Discreet Music | January 16, 2018

I made marrow soup for the first time (or released the marrow I guess, into a soup). And I took a hot bath and imagined myself settling into it the same as the chicken carcass, reduced. I flickered in and out on the sidewalk again today, unable to place myself in a distinct time. In my mind I wrote a blog post on LinkedIn from a cynic’s point of view, but cynicism doesn’t bring me any joy, it only dampens. Another friend and former colleague about to be let go, told “it isn’t personal.” I realized my capacity to love changed and I hadn’t realized that, hadn’t thought about it until it already happened. And there was no art in the fine details of the moss on the sidewalk or clouds, just a banal suburban walk. Dinner was hurried and “leftover” and I went upstairs for a bath and a book.

I got out the old Mac I bought in 2009 for our first sabbatical. I hadn’t used it in a few years, but it fired up after charging just a few minutes, and I checked the browsing history: all the detail from late July 2015 still, right before we moved to Germany for nine months. Lily was the age Charlotte is now, roughly 10. And the sites they were looking at, decidedly “10.” We’d gained and lost a fair amount in those years, the trade-offs that come with age and experience.

I think I figured out why I like writing memoir, because I have to patch together my past, and my past got scrambled the way a puzzle looks when all the pieces get dropped out of a box. There was a time it all fit together, but time cuts into things, it breaks your life into frames that are hard to put back together, to where they belong. Maybe I’m just a control freak. But I know I don’t like puzzles.

“Discreet Music” is the name of a Brian Eno album from 1975 and also a blog series I’m running through January, prompted by a journal-writing theme I started in Germany over the holidays. It’s inspired by the David Sedaris book I’m reading that chronicles his journal entries from the late ’70s onward.

The photographs are taken from our flight from Germany over the north pole, late December.

Categories: Memoir, travel

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

15 replies

  1. yeah, i have found that sometimes you lose a piece here or there along the way, and i do like puzzles-

    Liked by 1 person

  2. That’s interesting, that bit about putting the snapshots together, and whether the picture changes. You could literally write your own story. “As a man thinketh, so shall he be.” I also like the image of flickering on the sidewalk. Don’t flicker out though, duder. The mojo will be back.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Writing like a cynic is like betting with the house at the craps tables. It’s easy enough to do but it yaps all the fun out of it.

    Did you ever listen to ‘Another Green World?’ That was a big one for me. Discreet Music was always on my periphery.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Mark, yes I know Another Green World and the 3 other vocal records of his in the early 70s, love them all, sometimes debate which we like best with my friends. Have you heard Another Day on Earth, a more recent vocals record? I really like that one, you might too. I might be able to dropbox it to you if you like, not sure how you consume music. (“Two old guys on a park bench discuss how to transfer a record digitally from one to the other.”)

      Liked by 2 people

  4. I like the puzzle piece metaphor. Perfect way to describe how memory seems to work, saving fragments because it’d be impossible to keep the whole puzzle intact.

    You’ve got me listening to Eno these days too …

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Marrow soup generated two random memories. “Walden” the book I disliked the most as an undergrad. “I wanted to live deep and suck out all the marrow of life…”
    And an English folksong I like a lot “Marrowbones” In the Steeleye Span version:
    “Oh take him sixteen marrowbones and make him eat them all
    And when he’s finished he’ll be so blind that he won’t see you at all”
    In a couple of English churches, I saw windows that were made from stained glass that’d been smashed during the Reformation or Civil War or when Manchester United lost, and then reassembled into something random-looking but interesting.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Wow, that’s some deep association man! Deep tissue thinking, I love it. Yes, it’s our first time taking the marrow out and we let it cook about 24 hours, cooled it this morning. Fun in an odd way, good for contemplation….as your comments always are too, sir!

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Looks like you do memoirs for much the same reason I started blogging, only more in depth. In either case because those memories fade, like your puzzle with a few pieces vanishing each week, turning a detailed experience into an abstract one.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Favourite line: “there was no art in the fine details of the moss on the sidewalk or clouds, just a banal suburban walk”. Love the implication (perhaps reader-added) that on another day, another walk, there may have been magic in the moss. We breathe in, we breathe out.


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