I was writing about a record I like and it occurred to me I like music that’s overwrought and self-involved, but only to some degree and that has a sense of self-awareness, a sort of ‘I know I’m being dramatic right now and I’m embarrassed about that, but I can’t help it!’ sentiment. That thought took me to an E.B. White quote that I don’t recall exactly, something about how he was quite interested in himself, and had the good sense to find that comical and embarrassing. I may have made that up other than the part about being self-involved, and in a way that would be even more self-involved than quoting White. I’m uncomfortable with my own self-absorption and my discomfort is another facet of (another repetition of) my self-absorption. I’m reading a Jonathan Franzen essay collection at the moment, called Farther Away. In it he discusses David Foster Wallace, who he describes as trapped on the island of himself, while Franzen seems to both want to be alone and to explore or make himself and also to be around and connected to others. Franzen’s might be a more interpersonal self-absorption, rather than cutting off from others it’s ‘attention me! I’m a big deal!’ I relate to that, in the moving both toward and away from other people, wanting both connection and aloneness, while fearing both vulnerability and loss of self in others as well as isolation and being lost only in one’s self.
Thinking some pre-writing thoughts (or pre-typing, I can’t write so much as type) I had the thought that I have an impulse to write myself down and to write myself a new self, and that this is all quite self-absorbed, since my actual life happens away from typing. More simply all of this comparison of myself to famous people and people who actually do and make things is also quite self-absorbed. I had the impulse to write several self-deprecating comments to follow, but I’m swallowing that.
Am also caught up in music and loving music and feeling a mix of nostalgia for my older relationships with music, anxious about my current ‘it’s complicated, and maybe we should talk about where we see thing going’ relationship status with music. One of my college professors once stopped mid-lecture and asked ‘do you ever get depressed because there’s so much great rock and roll in the world and you know how little of it you’ll ever get to actually hear?’ I didn’t get it at the time, I took it as a quirky way to wake the class up, but now I totally get it.