puritan journals.

Ringing New Ears

One of the ways I celebrate the New Year is through music. For the past few years that has meant Thai music, especially phin and isaan music.

This year I’ve been listening to the Sons of Kemet record Your Queen Is a Reptile. The quartet of sax, tuba, and two drummers plays powerful, danceable, and reflective pieces. The music is about memory and celebration (at least one piece is dedicated to a family member), and while looking back, has an aggressive drive forward.

Sounds like a good way to approach a new year to me.

Happy New Year!

Sons of Kemet performing “My Queen Is Harriet Tubman.”

Stull crawls into the light…

I’ll hopefully have more thoughts about this soon. I hadn’t played with a drummer in six years and I knew I was going to approach playing improv in a different way than I had in the past. I was full of monkey mind, but I’m happy with the results and look forward to more work with Stull and with a few other projects.

The Subversive Workshop

Stull is a long-running improvisational group with me on guitar and Tracy Harris on drums. Our friend Stephen McClurg joins us now on bass, and we’re putting some recordings of a recent get-together at The Subversive Workshop up on Soundcloud. Here are a couple for you to get into a deep space freakout with…

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Stolen Moments

I’ve wanted to write something for Chuck Wendig’s Friday prompts for a long time. During the school year, it’s difficult to eek out something in a week and during the summer I usually have a variety of other work going on. Last Friday, in honor of Anthony Bourdain, Wendig asked us to write about food with the idea that food is almost always more than that. I also wanted to experiment with second person. Hope you enjoy!

Stolen Moments
You sit and say water’s fine. You move the fork, knife, and napkin to the other side. A habit. You hear your palm sliding on the table. It reminds you of pans scraping across the counters in the bakery. You worked there with your mother. She always wore her hair long, but at the bakery she wound it into a top knot that reminded you of samurai or fantasy characters, the smaller ones like elves. You remember seeing her make pigs-in-a-blanket. She stood over the pan wrapping little red sausages in white dough. Plastic gloves. Apron. She looked fragile to you for the first time. You get your water. It’s cold and the glass is sweating. You order. You had moved back home and felt that failure in your core, eels twisting in your intestines.You worked at the bakery to save money, while it was the last time you spent regularly with your parents. You started learning alto saxophone. You learned bebop melodies. “Salt Peanuts.” “Body and Soul.” “Tempus Fugit.” “A Night in Tunisia.” You never played them at bebop tempos. You couldn’t. You would even slow the metronome to forty, thirty, even twenty beats per minute, and listen to how the notes connected. Or how you hoped they would connect. The spaces became larger. Grave, the tempo is called. Slow and solemn. The waitress pours more water with your order. She asks how everything is. You fork your yolk and watch its perfect weep. Everything’s fine, you tell her. Fine, like the end of a song.