It's the little things.
It's stopping outside the West 4th street subway station with your morning coffee to watch a pick-up basketball game through the black chain link fence. I'm not even a basketball guy but there's something special about 12 different strangers all waking up on a Saturday morning with the same desire to compete, to sweat, to move, to trash talk, to release. They help each other get by, whether they know it or not.
It's about finding a street with the perfect canopy where the sun pours through the space between leaves and checkers onto the asphalt below. The leaves wax from dark green to lime where the light illuminates the backsides. I often think that to be my favorite color, or maybe its the embryonic orange you get when you close your eyes and let the sun warm your lids. I playfully tell Liza that when I die she can find me there, in those colors and moments, I'm more than half-serious. The corridor is cool, the light is playful, the movement is quiet, people move slowly.
It's about the moments of romance. Teenagers falling in love for the first time. Elderly couples moving through the streets hand-in-hand, the ones that may not say much but understand each other quietly, trustingly. Two strangers on a Central Park bench breaking the ice and exchanging a moment of genuine connection. An old timer enjoying the weather and finding comfort in a printed newspaper. A 30 year old woman on an artist's date, reading in the park. A man and his Bloodhound. The beauty feels infinite sometimes.
Lately, I've been happy enough to soak in the world through disjointed tidbits of conversation as I pass through the city streets. There's hardly ever enough time to catch more than a fraction of a sentence but it doesn't matter much.
"... Isn't it such a beautiful morn..."
"...When did Taylor Swift become THE zeitgeist?"
"... Yeah, he was alright, I don't know I'm jus..."
I somehow forgot how alive the world is; how much there is to see and hear if you're brave enough to be deliberate about your first step out the door and un-opinionated about every one after that.
I've been thinking a lot about a story that Kurt Vonnegut shared about buying an envelope. It goes like this:
[Kurt tells his wife he's on his way out to buy an Envelope]
Oh, she says, well, you’re not a poor man. You know, why don’t you go online and buy a hundred envelopes and put them in the closet?
And so I pretend not to hear her. And go out to get an envelope because I’m going to have a hell of a good time in the process of buying one envelope.
I meet a lot of people. And see some great looking babes. And a fire engine goes by. And I give them the thumbs up. And I’ll ask a woman what kind of dog that is. And, and I don’t know. The moral of the story is — we’re here on Earth to fart around.
And, of course, the computers will do us out of that. And what the computer people don’t realize, or they don’t care, is we’re dancing animals. You know, we love to move around. And it’s like we’re not supposed to dance at all anymore.”
I think I'm understanding how people can live here for so long. It's the little things.
🎧 A Song to Study
🏡 An Album to Live In
📚 What I'm Reading
Spring Rain is the memoir of Marc Hamer, an author who has lived his life in gardens. Spring Rain is the reflections of an aging gardener who has reached the age where his body has begun giving up on him.
All the old people are in pain. Only some of us have the skills to be able to laugh at it every day. Life is ridiculous and full of pain, and to be kind and happy is the finest act of rebellion I can imagine. Lasting happiness is a skill; it's not an easy skill to learn, but once you've had a glimmer of it, it is impossible to ignore. To get it, I gave things up; stopped competing against others, accepted nature's flow, handed myself to simplicity, accepted inevitability, change and meaninglessness, but most of all I had to forgive people. Time passes, things happen, nobody knows why.
It is easy to forgive people if you love them--that is one of the ways you know that you love them. It is often easier to forgive other people than it is to forgive yourself, but you have to do both. It's harder to forgive people you don't love, and even harder to forgive those who are greedy or selfish, violent hate-filled people who like to make you hurt, and those who want to count the things they have and compare them with the things that other people have.
You can't change the world by changing other people, you have to start with yourself by examining who you are, the harm you do, the things you think and feel and say, things you use and consume. You must forgive and begin each day from where you are today, with nothing left from yesterday.
🚨 Newsletter Update
You may have noticed a little refocusing up there! Less words, more immediate direction. I started this newsletter as a music focused project but ultimately have realized I've been far more interested and motivated by the more journalistic side of Attack & Flux. Ultimately, getting down here and feeling like I have to conjure thoughts to get y'all to listen to music recommendations feels more exhausting than exciting, not to mention that analytics have shown that y'all are actually way more interested in reading the newsletter than listening to recommendations, which I found relieving and rather flattering. Thank you for continually showing up ❤️ . So what's changed?
A Song to Study
This will be much of the same but minus the lengthy descriptions. You can listen on Spotify by clicking on the graphic below or the button underneath. I'm removing Tidal links for the time being, sorry :[.
An Album to Live In
This is changing slightly. Less prescriptive and more suggestive, less sentiment and more consistent. The albums I recommend now will be mostly contemporary albums that I encounter as I listen to all the new album releases week after week. This is an effort to produce more value with less words and help you discover great new releases that will keep you informed on what's what in 2023. So, most of what I recommend will have released in the last few months or weeks.
What I'm Reading
Last but not least, I'm adding a new section that will include my favorite passage or quote from whatever I am reading that week. This can sometimes alternate week by week as I hot swap between books. So much of what I write is inspired by what I read, so I think bringing you guys into that will prove interesting. Also, I personally love just reading thought provoking quotes all the time, so I'll try and help with that.
👋 Until next time...
I understand how sacred privacy is in our day and I feel tremendously honored when someone trusts me enough to let me into their inbox week after week. Thanks for being here ❤️.