The Window Seat

“What is lost we gain alone and how these things they grow and grow.” Brian Lewis-Jones, Parish Parish

I bit my lip a little bit and blinked hard, exhaled and read the final few sentences again, smiling as I hit the bottom of the page. I was finishing my first read-through of Parish, Parish, a 30-some-page lyric essay by Brian Lewis-Jones, a friend and former colleague of mine. The tale of a week in post-Katrina New Orleans explores the intersection of past and future, indecision and decision, loss and gain.

And it makes you want to cry, because it’s beautiful and you’re so unaccustomed to reading beautiful things.


“Irony is based on insecurity; it seems to me that when people are doing something ironically, it’s because they’re challenged by something or they like to hate something that’s popular … People like to not like things because they don’t understand them.” – Justin VernonPitchfork (6/13/11)

Justin Vernon of Bon Iver gets a lot of shit on the Internet. For showing vulnerability, for being earnest, for singing in a falsetto, for projecting an image that doesn’t match our culture’s best attempt at defining masculinity. Bon Iver’s music, from its lo-fi roots as a guy and his guitar to its current status as a guy and his guitar and a nine-piece band of saxes and violins and multiple drum kits, is achingly sincere.

And it makes you want to cry, because it’s pure and purity appears so infrequently these days.
“…I remember looking out the window as the plane took off. And I was blown away by the beauty of it, that feeling of being a few thousand feet above the ground, looking down on the rooftops and the trees that look like broccoli and the tiny little cars that seem to be inching along linguini thin ribbons of highway. It was thrilling.” – Joe Posnanski, The Olive Garden (3/12/12)
Joe Posnanski’s most recent blog post is about Marilyn Hagerty’s review of the Grand Forks, N.D., Olive Garden, which has since gone viral as “smart” people from the coasts effort to make themselves feel great about not being from Middle America. In the piece, Posnanski admits Olive Garden is not all that tasty or authentic, but asserts Hagerty’s clear-eyed sincerity is commendable.
Posnanski reflects on his first time on a plane, remembering the drama of takeoff, and admits that much of that beauty has slipped away through the years. His main point was that life happens. Repetition and boredom make it easy to become jaded, but each of us gets to choose how to approach every minute of every day.
And that makes you want to cry, because it’s absolutely and universally true, and so little is true today.

Parish, Parish ends with a special thanks section and a list of the work’s ingredients:

“Contains: 85% fact, 7% inner turmoil, 3% you, 2% meta (1% meta, 1% sub-meta), 2% coffee, 1% unknown space dust.”

It’s not the 97% of what we consume that’s killing us. It’s the 3%. We — Internet We, snarky We, non-plussed We — got scared and replaced our feelings with cynicism and sarcasm. We declared ourselves arbiters of taste and tossed ‘lol’s at the other 97% of life from behind a curtain of anonymity.

Shedding the sarcasm reflex is incredibly difficult when you’ve grown up with VH1’s I Love The 80s and anonymous Internet comments and fast-moving memes. I try every day to be less cynical, be more sincere, and put my 3% into everything I do, but it’s hard.

I want — every day — to be myself enough to never have a guilty pleasure, never be afraid to cry at beautiful words and sounds, always have time to take the long way home, to always try, always love, always smile, and always take the window seat.

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One thought on “The Window Seat

  1. […] Asher wrote the other day, the Internet, in some ways, has sapped some of the sincerity from our lives, a topic Posanski […]

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