I was walking the dog when Built to Spill came on and I heard Doug Martsch adjudicate that rock and roll was right to advise that life goes on long after the thrill of living is gone. And then I thought: when was the thrill there?

Now now. I had a lovely evening catching up with Amanda and Sommer and am in a very good mood. Things are better for me, on balance, than they’ve been most times of my life. But is it fair to expect that things ought to be thrilling?

We’ve heard for a long time, from rock and roll and other quarters, that yes, that’s exactly what we should expect. And as someone who grew up with bands like Catharsis meaning a lot to me, part of me feels resigned and guilty for even broaching the subject, like whatever point I make here is in the service of a Pyrrhic victory. (Listen to this and you’ll understand, if you don’t already.)

But life can be sweet and wonderful and absurd — in bursts and moments. To expect that to sustain itself is to invite some awful, destructive behavior. (Here I really feel like a monster made of colored-vinyl 7"s is going to emerge and take its revenge on me.) Clutch those moments tightly and spend your life attempting to bring them about again when they’re not there. But there was never a time when you lived every moment in a ceaseless succession of thrills. Telling yourself you need to bring back that myth like it was real… I’ve seen the dreadful places that can lead. Spare yourself. There’s hope for wonder on an attainable course.

Spencer Ackerman

Spencer Ackerman