Sunday, March 24, 2013

Music: A Letter

    Here's a metaphor for you: Existential hum is the cat's purr.
    I've been trying to write this for what seems like a very long time. If anything, I've been trying to write this solely to be writing something...anything.
    Music is very important to me and that is what I intend to write about here, but we'll see where it takes me. Music is so important and so special because it serves no purpose other than to fill your head with thoughts. Sometimes lovely thoughts; sometimes sad thoughts; sometimes sexy thoughts; sometimes funny thoughts; sometimes terrible thoughts; sometimes happy thoughts; sometimes thoughts that lead you to believe that the only logical thing to do is dance. These are the main reasons why music is so important to me. I honestly thought I lost that love for a very long time, and I thank god I have it back.

"If I should die, god forbid, let this be my epigraph: The only proof he needed for the existence of god was music."
- Kurt Vonnegut, From Man Without a Country

    On the flip side of this, I also believe it is too special to abuse or overdose on. The phenomenon that is apathy towards music, at my core, does not make sense to me. The fact that a human being can stop listening, stop caring about a band because other people that this hypothetical person do not like or understand start listening to the band, does not make sense to me. I understand not liking a bands new music, I've done that many times myself (Weezer is one example), but why would anyone abandon the music they love just because other people love it or claim to love it as well. Not only does this not make sense to me, it actually slightly disgusts me. If you do not love it, or if you are not at least trying to love it, why participate? I will never not have a special place in my heart for the album Pinkerton. Madame Butterfly.
    I haven't been going out very much lately. I keep intending to go out and see friends, drink some drinks, have a good time. Instead I keep staying in and watching documentaries about extraordinary people from the past. Ken Burns presents Jazz. Ken Burns and Lynn Novick present Frank Lloyd Wright. I've been thinking about the past, as I am wont to do when left to my own devices.
    I think about how fortunate I am in this world. If I wanted to, I could listen to music 100% of the time. This is not hyperbole. We as a society, as a civilization allow anyone with earbuds and a portable source for endlessly streaming music to drown out the sounds words and opinions of their physical reality. Music can become one's only source of thoughts and reality if they so choose. Personally I would not want this because I know how much of my reality I do not like or simply tolerate due to my modest upbringing. If I ever started to think that I am simply tolerating music instead of enjoying, even loving music I hope I have the good sense to turn it off for a while.
    I think that's what I did in the past. I think that's what I did when I thought I lost my love for music. I think I am now mature enough to realize that I simply needed a break.
    I feel so disconnected from the rest of the world sometimes. I pick and choose from the things I have available at my expense without regard for style, history, age or trend. I choose things because they feel right. They make me feel right. Or at least better. Here's some examples of some music that has made me feel better lately.

Something/Anything by Todd Rundgren

Stop Making Sense by The Talking Heads (Specifically Naive Melody)

Hard Promises by Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers (Specifically The Insider)

A Love Supreme and My Favorite Things by The John Coltrane Quartet

London Calling by The Clash

Late For The Sky by Jackson Browne

P.S- I very rarely pay attention to new music, though I know I should at least try. I did recently see the movie Spring Breakers. Much of the sound track was by Skrillex. I would definitely never just listen to that soundtrack as an album, but as the soundtrack to that beautiful, but ultimately terrifying movie, I would say the music was pretty damn effective. And I have to mention the use of Britney Spears songs, specifically when the main characters are dancing around the grand piano at sunset. That scene alone made seeing that movie worth it.

Thank you for reading. And thank you for writing.

Aaron C. Molden

Saturday, March 16, 2013

We the People

We the People.

We are garbage.
We eat garbage
we drink garbage
we watch garbage
we wear garbage
we write garbage
we say garbage
we broadcast garbage.
We support the design of garbage
we support the broadcast of garbage
we support the production of garbage
we support the distribution of garbage
we buy our garbage on credit
when we can not afford it
so long as it is not in our back yard.

We support garbage
but we do not want to think about our garbage.
We want garbage
but we do not want to hear why we should not want garbage.
We do not trust those
who say our garbage is wrong.
We do not want to hear their argument against our garbage
because we love our garbage
we want our garbage
we are our garbage
so long as it is not in our back yard.

