Saturday, May 31, 2008

Broken things, mended things

This blog, even if it lasts only a month or so, is meant to be a gesture of gratitude. Specifically, it's about the songs I'm grateful for. It's also meant to be, in its clumsily bloggy way, about the folks whose own writing about music has touched me over the years: everyone from Thom Jurek on allmusic to Linford Detweiler and Karin Bergquist's tour diaries; and, of course, those poets and prose writers whose sense of where language stops and music takes over tends to leave me feeling overtaken as well. Right now I'm listening to The New Frontiers' album from last year, Mending, which is where the title comes from; or half the title, anyway, since the other half comes from Julie Miller's "Broken Things," a song that says, "You can have my heart / if you don't mind broken things." As the ice crystals from this glass of rosé finally melt--I accidentally left the bottle in the freezer while I went for a bike ride--Nathan Pettijohn is singing, somewhere between petulance and conviction, about a similar kind of provisional possibility: "If we learn to pray like Jesus / will he come?" And that's the place I want this blog to occupy: the place where we, whoever we are, learn to take the broken things and the mended ones, where we hold them in and as the songs we sing (and listen to, and sing along with), and where our radical hope never gets beyond radical uncertainty: where Jesus stays behind the question mark. That's a tall order, I admit, for a few paragraphs on a computer screen.