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is dedicated to the enjoyment of audio and visual stimuli. Please visit our archives where we have uncovered the true importance of nearly everything. Should you want to reach us, e-mail alex dot carnevale at gmail dot com, but don't tell the spam robots. Consider contacting us if you wish to use This Recording in your classroom or club setting. We have given several talks at local Rotarys that we feel went really well.

Pretty used to being with Gwyneth

Regrets that her mother did not smoke

Frank in all directions

Jean Cocteau and Jean Marais

Simply cannot go back to them

Roll your eyes at Samuel Beckett

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Metaphors with eyes

Life of Mary MacLane

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Felicity's disguise

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Friday
Sep252009

« In Which It Takes A Lot Of Fires To Make A Forest »

Don't They Know It's The End Of The World?

by MOLLY LAMBERT

There is a joke that Los Angeles has four seasons; Fire, Floods, Earthquakes, and Riots. (I didn't say it was funny). It is easy to feel like the world is always ending.

Because the world is always ending in Los Angeles, we are not necessarily surprised when it does. We are also not surprised when the world keeps going on after that.

How many times has the ground collapsed underneath you? How often have the forests of your hopes been razed by the flames of unforseen circumstances?

And yet after each trial and humiliation, there is the opportunity to rebuild. Even if it seems increasingly futile given that you now know it's unstable and impermanent.

But what is permanence? Is there such a thing? Even the most stable of situations might secretly be sitting on a fault line or border an accidental brush fire.

So then why do we aspire to stability, as if stability is something we can control? Why do we try to achieve what we already know is ephemeral if not impossible?

Is it because the alternative of accepting the constant destruction and restructuring of the world around us is just too existentially terrifying? We need something to cling to.

But clinging is what hurts us, what stops us from ever enjoying the present. We are too scared to let go, to accept that the earth might open up and swallow it at any time.

The alternative does not have to involve abject terror. We cling to stability because we fear the unknown, but the unknown is rarely as bad as we fear. Sometimes it is better.

And when picking through the charred remains of your former world sometimes you will stumble upon something you miss, and feel the pangs of nostalgia and saudade.

Accepting that you will sometimes feel terrible is the only way you will ever feel good.

Molly Lambert is the managing editor of This Recording. She tumbls here.

"Only You" - Joshua Radin (mp3)

"Someone Else's Life" - Joshua Radin (mp3)

"Sundrenched World" - Joshua Radin (mp3)

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Reader Comments (3)

It'd be cool if there were a link at the bottom of the RSS feed entry to the original post. That way I wouldn't have to scroll all the way to the top, then scroll back down just to get here and write, "this was wonderful."

September 25, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterevan

accepting that you feel sometimes feel terrible is the only way you will feel good. so true. and so sick of all these books about how to be happy, etc. life includes ups and downs, good times and bad. thinking there is some way around that and some way for things to just be good all the time is ridiculous.

September 26, 2009 | Unregistered Commentermeredith

Some of the best L.A. fire photos I saw were at boston.com nonironically.

September 27, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterHugh

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