The Playlist and the Chipmunk

The other day I was at a friend’s, playing doubles ping-pong and listening to songs streaming out of her iPod through the stereo. A pong-unfriendly slow song came on, and my friend left the game to click past it to a fast one.

“That wouldn’t happen,” I said, “if you had a playlist!”

I was teased rather kindly for the rest of the evening for my playlist obsessions; I am quite sure my friend is already whipping up some amazing ones of her own. Playlists rock.

I am famous for playlists and mix tapes. I’d just as soon make you a mix tape as look at you. I love music, and I love to share music, and I love to arrange things, so I was born to make really amazing mix tapes and, nowadays, playlists to share and stream. I am the kind of person music subscription services were made for.

Because I live alone and have entirely too much time to devote to figuring myself out (this is bad and good, good and bad…), in the shower this morning I was thinking about playlists. About how, in many ways, they define what I plan to spend my life’s work on — seeking out, arranging and presenting information that languishes without an arranger to bring it to light. Without an arranger to make it into something more useful, more powerful, more integrated.

I actually consider myself an artist, but not one who generates art out of nothing, an ability which seems to me, like being good at math, almost magical and quite beyond my capabilities. But I don’t mind to manage the already-created rather than to create. I am in love with all creation, and don’t feel that it needs anything truly new from me. I am happy with my talents just as they are. Creation itself is a medium I don’t mind to work with.

It was a fundamental revelation of my life to understand that I just don’t create well, and find my happiness in working with what already is. Because I write well, some (including me) thought I should write stories and novels. But in my mind there was nothing to write a novel with, no stories at all. Only when I found that I did not have to make things up to write about them was my mind free at last to let loose with the best of itself, and I became a writer at last.

I interpret with some skill but mostly I see and I arrange and I make a collection of scattered and unconnected information into a narrative of power, be it a client’s new website, a poli sci research paper or the “Ping-Pong Playlist” that lives in my Napster software.

Recently, I decided to try to point my life towards becoming a documentary screenwriter. And it is the first thing I have ever thought of doing that feels utterly and wholly to come from a place of what I can only describe as finality. I am starting to feel something that I have never felt before — that I may taking on some kind of intellectual final shape. (Famous last words.) That the major growth is ending and the tweaking is about to begin.

In unrelated news, a chipmunk got into my house a few days ago, took up residence under my fridge and began peeing and pooping there. My kitchen smells like a gerbil cage.

I am not quite sure what to do.

The moral: Don’t put out food and water for your little fridgemunk, or the little fucker will stink up the whole kitchen. Buy a Havahart trap already.

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