Thursday, April 26, 2012

Country Livin'

Growing up in the county is literally one letter away from growing up in the country, but it isn't the same.  Truth be told, it's nowhere near growing up in the heart of a city, so the spelling and lifestyles correlate there.  I am going to go in deep on this subject, of what it means to be called Country by someone who think's they're city, to be viewed as condescending city person by folk who live in rural areas, and to know who you are in spite of all that... but not just yet.  I'm tired. Consider this a blog in progress, inspired by one heck of a song from back in the day when I was living in a College town in the middle of the country literally.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

More Love

Love comes at so high a cost that it's no surprise people covet its spoils and are reticent to share it in good faith with others.  Sadly, the antagonistic system of supply and demand perverts and corrupts it, and by the time you get it, it's not even Love anymore.

Part of me thinks love and innocence are a package deal. One necessitates the other.  Now, I do believe there are two kinds of innocence: Naivete & Virtuous.  The prior comes from ignorance, the latter from choosing to forgo exposure to the corrupted and perverse. I don't know if many people parse the concept of innocence that way, but it works for me.

The more guilt and corruption we have to reconcile, the harder it becomes to trust, ourselves and others, thus the harder it is to love.  There is merit to sparing yourself consequences.  Why make things more complicated, unduly sophisticated, for the sake of... well for the sake of what?!?!?  A lot of the things people do sans love, they regret or attempt to justify, if they can't just keep it under wraps and undisclosed.  If that's a possible outcome why do it in the first place?  Such things seem self defeating.  I know this from personal experience.  And if I have my way, I'll be the first to disclose my shame, and encourage you to not revisit it.  Just take someone's word for it and leave it at that. Live a better life with that knowledge in hand sans the mental and spiritual anguish that comes with negative experiences.  The less of your  memory occupied by pain, the more room there is for Love, which is what we live for.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

This Is Not About Love...

Time for some blunt honesty,

Not once in my pursuit of my Ex was there a moment when choosing to welcome her into my life, or welcome her back, that I ever found myself lacking of interest in someone who, for one reason or another, may have been a preferable choice.  You can blame the loyalty of being involved with someone who was a long-time friend, of sorts, a lack of confidence in myself, or whatever else makes sense in retrospect.  Either way, the one thing about my Ex was that she seemed to always turn up at moments when I was on the fence or in dire straights because I was conflicted about my feelings about another woman I'd made the acquaintance of.  This has never once not been the case.

She, my Ex, was my shield, protecting me from disturbing the casual acquaintance equilibrium I've always found so comfortable.  It's just less complicated to be unattached and friendly, you don't have to care much, or be too careful about what you say.  Impression management is a minimal concern, cause what you do you have to lose?  If a person is your friend, they should accept you for who you are so long as you're not offensive to them.  That's the logic at least.  In the interest of honesty, I'm not a person who is easily captivated.  I'm stand-offish and have a self-involved approach to processing things that alienates me from my own existence in action more often than not.  That doesn't always hold up.  Sometimes someone connects, and I just can't get past it.

Some people know how to captivate, by nature or machination, in an effort to get what they want, or at least facilitate their own sense of peace and happiness.  There are different temperaments, but the ones that are warm, whimsical, but restrained, those are the ones that have the biggest pull for me.  Just so happens that most people with these temperaments are highly attractive in general, which means they are more often than not involved and/ or committed, and when they are not that makes you wonder why they aren't.  For someone who is as unconventional as I am, physically, psychologically, it's easy to explain: I am a freak of nature, and a freak of culture, and being attracted to me is a bit of a novelty, and ultimately forces a lot of compromise.

It is what it is, and I've embraced my place in my world.  For people who are closer to "average" or "normal" it gets trickier, at least for me.  There are many things that people keep close to their vests regarding their personality, familial/ cultural (and in some case physical) quirks that make them feel slightly alienated from other people, or willing to accept compromise in their choice of partners.  In that, we all have our weaknesses.  You just never know why some people relate to you or not. But in my case, my misanthropy is represented in the vessel my consciousness resides in.  I'm pretty sure if I were an average guy with an average build I might be a horrible person because there would be less barriers between my impulses and people's acceptance of them, but I've been on the outside of that experience since I was 11 or 12 years old for one reason or another.  That makes me very curious about other people's reasons for be unattached or willingly compromised in their relations with others.

