Thursday, January 26, 2012


Back in High School when I was wheelchair bound after corrective surgery on both my feet (an absolute failure honestly) I was assigned a student to assist me.  She was very zealous non-denominational Christian.  We had lots of talks.  At one point she told me I would make a good Saint.  Their use of that term was not the same of the Catholic Church, it was grounded in an entirely different church culture, one that was probably just as mystically inclined, but less hierarchical in organizational structure.  Anyway, I took it as a compliment, and considered what it would require of me to pursue it as a goal, but to quote a classmate I thought highly of, "I Ain't No Nun Willie!" and I knew then I wasn't a Saint.  I wanted to be, but I was a sinner moving towards the light.

One of the most troubling things that came out of our talks was Profanity and recordings.  She said that every time a recording of someone cursing was played, they sinned again.  For me this had staggeringly profound implications.  I was an MC, rapper, whatever you want call it, and deeply invested in Hip Hop culture, which wasn't a place for the easily offended.  I'd thought about getting rid of all my music with profanity in it, not using profanity when I freestyled (which was probably the easiest thing for me to do given I was in control of what I said), but at that point (early 90s) if you stopped listening to rap with cursing, edited out or not, you would ultimately not be listening to rap as a genre, you would be listening to a handful of rappers.  The culture dictated the language, image, and in many cases, acceptable behavior of it's young, impressionable practitioners, and I was one of them.  I would reason with myself that I could reach more people to share the positivity in my life if I could relate to them through our shared culture.  I also remember my elation when a few "polite" artists got a little break now and then which allowed me to feel a sense of solidarity as part of a semi-vocal minority of Conscious & Courteous Hip Hop Heads. But, given the household and community I was raised in, talking like a sailor was something I still held with a little regard in certain company.  Colorful language appealed to me in a direct and undeniable way.  It had power, added zest, when used for affect in the right context.

Eventually I got into scripture, and not just the IDEA of being Christian and moral in action, understanding the philosophies behind the faith, and their spiritual origins.  One of the more challenging ideas for me was that all sin is the same in the eyes of God.  I'd heard of the Seven Deadly Sins, learned what they actually were thanks to a movie.  In my mind and heart, they couldn't be judged the same.  Then I really tried to wrap my head around the Eden scenario, through scripture, and even Gaiman, who's own use of Eden as a backdrop for some of his Dreaming stories, got me to revisit Genesis.  I began to understand that the Original Sin was Self-Mindedness in principle, and Disobedience in action.  Death entered the world by way of Sin being introduced to humanity.  If you could have paradise, eternal life, companionship, and dominion over your domain, so long as you simply follow one rule, given to you by that which made you, and all you know, why would you risk losing it?  Well, the answer was simple:  The Belief that you could be like your maker, which creates a scenario where you have no need to adhere to the order that was set forth for you.

The Fruit of the knowledge of good and evil wasn't something that Adam and Eve needed to partake of, they were not starving in the Eden scenario, they were simply tempted.  They did not know right from wrong, or what would they gain from the fruit.  At best we can say they knew God's Will, and their Sin, the original Sin, was Rejecting it.  That said, to go against God is to invite Ultimate Death/ non-existence into your life with open arms.  We are born into Sin, perhaps in part because we are aware of such a choice, the gift born of that fruit that each subsequent soul has harvested in the core of their being?  We are born putting our perspective before all others, pursuing our own intellectual satisfaction rather than receiving and adhering to the direction of those who know better and preceded us.

Those are just some of my ruminations on the subject of Sin, which I learned means "without" in some languages, which is perfect given that all Sin is to act without/ apart from God, and Hell is described as separation from God.  I guess that begs the question. "What is God?"

The source of life
The essence of truth & righteousness
Love incarnate
Infinite & beyond comprehension

Wednesday, January 25, 2012


Who of us isn't a cog in the great societal machine, a facet of the all powerful "Market" that corrects itself?  Markets can't run without vendors or customers, so aren't any corrections made a collaboration between the actors, not the location/ circumstance they are interacting in?

That's just one kind of alienation I see these days, one of oh so many.  The things we invent become the things that shape our lives.  The things we own dictating our actions, owning us.  The conveniences we embrace begin to feel like necessities, and denial of them produces outrage.  People are weird that way.

