Tag Archives: amor fati

Zazen Earworms: “Inevitable Western” and “Cascades”

So, I haven’t been earworming much during zazen, but last night I got one. Two, actually. “Inevitable Western” by The Bad Plus and “Cascades” by Oliver Nelson. The first makes sense. I saw The Bad Plus on Sunday, and I’ve been writing about that (and meeting them) for my Guitars and Geeks column. I hadn’t purchased the album Inevitable Western prior to the show because I wanted to see it live first. So when they played the title track to the album, it was the first time I’d heard it.

It was stunning.

It’s my new favorite by The Bad Plus. It’s been in my head a lot. There’s a fragility, a loneliness, an associative holding together of notes that is oceanic. The more I listen to it, the more my heart expands.

On the heels of this, somehow, “Cascades” by Oliver Nelson started up. It surfaced unexpectedly–I was actually startled when I heard the horns. Somehow, it made sense, because this song, born of a scales exercise, has the same associative fragility. It doesn’t seem like it at first (the horns are assertive, without being aggressive. Confident. They know where they’re going). But the same associative quality is what holds the song together and makes it more than scales.

While “Cascades” knows where it’s going, “Inevitable Western” ends up where it is going. “Inevitable Western” is the sonic equivalent of amor fati, and “Cascades” is Nostradamus. But the fate of character and the fate of prophecy are often the same: fated.

I watched and listened to these songs until they merged together, making something new, something wondrous. Something inevitably foretold.




Ipsum Lorem

For the past several years, my life has been fairly solitary. I’ve studied. I’ve written. I’ve spoken. All in a very specific, very specialized arena of thought and knowing. And while I have loved, suffered, and passioned my way through academia, it has recently been brought to my attention that the reason I’m here, the fati in my amor fati, has grown cobwebs and rust. I love the way words bump together and make sound and meaning. I love the visual acuity of the universe through a lens. I love resonance: the blurs and echoes of thought and feeling shifting through sound and image and language. I love things. I love the thing-ness of things, I love making it new, I love the act of sculpting a moment and distilling the essence of time and space and place. I love meeting you on a page and exploring the white space together.

My fati is distilling, tethering balloons and defying gravity, making alchemy with stars and moss. And what good is a poem if no one reads it? A picture that no one sees? What good is a life if we don’t share it? And so these are my moments, some old, some new, some previously read, some never read, some in words, some in pictures. I hope they sing to you.

And so welcome. It’s nice to meet you. Please let me introduce myself: I am The Author of this blog.