Rocks With Holes
I've been listening to Dawson's solo-stuff since I bought the soundtrack for Juno of all things back in -08. I happened to pop by this record store in Helsinki, browsed around and found absolutely nothing to purchase. Then as I was preparing to leave, the sales clerk really gave me this mean look! Like "The hell are you loitering around here for, you loser?" and I felt damn near threathened to purchase something. Well, next to to counter there was a bunch of discounted soundtracks for 2 euros each, among them the one for Juno. After thinking about whether I should buy that or a possibly bootlegged musical score to Albert Pyun's Nemesis, I ended with Juno on the basis of Pyun's films being terrible and Juno being rather good. What stood out for me there were the occasional dream-like songs that I noticed were all made by a Kimya Dawson. What a fun name, I recall thinking, and afterwards going to youtube to listen to some more of her material. Good stuff, it was. I enjoyed this certain amount of honesty visible from her music that gave me something new.
It gave me a way of relating with the music. I never had really experienced to this extent relation with any music. To this day, I mostly listen to music that intellectually challenges and excites me, such as the politically and socially charged finnish thrash metal band Stam1na. Dawson's songs have been the only ones so far during this short lifespan of mine that I have managed to take as something more than something to analyze and interpret, albeit I've done that quite a lot as well. This never dawned on me until last thursday, really. I had listened to Kimyas songs a lot. Like if my iPod synched with my last.fm-account, she would probably be in the top-5. I just never really understood until as of late that me listening to these songs was more or less helpful towards my psyche and it's relation to this world.
As of the beginning of June 2010, I'd been working in a hospital, in a ward for the terminally ill. People tend to die a lot around there, and it's up to nurses such as myself to take care of the bodies, clean them up, talk to their next of kin, and take them down to the morgue. It sounds rather grim, but our goal is still to either make our patients recover fully or at least relieve their pains to the best of our abilities. Unfortunately, cancer, which is the reason why most our patients are there, is not a disease that's easy to mend. This is why we have a relatively high death-rate. It comes with the disease. The work is still enjoyable, most people are nice and co-operative and the occasional cranky patients don't ruin the day. However, up until one thursday, none of my designated patients had passed away. Well, I was pulling an evening shift (1pm-9pm), and one of my patients died. I hadn't gotten to know him, as he had just been transferred two days ago. After his passing, I got another nurse to help me out with the procedure. I spoke with the patient's wife and son who visited very soon after. Then we dressed the body up a bit and brought it down to the morgue.
I didn't really think much of the incident. I have dealt with more than enough death during my lifetime to have formed an opinion of it and afterlife. I don't really believe in the afterlife, but more or less believe that when you die, you cease to exist in all meanings. Just a body gets left behind. It's a sad thought, but provokes me to live my life to the fullest, because I truly do believe that this is all there ever will be. I've had two friends die on me (one in a dramatic perverse Kodak-moment in my arms), so technically the death of a patient in a calm, peaceful and expected enviroment doesn't really shake me that much. Yet, I could not help but feel... weird. I guess there is something profoundly disturbing about the disappearance of another human from this earth if you witness it personally.
So, how does this connect to Kimya Dawson's music? On my way home from work that day, I yet again whipped out my iPod on my hour-long bus journey, and I happened to browse upon one of the albums I hadn't really listened to that much. Kimya's I'm Sorry That Sometimes I'm Mean. I had listened to it earlier, but only briefly and skipping over the songs. They felt uneven and occasionally sounded pretty bad too. This time though, I had some hope. I skipped through the opening 30 seconds of each song, until I ended up at the song named Rocks With Holes. To describe what that song made me realize is a bit hard to put into words. It more or less enabled me to begin a thinking process. To make my mind go forward in a way it hasn't really gone, at least not because of music or any form of art really. I found the song very pivotal to my then current situation of thinking of death and whatnot, and I still hear it as a song about the life that was lived by a person who's now dying in a hospital bed. But there is a distinct comfort. I don't think there's hope in the song in the sense of a promise of the afterlife, or I don't personally hear it. Yet it makes death seem like a continuation, a closure, to the life we hear in the song. That kind of comforts me. That it's a closing point to this book of life. It's fluid and natural. And life goes on afterwards. Everyone this person knows lives on with the fond memory of his or hers existence. That's important. That there's something left behind. This song made me more convinced that even in death there is no absolute ending of sorts, just a character in this play of life stepping out of the spotlight with the play continuing for all eternity.