Unceasing

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Life never stops moving all around us. When we are young, we believe that the world is ours to command, that time is endless, that we can live whatever life we want to live. Youthful but naïve, we hope that one day, all of our aspirations and dreams will miraculously turn into our reality. But the world isn’t that simple, we come to understand. If we don’t watch closely enough, life slips by, and soon, we are older and life hasn’t worked out the way we would have hoped.

Recently, I was lying in bed on a cold winter night. It was dark outside the window, a kind of blue, haunting, suffocating dark. Lying there, journaling, as I was, my mind slipped facilely back into the past. Memories of former dark nights came rushing back. It was as if, for a moment, my mind had slipped away into the high clouds of my memory, resurfacing things that I hadn’t recalled in quite some time. Unearthed, the memories frightened me. Had my life really gone so far off course from my meticulous planning without me even noticing it? Had I really lost my way so easily, without any awareness of what was going on?

I have been moving so frenetically in order to simply keep up with the ways in which my life is progressing that I have not had time enough to check back in with my master plans. My life and my world have been rocketing towards my future so swiftly that I have only had time to hang on tight and struggle through the piles of work yet undone. And it never ends; the rush doesn’t subside; the days don’t grow remarkably longer.

Life never stops.

When we are young, we believe that we will have all the time in the world to realize our dreams; we believe that reaching our dreams is simple.

We grow up, the illusions end, life moves ever faster, and we are left to decide how best to nurture the shrinking remnants of our dreams. We are forced to open our eyes, noticing once and for all that life is short and we must push harder and harder if we are to grow and closer to our dreams.

Dreams don’t build themselves. So I looked back through my life the other night, recalling so many things I have done. I began to recognize that I must use each day to its full potential, pushing myself to work harder, be more focused, learn more, love more, and, most importantly, live more. My days speed by at an ever increasing rate and my life seems to be moving towards the future rather expeditiously. But still, life doesn’t stop to wait for me to catch up.

But the real question in my mind is whether I’m heading towards the future I have worked so hard for, or an entirely different future.

So as life speeds on, I push forward, growing, working, and dreaming each day. Only with daily effort can my reality become my dream reality. Life never stops; neither can I, my future depends upon me alone.

Love, Ethan Brown Jones

The Musical Love Affair

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Lights blare; the crowd hushes to silence; only my footsteps crack harshly in the deafening emptiness. Thousands of beady eyes focus intently on each and every square inch of my body. Somewhere out in the dark theatre, a cough echoes, seeming inexcusable and out-of-place. I am alone on the stage, the only center for the room’s attention. I raise my eyes to the loge and a roar explodes from the crowd. My arms are raised above me head as I smile lovingly at the audience. Sitting on the deep-black leather piano bench, the room hushes in an uncomfortable, anticipative silence. My fingers delicately rest on the keys, my eyes scanning the magnificent nine feet of strings constituting the Steinway, stretched out before me. Taking a deep breathe in through my nose, I begin to play, the sound filling the monstrous theatre, my mind becoming intoxicated with sonorous music. I feel comfortable in the song for a while; then it changes; I am no longer at home where I am; the music transitions to a place very far from where I began. Emotion drives expression onward into the cavernous abyss. I am focused intently on the music; yet when one is accustomed to playing music, one knows that sounds bring back memories wrapped in the silken gauze of emotions, rushing out through musical expression. The end approaches, I feel. A sense of longing for it to never end engulfs me and I am reminded of so many other nights just like this one, equally as perfect. And then the song is over. I’m sure the crowd is clapping; their hands are moving; but the roar of music in my head deafens me to the sounds of the outside world.

A group of musicians comes out on stage with me and I’m sure that I make some gracious speech to the audience, however subconscious my words seem to be. The next song is counted off; I play once more. But the music has no real beginning or end, only ephemeral constancy. The heavy black Steinway is resplendent in the purple hue of the stage lights and I am suddenly unaware of all tangible things in this world. The music is all. In the air surrounding the other musicians and me, a creative energy flows, water-like, torrential, and imperious.

Just as soon as it began, the concert ends. I bow and leave the stage, waving royally as I exit. Alone in my dressing room, the energy fades, the lights burn out, the world comes rushing back and the dressing room feels cold and isolated. Thoughts are turned to reality: I should get some more gas; I think I’m out of lettuce; I should really head to the office and finish up some work. The stage is gone. The concert fades away.

I am alone on the stage. Dim radiance glows from the work lights throughout the theatre. The air lies dormant, thick around me. I am nothing; I am nobody; I have no talent; I have no worth; it is all a lie, a repugnant untruth; my life, my dreams, and my reality are all inchoate, prone, strewn across the wretchedness of the stage; doubt turns to despair which in turn turns to self-loathing. I try to play, but the feeling is gone, the emotions- all snuffed out. In the dim glow, the piano seems decrepit, deterrent, disdainful even. Tears stream down my cheeks onto the keys that once passionately embraced my fingertips.

