The Pleasure of Organizing

A couple of days ago, I sat down to do some writing. Now, I’m not the type of person who needs silence to write; in fact, silence bugs me, burrows into my subconscious, needling. Silence, the lack of sound, absence of air waves, it just begs your synapses to start anticipating the sound to come. Will it be the neighbor, a creak of the house, the phone ringing, the exhale of a partner who would rather you were paying attention to them rather than the alluring brightness of the LCD? Then, when those little bones in your ear, the ones you only learn about because they are so small and named after tools (we are trained from a young age to respect the power of the stand-alone, bizarre factoid – and as a result, we tend to let them dictate our opinions and decisions a little too much), vibrate as they evolved to do, your thoughts can’t help but take seed around it, like carbon dioxide gas on imperfections of the walls of the glass of coke or lemonade, or whatever. Where did it come from? What is its significance? Was it real, or am I just going crazy?

And the writing consequently stops.

Me, I’m a music guy (listener only, unfortunately. I’m waiting for my mid-life crisis before comitting to the guitar lessons. By that stage I’ll have a kid and have the added bonus of embarrassing him or her at family get-togethers). I dig it, it gets my spirits up, my creative thoughts moving, and I write, concentrate, research, better (playing right now: In Rainbows, by Radiohead). Anyway, I open iTunes on this occasion (other times it’ll be WinAmp; WinAmp has all the music on my computer loaded onto it, while iTunes only has the cream de la cream that’ll fit on my 30 gig iPod), and go through looking for some place to start. I notice that I have a lot of missing artwork downloaded into the player. So I start fiddling around with that. Then I notice that I have a lot of stray tracks with no album entered, meaning no album artwork is found. So I start to to searches on Wikipedia to find the album names and entering them into iTunes.

For some peculiar reason, this interests me. I love the concept of a complete set of data. I love knowing how many albums I have from 1992 on my computer (14, currently). I love knowing how many songs over 10 minutes long I have. When I was teaching in Korea, most of my co-workers disliked the grading period, but I looked forward to seeing all my assessments throughout the semester come together into a cohesive whole and say something about the achievements of the students in my classes. The most intellectually stimulating, energizing time in my life so far came when I did my Masters in Ecology, a group of us in the same lab, helping each other out with fieldwork, the joy of statistical correlations, finding an obscure reference that backs up your own findings….this sounds a lot geekier than it’s meant to. My point is, I have the type of brain that likes to organize stuff.

Basically, my talent could be replaced by a few lines of code in any cheap computer. Perhaps I do need that guitar.


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