We are afraid of our children
because we do not understand them.
When our children do something we do not understand
we do not ask our children.
Instead we turn to our garbage
because it is our garbage that we truly love.
We ask "garbage, what is wrong with our children?"
and garbage responds "clearly they do not have enough garbage."
We give our children garbage
we feed our children garbage
we let our children watch garbage
we let our children wear garbage
and still our children scare us.

We say "garbage, there is something still wrong with our children."
Garbage says "obviously you didn't give them enough garbage."
and we say "of course."
So we give our children more garbage
much more garbage
as much garbage as possible
and more.

Garbage. Garbage. Garbage.
Anything to keep them quiet.
Anything to keep them docile.
In garbage we trust.
No thanks, we'll stick with our garbage.
Its been working fine so far.

Aaron C. Molden

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Dead Dog

    It is raining on the north end of town. There have been streets, houses, and alleyways here for over a hundred years. If you drive on the streets it still resembles a city. If you are walking, it begins to resemble a forest or a jungle more and more. One can shift through the pocked mark concrete. Nimbly weave through dilapidated sheds and chain link fences that have long since fallen into disrepair. One can become familiar with their surroundings so long as they keep walking. Keep scanning. The dirt. The trash. The metal. The ice. The trees. The weeds. The sun. They are not planned, but they become one. They were never meant to become one, but they are adapting. Keep scanning.
    The section of sidewalk next to the church. Next to the cemetery on sixteenth street. It has broken out of place recently. Shifted up against the will of the concrete. Scan it. Note it. Adapt.

    A young boy, no older than fifteen stands in the rain. He is lanky and awkward with thick glasses and gaudy old tennis shoes. He is standing in the alley behind his house. He is either smiling or wincing. He asks if you have seen his dog. He says it is a good dog. He keeps smiling at you. He says that it is medium sized, blond, good. He keeps his composure, but he knows that if he has lost this dog he will not know what to do with himself. A good dog like that would be too trusting. Too unaware of what it is like. To be a stray dog. Nevertheless he keeps smiling at you as you walk away.
    Out of the alley. Wait for cars to pass before crossing. Shortcut through the lawn of a community center where older women and older men try and save the world one child at a time. Smile even if they yell at you for walking on the grass.

    I saw a dead dog on the side of the road. It was medium sized and blond and its blood streaked dark across Schuyler avenue. It was hit by a car. A man flapped a black plastic bag open like he was putting a new bag into a trash can. He was laughing with a co worker. I imagine you would have to laugh if you had to deal with that on a day to day basis. I cried about that dog. A dog would never cry for another dog. They don't understand. I cried for the boy. I felt better. I understood.

Aaron C. Molden

This Is A Blog Post

    It is 5:30 in the morning. Lafayette just received its heaviest snowfall of the year. It is March. Apparently March, if at all, is when we get our heaviest snowfall these days. These Days. Jackson Browne. Nico.
    Most of the time I try to make this at least a little bit entertaining. I try to spruce it up with little bits of things that I know to be entertaining if one is willing to focus in on them: poetry, comedy, drama, fiction, pop culture references, etc. I'm not going to do that here. I'm going to be narcissistic and pedantic. I'm going to bitch for awhile. Bitching is all I have right now and goddamn it if I am not thankful for that.
    I am depressed. I have two jobs that I try to try my hardest at most of the time, but a lot of the time I find it hard to give a shit. I also put on a drawing club (The Drawing Board if one prefers brevity and pretension) every Sunday. I never know where this drawing club is going to be each Sunday, but I do know, as long as I am in that mind state where I am, it will exist even if there is no one there to benefit from it. I see it as good even if I have trouble seeing any good in this world at all. The thing is I have trouble seeing the good that is in front of me because I am aware of the onslaught of wickedness that is a lot of the known world. I am immersed not only in a sea of human wickedness, but also a sea of human apathy. Meh-ness. White Noise. Don Delillo.