So, the reality I've had to cope with is, what did it say about my mind state when I took up with someone who's needs were obvious and thrust upon me vs. someone who in my perception seemed to have their affairs in order, had their *$%& together?  Am I cowardly for being apprehensive about pursuing someone I had a high opinion of, that I never thought needed anything from me?  Those sort of people put me at ease, I really enjoy their company, and ultimately, with my Ex that was the sort of person I wished to see her become, in the hopes that our relationship would blossom when she got to that point.  That's not how it worked out, but whatever, my investment in that case was a byproduct of loyalty and a quasi-agape love that existed before the romance.  With that out of the picture, there's no longer an uneven playing field, and the apple of my eye could be anyone.

But it isn't.  There is someone, and one of the first things I discussed with my Ex when she reintroduced herself recently was the subject of my suppressed affection for this woman, that was burdened with the confusion I held regarding her own romantic entanglements, or lack thereof.  The last thing you want to think about regarding someone you are smitten with is their feelings for someone else, the condition of that relationship.  To celebrate someone's heartbreak is the most selfish turn infatuation can take, but something an opportunistic heart can't help but consider.  What if you're wrong?  If someone seems available but isn't, well isn't that the non-starter that just sucker-punches the puppy-love struck Cyrano in us all?  That's the thing; people who aren't committed will entertain their options, even when by someone else's standards they aren't legitimately available (but if they're not upfront about that they can fish for suitors at their whimsy, as my Ex can attest).

I do know that there are times when you look away because you are self-conscious about how inclined you are to look.  There are times when you are aware that you enjoy your conversations more than you usually do, when you're apt to smiling and laughter and feel at ease.  It's at times like these where I feel I have to put up my guard, because, well, I mean, what if there are invisible lines, loyalties to honor?  Having crossed those in my life in my ignorant youth, I strive to never do so again.  But sans invisible lines, there is that sense of jeopardy that comes with "liking" someone.  Why mess up a good thing by making it a "thing"?  Especially if there really isn't anything going on but two pleasant people relating to one another?  You don't want to misread things, and I am not given to chase.  All that jive about someone "Not being that into you", I don't abide by that in the least.  I am all in or all out, and if I'm being honest here, I usually lean towards all out.  At least I used to...

There was a time when I was beyond caring and would spend time with people as much as they allowed, and if the subject of romance or attraction came up I would flatly express my status, and press them on why they asked.  If they wanted involvement, and I welcomed it, then it was on.  That was all I needed.  The precursor there was spending that time with someone, that sharing of time was the giveaway.  If they wanted to be around you and you alone, that was the green light to consider something.  How that time together was spent predicated whatever advancement came to pass beyond that.

The complicating factor I have the hardest time dealing with is when someone I know I like, is nudged in my direction.  I start to feel outed, suspect of the intentions of parties involved.  I mean, what man trusts the intentions of women conspiring in concert? We're raised to be leery about their motivations as pertains to us.  It's a messed up way to be, but something many of us are conditioned to feel, and when you've had bad experiences with women, it only reinforces that leeriness.  No doubt I've had bad experiences with the women in my life from jump street.  There's been a world of good experiences too, but it's complicated to say the least.  But nothing puts me on edge more than when women conspire on the behalf of one another regarding available men.  It can be flattering, and equally deflating, and of course people can be fickle, flighty, or flat-out crazy. A misstep could alienate you from an entire group of people, and not just one individual. Who want's to be that guy?

It could be said that I'm obsessed with being even-keeled or presenting myself as well-adjusted, but my romantic history would prove otherwise.  I've harped on my insecurities regarding the type of women I tend to attract in the past, and the type of relationships I've been attracted to.  It's made me apprehensive enough to second-guess my instincts and impulses to the nth degree, but what reasonable person doesn't?  Only ham-fisted people do things without thinking about their tendencies and the consequences of their actions.  Why jump in and screw things up that could otherwise be perfectly content?  Is Romance such a prize that it's worth making a mess of things between every possible mate you find the least bit of attraction or chemistry with?  How do you keep from entertaining that thought with everyone, or curtailing it when you Are involved with someone and greener pastures present themselves?  Those are the kind of questions that undermine me.  I think it has it's place given the events surrounding the year I turned 21.  That's the sort of mistake I will only allow myself once, as I am no longer so naive or young.  Once was too much.  Same goes for the shortcomings of my 27th-32nd years.  I'm too old for games, and too jaded for infatuation to satisfy my inclination towards romantic involvement.

So, like an Omen of beautiful women I don't know well enough to trust, but who's complications are transparent enough to reveal with an introspective question, my Ex waltzed back into my life to exorcise a few of her demons as pertains to our unresolved conflicts.  I immediately embraced it as a sign that someone had taken an interest in me other than her.  It's like the woman has Radar.  Uncanny honestly.  It's served her from as far as Half a Continent away, but each time she's resurfaced her influence has diminished because of the ever increasing evaporation of trust and affection I have for her based on her treatment and perception of me as a person.

