It’s all about the moment for me.
The book was A Farewell To Arms, the class was American Lit. I was 17 and tired of reading stuffy analyses of an otherwise enjoyable story. So I put the critical references aside and decided to stop studying for a while.
My parents had turned part of our basement into a guest room. I liked to study there;˚ it was cool, dark, and quiet. In this moment I got up from the desk, flicked off the light and sat upright on the bed, resting against the headboard. It was Walkman time.
And there, in the cool, quiet darkness of the guest room, was the moment.
I’d like to think I’m good with words, with expressing my feelings in writing. But to describe the kind of moment I’m talking about remains beyond my skill set. That’s not frustrating to me, though. It’s appropriate. Because it’s the indescribability of this kind of moment that makes it the moment.
And as I sat on the bed listening to that song, the moment rushed over me like a summer breeze, heavy like warm nostalgia. But it wasn’t my life I was remembering. I was experiencing Hemingway. I realized that with his cello, Yo-Yo Ma offered a far superior analysis of the heartbreaking Farewell To Arms than any of the verbose intellectuals I’d been studying.
I was overcome.
I actually started crying*. The power of the music affected my soul so deeply that it was more than I could handle. There was this mystic sense of escape, of being nowhere and everywhere at the same time. No, I wasn’t tripping acid˙. That’s just what good music does. It moves you.
The moment of music is more to me than just pretty notes. It’s a near-tangible refuge for my soul, the most faithful of all my experiences. I like it so much I decided to pursue it for a living, and I’ll likely pursue it for a lifetime regardless of future career shifts.
For a long time, though, I thought such a pursuit was at odds with who I was “supposed to be.” But I’ll tell that story in Part 2…
For now I leave you with an inevitable Spotify playlist of moments past.
THE AFOREMENTIONED: "First Impressions" - Yo-Yo Ma, Edgar Meyer, Mark O’ Connor
THE ORIGINAL: "Jumper" - Third Eye Blind
THE NEWBIE: "It’s Over" - Civil Twilight
THE VINTAGE: "Moonglow" - Benny Goodman
THE HIGHWAY: "Mr. Brightside" - The Killers
THE POCKET: "Good Love Is On The Way - Live" - John Mayer Trio
THE DANCE FLOOR: "Billie Jean" - Michael Jackson
THE BREATHTAKER: "Sleep" - Eric Whitacre
THE DRIFT: "Track 4" - Sigur Ros
THE HOPE: "First of July" - Foy Vance
THE SMILE: "Someday, Sarah" - Dave Barnes
THE BITTER: “Can’t Complain” - Nickel Creek
THE REFLECTION: "La Cienega Just Smiled" - Ryan Adams
THE SOLACE: "And So It Goes" - Billy Joel
THE GROOVE: "Next Lifetime - Live" - Erykah Badu
THE CONSUMMATE: "In Your Eyes" - Peter Gabriel
Believe it or not, that was the trimmed down version…too many good moments…
˚ The semicolon is the unsung hero of punctuation marks
* Merely the first step in my manly journey to become the sensitve guy’s sensitive guy.
˙ Is that how you say it? #churchkid