My Long My Lonely Listen
by Emma
Please note: MP3s are only kept online for a short time, and if this entry is from more than a couple of weeks ago, the music probably won't be available to download any more.

 

Nap Eyes - "Dark Creedence"
Nap Eyes - "Delirium and Persecution Paranoia"

Every once in a while it's nice to be gently reminded that you know, in the grand scheme, almost nothing about yourself. Actually okay I should be less general - maybe you don't have this problem, but a lot of the time I let myself fall or at least lean gently into the idea that the feelings or tastes I currently have are feelings or tastes I've always had and will continue to have forever. I guess I know people who don't do this so much, and intellectually, if you asked me, hey Emma - do you think you'll always like the things you like now? In the same ways? For the same reasons? I'd be like duh obviously not, with a little condescending smile, because what a question!

But emotionally, intuitively, the vague but pervasive impression that there are some things about you that are fixed (and that you can at least track if not control the ones that aren't) is kind of what lets you live like a normal human being out in the world. Right? It's how work gets done, it's how decisions get made. I mean for fuck's sake, I have tattoos. Even if you know in your brain that you are not going to be the same forever, in a more free-floating hand-wave-y intuitive sense you have to base so much of your life around the idea that you know at least a few things about yourself: about what you like or what you don't, about what feels good or bad to you, about what counts and how. It's a convenient system - the linear narrative, the idea of foundational things or fixed taste or canon or context - and it's also necessary because without it, making any kind of choice ever would be fucking excruciating. You have to think you know what you like, and you have to have stories about why you like it.

But it also seems important to remember sometimes that a lot of that's a fiction, flimsy bulwark against the Great Uncertainty. The first time I ever heard Nap Eyes it was through this very website, and I was like, huh, I dunno, and then forgot. The first time I really listened to Whine of the Mystic all the way through was a few months ago, and I felt actively annoyed, because it felt like everyone I like totally loved this band and I just did. not. get. it. I don't really think I'm that different from the person I was a few months ago; not much has shifted or changed, no major traumas, whatever. But things have passed over and through me I guess, and a month or so ago I thought maybe I'll give this another try and all of a sudden these songs made me feel like someone had twined Christmas lights around my ribs in my sleep. They sounded out a part of me I hadn't known was there; they made me feel pulled and pushed in a way that is so subtle and strong I am not sure how to explain it.

The other day I was re-reading a book I've read a few times already, and this one poem jumped out at me that never had before. It's beautiful, my favourite kind of thing, a mood that starts off wandering and then gathers into a sharp turn:

Who are you?
What of you persists? Your life built on intervals
the way a chord is, on changes that alter you
by thirds, by fifths, in silences the progression climbs
to where each song ends, and the next begins.

Your life, your tastes, your feelings - it might all look a narrative, straightforward and building, but that's just the shape of things, not their content. You can know a couple things about yourself but for the most part every part of you is mutable, flimsy as weather. New things find a way in, press against you at new angles, and you don't get to know how or when or why. You don't need to. You just get to keep moving. It's cool.

[buy Whine of the Mystic]

Posted by Emma at July 24, 2015 5:07 PM
Comments

Be still my beating heart this gave me some feels

Posted by meghan at July 26, 2015 12:40 AM

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Sean Michaels is the founder of Said the Gramophone. He is a writer, critic and author of the theremin novel Us Conductors. Follow him on Twitter or reach him by email here. Click here to browse his posts.

Emma Healey writes poems and essays in Toronto. She joined Said the Gramophone in 2015. This is her website and email her here.

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Dan Beirne wrote regularly for Said the Gramophone from August 2004 to December 2014. He is an actor and writer living in Toronto. Any claim he makes about his life on here is probably untrue. Click here to browse his posts. Email him here.

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