Thought Catalog

I Want To Do Everything On Earth With You

Posted: 01 Feb 2016 07:00 PM PST

I think we should get lost together.

We should pack our bags, head out in the dead of the night and hop a flight going to anywhere.

There is a run-down bar in Argentina where the locals stay up all night dancing – hands clasped tightly together and wine flowing freely from the bottle and I think that we should go there. I want to wind our way through the back alleys and side streets, lose ourselves into the chaos of the night and come out the other side recharged. I want to watch the sun rise on the streets of South America with your tired body settled in beside me and I want to let it feel like home.

I want to leave this all behind with you. I want to get rid of our cell phones, strap backpacks to our backs and head into the wilderness by your side. We can sleep beneath the artwork of the skies and keep our fire burning long into the night. I want to be at the core of it all with you; where the world has left us long ago and all we have pushing us forward is the strength of our bodies and hearts. I want to see who you are when you have nothing left to fall back on, because that is the person I can't get enough of. That's the person I could find myself falling in love with.

I want to re-discover the world with you – all the streets that I have already walked down, all the mountains I've already climbed. I want you to see every peak that I have conquered and swim down into all the depths you have discovered. I want to travel through the valleys of your pain and understand the badlands of your heart. I want to know you in a way that you can only know someone whom you have completely dismantled and discovered all the strength within their brokenness.

I want you to make me question everything. I want the foundations of the world as I knew it before you came along to shake and twist and crumble at my feet. I want the brilliance of your mind and the pureness of your heart to overtake me – to make me realize that there is so much I still do not know. So much I want to discover by your side.

I want to push boundaries with you – test the limits of how far and fast and free we could become once we decide that we can leave the world behind. I want to forget – for a moment – about right and wrong and fear and comfort and pain and excitement and just let it be. I want us to relax into whatever world we end up in. I want a whole world of our own.

I want to do everything on earth with you. I want to float down rivers, traverse deserts, scale mountains and submerge ourselves into the sea. I want to take on a lifetime worth of challenges alongside you but most of all, I want to come home to you.

I want to throw my bags at the door and our hearts at our feet and bury myself inside the sea of your bed sheets. I want to wake up with my hair tangled in between your fingers and your breath burning hot against my neck and your heart beating strong alongside mine because I'm starting to feel like having you to come home to could be the greatest adventure of all.

Because the truth is, for someone as tireless and restless as me,
you are the first person I’ve met in so long
who makes me feel like I don’t want to be anywhere else at all. TC mark

When The Only Toxic Person In Your Life Is You

Posted: 01 Feb 2016 06:00 PM PST

Twenty 20 bubblegumwhore
Twenty 20 bubblegumwhore

I understand what it feels like to be completely annihilated by love; I have seen how selfishness, jealousy and insecurity can turn my closest friends into my biggest enemies.  I still remember crumbling to the floor after discovering that I'd lost the man I loved, and my home- at the hands of my best friend, over a simple misunderstanding. I haven't really recovered much since.  I do not trust a soul.

This is where my problem lies: I've nearly glorified that day, reflecting on it as if it were a dream, due to my disbelief and shock.  Have you ever had a traumatically emotional event happen, only internalize it in the most unnatural way? It's more than forgiving these assholes – I'm talking about punishing yourself daily, and allowing their actions to dictate your behavior and self-worth.

This is my problem, you see. There are no more toxic people in my life, because my very presence emanates toxicity and isolation.

Here are THREE toxic attributes that I've recognized within myself, and perhaps I'm not alone:

1. Depression and anxiety.

This is a given, however it's changed from my typical I-hate-my-twenties-somebody-save-me woes that I normally groan about. It's manifested socially, which I am so not used to. An extrovert, Aries, ENFP- however you want to classify me, avoiding social events has never been my means to cope. Quite the opposite, actually. However, I knew something was off in my brain when I began going home and just… staying in my room. That isn't normal. I literally lost all desire to make new acquaintances or even worse- meet new men. What's the point? Seriously, this has been my mantra, and I'm scared to death of it.

2. Repeating the same mistakes.

How many exes can I call in one night after heavy drinking? A lot, apparently. This goes with toxic friends who I cut out for some pretty legit reasoning. I find that I am subconsciously living in the past, and glorifying it- people included. I allow the roots of my pain back into my life, willingly, and cry myself to sleep when they disappoint me. Is it guilt that consumes me? Do I feel that I am inherently bad, therefore I need to win their praises and approval to overcome what has happened? This is where I am toxic to myself, as I continuously set myself up for failure.

