This Triteness, Too, Will Pass

Every now and again, I am overcome by fits of inspiration. And if I don’t have somewhere to put them, they almost immediately turn into packets of anxiety. It’s what I imagine blue balls might feel like if there was such a thing and it wasn’t a term actually made up to make girls feel guilty enough to complete the deed. I don’t believe in blue balls, but I do understand the definition. That’s the way I feel a lot of the time when seduced by a new idea. And to further this really annoying analogy, I rarely ever get to climax.

I started a project about a month ago. It is a project I promised myself I’d complete. I’m still very much into it. I’ve even taken out ads on Craigslist in spite of my distaste for the site. I have also begun to hit up the other people in my life and they have been unbelievably helpful as well. I am grateful for all the feedback/help/suggestions I have been given. That particular project is ongoing, albeit, slow-moving. But it keeps a section of my mind occupied and for that I am grateful.

Even more recently, I took my Mountain Goat obsession to level Nicole Kidman and began contemplating dusting off the ol’ guitar again. I used to play. I learned some songs. I even taught myself how to sing AND play chords at the same time. (Believe me, this was a feat not nearly as easy as it sounds for me.) It’s probably a good thing for everyone that the idea of making music was side-swiped by the one where I thought it’d be great to record the voices of the people in my life. And then it’s even better for everyone when that idea was brought down when I realized that hearing my recorded voice was almost enough to look into the exit ramp of a loaded gun.

The other night, as I watched people use sticks to hit multi-colored balls into dark pockets surrounded by green felt, I started to think about all these ideas. My mind began to wander. I thought about the people close to me and wondered what they thought every time I bring up a new idea. I wondered if they sometimes thought, “This, too, will pass.” Sometimes, I even think that way at this point. (Do I start something and then just give up? Will I see anything through? Do I, in fact, tease my blue balls?)

A few days ago, Gerry and Toby Joe started giving me hell for not agreeing to give the Neutral Milk Hotel another chance. I refused. I told them about the time about 6 years ago when Ryan, an ex of mine, tried really hard to get me into them. I just was not having it. I never even gave it a listen. (Unknown to me then was that my ex was trying to get me to like the music created by a singer who my future husband’s then girlfriend would one day end up dating. But that’s a story for another day.)

On Wednesday, TJ sent me a song and said I had to listen to it. I didn’t even check what it was. I trust him, after all.

He sent me this song (3.5 mgs). I wholeheartedly love this song writer’s music. I’m kicking myself for not giving in 5 or 6 years ago. (Listen to it, and then, if you have a minute share with me what inspires you.) Maybe there was a reason I wouldn’t give it a chance back then. Maybe I needed to find it after I found Toby Joe. Maybe I needed the inspiration at this point in my life and not 5 years ago. I have no idea.

So, the inspiration I had last week from the Mountain Goats is back as of yesterday because of Neutral Milk Hotel. Truth of the matter is, every time I hear their music, especially the song above, I feel completely out of this world. I feel a little insane, like I found religion. I feel like consuming Toby Joe. I feel like eating the notes that make up the songs. I feel like taking to the streets, stark naked, and instructing everyone to just walk out. I feel like having babies. I want Toby’s head to rest on my bare stomach. I want to close my eyes. I want to tell an old stranger that they’ll be OK. I want to paint pictures of things that don’t make sense. I want to sing really loudly. I want to put certain weeks on repeat and other days on shuffle. I want to finish every project I never started and start every project I haven’t thought of yet. I want to tap God on the shoulder and totally surprise him. I want God to actually exist. I want to burn all the money, tear down all the scaffolding, and feed all the birds. I want to matter. I want to be able to turn off requested floors on elevators if I press the button again. I want to write the songs to make the young girls sing and the whole world cry (ha!). I want to learn how to do everything. I want the time to do so. And I really, really want to consume Toby Joe.

It’s unbelievable how tight expansion feels. And it’s oppressive how heavy air can be.

I’m tired of being unoriginal.

I’m tired of feeling mentally constipated.

And I’m tired of having blue balls.


  1. i feel your pain. i’ve many an existential crisis but i find salvation in NMH with Jeff as my personal jesus dying for my sins.


  2. that’s just what my friend used to say when I’d start talking like that. translates to: “I don’t have better words for all this, but I feel you”.


  3. I read ya loud and clear, my sweet mia.


  4. Dude. You play guitar too? Do you sing? I want to jam with you. Seriously.


  5. You stilly flying north for winter? Philly, right?

    I sing better than I play guitar. But that depends on who you ask. I once made an ex leave the room while singing overtop his guitar sounds for a recording. I put Cat Power to shame when it comes to shyness and singing. Unless, of course, you get me shitfaced first. Then, good luck shutting me up.


  6. I hate singing in front of people, which is kind of funny since I used to do it all the time when I was involved in theater as a teenager. I can’t think of anything else that makes me feel so self-conscious.

    Also, I know what you mean re: this post. Creative ambition is exhilarating and, if nothing else, it’s far better than being incapable of dreaming bigger or seeing the joy in life’s little pleasures. I love my periods of obsession (and I love reading back through my past blog entries that allow me to relive past obsessions) even if they were nothing more than short-lived pipe dreams. In other words, what a sucky life I’d be living if I were only cold & cynical inside.


    but also the title track to “In the Aeroplane over the Sea”, the jump up, jump around, spaz out “Holland 1945” and then there’s my favorite 1st-song-opener-to-an-album-ever (so much that i never want it to end and go onto the rest of the album), “Song against sex”.
    And still, my most listened to albums are anything by Will Oldham or Belle & Sebastian. I need new music. Any advice?


  8. PS: that entry you wrote about feeling you have outgrown live music shows, well i’m afraid that i am right there with ya. Sufjan Stevens played here in town a few weeks back and the idea of seeing him play live seemed magical to me. But when Sunday evening rolled around, my old lady instincts kicked-in and all i could think about was having to stand there for hours, waiting thru soundchecks, ripped off if i caved-in and actually bought an overpriced beverage, feeling a pain in my lower back despite wearing my practical shoes, coming home smelling like the bottom of a plastic ashtray and having to wash my hair before going into the office Monday AM. I never left the house.


  9. Wow, you totally expressed how NMH makes me feel. I have tried to get so many people into them, but without any luck. In the Aeroplane Over the See is one of the most powerful albums I’ve ever heard in my life, and I’ve been wishing to find someone else who gets it, mostly to know I’m not completely insane.

    I mean, by the time the album gets to “Oh, Comely,” I can barely take it. I often find myself holding my breath during the “your father made fetuses” part.


  10. I can’t believe no male has yet responded to verify the existence of “blue balls”. It’s real. The first time it happened to me I thought I was being punished by god for fooling around with this girl from school at such a young age.(goddamn CCD!) Now I know better. It was really her fault for only letting me dry hump her Jordache jeans for an hour and a half while I felt her up under the shirt, but over the bra!
    I do have to say it is interesting that there is no medical term for it. When I was in college, I took a very expanded sex education class, learning about everything from the scientific stuff to the mental stuff (Freud and Kinsey). Anyway, this girl in class raised her hand to ask if “blue balls” existed, and further went on to ask if it was just a ploy for her boyfriend to get some..I think that blue balls should be put in the same class as when a girl has her “period” and gets to act all crazy. Guys just have to take that kinda thing on faith, and trust that “the period” is the reason that he is a insensitive thoughtless jerk. In the same way, the woman should look at the “blue balls” and realize that it has happened because she is an uptight selfish prude.


  11. wow. well, funny, i just read this and was thinking you may be the only person i know who can appreciate it.sorry, i dont know how to send links


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