Oh my God, why did I even think this was a good idea?
Don’t get me wrong, there’s hardly an artist whose life is so full of particularities to talk about, it’s just, oh man, Satie is in a different sphere and I’m just afraid my article won’t make him justice. But hey, “fortune favors the bold” so I’ll give it a try.
What I was looking for and what I found
If you’ve been reading my Music Crisis section you know it’s really about solving a very personal problem: music fatigue. When I find something I love, something that will make my brain produce happy chemicals, I’ll listen to it obsessively until I kinda “waste it”. In reality, it never does waste since it’s always going to be a source of good memories, and revisiting it will be rewarding, just not that often.
So this puts me again in the tiring and often inconvenient task of having to find something new. See, now that I decided to talk about Satie I’ll dare to say the following: some especially unhappy people will likely develop obsessive tendencies toward topics that trigger valuable moments of happiness. Satie was a rather unhappy genius, who treasured food and drink like few other things; he would spend all his money inviting his friends to dinner, as that procured him some happy moments among the very unhappy years of his life. Me, I listen to music, I discover music and find things that touch deep regions of my mind and soul: some of these regions store pain, others store violence, hope, beauty, and some host rather unknown things that I’d like to explore even if I can’t put my finger on them.
Oftentimes, I don’t know what I was looking for until I find it, hence in a more general sense, I’m looking to feel something as I find life very boring typically. When I found Satie, I realized what I was looking for was rest, putting my mind at rest and allowing myself to feel complex things but in a simpler manner. I know, LOL.
Satie’s music does that, and of course, I’m listening to it as I write this (I always listen to the music I’m writing about, it’s yet another way to experience it). Satie is a pioneer of minimalism, this makes his compositions magical and relatively easy to listen to; he seriously intended to innovate and step away from the Romanticism of the 19th century, and create a sort of poetry with this piano, along with other interesting concepts like “Furniture Music” which we would know today as “ambient” music.
Through the minimalist eyes and hands of Erik Satie, I also come to be acquainted with some of the most marvelous music I’ve ever listened to (besides Satie’s own):
are just a few names that come to mind, albeit unforgettable names I treasure in the wing of my heart that stores beauty.
Watch this if possible
This short video I posted is a trailer to the “Satiesfictions: Promenades with Erik Satie” documentary.
Now there’s a lot on Satie, being an eccentric and talented character with much influence in music history, I’ve already targeted a couple books where much of his personal journals and comments from contemporaries are captured. But this documentary, besides tackling the daunting task of informing us about the man’s life and personality, does it in a manner that is aesthetically pleasing and very much dignifying of the person he was, which is going further than the artistic aspect most would focus on.
Now I didn’t use the word “daunting” lightly here, Erik Satie was a rather mysterious man, not easy to understand. You can feel it in his music, you can really feel it; this was a man who dealt with much distress as it came to his own existence and purpose, a man who reached out for a reality deeper and brighter than the one the society of his time presented to him. In doing so, he managed to reach us generations later, while like many unique geniuses, most people of his time failed to see the treasure before their very eyes. Or maybe they where just a painful ingredient to completing the full picture of a man who, by knowing himself deeply isolated and misunderstood, decided to build a monument to his own genius through his work, even if only he would see it and understand it for what it was.
This is a post about me, this is a public declaration of a decision that will change my life forever, I know it because I’ve taken a similar one in the past, and it did.
Let me tell you a story.
I got married young, very young. I didn’t know what the fuck to do with adult life suddenly falling upon me like a fucking iron dome, no way out. It wasn’t marriage that was the issue, as a matter of fact, this was no issue at all, my life was already a lot better than it was years before. The issue was, that I had to become a full adult as an “emergency procedure”, there was a sequence of decisions that were all about breaking free and having a very slight chance to actually build a life of my own, and the promise of these decisions came with a high cost.
It was tough. I was broken, really broken not like nowadays that everyone with a hint of anxiety says “we’re all broken” to get sympathy, fuck it. Seriously.
Do you know what it is to see everything you prepared and worked for years be destroyed in a matter of days?
Have you had an experience where something out of your control rips your life apart and effectively takes away every dream and hope you had sinking you into chaos?
Have you felt a hospital is more of a home to you than your actual home?
Have you been institutionally abused, harmed, tied to a bed, or threatened with getting electroshocks to your brain?
Have you watched every person you know move on with their life and plans, while your youth is draining like the blood of a dying man in an alley, with no hope to be helped, no one who can stop the hemorrhage?
Have you ever felt death was a gentler fate than dealing with who you are or have become?
If you have, because I’m sure I’m not alone in tragedy, then I send you a sincere hug and I tell you: this will pass, but you need to hold on to hope, focus on that and find a way out, things will get in place eventually.
If you haven’t, then I hope you never have to walk those paths, I don’t envy or resent people who’ve had a better or easier life, I believe this world needs all the happiness it can get, and I sincerely hope you’re making the best out of it.