Perhaps no woman has damaged my perception of Women seeking the love of men further than she has?  At least as far as women who have sought my love, when countered by what she'd done once she attained it.  Time and experience, though ever-changing, have desensitized me to whatever charms she has to employ, so that leaves what affections I have to dole out to this woman, who I'd at one point sooner avoid than acknowledge I'm drawn to, available for me to dispense upon that particular someone else who I am smitten with.  We reveal bits about where we are in regards to our entanglements or lack there-of in passing, within earshot, but not with the intention of informing one another.  Does she recognize these moments like I do?  Are we giving each other hints, or am I dramatizing casual, platonic interactions?  Am I being coy, ignoring the obvious for the sake of not making myself vulnerable?

As much as I value discretion and integrity, I will always remember the first crush I pursued, going back to 3rd grade, as a secret admirer.  I wrote a song, left decorative pencils, and My Little Ponies from happy meals. Of course she moved at the end of the year, which coincided with my revelation of my affection.  I was never good at this romance thing.  Miserable timing.  And then there's my own obliviousness, or willing ignorance of the reactions I'm drawing from people when I don't want to digest it, akin to a twisted denial/ disbelief.

We all make impressions on one another, not all of them are flattering.  Ultimately, you recognize that some matter to you, even when you don't really want them to for one reason or another.  You find yourself spending time, taking in environments, and fostering relationships you might otherwise forgo for the sake of the way it makes you feel to be there, with that person you are inexplicably drawn towards.  It's all a little too scripted.  How often are people willing to let art imitate life and vice versa if both are contrived?  But what if they aren't contrived?   What if the truth they betray is uncomfortable simply because of  where you situate yourself psychologically at a given time in your life?

Simply put, every time I think about this woman, this particular situation, I smart a little, shake my head, laugh, curse, and am just beside myself, because I feel like I should know, that it should be obvious, and maybe it is?  It's the elephant in the room, but if we acknowledge it nothing may come of it still.  It could just be this cumbersome awkward thing that's out of place and going nowhere, but feels good to rest upon.  I am reluctant to find out.  Be careful what you wish for, especially if you never let yourself actively wish for it.  Who knows what you are getting?  I just want peace and simplicity, truth and love.  Is that so much to ask for?

Should the eyes of that woman I am thinking about, the ones I for some reason have never hesitated to look directly into, always bright and engaged, come across this writing, I am humbled to find my fancy has fallen on someone like you.  Every compliment you've shared goes beyond flattery because as the source, you yourself have impressed me with your grace and poise, in tandem with your humor and empathy.  The bar is so high, how could I not be intimidated?  How could I not be inspired?  It's a strange thing to think someone deserves better, but not because you know that they are being shorted by someone, but because they garner such esteem in your eyes.  I can wilt, or I can simply chose to improve.  Why not improve?  There's nothing to lose in bettering one's self.  You can't love anyone else if you don't first love yourself.  Why not make it easier to do so?  From one comes the other.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Oh boy, My head's a mess: Mind Idea

All I can say is that I allowed myself to entertain an idea that I otherwise had discarded for years.
In concert with entertaining that idea I also augmented the means by which I communicate and my availability.
What I created was the opportunity for the catalyst to reintroduce the vacuum/ void they left that I'd managed to fill and repair with adequate means.  Now, it has to be reconstituted, as if I invited an intruder into my home to vandalize it after I'd worked to repair and replace the damaged and lost artifacts of my serenity.

I can function, but my hospitality towards such an intrusion has left me uncomfortable with myself, because to prevent further disturbance, either the character of the trespassing party has to be reformed, or I have to mount a more vigilant effort to secure my home, and of course, home is where the heart is.  As the video depicts, the carefree vagabond knows not the damage they may do, they are naive to the consequences their trespasses may have.  In that their intentions seems innocent enough, but actions have consequences and accountability is shared regardless of intent.

If the road to hell is paved with good intentions, where do haphazard or ill intentions lead us?

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Weird Fishes

For the astrologically minded I am a typical Pisces.  It never was my intent, I never knew of the stereotypical notions about the sign when i was becoming the individual I am.  Just call it dumb luck, it most assuredly wasn't a self-fulfilling prophecy.  I am what I am.

It's odd that I was so struck by the film Catfish, along with the reason it took that for it's title, and recommended it to an estranged lover who I thought might appreciate it.  It just so happens she had been thinking back to the story her grandmother used to tell her about Koi, a phoneme for something I accused her of being most of the time.  It's not like my accusations were unfounded.  They were usually pretty spot-on actually, uncanny in their perceptive nature, like Astrology sometimes is.

