This is the kind of morning that leaves self-doubts as certain as heavy footfall leaving prints in fresh snow, or mud. Am I up to what is expected of me, or what I expect of myself? Doubts like those expressed in Lydia Davis' poem, A Position at the University: "Then I see what the problem is: when others describe me this way, they appear to describe me completely, whereas in fact they do not describe me completely, and a complete description of me would include truths that seem quite incompatible with the fact that I have a position at the university."
These are fleeting thoughts, borne of low energy and somewhat mitigated by the first large cup of mate (or, for others, coffee or tea) and by simply putting the shoulder to the plow and getting that first furrow started. Even a bit of completed furrow, straight and true, shows me I can do what is needed of me.
On mornings like this the pending-tasks list feels overwhelmingly large and finding that first thread to pull seems impossibly difficult. It would be easy to shuffle between less-critical and less-demanding actions and wait for the energy level to bounce back to productive strength, tomorrow, or maybe the day after. Experience has taught me, though, that the best course of action is to grab any one of the pending projects and simply get it done. Once one is completed and checked off the others seem equally mortal, and task-list-combat becomes the rhythm of productivity, regardless of my energy level. So.... heave ho, I really do have a position at the university, or rather, college.
In an ironic inversion of what I need to do, today's playlist gradually shifted from upbeat energetic to sweet and mild and slow. Mr. Rock & Roll gave way to a bluesy, almost-jazz, Wilco. Wilco passed the conductor's baton to Seamus Egan and a lilting Irish-themed ballad of guitar and pipes, which finally gave way to some of the sweetest piano and violin on the planet. There can be little doubt that Peterson and Grappelli were two of the greatest masters of their respective instruments and listening to the two of them gently trade swinging riffs with one another on this nearly-seven-minute standard only drives the point home.
The full playlist:
- Amy MacDonald: Mr. Rock & Roll
- Wilco: Shake It Off
- Seamus Egan: When Juniper Sleeps
- Oscar Peterson & Stephane Grappelli: Someone To Watch Over Me