There you are, and you suddenly realize that you are spending your whole life just barely getting by. You keep up a good front. You manage to make ends meed somehow and look OK from the outside. But those periods of desperation, those times when you feel everything caving in on you, you keep those to yourself. You are a mess. And you know it. But you hide it beautifully. Meanwhile, way down under all that you just know there has got be some other way to live, some better way to look at the world, some way to touch life more fully. You click into it by chance now and then. You get a good job. You fall in love. You win the game. and for a while, things are different. Life takes on a richness and clarity that makes all the bad times and humdrum fade away. The whole texture of your experience changes and you say to yourself, “OK, now I’ve made it; now I will be happy”. But then that fades, too, like smoke in the wind. You are left with just a memory. That and a vague awareness that something is wrong.
But there is really another whole realm of depth and sensitivity available in life, somehow, you are just not seeing it. You wind up feeling cut off. You feel insulated from the sweetness of experience by some sort of sensory cotton. You are not really touching life. You are not making it again. And then even that vague awareness fades away, and you are back to the same old reality. The world looks like the usual foul place, which is boring at best. It is an emotional roller coaster, and you spend a lot of your time down at the bottom of the ramp, yearning for the heights.
So what is wrong with you? Are you a freak? No. You are just human.
Last night I had an elaborate dream about ending up in a town called Beautiful, Maine. There was only one road into town (it was all nestled up against the backs of 3 mountains) so, ending up there accidentally was initially frustrating, because I knew I’d need to back track. The town was arranged almost like a summer camp. There was one mansion where all of the commerce spots were located. Elaborate cake shops and other specialty shops I could not imagine surviving in such a closed off little village. The place really was beautiful. After wandering around cluelessly, I was stopped by a man in a stunning library room, located on the 3rd floor in the mansion. He was well dressed and explained the town to me. I was sad as I walked down the forest road that led out of town, back to where I had just come from.
Hey, wanna be in the next HtH video? We had comedian James Adomian (from Comedy Bang Bang, Last Comic Standing, Maron in Space) do some amazing improv about the band on video a few weeks ago, and we’re shooting the rest of the footage this upcoming Saturday. If you’d like to appear in the video, please drop a line to email@example.com. Also, if you have any access to any of the following props or could help us make that cake, let us know!
Saturday July 12th 11AM - 2 PM (Loation TBA - Boston Area)
Fake Cake (that someone could pop out of)
Monkey Masks 3 - 4 signs protesting evolution being taught in schools
A few weeks ago we shot some amazing footage with comedian James Adomian for the Try This Instead video. We are shooting the rest of the footage on Saturday July 12th in the Boston area during the day.
We need 5 - 10 volunteers to be in the video. Nothing too strenuous, lots of fun, and your name emblazoned in the credits for eternity.
Please email firstname.lastname@example.org if you are interested!
Guided by Voices’ Bee Thousand came out 20 years ago tomorrow! Tobin Sprout on recording at home: “I was having a garage sale that day,” Sprout remembers, “and Bob was yelling ‘Hot Freaks’ down there at the top of his lungs and chasing all the customers away.” That’s a great scene for the movie when they make it, wouldn’t you say?
"History is the nightmare from which I am trying to awaken"
Bloomsday is a commemoration of the life of James Joyce during which the events of his novel Ulysses (June 16, 1904) are relived. That day is today.
Celebrating the book by reliving its events could not be more appropriate. Here’s why.
Author Terence McKenna on Ulysses: “the ground-zero here is the utterly mundane, you know, middle class, tormented Irish people, embedded in the detritus of the 20th Century. But there is an effort to never lose the cosmic perspective, never lose the sense that we are not individuals lost in internal time, but the front ends of gene streams that reach back to Africa, that we somehow have all these ancestors and conflicts swarming and storming within us. It’s a glorious psychedelic, heartful, Irish view of what it is to be embedded in the mystery of existence.”
In other words, Joyce is not writing a singular allegory here, he’s insisting that all of history is a reverberation of itself, and when you or I go out to procure some kidneys to fry for breakfast (as Leopold Bloom does in Ulysses) your ordinary day has a direct correlation to a multitude of moments in history, lending your mundane errands all the weight of a Homeric adventure (McKenna called it “the co-presence of history”).
Your commute to work is Paul Revere’s ride
Assembling your son’s new tree-house is the creation of the great pyramids.
The closing of your local video store is the fall of Rome.
Let’s be clear: The closing of your local video store isn’t just kinda like the falling of Rome, according to McKenna. It is a direct reverberation, it’s a mirror event, a present moment analogue. Too crackpot? Let’s look at it using David Foster Wallace’s words. From his commencement speech from 2005:
“But if you really learn how to pay attention, then you will know there are other options. It will actually be within your power to experience a crowded, hot, slow, consumer-hell type situation as not only meaningful, but sacred, on fire with the same force that made the stars: love, fellowship, the mystical oneness of all things deep down.”
Maybe this is the less crazed way of talking about when McKenna insists Joyce is talking about in Ulysses (but to keep this avalanche of connecting going, I’ll just link this here).
Last summer, my friend took me on a guided tour of Greenwood Cemetary in Brooklyn. He pointed out the graves of people who had died in the General Slocum steamboat disaster in New York’s east river. I had never heard of the disaster despite over a 1000 people dying (“The next largest death toll in the United States would come decades later with 2,974 dead from 9/11.” - source) and I asked my friend how he had become aware of it.
"It happened on June 15, 1904. The day before Joyce’s Ulysses takes place. News of the disaster arrives within the events of the book on June 16, 1904."
Enjoy those reverberations, everyone. Happy Bloomsday.
"Thus the hilariously nonchalant title, which, shorn of the expected first-person possessive, would suggest that Richards’s life is more or less the one we all experience. At one time or another, everyone rides in a red Cadillac with the Ronettes out to Jones Beach, then wakes up on Ronnie Spector’s mother’s living room floor in Spanish Harlem, to a plate of bacon and eggs. We’ve all had the major licks of “Satisfaction” come to us in a dream, then adjourned to the pool to write the lyrics with Mick Jagger. This is the kind of thing that happens." - NYT review of Keith Richards’ Life
Advance RSVPs are SOLD OUT but there will be some extra in-person admissions after the interview portion concludes. Also, you can ask questions using #BehindTheAlbum on Twitter during the interview and, of course, the whole event streams online in full.
“The most compelling insight of that day was that this awesome recall had been brought about by a fraction of a gram of a white solid, but that in no way whatsoever could it be argued that these memories had been contained within the white solid. Everything I had recognized came from the depths of my memory and my psyche. I understood that our entire universe is contained in the mind and the spirit. We may choose not to find access to it, we may even deny its existence, but it is indeed there inside us, and there are chemicals that can catalyze its availability.”