Audiophilia, Thoughts

Finding the Same Wavelength

I’ve listened to Matthew Good since high school & this spring, I’m hoping I can live out a dream I’ve had since that time then to see him perform.  He’s been posting more frequently on his Instagram lately, especially in the last few weeks where he admitted he had had a near-brush with death again in September of this year.  Since I’m dealing with my own mental health issues at the moment, I’ve been inspired by his self-awareness & determination.  The following post that I’m reblogging below stood out to me.  I’ve reread it a few times, reminding myself again & again that my creativity is my redemption, not my shame.

Knowing who you are is difficult. There are many that spend their whole lives looking. In such cases they tend to be more running from what they’ve never wanted to confront, meaning they’ll spend their lives using whatever is at their disposal to deflect from that reality. There is a marked difference in life between honestly growing and learning and employing the act of it as subterfuge to ensure you don’t have to go into certain rooms in your own proverbial house. In truth, one can run from it for only as long as they can maintain the perception that they’re not running. In my life I’ve grown and faced numerous truths. The growing has been difficult, facing truths has been difficult. It is for everyone. I possess both bad and good traits, like everyone else, but seeing them, acknowledging them, is the key. In that, I have been enormously fortunate because since the age of 11 or 12 I have always turned to the arts to express, and therefore deal, with things. I wrote my grandmother’s eulogy at 14, something I had to do given we were so close and her passing devastated me. I channeled everything into literature, painting, and finally music. Over the last 30 years I have lived with one absolute gift that I’ve been fortunate enough to become my profession. That through art I must succumb to growth – be it ugly, beautiful, or otherwise. Through it my entire life is mirrored, through it my thoughts, my anxieties, my joys, and my many faults have been captured for all time. It’s a unique, nerve racking, yet fulfilling thing, because you simply cannot run from that which is eternally captured and digested by others – out there forever unalterable. In my life I have lived with those who have been one thing at one time and, six months later, something else. It’s not something I can imagine the horror of enduring because I have never had to. But like anything, one must be empathetic to those who cannot go into certain proverbial rooms. I cannot imagine running, because I’ve never had to. Through mistakes and triumphs I have always had the same ground beneath my feet. In that, I know I am overwhelmingly fortunate. I can be alone only because it is always with me. A gift.

A post shared by Matthew Good (@matthewgoodgram) on

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Thoughts

Goodbye Poetry Month. . .

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Here we are the end of April, Readers & here are the last of the personal poetry readings I’ll be posting this month.  I did have fun recording these & figuring how to best perform them, so I may keep putting up a few but for now, these are the last two.  They are “Funny Valentine” by Claudia Emerson & “Ellen West” by Frank Bidart.  Also, NPR has a fantastic poem written by a nurse/writing student about the cases she sees here.  Happy Poetry Month, everyone!

Thoughts

Poems for April

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Hello readers!  We’re just a few days away from the end of National Poetry Month.  I’ve added two more personal readings to the public Dropbox folder I’m sharing here.  This week, we’ve got “The Garden of Love” by William Blake & “Organist” by Claudia Emerson.  I’m trying to keep the two that I put up related some way, so I hope you enjoy these new readings!

Thoughts

Poetry Reading Time!

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Poetry Month is winding down & since I had been reminiscing about Thursday Poems at my college recently, I thought I would put up a few readings.  Right now, there are just two poems in this Dropbox folder: “When All My Five and Country Senses See” by Dylan Thomas & “This Is a Photograph of Me” by Margaret Atwood.  But I’ll be adding to it over the next few days & posting updates here for those who are interested.  Enjoy!

Thoughts

Daydream Playlist (English Major Mix)

When I was at Mary Wash, my English department held a weekly poetry reading during the semester.  The series was simply called Thursday Poems & was an excuse for us lit & linguistic majors to get together & soak in some beautiful words.  Sometimes it was well-attended, sometimes the crowd was spare.  It might even seem to you, dear Reader, that it was a silly, over-serious kind of thing you do in college.  But to me, it was time to take a break & re-familiarize myself with the subtle play a piece of creative writing does to our ears.  Not unlike taking a few minutes to sit quietly & remember the rhythm of one’s breath.

I miss Thursday Poems & thankfully I have a few supplements & replacements.  I’ve been fortunate enough to go to readings & conferences where people share parts of their work.  I instruct my writing group to read a portion of their draft aloud before we move to critique it.  And there are some really great podcasts, like Selected Shorts and The New Yorker Fiction Podcast that focus on reading & enjoying a performance of the written word.  So I thought I’d simply collect a list of readings & post it here–a sort of personal playlist of actual & imagined performances that I return to in my daydreams:

Sweet Reads Are Made Of These

(ok, I’m seriously corny)

Side A – The Actual Words (I’ve actually heard)

Side B – Daydream Believer (Readings I wish existed)

  • John Hodgman reads Jorge Luis Borges’s “Death and the Compass.” (Hodgman is a fantastic reader as evidenced by the Coraline link above & he’s obsessed w. Borges.)
  • Julianne Moore reads from Hannah Kent’s Burial Rites. (I love what Moore does with her voice & her interior monologue in Vanya on 42nd Street proves she’s more than up to the task of performing Agnes Magnusdottir.)
  • Neko Case reads from Darcy Steinke’s Sister Golden Hair.  (Virginia girls have to stick together & Case’s reading, I imagine, would lend a knowing, looking-back maturity  to Jessie’s coming-of-age story.)
  • Steven Ogg reads from Jim Thompson’s Savage Night.  (Go watch any Let’s Play of GTAV & tell me that Trevor isn’t a character from one of Thompson’s books.)
  • Brad Dourif reads from Flannery O’Connor’s Wise Blood. (This is something I’ve wanted since finding out Dourif once played Hazel Motes.  I want this reading to become a real life thing so badly.)
  • Tom Amandes reads either David Foster Wallace’s “The Soul is Not a Smithy” or Hawthorne’s “Young Goodman Brown.”  (A bedtime story told by an actor whose typecast as straight-edge & suburban–when in reality both are more than meets the eye.)
  • Mary Kay Place reads from Claire Vaye Watkins’ Battleborn.  (Honestly, I just think Place’s accent is perfectly suited for the no-nonsense, tough stories about living in the desert.)
  • Lenny Von Dohlen reads either “The Fisherman and his Soul” or “The Snow Queen”.  (This last is really just an excuse to resurrect the character of Harold Smith from Twin Peaks.  I loved Harold’s boyishness, vulnerability & cryptic illnesses.  So I thought that since he grew up in books, not Boston, that I would try to find a story equal to explaining his perspective.)