Sunday, January 16, 2011

A little whistle in the heart

 If asked i wouldn't be able to tell you the science behind what happens when we are experiencing in something that we really enjoy. I'm sure it's chemical and biological at some level. Perhaps spiritual. But these are all words we've made up about stuff we pretend that we know about, as are the words I am writing right now, all ideas about shit i know nothing of. Regurgitating words that have been said before in a million different ways by a million different people each with their own little slice of "how it is" pie. 
Pleasure is an interesting thing. I don't often stop and ask "why" about the various pleasures i feel in this life i live. They just are and i like them. But there is one that mystifies me every time, and not because i want to know the whys of it or anything like that. I just marvel at the consistency of it and how it takes over my body like nothing else. And i ain't talking about sex here. But sometimes it feels that way.
Most of you know that i have been a hardcore music nut for as early in life as i could be. Both of my folks in my younger years were deep appreciators of music and i grew up with some great early roots done played over the old hi-fi. My dad often played guitar and before they were together he was playing in a hippie band that I am convinced could have done some good things. But then had he gone on to a big time music career then i probably wouldn't be "me" or be here writing these words to you, my friends, family, lovers and otherwise. I'm glad I'm here doing those things.
I sometimes wonder about those nights when i was a kid, my folks and i would go over to Uncle Barry and Aunt Lois' house for dinner. Afterward we'd be hanging out in the living room and sometimes the weed would come out and they'd all get high and listen to awesome music. I used to love that because they'd always get much funnier and I'd be funnier too. They'd play The Cars, Dire Straights, Moody Blues and other staples of the music lover at the time. Those nights had such an impression on me and perhaps i was getting contact high and tripping on the tunes but i firmly believe those nights were partly responsible for my love of music to this day. That and when my dad would play Beatles and sing Bob Dylan as part of my end of night story-time. Music has always been a rich part of my life.
I am pretty grateful to have not lost my zip and zing for awesome songs at 36. It's sad to me that some folks just lose interest and let this amazing art form take a back seat. Even if you don't have all the time in the world to invest in keeping up and staying "cool" there is always time to close your eyes and let your favorite song take you back to your self. To let it give you joyful little outbursts when you're out in public with the headphones on and you just can't help yourself.
But we do what we do and not everyone can care about rich melodies and warm movements that shake you to the core. Me, i let it take me as often as i can. I may not question why, but i certainly take notice of just how deeply a song can affect me. Songs that i have been listening to for years still amaze me. Those moments in the bridge where something oh so subtle happens and it still makes me smile, and maybe even more so because of how well i have gotten to know it, my old tuney friend.
There is an album by a band called Neutral Milk Hotel that i would listen to nearly every day for at least 2 years from start to finish. Never single songs or half an album. If i listened i was committed. It was ritual and it was wonderful and it felt fantastic to sing along with every word and just be fucking shattered by how incredible this music was and how it moved me so deeply.
Man, if you could see me in my private moments.....i keep the weeping and gesticulating down to a minimum when in public but holy shit, hit me with a favorite song and I'm lost, hopping from planets and swimming in seas of fun and candy floss and sometimes tears. I feel it in every centimeter of my body, but especially in my guts and heart. It feels like a very physical thing and i definitely have a physical reaction to music, but it's the subtle movements that i think are really neat. How i will sometimes double up a bit as if i can't take any more in that part of my body, or how something as simple as the trailing off of a perfect guitar strum will create a ball of intense emotion in my throat every time i hear it, or how a wave of sound will wash me like a bath of warm mint light. I love it. And i am thankful for the ability to feel music in this way. I am thankful for the people who make music and even more thankful when i see how much it means to them too. I am thankful for being an old fart who wants more of this stuff and is in a position to explore it. I am SO thankful for the ability to write about it.
I guess my return to magazine work after the holidays has got me to ponderin'. 
Being able to write about the stuff i love makes me understand it a little more, makes me appreciate it even more and ultimately allows me to express more fully who and what i am and how i roll.
I believe that these moments of wonder, when we are leaping from the moon into pools of mint water pleasure, that we are simply present, in the moment and with our deepest feelings and if that's the case then i want to be rocking out at shows and dancing in my room with tears in my eyes until the day i drop and die. 
And that's all i have to say tonight.....

Hold on to the happy things. They will set you free.
Thank you i love you. N


  1. i most remember nathan doing the moon walk at Uncle Barry and Lois's home - Billie Jean by the gone too soon Michael - he had it down and we loved watching him float across the floor. not anonymous, iam his mom

  2. I think the music appreciation goes both ways - Nate and i travelled all over the back roads from Wyoming west to San Diego Calif. He brought what my father would call bing bang music. But between his mexican refried bean farts as he devilishly looked at me rolling up the windows in my wee red sprint and putting in Janes Addiction i found myself quite liking the music and to this day remember They must be Giants music as i drive through the mountains -

    from his mom

  3. Aw. They Might Be Giants!! And yes, those road trips were great musical adventures. I bought 2 of the most important albums i could have heard at the time, Jane's Addiction and Descendants. Totally changed my view on music and where it could go.

  4. I have met so many people in my life who got stuck in one genre of music to the exclusion of all others - and some who cared for none of it at all. How much they have missed! I'm so grateful that my parents gave me an appreciation of the music they loved and that I was able to pass my lyrical passions along to this young feller.

  5. thanks for this great post Nathan, I feel the same way.

  6. This is my favourite post yet! I love when at work we'll be listening to your favourite tunes and your body moves involuntarily behind the Synesso. It's fantastic to see! I wish there were more people out there with such an appreciation...of anything! I see so many people who have lost their passions in exchange for an easy, complacent life. Keep being free and amazing friend!