empathy

MUSIC TO HELP YOU HEAL WRITER’S BLOCK

Photography by  Laura Makabrescu

Photography by Laura Makabrescu

It’s 12:48 am. Sleep seems like a distant dream. You walk to grab a glass of water. You listen to Caspian’s Dust and Disquiet. The album has always been evoked feelings beggaring description. You sit in front of your laptop typing away your life into oblivion. You realise that, yet you find yourself bound by something, something that has been holding you close together as if all the atoms of your body were being held by a force more powerful than anything you have ever experienced. You keep typing, trying to make sense of the useless arrangement of words you’ve chosen to construct your musings. You want to cry, whimper, as loud as possible. You walk across the room with swift, feline movements, trying to find inspiration to get rid of your block. The music builds up to a vengeful climax. You find that inspiring. You want to write about it. Ah, you see a promising frame. Anything would work.

Yes, I could write about this orgasm of sound, you tell yourself. The intricate soundscapes, the drums writhing and wrestling in the sweaty atmosphere. The climax is over too quickly. The moment is gone. A new song starts.

The patient, immersive sound has caught its grip. You’re hypnotised, too cultivated to write something original. The frosty grip of the writer’s block hasn’t gone skin-deep; it has reached your bones. You lie on your bed, trying to think about those times when you could write, day in and day out. You realise that this album is different than most of the conventional post-rock records you’ve heard. No individual guitar-bravado, no overdone furore. The music, as gorgeous and structured as it may be, you still think it is ultimately sexless. Sexless. You don’t even know what you mean when you say that. Sexless.

It’s 1:30 am. Still nothing. The album has reached its quietus, Aeternum Vale, farewell forever. It’s a beautiful song, you think, too intoxicated by your thoughts. You need something that is not sexless. You need music oozing with the sexual power of a jungle cat. That was Woody Allen. Why can’t you be organic for a moment? Why can’t you? How can you be so sexless? So, you put on Hospice by the Antlers. This should help, yes. But you forget that you’re dumber than you think you are. You’ve put on an album about a woman who’s dying of cancer, and the husband being the hospice worker. Or was it the other way round? She’s going to die, you know that. You’ve heard the album a million times. You skip to the final song, Epilogue, yes, a really wonderful name, you think. You tell yourself, that’s what you would have named it, you unimaginative ignoramus. Yes, start the album with Prologue and end it with Epilogue. Perfect, isn’t it? The lyrics could have stirred a hog to dance gracefully in the mud, but you just cannot write a line. Would you even look at the last line you tried writing? So contrived, so sexless. Sexless.

“So I lie down against your back, until we’re both back in the hospital.
But now it’s not a cancer ward, we’re sleeping in the morgue.”

Photography by Jacob Van Blarcom

Photography by Jacob Van Blarcom

2:30 am. Your lacklustre writing is almost nauseating. You want to destroy the dark screen. You don’t. Your parents paid for it. You start reading Bullet Park. Impersonal, detached writing. Then you realise that John Cheever was pretty damn uninventive coming up with names like Nailles and Hammer for the central characters. You almost picture him sitting; drinking his life away, trying to write. You read a few chapters and the set the book aside, put on Elliott Smith.

Got bitten fingernails and a head full of the past.
And everybody’s gone at last.

4:00 am. His spidery vocal delivery and the solemn music remind you of Nietzsche. “Gott ist tot”, you say out loud. You can’t think straight anymore. You had never given a thought as to why he said that we killed God. You imagine it in tremendous detail. You decide to write about it too, only to not go through with it for the only reason that those rowdy people in the streets would probably kill you. Wait. There might be a Lars Von Trier movie on the way. He, as he always is, would be hailed as a genius for portraying how we killed God. You, on the other hand, might just die, if not at the hands of the people, at the hands of your parents. Let’s not tread that fine line. That’d be a Sisyphean walk.

5:00 am. Now at the height of your desperation, you decide to watch a Fellini movie and write a review. That failed miserably. You felt sleepy before the half-way mark. You sleep for half an hour, look that the blank screen and disgusted with yourself, smoke an obligatory pre-breakfast cigarette. You put on Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue and try to concentrate on buttering that slice of bread. You look at that slice, smile and whisper, “Sexless”. Sexless.

Parth Jawale, a staunch proponent of Camus’ philosophy of Absurdism, is currently pursuing his Bachelor’s in Computer Science and Engineering. A music aficionado and a movie buff, he occasionally summons the metaphorical ‘pen’ and vents it all out.