I’ve Consigned My Soul to Virgin Records

I walked into the store at Union Square today and I had what I wanted in mind and I wasn’t going to wander and be impulsive, but I couldn’t control myself. Walking into that store was maybe a bad idea.

I picked up Bon Iver, For Emma, Forever Ago. This has got to be one of the  most absolutely heartbreaking records I’ve ever listened to. Justin Vernon’s previous band split up, he and his girlfriend broke up, and he locked himself in his father’s hunting cabin in northern Wisconsin and came out a couple months later with this album. It’s brilliant.

I picked up Fleet Foxes, Fleet Foxes. They remind me a little bit of the Avett Brothers. I love their inviting voices and folky feel.  The instrumentation is fun and solid and rich, but relatively simple. Not a song I don’t like on this one.

I picked up the Schoenberg and Sibelious violin concertos performed by Hilary Hahn. This album is a double-Grammy nominee, for best solo performance and best classical album. I’ve been a Hilary fan forever, and I’m very excited to listen to this one at full blast.

Then I went downstairs to tempt myself with DVDs. I shouldn’t have gone downstairs. Of course. I picked up The Visitor. I saw this movie in the theater, and I really liked it. Richard Jenkins does a fabulous job. The movie is wonderfully cast and acted superbly.

Actually, I didn’t pick up anything I wasn’t planning on getting. Still, I don’t really need those things. The music is incredible and the movie is fantastic. Dangit.

Now, I am watching the 2006 Academy Award short film nominees. This was from Netflix, so as long as I don’t step into another Virgin Records store anytime soon, there’s still a chance for me.


I took the elevator back up to the top floor, and a song I immediately recognized floated into my ears, “Stop Whispering,” by Radiohead, from Pablo Honey. I wanted to cry. I wanted to sing at the top of my lungs, “Stop whispering, start shouting!” The song became one of my first mantras when I moved to New York City. The song reminds me of my good friend, Janine, my first real friend here. I knew about Radiohead before I met her, but she got me to really listen to them. Janine is 5’8″ with a skinny body type and beautiful, short curly red hair. She has a quick sense of humor. She’s highly principled and has a very strong moral compass. We hit it off right away. She received me and my personality and sense of humor with very open arms. We used to stay up late, sometimes even into the early morning, watching movies or listening to music or even just talking. We’d sometimes burst into song in building lobbies just so we’d hear our echoes. Once we met in a Starbucks and we came up with a subject and wrote about it for 10 minutes and shared what we wrote with each other. The subject was “victim.” We went to quite a few gigs together. She encouraged my writing, and I got her a book about songwriting, because she used to be in a band. She loaned me books about depression. I went to church with her a few times. I got to meet her friends, and once I started making more friends, she met mine. She left the city to study at a theological seminary just outside of Philadelphia. I’ve not had another friend quite like her. So when I heard Radiohead today in Virgin Records, it was as if I could hear Janine singing it herself. “Stop Whispering,” in the elevator bank on the floor of my office at work, while we’re waiting for the elevator so we could take the train home. “High and Dry” in the foyer of her apartment building, almost sounding like a hymn.

I miss Janine.

I Need Some Feedback

EDITED TO ADD: I’m sticking this post to the front page for a week. It’ll sit here, at the top of the page, wondering if you’ll actually provide some feedback. The call for submissions is this upcoming week. I seriously need some help making a decision. You’ll see I’ve added a few more entries for your thoughtful perusal. Also, don’t forget to stop by the fiction page. Thanks, everyone.

New entries immediately follow this one; scroll down for the day’s musings. Or not.


So, let’s say I might have the opportunity to share some of my writing in a non-virtual setting. It may be church related, but the piece doesn’t necessarily need to be spiritual in nature. Since of late I’ve been kind of lazy with stringing together any sort of original thoughts coherently, I’m going to use whatever’s in the archives here in ma blog. Mon blog? I’ll list some of the entries here for your review. Leave any comments in … the comments.

And, thanks.

No Stranger-Stuck in an elevator
The Day – A girl getting ready to leave for college

Gaining Strength-Observations of a hurricane in Key West
Call It – Contemplating names
Just another nursery story – just like it says
Losing Streak – I forgot my towel

Where Is My Head? – A theory about one source of my headaches
Growth, Progression – Thoughts on cancer

Go About Your Business – On courtesy flushing
A Study Break Brought to You by This Patron of Organized Religion – On singing hymns during worship service

Triathlon: Swim, Bike, Run
So Long, Solo – On a freshman clarinet experience
Boo-Boo – About my little brother
To Bee, or Not to Bee – Yep, you got it

Time in the Trees – Pre-Seminary meditation
This Is Not A Perfect Metaphor – Gymnastics and the gospel, maybe?
Carry On, My Wayward Mormon – Prodigal and otherwise
Let’s Hear It for the Girls – Favorite fictional females

If you have other suggestions, let me know. I don’t have the time right now to sort through five and half years’ worth of rambling. Also, in order to avoid any sort of awkwardness (minus the “naked” writing), I’d prefer not to share any of my recent poetry or any memoir stuff right now. The former would be very embarrassing if the sub(ob?)ject  happens to be there, and the latter is just too intense for the setting.