Well, since I was born in the year of the Dragon, I was always one to look for a connection between the two astrological icons ascribed to someone of my particular birth date.  I couldn't come up with much, other than spurious self-manufactured concepts.  Well, apparently I just didn't let the powers of coincidence/ synchronicity play out.  All it took was googling "folk tale about "coy" fish" to find an entry about the meaning of  the dragon and the koi fish depicted together.

Koi is the Japanese term for Carp, and  apparently the legend is of Chinese origin.  It is the tale of the Humble Carp and the Rainbow/ Dragon River & Gate, which is told here:
So, if I want to bridge the divide between Water and Fire, Fish and Fantasy, Sea and Air, I have my folklore at the ready.

Meanwhile the story my ex was referring to is a variation of  The Fisherman and the Fish although I thought it had an Asian origin.  Perhaps it's a universal folk tale?  The wiki mentions it appearing in multiple forms by other authors including the Brother's Grimm. The animated tale I recall as a child was set in the Orient, and the golden fish was a Koi/ Carp for certain.  That's the binding tie.

Our experiences/ points of reference regarding the Golden Fish related to our conflict with one another regarding how we live our lives and pursue happiness/ contentment.  That disconnect may very well prevent us from ever having a friendship of any sustainable sort, because I will continue to strive to be transformed into something beyond what I am, and at least from what I have perceived, she looks for fulfillment in the terrestrial.  Our last parting of ways, though unspoken, was a fine illustration of how these two ambitions can't be compromised or reconciled when commitments are divided evenly between the two.

All of this is bunk anyway, because she's a Scorpio. I only know of one folk tale featuring a scorpion, but perhaps there are more:

This is the one I know: The Scorpion and the Frog

I did not know it was supposedly derived from:

The Scorpion and the Tortoise

The Latter is more empowering than the prior, well at least for the aquatic life.  In either case it seems that due to its intrinsic nature the Scorpion's instinct to inflict harm is its undoing when companionship is it's saving grace.

Best to avoid them/ leave them lonesome eh?  But what sort of fools let Astrological Signs and Folk Tales govern their lives?  What kind of fool indeed...

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Varying Degrees of Con Artistry

I was recently extended an offer:

Reciprocity and Intimacy in the context of friendship.

In exchange I asked for Honesty, consisting of Full Disclosure.

I didn't see how you could have Reciprocity and Intimacy without Honesty.  So a compromise was fostered that left the person extending the offer compromised.  When a person wants to withhold full disclosure, they usually have reason to be apprehensive, and such was the case.  The reality was that the party making the offer wasn't in a position to reciprocate or maintain intimacy.

It wouldn't be the first time someone has asked someone else for something they wanted but were incapable of sharing.  Honestly, any time anyone goes about doing so they are disrespecting the person they are soliciting.  I don't know which is more of an offense, when they aren't honest about their solicitation, or when they are and approach you with the expectation that you will take their offer?

It's not right to react to disrespect with disrespect, but I have my moments when I am weak-minded and temperamental and do snap back. The better path is to challenge the person to step up to your standards instead of revisiting any standards they've accepted themselves and potentially regretted accepting.  Sometimes people convince themselves that it's ok to be taken advantage of, or be exploited/ abused by others if they gave consent, and to do likewise, because we're all accountable.  I can follow that, but I also believe we all deserve better and should do better than perpetuate destructive cycles of  inconsiderate dehumanization and disrespect.

That being the case, I might lose out on some of what this world has to offer, but it's no loss if I don't want those things under the terms they're presented with.  If I am going to be called judgmental for adhering to what I believe is good judgment, I'm willing to live with it.  The ends justify the means if it allows me to forgo further indignity and insult upon injury.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Taking All This Work

The last three weeks have been a interesting experience, the exploration of love lost up for discussion with a lost loved one, and the reality of life weighing down on the proceedings from the start.  It all brought me back to a song from nearly 6 years ago that was the engine to my first concerted effort to move on when said love affair first hit the rocks Hard.  I had just turned the corner in my life, New Job, stable routine, romantic collapse.  Enter Jars of Clay's Good Monsters, enter Work:

Just in case, I will leave my things packed
So I can run away

I cannot trust these voices I don't have a line of prospects that can give some kind of peace
There is nothing left to cling to that can bring me sweet release
I have no fear of drowning
It's the breathing that's taking all this work

Do you know what I mean when I say, "I don't want to be alone"?
What I mean when I say, "I don't want to be alone"

