Tag Archives: nonfiction

selections from In the Sierra: Mountain Writings by Kenneth Rexroth

The question is not
Does being have meaning,
But does meaning have being. Continue reading

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Michael Pollan’s Food Rules

Eat food. Mostly plants. Not too much. Continue reading

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selections from Elizabeth Kolbert’s The Sixth Extinction: An Unnatural History (2014)

“In life, as in mutual funds, past performance is no guarantee of future results.” Continue reading

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Dorian mode

when i was around 13 years old, my parents gifted me a drum set for Christmas. even today, i can confidently say it was the single greatest physical present i’ve ever received from anyone. it officially made me a musician.

a decade later, a man now bound for Boulder urged me in the moment to strum guitar with him. though it may have been a bit premature, it (within a few months time) urged me down the path to the bass guitar, the more carefully footed step up from drums. so now, over a decade into my drumming career and only a couple years into my bass, i wonder whether i’ll pick up guitar when i turn 33 and then eventually drop all material things and simply croon when i’m 43.

one can dream. even in linear mathematical dimensions. but let’s be honest, exponential probably makes more sense, so i’ll probably play guitar when i’m 36 and sing when i’m 53. not too different. what the hell am i talking about? well, i can’t explain the math stuff, because i’m no Randall Munroe, but i will explain this theory i’ve been thinking about in regards to music and the body.

consider dance. in its simplest form, dance is simply the act of feet striking the earth. indeed, in truly transcendent dance, the mind is shut off entirely, and the human hops and heaves and swings and swirls like a dizzy flower, often to the rhythm of a beat… but this last part is unnecessary. all that is required for dance are feet striking the earth. that is, percussion. drums. by virtue of this, i consider drums not only the root of rhythm but also the thing that roots us to the earth–our feet and legs.

next comes the sister of percussion, harmony. that is, bass. and what comes after our legs but before our vitals? the genitals. consider: striking of the snares and booming of the kick raise us from our seats and urge us to stamp the ground beneath our feet, but what is that part, that irresistible, sinewy part that prevents our hips from staying still? the bassline curves through the air like a fire-breathing dragon, charring the asses of those who are free.

sidling up the human body, we next reach all those vitals but the brain. among others, this includes stomach, lungs, and, most importantly, heart. here we find melody, for is it not in our heart where we feel the joyous springing of the major scale as much as the miserable lament of the minor? heartbreak can kill a man, and it feels like suffocation… perfectly conscious suffocation. so too, love can induce the growth of wings, and so too can the guitar.

finally, we come to the head. inside one’s skull, chemical electrical thunderstorms rage producing the most unmusical and yet most human aspect of all: lyric. with the aid of a thinking brain and a humming nose, singers let leak through their gaping mouths their words of confusion, fear, and wonder, striving to know and for others to know… themselves.

just because you just read over a hundred pages of criticism on Sophocles Oedipus Rex doesn’t mean you know a goddamn thing about writing criticism yourself. you’re out practice. go to bed, you’re drunk.

truthfully enough, i’ve been reading some heavy shit. besides aforementioned criticism and the single perfect play upon which said criticism is based, i’ve also recently devoured John Locke’s Second Treatise of Government and almost all the works of Oscar Wilde. (i’ve yet to tackle his poetry. in general, i’ve been reading poetry more slowly because i can’t read it on muni because i refuse to read poetry without reading it aloud and i don’t think people on morning/evening commutes to and from the city would necessarily enjoy my twice daily poetry readings.) next up on the list? The Ananga-Ranga, “an Indian sex manual written in the 15th or 16th century,” according to Wikipedia. maybe i’ll learn something.

maybe, by the time saturday comes, i’ll be able to put into practice whatever reading i get in tomorrow, friday. i can probably knock out a good chunk in tomorrow’s two hours, sleep on it, and then awaken in the weekend yellow sun streaming through my bedroom window and flag, rise to shower, dress in cool clothes, descend the stairs to the gray pantyflasher–back in action–to speed just a bit north to scoop my half-Indian love to speed even further north to spill our completely exploding hearts.

i’m not actually drunk. i’m completely sober. i’m listening to my body.

check out my melody: my thorax and abdomen as of late have been complaining of acid. ’twas a sensation i had only felt momentarily on a couple occasions in the past, but lately it’s been an ever-present pang, heightened especially by my partaking in the most pleasantest of life’s servings: alcohol and spice. so, for as much of the month of may as possible, i am, as much is possible, cutting the two lifeless loves out entirely. i’m a couple days sober and i’m feeling good. it’s hard to avoid acid in food (tonight i made up some sloppy joe), but i think cutting out two intense variables should suffice.

what a mysterious wholesome. abstaining from alcohol. learning to cook. taking bass lessons. riding public transportation, hardly driving. consuming literature like a lava. and i’m about to sleep before midnight.

peace and love to you, universe. Continue reading

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