Discreet Music | “Letter for 2018,” Jan. 31

Jan. 31, 2018,

Hi everyone, we’ve had a pretty good year here so far, we can’t complain. Mark Smith died (my favorite singer), and so did the wall clock in our den. I bought another one on Amazon but it’s battery-powered and the chime sound is bad. It plays the Westminster tune which I didn’t know by name but I definitely know the tune. We’ll disable the batteries soon so we don’t have to hear it, it sounds like a kid’s toy or a bad ring chime. I got a CT scan on my heart and it came back “0.” I had to reread the results, which said I have a >95% of not having major artery failure (too many double negatives always trip me up). Our good friend and neighbor Andrew has been helping me look for a new/used car. Today we went to another dealership to look at some “E” series Mercedes-Benz. The salesman was so young he still had acne (kid-acne). He tried to bait me with classic fear-of-loss tactics before we left and wrote my name/number down on a Post-it note and I just felt sorry for him. I’d like to buy a car from them just to help that kid out, but part of me has died and doesn’t feel so Zen about things as I once did (fuck him).

All month long the weather was a Ball of Suck. It was good for the weekend we went to Portland, but Loren is in a bit of a funk and Dawn was on her diet and couldn’t drink/eat anything really. Loren introduced me to some new cocktails with Chartreuse and gave me a handful of ambient CDs to take home, plus a Philip K. Dick novel. Next time I go down there, it will be in the new/used car and the two of us will drive to the coast and hopefully not get pulled over. There was a “super blue blood moon” last night allegedly, but when I got up at 4:30 all there was was a poached egg of a sky and I went back to bed, and thought about work. And then Lily’s alarm went off and we all got up again. There’s a bush out back that flowers this time of year, some white blooms that smell like jasmine wine. The cat’s been going out more, and today I had to let her in through the window in our bedroom while I was on a conference call.

I took Anthony out for his birthday last night; we met at an old place on Mercer Island halfway between his place and ours. He threw his back out sneezing or doing something inconsequential and we bemoaned life in our late 40s, and knocked back a couple local IPA’s, talked work-family-music. He explained Mark Smith drank himself to death, not surprised.

I ran a series on my blog called Discreet Music but lost interest in it pretty early on. My regular habit of walking to the lake for inspiration got interrupted and I couldn’t find much more to move me. Just have to trust that whatever line I’m following is right, that it’s mine at least, “I know…this…much is…true…(this much is true!).” 

I think I’ve lost a few pounds but it’s hard to tell. I stopped eating bread and have cut my beer down to maybe 1/night. I walk self-righteously out of the Whole Foods with my burlap bag and my kale/collard greens sticking out of the top. When I went to the car dealership today and they asked if I had a trade-in I mentioned the Volvo, that old dog, and it’s really like that, I have to put it down: I have to stick a rifle in its head and pull the trigger, sad.


Categories: Memoir

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

32 replies

  1. I really like this … it’s an exposure of the moments in each day when people who are thoughtful and introspective stop and think and introspect (is that a word?) about the things they are doing and experiencing and feeling.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Ain’t been right since I had to kill Cujo. As always you speaks to me in an errie parallels. I begging to imagine share genological stock, prolly back with the lobster. And I appreciate you for it. Fuck him is right! Step your game up, or don’t. Die a little young man, so you can enjoy your dinner!


    • I never thought of that, good god! The power of stories, sorry…didn’t mean to conjure that up for you. I recall that somehow, in the last year or so. I like your sloppy commenting here, quite off the cuff as it were. Die a little young man, so you can enjoy your dinner! That’s good!

      Liked by 1 person

      • All good, I felt a lil bad for being so emotionally provoked. Was in an oddly great mood when I wrote it. Was eating a late night bowl of cereal which explains the typos. Glad it was taken in good spirit! And the dog reference is catharsis, never apologize! (Unless you need to, which in this case you most certainly did not)

        Liked by 1 person

      • All good 🤩


  3. I don’t think I know what a ‘Christmas letter’ is so the parody/satire was a bit lost on me I’m afraid. Needing to change cars isn’t, though. Man, just writing that gives me a headache.

