Miller and Manu

When I read Tropic of Cancer  it was a moment of literary awakening. I’d never heard of an author cursing so much in their writing, ranting on the ugly beauty of New York, or the many seedy districts of Paris. It was the summer of my 21st year and the book in its audacity left me walking the balmy summer nights with it’s pages splayed open upon my hands, occassionally looking up to avoid walking into traffic. There’s a reason why it was banned in the 40’s.

I ask of life, is a bunch of books, a bunch of dreams, and a bunch of cunt.”

You know when a song plays suddenly from your random mp3 shuffle, and something about the beat, the melody, or the ever flowing rhythm sends you dancing in your seat and channeling a memory, a promise, a loving thought. . . A good song makes you start to plan things. It motivates you, and the best ones motivate you to tell the people you love exactly how you feel.

Music is empowerment.

It shuts our minds off, and clicks on the phonetic funny bone. Meaning, sometimes listening to music that moves me can be painful. Sometimes I make the effort to avoid songs that remind of me anything at all. Clean slate songs. A playlist of nothingness. But the pleasure that pain ends with in sweeping you gloriously through the agony into ecstacy, that is why I do it.

I think some music has influenced me to travel, while books and their gentle lulling have kept me company as I chartered unfamiliar territories.

            I was preparing for a summer semester in Italy when I read Henry Miller’s Tropic of Cancer. When I arrived and began to attend university, I discovered Manu Chao.  

Here was a radical speaking up to three languages in one song; jubilant, agressive and free. Perfect compliment to Miller’s seemingly disjointed rants. In truth there was a purpose to all of the chaos, and that is what Manu Chao is like. This album was the first I listened to by him, and at this point I have many more. As it is part of my personal story, I can’t help but to recommend you listen to this first.

My theory is that a good song can be distracting. It paralyzes the body and sends the imagination exploring. It’s when you get control over the music that you absorb the literature, and the story strengthens.

The story is your life.


To buy a copy of  Proxima Estación: Esperanza the album, click the link; Amazon gives quite a few affordable sources.  

To buy a copy of Henry Miller’s, Tropic of Cancer check this copy out. You could even read a few pages before purchasing to get a full grasp for the book. I hope you like it or recommend it to someone who might.