Part One: Heart Hurt, Then It Looks
moreover, this whole damned thing is much, much harder than it looks. of course, that is the much coveted illusion, ain’t it? we — when we observe — we want to see civilized laboring, elegant failure, plucky keepwithitness, and general untapering (detapering?) glamorousness. but of course, its actually much more awkward and gross — like most things in this life that we treasure in the abstract. a delicious meal starts with dirt and shit and sunlight, goes on to selective murder/culling, and then violent application of heat and laceration to the preformative dish. and then, only at the very last, do we take all that, put it on a plate, and enjoy its sweet prettiness before we send it down our throats to turn back in to dirt and shit — in darkness.
it is not unlike being musical. at least, it is not un-similar to what it has been for me.
well, and there is plenty to it that is nice and direct. but to get to those civil, effete places you must mingle in the mire-ing mud for so long. yes, the end result is an isolated moment of song. an hour (or so) of sweet and savory directed consonance and dissonance. and there is a mechanical element there as well: playing the instrument (its just abstracted physics made practical), breath, vocal cords squeezing, larynx bumbling up/down, left and right.
but for that isolated moment to come to pass — so much weakness, acceptance, learning, pain, sacrifice, loss (of thing unrecoverable or irreplaceable). i don’t really think you can just wake up from all-pleasant living and start singing the blues. a shadow of it? a semblance? the beginnings of a shaping of it? sure. imitation is, itself, a kind of art (one that implicates a sense of loss — of self and/or direction and/or direction and/or agency — and beingfulness). but the genuine article is pretty obvious when you see it. hear it. feel it. what-have-you.
of course I am reminded of the anecdote where Olivier asks Hoffman: “my dear boy — have you ever tried acting?” (or something like that). after all, if the semblance of soul is close enough to the real thing (close enough for love, as they say) then why not just get close enough and be done with it?
though, consider that deeply, to build one’s house from something that is close enough for a brick to serve — won’t that house be susceptible to all kinds of attack? mightn’t it be hard-pressed to hold it self up? when the rooms are empty, it serves. but as a home, it will suffer. it will slowly (perhaps almost imperceptibly) sink, crack, compress. until it has holes — and the wind and the rain can get it. and weeds grow up on the facade and grow through it — stretching it apart. until the house is open to all the world.
why then, its not house. for if it can barely support itself, let alone people inside it. how can it house the things that elevate a structure beyond mere physical construction? can it hold memories? ghosts? can it hold tears, wails, or sighs? can it offer resistance to the man who closes the door and leans against his house?
enough, perhaps. enough for long enough. but eventually, it will not be enough. and then one of two things will have happened: either a) the denizens of said house will have vacated for something that is true and can hold all the various vagaries and joys of living. or b) the slow decrepitation of the house (while it still holds folks) will lead to a sympathetic decrepitation of the folks within it.
and there’s the rub.
to truly be something is to truly be it. and close enough is not being it, but being close enough that it: might as well be it.
but when what is close enough becomes, in effect, being something, it (ironically!) truly becomes being something in the mind. and so we slip from veracity into something like poor reproductions of veracity. it was like this into: it was basically like this. and then, the inimical move continues down the line — what was not close enough before is now the stage that is just shy of the genuine thing. and so, if we are trending towards relax in that guise, we will accept that new not-quite-enough as just-enough (which is now occupying the chair of what truly IS). and so on and so forth until, we are mutated. we are changed. we are shadows dancing on our own, evermore distant seeming, cave walls. metaphor melt, similes fold. everything was everything. but then, somehow, everything is just this small, hyper-limited, hardly varied thing-scape.
what i’m saying is: ain’t no half-stepping, folks. the easy way does not simply diminish oneself. it diminishes those you share yourself with. in all ways. everything, in this universe, rolls down. in order to climb, one must strive. ain’t no half-stepping. and its harder than it looks.