3. Not allowing myself to feel, or heal. 

I am in the midst of this process. I have abused my prescription meds to stay afloat, and have relied heavily on wine to cope during the quiet winter nights. When I take a break, I sleep for two days straight, and cut out my family and friends. The silence of being alone is all I can bear. I run from my feelings, and keep myself busy with work and obligations, rather than sitting and allowing myself to simply be. I am afraid of what will follow, and even worse- I am petrified that I may not make it back in one piece. I cannot grieve my losses emotionally, because I simply do not trust myself to feel them. I am constantly chasing the daylight while the cloud of darkness grows stronger and stronger above my head. Eventually, this cloud will absorb me, and I need to be prepared for it. This is where I am now, and I am wondering if anyone else feels the same way?

I'm so incredibly tired of blaming these hurtful people for my unhappiness and allowing them any sort of relevance. I have finally realized that it's not always the toxic people in our lives that ruin us, it's ourselves. I'm finally ready to move on and hold myself accountable- are you? TC mark

Why ‘Positive Thinking’ Can Actually Make You Miserable Sometimes

Posted: 01 Feb 2016 05:00 PM PST


“Positive Thinking” is the ultimate craze in the New Age movement. It all started with the book The Secret: Law Of Attraction, followed by a list of thousands of self-help books promoting  "positive thinking" as the main source of happiness and a formula to live the life of your dreams. Using real-life examples of people whose lives were changed just by applying the laws of thinking positively and repeating positive affirmations. But what if positive thinking can have the exact opposite effect on people? What if it actually yields negative results instead? Contrary to popular belief, it turns out positive thinking isn't for everyone.

Canadian psychologist Joanne V. Wood and colleagues decided to test the effects of  “positive self-statements.” The theory was tested on a group of 249 students, they were asked to repeat "I am a lovable person," and their self-esteem was measured before and afterwards. Those who already had high self-esteem did indeed feel better about themselves as it was aligned with what they already believed to be true about themselves. But for those with low self-esteem, the statement was not even close to how they truly felt about themselves which brought forth their insecurities even more. Wood suggested that "…outlandish, unreasonably positive self-statements, such as ‘I accept myself completely,’ are often encouraged by self-help books. Our results suggest that such self-statements may harm the very people they are designed for: people low in self-esteem."

I am not condemning positive thinking, I am just saying maybe it is not for everyone, or maybe there are scenarios where we need to adopt other modes of thinking. Here are FIVE cases when we need to be more realistic:

1. When you don’t put in the effort.

Positive thinking can only amplify the greater good of the situation rather than change it. Therefore, if you have a test you didn't study for, or a job interview you didn't prepare for, no amount of positive thinking will ever help you pass the test or get the job. You have to put in the work and be positive in the outcome, rather than use positive thinking as some sort of magical formula that will make your dreams easily come true.

2. When it feeds your inner narcissist.

When you start thinking that you are more lovable, or smarter or healthier than you really are, you live in a state of denial. It can often lead you to delude yourself, if you think you are the smartest person in the room, or you can get away with practically anything because you are popular, it may actually backfire if your sense of self isn't realistic.

3. When it leads to unrealistic thoughts.

Sometimes people magnify positive thinking to the extent that they believe that their thoughts will change the course of their life. Thinking that you will win the lottery or that your happily married love of your life will come back to you can actually hold you back from reality and make you live in a state of illusion that will yield more resentment towards your present life and yourself.

4. When you confuse it with fate.

Since we are being told that we are responsible for our thoughts, and we can control our mind and trick the universe into giving us what we want. We often fall short when it comes to the situations that we truly have no hand in-such as illness, accidents, deaths, & natural disasters. Positive thinking can never change our fate or the fate of those around us. Positive thinking can only help us overcome life’s hurdles by how we choose to react to them, but it will never be the miracle in disguise.

5. When you think it will happen overnight.

When starting the process of positive thinking, often people think their lives will turn around overnight. Positive thinking is a process that involves a multitude of other factors for it to work and truly "make our lives better." It is pretty much reinforced by positive behavior and positive action and the ability to continue working on ourselves rather than solely surrender to the philosophy that positive thinking alone can save us.

