I bet you thought you wouldn’t see me around these parts again, eh! Well, p’shaw on you! You think just because I have a 5-week old son, a temp job (all the while looking for that full-on “real” job…more on that later), and an exhausted wife whose grown to despise the way I look when I’m sitting at the computer (because it means I’m not helping her) that I wouldn’t have time for a blog post?
Well, you’re mostly right. But, who cares!
Somewhere in the midst of all this craziness, I’ve been working with The Good Men Project on a concept for a regular column. I’ve loved working with them in the past, and needless to say I was pretty stoked when they invited me to become a regular columnist. What makes them so awesome is how flexible they are: I decide how often I publish pieces, and they are really open to a range of styles/voices–meaning, this ain’t your typical journalism (thank goodness).
The result is In One Ear–a series that will focus on a different album of music each time, but will intersect with the same kind of narrative/questioning voice that I’ve been teasing out for the last few years. Think of it as Pitchfork meets Annie Dillard (even though I’m nowhere near as good as she is).
Part of the reasoning for this idea is that I’ve grown so tired of reading music reviews on the internet. Everyone is obsessed with being the “first” to review a record, and even though most sites get an advance copy of the music, they’re still limited in their scope of the album’s potential. Sometimes you get a record like Bon Iver’s For Emma, Forever Ago, which is stunning from its first shimmer of falsetto. But other times, you get a record like Joanna Newsom’s Milk-Eyed Mender that takes a few months to steep before you realize how much it’s changed you.
So, this column is an attempt to explore that territory in between an album’s release and its subsequent affect on the listener. Sometimes the music will directly relate to an experience of mine, other times, the connection will be fuzzier. But, that’s what music does–it plays hopscotch with your synapses.
Here’s the first installment of In One Ear, “They Aren’t Playing Our Song: The Antlers’ Hospice“
Almost every night of her third trimester, when Natalie undresses for bed, the unnaturally-natural protuberance that has become her stomach throws me into an epistemological stupor. “Bear,” I say to her, as if for the first time, “you’re pregnant.”
Every time, it’s as if my brain is finally starting to cope with this unknown reality. A ball of genes and embryonic memories is forming, kicking, crowbarring its way to life. “I know, bear,” she says, and if I hadn’t seen her nauseous for the last eight months, I’d think it had just sneaked up on her as well.
It seems I forget every time I look away, and when I remember, I feel terrible for that forgetting. It’s been kicking you for weeks—what kind of father forgets that? Read More