“I’m writing the books to change myself, you know. Writing books is just an experience to me. So when I’ve finished writing a book, I have changed. I don’t write books for bread and butter. I just write books because I want to be something new.”
Haruki Murakami interviewed by Josh Wesley Harding in Bomb Magazine. More:
When I’m writing I believe that somebody else can understand my feelings, somebody else can experience those things I’m experiencing. I call it empathy. When I ran the jazz club, customers came to the club. Maybe eight out of ten wouldn’t like my club. But if two people liked my club, they came back. And my club did well. But some people would want ten out of ten people to like their club. I just think two out of ten is enough. I can feel somebody will know what I’m feeling. It is a lonely life sometimes, like throwing a stone into the deep darkness. It might hit something, but you can’t see it. The only thing you can do is to guess, and to believe. You have to get accustomed to that—to being isolated.
“I’d like to believe that I wouldn’t have been one of those infamous British people who tried to boo Dylan offstage when he went electric, but on the evidence of past form I very much fear I would have. We want our artists to remain as they were when we first loved them. But our artists want to move.”
“I almost believe there is no New York; there is only a set of projections, and it can be anything you want. You hear it every day, so it must be true! It has the worst people, it has the best; it’s the worst, it’s the best. After all of these contradicting visions, you have to say there is no place like New York. It is the acceptance of the contradictions and illusions.”
Related to the last post, Milton Glaser talks about New York, his iconic I Heart NY logo, and what it means to be a New Yorker.
I love this bit he adds at the end:
The thing about New York is, it’s based on the idea of change. It is the most mutable of places; its strength comes out of that. It doesn’t cling to its own history and has been free to invent new ones. Some changes are horrible, others lead us somewhere. They’re discomfiting because no one likes change, but eventually, you end up somewhere else, and you discover you like that place.
As I look back on my life here, the city seems to have changed and grown and improved and challenged, this pattern of adaptation leading to a new moment, a new population. Look at the nature of the population, enormously affirmative and enhancing of life. You may hate Starbucks, but it’s done something, and eventually it, too, will disappear.
There is a little bookshelf under the window in the dormer of my childhood bedroom at my parent’s house. On the bottom shelf, hidden behind some old issues of National Geographic and I large microscope, is a small photo album. My grandmother gave me that album close to fifteen years ago and it’s filled with images of trips we took together.
My grandparents took me on day trips every summer growing up. Sometimes it was to museums and another time it was a train ride. I remember a lot of these trips like they were yesterday.
I can’t remember exact year, but when I was in second or third grade, they took me to the Statue of Liberty. It would be hard for me to pick a favorite trip with my grandparents but if I had to pick one, that year’s trip would be close to the top. I remember brief moments from the day: riding the ferry to Ellis Island, walking up step after step inside the base of Lady Liberty, and my grandfather holding me up over the railing so I could look out over the entire island. I remember eating New York hot dogs on the bay, and I remember my grandmother taking this photo. It’s a photo of me, in a Don’t Mess With Texas shirt, standing in front of the New York skyline. Standing in front of the Twin Towers.
Summer is starting to wind down and big changes are afoot. It’s been a while since I made a new mix so now seemed like a fitting time.
It’s called Time, Love and it’s about change. It’s about celebrating your histories and meeting your future. It’s about love and hope and fear and letting go and jumping in with both feet.
You can listen to it here.
Here’s the track listing:
- Ready to Start - Arcade Fire
- It’s About Time - Barcelona
- Swim Until You Can’t See Land - Frightened Rabbit
- Welcome Home, Son - Radical Face
- Change of Time - Josh Ritter
- Head Full of Doubt, Road Full of Promise - The Avett Brothers
- Cologne - Ben Folds
- I Don’t Want Love - The Antlers
- Civilian - Wye Oak
- That Home - Cinematic Orchestra
- Driveway - Great Northern
- Poor in Love - Destoyer
- Sooner Than Later - Sixpence None the Richer
- Can’t Go Back Now - The Weepies
- Say Yes - Elliott Smith
- Younglife - Anberlin
- Birdhouse - Riley Armstrong
- Rubik’s Cube - Athlete
“Jobs (and by extension, Apple) has taught me (and I am sure others) a big lesson: If you want to change something, you have to be patient and take the long view. If Apple and Steve’s incredible comeback teaches us something, it’s that when you are right and the world doesn’t see it that way, you just have to be patient and wait for the world to change its mind.”
Stars, Sharks, and Suffocation
The stars always put things into perspective for me. Sometimes I take walks after the sun goes down. I look up at the stars and I feel so insignificant, so small.
