I’ve experienced a lot of beautiful things in my life. And lately I’ve been thinking a lot about what beauty means to me, really and truthfully, not just as a concept.
Maybe it’s because I’m standing on the brink of a summer teaching job where I’ll be showing children the joy of books or it’s just because several beautiful artistic experiences have occurred in my life.
First, I finished reading Anna Karenina a few weeks ago, which took me pretty much the whole school year to read because it’s mad long and I did put it down and pick up other things in-between. I’m human, I can’t devote all my time and attention to one book at a time. Sometimes you need a Salinger fix while you’re trying to get through the agriculture section of a Tolstoy novel. Anyway there was a lot of beauty in that novel and it really has changed my life and made me look at everything differently.
Then I went out of town for work and while I was there I read “The Fault in Our Stars” because I figured after reading an 800+ page novel it was time for some Teen Lit. Boy, this was more than just teen lit. I’ve read other teen lit and sorry Hunger Games and Twilight, you just don’t cut it. This was actual literature. John Green is handling a lot of complex ideas and stuff that is pretty darn serious but he doesn’t think teens won’t be able to handle it. He throws it right out there with honesty, warmth, humor and a lot of literary references too. I love that about this book. And him, I’ve been a longtime fan of vlogbrothers and nerd fighters.
Ok so after that I took my cousin to see Vampire Weekend. Words. Cannot. Express. Alright so I’ve loved VW since they came out when I was in college. Each album was better than the last and I really feel they have ‘grown up’ so to speak with me. The first couple albums were pretty collegey but their most recent one grapples with death, life, and what life means and faith and relationships and so many things. I mean you could listen to the music and just thing musically wow this is really good and beautiful and fun but when you really listen to the lyrics you can see they are doing great stuff here. And that goes for all their albums but especially this one. You can really tell they are smart guys, especially Ezra Koenig, their frontman. (He has an English degree, so I’m super biased. Which means he uses words like ‘perforative’ and ‘bildungsroman’ correctly and unironically in spoken sentences. Not to mention he’s just a really beautiful person). Modern Vampires of the City, their latest, is my favorite album of all time. No doubt about it. But anyway their live performance was amazing and beautiful and just such a good show. Great guys, great band, put on a great show, go figure.
There is just something really poignant about seeing a band live, it changes your experience with how you listen to their music at home. It’s kind of like when you travel you always come back a different person than when you left. And that’s another kind of beauty too, no?
Edit: ok so after I published this I found an awesome video of Vampire Weekend covering the Honeycombs “Have I the Right.”