But the clouds lift; the lights return.

The theatre is quiet but alive. Breathing deeply, I step gingerly onto the stage I know so well. And the roar begins again. Beloved once more, I am weightless, significant, and unaware of the despair that lies just beneath the surface, at least for a little while.

The crowd hushes once more and I scan those nine feet of strings. A musical love affair begins anew.

Love, Ethan Brown Jones

Feelings of Music

Sitting up there, you feel as though everything just falls away, as though there’s nothing left, as if it’s only you, you and the light, the music, and the emotions. Nothing really matters when you’re up there; you can just express yourself and your feelings, free from fear of persecution. Each moment is different from each of the others. And each one in turn slips away into the past, never to be expressed, felt, cherished, or loved again.

Copper-colored strings stretch out under a heavy, black sky of dark wood which dissolves into the repetitive two-tone rows of keys. The bench stands firm and attentive beneath me, waiting for something monumental to occur. The connection from my fingertips to the keyboard is electrically tangible. Only the piano and I have ever spoken like this before; it’s a conversation so intimate and deep that it will never be heard or spoken the same way again. Only we have danced like this before, felt like this before, expressed this deep, intricate, passionate, mysterious love for each other before. We are singly committed to each other and to the creation of music, an art form as emotional as it is deeply meaningful.

I have never laughed with, loved, enjoyed, and harmonized with another person in the same way as when playing music with them. The instruments, the people, and the sounds all come together in an unbreakable, intense bond. Love is produced in many ways, but only through music is it as intimate and deep.

It’s that connection that gives me hope that one day the world will be a better place and that we will all realize the similarities between all of us through the power of music. We are all deeply intertwined whether it’s immediately visible or not. Music removes the veils of ignorant hate, unearthing the complex connections beneath.

Never have I listened, talked, and conversed better than when sitting before a piano. The ecstasy can never be felt any other way. Only through the piano can I fully live and express the way I must to live on another day. The piano and I will never be apart. We are connected physically, emotionally, and most importantly, intimately.

I feel more emotions and feelings through music than I have ever felt any other way. Music changes us and it makes us feel things differently. We will never be the same people again, but the music will always be with us.

Love, Ethan Brown Jones

Lost in Life

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Lost. Looking up and having no place to go. We are lost, longing for some glimmer of hope, waiting for a rescuer that isn’t coming. We are alone in this life. When we trip and fall, no one cares. When we lose our way, no one is there to save us, and not a single person will guide us on our way without desperate imploration.

Waking up, we are dead before our feet even hit the ground. Our life has lost all purpose and we are just drifting on the gentle, savage waters of depression. Life is gray, the days are gray, the nights are gray; all is gray. Groping for our savior, we are drowning in the deepest black waters, sliding into forever while mercilessly adhered to the agonizing moments of today.

Our career has swallowed us up, and we are but another mindless, expendable employee. Frowning faces greet our every moment. Each hour seems to grow exponentially longer towards infinity, the excruciating days never ending.

We get in the car and just drive, hoping to god that life will just end. We drive on and on, driving on a journey towards nowhere, waiting for hope to come racing around the next curve towards us. The world goes on forever and we believe that if we just keep driving, perhaps we will hit the end of the darkness, that just maybe, our life will be cut short, thus ending our misery.

But we move on, because we don’t know what else to do. We have lost our way, and we are ignorant of which way to progress. We miss the life we used to live, and we miss the hope we used to feel. Locked in cynicism and depression, we see no hope for the future; but life moves on. We move on, and no one is there to hold our hand as we go forward.

We are alone in this world, and we are lost.

And life moves on…

Love, Ethan Brown Jones

Adrift: Thoughts on Now

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Time moves faster now; the days grow shorter; the nights grow darker; the stress grows more intense. Sitting at my desk in the golden glow of my desk lamp, the fervor is palpable, the air somehow charged in anticipation of the busy night to come. My muscles stand rigidly, awaiting their next movement.

The long list of to dos seems to reach ever-onward into the abyss; a million things to do and so little time to complete them in. Time is ephemeral, life is rushed, days are busy, tasks are never done, relationships are never visited, and people are forgotten.

It’s easy to forget the joy we once knew, the ease and docile carelessness e once felt, and the apparent comfort we once experienced. Life is mundane now, we feel nothing. Life is uneasy, it is stressful, and we are seldom carefree. Life is uncomfortable now; we are submerged in a constant state of longing.

We remember the people we once knew, the places we once saw, and the things we once enjoyed.

Life is volatile now. It is fast. It is rushed. We are never safe, nor are we ever truly happy. We feel angry, we feel hurt, and we feel irritated.

