Miércoles con los Amigos Invisibles special edition: Categories!

Categorizing things is a great hobby of mine.
The thoughts I had in my last post I can categorize as at least partially the result of panicky feelings. Amber and Pearl are still my awesome sisters and we still have a great sister thing going. I have faith in Dave and he in me and both of us in us. And I don't have to get any closer or truthier with Mom than I deem necessary. So there, panicky feelings! :P

I started out wanting to make this post about me and the everlasting Dave's categories for music. They don't have to do with sound or production methods. Rather, they describe the emotional tone the music-maker is aiming to produce.
The categories, as I recall them, are:


A musical group will have differing proportions of these qualities. The Waterboys, for example, have an enormous proportion of Soul (which may also be called Spirituality) and a respectable amount of Rock as well. Soul Coughing is almost entirely Funk (which may also be called Groove), but they have quite a bit of Smug and certainly some Rock. They Might Be Giants are more Smug than anything else.

This relates, in my mind, to the four qualities of poetry and lyric I learned about in college. These are:


Word-musicality is tough to explain, unless perhaps you've listened to a lot of Mike Doughty. The man oozes it. You can't even speak the phrase "buddha rhubarb butter" without experiencing a taste of the Funk. It IS different from rhyme, and for beginning poets a lot of times the focus on rhyme strips word-musicality and tosses it right out the window with the bathwater. My weakest category is story. Meter is probably my strongest--though given how I feel about categories, that shouldn't be too much of a surprise.

You might say it's an obsession, but obsessions I think tend to be more overt and specific. (See? Categorizing even now.) You could go so far as to call it a trait or a characteristic. I am a poet and a lyricist, which one doesn't usually associate with the sort of mentality that wants to put everything in a neat little cubbyhole. Or with someone who self-identifies as a Discordian for no externally discernible reason.

My attitude is this. I am essentially a cautious, even fearful person. Everything in the world is alive. (Always start there. Saves time when you later discover signs of life in a particular pattern, object or postulated entity.) Anything that lives has the power to choose, in other words, the power to change its mind. Which makes the world a place of extreme uncertainty, in which literally anything can happen at any time. All that is necessary for any wild and unthinkable event to take place is for many, many living creatures, all at once, some knowable and others--if only for reasons of time--unknowable, to change their minds.

So it is necessary to make one's way in a bizarre and chaotic universe governed by the whims of uncountable, ineffable beings. Some of whom borrow your pen and talk about the weather with you and would laugh at the idea that they are, in fact, ineffable beings actively involved in the continual creation of the mysterious universe.

My solution to this is to get to know all the people and things around me in a friendly sort of way. Because, according to my theories on trust and friendship, when you are friends with someone and they with you, you grow to understand them. Parts of who you are become similar enough to parts of who they are that you can imagine how they might feel about things, how they might be moved to choose for themselves. Though trust, you can get an idea of how and why a being is likely to change his, her or its mind. You come somewhat to understand what moves and shakes them, what changes their world and how the world changes around them.

Then--and here's the beauty part--you can take everything that isn't that, and stuff it in neat little boxes with word-labels on them. What is a being's religion is sacred to them, and when you're dealing with sacredness you have very little idea, let alone any control, over what might happen. But when you know what is non-sacred, is profane in a particular context, then once you've got it pigeonholed you don't have to worry about it anymore. You can just leave it in its little pigeonhole. Meanwhile you can concentrate on all the mysterious sacred things that might jump any which way, turn into a newt, or cause someone to get really, really angry at someone else in a way that you neatly manage to avoid by having an understanding of why the first person was likely to get angry.

So you see, it's really very simple. Categories are for all the things that can be categorized. Relationships are for all the things that can't. And if you tell me that's an oxymoron or a tautology or any such nonsense, I'll just go sit on my own lap and sulk until you see reason.

(If you do, would you please point it out to me?
Bastard owes me five bucks!)


Amber E said...

"I'll just go sit on my own lap and sulk until you see reason."
Adorable, that is what you are adorable.Don't forget to practice your guitar. I'm looking forward to hearing you play sometime soon.