But of course, the one caveat when trying to predict or describe human behavior is this: once they know you're looking, some people change their behavior, just to manifest their need for control, and desire to determine their own fate.  Meanwhile, they let the creations of man steer the course of their lives. But that's old news, people have known all this for years, they just weave a more elaborate web, repeating the same pattern ever wider.

Hell Bent

Okay, The song in question is a personal favorite to the Nth degree, the Video as well.  What's tricky is the emotional state the song evokes in contrast to the title, at least in me.  I think more than I act, even when I'm acting like a manic obsessive compulsive (usually happens when I'm building/ assembling, amassing, or organizing things).  That said, whenever I feel Hell Bent on doing something or another, it's a self-conscious effort because I'm so aware that I'm going beyond what would be reasonable in that moment.

Am I one of those people who just gets in moods? Am I persistently melancholy?  I can't really say, and yet I tend to relate to people who seem to be the latter.  But I have a sardonic sense of humor about that.  The older I get, the more truncated my emotional range seems to become, if only because the stuff of life becomes more transparent, and it's harder ( and often naive) to have unfettered reactions.  Am I as callous as I or others think myself to be?  I don't really know.  I probably don't think about it as much as I should, or question it.  That sense of humor of mine is a handy dandy coping mechanism that lets me coast through at times where it would be more appropriate to turn to faith or some reserve of conviction and hope.  Instead I settle for some low-grade existential resignation in place of genuine humility.  It's a cheap substitute, which is appropriate since I've become so miserly with my emotional attachment.  I don't think that's going to earn me my wings, and if I'm content to go on like this, I truly am hell bent, and that's a shame.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Back to the Future

Things have been getting interesting for me this Winter.  I've had time to work on the domestic side of life.  Making my house homey, or as homey as my tastes can allow.  having the winter break helped. I also had time to watch a few movies, and listen to a lot of music, from artists I'd lost track of over the last 10 or so years, only to find I'm really pleased with their development.  It's strange to grow up, and realize just how young I was when I got into a lot of this stuff, and the weight of the things I was into, that the artists I took and interest in spoke on.  It seems so foreign now, that person I was.  I used to write about how Memory was the cornerstone of Identity.  To forget was to lose yourself.  In a way, to learn is to augment memory via perspective, and in a way, leave your old self behind.  And then like acid reflux that old self resurfaces, and you can totally see it coming.

Today I watched something on on their tv channel.  Daytripping with GZA & Son.  If I did the math right, GZA's kid is 20 or 21!  He looks a lot younger than that.  GZA hasn't really aged, just a stray gray in his beard.  They played tracks from Liquid Swords, and I still get geeked up off those tracks.  They played a few tracks off Wu-Tang Forever, and it was right on time, cause for the last month I kept thinking about GZA's Shout-Out in the liner notes of that double CD. I loved it, and of course, and was feeling it during the holiday season.  Of course his shout out was coarse & succinct, "F a Shout Out!"

Maybe this is what happens when I don't have to put on my big boy clothes and go to work for 2 & a half weeks, stay up all night, or starve myself all day while I work on music or home improvement projects?  Revisiting all those contemplative and angsty artists I vibed with, that are still angsty and testing my comfort zone and ability to justify my convictions may have the effect of reviving those things in myself, or at least reaffirming the choices that compelled me to remove those voices from a position of influence on me.  Time will tell, but I can feel the angst. I might just have an Occupy MY Street Protest, where I go work on my yard and rake up all those dead sticky gumballs the wind blew down the other day.

No matter what, one thing that has changed above all is, now I am in a home I control, subject to my debts and whatever ordinances apply to me at any given time.  That changes everything.  What I do there sticks, until I or some force of nature changes it.  It's a surreal feeling to not be transitory any more, to actually settle into my surroundings (i'm notorious for waiting months, if not years, to hang art/ decorate) and know, God willing, I will be there for me, and by the grace of God I won't be moving once I'm done with whatever it is I'm in the process of doing.  I'm just living these days, and that's Hella Good.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Flood Gates Are Open

So, the time off has worked wonders for my Domesticity and Musicality.  Two new Ideas on the 2nd, and I've got a pretty inspiring waltz I'm sussing out at this very moment.  Gotta love Drop D and airy arpeggios.  Gonna record it full out after work today.  This isn't a music blog, but Lord knows this is a blog about finding perspective,  and mine brightens when I can do something creative and evocative, even if it only pleases me and no one else.