We spend a lot of life burying simple, earnest joy beneath complicated oxymorons like the idea of the “guilty pleasure.” This phrase is most often connoted with songs that we somehow “shouldn’t” like but secretly do, anyways.
There is so little practical difficulty in the day-to-day of most of us that we have to create solutions to nonexistent problems for our own entertainment, to provide that sense of accomplishment and satisfaction where none can be found… In comfort, so few demands are made of us that we can sit and pontificate until we unravel.
I don’t have to wallow in sorrow and self-loathing to be at my artistic best—maybe I’d write a more poignant novel in the Modernist style if I allowed myself to keep feeling as I did two years ago—but I can be informed by that knowledge of high art as I create something filled with high hope.
We don’t all have to bleed or travel to postcard-worthy places to remind ourselves that we are more capable than we think.
As we wonder how to age well, how to make it to our seventh generation and sit on the stage with our hats pulled low not as a display of hubris but for dramatic effect, it’s easy to wonder if we can learn from the mistakes our predecessors have made, or if we can only learn from them that mistakes will be made.
In an era where Moore’s Law is hopelessly outdated, nothing has surpassed the way that date and its imagery imprinted itself on all of our psyches.
And I have achieved something through a long and quite painful process that I didn’t realize I’d been longing for all along. Joan Didion put words to it when she said of Amado: “It seemed to me that day that I had never talked to anyone so direct and unembarrassed about the things he loved.”
The plaintive echo of steel drums is reinforced by the Coral Reefers’ horn section. That particular melancholy of timpanis we’ve come to know as “tropical,” the soundtrack of so many