Cloister Commentary, Day 283: I Will Buy No More Forever

As New Year’s Day approaches, like a dork I’ve been considering resolutions. But I’m very serious about this one, and maybe if I make it public that will add to my resolve.

It will come as a surprise to no one who knows me that our house is teeming with books and music. Some who know me are also aware that I struggle with this, suspended between the desire to own every great album there is (and many of the great books, but that’s different) and the clear awareness that my life is finite, the rage to “possess” is ridiculous and very likely colonial residue, and I can enjoy so much great music and literature without having the concrete thing.

So. I’m going to try not to buy a single piece of music next year. My fortune is such that I have enough records here (beyond 10,000) to enjoy for the rest of my life. What about things that aren’t streaming, you wisely ask? I have a network of friends who are adepts and might be persuaded to swap. If that doesn’t work? It won’t kill me. Books: if I can’t find ’em in a library‚ĶI’ll live. Maybe, just maybe, if I learn about a great book that’s out of print and can find a cheap used copy, I’ll buy it. But isn’t that like that ONE cigarette that won’t hurt?

Wish me luck. Nicole and I had a great, relaxing day, got a neighborhood walk in, and discovered a “new” food show called “TrueSouth,” which was executive produced by Wright Thompson. Beebs seems to be feeling better. I drank a porter and it didn’t mess with my stomach. And my new nerdy Inspire watch revealed that my previous night’s sleep was “excellent.”

Streaming for Strivers:

A great singer whose life was cut terribly short, as was Sam Cooke’s, his boon companion and artistic admirer.

Cloister Commentary, Day 3: Pandemic So Real

It was inevitable under these circumstances that I’d face up to the facts, and yesterday I just up and did so–I needed to organize my CDs. Yes, I still have CDs (do I!), and I have a system: in order to help Nicole stay aware of new acquisitions, I keep them out of the general stacks (yes, there are stacks…see below) so they don’t disappear. At the end of the calendar year, I then integrate them into the collection after thinning the library out a bit (with the help of Kylie and Taylor at Hitt). Except I forgot to do that in early 2019, so I had two years’ worth of CDs to integrate. Had I sold enough to make room?


No. People who’ve done something similar will probably understand why I moved backwards from the Zs, but, unfortunately, Dizzee Rascal, Busdriver, and Buck 65 now occupy an overflow cubbyhole until I make more space. Those aren’t new acquisitions; in the process of shelving the new ones, they got bumped.

Yes, this is boring–but it’s all about control. I didn’t jump to it consciously, but I know that’s why I did so yesterday. Like yours, I bet, my mind has just been toggling relentlessly back and forth between the immediate present and the possible future, and I needed a regulator on that damn switch.

Elsewhere in the day: we started reading Alex Kotlowitz’s NEVER A CITY SO REAL (the city is Chicago, and we were inspired by having seen Steve James’ new documentary CITY SO REAL, which was inspired by the book); now that I have a yawning yawp of time, I can sample some podcasts, and I LOVED Zadie Smith’s appearance on Desert Island Discs; we had a Messenger conference call with our friends Kenny and Gwen Wright; we chuckled through episodes of KEEPING UP APPEARANCES (on BritBox) and KEY & PEELE (on Hulu); and we sampled a touch of Jim Beam Double Oaked.

Streaming for Shut-Ins: The Staple Singers, always good for Sundays and spiritual reinforcement, even for heathens.