Tuesday, September 27, 2011


Sometimes I'll be sitting in my room doing homework and I'll get restless and feel like if I don't get up and go do something I'll go crazy. When I say that I need to "get up and go do something," I don't know what exactly that means. And that's frustrating. I feel like I can't stay sitting still, but that I need to go...do something.

The something that I need to do is something active, or if not entirely active then at least something that involves getting up from my awesome chair and moving around at least a little bit. It's like my body is getting jealous of the workout I'm giving my mind, and it says to me, "Hey Sam! Hey, hey look down here. Let's go do something fun." But I can't go do something fun because I have things I need to do.

I have to revise a short paper for class in the morning
and I have to read the first 1/3 of First Democracyand I have to do a historiography-type assignment concerning Well-Bound Words: A Rhetoric
and I have to finish reading Miller's The Evolution of College English: Literacy Studies from the Puritans to the Postmoderns
and if I go do something active and fun I won't get all this work done that I need to get done.

Though I try to ignore it and push it down and away, the need to get up and about won't be ignored and keeps telling me that I have to "go do something."

This internal battle reaches fever-pitch and I'm becoming less and less productive with the homework I'm working on. I feel like if I sit in my chair any longer I'll burst, as much from my need to go be active as from the frustration that, at least tonight, I can't get all my homework done like a responsible student and "go do something."

The struggle intensifies, I'm not getting anything done at all, and I'm sure that before long I'll probably give up, sacrifice doing some of my homework and go for a run or something.

Then my roommate Joseph goes into his room (right next to mine), picks up his cello, and starts playing Vocalise by Rachmaninoff.

The paper-thin walls of our house allow for the beautifully clear tones of this piece to filter into and fill my room.

Inexplicably my internal tension dissipates almost immediately. The need to "go do something" is replaced by a feeling of contentment, joy and focus. Somehow the ineffable beauty of this simple yet elegant Vocalise has calmed my restless spirit.

And I can turn back to my studies in peace.


  1. love this post. love vocalise. love joseph at the cello. ... respite in sound.