* * *

The best way to go about positive thinking is to make it the icing on top of the cake rather than the dough. Instead of focusing on being positive, focus on finding meaning in your life. Instead of focusing on positive affirmations, focus on building connections that will help you be a better person. Instead of being fixed on "magical thinking" tap into your inner awareness and find the strengths in your capabilities. Try to practice "balanced" thinking instead in order not to lose yourself in the pursuit of happiness. TC mark

We Were Meant To Collide

Posted: 01 Feb 2016 04:07 PM PST

Twenty20 phams_07
Twenty20 phams_07

There was a feeling of inevitability when I met you. The sense that we would be together; that there would be a moment when you would look at me in a certain way, and we could cross the threshold from friendship into something so much more.

We spoke once about lovers who kept finding each other, no matter how many times the world came between them. And I think I had to break your heart, and you had to break mine. How else could we know the worth of what we were given?

I think you were always meant to know me a little better than anyone else. And our lives were fated to converge like some cosmic dance. I know there is terrible distance between us. But our bodies are made of celestial light, and we are hurtling through space and time, toward the most beautiful collision. TC mark

7 Tips To Put A Spring In Your Step Today

Posted: 01 Feb 2016 01:36 PM PST



1. Look in the mirror and tell yourself you're awesome.

You don't need to rely on anyone but yourself to start the day off right—with a dose of positivity that will guide you from morning 'til night. All you need is a mirror, and a little faith in your own reflection. As you look into your own eyes, read an inspiring quote, list three of your best attributes, or lay out a plan for tackling the day ahead. Listen intently to the words that flow out of your mouth. Talking to yourself in an honest, heartfelt way will boost your self-confidence before you step out into the world. Just be careful not to exaggerate too much, because the person staring back at you will probably call you out for it.

2. Create a whole new look from your existing wardrobe.

When it comes to getting dressed, it's easy to fall into a comfortable routine of jeans, your favorite t-shirt, and sneakers. Spice things up by "shopping your closet" and experimenting with new ways to combine the clothes you already own. While you're at it, be sure to add a touch of flare—wear a scarf as a belt, or anchor an outfit that seems to demand flats with a cool pair of statement-making UGGs. When you commit to reworking your existing options into a whole new look, you get to leave the house feeling fresh without spending any money.

3. Break out into dance spontaneously.

Whenever you find yourself alone in an elevator or walking down a quiet stretch of street, take the opportunity to break out into dance. There's something incredibly freeing about letting loose and contorting your limbs into ridiculous positions when no one else is watching. Yes, you'll look a little fool temporarily. But you'll also end up smiling.


4. Make up a song and sing your heart out.

The next best thing to throwing a one-person dance party is belting out a song when no one else is around. Make up the words, or recite the lyrics to that musical you secretly adore. It doesn't matter if a few windows crack because you're that off-key. What's important is that you sing your face off—as if you're starring in Annie on Broadway, or taking the stage as your fierce, mysterious alter ego—and that you end up laughing, mostly because you're happy to be alive.

5. Plan a vacation or a big night out way ahead of time.

The magic of planning something special way in advance is that you get to anticipate the fun you'll have every single day leading up to the actual event. For a little extra pep, book a trip to look forward to or buy tickets to a concert way down the line. The calendar listing detailing the exciting occasion will sit there like a prize for months on end, feeding you the delicious juice of anticipation again and again.


6. Do something nice for a total stranger.

Kindness is contagious. When you go out of your way to lift someone else's spirits, the gratitude they exude makes you feel better too. There's really no reason NOT to spread the wealth of good vibes. So help that blind person flag down a taxi, or tell that random stranger sitting across from you on the subway that they're looking especially fabulous in their UGG footwear. Simple but thoughtful gestures and compliments can go a long way in making someone else's day—and, by extension, yours.

7. Leave your phone at home (on purpose!) sometimes.

In this day and age, it's easy to forget that the outside world exists, let alone that it can be so enriching. Do yourself a favor and leave your phone behind on purpose once in a while. The beauty of disconnecting is that you'll inevitably come to re-appreciate the little things in life, like making eye contact with passersby and using all those spare minutes as you wait for the light to change to collect your thoughts instead of texting. Getting in touch with the inner you and the non-digital world will prove totally inspiring. TC mark

This Post Brought To You By UGG.


This Is The Difficult Part About Making It Past The Beginning Phase Of A Relationship

Posted: 01 Feb 2016 01:35 PM PST

Twenty20 / alaskangeles
Twenty20 / alaskangeles

Our beginnings are always the same.

Boy meets girl, girl meets boy. Judgements are made upon one another. This person is a new and majestic being with a universe inside them. We are eager to stretch out our fingers to this new world; a world of unknown, of secrets, of rough surfaces and jagged edges, but also of dancing comets and cosmic space lullabies. We introduce and explore.

