Who Is Benjamin Miller?

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Music, Not Cotton, Is The Fabric Of My Life

As another year approaches it's grave, I choose not to lament, but to celebrate. I choose to appreciate. I appreciate the people, the places, and the events that shaped this year into what it has now become and look forward to the upcoming unknown with great anticipation and hope. I appreciate my loved ones; my family, my friends. I appreciate the authors whose labors of love have taken me anywhere I could ask to go through their words. Lastly, I appreciate the musicians who crafted the songs that have permanently seen their addition into the soundtrack of my life. Music is many things to many people, but I feel it safe to say that for all of us, music is what it makes us feel; it's the memories that have become intertwined in it; music is at the very core of who we are. I know that there really is no way for me to personally show my appreciation to the artists I love, but I feel it necessary to give back in my own little way. A tribute of sorts. With that said, I now present to you a list I have created, a list of my favorite individual songs of the year 2007. Half will be posted today, December 18, and half will be posted on December 31. It makes me smile to think that in some way, lists like these speak volumes about who I am. Mellow, noisy, chaotic, melancholy, faithful, alone, loved, mysterious. These songs are my every emotion, my every thought. I am these songs. They are me.

1. 'Falling Slowly' - Glen Hansard/Marketa Irglova
2. 'Garden Of Love' - Aqualung
3. 'Got A Suitcase, Got Regrets' - Tom McRae
4. '*fin' - Anberlin
5. 'Doomsayer' - Darkest Hour
6. 'Almost Lover' - A Fine Frenzy
7. 'Love, Reign O'er Me' - Pearl Jam
8. 'Liberty' - Keren Ann
9. 'Australia' - The Shins
10. 'Lord, How Long' - Tom McRae
11. 'Follow The Lights' - Ryan Adams
12. 'Hliomalind' - Sigur Ros
13. 'Dizzy' - Jimmy Eat World
14. 'International Players Anthem' - UGK ft Outkast
15. 'Behold The River' - The Snake The Cross The Crown
16. 'Antichrist Television Blues' - The Arcade Fire
17. 'Nude' - Radiohead
18. 'More Than A Memory' - Garth Brooks
19. 'Til We Ain't Strangers Anymore' - Bon Jovi/LeAnn Rimes
20. 'Say It To Me Now' - Glen Hansard

The best songs that will not be appearing include the following:
'Hunter's Map' - Fionn Regan
'Thinking About You' - Norah Jones
'Four Winds' - Bright Eyes
'Within Destruction' - As I Lay Dying
'Rangers' - A Fine Frenzy
'Long Ride Home' - Patty Griffin
'Haldi' - Flunk
'Seahorse' - Devendra Banhart
'What's A Girl To Do?' - Bat For Lashes
'666 Conducer' - Black Rebel Motorcycle Club
'Running To The Ghost' - James Blackshaw

Sunday, December 9, 2007

The Christmas season has always brought me a great deal of joy. Some of my fondest memories of childhood stem from this time of the year, as I'm sure is the case for many others. God, where has the time gone? Why can I no longer curl up into a ball in the corner my family's Christmas tree resided in, basking in the glory of the brilliant, flickering lights while hiding from the entire world? Where can I hide today? Where can I hide?

I can still smell the beautiful aroma of pine needles and cinnamon if I close my eyes and just try, but taking the time to do so isn't one of my strong suits. I am thankful for these memories, they have help shape who I've become. You may not know me, but you were there with me, you have the same memories.

I am Benjamin Miller, you are Benjamin Miller.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

I remember the weekend I spent driving out West. Packing up my car with all of my possessions, leaving one end of the country and going to the other. I wasn't alone, my best friend brother came along for the adventure. We listened to a lot of music, did a lot of talking, and did a lot of watching the world pass by outside of a car window. Seeing the landscapes of America at 75 miles an hour was beautiful. The wooded hills of the Southeast turned into the flat plains and plateaus of Texas, and finally transformed into the mountains of Arizona and California. I loved New Mexico and hated Oklahoma.

