Stack of Futility

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I took my trash and recycling down to the local transfer station this morning, chatted with Glen our dumpmaster about our coming plans for large waste and scrap metal collection day (a town official’s work is never done). One of the things Glen does is to take things that others might get some use from, and keep them on a shelf next to the office shed so that somebody might take them home.

I spotted two stacks of CDs, about twenty-five in each stack, and said to Glen, “Let me have a look through those. You never know what I might come across.” And as I went to browse, he said, “Yeah, those are all demo CDs of bands that got turned down to play at Harvest Moon.”

And I stopped dead, couldn’t even look at them. Harvest Moon, a music weekend held every year in our Vermont town of 750, is a lot closer to a village potluck than it is SXSW or Outside Lands or Lollapalooza. And here’s this pile of work from fifty musicians, all of them trained and practiced for years, at the dump because they weren’t deemed strong enough for a small town music fest.

It’s one thing to read the numbers. It’s another thing to see the pile. No writer, no artist, no academic, should ever be faced with the evidence stacked against them. It’ll break your heart.