Wednesday, August 02, 2006

A sad & scary mixmania! in the long shadow of death

“Give sorrow words. The grief that does not speak whispers the o'er-fraught heart, and bids it break.” - Shakespeare

Or at least put it to music...

Even now it is the most vivid memory of my life, the entire day, a memory that stands out clearer than even the birth of my children. The quiet of that day, the deep blue sky and warm early-September sun, the shocked zombie faces of drivers as we all moved inexorably home, everything moving a half-step slower than usual. All of it firmly imprinted in my mind so deeply that if (God forbid) I should ever slip into dementia and confuse my children with high-school pals, I'll still recall the slow, calm realization of the horror that day.

As I look back on that day, music is not a part of that moment. However, what I now feel about that moment is ineffable without music; if my kids asked me what happened that day, I'd put on a disk and set them down and still feel lost, hopefully my music expressing what the still zombie-like heart cannot say. How do you instill in someone else the essence of that locked singularity, time and space immediately permanent when it registered to you that people were leaping, live on TV, to inevitable deaths meant to escape inevitable death by being burned alive? How can you transmit that totality when it's one of a thousand other attrocities sterilized (and sensationalized) by cable channel chatter? My children will never truly know what goes on in my heart, they will never see the movie that replays again and again in my mind.

If you remember those stills and still watch the movie in your mind, that moment and those moments, see if you can gleen a soundtrack from your ruminations. Music that reflects your fear, your sadness, your rage, your confusion, your sympathy for the victims and their families, your sense of what the fuck or what the fuck is it now? Maybe it's Barber's "Adagio for Strings" or Marvin Gaye's "What's Goin' On?" or Nazareth's "Hair of the Dog"; maybe you recall songs that were big for you and you were dying to hear but every radio was full of dark, ugly news; maybe certain songs spoke to you then but other songs speak louder to you now. Things you might have not been able to express at the time but seem clear through the big glass of whiskey called Time.

For myself, my mix will no doubt express a number of emotions, many contradictory, some arising from my love of being American while others angry at the direction my country has taken since that horrible, fateful day. Some of you will no doubt mix disks of outrage (at the attackers or our government), some of you will mix disks screaming for some sanity (everywhere, everywhere), some of you will throw music down saying "THIS is the answer, motherfuckers!" and some of you will mix disks that defy sense or sensibility. We're not here to judge, we're here to accept each other's expression of survival or doom or disgust that there's still a ton of duct tape in the basement.

Use this mix as a therapeutic exercise. As a country I think the US suffered from collective PTSD (vivid memory being a feature of that) and maybe a little group therapy is needed to put things in perspective and help us move foreward. Whatever it is we're doing as country isn't working. If the highjacker's intent was to put us Americans at each other's throats, they've succeeded.


The Rules:
  1. Burn your disk in a format that can be played on any OLD SKOOL CD player. Meaning no MP3s or whacky-ass IPod format.

  2. You have until August 23rd to sign up; express your intentions in comments AND email (send me your information: your URL and postal address - that includes you folks who have played before). You have to do BOTH, OK?!? Just commenting or just emailing me won't do it. I need you in the comments to let everyone know you're in and mixing, I need you to email me so I don't have to hunt down your info. My email is over on the left; if you can't find it, you're not smart enough to play, sorry.

  3. On September 1st, I'll email you the postal address of the person you're to send your mix to; you'll use a postal address I provide to mask your identity.

  4. On September 4th, mail your disk WITHOUT THE SONG LIST: leave your recipient guessing what the songs are on your mix. Better yet, if you know how to do it, erase the track information before you burn your disk.

  5. On September 10th, I'll post the URLs of everyone participating.

  6. Post your song list on your blog on September 11th.

  7. If you're going to comment on the mix you received, don't be a prick - focus on the fact that someone went to the trouble to send you a mix, be polite with your thanks and don't try to impress us with how much of an insufferable music snob you think you are. Play nice - no one likes an inconsiderate asshole, asshole, and no one cares how your delicate tastes were violated. Be gracious, for God's sake, and give us the impression that you weren't raised by feral dogs.

  8. For those of you who don't have a blog but would still like to play,
    you may still participate; I or one of my friends will post your list, so just let me know (see #2 above).

I know this isn't the happiest theme for a mix but I think it's an act of courage to put your feelings on disk (though fair enough if those feelings are to mixed to.. well, you get the point). Courage is what was called for after 9/11/2001 - let's hear yours.

