Loud-mouthed liberal feminist. Anarchist knitter. Tequila-drinking artsy-smartsy fat chick. Bluesy folk-rock singer-songwriter. Rebel with too many causes. Quirky eclectic pagan poet. Paradoxical intuitive smartass. Sarcastic brainiac insomniac. You know, for starters.

4.10.2008

The path back to sanity.

Despite the fact that I write this missive from the nerve center of a 6 x 8 cubicle where I daily slip my soul into a drawer in return for a tidy sum that pays my rent and keeps me in guitars...and also despite the fact that I can, at most points in my life, be counted on for calm, logic, objectivity, perspective, and (most importantly) sarcasm...one of the paradoxes I hold is that of the reasonably functional tortured artiste.

I often feel like I am standing on the edge of going stark raving bonkers, and that my skin is entirely too small to contain the maelstrom of restlessness and conflicting emotion that is my own personal cross to bear. I have described it many ways over the years, sometimes happily, others with less appreciation. Whatever it is, it's the thing that fuels my creativity, that drives me to craft words and music and art and whatever else it is that I make in this world. The recent video of Jill Bolte Taylor that made the rounds on the internets....struck a chord with me, as if it held a piece of it, too...which part of me is freaked out by, wondering if I'm two steps from a stroke or something (and then there's the other part of me that constantly wonders if I'm just an undiagnosed manic depressive or something - but then I remember that I am relatively functional, and rule out the crazy).

It's hard to describe. Sometimes it's triggered by some intense experience - beauty, turmoil, someone else's suffering, conflict, all of these can send me into a restless funk. I can spend hours or days trying to sort through the ineffable malaise, trying to put a finger on what's wrong or missing or desired. It's a thorny process, because none of those words quite describes the problem properly....and neither does "problem." Things can be totally fucking fine, and yet they're not. It's all shades of gray and misty bleeding bullshit that can't be clearly defined. Generally, I just wind up wandering around observing something, jotting down lines of music or poetry into a notebook, not speaking for a few hours, finding the current of silence that runs under the frenetic nonstop action of life.

Today is one of those days. I'm restless, and there's something I...don't have? don't understand? can't do? Something hurts, without hurting. I'm not describing it well.

I decided to distract myself from my discontent by searching out new music. I coasted from music blog to music blog, reading descriptions of bands and artists I hadn't heard of. I crawled through archives and trolled link lists. I thought that surely, somewhere, was the new thing that would make it all right, that would flip the switch and return my brain to its regularly scheduled programming. I followed link after link after link.

And then, for some reason, I thought I'd go see what The Mayer was blogging these days. And found this:


What now, then? I can only really say for myself: Enjoy who I am, the talents and the liabilities. Stop acting careless. In fact, care more. Be vulnerable but stay away from where it hurts. Read. See more shows. Of any kind. Rock shows, art shows, boat shows. Create more art. Wear hoodies to dinner. Carry a notebook and hand it to people when they passionately recommend something and ask them to write it down for me.

Root for others.

Give more and expect the same in return, but over time.

Act nervous when I'm nervous, puzzled when I don't know what the hell to do, and smile when it all goes my way. And never in any other order than that.

And when it's all over, whether at the end of this fabulous career or of this life, which I hope takes place at the same time, I should look back and say that I had it good and I made the most of it while I was able. And so should you.



This also led me to Rothbury Festival, which not only combines massively diverse musical action AND environmental awareness....but also is being held about twenty miles from my dad's home in the middle of nowhere in Michigan. Fucking unbelievable.

Yet again, the weird synchronicity of this man whose life is mine-two-steps-to-the-left....is somehow what I was looking for. Or at least the beginning of it.

1 comment:

Carrie said...

I absolutely know that feeling of 'something is not quite right but I can't put my finger on it'. When I feel it I usually drive myself crazy trying to find what is missing, what needs to be fixed, etc. Thanks for this post...it's really helped me see that situation in a different light. Maybe the feeling is not about fixing something that's wrong, maybe it's like a metal detector approaching a quarter, alerting me to an opportunity for growth or creativity or something new. Hmmm...awesome.