Empty spaces with shadows hit by streetlights
Warnings signs and weight of tired conversations
In the absence of a shoulder, in the abscess of a thief
On the brink of this destruction, on the eve of bittersweet
Now all the demons look like prophets and I'm living out
Every word they speak, every word they speak

Do you know what I mean when I say, "I don't want to be alone"?
What I mean when I say, "I don't want to be alone"
What I mean when I say, "I don't want to be alone"

Alone, alone, I don't want to be alone

I have no fear of drowning
It's the breathing that's taking all this work

The urgency of this song still resonates with me to this day, particularly when confronted with the struggles that come with maintaining any sort of relationship with a broken trust and wounded hearts, especially when the ends fail to justify the means for all parties involved.  It creates a pressure to give it up entirely, or dream of some miraculous change that justifies it all in the end.  In the end, we seem to always find a path to resignation, which is what this song seems to wrestle with.

But in contrast there is a lyric from Silverchair's Across the Night "I don't want to be lonely, I just want to be alone." that is a bit of a counter-point to this sentiment.  It's a great song as well.

An Unsettling Feeling In My Stomach

The first time I was every seriously disturbed by the actions of someone I cared about, who claimed they cared about me, I found my way to this song, because it was the closest song I could find to how I felt.  I don't feel exactly that way now, but I know that on some level that the past indignity has been revisited, maybe because the current situation exists because of the potency of the past and it's power to draw people back into our lives at times, in whatever capacity.  That said, I do feel a tinge of disgust at how I have been treated and likewise the treatment others are willing to subject others to/ endure themselves in their own pursuit of satisfaction, and with that I give you  Mansun:


Back off, off

You're the stranger in here with your stranger face
You know that everyone can see is false
Something's rotten with you, you show no regret
Like we all know that you're supposed to do

I hope you've changed the way you think
I hope you've changed the clothes you wear
I hope that you regret these things you say
I hope in time that things will change
I think you know that anyway

You've been disgraceful, it's so regretful
You're disgusting, ooh, ooh, ooh, ooh
You know you've been disgraceful, it's so regretful
You've been disgusting

You're the outcast here, you're the native of a place
You been and moved, excluded too
We create a tension, when we were the same
There was a pressure that would force you to

I hope you've changed the way you think
I hope you've changed the clothes you wear
I hope that you regret these things you say
I hope in time that things will change
I think you know that anyway

You've been disgraceful, it's so regretful
You're disgusting
You know you've been disgraceful, it's so regretful
You are disgusting

You're so full of venom that you'll spit into you're own sweet face

I hope you've changed the way you think
I hope you've changed the clothes you wear
I hope that you regret those things you say
I hope in time that things will change
I think you know that anyway

You've been disgraceful, it's so regretful
You're disgusting, ah-ah-ah-ah
You know you've been disgraceful, it's so regretful
You're disgusting, oh, oh, oh, oh

It's so disgraceful, you're disrespectful
You are disgusting, , oh, oh, oh, oh, oh, oh
Yeah, ah, ah, ah, ah, ah, ah

Disgusting, ah, ah, ah, ah, ah, ah

You've been disgusting
You know you've been disgusting
It's so regretful

[| From: |] 

Saturday, April 7, 2012

A Baffled King Composing

If you knew me 15 years ago, you wouldn't have known that I was en route to becoming a Singer Songwriter.  You might have known that I listened to music other than Hip Hop, and it was there I expressed the emotional depth I felt Hip Hop was in denial of.  There was one album that upon hearing the first few tracks I was swept away, thinking I'd found a blend of the swagger and soul Hip Hop borrowed from musically, but the transcendent emotional expression I'd grown attached to in Alternative music.  Enter Grace.  Enter Jeff Buckley.  What Kurt Cobain ushered into my life, Eddie Vedder bolstered, and Chris Cornell cemented, Jeff Buckley refined and elevated.  His ability to appeal to the urban sophisticate tastes made him a revelation to my ears and my soul.  Spring 1995, Last Goodbye was my swan song of choice, though it had no place in my life given I was always on the losing side of unrealized, unrequited, puppy-love.  But my radio-recorded tape of the song was all I needed for years to come.  I didn't experience Grace until via G. K. I made the acquaintance of Mir & Steph while visiting the Ceramics lab in Barnett Hall, and the music they were playing basically snake-charmed me.  "What is this?!?"  "It's Jeff Buckley." As I listened I thought, and maybe even uttered, "This is the perfect music."

