Up late talking to my brother last night means up late this morning. On time, though.
Got to work and felt the crackling nerves of energy and excess brainpower. I feel like I’m a school of fish and a fishing boat at the same time. The net is in the water, and as my fish swim round and round, I’m cutting off a channel through which to flee. Cutting off dumb web browsing. Cutting off most social media. Trying to stay off my phone. Cutting out inspirational reading. I left myself options for distraction, but they are primary materials. It’s hard enough—sometimes it feels like I can get my phone out and have my Reddit client open and in front of my face before I’ve had a conscious thought about it. But it meant that I spent some time job hunting, and reading Mrs. Dalloway, and writing.

If you start playing this and think you hate it, please stick with it until 1:36.
I did spend some time listening to Steve Reich’s Four Sections. I was a Reich hater because I didn’t like how popular he was, until I was a Reich fan for the same reason that he became popular, but most of that is on the strength of Music for 18 Musicians, which I am a superfan of. I’ve always meant to listen through a Reich boxed set that I got my hands on, but it was only a couple of nights ago that I put it on to go to sleep to. One of the most bittersweet experiences I have on a regular basis is of drifting to sleep to glorious, sublime music and having the conflicting desires to surrender to the experience and also wanting to know what I’m listening to. I did a thing I hadn’t done in a while: opened up JSTOR and just browsed around for what I could find on the piece and Reich’s music in general, and downloaded a couple things to read later. It is far outside normal habit now, and I was happy that I was able to chase an instinct to just learn about something because I wanted to. It felt like reconnecting with a dormant part of myself, but not any feeling of regression.
I also spent a lot of time reading this piece on the legacy of the New Republic. This is a classic example of something that I already kind of don’t care about thinking about and shouldn’t, but at the same time, I love reading clear opinionated arguments.
Work was whatever. I played computer teacher and introduced 5th graders to a visual programming language for kids called Scratch. It was interesting to see the breakdown of interest. There was a small number of kids that were so resistant to the structure of the activity that they didn’t even sit down with the computer to try. There were a larger number of kids that did sit down and did try to follow along, and found it difficult to get the concept of the programming blocks or the causality of the blocks to the action that resulted. Another large group of kids understood how the blocks corresponded to the sprite characters, and found one annoying thing to do with it (which was annoying, but also totally how you learn how to do things, and I was happy to see it). And then there was another very small group that understood right away what the possibilities of this program is, were already thinking of the cartoons they could make or the puppets they could make say dirty things, or games they could create. It was incredible to see that some kids really didn’t get it, and others really did. I wondered what kind of kid I would have been. I usually had no patience for systems that I didn’t understand right away. At the same time, there’s a decent chance that I would have understood this right away. It’s impossible to tell. I remember a similar type of programming that we did with Apple Hypercard, but I never had that much time to work with those computers.
I talked with a lonely 6 year old girl. I see myself in lonely children.

After work, I ran home and changed in and out the door in like 180 seconds. I headed over to the Academy Theater, where there was a special screening of the documentary Keep on Keepin’ On. It’s a very sweet movie about 94 year old jazz trumpet legend Clark Terry and his 23 year old piano protege. It was wonderful just to be let into the life of this incredible man with such a history and such a firsthand connection to the musical tradition.
I watched the movie with ex-coworked KK and her boyfriend, G, who I had never met. After the movie, we caught up a little bit, and I got my first chance to summarize where I’ve been since I’d last seen her in December. January has turned out to be quite a month for me, with a lot of change and a lot more coming down the pipeline. I was sharing about this Artist’s Way group I’m trying to get started—the response hasn’t been overwhelming, but it has been whelming and I’m pretty confident that I’ll be able to get the group going—and both of them expressed some interest. It was validating, and I’m very excited to move on, feel like I’m going forward.

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