Enjoy an exclusive guest post from Maximus Hank, author of “Sunshine, Darkness, Blue Sky, and Others” featured in our upcoming anthology ON TIME.
A futile mile. A futile hour. A futile meal. A futile day. Even a sundial would not track the course of this day in the depths of January.
Timepiece was a 2014 release by an American trio called Ripple Green. They were young men, high college age, and had gone by the collective name of Carousel Revolt before this release. But Carousel Revolt was another band’s name, so they changed it. At least that was what I heard. What I remember. The titular song on Timepiece was recorded in London, the signature video at Stonehenge on the summer solstice. A signature accomplishment by three young men from Moore, Oklahoma.
I first met Ripple Green in my classroom. Two of them, anyway – Tremayne the drummer and Lucas the bassist. Joel the guitarist was not a student at ACM@UCO. I had many talented students during my nine years there, and I tried to attend their gigs whenever I could. Lucas and Tremayne stick in my mind because of Timepiece. It is an EP that I still listen to. A masterful work.
The last time I met Lucas was in the wee hours of a Sunday morning, after their performance at the 51st Street Speakeasy in Oklahoma City. We chatted for an hour over drinks about music, and life, and life in music. He had many kind things to say about my classroom, but I simply wanted to hear about his life. The musician’s life is something that is exotic to most of us. His stories were not exotic. They were gritty. Couch surfing. Uncertainty about meals, about places to rest and recover after the exhaustion of the shows. Those things were always in someone else’s hands, and those someones else sometimes flaked. As he spoke, I likened his exhaustion after a gig to my exhaustion after a gig. Our gigs were different. His involved playing the right notes in the right rhythms with the right inflections. Mine involved teaching musicians how to write well, how to argue well, how to think well. There was little basis for comparison, except that we were both singing our hearts out at the limit of our abilities. Sometimes beyond.
I don’t know why it is that I thought about Ripple Green on this gray day. I awoke from a dream of an enormously long snake emerging from a storage building and carrying along the length of its body cymbals, packets of guitar strings, poker tables, bricks, amplifiers, stage mics, wooden stage planks, and notebooks of old song lyrics across the dead grass and down into its deep hole, somewhere in the distance, somewhere across the way.
I put my walking shoes on and left the house, earbuds in, fingers finding the title song to Ripple Green’s Timepiece, and made my way around the cold neighborhood in the last late sunlight hours of the day.
(The titular Timepiece was recorded on the Summer Solstice. The band I reference has a music video on YouTube that I wonder if you could link along with that essay. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8hoDzskv3rw)
Maximus Hank is an instructor at a large midwestern university. And he is old. Old old old old old. That is what the students say. Not all the students. Some students say he is not old. If that is the case, then it is the time with the students that has shielded him from oldness. In a past life, Hank was in the technical arts, or the technical sciences, or in the real world, or in an illusory world, but Hank does not like to talk about his past life. Not anymore. Not after this. Hank is so done with the old world.
ON TIME is coming in Summer 2020. Be sure to follow us on Amazon.