a couple januarys ago, justin vernon interrupted his own life. his band split. so did his girlfriend. he fell ill. the dude had enough reasons to haul himself back to northern wisconsin, retreat into his fathers barn house and shut the door. for three months.
the “a bunch of shit happens and constant, distant solitude is the only remedy to feel something again” idea isn’t a new one. thoreau pulled that move awhile ago, although i don’t think it was induced by a bad breakup.
than one of those days he went outside and buried his powerbook in the snow. vernon acknowledges he could have sold it or at least chucked it in a garbage bin, but, i guess, symbolism has more value than practicality.
“i still don’t know exactly how to phrase what lesson i learned, and i usually don’t care enough to follow through with my self learning to the point of coherently framing it in language, because at the core i know what it is i’ve learned; BUT, i do know that i feel new. i feel like dumping those bad songs and journal entry’s was the best thing that could of happened. i am guilty of it, maybe more than others, but drudging our past around with us too much is of obvious badness, but here i sit in as old of a place as they come, with a new feeling.”
i haven’t buried a powerbook in snow. yet.
but you know those old movies where when a family was moving they weighed down a poor, little truck with trunks full of linens and suitcases full of shoes, they strapped their dining room chairs on with old rope, and looked about ready to bust? i think we’re all a bit like that. these accumulations of life.
but i’m finding in my movement, through countries but also through my past, that things keep toppling off. you can only make the pile so high. and whether things, people, or expectations have needed to get off for a long time, or they are something you weren’t ready to lose just quite yet, they fall, or jump off, and are left. and sometimes you’re tempted to go back and mourn them. but i’m forcing myself to only give these things a last glance in the rear view mirror before the dust engulfs them.
you know how there was always a slave or young kid in overalls sitting atop the pile, somewhat guarding it?
i hear God rummaging. i hear His footsteps stepping over the boxes. and i think i’ve stopped wincing so much at what i am looking at in the rear view mirror now… because a lot of things were never meant to be mine anyways. because if more weight hinders where i go in life than forget that junk. but also because, man, He can see so much further down the horizon than i can.
whoa tangent. at one point i was talking about just vernon. not me and God on a rickety truck.
anyways, without the intention of making music, he did. as so many find, myself included, some definitions of creativity can only be unearthed from solitude, cathartic solitude.
the 9 songs that ran from his veins that winter became “for emma, forever ago”, and he became bon iver.
i am sitting in as old of a place as they come. this is france.
i am in the south, in a flat, with an out-of-tune guitar, an old issue of rolling stone with dylan on the cover, and a silver pot that’s probably really tired of making me rooibos tea. and of course, bon iver.
maybe i will also feel something new.