Plant A Seed And Watch It Grow
I would not consider myself an activist. I would say I am socially aware and I’m not opposed to donating my time and money to various nonprofits. I didn’t feel the need to protest after the election of Trump, as a response to the overwhelming amounts of emotion that transpired in the days following November 8th.
When I found out there was to be a Women’s March on Washington and subsequent satellite marches, I knew this is something that I wanted to participate in. I felt really strongly about attending, and I felt like everyone that I knew should attend too. And looking at social media post of my friends across the country, so many people participated in what was truly a positive and reaffirming day. It was the first time in a couple of months that I felt like we really are all in this together. I marched in Los Angeles, as soon as I was amongst the large throng of people, I started to well up. I still can’t believe the impact that being there had on me. I have never been in such a large group of positive and polite people. It made me so proud to be there, and it made me so proud to be a resident of Los Angeles. One of the reasons why I have always loved LA is that it is diverse in so many ways, and that diversity was evident on Saturday as well. It’s a day that I haven’t been able to stop thinking about and has sparked conversations between friends and even strangers. Discussions that would not have even occurred two months ago. Did you attend a march?
I recently just discovered the song Nothing Ordinary, by the band Lucius. I know I’m three years behind. I’m not quite sure why the female leads look like twins, but this song is really great. In a time that is not ordinary, this song is appropriate. For an amazing action that surpassed attendance estimations across the country, it’s not an ordinary event. Listen as you go about your Wednesday today and think about what you can do on this day, that’s ordinary or not.
“There’d be no distance that could hold us back”
I was once told by a stranger “Oh, you’re a January person.” as if I were to be categorized with people who describe themselves as a morning person. I didn’t know it was a thing but yes, I am a January person.
I love the beginning of the year. I like taking the month of January to purge my room of stuff and donate items taking up space. I don’t make resolutions for my year, I make goals. I sit down and write them out, reflecting on what I want, whether they are big goals or just little ones, like reading more. I like saying “Happy New Year” because it’s a phrase that you can say to everyone depending on if you see them at 12:01 am on January 1st or on the 14th.
“The New Year” by Death Cab For Cutie is a song about the new year, although I think they’re really talking about New Year’s Eve and the moment’s after.
What are your goals this year? Whatever they may be I wish you a Happy New Year!
Honestly, I can’t find a song. I’m just at my wits end about talking about the election. Or thinking about it, or worrying about it. How has it come to this. How has it become so messy and shocking, but yet none of us are shocked by it still. We’re just hit in the face with more information, which seems to be get more shocking, and more telling as time goes on. Are we there yet?
So here’s a song that I urge you to listen to, when you just need to listen to something else besides pundits, politicians, and polls. Youth Lagoon’s ‘Montana’ from their album The Year of Hibernation is a perfect song for drowning out everything else that is related to all things election. I also feel that the album is aptly named because I feel we will all need to hibernate from all things political for at least a year.
We have been discussing the election for more than a year now, and we are now in the home stretch. I never want to relive an election like this again, personally, it has been stressful and exhausting. I am so tired of talking about this event that has dominated the news and conversations, and brings up this mix of anger and fear that I have never felt about an election.
I went to Greece for three weeks, most of my time was spent at a yoga retreat, which is amazing, and relaxing, and an experience I am so thankful for. I was there for the first debate, and part of me was content of finding out what happened after the fact, but I felt like I needed to know what was going to be said. I woke up at 5 in the morning, to go to the nearest place with wifi, which was a cafe, to sit in the dark by myself, to watch the live coverage on Youtube. It was a very unique and personal experience, but while being in a remote and relaxing place, I could not step away from the election. I keep thinking about how are we going to look back on this endless election cycle; as a historical moment, or something to not repeat, or perhaps a little of both?
To take a reprieve from the FiveThirtyEight obsessing and the following of witty and deplorable Twitter feeds, I’ve decided to do a Beurskens Picks song up until Tuesday. Today’s pick is Bon Iver’s “22 (Over Soon)” from the album 22, A Million.
It’s a good song to think about facing the end of the election. The first vocal of the song is what draws me into this song, it’s minimalistic and has strong lyrics. Which I think I just described every Bon Iver song that exists.
With that hang on for the next few day, because it will be over soon.
I began this post shortly after the Orlando shooting occurred, and then I sat with it. Then the events of this past week happened in Baton Rouge, Minneapolis, and then Dallas. I really don’t know where to begin but just listen to this song. So that’s it. My shortest blog post to date.
N.P.R. used to have a series called This I Believe that they played during broadcasts asking people to declare what it is they did believe. I enjoyed listening to this series, and it always made me think about what I would say. What do I believe? I would think about my convictions and thoughts that I know to be true. I wished that I had been given this as a writing assignment as a high school student. Doesn’t it seem like something someone in high school would have forced you to write?
On Friday night when I was alerted that Muhammad Ali had died, I immediately thought of his This I Believe essay. Ali and his wife, Lonnie, read an essay full of confidence and also what it means to be vulnerable, and fearful. Listen to the full story at N.P.R. here.
I think what I really love about this essay, is that Ali knew what he wanted. He knew and thought, he was the greatest. I think because so often, I am filled with doubt and question so much of what I am doing, which is self defeating, and something I know so much more than confidence. I think after listening to this essay again I am struck by Ali’s conviction of being the greatest.