Open Letter to Victims of My Projection


It’s like that. Over and over again, on my ear, until it turns red. It stings. It’s hard to have people near me without thinking it’s them.

I don’t know where it’s coming from. It’s constant. Maybe it’s everywhere. And nowhere at the same time. Flick. Flick flick flick. It’s not you. What is it?

It’s distracting, and I can’t swat it away; the sting fades then it comes back. It’s a hurt, but it’s not an open wound, so I can’t see healing if it actually happens. I can’t trust what I feel. Thom Yorke and friends sing, “Just ’cause you feel it, doesn’t mean it’s there.”

“There’s always a siren singing you to shipwreck.”

I’m sorry. I’m sorry if I perceive completely innocent things you may say or do as offense. I’m sorry if I retaliate unduly, such as ranting passive-aggresively on my blog. I’m sorry for taking you for granted, for being completely self-absorbed.

The sting persists, but I don’t know how much longer I can withstand it. Some cool water, maybe a soft pillow. An ice pack. Time.

Please bear with me. I don’t want to drive you away. You’re not the flickers. Don’t let me flick at you.


I Haven’t Really Posted about Patty Griffin in a While. Oh. Wait.

Since Bill Lakin found me and took the time to comment, the least I could do was check out his site. I scanned all the links and headlines, and it pretty much made me want to be a roadie or a groupie for a living. What fun it would be to follow some of those bands around! So anyway, I came across a link, which read Patty Griffin, and of course I clicked on it, and in mere seconds it brought me to this article.

Patty Griffin? Singing in a church? For a new album? To be released this year? Very exciting.

I get to see her in 24 days. I promise not to be a security risk. I promise not to clamber on stage and try to get Patty to let me sing with her. That would be bad. My singing voice should be nowhere near a microphone or any sort of amplifying device. But Patty’s, yes. In a church, yes. At the pulpit and, belting out that phenomenal Patty voice under those vaulted ceilings and with what I can only imagine to be incredible acoustics, a million times yes.

2008 Songs on Repeat : “At Last” by Neko Case

I listened to this song over and over again because I wanted it to be longer. It’s not quite a minute and a half long, but it feels like it should keep going. Maybe that’s the point of the song. The melody could extend, but it doesn’t; the lyrics stop and leave me wondering. At last, Neko says, the end is here, and I shouldn’t drag it out; I shouldn’t prolong it. But you – you, May – can repeat it.

I played this song repeatedly so that maybe it could keep living, or whoever the song is about could keep talking to me. Or whatever the narrator in the song is talking about could continue its melody in my mind’s hollows. This song is a brilliant personification. The song may end, but it doesn’t feel like it’s supposed to. Maybe it is meant to be repeated. Neko may be on to something.

Hmm. She’s coming to the Nokia Theatre in April. Hmm.

By the way, this video sounds even better than the studio recording I have.

Vodpod videos no longer available.


I can say that I’ve lived here in honor and danger
But I’m just an animal and cannot explain a life
Down this chain of days I wished to stay among my people
Relation now means nothing, having chosen so defined

And if death should smell my breathing as it pass beneath my window
Let it lead me trembling, trembling
I owe every bell that tolls me

Indeterminate Age

The guy talking in this Old Navy commercial was my home teacher my sophomore year at BYU:

Vodpod videos no longer available.

more about “Old Navy commercial with Eric Artell“, posted with vodpod


If I hadn’t told you we went to college together, would you be able to guess how old my friend Eric is? He’s a super cool guy. Really nice. Quite funny. Will always look 16. He actually majored in economics at the Y but has always had his finger on his acting pulse. I’m really glad to see him out there; it’s such a thrill for me. The last time we corresponded was on facebook sometime this past summer. He’s in LA right now. His parents live in the (NY/NJ) area, and if he visits home and a singles activity is going on, he’s there. I saw him once at the Harbor Cruise 4 or 5 years ago, and then again at a Halloween party. Ray, I’m not sure if it was that party. I wonder what his next projects will be.

Here’s his IMDB page.

Here’s his YouTube channel.