Something With Horns, Something That

I am overwhelmed by all that I want to share with you. But.

JA walked over and, referring to the four entries I posted on Monday night, commented, "One too many blog entries yesterday, Stephen."
"You think?"
"Yes. Save them. Otherwise you'll burn out, and we'd have to kill you."

Loving words, these are. But. I am overwhelmed by all that I want to share with you. I have to let these things loose, or else they'll be forgotten. And sometimes, it seems, life is nothing but remembering. These things must be said — I have to let these things loose — if we're going to get anywhere at all. And what if the bird flu takes us beneath its wings?

I do this. I've been this way for as long as I can recall. I've felt these feelings — or, perhaps I should say: feelings similar to these — for as long as I can remember, as far back as I can remember having feelings. And so:

my fault.

They say — [Who says? I don't know. I probably read it somewhere.] — they say the praying mantis is sentenced to a life alone — a solitary life — as all cannibalistic creatures are sentenced to lives alone. They devour the ones they love. And how can they move on, squeezing the life out of love? I worry about this.

I sat having lunch with Elizabeth. Chinese. Before the fortune cookies arrived, Elizabeth said, "I want to do more, but I can't figure out what it is I should be doing. You know what I mean?"
I nodded.
"I mean, you mentioned wanting to do something special. What is it that you want to do?"
I didn't answer. I couldn't make myself answer.

In the book I'm currently reading, a crippled man is full of regret. He is sixty years old, and has had no children. What has he left this world? He has failed.

"But you're teaching your daughter to be a good person," I said.
"I know. But I think there's more I should be doing."

I thought it, but I didn't say it. Maybe I was embarrassed to say it. Maybe I thought it didn't need to be said. But this is what I thought:

I want to have a child. That is the something I want to do. Have a child and teach it to love, teach it to be a good and beautiful person, to pass on love and beauty. And what else is there to do? What else can be more important? Don't laugh at me for this; I'll eat you.

His grandparents had six children. His parents had two. He has none. All around him he sees this sequence. "The miserable sequence," he calls it.

I worry about this. I want not to be part of this miserable sequence. My grandparents had eight. My parents had two. How many will I have?

"My parents divorced quite early on," John DeVore tells me. "My dad wasn't a good cook, but he was creative."

We're having dinner at the Hard Grove Caf. John won't let me pay. The Campbell's tomato soup can, which holds the dirty silverware, reminds John of the hotdog soup — sometimes sprinkled with popcorn — that his father would make. In me, this brings forth memories of Spaghettios. The kind with the sliced beef franks, not the kind with the meatballs. ("The meatballs were too dense," John says.) I had completely forgotten how much I loved them.

"They're not easy to find anymore," John tells me.
"Yes, I had completely forgotten how much I loved them."
"I had a girlfriend," he continues, "who was obsessed with Spaghettios. So I searched all over the city, hunting for the ones with the sliced beef franks, and I finally found three cans. It completely changed her life."

This seems important to me. Women bring life, I told Nina.

"Getting back to our conversation from yesterday," JA begins, "We once had a female writer, a girl named Kristen Weitz — twenty-one years old; enthusiastic; a talented writer — she was doing something similar to what you're doing now, but, after six months or so, she just burned out."

JA, I believe, is concerned for me. He has been. Perhaps through all of my five years here, he has been. I'm beginning to think. I know that this struggle — this idea of bringing our magazine and the hobby of hi-end audio to a younger audience — has been around longer than I have been around. I am nothing new here. My work is not new here. But let me see what I can do to fix that. This is the something more that I want to do.

JA, as he walks slowly towards his office, sighing: "It's time for me to move on, I think. I've done all the same things five and six times now."

Is he referring to me? To this blog? Kristen Weitz, Lisa Astor, Corey Greenberg, Jonathan Scull?

"Time to move on," JA says. One of those perhaps indirect remarks we let loose when we cannot say exactly what we mean to say: time to move on, time to pass on, time to pass the burden, pass the succession, call it a day because we are having too much fun, and, furthermore, the beer is waiting.
"Mm." What else is there to say? I accept.
All you have to do is accept. The note on the side of my box of Celestial Seasonings Honey Peach Ginger tea agrees:

Happiness comes from accepting the present situation, whether it's something you wish to savor as long as possible or change as quickly as you can.

I would quote from my fortune cookie, as well, but I didn't like what it had to say. I am overwhelmed by all that I want to share with you, but I don't want to be another turn of the wheel, another revolution of the disc. I don't want to devour you, to kill this love. I don't want to burn out, and I don't think I will. Naive of me to think, perhaps, but still. You've done this all before, JA — five or six times over — but, now, we're doing it better. Better, better, and more.

The speakers were set up, rather quickly without much fuss. They even matched pleasantly with my furniture.
"What's the first disc going to be?" John DeVore asked.
"I don’t know."

I shuffled through the pile nearest me, searching for something with horns, something that John may have never heard before.

Monty's picture

You do all you can for you children and in the end they end up being the teachers and you the student. Kids have an immediate ability to put life in balance and give you perspective on what is and isn't important. It's ALL about the little ones. I'll give you a perfect example: I treasure my music and wouldn't dream of mishandling an album or disc. When my daughter was about 2, she discovered how to open a jewel case and was fascinated by the shiny discs. Within a week my treasured music collection was scattered across the living room and all I could do was grin. I only had to replace about 2 dozen jewel cases and half a dozen discs. Tell JA to buck-up and start making it fun again.

David Nighorn's picture

This is your best entry yet. 'Nuff said.

Josh Gladstone's picture

Upfront, I admit I don't know that much about the magazine. Having said that - Bringing Stereophilia to a younger audience is a tough, worthy cause. You're fighting new generations of fast food music, downloaded for free in crappy compressed file formats. Apply max treble and bass on boombox... rinse with same 13 songs on Krock.... Repeat. Stereophilia requires a certain amount of $$$ and MTV isn't educating the masses. Readers like Stereophile because of the integrity and writing... but it does seem to cater/speak to an older audience w/ a larger attention span. Reaching the masses involves the lowest common denomimator, does it not? You need to push starter kit ideas, basics to ask for at Xmas time. You need to teach how to get the best sound out of portable media devices. You need Pharrell and Trent Reznor on the cover shouting that they spend a lot of time in the studio getting the songs to sound a certain way, so fans should get to hear these things properly. Can they hear you now? Good.

elizabeth's picture

Just a quick note, we're shipping the January mag. today to prepress (the first stop on its way to you readers), but I wanted to say that having my daugther Morgan Jet in my life has given me a glimpse of the devine...she grew within me, of my husband and me, she is her own person," more and more everyday... And I want to be the person I know she now sees in me when she looks into my eyes and smiles. There is no better feeling and no greater confidence that I could hope to deserve. This may be similar to the way Stephen feels about this blog and all the attention it gets. He wants to do something important and he wants to live up to the expectations of those he admires. He wants to be the person they (he)see... I want Morgan to see the world as a place to grow into and one she can change with her ideas. As she plays the ""mommy"" song on my acoustic guitar I have visions of her as an independent little rocker/audiophile making it up as she goes along. If I can help make that happen I will have done a great thing