The Morning After

by Robert Gregory Browne

Of course, it would fall upon me to write this piece today of all days. The morning after. So I’m going to try to keep it brief.

I’m actually writing this on Monday, so I have no idea how the election will turn out.

But whatever the outcome, some of us here will be elated this morning, while others will be extremely bummed — unless of course we’re all dealing with lawyers and vote counts and an election that drags on longer than the primaries did (please, Lord, let’s not see that happen). In that case, we’ll all be upset.

So, for those of you feeling a little depressed, I have some unsolicited advice for you.

When I was a kid, there were two things I could count on when I was down in the doldrums. When a girl rejected me (I know, I know, hard to believe) or my world just seemed to be falling apart in general, I could always turn to these two things to help me escape — if only for a few moments:

1. My music.

2. My books.

There is nothing more calming to me, than picking up the guitar and working out my troubles with a new chord progression or melody. Playing guitar is generally a very private thing for me now, but it always manages to help me escape whatever is weighing on my mind at the moment. Somewhere in the middle of a song, I’ll find myself lost in the music and the relief is sweet.

Reading a great book does not offer me quite the same relief, but it certainly does help me forget for awhile. It’s well known that during bad times, people often seek solace in entertainment, and only a book can take you into that world of shared imagination — yours and the author’s. Books offer a prolonged escape that, in my opinion, has yet to be matched by any other form of entertainment.

So, that’s my advice. If only for a short time, turn off your TV, quit watching the pundits wax poetic or moan or complain, then pick up your guitar or whatever instrument you play. If you don’t play one, listen to your favorite album from start to finish. Or find that book you’ve always been wanting to read and lose yourself in its pages.

There’s nothing wrong with getting away for awhile. Let all the b.s. go and get that needed relief, then come back to the world feeling refreshed and ready to tackle whatever troubles are facing you.

And take your time. Healing isn’t easy.

18 thoughts on “The Morning After

  1. Wilfred Bereswill

    Hey Rob. It’s not the election that’s got me bummed, it’s the rumors about the future (or lack of) of my day job with the big beer company. As the deal is about to close, the rumors have the axe rising to deliver a quick and bloody blow.

    So when I got home yesterday, I turned on the TV and tried to find a comedy. Oh, I flipped through Superbad and Billy Madison and stopped on something I hadn’t seen before, Death Proof. One of Tarintinos’s goofy flicks. I found myself laughing at the ridiculous ending as the girls kicked the crap out of Kurt Russell.

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  2. Brett Battles

    TV off. iPod on. Finger on keyboard. Story being written. And like B.G. said…NO MORE POLITICAL ADS TO WORRY ABOUT!!!!

    Wil, whatever happens, it’s all experience that will make your writing better…wow, that’s not exactly ringing support, is it? Let me try again…rumors don’t mean reality. Keep doing the best you can do, and no matter what you’ll always end up on your feet!…that was a little better at least.

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  3. toni mcgee causey

    Add me to the list of people who find refuge in books, movies and music and resounding silence of a morning after, when our government can elect new leaders peacefully, with everyone getting the chance to vote, without a threat of bombs or bloody aftermath as many other countries suffer.

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  4. Louise Ure

    If, on the other hand, you’re looking for a good collection of songs to CELEBRATE with today, you could do worse than Joan Walsh’s list from Salon.com:

    People Get Ready/ Curtis MayfieldOh, Mary Don’t You Weep no More/ Bruce SpringsteenI’ll Take You There/ Staples SingersTouch the Sky/ Kanye WestBeautiful Day/ U2Ain’t No Stoppin’ Us Now/ McFadden/WhiteheadThe Promised Land/ Bruce SpringsteenI Say a Little Prayer/ Aretha FranklinSigned, Sealed, Delivered/ Stevie WonderYour Love Keeps Lifting Me (Higher and Higher)/ Jackie WilsonJackie Wilson Said/ Van MorrisonThe Rising/ Bruce SpringsteenMove on Up/ Curtis MayfieldEncore/ Jay-ZFor Once in My Life/ Stevie Wonder

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  5. Kaye Barley

    Great piece, Rob! We do need to remember from time to time that there is a place of respite for us, even if its in our own minds, and doing the things we love. I join those of you who can find escape in books. I only barely remember a divorce I went through many years ago – seems I read my way right through the whole process.

    I like this list of songs from Joan Walsh – thanks, Louise! Not sure I’m liking Curtis Mayfield living in my head ALL day long . . . but, oh well.

    Wil, good luck to you. We’ll be thinking positive thoughts.

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  6. PK the Bookeemonster

    As someone who lost their job last week, I can tell you this type of distraction does help. I also recommend taking walks (my 130 pound dog particularly likes this).Music: The WhoMovies: Local Hero, English period dramasBooks: currently reading the new JD Robb.TV: tonight America’s Next Top Model, Stylista and Ghost Hunters (yes, little grey cells are being smothered but light and fluffy works)

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  7. Rob Gregory Browne

    PK, I’m sorry to hear about the job loss. That truly sucks.

    But as someone much wiser than me once said, when one door closes, another one opens.

    Keep looking for that open door. You’ll find it.

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  8. Jake Nantz

    PK, Mr. Bereswill, I’ll pray for both of you to find the path you’re meant to in these trying times. God Bless!

    As for the election, I’m just glad it’s over, regardless which figurehead empty suit won.

    But what I AM angry, or at least stunned about, is that we’ve lost another great writer. I didn’t know Elaine Flinn or Tony Hillerman, though I wish I had after reading the wonderful words you’ve all written about them. And now, another great writer I’ll never get to read anything new from. Michael Crichton passed away today from Cancer.

    Mr. Rhoades said it the other day, and I can only echo it now. It’s not fucking fair.

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  9. Tom

    PK, Wilf, I’m sorry to hear this. Unemployment has chased me/us around the country, starting from St. Louis. It’s a right bastard, and that’s all you can say.

    The good news? You get to re-invent yourself, and with a *great* reason.

    Rob, good ideas, all. I think I’ve used most of them one time or another. Expect I’ll use them again, too.

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  10. Wilfred Bereswill

    Thanks again everyone for the kind words. Lots of meetings yesterday afternoon. It’s 7:15 AM and the office is normally buzzing. I just heard somebody drop a coin in the vending machine on the other side of the building. No actual firings yet, but I suppose lots of resumes being sent out today.

    Reply

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