Two very inspirational experiences today, one of sound, one of vision.
The one of sight occurred just moments ago. It has been a very wet, very gray, very imposing day all day today. In the small plot of land in front of Old Main, I just witnessed a crew of people playing a challenging game of croquet. I never see anybody play croquet, and I have always loved the game. The big colorful balls were an amazing juxtaposition to the wet dark mashed orange, gray, and brown of the day. To see people out on campus greens at all on such a day was a thrill, to see them playing this curious game was even more thrilling. Furthermore, they must be quite the serious croquet players. They had some kind of hard silver case propped open on a boulder with which they carry their set of balls and arches. The arches were square and sturdy, always a sign of a serious croquet player. Furthermore, they set the arches up in the most difficult places, usually right up against a tree, up a mound of mulch, at some angle that requires the most oblique approach, through wet leaves amassed in November's inexorable crawl no less. It is the unexpected sight such as this that often awakens us from our solipsistic nightwalking through life and rescues a day from oblivion.
The inspiring aural experience of the day was a listen fresh out of bed this morning to the CD put out by King Mob of Nick Cave reading his two essays, "The Secret History of the Love Song" and "The Flesh Made Word," interspersed and illuminated by live performances with Dirty Three friends Warren Ellis (the inimitable violinist of the Bad Seeds since "The Boatman's Call"--your humble narrator's favorite collection of love songs-- and Grinderman) and drummer Jim White (who ironically plays drums on PJ Harvey's finest album to date, "White Chalk" which came out about a month ago, and whose composer was the inspiration for much of "The Boatman's Call") of the songs "West Country Girl," "People Ain't No Good," "Sad Waters," "Love Letter," and "Far From Me." As enjoyable as these even more stripped versions of beloved Nick Cave songs were, it was the power and the meaning and the revelation of his words that moved me so and made the experience an unforgettable one. When the riveting reader Cave delivered his final sentence and the CD abruptly stopped its mad whir, the house hummed with the energy of what he had just said, and I knew I would never quite be the same again. The forlorn dank trees stretching their stripped limbs out to the relentless and indifferent skies outside the house was the perfect vision to behold while listening to these superlative essays. The insights and the opinions Nick Cave has about any given subject are always completely unexpected, completely refreshing, and reaffirming for someone as perverse, drawn to darkness, and obsessed with religion and violence as I am. If nothing else, his stunning arsenal of words and the delicious variety of shapes and tastes they take when you say them or imagine saying them while reading is like a great repast in a strange country, and makes you want to become a full time scholar of the OED. For all of these reasons and more, reading his novel And the Ass Saw the Angel has been a pleasure unparalleled in recent reading memory. I am excited about what shape my paper on it will take and what realizations I will have writing it.
In other news, I had my second interview for a TA position in the English Department at SUNY New Paltz today. I was nervous and anxious in a way I seldom get (and was secretly hoping Mister Cave would say something on that CD which would arm me with nothing less than the very voice of God walking into that office today; he didn't entirely fail me). I came very close to getting the position last time, when there was only one position available. This time, there are four. However, the competition is steep, and by all accounts, there are a host of brilliant and interesting people simultaneously applying. I feel confident that two of the three people who interviewed me like me quite a lot and are very impressed with me. The third...alas, the third. Just what critical school do I really care about? And what genre or authors in particular do I want to spend a lot of attention to?
I shall know by next week whether I achieved a position. One of the interviewers was impressed to hear of my friendship with the director of the Huguenot Historical Society and another was excited to hear the results of our musical partnership.
Which reminds me, a party is in the works for December, possibly at the tavern at Casa d'Angioli debuting to many the songs of the band that will do nothing less than completely reinvigorate the woefully stale genre of Gothic Music (along with the fantastic NYC based Funeral Crashers, who are going about the reinvigoration in a completely different way, which is modern and current, as opposed to our archaic and classically based wake up call). Any reinvigoration worth its salt must present various sounds, visions, and perspectives.
People, be warned: Nachtmusik is nigh, and ye shall not be disappointed.