We explore their Seven Wonders and their California earthquakes. We mentally snapshot their New Jersey beach sunsets. The preconceived notion of them falls apart. The new idea of them starts to form in our heads piece by piece—filling in the spaces of the fallen idealized with the new. The beginning is always fun and exciting—the tension, the attraction, the getting to know each other.

Time passes. You two have met up a couple times, and somehow it's the middle now. An unprecedented amount of time passes and it's somehow labeled as a "good amount of time" you two have been talking. The middle is fun too, but not like the beginning. The beginning holds daydreams, constant wondering, and thrilling uncertainty.

Our middles diverge.

In the middle you think you have a better projection of where this is going to go. In the middle, you think, "Wow, I really like this person." In the middle is stardust shimmering on your face, romantic late night drives with sweaty clasped hands, catching then throwing sunsets, soft spoken pillow talks, dilating pupils, sex.

But the middle is also the crazy. You are insensible—seeing only the things you want to see and believing only what you want to believe. You are tired and in a constant frenzy. He made you that way and you don't know what to think.

You didn't know your middle was his end.

The canceling of plans. The unresponded texts. The unmistakeable look that you brushed away like debris. No—he can't be this selfish. He can't rip away your precious middle. You can't let go of the beautifully crafted moments that poets write about. So you keep the middle going for as long as you can, even though he's already gone. The end already happened for him. It's your turn—but my god—this middle is a sweet drug, and letting go means the beginning of the comedown.

The middle is fleeting, slowly. In time he doesn't call. Him ignoring you means you desperately texting him late at night to meet up. You call him to meet up because you're bored and lonely, because the chaos of your daily life isn't distracting you. You spiral into an insatiable neurosis. There are no books, no movies, no gatherings that could stop this painful desire hammering inside your head. The subconscious desire to be validated by him. The constant questioning—to know exactly why he ghosted you. To know what moment in the middle constituted the end for him.

You're trying to live in the middle. But the middle is growing impatient and its hospitality is no longer welcoming. The middle has all your feelings and moments packed up into suitcases. The middle even gave you bus fare.

It's time, it whispers.

Are you ready to gently let go? Are you finally ready for the end? TC mark

You Broke My Heart, But I Am Forever Thankful

Posted: 01 Feb 2016 01:18 PM PST

Ryan McGuire
Ryan McGuire

I wasn't supposed to fall in love with you. You were dangerous eyes and a quick temper. You were argumentative and stubborn and so wonderfully compassionate. I got lost in those eyes and felt safe in those arms.

We began as nothing. I told myself we were just having fun. That smiles were because we enjoyed each other's company. That kisses were playful. That we were happy, not falling.

I never meant to kiss so deeply. I never imagined that your arms around me would feel like home. And I don't know if you did either. Maybe it was a line we accidentally crossed, dancing in a bar just a little after midnight, the voices around us all melting away. Dancing, spinning, spinning. Or maybe it was when we explored each other's minds on a couch in your living room, confessing secrets we'd been too afraid to share. Opening slowly, learning to trust again.

But we unfolded, as beautiful things often do.

I wasn't supposed to fall in love with you, but I did. Layer by layer. And I think you did, too. It happened exactly like the world says, slowly, then all at once. Suddenly we were sharing pillows and paychecks and dreams. Suddenly those three words, the 'I love yous' whispered at night, in the morning, as I dropped you off, when you picked me up, carried incredible weight.

But then we unfolded, as beautiful things often do. We were both at fault, maybe more than we wanted to admit. We fought hard. Me with words. You with those dangerous eyes, that quick temper. We cracked, shattered into tiny pieces that were too difficult to put back together, but a part of me still believed.

But then came the heartbreak. It was unexpected, yet a part of me knew it was inevitable. I had fallen. I was breakable. I wasn't supposed to be in love with you. I wasn't supposed to be hurt. But I was, just the same. And you had transformed into someone I no longer knew, someone I didn't think you were anymore, someone I never thought you could be. It broke me. It unraveled me into little threads of myself. Little fragments of my heart that I knew would take so long to mold back together.

But I forgave you.

In time. After tears. As I woke to the sun on a new day and saw the freedom, the lifted weight on my heart, in forgiving you. You were the boy with dangerous eyes, with arms that sheltered me. You were the boy whose home I discovered, whose heart I opened. The boy who had held my own heart in his hands. Together we had re-learned how to love, how to let someone in when you are still fragile, still scared. We had fallen in love. And because of this, I am forever thankful.

