A second track for today. Haven’t heard this album in months, but turned on the TV tonight and this was playing in the background of a show I’ve never watched (‘Our Girl’). For me, this will always bring me back to when I had just left Johannesburg and was making these treks on foot back and forth between visiting friends in Salem, and my then-home with my brother and Laura in Beverly.

During those walks I would play this album, it was the perfect length for one way, and I’d just listen and try to make sense of things. One of my favourite albums of the past decade, easily.*

Artist: King Creosote + Jon Hopkins
Song: Running On Fumes
Album: Diamond Mine

*I’ll never be on ‘Desert Island Discs’, but this would make the cut.

"I made a thing that you happened to find in a field, say, and later that day you were hungry and you opened the thing and it was food. And so it fed you. And that’s what I did, and I’m really proud that I make that stuff that’s super useful. But that’s no burden. That’s a profound honour it’s like, I mean, it really: to me it means I made good use of my time above ground, you know. And I didn’t always do that. I was not always a person that you want to meet. So no. It can feel a bit heavy, but not everything that’s heavy is a burden.”

While muddling through some lecture slides and listening to NPR, I was pleasantly surprised to come across this interview with John Darnielle on Bullseye. I have long enjoyed Darnielle’s music, particularly with/as the Mountain Goats, and though I haven’t gotten my hands on Wolf in White Van, this interview reminded me of why I want to (I will now redouble my efforts to do so).

Darnielle’s perception on the role of creators and his views on the way the things they create often take a profound place in people’s lives that struck me as incredibly reflexive. It’s something between an astute awareness and a humility that is so wonderfully devoid of arrogance  - ‘you’re not acting unilaterally, people who made it just made a thing’ - and the line ‘I made good use of my time above ground’ was the simplest, yet richest, expression of that to me and stuck with me all day, and I thought this was worth sharing.

… … … . .

Earlier in the interview he discusses his time working working with emotionally-troubled youth. When he looks back on this time, his comment is as touching, if not more so:

The main thing I only ever think about is I just hope they turned out ok. That’s all I ever really think about, that’s just - my people. […] when I reflect on it, this is the first thing I immediately think, is I, I do a little math and I go, ‘well she’s 20-odd now. I hope everything turned out ok.’ 

On the back of Mental Health Day on Friday and reading so many observations and thoughts on mental health around that day, this interview touched the right note for me. 

For all their bluster and outward crustiness, newspaper people can be delicate flowers who have trouble doing their jobs when they believe that they are under threat. The directionality of the business — are we going up or are we going down? — is a kind of destiny. For years at The Post, and elsewhere in the industry, so many goodbye cakes were ordered that it became a verb: caking.
My brother, in almost every conversation we’ve ever had about work, he’s always said to me, “You have to be humble.” I mean, the job of a reporter is kind of omnidirectional self-abasement, right? You’re going to experts who know more than you about the thing in its kind of structural terms. You’re going to people who are being affected by it in ways that you aren’t, so they know more about how it feels and how it’s working in a way, and certainly their lives, than you do. You’re going to an editor who has a better sense than you do for story structure and how things need to be if they’re going to work. You’re going to readers who ultimately are the judge of your success. I mean it’s a funny position in that way, because you really need to be able to learn from all kinds of different people.
Ezra Klein, Editor in Chief of Vox.com in Esquire’s The Mentorship Project, a series of fifty interviews with men about the mentors who made them who they are today. (via futurejournalismproject)