    I’ve quite often thought of writing something about Ambient music vis a vis New Age, but who’d care?

    Listening to Boards of Canada right now.


    • I would care (Ambient vs. New Age). I kind of don’t get it. I would care A LOT. And my friend Loren sure would, he actually makes/sells records in that space, has for +20 years. Loren Chasse.
      Good for you on Boards of Canada, I like them a lot. Or did, when I was on that current, if you will.
      Music has the right to…or what have you.
      I can never get enough of Stars of the Lid, for some reason. Not proud of that, kind of a confession I guess.


      • Have read about Stars of the Lid, but not acquired anything thus far. Tend to be most interested in early ambient efforts — those arising from minimalism rather than newageism. It’s also fascinating how Mr Eno, as the most recognisable name in the field, has kind of become a benchmark.

        Last night, after reading your letter, I was mentally note-taking for a VC post…

        Does Loren know about Ambient Music Guide (.com)? The site’s writer is Mike Watson, who happens to be Australian!

        Liked by 1 person

      • Recommend Stars of the Lid “rise and decline” or “refinement” records. Live then both deeply. Will convey this to Loren also, thanks. Need to slip into my own ambience right about now..:signing off…

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Spandau Ballet? from when bands first electrified?
    Sorry, just a poached egg kind of kidding. You’ve given me a great idea for an Etsy product line – – carry bags with fake Kale & Collard Greens sewn to the top, to camouflage a sack full of Twinkies and bacon. Like those fake Proust covers they sell, to slip over the Jack Reacher novels you’re really reading. I really enjoyed this “letter”

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Of self-righteous kale and sad old dogs. This letter is giving January the send-off it deserves 🙂 Nice one, Bill.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I wish we received this kind of letter from people. Something with real stuff in it instead of rose-colored bullshit. Happy Fucking February!


  7. PS. Where can I buy one of Robert Parker’s Kale Kamouflage Karry Bags?

    Liked by 1 person

  8. When shopping for my last car, I was sitting at the salesman’s desk discussing the model I just test drove and another salesman rushed over and asked for the keys. It seems someone else was very interested in the exact same car at that exact same moment. Imagine that! I handed him the keys.

    Have you read ‘Please Kill Me: An Oral History of Punk”? I just finished it. It’s the greatest book I’ve ever read. And I’ve read several.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ah I have not read that but given your catalogue I will look at that. I’ve read a couple punk books and enjoyed them tremendously. Thanks for the tip Mark!


  9. I feel all caught up now. Like in a ball of yarn. But I’m a kitten, so it’s all good.
    I turned down a student’s request to accompany him to the school nurse last night. He didn’t want to go alone. He said he was fevery, but he had just finished playing a novelty hockey game (Asia vs Mexico) so he was probably just hot. Plus he’s a weird kid who doesn’t get he’s weird, in that off-putting way, and he was wearing bare feet in sandals, unsuitable for the walk to the nurse, and his toes were not attractive AT ALL. I begged off and told him to just go to the nurse. So, yeah, fuck him.

    Liked by 1 person

    • That kitten analogy is totally cute. I’m easier to catch up with these days, but still very grateful you do. That kid you describe sounds like an ass. He has no place in our society.


  10. Ah, Mark Smith – died as he lived, I guess. Would he appreciate being mentioned in the same post as a Spandau lyric? 🙂 Went into a few record shops last weekend and heard nothing but him and poor Dolores O’Riordan, the Cranberry’s singer echoing round every shop. A day for the dead to sing to us.
    I like your late Christmas letter – so much better than ‘little Tommy came up with a cure for the common cold and won an Olympic Gold for show jumping and then became head boy, bless him!’ My letters usually comprise ‘we’re working, going to school, coming home … err …’ Christmas letters should be filled with dead rock stars and letting the cat in and selling clapped out Volvos.
    Joy, Bill

    Liked by 1 person

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