There’s a piano playing. It controls the song, and it captures the emotions. There’s urgency here, and that’s not always easy putting into words. The piano plays for 20 seconds, and then it repeats again, but this time it shares the moment with my voice:
Music is spinning inside my soul. Too many sins, I’m out of control. How do I hold on and let you go at the same time. How do I cope? How do I care for you, and not be there for you? Because it’s not fair to you. How do I untie the rope and let you go? I’m sorry, I gotta go. Music is spinning inside my soul. You see me silent, on the inside, I’m about to explode.
This is a search for that fire that drives creativity, and a search for the stability that kept me moving forward. This is a deep dive into the past, humbling myself, and flushing out the demons that are holding me back.
What makes this song important for me is not just the vulnerability I show in it, but the way I respond to a creative drought that I’ve struggled with for many months: I respond by releasing a 8 minute song, possibly the longest one of I’ve ever made. Creating this song felt like a “finally” moment, as if the valve was finally opened for the words to start pouring out. The theme lyrics I wrote in January were, “I’m working on my return”, and this song is evident of just that.
You’re only given a little spark of madness. You mustn’t lose it.
With five kids, and four grandkids, you’ve brought so many special people into this world. Your strength, love, and selflessness will never be taken for granted. We love and appreciate you more than you know.
Winning a championship is the ultimate goal for every NBA franchise, but making that the sole benchmark for success is setting up the other 29 teams for heartbreak every year. Only 10 franchises have won an NBA title since 1984. The odds are that your favorite team isn’t going to win a championship. There has to be a middle ground. Life is too short to live any other way.
It’s hard to argue this point with fans who always bounce around to the hottest team in the league. Those kind of fans don’t understand the degree of difficulty it takes to win a ring. For them, it’s as easy as cheering for the better team.
Frank Ocean released two albums last year, and they were only hours apart from each other. Because the second that came out was the main album (Blonde), the one that came first (Endless) continues to get overlooked. Endless was a visual album, an hour-long black and white video of him building a staircase, in an all white room, while the album Endless played.
This video started live-streaming weeks before, with no music playing, as Ocean built something live. You didn’t know what was being built, but you heard the saws and the hammer at work.
Endless, it turns out, was an event — just not the event. The Apple Music video ended after 45 minutes, and was quickly tagged a “visual album,” a pernicious term that rose to great heights with Beyoncé’s Lemonade and has only sunk since. Frank, it seemed, had programmed his construction-working clip and made a short film about process while fans took in new songs. Their titles rolled in the closing credits. Screenshots came pouring in. Theories flew across the internet. A gentle sigh set in. That’s it? many of us wondered. What happened here?
What makes Endless special is that it served a bigger purpose, as it freed Ocean from his contract obligation, as everyone thought this was the big album, not Blonde. Sean wrote later in his article:
Frank Ocean didn’t just trick fans with Endless. He tricked his label, Def Jam, which was stuck with the visual album as the final installment in his recording contract. The bigger and more commodified Blonde, on the other hand, was released solely by Boys Don’t Cry, Ocean’s personal imprint.
There are many reasons to love Endless, especially as a musical statement — it’s the rolling tide that carries in Blonde’s crashing wave. It takes its time, it ebbs and releases — it’s inconsistent and unpredictable. It is, in many ways, music in 2016. It’s also an artistic statement that is unrivaled — a power move leveraging technology and corporate structures against one another to engender personal freedom. That may seem haughty, but it is true. Frank Ocean is free because of Endless. That he has once again returned to his elusive state should be no surprise. He’s bound by nothing but himself now.
Here’s a Dropbox link to the album Endless for you to listen to.
Inertia: This is a story of feeling stuck while spiraling at the same time. It’s much easier to accomplish tasks when you’re already moving, so don’t stop moving. Trying to make any kind of progress is incredibly hard when standing still and trying to start from nothing. The lack of momentum makes the smallest tasks feel bigger than they really are. So this is me removing that inertia.
Writing: I stopped writing months ago, for whatever reason. I actually think I forgot how to write for awhile. I spend whole days planning to write something, but no words would appear. I keep waiting for this big story to appear, when really, the big story is actually the little story—it’s my words that make it big. I forgot that my way observing the world, the tiny little aspects of it, is what makes the writing special.
Health: My back hurts. From basketball and from getting old. My shoes, brand new, have been giving me blisters. I can’t seem to break them in. And after playing basketball the night before, when I wake up in the morning, my ankles hurt when I walk. My body is breaking down on me in weird ways. But I’m not as consistent with my exercising, so I’m chalking all of this up as being out of shape. I need to put down the Twinkies and go for a run. Or a few runs.
Social: All I see is celebrities, or fake-celebrities, on Snapchat, on Twitter, and on Facebook. Even my president is a diva. It all feels like a race. Everybody is so damn cool. It’s exhausting. The in-your-face selfies and energy that’s constantly flowing through my phone from my peers is draining me, and overall, as a whole, it’s damaging our society. Social media has given everyone this higher level of confidence—whether it’s real or fake—and everyone is their own celebrity. It all feels achievable now. Our reality is distorted.
Car: My car took a few tree branches to the face last week. The weather was bad. I was watching from the window of my new apartment. The rain was pouring down so hard that it was raining sideways. It was a tornado watch, and it felt like it. I wanted to go out there and move the car before a window shattered, but the weather was too bad. Huge tree branches broke and continued to fall on the hood and roof of my car, leaving my brand new baby full of dents.
Apartment: The past few weeks have been spent moving into a new apartment, Downtown Thibodaux. To have stores and restaurants and cafes walking distance from me is refreshing, and something I’ve never had before. It’s something I’ve always dreamed of. The apartment is compact, with one bedroom and one bathroom. The living room has my couch and my kitchen table in it. The kitchen has my fridge, my washer, and my dryer in it. There’s no wasted space.
I’m Nash. I create things. But not right now. Soon though.
Being someone who creates involves a ton of energy and emotions. You have to think and feel something constantly. It’s the only way to bring the words out. So how do you balance the creative process with everyday life? That’s been my struggle this year. When reality is weighing me down, how can I still create? Or how can I write about how life is weighing me down? Everything is art, nothing is safe. So why have I been playing it safe?