A New Religion is Kneaded

“I was born again the moment I realized everything’s in the delivery”

Down With Strangers, ‘Born Again’

Lane was over, for the first time, spending the night. He was sort of weird about it though, insisting on bringing his own pillow and blanket. Anyway, once he got there we just started talking and listening to music, so even though we didn’t know each other that well, it wasn’t awkward. He was a lot more talkative by himself than he was at school. He did more talking than I did actually, telling me all sorts of things about himself and what he did in his free time. We had never really talked about anything other than what we liked, so we still had to get to know each other. I mean, you can learn a lot about someone based on similarities in taste of books and such, but if you really want to get to know someone, you have to learn about what they do, and believe. All the things they choose.

Apparently, his favorite thing to do was to go to the movies by himself, fairly often. Not just any movie though, and not just any theater. He would either go to the really big movies that everyone went to see, and he’d go to a certain theater where he said people laughed loudly or even said things back to the screen. Or he’d go to this small theater that played the independent movies, movies that were only at that one theater. Those were usually his favorites.

“What’s your favorite movie, then?” I asked him, after a brief silence.

“What’s with you and superlatives?”

“Oh, superlatives are my favorite.”

We laughed.

“I don’t know,” he said, “That’s such a loaded question. Your favorite movie is like… or it can be like, your working picture of the world, or how you view yourself, or your view in general. I mean, it doesn’t necessarily have to be, but if you pick it a certain way…”

“I’ve never thought about it like that before.”

“Well, art is a representation of life, and if you deem to choose art that you feel is representative of you, you’re choosing a part of life that you feel is you. Your life.” “You could almost pick like, five movies that are truly your favorite and base like a religion on them,” I said. “Like existentially, finding meaning in the art.”

“One of mine would have to be ‘Cinema Paradiso.’

‘Hmm… I think I’d pick ‘The Princess Bride’ to be on my list. It’s great if only for the reason that it can speak convincingly of true love and in the same breath have a person wake up in someone’s arms and the first words out of his mouth are ‘Who are you? Are we enemies?”

“Geez, Tim. What’s your major malfunction?”

“’Full Metal Jacket.‘ Another great movie.”

“What’d you name your rifle?” I asked.

“Have you seen ‘Any Given Sunday’?” I asked. “I just watched that last night.
That movie made me want to play football.”

“That movie makes you want to do anything.

“Hand me the guitar,” he said. I picked it off its stand and craned it over the bed.

Lane played guitar. I found that out the good way. If fact, he was so good it was a spectacle watching him play. He played this thing and I asked what song it was from, because it had to be something, but he said he just made it up, just then. So I was impressed. I mean, I could play guitar pretty well, and I took lessons and everything, but he could really play.

“Do you ever write songs?” I asked.

“I write music. But I can’t write words worth a shit.”

I told him that I was sort of the opposite. I have notebooks full of lyrics that are just aching to be songs, but I can’t really write songs on guitar. I can only come up with short parts that I like. It’s hard for me to make them into anything. But I was working on it.

“How do you do it?” he asked. “How do you actually write lyrics?”

“Well, I can’t just create something good at any moment, like some people. I have to work at it, or be in a specific mood. But I know what’s good when I see it.”

“Me too.”

“Want to start playing together, or something? I mean, we could try to get a band started,” I said.

“Sure. We should definitely do that. Have you ever been in a band before?”

“I used to play with my dad. He plays drums and guitar, and he taught me how to play. So we jam sometimes. And my friend Sidney and I— Hey, Sidney plays bass.”

“Who’s Sidney?”

“My friend. From my old school.” I said. “He’s pretty good, really creative and everything. He can come up with a good bass line for whatever part you write. We’ve played together a few times but never got too serious about being a band, but now I think we could really do it.”

“Awesome. What about a drummer?”

“Yeah, that’s true. Drummers are really hard to find. We’ll just start out with just us and then hopefully find one.”

We stayed up through most of the night talking. About music, as we usually did, but now our own music, and what we wanted to sound like. We’d both wanted to be in a band ever since we had started seriously listening to music, so we were excited to have finally found someone to play with. We talked about music as if it was an entire world we had both separately discovered and explored, and we were eager to share notes.

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