Sometimes I confuse my world with the world. I turn inward, thinking my problems are the biggest, my stresses the most consuming. Sometimes I wonder how I’ll ever get through it all. Then I look at the stars.
Because when I look at the stars, I see a big, beautiful world. It’s like stepping back for a bit to see the bigger the picture.
Alain de Botton:
I’m very curious about the didactic approach that Christianity takes towards art. I love the way it builds museums and churches not to put pretty things in front of us, but to use pretty things to change us.
I can’t say I agree with the entire article (I find museums to be very inspiring), though I do like his idea of arranging museums not by style or period, but by the feelings they emote. As I’ve written about many times before, the best art is the art that changes us. The best art is created as gifts because gifts change us.
Perhaps art shouldn’t be “for art’s sake”, one of the most unambitious of all slogans. Why couldn’t art be - as it was in religious eras - more explicitly for something? And what if it was for making us kinder and better, more thoughtful and more generous?
Now that is something I can get behind.
“The change you experienced last night at midnight is available to you every moment of every day.”
David Pogue reflects on his ten years working as a tech journalist for The New York Times:
Things don’t replace things; they just splinter. I can’t tell you how exhausting it is to keep hearing pundits say that some product is the “iPhone killer” or the “Kindle killer.” Listen, dudes: the history of consumer tech is branching, not replacing.
TV was supposed to kill radio. The DVD was supposed to kill the Cineplex. Instant coffee was supposed to replace fresh-brewed.
But here’s the thing: it never happens. You want to know what the future holds? O.K., here you go: there will be both iPhones and Android phones. There will be both satellite radio and AM/FM. There will be both printed books and e-books. Things don’t replace things; they just add on.
I get leery when conversations turn towards “dying” mediums; that the book is dying, that print is dying, that Facebook and text messages are ruining social skills. These things aren’t dying, they are changing. The printed book as we know it now might not last forever but I think a new kind of book is emerging that will sit right next to the latest ebook. I don’t think face-to-face communications skills are a forgotten art, but I do think they are different. What we originally thought of when we talked about our social circles isn’t what it used to be.
Are these things bad? I’m not sure. I’m not smart enough to predict these things. I think we are still in the infancy of many of these new technologies and it’s too early to forecast what they are adding on. What I do know, however, is that it’s all happening too fast. Sometimes it’s hard to keep up.
Everywhere I go, I meet people who express the same reaction to consumer tech today: there’s too much stuff coming too fast. It’s impossible to keep up with trends, to know what to buy, to avoid feeling left behind.
Can I get a little more white space, please?
“When faced with a totally new situation, we tend always to attach ourselves to the objects, to the flavors of the most recent past. We look at the present through a rear-view mirror. We march backwards into the future.”
—Marshall McLuhan from his 1967 book The Medium is the Massage.
I am continually amazed at McLuhan’s insight on things and how relevant they still are today. Some of the things he’s wrote about in the sixties easily apply to social media and technologies that weren’t even invented yet.
I don’t have a favorite season.
When it’s Summer, I say Summer is my favorite because I like the hot weather and the vibrant colors and the feeling of freedom that takes me back to my childhood days.
When it’s Autumn, I say Autumn is my favorite because I love the changing of the leaves and the cooler weather and the warm colors.
When it’s Winter, I say Winter is my favorite because I like the feel of a warm blanket and wearing scarves and the way the white snow makes everything look.
When it’s Spring, I say Spring is my favorite because I like the hint of life that appears after the barrenness of winter and the welcoming of warmer weather and the sun rays that make everything feel fresh.
I don’t have a favorite season, but I love the transition between them. I like when Summer is ending and Autumn is just beginning. I like when Autumn is ending and Winter beginning. I like when Winter is ending and Spring is beginning. I like when Spring is ending and Summer is near.
These transitions signal change is coming. That something new is right around the corner. It’s something to anticipate. It’s in these moments you can look forward to the coming season while reflecting on the good memories of the previous.
It’s like that now. The summer months are winding down making way for Autumn. The air is crisp, teasing me with thoughts of sweaters and pumpkin spice lattes. It makes me feel good. It puts an extra skip in my step as I anticipate the coming season.
It’s the same way with life.
And I like that too.
Happy Friday! Big changes this weekend. Tonight my sister is graduating high school and by the end of the weekend, I’ll be in Nashville, TN gearing up for my first week as a design intern at Inpop Records. Perhaps the only fitting song for this weekend is Dylan’s “The Times They A’Changin’.”