6. Luck, Grace, Fiction




A final morning. I’m up at six, just as Scott was when he penned our troubled tune.

Calling this song a “series of odd vignettes” is accurate, as is noting the story’s dependence on Scott’s delivery. Unlike some lyricists, whose work could be published as poems and stand on its own two feet, “A Wild Holy Band” needs its groove, and his thin voice, and his many, many choruses. The chorus (though repetitive when read), to me, serves as the strand that in fact does connect the vignettes together. It is not, perhaps, profound; your assertion about Kerouacian characters shriveling themselves up through their philosophies of life is more than correct, and it’s not unfounded to say this song is about precisely that.

But I admit I enjoy the story. Its imagery does cause my imaginative pistons to start firing, and, in the spirit of our oft-invoked Greeks, this song itself becomes a muse for newer, greater creation. Because it’s not a bad way to tell a story–in scenes. If this one isn’t a Magnolia, perhaps its a Babel, where the subplots’ connecting thread is a little too loose to believe.

There is only this to say: “A Wild Holy Band” is, in a certain way, the physical manifestation of all these thoughts and feelings. Its ten minutes feel very much like the journey he describes—in the synergy of the interplay between words and music and real-time progression, which mimes the feeling of a pioneer on the road.

If, after twenty listens, we doubt the “eternal truths” we once thought were there, I wonder where we’ll be after forty. And if, at a different time, in a different place, we’ll see how our own lives are collections of vignettes that are, with any luck and much grace, held together by simplistic ideologies to which we force ourselves to return. We’ll see how all our words are fictions. Except a very few.




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