When a lot of stuff has been going on and I'm tired, really tired, I have to go to bed early. Usually, that's around 11:30, the normal shuteye time being closer to somewhere around 1:30 in the morning. What happens on these nights is that I have a ton of dreams. It's almost like somebody is holding down the fast-forward button on my dream remote. I almost never remember any of the dreams, though I perceive that they all lasted about 30 seconds. It's like my brain is trying to clear stuff out. In the morning, after the bewilderment fog clears, there's a great sense of refreshment and clarity.
Recently, I've been having those hyper-speed dreamscapes during the day. Thoughts flash through unabated. In the span of ten seconds, I can go through days, weeks, and years of remembrances and ideas (the ideas come not only from past reflections but from creative fragments that haven't matured). Buddhists have a term for this: Monkey Mind.
For a musical simulation of this, just imagine The Carpenters. I was never a huge fan but have to admit that Karen's voice was a pure gem. So think of all of those love songs and other singles. Now, think of them being played simultaneously. Not quite so soothing, eh?
When this isn't going on, life can be temporarily suspended if I run into a creative notion. I'll hear a piece of music or read a passage and become so enthralled that everything else drops away. It's a pretty exhilarating experience. I know it'll come back, but I sure do miss it.
As 2008 passed into '09, I read a pile of those best-of articles. Lots of them mentioned Fleet Foxes. I gave them a try (MySpace, etc.) and just couldn't see what the fuss was all about. It seemed like a rehash of late 1960s psychedelic folk. Album of the year? Wait, Pitchfork loves it…riiight.
So I'm up late one night, staring a hole through the TV (tuned to Current) and a show comes on called La Blogotheque. They have the Fleet Foxes singing in an abandoned gym. When they launched into "White Winter Hymnal" everything around me became suspended. Ah, what a glorious feeling, I really missed it.