Pay attention (and then do something)

by Rebekah Goode-Peoples

It started off serious, this year. Long, late night drives listening to the modern spirituals of Phosphorescent and Nick Cave and writing in a pool blue basement room to Daughter. Last winter wasn’t particularly cold, and nothing particularly harrowing happened to me that season. Nevertheless, I hardcore wallowed. Stayed inside.

It didn’t help that I was finishing the last few songs of Oryx and Crake’s next full-length album, a concept narrative exploring commitment, from brief moments of comfort and security to long, bottom-of-the-well places. The chokehold of bondage. It wasn’t an easy story to tell. And I dreamt of summer.

Maybe I wasn’t the only one–seems like many folks in my circle had a tough year.

Things have been hard, right? Syria, Sandy Hook, the government shutdown, whatever other horrors make you shy away from the news stations’  Twitter feeds and turn to pop culture demerol.

So maybe you push play on Icona Pop’s “I Love It.” All flashing lights, so swirling that you can’t focus on anything for more than a fraction of a second. The neon, the thumping glitter distracts us from disaster, both our own and the world’s. Makes it unreal.

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See, we’ve been hurt, and hurt again. We know everyone’s tragedy all of the time. So we run. Matthew Houck of Phosphorescent sings in my favorite song of the year, “Song for Zula, “I will not open myself up this way again…And I am racing out on the desert plains all night.” It’s a love story, sure, but it’s also our story. Of being too tender, too raw to handle it all.

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Sometimes you need to take a break, but you have to be careful.

Stuff happens under the surface for all of us–that we try not to notice as thumbs slide away on Candy Crush or scroll through tumblrs of gif after gif of adorable dogs and sloths–that we don’t discuss, or even notice, because we’re so tied to our black screen holes.

We forget to look around, know each other. To feel things. We just follow the formula.

But we don’t have to.

We can pay attention. We can dance it off. We can be who we want to be.

This is the only life we get–yell loud and make earthquakes.

NFL Fans In Seattle And Kansas City Battle Over Who’s Louder– NPR Morning Edition, December 18, 2013:


PLAYLIST:  Five fingers of one hand (Spotify)


Daughter “If You Leave

Phosphorescent “Muchacho”

Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds “Push the Sky Away”

CHVRCHES “The Bones of What You Believe”

Lorde “Pure Heroine”

rebekah goode-peoples profile picRebekah Goode-Peoples is a teacher and writer who lives in Atlanta, GA. You can find her on Twitter and Instagram at @goodepeoples and her band, Oryx and Crake, at @oryxncrake

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Categories: Writing


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  1. End of the Year issue of Creative Thresholds ROCKS! | Melissa D. Johnston - December 31, 2013

    […] A fantastic end-of-the-year meditation and killer playlist in Rebekah Goode-Peoples’s “Pay Attention (and then do something).” […]


  2. Pop Promises: In Defense of Taylor Swift | Creative Thresholds - December 25, 2014

    […] an end-of-the-year wrap up of her experience of the year’s music. Check out her 2012 and 2013 editions as well.  “Marriage,” the second album from her band Oryx and Crake, comes […]


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