His death had occurred the year prior, and I remember the somber feeling that struck me when he was initially reported missing with little other detail.  I was passing the TV in the SUB, or one of the Student Lounges in Blanton-Nason Hall.  It was akin to the feeling I had that same academic year when Tupac was reported shot, and roughly a week later, reported to have succumb to his injuries.  Casual walks to and fro passing by television sets in public places, this is how I encountered (arguably) the 2nd and 3rd most significant deaths of musicians for my generation.  The two men have inspired near cult-like devotion from their fan bases across generations.  Today I was confronted with my own admiration and inspiration regarding Jeff Buckley in an obvious but unexpected setting.

A guitar student of mine showed up with songs to learn.  The first was Honey Bee by Black Shelton, a song I only know from watching the Voice last year off and on. I masked my disappointment that it wasn't a cover of Tom Petty's jam of the same name from Wildflowers, which I and a friend would perform as a duo in the infancy of my singing days.  He said the other song was from 1994, which put me in the mind of Tom Petty since Wildflowers released in 94'-95' if I remember correctly, and was a grand record that I loved.  Then I saw the Title...  He wanted me to each him how to play a Jeff Buckley song.  I basically taught myself how to sing in my upper register (correctly) listening to his work, based my songwriting on his particular nuances: 6/8 time signature, arabesque chord voicing and what not.  But I was always skittish about learning his or anyone's songs in full.  His voice was unrivaled.  I found my limits singing along and hearing my voice vanish where his continued to ascend.  I heard countless singers adopt his mannerisms, and find abilities that they might never have explored if not for his fearless exploration of his gift.  Many failed to ascend, and others grasped the torch and carried on the inspired pursuit of near perfection.

All that said, Hallelujah has been done to death.  I believe I may have heard Tom Waits' version prior to Buckley's thanks to G. K. , but after Jeff Buckley's passing, and each labels attempts to find talents with similar potential to inspire vocally and stylistically, the glut of cover version took its toll. The first to give me pause was Rufus Wainwright's version used in Shrek, it simply seemed too soon to promote a cover of a popularized cover from an artist that seemed to be positioned to appeal to a similar demographic.  It would have been like having some Nu-Metal band do a version of Sweet Dreams in the vein of Marylin Manson's cover.  Double foul on Rufus for covering Across The Universe not long after Fiona Apple did so.  I completely checked out after seeing Gavin Degraw debut on Later with Carson Daly and perform Hallelujah solo on the piano as an encore.  It was reminiscent of Wainwright's rendition, and a precursor to it becoming the go-to singing competition "obscure" audition song... until it ceased to be obscure via Jason Castro, who elevated Jeff Buckley's version to the top of the Itunes charts 14 years after it was released.  Hallelujah indeed.  Now it's an American Standard.  It's a song I would never want to learn, right up there with all those "Guaranteed to be played at your local open mic (particularly ones frequented by college students)" like:

Waltz #2
I Will Follow You Into the Dark
Good Riddance
Redemption Song
Ryan Adam's take on Oasis's Wonderwall
*Dylan Song*

I am there to teach what they want to learn, so I took the chord version he had with the lyrics and worked through it with him, actually singing along as i played.  It was a moment where I was willing to let my affection for Jeff Buckley's music shine through in an obvious fashion instead of small references to ways I empathized with his upbringing in one song i'd written, or my mourning his loss, and therefore being inspired to keep the Golden Promise in his honor in another.  So, outside of the main verse of Mojo Pin, which I learned years ago, and teased at my earliest performances, I finally learned to play the gist of a Jeff Buckley song, and sang it as he did, in the presence of another human being.  Now I have to decide, do I teach my student to play it as Jeff did?  My student came to know of his work outside of my influence and has conveyed a sincere appreciation of it, over which we can develop a keener since of how to promote his growth as a musician.  OR, I can teach him to follow the path I chose, to recognize the inspiration, and embrace it as a call to find his own singular voice and explore and develop it in the hopes that when actualized, it will rival the execution he was so inspired by, but remain uniquely his own.  This is the quintessential human challenge, as far as I see it.  There is nothing new under the sun.  We are reconstituting universal truths, presuming new revelations, when there are none.  There is only ignorance masking enlightenment.  That being the case, if and how we ascend is of our own choosing.

Friday, April 6, 2012

Start All Over, Make A New Beginning

So I find myself in an interesting place in my life, and worldview.  Stability gives you a certain freedom, nesting allows you a certain hospitality.  These two conditions also make the Hostility of this world, the bent towards antipathy Very Very alienating.  Nearly 17 years ago, the aforementioned song this blog is named for, and links to was released, but I didn't come to hear it for another 3 years, the summer I was forced to Start All Over.