"As technology advances in complexity and scope, fear becomes more primitive."
- Don Delillo

I haven't mastered hypertext yet so here is the article I am quoting from:

    I'm scared of this world. I should not be scared of this world. The opportunities in this world are limitless for anyone who has a brilliant idea that is willing to tough it out in the name of passion.
    On top of working two jobs: Unofficial assistant manager at Amused and guy who watches over the Art Museum of Greater Lafayette's gift shop, I am also an artist. I design all the shirts and flyers for Amused as well. Plus, I sweep the place occasionally and clean the glass in the pipe room when I am uninspired by anything else. I am also writing a book whose chapters I post on this blog from time to time. I hope I can finish it just as I hope to complete any creative project I begin. I do all this without much support from family and friends. I don't blame my family and friends for not supporting me because I have never been forthright with them on how I feel about these things. These things are me. They are what I've experienced and what I've imagined. They are what I will experience and what I will imagine. I am not ashamed anymore. I am a human and I express what humans need to express if there humanity happens to get the best of them. You see? Narcissism. I don't think it is always bad.
     It is six in the morning. I should be lying next to someone I love, holding them tight. Fending off the cold that this new kind of late winter unloads on us. I am not. I am lonely and it is my own fault because I can't stop writing the word, the letter I.
    There are many that function within this world, within this current environment with healthy and flying colors. Good for them. I'm not concerned with them because they have it figured out or at least they claim they do. I am concerned with those who do not have it figured out. They are my people even if I do not exude it in my day to day life. You know how it is. You have to keep up day to day appearances.
    Things are hard no matter where you are. Seriously. If not physically, than mentally. Psychologically. You've got to carry that weight a long time. Abbey Road.
    I use to damn the internet because it is (was) an outlet to truly express yourself to everyone that is (was) not paying attention. People should pay more attention. It's hard to pay more attention because this global awareness gives one so much to pay attention to. I ended on a preposition. That is a grammar no-no but it is the only way I can explain how I feel. Do you see what I'm saying? Pedantic.
    I (always I) wonder what this new generation is missing. Narcissism again. This is not ironic. This is not a joke. I am lucid here at 6:30 in the morning in Lafayette, Indiana on the biggest snowstorm thus far in the year 2013. I am thinking and drinking and I want you to know it is real. I want you to know that it is natural. I want you to know that it is both natural and unnatural. I want you to know that you are special, but not so special that you are better than the rest of us. You are the rest of us. You are human. You are a lonely atom in this machine. There are others who feel the same way. You need to find them. It is your only option besides death. Find them. Its far too easy not to. Why not try and find them? We're global! Nothing has ever been easier and you still find it too hard!
Fuck you.
That doesn't hurt enough to not try.
Fuck you.
That still does not hurt enough to not try.
Fuck you. Try.
Many things want you not to try. Yet you still try.
Good. For. You.
Good. For. Them
I want you to know I love you.
I want you to know that there is a good chance that you are a lot better at this than me.
Thank you.

