"From this hour I ordain myself loos'd of limits and imaginary lines, going where I list, my own master total and absolute, Listening to others, considering well what they say, Pausing, searching, receiving, contemplating, Gently, but with undeniable will, divesting myself of the holds that would hold me."
Walt Whitman (1819-92)
"When I look back now over my life and call to mind what I might have had simply for taking and did not take, my heart is like to break."
Akhenaton (d. c.1354 BC)
And now, the current weather, from some random person we pulled off the street:
Tuesday, August 12, 2003
All of Us Have a Soundtrack to Our Lives
ca-thar-sis Function: noun
Etymology: New Latin, from Greek katharsis, from kathairein to cleanse, purge, from katharos
Date: circa 1775
1 : PURGATION
2 a : purification or purgation of the emotions (as pity and fear) primarily through art b : a purification or purgation that brings about spiritual renewal or release from tension
3 : What music does to me.
Music. Now here we have a topic that saturates my life from top to bottom.
I have a real affinity for artists and groups that have the deeper lyrics, like Sting, Creed and Evanescence and some others. I can't usually stand the trite stuff like most of the top 40 pop junk.
I think I've always been drawn to the deeper music because people with what I have visit emotional "rooms" that normal people don't even know exist. The intensity of our experience is like technicolor compared to other people's black and white. Our elations are raging firework displays from our heads to our toes, and our depressions are unbelievably hopeless dead black empty voids.
And I usually want my music to match that. I want raging guitars, huge complicated driving rhythms, or songs and voices that will tear my heart to shreds every time I hear it. Or all of them at once.
Incredibly, almost 90% of people like me are either musicians (I am), actors, politicians (I was) or artists. From the other direction, over 70% of artists, actors, politicians and musicians have what I have. The list is huge, from Napoleon to Abraham Lincoln to Ted Turner, from Mozart to Sting to Axl Rose, from Drew Carey to Jim Carrey to Robin Williams to Jean-Claude Van Damm, from Tom Waits (wow, talk about lyrics!) to Fiona Apple (wow again!) to probably the lead singer for Evanescence and the lead singer from Creed.
Martin Luther King said "The future of mankind rests in the hands of the creatively dysfunctional." He's got it right too. Not saying I can put myself at the level of any of these people, but its nice to know that deep emotion can be the birthplace of such art and compassion.
Any person can experience emotions at this level, of course, not just people like myself. Sometimes life by itself can plunge a person into those rooms, and does. And it hurts just as bad. Maybe one out of five people will visit those dark rooms at some time in their life. Unfortunately, folks like me don't just visit for the weekend, we've have summer homes there. That's why we understand so well when others go through it, we've been there, done that and wore the T-shirt.
And then we sit down and write music, poetry, paint, whatever. Because the regular English language alone simply can't express what we feel. And we want someone to understand so badly, because if affects us so deeply, and its so important that someone KNOW.
So yeah, this music speaks my heart. I've been in that dark room. So have the people who made this music. Only someone who has been there can describe it, sing about it, write about it, or even understand someone else describe it, sing about it or write about it. And once you have spent any time in that room, it helps to know that others have been there too and felt the same things. Like listening to music and thinking, "You know, that person GETS it." Somehow, when the music "clicks" like that, you don't feel so alone.
Evanescence did that for me. Creed did that for me. There are others, too.
And those are the ones that make the soundtrack of my life, such as it is.
This is probably why I always start these entries with a definition and end them with a quotation. In my own way, this is my attempt to say "This is what I feel. It can be put into words. And others have felt this way too."
And across the distances, we hold hands.
After silence, that which comes nearest to expressing the inexpressible is music.
Aldous Huxley (1894 - 1963), "Music at Night", 1931