Here is a song to reflect on after you listen to Muhammad Ali, “The World’s Greatest” by Bonnie Prince Billy. It sounds like a song that was written specifically for Ali, but it’s also sad and contemplative which seems appropriate for the passing of someone so iconic. Maybe you’ll think about what you believe or continue to be great at what you’re doing.
Two years ago, two days before my birthday, I decided to begin my new year with this blog and registered Beurskens Picks. Then the blog sat dormant for about a year before I posted anything. Here we are again with another year around the sun as Beurskens Picks and I both turn a new age.
I am not a person that goes all out for their birthday. I don’t celebrate my birthday month, or week. If I tell people it’s my birthday, who I am not friends with on Facebook, it’s usually done in a lowered voice. I am perfectly happy spending time with my family and friends going out to dinner, a drink, or just doing a little birthday window shopping solo. I enjoy receiving texts and phone calls from friends and loved ones. Say what you want about Facebook, but Facebook on your birthday is kind of the best.
For this new year of my life, and blog, I’m continuing to write and post regularly and with that I could think of no other song that fits more appropriately than Jose Gonzalez’s Every Age off the album Vestiges & Claws. This song, as most of Gonzalez’s songs, as contemplative, but simple and powerful. It’s a song that feels right to celebrate a new year of life on earth. It’s a song that makes me feel hopeful for this new year and really that’s what a birthday should bring.
“Action has magic, grace, and power in it.” – Goethe
It has been almost a year since I’ve posted anything on Beurskens Picks, and it’s time to take action. I haven’t written anything in a while because I’m still trying to figure out what to do with this blog. Also when something is put off for so long, it makes it difficult to start again. I began multiple posts that have remained as drafts and then were never seen by anyone except for me, and still sit as drafts.
Other things took precedent over writing blog posts too. I started interning, which is an experience that somehow manages to encourage growth and some days I feel defeated and overcome with doubt. Yet every time I feel ready to throw in the towel another opportunity comes along, which seems like sign to not give up yet. I moved, not far from where I was before, but learning to adjust to a whole bunch of newness has been difficult. A lot of things that I did regularly that made me happy I stopped doing, which just gets into this cycle of unhappiness and then not doing anything about it because I’m unhappy. In taking steps to spark creativity and a place of contentment I started The Artists Way again. I’m not as diligent as I was when I first read it years ago, but I have began writing morning pages again, which seems to be more of a battle with myself than when I previously wrote them.
In reading, The Artists Way, I read the above Goethe quote, and could not stop thinking about it. I’ve been thinking about my actions, or the lack of not making any, and the want to write a blog post popped into my head. So that’s how I got here. “Action has magic, grace, and power in it.” So today I’m taking action, at least a little step toward it. I found a song that appropriately goes along with this by Good Graces called Standing In Line. I don’t know much about them as a band, except that their from Atlanta and they write a sweet little song that warms my 90’s teenage heart. So here. And hear.
Hopefully this inspires some sort of action in your day, maybe to stop standing in line. Or sit in traffic, as Los Angeles was just voted the worst traffic city in the US. Yes, I’ve moved back to L.A.
I am not an advocate for all top 40 music and I rarely listen to the radio, at least commercial radio. But, I’m going to go on record and say I am not against a good pop song. The songs that are ubiquitous because they’re catchy, they can be sung along to, and find yourself bopping along to at the grocery store. The Taylor’s and the Katy’s are so popular because they write, or they have people who write, an infectious song that becomes part of the culture. Carly Rae Jepsen’s “I Really Like You” is an example of a pop song that I can’t deny it’s contagious beat, and light hearted words. It’s light, a little silly, but somehow stays in your head all day long.
Today I discovered a mash up of “I Really Like You” mixed with Nine Inch Nails “Head Like A Hole.The pairing of Nine Inch Nails with pop of any sort, would not be a match I would think of but I’m glad someone did. I feel like a blog about mashups will have to come later, but I’m going to say that these two songs mashed up together works really well. I like that it sounds like Trent and Carly are singing to each other. The juxtaposition of these two songs makes me smile. Carly gushing over how much she likes Trent, and Trent responding by telling her she’s “going to get what she deserves.” And like all good pop songs I have listened to this at least twenty times this afternoon. Hopefully this will bring a smile to the beginning of your week.
Sometimes I find myself in these moods of restless discomfort and I know the songs to play to either exacerbate this feeling or the songs that will give comfort and make the day and my mood manageable. Jolie Holland’s “Damn Shame” of her album Escondida is a song that has the ability to do both of those things. It’s quiet, almost lullaby tune drifts along while Jolie sings along, there is the sense of anger and sadness. A song that speaks of wanting and loneliness. Wishing to be with someone who is twelve hours ahead, which seems planets away. She seems resigned and accepting but there’s hints of anger every time she says “Its a god damn shame”
It is wistful tinted with this repeated line of “its a nothing but a god damned shame’ which adds this element of anger to this wanting she sends to someone far around the world. “The smell of burnt exhaust drifts into the bar.” a line that sums up something that is toxic that seeps into a place of escape. I think part of the reason why I am enamored with this song is the fact that I can’t share it. As a radio dj in compliance with FCC standards there is a profanity law, that makes “Damn Shame” a song that will never be on the airwaves. Which really is a shame because I cant shake its sad sweeping lyrics from my mind. I think this song particular speaks to ones own internal battle. Trying to go along and be accepting but having the urge to shake one’s fist in anger. At the lover half way around the world, at the time spent thinking alone, with the damn shame of not sharing music with others.