In Favor Of One's Time
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.


St. Vincent - "Bring Me Your Loves"
St. Vincent - "Prince Johnny"

This week, I got my feelings hurt. Then I saw St. Vincent play a show. Can we talk about desire for a second?

I've been thinking about how sometimes there's this thing that happens. If you are a certain kind of person - maybe a decent observer of others, maybe a little too sensitive, a little in love with the unfolding of being in love - you can sometimes lose track of your own wanting. It's not your fault or anything, it just goes on. I have this one notebook that says SOURCES OF INFINITE POWER across the cover in my scrawling childish ballpoint, and once you're done laughing at me you can maybe understand why that might be a good thing to have: Sometimes, as a human, you have days (weeks, whatever) when you mesh with the machine and it's beautiful. You get up to the corner and the bus pulls up just like that, every dog you see is a bulldog that loves you, the last coffee wins you the next one, some benevolent invisible technician has removed the thick pane of tempered glass that is usually wedged between you and the rest of the world and each hour glides into the next, like they're supposed to. When you're lucky enough to hit a stretch like this, it's important to write down what you see so that future generations of you can look back on it and be like: huh. Okay.

So in the notebook, which is I guess more like a makeshift encyclopedia, there are some entries that make immediate sense - Dogs, Night, Smoking Out Of Your Bedroom Window - and then others that are still kinda up for debate. For example, other people as Sources of Infinite Power are a tricky proposition. Friends are on the list, absolutely - but anything past that's a tough call. On the one hand, other people are so nice; they have haircuts and aspirations and you can make them laugh, you can get high and go to the movies and when they touch you you'll feel like you're neon. Plus there's the gift of renewed perspective. If you give them room and reign to do so, other people will look at you and what they see - what seems, to them, worthy of attention - will rise to meet and hold against your own sense of self. Just like that, you get a way to see yourself you've never heard before. New, wavering, imperfect, a little sharp. It's cool.

But Other People giveth and Other People taketh away, right? For a certain type of person, at a certain type of time, this is the danger. If you give over too much room, the ideas that other people have about where you fit (into their lives, into the world) can start to rewire your own. I have, in the past, watched as men I thought I loved spoke to other women, ones who were beautiful and brilliant and interesting, and felt paralyzed by a panic that moved through me like poison but whose origins I would've at the time been hard-pressed to name. I've watched women on stages playing guitars and ached so hard to be them that my wanting could short out the room; I have watched women bend light and stop time with their bare hands and still somehow wasted myself wondering what the dude I was with was thinking about them, or what he thought I lacked in comparison. The mystery of your own enormous, incomplete desire can be as endless and crucial as dogs or smoking or night, but if you're not ready to face it head-on, sometimes you put other people in its path. Does he want her? and Does he want me? are much simpler questions than What do I want?

There is a lot of good that other people can do for you, and there are a lot of good things you can do for other people, too, if you want. But this week I saw St. Vincent and the sound of her guitar was like power lines in an ice storm and when she spoke everything in the room rushed toward her like she was where gravity began and ended. She conducted everything - light, air, crowd - but what she was doing was entirely for herself. Singular, unbroken current. I do not know what it's like to be Annie Clark on a stage, playing guitar, but I do know what it's like to find yourself out in a crowd on a freezing weekday night, newly freed from someone else's ideas about you and watching Annie Clark sound out the boundless, weird depths of her own desire. Loud. No apologies, no checking, no other someones. Just infinite power.

[buy St. Vincent // title comes from here]

Posted by Emma at March 7, 2015 12:26 AM

thank you for writing this.

Posted by shaun at March 7, 2015 5:14 PM

Yes! This is everything for me right now.

Posted by Kate at March 7, 2015 5:50 PM

this is absolutely lovely.

Posted by rachel at March 7, 2015 9:56 PM

I haven't enjoyed reading ANYTHING this much in as long as I can remember. Thank you. My first visit in a month couldn't have been timelier. I'll be checking in more often.

Posted by Dain at March 7, 2015 10:43 PM

Shaun already said it, but I also want to thank you for writing this.

Posted by Aimee at March 10, 2015 6:58 PM

Beautiful writing. Thank you so much.

Posted by Tom at March 11, 2015 7:50 AM

Achingly beautiful. Thank you so much.

Posted by Jefree at March 11, 2015 9:45 AM

Unbelievably awesome. This is poetry disguised as prose, acute spiritual inquiry masquerading as a casual conversation. Powerful beyond words.

Posted by Jeremy at March 12, 2015 9:33 PM

Damn! This is ALIVE!!!

Posted by Patches815 at March 14, 2015 2:37 PM

I am completely in love with and in awe of everything you've written on this blog. Also, your Drake poem- fuck. Just, fuck. So glad you were born.

Posted by Amelia at April 4, 2015 4:53 PM

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about the authors
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.

Jeff Miller is a Montreal-based writer and zinemaker. He is the author of Ghost Pine: All Stories True and a bunch of other stories. He joined Said the Gramophone in 2015. Say hello on Twitter or email.

Mitz Takahashi is originally from Osaka, Japan who now lives and works as a furniture designer/maker in Montreal. English is not his first language so please forgive his glamour grammar mistakes. He is trying. He joined Said the Gramophone in 2015. Reach him by email here.

Site design and header typography by Neale McDavitt-Van Fleet. The header graphic is randomized: this one is by Neale McDavitt-Van Fleet.
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.

Jordan Himelfarb wrote for Said the Gramophone from November 2004 to March 2012. He lives in Toronto. He is an opinion editor at the Toronto Star. Click here to browse his posts. Email him here.
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