Aaron C. Molden

Saturday, March 9, 2013

The Black Sparrow

    Offset sunlight flooded through the windows of the downtown bar. The windows acted as so many unintentional sundials, a reflection of time determined by the rotation of the sun. Most of the dark wood of the shelves and gray granite of the counter no longer cast shadows but were shadows.
    Two people, neither particularly striking sat at the far end of the bar counter closest to the entrance. Closest to the exit. They sat next to each other with massive mugs of dark amber beer wet on their outside walls from humidity and spill. The light still flooded where they sat.
    "It's sad, but I can't see it as anything other than true." one person said.
    "What do you mean?" asked the other.
    "It just seems like we really are getting dumber as a nation." one person said.
    The other person took a sip of their beer.
    "Are you talking about the United States?" the other asked.
    "I said nation, so yes I am talking about the United States." one said.
    "Our nation?"
    "What? Yes. Our nation, of course." One responded.
    A small smile returned to the face of the other. Both people sipped their beer in silence as the shafts of light slowly shifted upward becoming shorter and shorter with each passing moment.
    "Take that Westboro Baptist guy. What's his name?" one person said. One person asked.
    "Um. I don't remember. Shit, it's Fred something, right?" the other asked.
    "Yeah. Yeah, that sounds right."
    "I can look it up on my phone." The other said.
    "No, no. That's not necessary." one person said. "It's really not necessary."
    "Why not?" the other asked.
    "Because his name doesn't matter. What matters is that he is stupid. What matters is he is proud to be stupid." one said.
    "But if he's so stupid, why are we talking about him?" the other said.
    "Exactly." one said. "That's why I think we're getting dumber as a nation. The way I see it, this Westboro Baptist guy sees himself as Hitler."
    "What?" the other asked.
    "What Hitler was for Germans in the thirties and forties, he is trying to be for dumb people in America, now." one said.
    "You are comparing him to Hitler?" the other said.
    "No no,  I don't think I'm explaining myself the way I would like. I am not comparing him to Hitler. I am saying that he is comparing himself to Hitler in his mind." one said.
    "I'm not really sure I follow." the other said
     For a brief moment the sunlight completely faded from the bar leaving the entire place in darkness. The tract lighting faded up slowly giving the bar a dim fire lit glow.
    "I'm saying that he thinks he's the new Hitler even though he is too dumb to be the new Hitler." one said. "In fact, he's too dumb to know that he's too dumb to be the new Hitler. He's mistaking pride and vanity for intelligence."
    "Isn't that what Hitler did too?" the other said.
    "I don't think so." one answered.
    The other person took a sip of their beer.
    "So you think Hitler was smart?" the other said.
    "Of course he was."
    "Do you think he was proud or vain?" the other said.
    "Of course he was."
    "Do you think he was right?" the other said.
    One person swirled their stein in concentric circles watching the brown liquid eddy and foam.
    "I knew you were going to ask that question." one said.
    "No I don't think Hitler was right. It's more complex than that. What I do believe is at least Hitler was doing the wrong thing for the right reason." one person said and quickly took a drink of their beer.
    "Hm." the other sighed.
    The first wave of nighttime people stumbled into the bar. The music grew louder. Neither had noticed the music earlier.
    "Look, this isn't about Hitler, this is about that Westboro Baptist guy. I wouldn't worry about any Hitler's popping up in America if the best scapegoat we can manage is homosexuals." one said, a little louder than before.
    "So what exactly is your point?" the other said, slightly annoyed.
    "Look, pride and vanity are inevitable, but stupidity is not. What I'm saying is that when American citizens start taking pride in their stupidity, there is definitely a problem."
    "I just see that Westboro baptist guy as a clown." The other said.
    "I know he's a clown, but why the hell should we have to put up with him at all much less give him media attention?" one said.
    "Well the media pay attention to him because people want to see it. If that is what people are asking for that is what they have to cover?" the other responded.
    "Well I sure as hell don't want to see it, where is the news that represents me?" one asked.
    "What do you think the news should cover?" the other asked.
    "The news should cover the news!" one said raising their voice. The music was louder. More people had entered the bar. Conversations began to overlap. Sounds drifted in and out with each other. "Things that are important. Things we need to know as citizens of the The United States of America. Things we need to know as citizens of the Earth. Hell, things we need to know as citizens of the universe." Different sounds different voices compared and contrasted in the air. Consonance dissonance and everything in between created a massive web of noise. More people. Louder music. In the dining room a band was setting up their drum set. Young sweaty people laughing and flirting and brooding. Expensive shoes, tight fitting pants, colorful dresses, tee shirts of other friend's bands, hat's advertising things the wearers had no interest in but still loved at first sight, stylish eye wear. "What's going on in here?" one asked with unease in their voice for the first time that day. That night.
    "That flyer says there is a show tonight. It must be a local band. It says they're called Hank Denim." the other said.
    "Oh  great, local noise pretending to be music, again. Are you ready to get out of here?" One said
    "You don't know, it might be good." the other said.
    "No one is taking this serious around here, they're just bored kids pretending to be adults," one said. Through the web of noise the drummer hammered out a snare cadence. "They should probably be in college."
    "Maybe some of them are?" the other said. The low E of  the bass rumbled under everything giving everyone's voice an ominous tone. "Maybe some of them can't afford it?" A distorted open chord of all six strings of an electric guitar momentarily made everything static.
    "Well whatever, it's not my problem." one said with a sigh.
    "You were in a band once." the other said.
    One finished the last of their beer. "Do you really want to go down this road again?" One said.
    "I'm just saying, we could stay. We could watch them try." the other said.
    "I don't think so." one said. "Some other time, but not tonight. Let's get out of here."
    Outside the sidewalk was damp. Cracks in the sidewalk. Dirt and roots moved under the concrete while the city tried to remain stationary. Wheat pasted flash images flecked off a building.
    "Wow, how about this for real news for you." the other said to one looking at their smartphone as they walked to the car. "Some local kid killed his mom last night over on Wabash avenue."
    "Ugh. I try not to pay attention to local news. I'm way to busy to absorb that depression." one said. "Should I take Union or Columbia over the bridge?"
    "We're closer to Columbia, but we'll have to drive through campus." the other said.
    "I'll take Union. Man, I work there and I don't even like being on campus. That's depressing." one paused. "I wish they would open a place like the Sparrow, but in West Lafayette." One said.
    "I'm sure their is something like it somewhere closer to where we live." the other said.
    "Yeah, but its not the same." one said.
    "Why do you like that place?" the other said.
    "I don't know. There is just something about it. It seems more real." one said. In the car. One in the driver seat, the other in the passenger. "At least it use to be until those kids started hanging out there. It's just a shame." one said. The other looked out the window of the car and frowned.