I am thankful for poolside drinks, for dog walks, for drives with the windows down. I am thankful for the swing you built me in the backyard, for the smell of your deodorant, for the picture frame in your room with the photos of us, laughing, smiling, dancing, spinning, spinning.

You broke my heart, but I am forever thankful. For the moments, the memories, the kisses, and the accidental falling that happens when you close your eyes, when you let it. For what I learned in losing you: what I deserve, the immensity of my strength, my capacity to love, to let go. For you. I hope you know that you are forgiven. But I still hope when you kiss her, you taste me. And maybe one day you'll forgive yourself. TC mark

You’re Not Ready For A Future With Me

Posted: 01 Feb 2016 01:13 PM PST / Imgorthand / Imgorthand

You're not ready for
late night phone calls on nights that I cannot sleep.
You're not ready for
tears on a Wednesday night when I'm missing home.
You're not ready for
my unexpected mood swings.
You're not ready for
my ridiculous cravings at the most inconvenient hours.
You're not ready for
constant cuddles without the sex.
You're not ready for
days that I want space between us.
You're not ready for
my constant need for your presence.
You're not ready for
adventures that keep you from sleep.
You're not ready for
early mornings with me on days you get to sleep in.
You're not ready for
plans that I make five years from now.
You're not ready for
a future with me.
You're not ready for me. TC mark

Music for Writers: Nadia Sirota At An ‘Incredible Point’

Posted: 01 Feb 2016 12:20 PM PST

“It’s kind of incredible to be at a point in your life where people let you do what you want to do.” Say new music to anyone following contemporary classical composition and performance. They’ll know Nadia Sirota.

And we couldn’t have a more fitting opening to the 2016 season of #MusicForWriters than this globe-trotting violist’s arrival as curator and lead performer in Symphony Space’s week-long Fuse Project residency, opening tonight (1 February) and running through Friday. Details of the residency’s extensive programming are below.

And all of this is being produced in partnership with Q2 Music, New York Public Radio’s pivotal contemporary-classical free 24-hour Internet stream of live and recorded music of living composers, led by the tireless Alex Ambrose.

On Tuesday evening, Nadia Sirota, second from right, is joined by her colleagues in the new-music ensemble yMusic. Image: Allan Amato

It’s there, in fact, that you’ll hear Sirota’s much-applauded Meet the Composer series of in-depth looks at some of the biggest names in all of today’s music: John Luther Adams, Andrew Norman, Donnacha Dennehy, Caroline Shaw, Marcus Balter, Meredith Monk, Kaija Saariaho, Ingram Marshall, Anna Thorvaldsdottir, and Nico Muhly. (More #MusicForWriters pieces relative to this group: Adams, Saariaho, Thorvaldsdottir.)

And it’s on Q2 Music’s global feed that many of us first heard Sirota. In my case, it was in the darkening autumn of a career assignment to Denmark. As the twilight of 2009 closed in on Copenhagen, I heard Sirota from New York City, daily discussing and presenting highlighted recordings of contemporary classical music—as I wrote. From the majestic foundations laid by Philip Glass, John Adams, and Steve Reich to the reachy experimentation of Caleb Burhans and Paola Prestini, Sirota was talking us in, explaining, connecting, pointing up how one artist was affecting another, and how a “new music army” was “rising” to seize the imagination of a world increasingly open to greater modern range than pop.

Sirota, then already known as one of the most adventurous figures in several of the lead ensembles, was beginning to define with Q2 Music how the contemporary classical scene works, how respectful of its roots these artists are, and how much promise lies in a new golden age of composition that speaks with such resonance to authors, in particular—a world of musical colorists and textural genius that can stop a sensitive writer in her or his tracks. Welcome to really good, new music.

“What’s cool about this residency is that it is what I do, it’s the kernel of what I’m passionate about.”
Nadia Sirota

In addition to her residency this week, Sirota is working on a new album for release from Bedroom Community and the Detroit Symphony Orchestra’s new recording initiative. She and Muhly are in the fundraising stage for the CD, which will feature the American premiere at Detroit of Muhly’s Viola Concerto, written for Sirota, and two so-far unreleased Muhly works: his Viola Etude No. 4—which Sirota tells me is “the next installment in a decades-long collaborative project between the two of us”—and Muhly’s heart-wrenching Keep in Touch (their first work together), which is to be recorded in a new arrangement by Christ Thompson of Alarm Will Sound.

Is she busy?

