Family, Libraries, Life

The Goal

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Statues inspire me. I want as many of them around my property as I can get my hands on. This guy is a weird one but I love it. He sits in our strawberry patch and just looks on at whoever comes to our backdoor. He’s magical.

Life in our modern society is a pretty freaking weird thing. We have an overall system in place that works actively to help promote individual growth and also to thwart that same growth. We are creatures that strive for change through accomplishments and advances, but that change comes so slowly that in the day to day it feels like nothing ever changes. What we hear from each other, those in power and those with fame are usually positive and sugar coated in nature, but underneath those whispers of “oh yeah everything is alright” is a much larger story with complex moves like a chess game, ups and downs, and things flying all over the place.

The minute after I think I have my “aha! So that’s the answer!” moment is the minute that I’m back to the drawing board. You can go through this entire blog and see that evolving and growing day by day, year by year. The best thing to realize at this point, for me at least, was that the answer will never be there and then someday I’ll die without the answer and melt back into the nutrient ecosystem and be born again as a tree. That happened a few years ago and, boy oh boy, did things feel a lot better for me once I realized that. Cue Elton John and that Lion King song. It makes sense.

A nice holiday break to end 2017 helped end a year that was a bit confusing on a clearer note. I woke up when my body and mind were ready to wake up. I engaged in the pursuits which felt natural to me (music, video games, reading). I stayed in pretty much the same location for quite a number of days, surrounded by people that I wanted to be surrounded with. I went outside and used the snowblower to make nice little paths for people to walk along the sidewalk. There are great joys in the simple, mundane things. The seismic shifts which once fueled my days are no longer necessary. I am getting a lot better at understanding and enjoying the little stuff.

Claude Debussy’s piano music is a good musical representation of what I feel in my head and heart these days. When I listen to the piece above (a collection of six solo piano pieces composed between 1901-1907 titled Images) I feel a sense of ease, wonder, excitement, and content wash over me. It feels right to listen to this music. There is so much wonder and beauty in these compositions. My mind wanders and I think about Debussy and what he may have been thinking and feeling when he wrote these pieces. What is it that compelled him to create such a beautiful thing?

What I want is a life full of creativity. Creating something is the best things humans can do in this world. Make some art, make some music, plant some flowers, have some children. The end result does not matter; the act is what matters. It is the act of creation that is really the only thing that makes sense to me these days. In a world of falsities and sugar coating, the act of creation feels more real than ever. When I write words in a document, record some music, or capture some sounds I feel free and I feel happy. There’s really nothing better than that experience. It fills up my soul.

THE GOAL is to live a life of happiness, to spread positivity and kindness, to create beautiful things, and to do work that gives back to people. I want to find the truth and honesty in all things. The good, the bad, and the ugly. I want this whole thing to be one huge adventure. I am happy where I’m at right now and I will be happy with where I go.

 

 

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Libraries, Music, The Beach Boys and Libraries

The Beach Boys and Libraries: PART 3

If there’s a list of the top (some number) of albums recorded in the (20th Century/History of the World), there’s a strong chance that Pet Sounds is in the top five. Scratch that, I’d say there’s a strong chance that it’s in the top two. And there’s a good reason for that. Pet Sounds, which was released in 1966, is probably the most spiritual, love filled album. I’m not talking about spirituality in regards to religion, but just that overall feeling that there is some kind of grand force out there and that if you chose to recognize it, you can have some positivity in your life.

What did I get from Pet Sounds? The main thing I learned was that no matter what I’m, doing, ALWAYS PUT MY HEART INTO IT because love and happiness always shine through.

It’s hard pointing out one moment on Pet Sounds that sums it up, but I’ll go with “God Only Knows”. Never before have I heard a piece of music that so eloquently weaves music, production, lyrics, and feeling into 2 minutes and 51 seconds. It always seem to manage to fill my soul up with warmth and love.

Pet Sounds and specifically “God Only Knows” have taught me just how important it is to put my heart into anything that I do. On the most basic level, that means saying hello to as many of the patrons that I come into contact with on a daily basis. It means being kind to other library employees and understanding their roles in the library system and respecting that, yes, they are also very busy and have things to accomplish. On a more in depth level, it means that as a teen librarian, I have a duty to be there for my teen patrons. I have to open my heart to them and listen to their stories, their problems, their excitements, and their adventures. I have to be a listener with an open mind and an open heart. It helps with the socialization that most teens are going through. It will teach them that, unlike the stereotype suggests, all adults are not mean and selfish.

It is my hope that by putting my heart into everything that I do that I can hopefully put a smile on someone’s face and maybe, just maybe, have a positive impact on their life.

Music

The Beach Boys “Friends” (Part 3)

“Be Still”

Dennis Wilson’s second song on the album brings back that hymn-like vibe set forth by “Meant For You”.  The voice/organ combination shows just how much The Beach Boys could accomplish with very little.  Beautiful.

“Busy Doin’ Nothin'”

One of my favorite tracks by The Beach Boys, this song sort of eerily predicts the withdrawal from the public scene Brian Wilson would go through just a few years off.  But listen to that Bossa Nova beat coupled with Brian’s odd lyrics and you just get that vibe that you’re listening to the simple life of a really wonderful person.

“Diamond Head”

After Pet Sounds, the next few albums by The Beach Boys featured some interesting forays into Hawaiian folk music.  This song is a good example of that and is a wonderful enchanting glimpse into the fascinating mind of Brian Wilson circa 1968.

“Transcendental Meditation”

Like “Little Bird”, this song throws you for a loop.  Not really part of the vibe that the rest of the album, but at the same time dealing with a subject that’s very much in the spirit of the rest of the album, this song is a good example of why The Beach Boys may not have had the best reputation back in the late 60’s.  They’re trying hard to do something but…it’s just a bit off.

Music

The Beach Boys “Friends” (Part 1)

One of my favorite all time albums is the 1968 release by The Beach Boys Friends.  Soft and floating on the surface, for me the album best represents the feeling that we all have just before we fall asleep at night.  You know, that peaceful moment where everything just comes together before we enter the land of dreams.  Besides the amazing Pet Sounds, nowhere is it more clearly expressed that Brian Wilson’s motive for writing music was to spread love to the rest of the world than on Friends.

“Meant For You”

Almost a prayer, “Meant For You” establishes the vibe of the album.  Soft and simple, The Beach Boys were not here to rock you with this one.  Instead, let’s just cuddle and be friends.

“Friends”

Listen to those killer harmonies and the beautiful understated arrangement.  This waltz is a true gem in The Beach Boys catalog.  However, you gotta remember that waltz’s really were not the thing back in 1968.

“Wake The World”

In my early twenties, I would fall asleep to this song almost every night.  Even though the song is about waking up and facing the world, it has almost a lullaby like quality to it.

“Be Here In The Mornin'”

Weird lyrics coupled with the understated production approach that is the theme for the album, this song is an enjoyable listen that continues the trend of love and relaxation.