scratch

Sven Birkerts’ beautiful post-election essay Scratch takes that odd mull of emotions so many of us have been feeling:

The anxious fear that I can’t get said what I need to, that I’m no longer clear about where we’re going, and that even if I did know, my words would do no good at all. Not just my words, but words in general. I can’t help it: when I get into these moods, no matter how I tilt my head, the whole proposition looks dicey. Everything pushes at me: the scatter and distraction of dailyness, the glut of our things, the fact that so few people seem to heed the things I care for. Not just books, but the whole inward-tending way of things. On these darker days I’m absolutely convinced that the idiotic shimmer has taken over, crowding everything else aside to the bright slick thump of some studio-generated piece of feel-good music.

and makes some sense of it by connecting it (via music) to the not so distant past:

All those dreamers waking up, everything inexplicably turning, changing, but not before leaving its traces—in the fine-grained details of atmosphere, in the songs, and for me, so I now discover, in the crackle I absorbed without noticing it, those endless few years when I lay on my bed, eyes closed, playing, over and over, my amplified scenarios of the life to come.

Read the entire essay here.

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