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
November 30, 2013 - 1:32 p.m.
Yesterday was not a good mental health day for me. I did nothing and accomplished nothing. I didn't have a single significant interaction with a human being. I didn't read. The only time I did anything mentally healthy was when I blogged, made the video, and of course ate the cookie with the peanut butter on it. I'll show that again.
Fixing my computer ended up having some bad consequences. Instead of forcing me to get out of the house it gave me an excuse to stay in bed. I was going to go to the Jewish bakery and get challah so I could make French toast today but waited so long it was sun down and they were closed. Then I was going to go to Trader Joe's and get challah and kept putting that off. I finally went at 8:30 and they were out. Instead of getting a good dinner I had Popeye's. I tried Pathmark and got the Challah and a few other things and that was my activity for the day. Today I have to get out. I just have to. It doesn't matter that I can't think of anything to do. I'll go to the holiday markets. I'll look at shop windows. But this is the very worst weekend for that. Everyone is there. Anyone want to do something with me today? Any ideas?
One of my recent posts got people questioning my self-esteem. So I pointed out that has blogged close to four million words must believe he has something to say. And I do. I see my flaws and I am not afraid of writing about them but I see them as flaws in something of value. All large diamonds have flaws. Nobody think it ruins them. But it made me think of my songwriting friends. I hear so many belittle their work or say that I'm being too generous in my praise. Or even worse saying that I only like their music because they are my friends. I have friends that I hear criticize every show they put on no matter how much I and the rest of the audience love it. But upon further review they have self-esteem. If they didn't think what they did had value they wouldn't be out there writing songs and performing. No matter what they say their actions speak louder than their words. And that's good because I'm thinking of some of the most talented people I know.
Being an artist is an act of ego. It's says that you have ideas worth hearing or seeing. Think of Vincent Van Gogh, making painting after painting that nobody would buy. He was the archetype of the troubled artists and he took his own life. But he painted all those paintings. It wasn't for money or honor or respect. it was for the value of the paintings themselves even if no one else in the world saw it. That speaks of breathtaking self confidence in a symbol of insecurity. We're all complicated and geniuses more than most.
Know what I want? I want for my friends who I hear belittle their own work to think about this. They might not believe me, they might not believe their fans, They should believe themselves.
So it looks like this is going to be the art edition of Wise Madness. Good thing that I long ago decided to not worry about sounding pretentious. Here I am telling artists about art. That's self-esteem bordering on narcissism. OK I see you in the back saying, "See there he is running himself down again." I said bordering. I'm staying safely on the right side of the line.
On a long subway ride I was thinking about my life and kept finding myself thinking in terms of literary or mythological characters. When I think of anything one of my contexts will always be Tolkien and another Cabell. Myths are myths for a reason. One way they are not realistic make them more suitable for understanding reality than reality. I'm going to come at this from a different direction, science. When you study anything in science you don't start with the real world situation. The first thing you do is simplify the situation. To understand a projectile's motion you start by thinking of an airless environment with constant gravity. you then add the complications one at a time.
People are a lot more complicated than projectiles. We understand them through stories, simplified versions of realities. We look at a world of villains and heroes. And later we make stories with more complex characters they are still not real. The situations are not real. Things have a point, even if the point is that they have no point. It's easier to get a handle on. It's a way of organizing things. I was telling a friend that I'm a story teller. So is she but she has exciting stories. Mine aren't. Not inherently. What I do is give a context to a series of mundane events to give them meaning. That's pretty much all I do here. I talk about going to the stores, about subway rides. When I'm being exciting I talk about being in the audience for a show, not performing. But people read them because they are about something. The whole point of Seinfeld is that the stories that were about nothing were actually always about something.
So two things came up as I was writing that. First I got invited to a party tonight! All I know is that there will be musicians that will be playing. I somewhat suspect that I might be literally twice as old as the average one there. We'll see how it goes. At least I' getting out of the house, It's a long trip, Spanish Harlem. Let's see how long it will take me. Duh, it's at the place I subletted. Evan invited me but I thought it was at a club or something. It should only take me 50 minutes if I time it right. I bet that sounds like a lot of time for people that don't live in New York.
The other thing I did was quickly exchange messages with someone that always makes me feel good, a ray of sunshine. It's not like he/she is a close friend. Its not someone I talk to every day or see often. But when I do I get happier. That's the kind of person I want to be.
Wow it's late. Now I have to do something else that will make me happy. Make and eat French toast and bacon.
Brother Brothers in Arms - October 01, 2017
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