The following is an email I sent to someone:
This is one of my favorite songs. I know you’ve heard it, but I don’t know if you’ve heard the it like this. I think it’s well over 15 minutes. I like to listen to it when I don’t feel well, and things aren’t going right, and this morning I was thinking about Richard, and I thought you might be too.
It’s basically life in 15 minutes—it has the very somber, famous beginning with these tinges of brightness dispersed in the melancholy. It progressively gets more sinister and hopeless. The first part can actually give me chills. It’s like saying, “this is it, this is the worst”, and those slight upbeats are symbolic of the fight for something else, anything else, no matter what form it comes in. Then suddenly, the melody takes and upturn, and it’s this sudden weak beam of hope, though the sadness still taints it—it’s not full and real yet, it’s only a shadow of hope, but it’s enough. And it soldiers on, over and over, getting beaten down by the realism of life and what it can mean.
Then there is happiness, insane happiness, like, “Yes! The storm has cleared! Life is so beautiful! How could I ever have been dragged down into such a dark pit of depression!” And it goes on and on for a bit, but never as long as you hope. It’s merely a blink in the timeline, so fleeting it is, but it’s amazing, it’s life giving, and you think to yourself that things can’t possibly take a downturn ever again, for you would never allow that to happen. But then your five minutes are up, and down the spiral you go.
It’s frantic and troubled with worries and regrets and by god, how could you have been so blind to the truth of life, the horror of it? It’s not depression, it’s not sadness, instead it is a sort of panic, the realization that no, you aren’t in control, are you? You can’t bend things to your will as you so desire. The happiness tries to flood you, but it’s blocked by doubts, and you feel crazy, because you want to be blissful again, ignorant of everything that life is, but you can’t. You just can’t. Everything is against you now and it’s so real and suffocating, and you fight it mercilessly—you won’t give up! No, it won’t take you down again, not into that place, that horrible place. So back and forth you war with it, over and over until you’re absolutely in its thrall, and you stab at it with the happiness you’ve always wanted, the happiness that is at your fingertips. “Take that, you evil coward!” you say to it. Suddenly it seems to be losing. You know your bliss is still far, but you believe you can win it now, you have a chance.
Then beautiful bliss—-but it’s even shorter than the first. So short it seems evil, unfair even, but you’ll take it. You’ll take it, no matter how short it is, and how hard you have to fight for it. Because deep down, you know life too is short, and this might be all you get.
And it is all you get: only glimpses, and the occasional burst of true euphoria. And in the end you realize that without the trials, without that insane, cruel downward spiral, life is meaningless. The fight is what makes you strong. And you accept it, you accept that you can only have what you work tirelessly for, what you bleed for. And somehow, even that, in all its frightening reality, is beautiful.