Well, folks, here we are: At last, the final track of "Ernest Evans Hussalonia." It's taken me just over a year to write about the entire album, a totally excessive length of time brought on by a tendency to become distracted from personal projects and by a broken ergonomic keyboard. Yet, here I am, here we are. Today is the first day of the rest of this blog.
In preparing to write about this track, I decided to reread my entries on the other two recordings of this song that appear on the album, and also listen once again to all three in succession. Surprisingly, I didn't feel ashamed of my previous entries, as I sometimes do feel about confessional writings, especially those available to the public. They really weren't bad little writings after all, despite the occasional typo and the bizarre or outright incorrect wording (I used "illusive" when I meant to use "elusive" at one point, though I'm not really sure the former word didn't fit just as well) and they made for a nice time capsule of myself from roughly one year ago. I can't say my situation has changed that much since. The only notable difference is that my solitude has made me rather stir-crazy this winter.
Since I wrote about my fears of dealing with soul-crushing corporate entities when it comes to my literary efforts, I've had one experience that brought those anxieties back to the forefront of my mind. Last fall, I submitted a number of my fiction pieces to a student literary publication at my university. I'd submitted a few plus an essay the previous year and all were rejected, and I didn't really mind. Somehow I'm able to take rejection of my most serious writing efforts rather well, as I have an ingrained belief that the more my work is rejected by and bothersome to others, the more I am doing something right. This year, however, in addition to a stack of fiction works, I was recommended by a very nice professor who taught a nonfiction class I was taking at the time to submit a brief two page piece I'd written for an assignment. He gave it an A and recommended I submit it to the magazine in his comments. I was flattered, of course, and I very much appreciated how supportive he was, and I still am appreciative of that. Still, the thing I had written, as with most things I write due to obligation rather than personal interest, was something I threw together with very little forethought and passion. I wrote it in, I think, one sitting (as I do with most of these blog entries) and just didn't feel much connection to it, despite it being based on a personal experience from my childhood. Upon his recommendation, though, I revised and submitted it and was informed that it had been accepted for publication a week or two ago.
On the one hand, I feel compelled to be glad to have any public recognition of anything I write, to have anything I've written published, and also to be grateful to my professor for recommending it. It gives people, especially family, at least some idea that I'm making some sort of definable progress with my writing "career." On the other hand, though, this also bothers me in a way much more extreme than the rejections the previous year; I felt fine with my own, honest efforts being rejected. Again, I've long had the feeling that if one's art is rejected, ignored, and seen as bothersome by others, there's a better chance that there's something right about it. Yet here, I got some sort of little recognition, but it was for doing something that others enjoy and that I have no personal stake in. Of all the things I submitted, the one thing that I had created out of compulsion to please someone else, rather than out of genuine desire to write on my own terms, is accepted, and the others were ignored (the previous year I was given rejection letters for the things that didn't make the cut, this year the rejected pieces weren't even acknowledged, which I suppose doesn't really matter, but it stuck out to me nonetheless) and so it goes.
I suppose that the whole of this doesn't really matter, and that I should enjoy whatever inching towards material benefit it might have a slim chance of bringing me and not worry about any existential crisis it might create. After all, it doesn't stop me from writing the things I want to write. It just brings to mind the fear that I won't last long doing that, and that is where it begins to bother me. I am, I think, a rather contrary person, and it is the fear that I might become too agreeable that haunts me in consideration of things such as this. That part of my personality is one reason I've been enjoying the recent Hussalonia track "The Pleasure of Saying No" so much. It is most relatable. That, however, is a material for another blog entry.
Another thing I mentioned in the previous entries on "What Will Become of Me?" was my efforts at writing a potentially commercial, simply fun-to-write series. Since that mention, I've finished thus far a couple of novella-length pieces, three short stories and have just recently reached the halfway point of an origin story for the protagonists, and that is so far the longest single draft of a work I've ever written. Despite only being halfway finished, it is roughly 128 pages long. There have been some tough moments in writing it, and some long periods of not working on it, but overall it has progressed nicely and it remains fun to write. Once it is finished, I plan to offer at least a significant part of it for free online in order to see if there is any interest in it as a commercial endeavor. I've also begun correspondence with another illustrator with an aim for a possible graphic novel adaptation of the series. That project, at least, remains quite satisfying and in many ways refreshing from my less "fun" works.
Lastly for the purposes of recapping my previous entries, during my first exploration of "What Will Become of Me?" I mentioned the way that the track reminds me of that odd experience I sometimes have when, while in a depressed funk, I feel a sudden exuberance. I'm brought back to that initial impression on this third and final arrangement/recording of the song. The song's production is brilliant, with vocal tracks in the tempo of both of the previous arrangements juxtaposed against each other, creating a lovely duet of a single voice. While listening to this track, I can almost feel that strange elation that appears in the center of my bouts of depression, that odd sunshine during the eye of the storm, as the two tracks of that single voice sing in their own time. I am reminded, reflecting on those strange, strangely happy moments, of a sort of existentialist way of looking at things, of being both burdened and overjoyed with one's life, both circumstances and potential through choice. I am reminded of an experience described by one of my favorite writers and thinkers, the philosopher Soren Kierkegaard; he described it as "the dizziness of freedom."
The song's narrator says that he doesn't "care, how, when or where" but the urgency and the seriousness of the vocals seem to suggest otherwise. As I wrote before, this song's title returns to my mind in anxious moment, perfectly describing that emotion of uncertainty about the future. Yet likely one is best off just not worrying about it, as much as they can help it.
This thought, and this song, are a perfect way to end this entry on the final song of "Ernest Evans Hussalonia." As I said, today is the first day of the rest of this blog. Covering just one album took me far too long, but who knows, I may pick up the pace? Who knows if I'll ever catch up with Hussalonia's own output? Does it matter? What will become of me? I'll burn or I'll float, I'll scream or make not a sound, as the song says. Let's find out where this blog is going.
Bidding farewell to "Ernest Evans Hussalonia," we now say hello to "The Hussalonia Robot Singers," a truly fascinating album.
Until next time, I wish you the best.