Monday, October 15, 2012

So... I've been working on this guitar thing for a couple/three weeks now, and when I say working I mean repetitively practicing two different exercises on the 1st string.  Next week I'll move on to a third exercise on the first string. Which will mean repetitively practicing all three exercises.

I'm learning some things from the guitar:

1/ It makes me happy to hold it and make sounds with it
2/ Going slowly and listening is really important
3/ The way one releases a string is really important.  If I play a note, and lift up my finger from behind the fret too soon, the string is going to buzz
4/ Patience and more inventive cursing


Still trying to shake this sinus thing or whatever the hell it is.


I'm always reading a number of things at the same time.  4 books, in particular, which I'm savoring in increments are:

Less than Nothing: Hegel and the Shadow of Dialectical Materialism by Slavoj Zizek.  The book's fascinating, but it's also over a thousand pages long.  I'm about a third of the way through it and will probably be reading it for another 8 months.

Weird Realism: Lovecraft and Philosophy by Graham Harman.

The Grey Album: On the Blackness of Blackness by Kevin Young.  Cultural criticism.  The best introduction to African American culture, the best introduction to why African American culture is American culture, that I've encountered.

A Poet's Mind: Collected Interviews with Robert Duncan, 1960-1985.  I love serious interviews and this is a great compendium of Duncan materials.  I had quite a bit of exposure to Duncan in person back in the day and just didn't connect.  Now I'm going back to see what I missed.  And I missed quite a bit.  This is a very nice collection.



  1. Glad your're still having fun w/the guitar. Ditto w/ the viola. Some things you say here really register. You talk about holding the instrument. I spend a lot of time just learning how to hold the viola and bow. You talk about listening. Yes. The viola has no frets so the only way to get the right note is to listen to the intervals. To listen. It will take a long time to train my ear, but I can already tell when I'm off a little. Releasing the fingers correctly. Yes. It's ALL in the little details. I haven't invented new ways of cursing yet, tho, because I have this other problem, which is forgetting to breathe when I play. Maybe cursing would help with that, as I'd have to remember to let air in and out.

    Oh, and as for Duncan. I'm reading the HD Book right now. I tried to read it when it first came out and to use your phrase "didn't connect". I am connecting now. I'm wondering what comes next, the interviews or the bio by Jarnot ...

  2. John,

    Go to the Jarnot bio first. It's terrific fun.