I became insane with long intervals of horrible sanity.
Edgar Allen Poe
The trouble with fighting for human freedom is that one spends most of one's time defending scoundrels. For it is against scoundrels that oppressive laws are first aimed, and oppression must be stopped at the beginning if it is to be stopped at all.
- H. L. Mencken
Many people would sooner die than think; In fact, they do so
What I have been telling you, from alpha to omega, what is the one great thing the sigil taught me — that everything in life is miraculous. For the sigil taught me that it rests within the power of each of us to awaken at will from a dragging nightmare of life made up of unimportant tasks and tedious useless little habits, to see life as it really is, and to rejoice in its exquisite wonderfulness. If the sigil were proved to be the top of a tomato-can, it would not alter that big fact, nor my fixed faith. No Harrowby, the common names we call things by do not matter — except to show how very dull we are ...
-James Branch Cabell
May 11, 2016 - 5:44 p.m.
I didn't write yesterday let's see if I can get this done quickly today. There's a problem, the space key is sticking, that's going to slow me down.
Yesterday I went to John Platt's On Your Radar. As I am carless in Westchester getting there was not easy. On weekdays there's a bus that stops not from where I'm staying and goes to the Scarsdale train station. I had a little trouble finding the stop and that almost proved disastrous as the bus runs only once an hour. But it was a few minutes late so everything worked out. The trains don't run that frequently either but I had only a fifteen-minute wait. I got to Grand Central around 4 and had plans to meet Graydon and Laura aka The Young Novelists at 5:30 atRockwood Music Hall Stage 3 so I had an hour to kill. I went to the 42nd Street Library to read. That's one of my places; I have spent so much time there, it's home. I went up to the Main Reading Room and it was closed! They are doing construction. I had to go to a far less beautiful reading room on the second floor. That was just an ordinary library room, not the grand experience of the main room. Still I made significant progress on Game of Thrones. Then I hopped on the and went to Rockwood., I got there exactly 5:30. Too bad the door to Rockwood 3 was locked. I had to walk around the block and enter through stage 2. I love that nobody even thought to ask me what I was doing there as it was closed and they were setting up for the first act there. They didn't know me but I acted like I belonged. I went down to Stage 3 and saw I beat Laura and Graydon. I hung out with Gordon the sound guy for a while. We have the name bonding thing going on. John came down too. Then John and I went back upstairs and Laura and Graydon came in. I went out to their car and had a New York discussion on the legality of their parking. If they moved their car back till it was 2 inches from the car behind them the front of their front tire was almost exactly aligned with the yellow no parking stripe by a driveway. The law is the tire must be behind the line. While debating what to do somebody down the block pulled out. Laura and I ran and held the spot while Graydon moved the car. The car that was there was parked so inefficiently that when Graydon parked the minivan there was room for a second minivan to park behind them. Parking efficiency should be on the road test.
We ran into Mike and Karen on the street and we were going to join them but Gordon came out and asked if the Novelists could sound check as the band that should have checked first were late. So Mike and Karen and I went to the pizza place down the block. We ended up being joined by Richard and Fred and eventually Graydon and Laura.
Then we headed back to Rockwood. The running order was Blair Bodine, The Young Novelists, then Durham County Poets. I met Blair when she was on the Falcon Ridge Preview tour back in 2012. We were actually debating the year, none of us were sure but that was the consensus. I knew who for sure was on the tour, one of the best ever. Pesky J. Nixon, Louise Mosrie, ilyAIMY, and Blair. I just realized that I know these guys well enough to have crashed with two of them PJN and ilyAIMY.
I was worried about how big the crowd would be, as two of the acts were Canadians not well known in the City, but it was quite healthy.
Blair does not perform nearly enough so I haven't seen her in ages. She's gotten even better. I'm so happy she's making a new album. She had one song that's right in my wheelhouse, it's about the Italian guy that stole the Mona Lisa in 1911 because he thought it belonged in Italy. You want me to love your music, write songs about quirky history. Of course it helps that Blair can write technically great, sing, and has stage presence. I'm prejudiced as she's a friend, but Fred gave me affirmation by saying all that on his own. She impressed.
You know how much I love the Young Novelists. Yeah I'm prejudiced again. They are so my people, but they are also great musicians with real chemistry. Their voices blend beautifully and their songs are not generic. What more can you ask for? You didn't ask but you get bowed glockenspiel. Yeah, you'll love them.
I saw Durham County Poets at NERFA but it was not under the best of circumstances. I did not make them one of my big discoveries. I'm glad I saw them again as they should have been a big discovery. They look like string band but they play blues. Nobody else can see it but to me they remind me of M Shanghai transposed into the key of blues. Keith the leader is one of those guys that makes the stage patter a show unto itself. There's musicianship, songwriting, singing, just about everything. I'm a convert.
Fred and I sat in our usual seat and were joined by Peter who gave me a ride home. I think they only other people I knew there were Kayrn, Claude, and and damn who was sitting with them? I'm sorry person sitting with them. I didn't have much time there for schmoozing and I had just seen them. I hadn't seen Blair in a year.
After the show Peter drove me home. That's always fun too. He lives about 8 minutes from where I'm staying. We talked a lot about Annie Haslam and Renaissance.
I'll write more about what's going on with my quest for a life tomorrow afternoon or evening. I am going to philosophizing a bit about it now. Those of you who are reading this for the music feel free to read on or stop. I put things on the web for all to see but I don't want you to feel obligated to read on. I like myself better when I'm writing about music and fun things; you can too.
People keep telling me that things are going to be OK, that I'll get through it. Nice thoughts and I appreciate the sentiment but they don't actually know that it's true. It's just a wish that it's true. Things don't work out for millions, maybe billions every year. I'm an atheist in a foxhole. As much as I want it to be true one of the pillars of my world view is that the world would be a much better place if people didn't confuse what they want to be true with what is true. There is no rationale whatsoever for assuming things will work out just as there isn't for assuming that they won't. That's what I focus on. I'm feeling extremely pessimistic. I don't see a way through this. But I know that doesn't mean there isn't one. We're all in the midst of a churning sea of randomness. Sometimes we can go against the current, sometimes the currents are too strong to overcome, sometimes the currents take us in the direction we need to go. Am I sounding like a fortune cookie? I'm trying to be a poetic rationalist. That's as core me as I can get. I'm actually thinking of Markov processes and Brownian motion. Importantly I like the guy that's writing this. Oh, I just remembered what else I wanted to write.
I love everyone's concern. I know a lot of people care about me and that helps. What I don't want is for you to think of me as damaged goods. It's not how I think of myself. Yes, I have Crohn's disease, cataracts, and anxiety. That's not who I am. I'm smart, creative, organized, funny, caring, an idiot, and cute in a spiny anteater sort of way. I really do think of myself as that. Yes, I list idiocy with my good qualities.
Brother Brothers in Arms - October 01, 2017
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