L a - b e a u t é - s a u v e r a - l e - m o n d e ~ D o s t o ï e v s k i

L a - b e a u t é - s a u v e r a - l e - m o n d e  ~  D o s t o ï e v s k i

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Numbers and attention and love

Yesterday's date - if you somehow failed to notice - was 11/11/11. And it also included two opportunities to experience the time posting of 11:11 on 11/11/11. A lot of people thought that was pretty cool.

Many believe that eleven is a strongly energetic number, and that seeing 11:11 on the clock is a moment powerful with potentiality. And therefore a moment to focus one's attention or even a moment to pray. I've been lucky, most of my adult life, to quite frequently stumble upon 11:11s. And I always use those minutes - or fragments of minutes - to slow down my breathing, think positive thoughts and/or ponder my goals and desires. Also, numerologically, I'm an eleven. While any eleven ends up being a two, of course, many numerologists believe that it's pretty powerful for an eleven to be the penultimate sum.

Anyone who knows Gigi and me at all well, and knows the story of how we found each other, knows that Rufus Wainwright was crucial to us. At the end of 2003, we both had a newly minted mania for his music; we "met" on his website message board. G had happened to be visiting Portland, saw a show of mine and wrote me a sort of fan letter. I responded, we became long-distance friends and, eight years later, here we are. Even though our enthusiasm for Rufus and his music has cooled quite a bit, we'll always be very grateful to the fellow.

His first album to come out after G and I met had a song on it titled "11:11". Never one of our favorites, musically, it still felt fairly directed at us. (It even included the line, "...wasn't in Portland and I wasn't in heaven.") Because right from the beginning, at least once we were in an in-person relationship, G and I have always witnessed 11:11s. (G's always seen them, too. And eleven has always been her favorite number.) And if we happen to be together, we must have a small kiss to mark the moment. Silly I guess.......but why not?! (Honestly, much of the time now, we look for them, we wait for them. Which isn't quite fair, I suppose....)

I had yesterday off, and since I hadn't listened to Rufus' music in a very long time, it seemed only right, considering the day, to listen to the album that contained that song. I put on two of his albums, actually. (And put them in shuffle with two albums of Holcombe Waller, whose music I love. It was a good combination; there are a lot of similarities in their music. And a nice contrast, vocally: Holcombe's pure, soaring instrument, and Rufus' mumble-y, powerhouse baritone.)

When I really love an album, I'll play it over and over and over. Until I've heard it so much, sung along with it so much, heard it in my head even when I'm not hearing it - know it so deeply - that, gradually, it somehow disappears. And then I don't really even hear it when it plays. I've been so greedy for this thing I love, that I've devoured it and so don't have it anymore. That's certainly the story of those Rufus albums. The main reason I stopped listening to them is that I stopped hearing them.

I noticed an odd thing yesterday; I don't know that I've had exactly this experience before. When I listened to Rufus' albums, they remained partly disappeared to me. I still couldn't quite connect with them. I half expected that, even after all this time. But what surprised me was that these songs that I had known so well, sung at the top of my voice countless times, weren't entirely familiar to me anymore. As I tried to sing along, I couldn't always tell where the melody was going to go next. Rufus' progressions do often tend to be unexpected, but still. At this point, the music is so familiar that I don't entirely hear it but, at the same time, so distant that I can't follow the path of the tune. I wasn't prepared for this odd dislocation of memory.

1 comment:

  1. "so familiar that I don't entirely hear it," "so distant that I can't follow the path of the tune." bittersweet that music and life can be like that.