Friday, November 20, 2009

Something in the Air...

Update: This post refers to the Manhattan Declaration, a momentous manifesto that deserves more notice than might be directed to it by the original buried link within my text; so, I am highlighting it here. Feel free to read my ruminations on the matter (and there are more forthcoming), but be sure to go and read this wonderful work.
“I wrote it at the time of the Cuban crisis. I was in Bleecker Street in New York. We just hung around at night – people sat around wondering if it was the end, and so did I. Would 10 o’clock the next day ever come?... It was a song of desperation. What could we do? Could we control the men on the verge of wiping us out? The words came fast – very fast. It was a song of terror. Line after line, trying to capture the feeling of nothingness.
- Bob Dylan, speaking about his song, "It's A Hard Rain's A-Gonna Fall."
Well, reader, whoever you are: if you're here, you've noticed: so am I. It's difficult to describe the pull that I've felt increasingly the past few weeks drawing me back onto the pages of my blog. Blogging for me can be a tedious, sometimes even painful process. I fight with the ordinary pretensions of an aspiring writer, struggle with the natural vanities incumbent upon the same disposition, and torment myself with the constant question of whether or not anyone really gives a damn what I have to say. But, at the end of the day, I realize that I do have something to say. And I have a whole lot I'd like to hear. I set up this place as a venue for conversation and I'll keep up my part even when it seems hopelessly one-sided. I'll keep holding out hope that the discussion will be joined by some searcher after meaning and expression like myself. But even if it's not, I'll feel better for having said what has boiled over inside of me and has been so painful to keep in.

There's something in the air. Thunderclap Newman put it quite groovily in the song of that title: "Call out the instigator, because there's something in the air. We've got to get together sooner or later, because the revolution's here, and you know it's right."

Sure, that was the sixties. But there was, in the sixties, a sense - a feeling - an electricity of which everyone, even the most sheltered suburbanite, was at least dimly aware. There was something in the air. Maybe the revolution was overestimated. It's fruits have certainly been a mixed bag of the bad along with the good, and I really wonder sometimes which is the majority. But somewhere near the heart of it all, a flashpoint that put the matter beyond doubt whenever it was touched, was the issue of rights. Some folks had 'em, and some didn't. And some people just wouldn't take it. They got pissed. They shouted from the rooftops. And they got changes made.

I started this blog because I felt the electricity I'd read about, and heard about, and experienced vicariously through art and song. And I got the sense I wasn't the only one. And in the center of it all was this song, this song that said it all, of which the words weren't mine but yet somehow were - and I set out here to sing that song and see if anybody would pick up the tune.

I know there are others who have the song in their heart, who feel something moving around them at this moment that's just somehow different than things were 5 years ago, or 10 years ago, or 15. Sure, you might say, we were different then. And it's true. Time is a great equalizer that way, there isn't one of us that's isn't different now. But I still maintain that there's something else, some inscrutable, even ineffable thing, that's different - something in the air.

I've been hearing the song more loudly lately and so I came back and thought I'd post some thoughts and see what happens. And then today, I read something, and I found my song there, too, and 148 folks - some very different from me - singing that song loud and clear:
...we are especially troubled that in our nation today the lives of the unborn, the disabled, and the elderly are severely threatened; that the institution of marriage, already buffeted by promiscuity, infidelity and divorce, is in jeopardy of being redefined to accommodate fashionable ideologies; that freedom of religion and the rights of conscience are gravely jeopardized by those who would use the instruments of coercion to compel persons of faith to compromise their deepest convictions.
So, the song is still there. And that's why I'm here.

Just thought you'd like to know. If you're here too, I'm sure you have your reasons - and I'd love to hear 'em.


  1. Glad you're back! Keep writing. Even words that seem to flow out into the abyss carry that electricity of which you speak. And it's powerful.

  2. Quite the existential quandary. I do feel the "momentousness" in the air, as a moment poised on a cliff edge. I feel ill-prepared, like a squire whose knight has fallen. I suppose that I am here to learn and be ready.


Please contribute generously and charitably to the discussion!