Part Two: Soft. What. Light.
the flipside is much less bleak. after all, all darkness would just be a kind of bliss ignorance, wouldn’t it? it is only our present ignorance that makes us think otherwise.
and i guess i’ve felt that much of my adult life has been living in two worlds. in the one — the one sort of responsible for the depressing shit above — its all internal. in the mind, its brambles, thirsty shadows, hungry shades, prickly realizations, constant, self-actualized unhappy striving. etc, etc, etc, monsters, demons, and bears.
and then the other world is the rest of the world. it is external. and, by comparison, its a pretty damned happy place. or, at the very least, amenable place in which to be and to toil. and it is bright. bright, in aspect. and literally, bright. even the night and the literal dark, when compared to the streamless dark of the minds unfathomable corridors, are pretty nice. pretty warm. pretty inviting.
what follows, then, are a few bright. colorful. mirthy moments from the now late year. it is gone, but not forgotten. not replaced. it stands in a place and it carries a place. indeed, it may stand in the place that it carries. or vice versa.
yeah, acknowledged — i have a lot of photos of myself. not only do i like to document where i’ve been, i think my innate anti-prettiness makes a nice companion for all the pretty things I get to see. i like to inject myself into the photo. its like pretending i’m outgoing or extroverted.
of course, this is a photo that is pure, pure introversion. this is what I would be all day and all night if it were possible. oh the things I could do.
also this photo reminds me like early 20s Newroom editors. and that’s just right up my alley. except i hate editing. with a passion.
the homey, Noah (aka “Soul Khan”) got married this year. though it was after a week and half of strong touring with the Screaming Headless Toros (and i flew back to New York with them and then went through customs and then walked up the stairs and then went back through customs to head to Toronto. never left the airport) and just before flying down to Kentucky to play for a dear friend’s sister’s wedding (and no, didn’t stop off home then either) and though i basically got sick 25 minutes after leaving this wedding (and I’d known it was gonna happen — stupid body. stupid immune system), I am glad I was able to spend the full 26 hours in Toronto and be there for the big day.
not least of all because we got to do this in our suits. and that’ll be an important detail down line, i expect.
sure. on a gig. probably between songs. backing up Natalie Forteza at the Winery at St. George. again, one cannot over estimate the value of a novel gig. and i like this pink tie (which i’d gotten the previous year from being a groomsman in the wedding of another dear friend. down in Georgia.
and why what a smile. that, in all my searching, is the rarest expression. even when I know I was happy. so there, universe. Brutus was an honorable man!
Soul Khan gets more love because he made big steps this year. here, i think we were in North Carolina (but I’m not sure). did a gig at an indoor festival at a big university. it was raining bitterly. our green room was a locker room (complete with showers, and, yes, lockers. could not resist creating this photo once we figured out that Noah could fit in the locker.
i believe we even had a clever name for the photo. but that’s long gone. as i recall the gig went fairly well but i was very sleep deprived and had flown in from somewhere else (though i know not where) and so after the gig (which was early evening) we went back to the hotel, ate, and then rather promptly passed out. and then woke up at 430 in the morning to catch a plane home. and even that was more rigamarole than it should have been. if memory serves.
this was a photo Ken McGloin took. it was at a wedding on Martha’s Vineyard. when i saw it, my firs reaction was: and thus had i become a Hipster. it was just all to perfect. i wound up accidentally breaking those glasses a few days later and I think that may have liberated me. or… i am in severe denial.
either is likely.
well, Blake the Snake gave me this watch. and I love it. the winder-upper stopped working a couple months ago and i need to get it fixed. and i will. upon finding the time and loose change. in any case: 24 hours! ANALOG?!?!!!! it may be i am easily thrilled.
for i was.
would say my favorite moment of the year probably comes from ignominy. oddly enough, it is often the times when you could feel the most insulted, most helpless, most angry, most vengeful — it is often those times when it is easiest to step back and laugh. in this photo, we’d (Aabaraki) waited to book a hotel in burlington, VT until the day of the show. of course it was beerfest. ALL the rooms were booked. we got luck, on the semi-outskirts of town we found a really nice hotel room with a single room left. but it had a cot and bunkbed. and, grownmen though we are: we had to stay there. after the gig, we came home, bunked in, and watched some terrible television movie.
good times indeed. good times indeed.
not sure why this one. but, you know, Hello Brooklyn. damn. 2014.