Friday, May 29, 2009

music (part 1)

i am pretty lonely. i try not to show it too often but it's true. and it's not any of your faults, so don't feel bad. it's the natural progression of the post-college lifestyle where people have different priorities and are coming and going. a few of my closest friends recently left pittsburgh for the summer, probably longer, and i'm not taking it well. i have friends around and i'm thankful for them, but the best friend i've had lately has been music.

i expect that this will be the first of many blogs about music because it's such an important part of my life, but tonight i'm just feeling how i fill the voids in my life with music. i know that as a christian i should be filling those voids with God, and i am working on doing that, but in the meantime i like to think that God's provided music for me to enjoy for now.

the last few days i've felt especially lonely and empty, mostly because my job is no longer very enjoyable, and tonight i came home and played drums. i was getting antsy where i was this evening because i really just wanted to come home and wail on my kit. and i did. i am really thankful for parents who let me play as loud as i can at 11:30. but i had the song "beating heart baby" by head automatica stuck in my head all night (thanks monica) and i just had to come home and play it. the song just made me feel alive. and when i made the key hits at the right time, it almost brought me to tears because i felt so overwhelmed by music.

sometimes there are just songs that fit the mood. or brighten the mood. when i'm feeling depressed on my way to work i like to put on "at the beach" by the avett brothers. there's no song that makes me feel better like that one. it's upbeat, it's meaningful, it's simple, it'll get stuck in my head all day. there's nothing like getting a good song stuck in your head all day. but when i sit down and play that tune on guitar it just feels amazing. to hear your favorite song recreated by your own hands is an unbelieveable feeling.

a friend of mine got his hands on audio bootlegs of 30 live avett brothers shows. when i stayed at his place that week we just sat in his living room, drank some beer, and listened. i'd relive that evening over and over if i could. there's nothing i do more than listen to music, except breathe. we listened to a show that we both attended at the kent stage in kent, oh. i always say that listening to songs helps me relive the drama of seeing the song played live, but it's a completely different level when you actually hear the performance again. the chills are there. the excitement is there. the anticipation of "what song is next?" is there. that's the feeling i'm looking for in my everyday life and music is what provides it.

i know that resolving an issue in my life with a real conversation with a real person can't be replaced, but sometimes i really feel like i can keep on going with just a tune in my speakers. when i'm feeling like the world is against me, no one cures my land-locked blues like bright eyes. when i want to share my simple joy with people, no band can match the avett brothers' insight. when i'm feeling energized, squad five-o knows how to let it loose. and sometimes having a conversation about something doesn't get the feelings out like sitting on the throne of my old $250 used ludwig set.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

6714 miles

the number of miles i want to travel in the search for something. i don't know what i'm looking for yet, but i haven't found it to this point. i do know that i want to see as much as possible. and i do know that i've been looking around here, and it's nowhere to be found. i don't know if someone's going to show it to me, or if i'm going to have to get there and find it myself, but i figure i should probably start looking somewhere else.

when will the trip happen? who knows. maybe right after grad school. maybe during grad school. hell, maybe tomorrow. i do know that i'm sick of waiting. i've been talking seriously about the pacific northwest for about a year. the first thought of it came when i looked at programs at gonzaga, wsu, and uw for teaching when i was a senior in college two years ago. i've wanted to go back to the grand canyon since i first set foot in it. and i've wanted to camp at the bottom since donald miller explained his own expedition. and who hasn't cosidered california? there's just something about the ocean.

there's also something about leaving home and everything you're comfortable with. i sorta did that two summers ago when i went to ocean city for the cco's beach project. but let's face it, a summer on the east coast with expenses covered by generous supporters living in a house of Christian leaders is not exactly unsafe. things have just become so routine and unadventurous here at home that the monotony is making me search for a change. i'm going to grad school at pitt in the fall, so i'm here for two years. and i'm excited about finishing my education at the school i love. but afterward, something's got to give.

i talk to friends who are in new places. some love their new locations, some are still getting their feet wet, and some don't seem to be interested in getting too comfortable. but at least they're trying. i've taken the easy way out a lot. going to school in pittsburgh, living at home the past year, applying to pitt for grad school. i love pittsburgh and i look forward to the opportunity to be there again. but before i decide that this is where i'm settling i've got to try something new. that's where the roadtrip comes in.

i think donald miller has been responsible for a lot of road trips. "through painted deserts" paints a picture of he and his friend driving in a VW van from houston to seattle. they have no agenda and haven't planned much about what happens when they get to where they're going. that's a life that i haven't lived. like taking back sunday speaks to me, "you are everything i want because you're everything i'm not." i want the freedom of having no agenda, nothing to see and nowhere to go with no timetable. get there when i get there. see whatever i feel like seeing.

so google tells me its 6714 miles for a trip that starts in pittsburgh, goes through st louis, hits the grand canyon, passes through san diego, los angeles, and san francisco, rocks up through portland (hippienation) and seattle (hipsternation) before ending in vancouver, hitting minneapolis and chicago on the way home. that'd almost cover it all for me. i came close to committing some time to seattle, so i want to know if i really should. and portland is where my favorite aforementioned author has written the stuff that's changed my life. and la is where my job as an advisor at usc by day, surfer by night, would come to fruition.

maybe i settle in pittsburgh ultimately. in fact, i'd be surprised if i didn't. but i'm 24 and i've got nothing to do but play guitar, so why would i want to keep doing that here when there's so many other places? and who knows, maybe i'll find what i'm looking for on the way.