Well, that’s another hallmark of Sirota’s way of living and working. As Delta Air Lines’ new slogan might have it, “there’s no stop in her,” just go.

I recommend that you hit Play on this video of Sirota’s performance with the DSO of Muhly’s new Viola Concerto and listen as you read some of her comments from our conversation. The concerto is an essential new statement of both Muhly and Sirota’s maturing artistry, soaring with the wonderment that Muhly’s intelligence brings to the stage and jagged with the muscular, incisive attack that hallmark’s Sirota’s viola mastery. Muhly’s concerto, conducted by music director Leonard Slatkin, sets off the DSO’s forces with profound grace and is replete with Muhly motifs the composer’s fans will love spotting. Sirota has never sounded better.

Composer Nico Muhly, left, violist Nadia Sirota, and Detroit Symphony Orchestra Music Director Leonard Slatkin at the premiere of Muhly's Viola Concerto.
Composer Nico Muhly, left, violist Nadia Sirota, and Detroit Symphony Orchestra Music Director Leonard Slatkin at the premiere of Muhly’s Viola Concerto.

‘What I Was Actually Doing Was Writing’

We start our conversation with an assessment of how far Sirota has come in her career as performing artist, journalist-commentator, and curator. And she gets quickly to something journalists understand: the mixed blessing and curse of being someone who interprets (or reports) other people’s work for a living. And authors will understand the kind of discovery moment she mentions: “What I was actually doing was writing.”

Thought Catalog: How do you see the way things are going now in your career, Nadia, with your new residency starting, the Detroit premiere such a success, and another album in the offing?

Nadia Sirota. Image: Samantha West
Nadia Sirota. Image: Samantha West

Nadia Sirota: I’ve felt a string of grateful feelings about all this. Intermingled with incredible terror at what I’ve wrought upon myself. It’s all very, very cool.

As a musician, you spend so much time working on other people’s projects. And I love working on other people’s projects. I love figuring out how to realize what other people have going on in their brains. That’s why I love working with composers, and it’s something I’m very good at.

But all of a sudden, right now, I’m working on a whole bunch of personal projects in a row, and I’m grateful I can do that.

There’s something to be said for both types of things. On some level, I can throw myself into somebody else’s brilliance—that’s a role I feel very comfortable with. All of these projects have come up because of this, and it’s really very gratifying.

TC: Gratifying, sure, but this is a lot of work, this residency in which you’re putting together all these artist who work with and around you—four evenings of music in a single week.

Sirota: It is a lot of work, but what’s interesting is that this residency is the kind of work I’ve actually trained for on some level. It’s something I know how to do.

By contrast, the funny thing about the radio show [on Q2 Music] is that it took me a really long time to realize that what I was actually doing was writing. I’d been in complete denial about the writing element of that.

In fact, even the way I draft the show: I’ll just make a little note on my phone and I’ll read it off of my notes app. It’s only later when I’m redoing all the voice-overs that I’ll realize that I’ve written about 16 pages. Which is a complete funny thing for me. There’s always a moment in my head when I’m, like, “This is not what I do,” even though it’s something that I do do.

So what’s cool about this residency is that it is what I do, it’s the kernel of what I’m passionate about. Obviously, it’s tiring and complicated with a lot of moving parts. But I like those parts.

TC: And when I look at the residency, what I see is you programming a festival. That takes the mind of an impresario.

Sirota: I think that’s probably true. The way I went at it is, “What is the music I’d  like to see? And who are the people I’d like to have in the room?” There’s a community aspect here.

One of the coolest things about being a traveling musician is that you have this sort of nomadic tribe of people you keep encountering in the strangest places. It’s all these different festival environments, and you’re like, “Oh, yeah, you!” We’re friends but not like friends who are connected to a specific city or place.

And one of the loveliest things about this residency is I’m bringing people from Iceland, from England, from Canada. People I really love and can rely on and am inspired by. I’m bringing them here to New York, to my home turf.

“At the bar, I commission people when they’re at their most vulnerable.”
Nadia Sirota

TC: What’s the funding behind the residency at Symphony Space? I know that the residency falls under the aegis of the Composers Now Festival, and there’s support for the Dennehy evening from the Isaiah Sheffer Fund for New Initiatives, right?

Sirota: Right, and Symphony Space has this fantastic artistic director, Andrew Byrne. He has an interesting and exciting vision for how that space can serve the community. The fact that he let me do this speaks very highly to his taste. [She laughs.]

It’s interesting that in the United States of America, this is how it works [in terms of private fundraising with comparatively little public subsidy]. But it also points to how there’s an incredible amount that you can do if you can find someone to believe in it.