I had wild ominous dreams of complete upheaval in my world, of Epic, Biblical proportions, and dreams about people I knew, that all seemed to come to pass in some manner or fashion.  I was shell-shocked as a result.  My first reaction to the illumination of the accuracy of my seeming precognizance was to Get Drunk.  It didn't have the desired effect, so I managed to avoid becoming a drunk as a result.  But I did become very depressed, I did engage in a personal dialogue about the reasons I would never commit active self-annihilation in a journal entry called "Mr. Suicide let's have a talk."  My world ended.  I was happy to see it go, it was a disappointment through and through; but there was nothing to replace it.  At a time when I thought I might unravel, I was given immediate purpose, as the health of a friend and mentor thrust me into a facsimile of his role in the college community I resided in.  I was given a taste of yet another dream/ fantasy with this new endeavor, and through that labor I was able to support a friend's aging family and garner wisdom and perspective from them that was invaluable, and also exposed to folk who I'd learn to care for at a time in my life when I didn't really care about myself all that much.  That was my last year in the Village of Churches.  It was a eulogy to a fading dream I never composed in the first place.

So, in that ending a beginning took root and  blossomed later in the form of affection and appreciation, borne of innocence as opposed to intrigue.  It just so happens that beginning was part of a short-lived transition.  When I left home at 18 years old, my life there was unresolved and complicated, conflicted and alienating.  When I returned age 23 I was reconciled to make peace with the past, and embrace a New Beginning, returning as a different person, with different aspirations, and so I did.  Enter the new born troubadour, born from the fantasies of a childhood long cast aside, things that felt like second nature that were trumped by things that came just as easily to me and were culturally acceptable.  This version of Willie was free to express all emotion, and come to terms with the confusion and alienation that propelled me to reject the idea that I was deeply wounded by heartache and death that shadowed my family and friends over the years.  But this phase of existence passed away as well, when the need for some sort of focus, concerted effort towards carving out an existence of the material fashion became a precursor for pursuing further development in the arts.  An artists needs tools to execute their craft, and to garner them, one must labor.  I was fortunate enough to connect with people who knew me as an artist, but saw me as a resource.  This allowed me to develop a craft, that segued into a profession, which ushered in the phase of my life I arrived at 4 years ago, that was also the end of  that blossoming relationship founded in innocence and rooted in affection, the only realized Love I'd experienced of the romantic variety in my life.  Coming to terms with that loss harkened back to the pangs of my experience 10 years prior that drove me to my New Beginning after the Apocalyptic Dreams of world crushing clouds and visits from kindred spirits I had nebulous attachments to.

This New Beginning has been a bit of a false start, in that it was an extended ending.  There had to be a certain amount of hope that was put to rest that came along with the grieving process.  The innocence of youth I rediscovered concurrent with my rebirth in 1998 had aged, and grew more jaded than wise in that time.  My reservations about the world we live in were seasoned with direct observation and consequence.  The world had run amok with the sort of disregard and disenchantment I rallied against embracing as a naive yet innocent youth who valued the latter condition, and saw no value in belligerently learning one's lessons directly.  Why not take proverbial wisdom at its word, why not live vicariously through others' mistakes and live a life unencumbered?  Those where my directives, that was my rhetoric 14 years ago.  I still see the purpose and value in it now, but I have seen more of the ways of humanity, and it's becoming increasingly obvious that when people WANT something they don't care as much about its intrinsic value, or lack there-of, inherent in said desire.  They simply WANT, and to WANT is to have purpose and drive to catalyze taking action, and this makes people feel alive.  What is life if not the pursuit of acknowledging one's existence through thought and action?  Wanting serves that purpose.  But I, like most ascetics, seek a life devoid of WANT. I seek to choose my existence, pursue righteousness and love, and not be stirred and contorted by abject desire.

So, I see the world much as I did then, as far as its disarray, the pain, the needless suffering we inflict on each other through disregard and cognitive dissonance.  I don't want it to be that way, and I am in some ways trying to "be the change" I "want to see in the world".  I also know that my beginnings and endings are not of my own volition, and control is something that's shared in life. We interact with one another to acknowledge our own consciousness.  Am I here, do I exist, do you hear? Yes. Yes. Yes. And I? Yes. Yes. Yes.  So as much as I would like to see the ways of this world rectified towards behavior and sentiment consistent with Peace and Love, I recognize that this is not something I can accept that people WANT based on their behavior.  What would be left if we stripped the world of all the people who craved what this modern world dispenses?  It could be a very lonely place.  What is a world with no one in it.  Not much of a world at all.  So I am wary of alienating myself, embracing misanthropy and cynicism, and becoming a nihilist.

And still this song resonates with my heart and soul, and I find myself Wanting what she wants.  Until I can have that, I will strive to never WANT again.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Laugh It Off...

