Monday, February 9, 2009

You can't put yr arms around a memory

Some of you i haven't seen in a while, some i've never seen at all. Some might've thought they'd never seen me again. I know i've been gone a while, so i thought i'd take a moment to recap, and perhaps introduce myself to those that don't know me.
My 20s have been very hard, and there were times when i didn't think i was gonna make it, when i didn't think the darkness was ever gonna end. When i was younger, i was good at pretending that i had my shit together, things didn't bother me; projected an air of confidence. Truth of the matter is i was a ball of self-loathing that covered every uncomfortable sensation with drugs and alcohol. Never dealt with anything, and it all festered. As i got into my 20s, i felt worthless and inadequate, and basically tried to kill myself. I survived all of that, and i'm here to type all this now, sitting at my neighborhood coffee-shop. I want to tell y'all what happened, what i've learned, who i've become.
During most of my 20s i have been a fanatical music obsessive. Playing it, listening to it, i let it become my whole life. I have played music my whole life, starting with piano lessons at age 4, going through school bands and the growing pains of becoming a rock musician. I have gotten more and more fervent as time has gone by, but most of the time i felt that i was missing something. Some magic formula that would transmute me into a rock god, help me write songs like Dylan and play guitar like Hendrix. When that didn't happen, it really threw kerosene on the fire of my self-hatred, and i didn't think that i deserved to live, that i was worthy G_d's grace. The truth is: music saved my life. During long, hard nights when i was having re-occuring images of drinking a glass of bleach and washing this life goodbye, i'd think 'it's just too tragic, if i die before writing a good song.' I wanted to at least be a tragic genius. It got me through, and i'm happy to report that my various creative outlets are starting to really come together.
I lived most of my life in a blur, not paying attention, not really here, not really there, not really anywhere but in my head, which was a bad place to be. I'm somewhat ashamed to admit that in my lifetime of experiences and sucking down media like rock candy, there is so much that i just haven't really absorbed, paid attention to, been moved by. Today, it is my job to allow myself to be moved deeply by the world and the people in it. It is a constant battle, to slow the fuck down, to not define myself by the thoughts in my head, or my worth by how intelligent i am.
Today, i feel like i am surveying my life and picking up the pieces. Stepping out of the shadows, and i see a lot of friendly faces that remind me of eras of my life that have been missing. My life has been a succession of next things, one thing after another, as i'd try on different costumes and personas, to defend myself, to pretend i was invulnerable. One of the things which i have battled with through-out my 20s is the effort to appear COOL and to be respected by COOL people. Truth is, it came from a place of fear and inadequacy, over-compensating and trying to impress. I'm not trying to be cool, now, i'm trying to be real. I legitimately like myself, today, and that is a miracle.
So i'm living in Boulder, Co now, and i am sober. I am getting my life together. I have been dead fucking broke for the last 5 months, eating out of dumpsters and alleyways, but people have emerged to help me, and i have been well loved and taken care of. I'm not alone anymore. I'm playing music with a couple different people, and i feel that i am a pretty competent guitarist. I listen to and collect music obsessively, as always, but i am struggling to have a healthy relation to it, and not have it be another escape. I have a sitting practice, that i struggle to be dilligent with, but i feel better when i do it. I'm dating a girl named Sue, who i am wildly and passionately in love with. We've been together for a little while now, and it has been surprisingly healthy and sane. She totally fucking rocks!
So i want to tell some of the stories of some of these wild and drastic times, but i thought i would provide a preface, to quench the curiosity of those who're curious. I know i've been go awhile, for some, but here i am! And i am ME! Better than i have ever been! Whole and happy, and ready for the struggles are ahead, because i don't have to face them alone anymore, or try and have all the answers, or try and impress. I'm lettin' it all hang out, cuz i don't have anything to be ashamed of anymore (although my apartment is a mess, and i would hesitate before having anyone over for soup and salad.)
So this is gonna be a place where i can post some of my wild stories and be generally self-involved cuz frankly, i need to get it off my chest. I have spent a decade waiting to be William Faulkner, or Gandhi, someone totally brilliant and selfless. But i've always written in journals, even during the darkest days. That's the reality, and i'm dealing with reality these days. I will also keep y'all posted on what is going on in my life currently.
So anyway, its good to be back...