TC: And did you use your usual approach to commissioning to get Donnacha Dennehy to write for you?

Donnacha Dennehy. Image: Sophie Elbrick
Donnacha Dennehy. Image: Sophie Elbrick

Sirota: Donnacha I met when he was doing a residency with Alarm Will Sound three or four summers ago. I heard him for the first time, and thought, “Well, this is my favorite music ever.” And I promptly did my thing, which is later at the bar, I commission people when they’re at their most vulnerable and then follow up. [Laughs.]  He was immediately excited about this idea of doing something with the viols da gamba. [Bass viols with a similar range to that of the cello.]

So now that piece, Tessallatum, is the centerpiece of the whole residency, And we recorded it before we had any idea how to play it, which is an interesting process. It ended up being scored for 11 bass viols and four violas. So we recorded that all with multi-tracking between me and Liam Byrne. The bass viol is a good bit lower than the viola, but the quality of sound on it, on the viol da gamba is so bright. It’s got this incredible bright weirdness of texture and color. So the lowest instruments in the piece are so bright. And the highest pieces, the violas, are so dark and mellow. I’ve just never hear color like that before.

The other thing he has in this piece, which is very typical of Donnacha is slipping back and forth between just intonation and equal temperament. You get the idea you’re looking through this kaleidoscope and all of a sudden everything seems clear and then it twists. It makes sense and it’s logical, but it’s not quite the same thing.

TC: And yet he never loses you. That’s what I love about Dennehy’s music. Like Nico [Muhly], he remembers the listener and brings us along. They leave us enough for us to hang onto.

Sirota: And you know that it’s hard to play but it’s worth it, and you know why you really have to make it work.

TC: And speaking of what you have to do to make it work, I have to remind you before I let you go of my favorite tweet. It’s from 2010, the Fourth of July, and you were playing an outdoor concert. The 1812 Overture, no doubt. Here’s your tweet:


Events In The Sirota Residency At Symphony Space

Tonight, Monday, 7:30 p.m. Eastern

Sirota is joined by Liam Byrne on viol and a four-viol consort—Doug Balliett, Gabriel Cabezas, Loren Ludwig, and Zoe Wiess—with Alarm Will Sound’s Chris Thompson on percussion and a vocal trio: Jamie Jordan, Kirsten Sollek, and the inimitable Mellissa Hughes. The program will delve into the Renaissance music that has influenced both Sirota and her close friend, the composer Nico Muhly, featuring music of Alexander Agricola, William Byrd, Orlando Gibbons, and more:

  • Slow by Muhly
  • broken by David Lang (a world premiere commissioned by Symphony Space)
  • just for three singers, viola, cello, and percussion by Lang (the US premiere)

Tuesday (2 February), 7:30 p.m. Eastern

Sirota welcomes her collaborators yMusic, one of the New York scene’s best-known contemporary ensembles, in a program to be announced from the stage and including works specially written for this eclectic sextet by:

Thursday (3 February), 7:30 p.m. Eastern

Arcade Fire’s Richard Reed Parry joins Sirota onstage for some of his and Bryce Dessner’s (#MusicForWriters interview) most compelling work, including:

  • Parry’s Old Folk for viola (a New York premeire)
  • Duet and other selections from Parry’s Music for Heart and Breath
  • Dessner’s Delphica for viola

Friday (4 February), 8 p.m. Eastern

A world premiere of Irish composer Donnacha Dennehy’s Tessallatum is the centerpiece of this special evening that also features Muhly, Byrne, Balliett, Byrne, Ludwig, Weiss, and others onstage with Sirota for:

  • A selection of music from the Icelandic collective Bedroom Community (the recording seat of Sirota, Muhly, and many more of the most acclaimed artists working today in contemporary classical)
  • Dennehy’s Tessallatum (world premiere, the work is co-commissioned by Symphony Space and the Irish Arts Center; #MusicForWriters on Dennehy)

For more about the Nadia Sirota Residency and additional Symphony Space programming, see the site here.TC mark

Kanye Likes A Finger In His Butt, But Who Are We To Judge?

Posted: 01 Feb 2016 12:00 PM PST

Twitter / @DaRealAmberRose
Twitter / @DaRealAmberRose

Kanye West flipped on Twitter. Whatever. Amber Rose said she put her finger in his ass. Cool. The problem? PEOPLE flipped at that point.