28 comments:

KC said...

It's been 5 freakin' years, man. I don't feel like reliving it; it was a day of total shock combined, a little later, with the news that idiots in government and inept "security" airport screeners left the doors wide open to our asses being handed to us. Also, dispatchers told these victims to "stay put" instead of "evacuate right now!." I suspect under 1000 might have died if everyone had run for it.

I'd much rather read The Onion's post-9/11 issue if I'm going to reflect on it all. http://www.theonion.com/content/index/3734

karen m said...

I think it's a lovely idea. Sign me up!

waltzingmathilda said...

I'll play again. Force myself to reflect on something I wish I could forget

Miss Cow is a Cow said...

Sign me up, babeeeee!

You know I'll play!

sherrypg said...

I've been watching from the sidelines for the past few months. Now I've decided to give it a go. Sign me up.

Kelly said...

I'm in.

aka_monty said...

Oh, this is going to be tough on MANY levels...but count me in. :)

Randi said...

Wow...Dang, you know how to challenge someone, don't you Jim? I'm up for the challenge, however, and would love to play again. And I know a theme for next round! Songs that remind you of your school days! Ha! But I'm definitely, definitely in for this round.

Mamacita said...

I'm in. This is the coolest game in town.

Natsthename said...

Ok, now I get what you meant when you cautioned us. I'm in, though. I'll also be posting a tribute to Melissa Rose Barnes, who perished at the Pentagon, as part of the 2,996 project. I invite you all to join in. See this site:
http://www.dcroe.com/2996/

alala said...

Dammit Jim! I'm a datamonkey, not a DJ! Okay, I'm at work, but I've already got two index cards full of ideas, so of course I'll play.

One question: what is a non-whacky-ass format? I thought .mp3 was hip, and .wmv was tape-on-your-glasses, so I downloaded iTunes Just For The August Mixmania! Was I mistaken in putting up with random computer crashes and having to learn yet another redundant piece of technology for the purpose of joining the cool kids? God, I am so out of it.

~d (tilde) said...

I'm in.
its ~d.
~d is in.

Umm, alala, I use (cough-cough) Morpheus and iTunes. They jive-the CD I sent you-some songs may be LOUDER b/c of quality. I think we are cool with our non-cool CDs.

Miss Cow-mine play OK?

~d (tilde) said...

P.S. I pimped your MixMania. Thats cool huh?
(boo, where is my disc?)

PunchBuggyBlues said...

I'm in. It's going to be tough, but i'm game.

Chuck said...

Oh my God. Dammit, Jim, I am a DJ (among other hobbies and bad habits) -- tough as all hell. I only hope there's enough time for appropriate introspection.

Hm. What a great project for us. I am absolutely in. Thanks, Jim.

samirah said...

Jesus. Way to kill the mood.

This is not something that I ever wanted to relive, but since I think about it in some way almost every day I guess I'm in.

Jerry said...

I got over here from Monty, followed the last mix game a bit. I would love to sign up for this one.

ekrobi said...

I'll play.

Mayden said...

I'm in...it was way too much good juju last time :-)

Kevin Smith said...

I used to travel up and down the I95 corridor pretty regularly between Philly, NY and Boston and I still haven't gotten used to the change in the skyline. Used to work down by the Seaport.

I'm in.

Carrie said...

I'm a virgin, so be gentle. I would love to try this. I have read about it on Miss Cow.

trusty getto said...

I can't play - too f'ing busy - but I can share with you my own 9/11 song.

http://www.garageband.com/mp3/trusty_getto-Ordinary_Day.mp3?|pe1|S8LTM0LdsaSkaVe3a2E

Yea, I know I'm not the next Springsteen, but it's from the heart. Oh, and the "love" is now my ex. Boy how things change . . .

astroworf said...

I'd love to share my musical trip with someone.

slim said...

I'm in.

Anne said...

Can't do it. That day was emotional on too many levels that I shall blog about when the time is right.

Debi said...

I'm in again!


PS. ~d sorry about the delay...the first one vanished off the planet into the mail void known as my post office. :(

Sterfish said...

After some thoughts, I'm in. I don't think that I've ever blogged about my reaction to September 11th, and I guess it's about time I finally did.

byakko said...

Ok, lemme try this one. I't won't be easy, I can see that....