Music didn’t abandon me. I left it by the side of the road, telling it I’d be back when I’m good and ready. For pets/people/plants, that’d be horrible treatment, but for music it was just fine. Since the road was only metaphorical, it wasn’t even littering. Even then, I came back, brought it home and dusted it off. Yesterday, I even listened to it, hearing the sounds of “Pinhole Camera” by the awkwardly named … And You Will Know Us by the Trail of Dead. From that song came tears, which is odd, because there is nothing sappy, sweet, or melancholy about it. It’s just music, good visceral music. It’s just music that once again found a place in my life and, once again, matched my own mood. I missed that.
For a while, music itself seemed irrelevant. It was both too specific and too vague. Songs seemed about specific moments that bore no resemblance to what I felt or knew. When they were like my life, they were too vague, talking about things and stuff, rather than just that feeling when one door closes and the next one, due to open (mandated by the law of cliches), gets stuck on the baggage, mine and others, behind the door. I needed perfect music and that can’t always happen.
I didn’t hate music. I just listened to podcasts about music rather than music itself. I meta-listened and the music meta-played. I heard snippets and discussions, stories and techniques. The language was familiar, but it was about the creation of music, not about how music (mist-)fit my life. Sure, it was sometimes dull. Do I really care which garage it was where the band first discovered their sound? I do not. Does it matter how Berlioz informed the band’s pseudo-punk sound? Nope. But it was good to hear about how music connected people, musicians and listeners, to each other. I couldn’t be connected, but I could hear how others could.
Meanwhile, my life changed. I’ll talk about it here or in other places, in the open or in code. Let’s just say that I moved from a victim of myself* to the best person I’ve ever been.* Now, right now in fact, I find myself looking back on the various mistakes I’ve made, even mistakes I couldn’t have not made. I see ways in which I was hurt and how said it was that people, including me, couldn’t help but hurt me. There is no blame attached, just the pain that it happened and had to happen, even though it would have been really easy for slightly different choices to lead to who-knows-what better place.
Then, yesterday, while playing with my little Roku hocky puck (hockey pucks are square, aren’t they?), I played music from my iPhone, to the network, to the Roku, to the the TV, and then to the stereo. I heard it, not through headphones or traffic, but through a system designed to play music. I heard the visceral sincerity of an angry-flavored song about … well … whatever. Maybe it was about a pinhole camera. Maybe not. It doesn’t matter. It just felt right: wistful, blameless, passionate, and raw. Music is back. Now, what’s new that I have to listen to? What have I missed?
*Yeah, it’s more complicated than that, but come on! The re-seduction of readers can’t start with instant nudity!