People thought it was nuts that Amber Rose and Kanye West (two adults who can do what they like) would do something INSANE like play with butts. Their own butts. The butts they own and operate. The butts they lay claim to. The butts that in Jurassic Park, when Samuel L. Jackson says ‘Hold on to your butts,’ they would have held on to.

Kanye, a straight man who makes great music, isn’t allowed to have a hot straight woman put a finger in his ass? That’s wrong somehow?

What does a man have to give to the world until he is able to come on his terms? Ten great albums? A thousands hit singles? Billions of beats before he can do the things that make him come, instead of coming for you and your weird thoughts? WHY MUST HE COME FOR YOU? Why must everyone in society come to the same things that you come to?

You’re into super tiny women whose collar bones could cut through a t-shirt? Good. Come to them. Some people would rather toss their dick in a furnace than jerk to tiny baby women, but the world widely accepts tiny baby women, so apparently everyone should jerk to them. The whole universe decided that Princess whatever her name is is the epitome of what a woman should look like. Other people would rather make love to a beefeater hat. LET THEM ENJOY THE BEEFEATER HAT IF THAT’S WHAT THEY’D RATHER DO.

It’s very sad whether the ‘allegation’ is true or not, that a ‘finger in the butt’ can be used as an attack against a man. And that this man, KNOWING this can be used as an attack, feels that he has to respond with ‘I don’t do that’ or ‘I don’t even have an ass.’

That’s insane. Man’s rich, can do what he wants. Should come out and say, ‘Yep! Finger in the ass, money in the bank!’

So many people are coming for other people. So many people are out there, dating types of people that are widely accepted by society, solely so they are not judged or feel weird. There is for sure a person out there who only want to date little people, only attracted to little people, but are dating regular sized people because society hasn’t deemed little people completely okay to be seen with yet unless you are also a little person. So THIS person, is dating regular people for you! Coming for you! And do YOU thank them? No! All you do is see them and STILL judge who they are with and what they’re doing. You should say SOMETHING.

‘Hey buddy! I know you can only REALLY come if you’re with a woman who’s 6’5″, but personally I find that disgusting and I’m thankful as HELL you didn’t bring one of those monstrous freaks into this bar. You brought a regular-height lady, who doesn’t hurt MY sensibilities and limited brain, and for THAT, I thank you. Here’s a free drink for coming at about a thirty percent.’

Some people think that butt stuff is a gay thing. That is insanely stupid. If a straight woman, does something to a straight man, it CANNOT be a gay thing by definition.

A gay thing is between two members of the same sex. A woman could throw a beer can into a man’s butt and it’s not gay. A woman could jam a door handle into a man and that’s not gay. IT’S SEX BETWEEN TWO STRAIGHT PEOPLE.

Are two straight people kissing gay? Why not? Gay people kiss. If a woman jerks your bag with her hand, is that gay? WHY THE HELL NOT? A gay man is out there jerking another gay man’s bag. WHY IS IT ONLY WHEN SOMETHING HAPPENS TO A BUTT IT’S GAY OR CONSIDERED A GAY THING? Gay people do all of these other sex things as well. Gay people pay their bills! Is paying your bills some kind of gay thing?

‘Dude, you’re not gonna give your money to Time Warner, are you? I thought I knew you.’

What is everyones issue with butts? What is your problem with butts? WHY ARE YOU ABOVE HAVING THINGS OR PEOPLE OR PLACES IN YOUR BUTT?

‘Don’t put that in my butt. Stop touching my butt! MY BUTT IS A PASSAGE WAY TO JESUS!’

Look, it’s 2016. How many times can you go the ol’ regular penis to vagina route. The OL’ penis to mouth. The ever-ready vagina to mouth. The OLLLLLLLL’ standard hand to penis and vagina. CHRIST. How good is your phone going to get? How FAST is the internet going to be? We’ve done it all, okay? You’ve come the same way for years. Time to go to the butt! Everyone! All of us! Straight people! Men, women!

EVERYONE. One day, people are going to look back on this time, the time that there were COUNTless articles about ‘People are into butt stuff now!’ and call us all losers.

A finger in the butt is the craziest thing you’ve ever heard? Are you twelve? Then fine, I get it. But if you are an adult, and finger in the butt is the CRAZIEST thing you’ve ever heard, it must be nice to live in such put together world.

If you pay taxes and you care about what another person does with their butt, you’re nuts. If you don’t pay taxes and you care about what someone puts in their butt, grow up. Or at the VERY least, if a person does a butt thing, for GOD’S sake, let them have that. TC mark

This post originally appeared at