My brother and I drove 2,300 miles in around 32 hours. We took turns driving and sleeping, stopping only for food and gas. We left the Eastern seaboard at 2 in the afternoon Friday, and arrived in the Los Angelas area at about 10 Saturday night. We didn't take enough time to see what was to be seen, but we saw so much. We saw what a Burger King (and the insects that accompanied it) was like in Arkansas. We drove over a bridge at sunset over the widest river in North America. We saw what a road looked like in a straight line and dissapearing with distance. We saw a town asleep at dawn in the desolate dust of Texas. We saw modernized tepees in the Native American plains of New Mexico and Arizona. We saw Jesus walking on the side of the road carrying His book, he had no shoes on, and he was in Alabama.

What sticks out the most in my mind is cresting a mountain in California at night and seeing L.A. The hills were on fire with light, as far as the eye could see the place was lit up. My life in Georgia was always shrouded by pine trees, rising a hundred feet in the air, blocking out the sky, the sun and stars, and everything else. Trees don't exist in Southern California, people need the space for their homes and garages and workplaces and highways. Hills and low mountains aren't even allowed greenery, they build their too, it's a sight that I came to like, it was different, and reminded of stars in the night sky.

Eventhough my brother came with me, he went back to everything I left in Georgia. My best friends, my family, my job, everything I was used to. By the time the tires of my car hit the California state line I missed it all. With time I missed them even more. I went to the Golden State to be with my future wife and son and her family, and to try something new. I loved the beaches and people, but it was too fast for me, and for her it turned out as well. We stayed a year and went back home to Atlanta. Now I miss California.

In several days time my family in Georgia leaves to go live in Arizona. They're going out West and leaving me and my wife and son here. I'll miss them sorely, but this time next year I'll be back in California, where I like it, and my mother and father and brothers will be a short trip away. Things should be alright.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

as the days grow shorter, my mind begins to wander. everyday stresses slowly give way to the carelessness of winter. the cold air clears my mind, encourages deeper and more creative thoughts. this is my time to shine, this is the start of something special.

i sometimes cannot help but mourn his loss. where once he was sheltered, now he stands bare. so alone, so unphased. i can only hope to one day achieve strength such as this. when one appears so close to his end, i imagine the only consolation comes in the steadfast belief of the rebirth the future undoubtedly holds. we're not so different, him and i. not so different at all.

Friday, September 28, 2007

Into the woods

My father never taught me much. He was always so busy. There was never any time for baseball or movies or...well...anything. I spent most summers wandering aimlessly into the woods with a pencil and a pad of paper. I loved those times so much. I was anything I wanted to be amongst the trees. I was an explorer. I was a writer. I felt confident. I would tie bits of string to the trees to mark my way back home and I would leave small pieces of myself under rocks and rotten logs. Just the thought that someday, another explorer would find this treasure–this treasure of me...I think really, it was because occasionally, after big storms, I would find old baseball cards and glass bottles in a ditch behind my house. Nothing was more exciting than holding the legacy of a stranger with my insignificant, dirty little hands. Wandering back to my house of a busy father, a working mother, and a bully of a sibling, I felt relieved. Someone would remember me and feel the way I felt when I remembered them.

Summer's almost over now. Just the way it was back then. And no matter how much I had accomplished in that tangle of poison ivy and scratchy tree branches, I had no trophies to bring to show-and-tell. I had no stories but I had no friends to share them with anyway. While the other kids laughed and basked in their accomplishments and praises, I would just stare out the window and wait for the next summer to come so I could find someone else's treasure, and bury mine again.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

i spent many a summer's night splashing though the murky waters of my grandfather's old fishing pond. it got pretty deep in the middle, but over near the dock my feet were able to touch the ground and i always found comfort in that. some would argue that it is better to swim in open waters, but picturing the worst case drowning scenarios usually keeps me on solid, familiar soil.


Monday, September 17, 2007

there's a slight chill in the air

many trees still stand full and vibrant, but summer began it's retreat today. good riddance i say, let autumn come. when the pathway is covered with leaves, nobody notices when you fail to follow it.