Wednesday, September 12, 2007

September hope

There is something about these early autumn days that just invites dreams and wandering thoughts that have very few practical elements. Autumn is the season of renewed hope -- of gathering up all the pieces of your life and actually believing that something good could come of them.

It's not spring, by any means -- there is nothing poking up through the soil for the first time, and the pace of life is not quite so frantic or harsh as the rapid growth of spring. In early fall, the time for growth has come and gone, and some things haven't quite turned out like you thought they would. If spring is hopelessly, naively optimistic, then autumn is the season of mature hope, when you've seen hard times and know they will come again but you have renewed energy to press on in spite of the past. Failure and a general sense of doom may be looming in the distance, but autumn is the time for squinting at it from afar and saying to yourself, "I think I just might be able to beat this" -- whatever it is, it seems there's always something like that in my life come September.

This September, of course, there are a number of things -- among them, just surviving in this new environment. And so, on this sunny, cool afternoon that's driven me to sip steaming coffee and pull on a waffle-knit henley . . . I am staring down the loneliness, the financial discomfort, the frustration with the state of our house, the fear that I might keep worrying and hating myself for the rest of my life, the thought that this whole Pittsburgh experiment might just fail miserably . . . I am staring it all down from afar with that against-the-odds optimism, and thanking God for His renewing strength this September.

A random thought about music
I was listening to the radio today, and was again annoyed by the trend that music artists are taking to calling themselves by singularly band-like names. If you heard a song by Feist or Iron & Wine for the first time, would it be instantly obvious that these are individuals, rather than bands? And if you heard a song by Rilo Kiley, would you guess that Rilo Kiley is a band? Of course not! So why do they do it? I have a theory: they are setting us all up to be mocked and ridiculed by their nerdiest, most dedicated fans who laugh and say to each other, "ha ha, she doesn't even know that Rilo Kiley isn't a person; Rilo Kiley is a band!" Music artists like this are drawing boundary lines between "true" fans and casual listeners who aren't absolutely obsessed with them yet.

Now, I know what you're saying: "But Dulci, you like Sting." And for those of you who didn't know I like Sting, please don't feel like this has to come between us. I know most people don't like Sting, and that's O.K. -- I won't try to push old Police albums on you or anything. Anyway, I realize Sting is somewhat of an ambiguous title for an individual music artist. But there's a bit of a difference here; most people have no idea that Sting's real name is Gordon Matthew Thomas Sumner (I can see why he changed it -- Gord Sumner doesn't quite have the 80s rock appeal that Sting does). Whereas people like Leslie Feist have a sort of dual public identity; they have no qualms about telling people their real, full names, but on their albums, they go by their enigmatic stage name. See? There is a difference.

If you asked me to suggest an underlying social change that is contributing to this shift in the way that musicians refer to themselves, I could probably come up with some kind of B.S. about how today's artists are much more willing to openly admit that they lead a double life; that the person on stage and the person on the street are not the same by any means. But I'm afraid I'd have to do a great deal more research in order to really confirm that hypothesis, and like I said, it's B.S. anyway.


brannabee said...

i'm b.s., too.
and plus, i like sting so much, that i took nathan to a sting concert for his college graduation gift.
but, then again, we already admire our mutual impeccable tastes in music, don't we.
with the occasional variance, which we shall bring up at our next "music listening party". i, for one, love the simple goodness of the groups like "marshall and anger" - which is simply comprised of the two artists: marshall, and.... anger.

Dulcimer Hope Brubaker said...

Thanks so much for sharing my appreciation for Sting . . . wow, I keep forgetting about that.

But you still haven't won me over to listening to Madonna. (You're welcome to try; I'll do my best to keep an open mind).

Dulcimer Hope Brubaker said...

You know, I really should have separated these two very, very different posts, shouldn't I have? Oh, well, sorry for the dissonance in my thoughts -- I suppose this post betrays the true randomness of my brain. :)

brannabee said...

this might come as a surprise to you. no. it won't. i personally loved the dissonance. :D

i shall come to avondale place with madonna.
not her for real, spaced front teeth and all, but, like, in recorded album format.