  1. It is never good to have Jim Morrison's chronic genius-level depression for the cure was nowhere that I could find...except for every year that clicked past 27 (Jim, Jeanis, Jimi all 27 at death) I became angrier that I had outlived them. So much for my alter in the Pantheon. I am still here and have given up on depression. If taken in the correct context of Nature, it becomes music. You only need look to yourself for happiness. It is nowhere else to be found. When I feel lonely (not very often), I try to confirm it by closing my eyes...but, the same thing always happens. I hear the singing birds, the wind in the trees, even the light through my eyelids all remind me that I am very much NOT alone. I don't know many people who are good at it, but we must only count our blessings and never our misfortunes. I like who I am, thus, ALL that has been endured was necessary for it adds up to what I am. The very reason for Nature's existence is the education of the soul. Tell the others.
    I wanted to start at the beginning of your blog. If you have repaired this part of your life, then please disregard. It was heavy, and desrved comment. Gotta go.
    Music does save lives. Honk, if you love peace and quiet!

  2. o dearest kwai, yr words do move me so, and i totally relate. Education of the soul, indeed! This area of my life has been largely repaired, although i have my moments. Primarily, music has given my life drive, and a direction, and also serves as a barometer and thermometer to the passing days. I do feel lonely, at times, but at others i feel intensely connected, and due to networks such as these i am occasionally reminded. I hope you find yr way back here soon.

  3. Love, work, suffer! That's all we get to do. But, at least, before we awake, it is impossible to know that this is not a dream. What happens in a person's life is already written...we must move through our lives as our destinies will. Fear is the only darkness. Fear can only flourish wear there is selfishness. I say the best illustration is the water vessel. It gets its usefulness from the empty space inside. If one tries to be like the emptiness...tries to be nothing, then one has everything to offer others. I can tell you this: There is a need for people like you and me. Our work here is far from over. Since wisdom is not a flower to be plucked, but rather, a mountain to be climbed, I was only so happy to find you. You seem to have taken in the waters of the Tao. You already know what I know...that your shadow leads to a hidden treasure. I was afraid that your path was leading away from here...but you have returned. I do not forgive you...I am grateful. I will be back.
    SINcerely, Kwai Chang
    PS- Twin Feathers is the best, brother!

  4. its funny, these are some of the ideas i have been grappling with, lately. This idea of useful emptiness, rather than, say, a master architect or something. I am an aquarian, by birth, so this idea of the empty vessel is resonant w/ me. Its funny, writing this spot, you'd think that i would be striving for mastery, for adept-hood, and it is a hope that the words grow stronger, and more accurate. But this seems to stem from appreciation, rather than control over some formula. And every time i sit down to write, it is stepping into the unknown, and i feel uncertain and unsteady. But connecting w other humans, (or entities, or whoever you people are out there), is really an affirmation, and a major impetus to keep going. I've made actual friends, during this project, other artists and musicians and writers and mystics, and it is incredible, cuz in a lot of ways, its all i ever really wanted. The feeling of isolation disappears.

    I've started writing a secondary blog, brand new, dealing with more personal, psychologyical, metaphysical pursuits. Its,

    and i've got metric tons of amazing music to spread around. I've been listening to a band called Last Harbours all day today, who are label mates with Twin Feathers. Pretty good, doomy gloomy folk stuff. But i'm feeling rested and rejuvenated. Great things to come!

  5. To think for yourself can certainly be scary. Is not openmindedness a position of vulnerability? This means questioning all that is outside of Nature. How is one to find the right path? How is one to obtain the answer? not seeking it. Life is long for those who pick and choose. Would you second guess your own heart? Doesn't it know everything already? If Heaven and Earth are one, then we need merely strive to achieve harmony and balance between mind and body. To know Nature is to be one with the Universe. Who can say more?