I lost the five most important years of my young adult life, my college years, not in college as I have prepared for, getting the best grades, getting admitted to the college, and the program I dreamt of and planning everything carefully. I spent those years in between hospitals, doctors, depression and despair. It didn’t come to me because of a bad decision, it simply happened and it couldn’t be helped.
Back to where I began: adult life. At 23 I was just recovering from the darkest period of my life when I decided to make it on my own and marry. Not only was I broken mentally, emotionally, physically, and with no structure whatsoever in life but also, I was financially broke and absolutely ignorant of how things work. So I came out of a personal tragedy five years long, to an absolutely brutal struggle with my own decision of becoming independent and the poverty that came with it; when I say poverty I mean it.
Then, a life-changing decision
While I took a crappy call center job, I came across network technologies; I heard it from lots of people this was a hot trend to get into and people were being paid lots of money. I needed no more explanation.
You see, I was a failed law student because of tragedy, but that was in the past now. At this point, I was able to have a job (that was a huge achievement believe it or not given my circumstances at the time), I was just married to the best girl I’ve ever met and we were both enduring great pain. It didn’t matter that “it wasn’t my passion”, it didn’t matter that “I felt life was unfair to me”, nothing of that mattered. What mattered was that there was a very slight chance of turning the tide for us, and I took it.
It wasn’t easy, I was never a systems person, I have always been a culture and humanities person. But I’m thankful to God I had the opportunity, and the vision to believe I could thrive in this; I couldn’t afford lessons so I had to learn this by myself.
I had no computer, I stayed late at my job to use their computer and then took the bus home; my health was still in terrible shape, and doing my job plus studying was simply taking me to the limit. When I finally was able to buy a cheap Toshiba Satellite laptop, I was living in a tiny, cheap apartment full of noise and shady people, one of whom actually came to threaten me with a gun if I kept asking them to lower the music a notch. These are the conditions in which I completed my first I.T certification, after paying it with a credit card because it was impossible for me to afford the exam, and then failing my first attempt.
It didn’t matter, now I was in a different community, a different market with unbelievable opportunities and I laid my life on the line to be part of it. Many more years of study, a lot of tough on-the-job learning, and countless hours of side freelance gigs to increase my learning and development, finally took me to a proven position of seniority and the ability to pretty much choose my jobs, after a decade.
I let myself go and also my previous aspirations in order to be able to attain opportunities for me and my family. It’s taken me a lot of time to understand that there are years of my life I simply lost and they’re not coming back, nor the experiences I was eager to live during those years. But I got something different and amazing, certainly far better than what my original career was going to give me as far as life quality and opportunity.
I was blessed, and I consider myself blessed. The decision to jump into the void finally proved to be the right one.
But this is not what I want in life, it’s certainly a beautiful stop on my path to it, but it’s not it.
I told you before, I’m a man of culture and humanities, not a man of technology. I’m a thinker and a writer, and it’s amazing that I got to build a strong career as an engineer given the fact that I’ve never had fulfillment doing this.
Man, you build a life for more than one decade of continuous, hardcore sacrifice, sleepless nights, all sorts of jobs, you earn certifications, study the coolest and craziest cutting-edge stuff, build a business and succeed, then fail, rise again, build connections, travel the world with your shiny career… all of this after being poor and having nothing at all! And then come to realize this will always get you a good income, but will never fulfill you, will never replace what you know you want, what you know you are. It’s hard to know what to do.
I’ll tell you what I did: I wrote.
A New Beginning
This takes me to 07-01-2022 at 1:52 AM, the time of writing this post.
When I was a child, I used to create monsters, stories, and worlds of my own; my first short stories, I wrote just because I felt like at 6 or 7 years old. My first poems at around 9 years old, and as a teenager, I always carried a notebook for thoughts, songs, and poems, and I ended up destroying it always because I felt it wasn’t enough and because the contents hurt me more than they would help me.
It’s been extremely hard to find myself, but this is me, a writer.
I believe even if tragedy hadn’t struck me and I had carried on with my plans, sooner or later I would have realized law was not going to fulfill me the way writing and creating does.
This is me, I’m an artist.
It’s hard to find it out at 35, but it would be a lot harder to never find out and live with a deep pain I can’t understand.
My English sucks, I really need to work on it, I’m totally rusted, I have never studied creative writing seriously and I know no one else close to me who is a writer, who could give me a hint.
But I found out I have a slight chance to be fulfilled at what I do, even more, to leave a mark on other people. And I will take it.
I will keep working in technology because my career is a miracle and a blessing and because I have to fund my dreams and provide a platform for my family. But once again, I will study at night, and spend late nights writing, reading, and editing, not because I need the money like the first time, but because I need to be me.
The first serious poem I wrote as an adult, “Binary“, is my story and my promise to that broken teenager who died in darkness, that he will live again and become what he should have been, and do what he’s meant to do.