That Dash of Chaos!

I’m not a big fan of chaos. In any form. Which doesn’t mean everything has to be easy for me to understand as quickly as possible. And it doesn’t mean that there has to be an easily perceived order to everything. But it does mean that I really like the silences in between.

In between what, can be an unknown variable. I’m comfortable with not knowing things. But I do like to be able to find the rhythms of life, the patterns. The cadences. It’s how I actually prefer to live my life.

So I’m not a fan of chaos.

In the Ken Burns Jazz documentary, which I’m almost done watching, we are up to Dizzy Gillespie, Charlie Parker, and Thelonious Monk. It’s interesting to me how they heard the music and how they were able to see it in this sort of un-anchored stream. That is interesting to me, maybe on an esoteric level. But listening to it — it’s that intersection where jazz becomes something that doesn’t resonate with me anymore. I can only listen to it in small doses before it starts to create some sort of disconnect in my brain.

But I do still like learning about it — what each human being’s individual story brings to an over-arching story. Because what I do really love is the human story. So I’m going to keep watching the documentary until the end, but it has really shifted now.

But, you know, I think that understanding why you don’t like something is just as edifying as understanding why you do like something.

It’s similar to why I went to Divinity School, actually — even though I’ve always felt called to follow Christ and I still feel that; and I felt called enough to finally invest all that time and money into Divinity School and do the best job I possibly could (and I graduated magna cum laude, which I’m really proud of); still, I undertook all that because I wanted to make absolutely certain of the reasons why I didn’t believe in Christianity, per se.

Studying the traditions of Christianity and where they come from and how they got to  be the rigid structures that they are,  it actually made my faith in the reality of Christ’s presence that much stronger, but my understanding of him doesn’t resemble anything structured or formulaic or traditional. (Even though a lot of the traditions of Christianity — or perhaps the pageantry of the traditions — are comforting to me, but only in a cursory way.)

So, I really do like understanding what Charlie Parker was able to perceive about musical chords and what they were at their roots, and how the structure or labeling or rigid patterns of music are also myths, in a way. Myths that he took apart and got in between, in terms of improvising from note to note.  I really appreciate knowing that, because it helps me think differently about music and about a lot of things that seem fixed but aren’t, really. But I don’t like listening to that style of jazz. Or I like it only in small doses.

Yesterday was actually a very interesting day. Got the taxes done, and it became really clear that I will need an accountant again. So I have an appointment to speak with him this morning. Get that on track now, because the year is going to start sweeping past.

And I finally made a clear decision about Italian: I’ve stopped studying it. It absolutely does not resonate with me. I gave it 9 months. And I’m basically only able to say what I could say before I started the lessons, unless it’s all right in front of me and I’m taking a quiz. When it’s not in front of me, I can’t remember any of it.  I still have 3 months of pre-paid language lessons left, so I decided to just switch to French, which I enjoy and understand reasonably well.

I spent a couple hours on it last evening, just because it was fun. But because I already understand French, I could now see how they structure the lessons, and I can also see that there is no way on Earth I would have ever truly learned Italian from that type of lesson structuring.  And why? Because it’s too chaotic for me.


But it was also interesting to me, as I spent all that time studying French last evening, how all the times in my life where I’d studied French in the past, were coming back to me. I’ve been studying French since I was 9. So that means over 50 years now. Isn’t that fucking bizarre? That I call it “studying French” instead of saying that I speak it?

At what point do I think I will be done studying it and that I will actually speak it? I guess at some point, we’ll find out.

The last time I was in Paris, I was in a tea shoppe, buying some bulk tea, and I was talking to the proprietor, in French, and apologizing for my French the entire time, and he finally looked at me, sort of bewildered, and said, “You’re speaking very good French.” And it really shocked me. I think it was because I felt really comfortable with him, that my brain just switched over to French without my even realizing it. Because, normally, in France, I don’t speak at all unless I absolutely have to. And I mean, like, at dinner parties — attending hours-long dinner parties with French writers where I’ve said absolutely nothing at all. Nothing. Because I’m only just now learning  French — I only started studying it 50 years ago.

Jesus. I’m so fucking nuts. Basically, I have no confidence that I will be understood. (I guess I feel that way about all of life, really, and so that must be why I live alone with cats and just write. No one’s gonna understand me anyway, so why bother?)

Well, I think today is going to be about doing more paperwork. I have a lot of spreadsheet type stuff that I need to do for Abstract Absurdity Productions, so I might do that today. I had a long phone chat with Peitor in LA last evening, so it seems like now is as good a time as any to get that tedious stuff done. Move the company forward.

I guess I sort of need this down time from all the projects. Actually, what I think I need is a little space from the play so that when I read it again, I will be able to hear it in a fresh way and figure out if anything is still missing. (I think something is still missing, but I don’t know what yet, but I don’t think it’s anything huge.)

Around 4am, I was sound asleep and this sort of distant bell began calling me. And then as I awoke, I realized it was that clanging bell outside my window, that alerts you that the train is coming.  And even though its a freight train, it immediately brought to mind “Chattanooga Choo-choo”, which, coincidentally, couldn’t be further from Charlie Parker-type jazz.

But it is what I’m going to leave you with, for now. Because I have to go make that phone call to NYC and speak to the accountant.

I might post again later, though. Meanwhile, have a good Wednesday, wherever it leads you. I love you guys. See ya.

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