The Thoughts of All Men in All Ages and Lands

In the conference room, where I have lunch each day with two of my favorite people in the world (I am very lucky), I found myself tapping my fingers in constant rhythm against the long, veneered table. Why was I doing this?

I am almost always conscious of my hands. They are finding comfort by gripping something or they are holding on to themselves or they are simply hiding. At times throughout the day, I’ll firmly squeeze each of my fingertips, slowly, one by one, starting from the thumb and ending with the pinky. Is this odd? But I like the way it feels. It quiets me.

Sitting there, thinking then of my hands, I wished for my guitar. I would play a song for you.

I imagine I would have come up with something beautiful, somehow.

I think of playing the guitar, and I’m amazed. There are all these possibilities, all these combinations and patterns of notes to be played.

What is it that amazes me? I’m amazed that all of the songs haven’t already been made. All of these notes are just waiting there to be played. Have they all been played before? Has every combination and rhythm and phrase already been explored? If not, why? What’s stopping us? The notes are just there, waiting.

John Atkinson came around the other day to offer a suggestion concerning the blog:
"All it has to be is one unique thought each day."

Two days later, it still makes me shake my head. At the time, I threw my arms up in the air, defeated, and nearly cried:
"I don’t believe in unique thoughts!"

I started to think I might be the wrong person for this blog. I have since cleared my mind.

I’ve been reminding myself of some lines from Leaves of Grass:

These are the thoughts of all men in all ages and lands, they are not original with me,
If they are not yours as much as mine they are nothing or next to nothing,
If they do not enclose everything they are next to nothing,
If they are not the riddle and the untying of the riddle they are nothing,
If they are not just as close as they are distant they are nothing.

I like that.

Today, John tells me he thinks the blog is touching people right where they live, and I like that, too. We are moving closer together. To touch might be too much, and so: we wait. We don’t always like to touch.

Tonight, I’ll be going to see and hear some live music. First, I hope that I will walk from here with two of my favorite people in the world (I am so lucky) until we part at Union Square, where I will meet another of my favorite people in the world, who will accompany me to Hoboken, where we will meet more of our favorite people in the world, who will join us for dinner. After dinner—maybe at La Isla—we will walk up to Maxwell’s where we will join Rob Duffy in celebration of a record release party, featuring the Celebrity Pilots, Hero Pattern, and Doug Gillard. Afterwards, I will walk alone (alone is also fine) back to the PATH train and ride it to the World Trade Center, its white lights and its stainless steel and its quiet hum. From there, I will walk to the Knitting Factory on Leonard Street, where I will meet John DeVore of DeVore Fidelity, for his band, The Merkin Dream. Describing them, John says:

The music is sort of chill, trip-hopped out Radiohead meets Hank Williams. Honest.

Besides, John DeVore and I might even discuss a pair of Gibbon 3s he’s thinking about setting me up with.

And we move closer together, you and I. Tap tap tap.

David Andrews's picture

Do you damned well pay this guy for this pointless woolgathering and haiku? The subscription's cheap enough lately, but why don't you do more with the money? Who gives a rat's patootie about this guy's childhood?

Al Marcy's picture

Guitar fingers like to be noticed. I don't play anymore, but, I enjoy doing the stretching exercises I learned at age 14, nearly a quarter of today's cumulative total ;)

andrea breitman's picture

i heart this is my is my favorite because it takes meinto stephen's world...and that makesme happy. what also makes me happyis finding that we both like to squeeze our fingertips...your blog is amazing.andrea