the writing and photography of Neil Kramer

Wood-Grained Turntable

I was reading your writing, listening to the pain in your voices, and then, finally, I heard mine. It was faint at first, but as I moved closer, exploring my own sensation, the impact of my unsteady step caused a screech, the sound of an imaginary LP album skipping on an old wood-grained turntable of the 1970’s, jolting my eardrum. I twisted the knob in my head to the left, and turned the volume down, back to faint. It was better that way, I thought, not hearing this secret, painful message, embedded in the groove of the record, like the infamous “Paul is Dead” that Barry’s sister said you can only hear if you play a Beatles album backwards. All night, the air-conditioner blew on me, the icy breathe of a spiteful Nordic God, and I hummed to myself, avoiding any thought about my marriage.


  1. flutter

    This is beautiful.

  2. CatrinkaS

    You did, indeed, find it.

  3. headbang8

    You can turn it down. Or you can change the record.

  4. ingrid

    this is beautiful and heartbreaking.

  5. Alison

    That was lovely, Neil. And yes, heartbreaking.

  6. kenju

    Very sad, Neil.

    (I have one of those old wood-grain turntables from the 70’s – it still works great.)

  7. Middle-Aged-Woman

    You just keep right on hearing your own voice in that mix, mister. Your voice is pretty damn important.

  8. slouchy

    oh. this is really lovely.

  9. Karen MEG

    Neil, this was exquisite.
    You should listen to your voice more often.

  10. Astrogirl

    I wish you would write with this voice more often. Although it can be excruciatingly difficult sometimes, it has an honesty that your other writing doesn’t necessarily have; and that honesty is pretty incredible to read. Thank you for sharing.

  11. Heather

    now this is writing.

  12. V-Grrrl

    I love when you write like this. Love it.

    When I first began reading your blog about four years, I wrote that you had one of the most original voices in the blogosphere. You still do.

  13. amy

    you know this is brill. xo

  14. Finn

    While I love your funny, do more of this. Really.

  15. amy2boys

    Wonderfully done.

  16. Mighty Hunter

    Achingly beautiful. Truly.

    Also: I feel you. I lived this way for a while, too. If you turn down the volume in your head, every song sounds like a song you love (if I might continue your metaphor).

  17. Lisa

    Not sure that I have commented yet, but I love your blog. This post makes me wish I could give you a hug. I am sorry you are dealing with this pain.

  18. Jurgen Nation

    Neil, this is beautiful. *You* are beautiful, and I don’t care if this is manly or not. I agree with Finn – you do funny so, so well, but this side of you is too good to make silent.

    Love you, sunshine.

    And thank you for the crush!!! I was thinking about you this morning, actually. I think if we’re both single in 10 years we should totally hook up. Or I would just pay you for sex. 😉

  19. better safe than sorry

    denial is not always a good thing. sounds like it times to listen to that voice in your head, it’s not going to go away.

  20. schmutzie

    You are being featured on Five Star Friday!

  21. Marci

    I used to play the end of Prince’s Darling Nikki backwards to hear the chilling encoded message. It didn’t make sense then, but it does now. It said, “Neilochka is one fucking bad-ass writer.”

  22. churchpunkmom

    Beautiful Neil. Don’t turn your voice down.. let it be loud, let it be heard. Even if it hurts. 🙂
    You have an amazing voice.

    We’d love for you to join us tonight for FiveStarFridayLive at

  23. Haley-O

    Well, we love your voice in our heads. This was beautiful, Neil. I’m sorry it hurts so….

  24. Staceylt

    Thank you for this, Neil. I’m sure it was difficult to share. It made me want to reach out to you and comfort you somehow.

  25. Tara R.

    Sometimes we do forget that the volume knob can also be turned down. I hope you find a happier song very soon.

  26. akaky

    What the hell are you talking about?

  27. Lynda

    You were one of the people I turned to, when I was questioning my own relationship. You seem so open and honest about your feelings, and I wanted to understand from a man’s perspective.

    And I can understand how you might want to turn that off sometimes.

  28. Monica

    Beautiful piece.

  29. Andrea's Sweet Life

    Wonderfully, hauntingly written.

  30. Heather

    Neil, your honesty floors me. I love this side of you. Thank you for sharing it with us.

  31. Gwen

    I liked this, Neil. I hope you figure out a way to enjoy your own voice and to get the other shit worked out.

  32. Jody

    Neil, sorry to hear of your sadness. There are happy times waiting for you. It just might take a bit. Take care.

  33. sarah g

    i hope that when you are able to sit and listen to your song/pain, that all of the healing that is needed will take place. Dont be afraid to listen, but only you know when you’re ready to hear what its saying, and Im glad that you hear it. And remember that even the sadness notes, have a beautiful melody of memory.

  34. Loukia

    I really have to get more original with my comments, but this was, well, beautifully written. I loved reading this. You are an amazing writer.

  35. maggie, dammit

    The cool thing is you can turn it back up when you’re ready.

  36. mamie

    hmmm, i am sorry that is what you hear, but maybe you will be a bit better for the hearing of it?

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