“You really get in a dark mood …”
In the Sunday New York Times Neely Tucker contributed a compelling appreciation of Kennedy Center honoree Billy Joel. I was floored by a bite from the Piano Man discussing his father’s thwarted musical ambitions as it precisely mirrors the abyss I’ve been staring into lately, indeed all year long:
“Most of my memories of him were — when he was home, he would play classical music. Chopin, or Beethoven sonatas or Debussy. We had an old upright piano. It was this old piece of junk. A lot of the keys didn’t work, so it was tough to play the thing. It was more a garden ornament than it was a piano.
“I’d be listening [to him playing] in the other room thinking ‘Wow, that’s beautiful,’ but he’d walk out of the room in a very dark mood. He was never happy with his musicianship. He wasn’t good enough. He wasn’t what he wanted to be. . . . Now, at this time of my life, I understand. You run into the wall of your own limitations, and you wish you could do more, you want to do more, you wish you had studied more, and that happens. You really get in a dark mood.”
One event that tipped me further into the darkness occurred two weeks ago. After my doctor appointment I strolled down the street to my favorite bookstore, Stories Books and Cafe on Sunset in Echo Park. While searching for an Updike title I paused at the Local Authors shelf whereupon I noticed that “The Furthest Palm” was on special display with four copies available. Unless additional copies were ordered, four copies is exactly what the store had in stock starting last summer. The book simply is not selling. Anywhere.
This Sunday, however, my immediate concerns are less existential. Plaque psoriasis on my hands and feet is exfoliating like mad and I’m completely out of cotton gauze (I need about four rolls at $5.00 each), a tube of petroleum jelly, and a couple of RX meds, all from CVS. I only have about five bucks on Paypal and no cash. And raising funds on a Sunday afternoon is damn near impossible with many of my friends and colleagues offline until evening.
So there you go.
2:56 PM UPDATE: Not getting anywhere on this.