Aaron C. Molden

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Words and Numbers

   Age 1

No one ever expects to live until true adulthood
until they wake up and discover it has already happened.
We may have lived recklessly,
shouting in the streets about how we
are not afraid to die.
All along we were afraid to live.
We were afraid to grow old.
We were afraid to take care of ourselves.
Afraid to have something to live for.
This would go against everything we believed.
If we had a reason to live,
we would have a reason to be afraid to die.

    Six Lines Part 1

The devil without horns is simply a man.
Since he is simply a man
he becomes unfathomably more terrifying.
Good comes as easy to him
as evil.
Terrifying and intoxicating.

    Age 2

People crave tragedy.
Things were not easier when you were younger.
They would have been if you where who you are here, then
but you were not.
Things are just as hard to take here
as they were then.
A friend has died.
You lost your teddy bear.
Tragedy is what you make it.
Is it good?
Is it bad?
It is.

    Six Lines Part 2

Life presents passion.
Love and hate share the same string
strung taut to reverberate
towards love or hate.
Pluck it up or down.
It leads to the same end.

    Age 3

Reality changes your perceptions over time.
Reality eventually teaches you to know
what will make you successful and comfortable.
The uneasiness of giving in keeps you restless
and unwilling to endure it for now.
But for how long?
You worry everyday that maybe you are wrong.
Even though it still feels right.
It becomes harder and harder to endure.

    Six Lines Part 3

Motionless is not a virtue.
To be at peace
is to be dead.
Fight against the will to rest.
Seeking better fortunes
is the doctrine of man.

    Age 4

You can say it honestly.
You can do it.
Things could go wrong
but the only thing you will lose is face.
At least that is true here.
After so many years all you can ask
is not why.
All you can ask is why not?

    Six Lines Part 4

Motion creates motion.
It is great and dynamic.
It is terrible and dynamic.
It is what it is.
It is what you are
or what you will inevitably be.

    Age 5

You hope for an age of reason.
When there is so much to be seen and heard
you believe it to be true.
You believe you live within an age of reason.
When there is nothing to be heard and seen
you know it is not.
This is not an age of reason.
You know that something is wrong
even when so much is right.
You cannot lie to yourself
even when you lie to those you love the most.
You let everyone you know
that you believe everything is great.
You look at everything you have
that so many before you never imagined.
The things that others on this planet
will never know.
The things that others on this planet
will eternally covet without catharsis.
You are thankful.
You do not think being thankful is enough.
You know something is wrong

    Six Line Part 5

You know you are right.
You know you can make it better.
Everyone you know is expendable.
They will die for your cause.
Their name will go down in history.
Your name will go down in history.

    Age 6

We have always loved you, understood.

    Six Lines Part 6


    Age 7

    You sat with friends in drink and smoke.
Discussion was ripe for the picking.
Everyone had something on their mind.
Everyone was excited to hear
what others had on their mind.
 An eagerness to talk.
A willingness to listen.
    It was not true , but you felt maybe
everything could be alright in the world
if everyone simply tried a little harder.
    A friend said studies in human biology show
that a person sheds one hundred percent of their cells
every seven years. You bought it hook line and sinker.
You felt good.
That is all it took.

    Six columns Part 1

Oh man you totally bought it.

Aaron C. Molden