Now, that song, whose title offers no insight into its beguiling beauty, and understated groove, is a true gem. It's a good soundtrack to the state of mind its title suggests.  A sense of humor is indispensable in this life, but sometimes you find yourself in a situation that's no laughing matter.  Today I laughed a lot, for a lot of reasons, and one of them was no laughing matter, rest assured.
So, there are cycles that come in and out of my life, revolving around people and their behaviors, as well as my own.  One such cycle is the way I relate to women, or a particular woman, and how they relate to me.  There are those who have lovely things to say, sweeping statements of flattery that butter me up, followed by actions that get stale very quickly.  If you invest in their puffed up praise, toasting your good qualities, you'll dry up waiting for the satisfaction of those claims in action.  It leaves your ego brittle, ready to crumble under the slightest pressure, your good will scattered to the wind, wasted upon the ground, crumbs to feed the laziest scavengers of the world.
I've learned to distrust these words, question the intentions of the people who utter them, effectively taking them with a grain of salt.  I Laugh Them Off, because I know there's no fruit to be harvested from the seeds sewn.  If I'm to judge, then I best judge a tree by its fruit right?  Seems a good enough way to approach it as far as I can tell.  If all you get is sour grapes, then I suppose you ought to be in the business of bottling wine.  "In vino veritas" or so the saying goes.
My body, my blood, these things I've shared with these cunning tongues that deceive the mouths that they flagellate about, suggestively contorting themselves, to bend my will, lead me astray from the path lain out before me.  I gave myself up once before, sheered my own locks in repentance. My locks saw no razor for upwards of a year.  My own inability to manage them led to their demise yet again, much to the chagrin of the whirling dervish of a femme whose kind words and high praise found cracks in my walls, and poured into my soul.  Little did I know how fiercely and often she'd spin me around in the years to come. At one time the euphoria of losing my bearings was a thrill I wanted to sustain, unaware of the ultimate consequence, but years on, countless circles spun in vain, I have no desire to succumb to vertigo once again.  I only move in straight lines and right angles now.
So, when I find myself dancing around thoughts, spinning stories and sharing smiles, revolving around the connection I seem to share with a woman who could have me wrapped around her finger several times over a few years ago, the coarseness of the twine that connects past to present is drawn taught, tensile strength magnified, binding any heart strings come undone from the sutures they've been used on to stitch up the deepest of lacerations.  I can't afford to be unraveled yet again, I can't stand the strain or stress of entertaining the thought of someone handling my heart with less than careful, delicate hands, & honorable intentions. So I smile, my mind races, spherical routes orbiting the ember of hope in my mind that there is something real to be shared, somewhere, with someone, who takes love seriously, and doesn't treat it like a trifle thing, making a joke of those who hold it & every grand communication & collaboration that comes with it, dear.
Until I have confidence that I can find that woman, that relationship, all the gamesmanship and conversation I find myself engaging in is fuel for a long drawn out retreat from the joke that is the way people treat Love in this life.  So I sheepishly play along, knowing I can't take their hollow words or empty actions to heart, and find no humor in how the joke is on us.  Nothing funny about it at all.  It's pathetic, so why not mock it with laughter and move on?

Monday, April 2, 2012

Just Another Day

In a word: Exhale.  Tension broken, air cleared, confusion dispersed, peace attained.  That's what today felt like, returning to my home away from home, the place where I earn a living, but don't usually feel like I'm working because I am helping, not laboring.  I was able to focus in on the things that need to be done, and when I got distracted or behind the curve, I had time to recover.  We all need time to recover.  In addition to that, I had a weekend that in it's own odd way fit the definition of what people think weekends should be, temporary departures from the stuff of life.  The highlight being the certain tunes resolving themselves, music fading out instead the needle tearing cross the grain, or skipping abruptly.  Not literal tunes, but the song of  my life with other people.  It's been ten years since the beginnings of the most dramatic realignment of my chosen family (aka close friends)  vs. my Biological family.  It was a perplexing 10 years for a good long while, but not it's quieted down and I have found myself, and grown accustomed to the company I keep, finding the most peaceful ways to coexist, accepted them.

So, in this 91 degree heat on April 2nd, at a time when I'm blissed out and want to take a nap, lulled to sleep by the ambient sound of Central Air set to 78 degrees kicking in, I tried to think of a song that fit my mood, that sounded like a feel, and Just Another Day was perfect.  I still have Black Reign, Queen Latifah's opus, recorded in honor of her recently deceased brother Lance.  The album spanned many emotions, with strength, clarity, and dignity.  I'm gonna go give it a spin, let that groove form Making Love In the Rain ( ) they jacked for Just Another Day phase through me.