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Olenka

from Vessels by John Greer

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about

A short prologue to the songs in C major. This song mostly speaks for itself, but I would like to give some context on its title. Olenka is the protagonist of an old Russian short story called The Darling by Anton Chekhov. I highly recommend George Saunders analysis of this story from his book “A Swim In The Pond In The Rain”, two insights from which I’ll share below:

First: We see most of the story from Olenka’s perspective, but by the end we learn we weren’t seeing the whole picture of who Olenka was. It’s not that she is an unreliable narrator (the story is told in third person), but even just narrating from her perspective inherently paints an incomplete picture, save for a few clues that there’s more to the story than what Olenka can see.

Second: Saunders comments on Olenka’s habit of reusing pet-names for her lovers. He puts it like this:

“We want to believe that love is singular and exclusive, and it unnerves us to think that it might actually be renewable and somewhat repetitive in its habits. Would your current partner ever call his or her new partner by the same pet name he or she uses for you, once you are dead and buried? Well, why not? There are only so many pet names. Why should that bother you? Well, because you believe it is you, in particular, who is loved (that is why dear Ed calls you “honey-bunny”), but no: love just is, and you happened to be in the path of it.”

That last line was a revelation for me. We’re just caught in the path. Empty vessels, bobbing along in the river, tipping over to both fill up and spill out the water, again and again.

Co-writing credits: A Swim In The Pond In The Rain by George Saunders; Blue Spotted Tail by Fleet Foxes

lyrics

Love
Love
Darling, love
I wasted so much time on you
My parting love

But time
Spent
Wasting away
Is not a waste it’s just the way we make
Our way above

You’re
Not
My darling love
We’re all little darlings
Caught up in the stream

We’re
Just
Vessels love
And the love that courses through us
Courses endlessly

credits

from Vessels, released August 4, 2023
Writing, performing, engineering, and producing by John Greer
Recorded at home in Atlanta, GA

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John Greer Atlanta, Georgia

atlanta guitar stuff!

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