My city is filled with a ton of talent, culture, and inspiration: music, photography, poetry, science, fashion, food, architecture —- If I had known the wealth of knowledge in this city when I was 16 / 17, I may not have been so cocky and self-centered. It’s been almost three years since I began school at Berklee and understood life away from home. I see many of my friends pursuing their own dreams, which is encouraging… But I also see them exhibiting the same type of attitude I had at the end of high school… That attitude and feeling of not needing anyone else’s help and feeling like you’re the only one with something important to say or do. It’s not true. Not even slightly. I’m at the point in my life where I am really starting to appreciate teamwork. There’s so much interdependence that connects us. We could be a glorious team. We could build a solid foundation for the future of this city. But we’re all too busy trying to catch everything we thrown in the air by ourselves. I’ve seen the power of teamwork both in Buffalo and abroad… It’s too powerful to continue to be ignorant to it. We’re too powerful.
Buffalo, NY: the city where everyone wants to be a quarterback, but no one wants to play on a team. Let’s just hope we don’t get a lockout like the NBA (OK, no more sports references…).
DISCLAIMER: I am a happy person.
Sometime near the end of August in 2010, there was mass hysteria about a mosque opening on land that was based near the crash sight of the planes that attacked the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001 (the “mosque” was really a community center which happened to have space to worship). What made me mad was the negative public reaction to the situation. I couldn’t understand why anyone would be so… Stupid. I wrote a piece about my reaction to the reactions late one night. And then I scrapped it and wrote something I’m rather proud of. It’s below.
I appreciate being in this country. I admire the idea of America very much. I’ll never truly be able to say I’m not an American (though the government might fuck with me and make it true one day). My friends don’t always (or ever) understand why I react weirdly to being called an American. I thought about calling myself a nomad, but that’s lame. I’m starting to embrace the title “retired-American.” Here’s the piece I wrote, unedited. Hopefully it doesn’t disappear from the internet. Take care.
Last night, I read a bunch of people opinions about things they felt very emotional about and it angered me. It angered me so much I wrote a very, very long diatribe on what being an American has devolved into. Well, I just deleted all of that without hesitation. The last few months have taught me if I write out what I think I want to say, I eventually will find a way to make the point very clear without the need for metaphors in an essay-like manner. It took me three or four hours last night, but it was relieving to see something make sense. I’ll keep this brief.
Americans. They go out of their way to help the world, when their own people still sleep in the streets. Some argue incorrect points and refuse others equality based on bias and ignorant opinions. For all of the good this country has done, for every one of it’s people that have given parts of their lives to benefit others, there are the people that spit on any progress that could have been attributed to any positive cause. Negativity is not something to dwell on, I want to make a positive difference that effects more than myself.
But change can’t happen until you acknowledge what needs to be changed. You’ve already lost the fight if you don’t know the cost of life.
I am Sylvester James DuBenion II, a man in a country that, after over 300 years, still can’t decide if it wants to hug me or hang me. A country that treats difference like a disease. Even so, I care so much about this, about there being peace, that I can’t give up in my causes towards it. But in the meantime…
I don’t want to call myself an American. I’m retired.
Hey. My name is Syl DuBenion. I’m a saxophonist, composer. Welcome to Room for Improvement, my new website. It’s a music portfolio, it’s a blog. It’s a space I can use to express myself in a way I have neglected for just a little while. I’d really like to take the time to explain the title of this website, Room for Improvement.
The term comes from a mixtape by Drake released in 2006. The phrase, to me, embodies a very important outlook on life. To have room for improvement is to acknowledge you have a chance to become something better. No matter how perfect you think something is, it has that chance to transform into something beyond comprehension. This is something I had believed my whole life but never bothered to put into words. With such a simple way of saying it, I now share it as much as I can. In my own words… A room of improvement is a room that can never be filled; your goal should never be to fill it, but to continue moving things around and adding to it. To make it your own, to give it personality. So while I’m decorating, here are my thoughts. Thanks for reading this, take care.