When I was journaling about the Appalachian Trail I hit a point where I stopped writing about the bad stuff – about the unceasing pain, the loneliness, the absence of physical affection.  I would write about the exceptionally bad days, certainly.  They made good stories.  But I got good at keeping the baseline suckiness (and there was a lot of it) firmly under my hat.  And I didn’t choke on this unspoken sadness because I could vent in my stories about the bad days.  The bad days were dramatically bad.  Like waking up to find a river running through your tent, or being chased five miles by a cloud of rabid Massachusetts mosquitos.  Nothing boring about that!

But how do you make it into a good story when you come back to Winston-Salem from a weekend in Asheville and the shift is so depressing that you have a simultaneous flair-up of your dandruff and your (previously conquered) toenail fungus?  

I should have had some good things to say about Bele Chere.  It was wonderful.  As were my swing-dance-binge weekends earlier in July.  But my weekends are like being drunk: you’re happy while it’s happening, but the resulting hangover almost isn’t worth the escape.  Almost.  (N.B. I have never actually been hungover.  I attribute this to particularly good Italian and German genes.)

They are playing the Rodrigo Concierto de Aranjuez on WFDD 88.5 right now.  Some of the greatest guitar music in the world.  Even more enjoyable because we played it in Appalachian Chamber Orchestra two years ago.  Rodrigo writes the most stunningly sad, passionate central movement I’ve ever heard.  The beginning and closing allegros don’t develop the piece significantly.  You think the opening’s going to.  You’re all set for this to happen, and then you hear the second movement and you realize you’ve merely been given an idea of the heights from which you can fall.  And the ending – the ending’s more a recovery operation. It might be tempting to look for redemption in the ending, but Rodrigo’s sadness does not need a resolving endcap.  Peace is found internally, at the end of the central movement.  The final allegro stands as a restatement, a reminder of a shell wrapped about sadness that is not bitter, not killing, but that will find its rest only in death.  An overly dramatic interpretation?  Maybe.  But then, he’s Spanish, so maybe not…

I don’t need to be listening to Rodrigo right now.  Even if it’s radio, this still counts as groveling.  But, at least it’s very high-brow groveling.

And really, that’s all for now.  No good resolution, no self-revelatory development in the writing.  And now I’m leaving for another weekend in Asheville.  

These things will end soon enough.  And they’ll come clear in the end.  Just, right now, could you pray for an unhappy person?

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