I would line up the tapes one by one – all cued to the spot. The first song always was “We built this city” and the last one usually was left un-played. When mix tapes were actually cassettes compiled far more meticulously from other tapes.I turn to well-worn pages in The Book of Melancholy. The wrinkled photo of a too-soon gone friend; the mischief still leaping off of his face. The longing for a childhood spent a world away. The trust of a friend broken. The breaking of friend’s trust. And again and again and again. Some pages turn slowly others flop past glommed together. Stop on the page where the man is clutching his throat for the revolution he is about to die for. Stay on that page and see that revolution is elusive. Skip to the picture of yourself on the day when those eyes are just coming to know the foolish dogma that your vigorous ignorance spewed. Shudder just a little.
“Why worry,” he moans, “there should be laughter after pain.”
The Book of Melancholy isn’t light reading for those interested in revving up the depression machine. It’s not about depression. It is about the humbling reflection that comes with the time and space on a damp quiet spring night. It is about recognizing that I am here right now and that is a very fortunate place to be. Melancholy can help you see the light of your circumstance if only because of the shadows that it evokes. Melancholy can remind you that valiant effort, though often unrewarded and even misplaced is still more honorable that feebleness.
“There should be sunshine after rain – these things have always been the same. So why worry now.”