Waiheke, Aotearoa New Zealand

May 10, 2020

Music.

pre-s. Have you ever wondered what a letter might look like, or sound like? This week, you can find out. I made a video of this week's letter. Please check it out, and let me know if you'd like to see more of this kind of thing!

This past week, after another long day trying to kick the mold out of my house (we're on to the attic!), I asked my little AI to play me a chill mix. I expected one of my usuals - something loungey from France, or a downtempo type thing. But instead, it picked singer-songwriters.

String guitars and human voices and not a whole lot else. And I remembered back to the days I listened to this music a lot - live and on CDs.

Maybe that's not right.

Remembered sounds like brain. Like thoughts.

But my body is what remembered. It shifted, I felt the tension leave my jaw, shoulders, lower back. Felt my face unscrunch, brow unfurl, ears let go.

And I realized for the first time that all of those things were happening.

I canceled my evening routine, turned down the lights, let the music play. Soaked it in.

Sponge. Bones.

And I felt - for the first time in a long while - like everything is going to be ok.

Every so often, I'm caught by music this way. Hip-hop will pick me up and carry me into flow, for hours of making. A jazz bassist plucks my mind blank from thoughts, and I just follow the baseline. A proper anthem, in the car, pulls the windows down, my right foot heavy.

It's music. Something so human, it breaks us – whole.

Have an aural week,

-Steven

p.s. The best thing I saw all week was RNZ's The Citizen's Handbook. If you've ever wanted a comedian to explain New Zealand's history and how it works, it's not getting any better than this.

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