Hemingway wrote a short story in Chicago called ‘The Current’ in 1921 just before his twenty-second birthday. It is narrated by Stuyvesant Byng, and in the story he proposes to Dorothy Hadley. She laughs ‘tinklingly, like the chiming of one of those Chinese wind bells’, and tells Stuyvesant
‘You’re inconsistent… You play a good game of polo. But you would never stick to it. One year you were runner-up at the National Open. The next year you didn’t enter. You play lots better than at least two internationalists that I know… But you’re not a sticker Stuy’
She goes on: ‘Pick something out and make an absolute, unqualified success of it… And then you can come and ask me again.’ He answers, ‘By Gad…I’ll do it.’ soon becoming a professional boxer by the name of "Slam Byng, the Hoboken Horror".
Now, although Hemingway’s early attempts at wielding the pen were juvenile and he didn’t have the courage to be daringly specific with his metaphors, there is a simple truth that resonates within the text; one must be consistent. No matter what you do, stick with it until the end. The response to a marriage proposal hinged on this man’s firmness of purpose!
This is a recurring memento in my life and just when I start stepping off my path to notice how the dew is collecting on the bark of the nearest tree, I am reminded to keep trudging forward. I assume the paradoxically invigorating riddle to solve is what the final room will look like at the end of this labyrinth. Where is this narrow path taking me and why is the brush gradually increasing as I move ahead?
Woe is me, right? I really can’t stop crying about how far removed I am from having any purpose and this is ultimately the reason for a profound turmoil that makes me understand ever more why people throw in the towel and jump off bridges.
Nevertheless I can spot patterns and I see that I have always been literarily inclined, writing a book and all, yada-yada, but i’ve also always written music (since I was 10 if I recall correctly)…Now I have been presented, by a series of events and I dare to say "mystical signs" (!), to start and complete a project that is feasible. I speak of Glass Hamlet. Even though it is nebulous in it’s form, it still has a beginning and an end. A song starts and then it trails off into silence. There will be 10+ songs. I have all the recording equipment to make this happen. For the first time in a very long time I feel passionate about something, I feel animated to live, and that sublime moment when one cannot discern whether it is himself or a higher-being that is creating is indomitable and persistent once again. This completeness in feeling can only be attributed to the fact that the fate of this project is absolutely in my control. It’s a supreme test in resilience, because usually I get bored with things and drop them before they become anything more than a passing hobby.
To achieve the release of this album (or mixtape, still don’t quite know the difference), I have actively put a lot of things on hold. Even acting class has taken a back-seat. This is my one priority now and I couldn’t tell you why, yet something deep inside is tugging me by my sleeve and won’t let up. Do you think you will become a recording artist? Maybe. Sounds nice. Do you think you're gonna be the new white rapper, the new Eminem? That’s absurd. And only If you understood Russian and were exposed to the spoken-art that’s being produced out there would you understand my motives.
Neil Gaiman addressed the University of the Arts class of 2012 by saying -
Something that worked for me was imagining that where I wanted to be – an author, primarily of fiction, making good books, making good comics and supporting myself through my words – was a mountain. A distant mountain. My goal. And I knew that as long as I kept walking towards the mountain I would be all right. And when I truly was not sure what to do, I could stop, and think about whether it was taking me towards or away from the mountain.
Recording music isn’t my mountain, but playing with words most certainly is. Ingesting life and expressing it through the intricate weave of verse has always been something that rested well with my heart.
It’s hard to accurately predict how long this will take because I have never participated in such an undertaking. Recording is a sonofabitch that leaves me utterly exhausted. Take after take and I haven’t even gotten to the mastering and producing side of things which I am also attempting to learn from scratch. Maybe the end of December?
Regardless of it all, I love the process. A 3 track "EP" has turned into a 10+ track LP with collaborations with other vocal artists. And like Dorothy Hadley said, "pick something and make an unqualified success of it". For now, this is what I am picking, and who knows, maybe Glass Hamlet will one day get in the ring with the Hoboken Horror!