In the dark, we are restless; we stare out longingly; we await the events of our life; we reminisce; we can never forget; we can never remember.

Our lives are disjointed, everlasting, never-ending, ephemeral, terse, fickle, loveless, subservient, stressful, fearful, furious, pulchritudinous, and dreamy; the list goes on and on.

We will never be happy, we think; we will never remember all we wish to; we will never be as talented as we once were; we will never live our dreams; we are adrift and no one is there to save us.

And then we wake up.

And then life moves on.

And then we are living, NOW.

Love, Ethan Brown Jones

Masterpiece Composition: a Life of Words

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Words flow; they define; they articulate; words alleviate and reminisce; they sprout and flourish and simmer; words swell, protrude, decipher, transcend, and inspire; words are the pulchritude of life.

But what really makes words uniquely glorious is that they express everything that can be expressed and go beyond and beneath reality into the consummate realms of knowledge, perception, and thought. Writing is the sole art form that has the power to inform and evoke in the exact same piece. Writing makes us remember, ache, aspire, and imagine. It makes us analyze our lives in ways that no other art can.

A single word can induce cerebration on an incogitably variable range of subjects. The word “home,” for example, may cause us to think about our own house, and then possibly the unending, unmanageable list of chores we have to do. We may think about our childhood house, the friends we knew then, and the person we were. The word may compel us to consider the very subjective definition of home that we ourselves possess as well as the scientifically factual definitions of what a home or habitat looks like.

It is in this way that we discuss language and its potential for greatness and spiritual simplicity. Language is deeply connected with our comprehension of the world around us. Each and every analysis we make is linguistically based. We observe the world through the lens of language.

Words take us to places we can only dream about. Those words grant us access to the inner sanctum of or own mind where our deepest, most complex thoughts come from. They elicit our most potent and intoxicating emotions, carrying us to places we remember and places we are yet to go.

But, most importantly, words are what we crave, what we devour, what we’re stimulated by, and what defines the fabric of our lives. Words write the script of our lives, and we wouldn’t want it any other way.

Love,  Ethan Brown Jones

A Perceived Reality

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Sitting, watching, rolling along in the world, people go by, places disappear, and we never wake up.

Lounging, observing, living life to its fullest, people go by, places disappear, and we will always remember.

A tree can be many things. A tree can be a botanical oasis, a deciduous wonder, or a sculpture of nature. A tree can be a companion, a goldenrod firework, or simply just that which it is, eternally a tree.

Driving along a highway, one’s eyes dart from the roadway sporadically, leering at a passerby, observing a provocation of mild interest. But do we really reminisce or even simply ponder what we are actually observing?

Being an artist, a musician, a designer, or a writer, one learns early on that perception is paramount to one’s own art in addition to one’s reception and comprehension of others’ art. For an artist, it eclipses purely the art world and so perception and observation become the rawest essence of daily life.

Perception is fundamentally applicable for all though, not simply the artist. From the way we perceive sounds and lights and noises and colors, to the way we observe the more subtle and inconspicuous world of emotions, personalities, ideals, and aspirations, the observations we collect and the assessed perceptions we feed off of fuel our minds and our lives more than we can begin to cognize.

And so for some the tree may be just a tree, a biological organism complete with cells, molecules, and a carbon-based composite we call wood. But to the lucky few among us, that tree is something more, something existentially greater than originally assumed. That tree is a manifestation of beauty, courage, joy, transcendentality, and most of all, vivacious, unabashed life. That tree may be gold or green or even red, but that tree is a pictorialization of life and death, pain and resilience, and most importantly, love and loss.

So perceive life how you will, but comprehend and discourse with it each day. For each day is uniquely divergent from the last; lessons are learned, people go by, places disappear, and we will always remember.

Love, Ethan Brown Jones

Love Is… A Life Story

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Love knows no boundaries. Love is limitless. It is undiscriminatory. Love is unconditional and blind in its stark equality. Love is both indefinable and definite.

For all that love is, it remains as an underlying context as well as an all too familiar companion in life. But with its numerous virtues aside, love is painful, bitter, and heartbreaking. Love strengthens our resilience while in turn silencing our pride, humbling our very being, and squelching our quasicomfortable facade. We are in love, we are out of it, but the line between the two is existentially undefined as well as inexorably finite. We feel each experience with clarity, we know the journey of life is ephemeral and stern, and we contrive our self-esteem and self-sufficiency every day in preparation for love; but in all reality, not a single one of us isn’t blind-sided by the sheer intensity, the rancor, and the turmoil caused by love and its repercussions.

We cover our pain and sorrows in the scarves, the clothes, the cars, the handbags, the shoes, the alcohol, the makeup, and the hairstyles, but deeply recessed within the impenetrable layers of concealers, we still experience vivid sentiments of hatred, anguish, vengeance, suffering, and most of all, heartbreak.

