Wednesday, November 4, 2009

night musing and addictive tunes

(for those of you who do not know me, this is not what I look like)

I vividly recall how enamored I was as a child to lie awake at night with my thoughts. Some, I'll admit, at second glance are quite ridiculous. For example, there was a period of my life, just how long I'll keep secret to protect myself from ever greater ridicule, when I was certain I could make myself faster than I already was. Mind you, in elementary school and up until high school I was the fastest kid in my grade. However, I thought I could get even faster by training in my bed each night. Lying on my back with my feet high in the air, I would run-in-space, pumping my legs faster and faster. Then, while catching my breath, I would imagine how shocked my friends would be the next time they challenged me to a race.

I remember another episode in my childhood when I stayed up late one night thinking about the definition of eternity and just what that meant. In my religious upbringing, I was taught that once I died, I would be resurrected like Jesus and live eternally. I must have been having a really hard time at school because I thought living forever was the worst thing one could ever wish for! I sobbed that night because I wished there was a way to opt out of eternal life. The thought of being alive forever exhausted me.

The final thought I remember having, and the one I will use to transition into my next thought, is about music. I tried to imagine a world when every musical possibility had been exhausted. A world when every rhythm featuring every note and every instrument had been copyrighted. A world when whistling a random tune would get you in trouble because, without fail, that tune had been copyrighted.

I stumbled across this same idea one day in graduate school however it was being applied to literature. Argentine author Jorge Luis Borge's wrote La Biblioteca de Babel (The Library of Babel) in 1941. The story features an infinite library that contains every possible string of letters or run of words in a 410-page book. While perhaps the majority of the books are unintelligible or gibberish, hidden within that labyrinth of a library is one book that explains why the library exists and also one foretelling of all future events. The possibilities are endless when you play with the word "infinite."

Fortunately, we live in a day when we have yet to use up our intellectual or musical reserves. There is still room for budding authors, intellectuals, and musicians to make their imprint in their respective worlds.  

Today, I wanted to follow up on my previous post. I spoke briefly about clips from songs that "wow" you.You know what I mean, maybe a 10-second segment of a song that makes that particular song amazing to you. I mentioned one chorus rendition from Nickel Creek's live version of the "The Fox."

What are some of those segments that you love, that you listen to over and over again?


  1. glen and I were just talking about a Jois Luis Borge story just the other day! haha mrs. brown did us well! i just read all your entries(very entertaining) and i do love your paint splatter design. you need to help me make of these when you visit!
    and thanks. ill be distracted all day thinking about my favorite parts of my favorite songs.

    love you!

  2. my musical obsessions change all the time, but these are a few currents and personal classics:

    certain segments of the following . . .

    - "Right Now" by Van Halen
    - "Defying Gravity" from Wicked
    - "Fire on the Mountain" by Hanson
    - "Battlefield" by Jordin Sparks
    - "Dance of the Robe" from Aida
    - "Any Other World" & "Happy Ending" by Mika

  3. Oh, and one more:

    - "Walkin in Memphis" by Marc Cohn

  4. last one, I promise!!

    - "August's Rhapsody" from August Rush

  5. Brant, I was the fasted kid in my class till High School too! It felt great too though I didn't try to train at night as I slept. But... Jorge Luis Borges. How I love him. I was introduced to him slightly before going to Costa Rica about a year ago, and I tell you, a long strand of beach with endlessly repeating waves is a perfect place to read about the House of Asterion, the Library of Bable, The Immortal.

    Oh, and I do have a penchant for listening to songs again and again and again. Some of the most recent are Duet by Rachel Yamagata, Cure for this by Golden Smog, and Two of the Lucky Ones by Pete Droge.

  6. Oh, and I'm a big Klosterman fan. How have we not talked about this?

  7. Spencer,

    Yeah I love Klosterman, although at times I just envy him. I remember the first time I heard him interviewed on NPR, he sounded unremarkable but there was something about his energy and enthusiasm for culture that was addicting.

    Thanks all two of you for your thoughts. I guess I should add at least one. I can listen to "One Day More" of Les Miserables over and over again. There is something about that last verse when all the characters are singing together. I would love to be the conductor for that song.

  8. OOh, thanks for the music list, Coralee. I love Mika anything.

    My late night thoughts and prayers as a child were often that I would be enabled to continue thinking after I fell asleep. I figured I was always wasting time just sleeping when I could be thinking about things.

    Prayer answered: I constantly have near sleepless nights where my mind is tortured by plenty of thoughts in random, stressful scenarios of constant thinking which I wake vividly remembering the next day.

    Just a thought. You sound very distant from that "religious upbringing" of your childhood. You are safe enough on your own blog with your beliefs. We'll not fault you for still beliving!

  9. i got it!
    first episode of glee
    about 47 minutes in
    they are singing journey's "don't stop believing"
    and whenever finn says 'smokey'
    it's magic.

    also "love always remains" by MGMT