Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Hold on to nothing

I've had a tough time lately with songs getting stuck in my head for no good reason. Maybe I'm cursed because I missed last week's Random 10, or maybe I've been sleeping badly and my unconscious is using random musical picks to sort out all its issues.

Whatever the case, I found myself Tori Amos' "Space Dog" tune stuck in my head for most of the afternoon, which was kind of weird, and out of the blue, as I hadn't thought of the song or the album it was on ("Under the Pink" if you're not familiar with either) in years.

So, hoping to purge myself of the melody, I loaded the song up and gave it a listen. Musically, it's great fun to listen to, but to be perfectly honest, I've never really got what the song was about. Though, admitedly, I've never really put much effort into studying it.

And besides, it's actuallynot that song that's bugging me now.

While I had my media list up, I decided to fire up some of the other songs from the "Under the Pink" album because, as I said before, I hadn't heard it in awhile. So I started with the first song, "Pretty Good Year" and continued to browse the web while the music played.

And then, out of the blue, came a line that I had completely forgotten about, but which leapt immediately back into my memory upon hearing it.

"Hold onto nothing as fast as you can."

And while the "Space Dog" tune is still tinkling away in the back of my brain, it's those words that have been at the front of it since this afternoon.

I've always thought there was something beautiful and tragic about those words. Something desperately futile. No, not desperately futile, but a desperate struggle towards futility, if that's any clearer.

It seems to me that "Hold Onto Nothing" needs to be a title of something -- a short story, or a novel, or a play, or, well, *something*. Anything. It's been doing its little dance in the front of my brain for most of the day, and I haven't figured out what it should be quite yet, and I'm not hopeful that I'll stumble upon it anytime soon. But there's something there, that meshes wonderfully with where my head is right now. "Hold Onto Nothing" -- tragedy, yes, but if it can somehow be held onto, then at least it's *something* to hold on to.

Someone asked me a few weeks backwhat sort of tone I was looking for in the "Welcome to the Monkey House" exit music, because I was stressing out about what it should be. And my answer was, "Cautiously optimistic."

The hope, perhaps even the belief, that things will improve. But an unwillingness to actually put any money it. Because as much as good things happen from time to time, they happen all to infrequently.

It's funny to think about the line "Hold onto nothing" as being close to where my head is at right now, because I don't actually have any idea where my head is at right now. In fact, in some ways I feel completely lost, like I've stumbled into an entirely new country, an entirely new world, and I don't know if the natives are friendly or just waiting for the chance to carve out my spleen and have a feast.

Which reminds me of another lyric, actually, from Oingo Boingo's "Lost Like This."

"I've never been lost like this, but I wouldn't be happy anywhere else."

Which, I guess, is kind of a stretch, because I wouldn't say that I'm particularly happy in this place, wherever it is, but the funny thing is that I wouldn't say that I'm particularly unhappy either. Not particularly bitter or jaded or cynical. Not particularly much of anything, either, really. I just kind

I've been thinking a lot about fragments in the last few days, because I'm thinking of cobbling together a bunch of chunks of my other writing into a series of monologues for a one act play, and after some struggling with a prospective title, I think "Fragments" is what I've finally ended up on. Which is appropriate, because I had, at one time, considered using the same title on any collection of short stories I might eventually publish. Because most of my stories -- and, in their own way, shorter selections from those stories or novels -- kind of come off like fragments. Like little pieces of someone's life that you can peek into for a few minutes, or a few hours.

But I've been thinking about fragments in relation to life in general as well. Thinking about how, as much as some people like to say that it's the journey and not the destination, it's just as true that sometimes it's the little pit stops along the way too. That it's not really about getting from point A to point B, nor is really about how you get from point A to point B, but rather everything that happens along the way, whether or not you ever actually get to point B.

It's these little moment, the little memories, the fragments, that make up a life. The little things that seem so insignificant when they're happening, but suddenly come to mean everything six months or a year or 10 years down the road.

God, this post is all over the map. Probably in part because I haven't posted in so long, but just as likely that my brain has been playing ping pong with a 1,000 different ideas for the last few days. My vacation has turned in to "God, it's nice to have nothing to do," to "Well, there's nothing to do, so let's think about every bloody thing under the sun, in an effort to make sense of it all."

Thanks, brain. I owe's ya one.

I guess I'm also all over the map because, to get back to the reason I started this in the first place, I'm trying to fumble my way around the idea of "Hold onto nothing," to figure out exactly what it means to me, and how I might use it something. I still don't think I have an answer, exactly, but at this point, maybe I have more fuel for the fires of thought.

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