Love never withers; nor does it succumb to vagrant dormancy. It is seldom forgotten. Love as coincident with passion flames vivaciously in fury. Love is raucous, it is undeserving, it is timid, it is venomous, it is pretentious, it is stubborn, and it is ignorant, but it is paramount to existence. A life without love is purposeless, cruel, and discontent. But incidentally, a life with love seems just as discordant and spiteful.

But, we live onward; we love onward. We try to forget; we try to remember; we try to live and laugh and love as best we can. Failure isn’t an option in love and so succeeding becomes the solitary alternative as necessitated by our aspirations for our lives. Our fate is indeterminate and our love is similarly unstipulated, but we live each day hoping the next one will be the day we fall in love. We are imprudent with love, but we are reasonable in our decision to keep trying, to keep hoping, to keep living, because tomorrow could be filled with love, and only time will tell what the future holds.

Love, Ethan Brown Jones

Sooner or Later

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Sooner or later, we all realize that we cannot remain in our innocent youth forever. Sooner or later, somebody gets hurt. Something goes wrong. We realize that our responsibilities both to ourselves and to others are more inevitably real than ever. In our youth, we accept the fact that some things go wrong, that not all things are perfect.

In a flash we grow older. Don’t blink or you’ll miss it. You won’t get to experience that indescribably miniscule moment when innocence is lost, when nothing perfect anymore, when that suffocatingly pleasurable mask of responsibility settles over us like a dense fog. At that point we are thrust out of innocence forever, splayed out in our lives like a flooding creek, falling over ourselves and tumbling into existence.

At First, we are scared of the reality, so insecure in our own lives that we are sent into a violent depression. But then, we grow older.

But then, we learn to love truth, to love honestly, and to relish in how painfully authentic each day is. We learn to enjoy the feeling of responsibility we get from being pushed into uncomfortability every day. We learn that life is too short to keep lying to ourselves and the world, just because it’s a socially courtesy. We grow to be the person who will tell you the truth when no one else will, not because we like being the bringer of bad news, but because we realize once more that truth is all we have left.  We sit in front of the mirror and realize that not only are we not what we used to be, but we are older, wiser, better. We hope for the future that truth retains its value in our society, desperately grasping for the only thing we still possess.

Sooner or later, we are undeniably non-innocent; all we can do is sit back and accept the thankless responsibilities of life. We can learn to love again, to lie again, and to laugh again. But most if not all of it is a façade, masking the only part of our body and soul left, our true selves.

We cannot run for the person we are, or the way the world is, or the way our life has gone. All we can do is dream, and believe, and live. And at the end of our lives, maybe we will look back and be proud; or at least we can be content in what we did have, what we were, and we became. Because sooner or later, the truth, what really happened, is all that really matters, nothing else seems to have relevance anymore.

Love, Ethan Brown Jones

A Utopian Abstract

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The sun shone warm and bright as I walked down the mall in the middle of September. How charming it was with the golden leaves of fall strewn across its brick walkway, how handsome the men were, how elegant the women. Each shop I passed seemed to both beckon and repel me with equivalent force. Was it just me, or did the people seem happier here, the cars shinier, the landscape somehow more content? Maybe it was all just a façade, perhaps not.

I drove on to the house of my dreams, a villa among houses, a mansion to many. The road bent right and I turned slowly onto my drive, a gravel road that grew somehow more gorgeous with each consequent bend. The road ended seductively in front of a wall of windows, shining in the afternoon sun’s warm rays. Shutting off the engine of my hot pink 1959 Cadillac DeVille, there was only one thing I wanted to do: fall into the arms of the boy behind that dark front door. I wanted to sit willfully at my deep black grand piano and play as I gazed out over the orangy-yellow hills. I wanted to walk up that flight of stairs, into my office, and just sit and sketch, a million inspirations pressing me onward. I wanted to sit back on my deck chair, a glass of red wine in hand, and write, my ideas spilling onto the page like a rushing mountain stream.

Now, I can imagine that crisp air, that perfect house, that perfect lover, that perfect life. But now, I crumple over my notebook, not in that dream house, not with that dream boy. I haven’t just driven up in that impeccable car; I am not brimming with ideas in my perfectly designed office. I sit now, in my cozy room. No lover awaits me. No view seems to inspire my artist’s passion.

But I sit and write, not because my life is absolute Utopia, but because all I want is to express that perfection. My desire is to live in that splendid dream-world, but nothing changes quickly. And as I write these words now, the ink flying effortlessly across the page, all I can think is that I am living, now. I am loving and hoping and working, now.

I must look up. I must realize the almost implausible perfection and beauty of my meager office, my all too familiar, lonesome boudoir. I must learn to accept and live, looking forward, gazing through memories. I must maintain what undeniable animation seems to exist at this very palpably existent moment.

Love, Ethan Brown Jones