Monday, August 25, 2008

land of first drafts

I have a growing distaste for the "artistic" elite. My specific instances of late are writers, but I'm sure the incidences that I have encountered must have found their way into the other arts in one way or another. They are the Snobs. They tell you how the world is; no ifs ands or buts. They are the ones to tell you that the string of gibberish on the page in front if you is a masterpiece. You simply fail to get it because you are so ignorant of the fact that in 1912 James Joyce had a bath and made passing comment about how wrinkled his skin got in one of his epics. If you had only known that then surely the beat poetry in front of you would unveil its brilliance. They are the people who rant about how popular music is the bane of society, unintelligible dribble that will lead to the mass retardation of the coming generations. You should be listening to bands that no one has every heard of. Then, when the unknown band is popular because it was so unknown, you are to abandon it. If more than twelve people can get it, it isn't cutting edge enough. (Interesting social experiment: I made up a band (differing names for differing company) at an "art" party to try and out do the elites. Someone claimed to have heard them before.)

I had a professor belittle the William Carlos Williamson poem "The Red Wheelbarrow" today in class. In an online polemic, however, he viciously stands up for a book of Bob Dylan's poetry "Tarantula." He defends the work as an amazing discourse of the time it as written, using a style that is a " high-art symphony of allegoric metaphor, fertile with commentary on Civil Rights and twentieth-century politics through the ghosts of Kerouac and Shakespeare via Greek mythology."1 That the same man willing to craft such a sentence over someone else's work can imply that "The Red Wheelbarrow" isn't "real" poetry is astounding. He is, in that instance, the personification of the Snobs. It is as if art is measured by its complexity. If you can read and fathom a works depth without haveing to make far flung connections, that surely isn't worth your time.

Don't get me wrong, dear reader, I like complex materials. But I don't exisit on them and them alone. Vivaldi's Summer is one of my favorite pieces of music, but that doesn't mean that I won't sing along to Heartbreaker when it comes on the classic rock station or that I can't help but listen Soulja Boy every now and again. I read Dante's The Divine Comedy on my own time because I was never in a class that required it. And I enjoyed it. That doesn't mean I don't read the latest comercial fiction or devour a Terry Pratchett novel. The point I'm trying to make is that so many of the Snobs put on the air (and the tu-toned hair, skinny jeans, and ballet flats) of being a decade ahead while living decades in the past.
Anyone that claims to listen only to the trendy music, or only read Kerouac and his ilk, is either lying to you, or are impossibly one deminsional. One way or the other, they aren't the type of person who's opinion can be taken without a deal of salt.

"Majority always rules."


Sunday, August 10, 2008

What to do in those few hours before waking. What to fill the half sleeping mind with. In those brief moments where the last fingers of sleep clutch the brain, the waking mind can control the fantasy of that ether world. That world where our fancy runs free and our heart makes wishes.

Brian Matthews had been wondering that for the better part of ten years now. He suffered from a delayed insomnia. Every night at ten or so he would drift peacefully to sleep, only to be awakened again after four hours to a mangled mess of waking dreams and half-conscious memories. Though the condition was now ruinous to his sleep every night, it had started out rather slowly. Only once or twice a month would he toss and turn in the hours before dawn, wrestling with sleep and wakefulness. Nothing worth note. When it started happening on a bi-weekly basis he took more serious concern. Doctor after doctor were puzzled. Psychiatrists and physicians gave him ineffectual pills while psychologists tried to emancipate hidden traumas that didn't exist. After a year of what he was beginning to think of as quack cures, Brian resigned himself to his predicament. Though he knew he had less energy than when he slept well, he was now used to it. And the semi-wakefulness gave him a chance for quite lucid dreaming and illuminated thought. He settled into his new routine remarkably well and without incident. The normal aspect of his life were unaffected. His job at a publishing company was unperturbed, he had the energy to play with his young daughter, and his wife (a heavy sleeper) stayed by his side in every sense of the word through his nights of peaceful frustration.
That was, however, until the early morning hours of August the Twenty-fourth. It was on that morning that Brian first heard the voice. It was small, but it was pleading. Just outside his ability to make out it out it lingered. He was just about to slip bake to sleep when it eased its way into his mind. His settling thoughts were jerked to attention as he fought to drown out the ring of silence to hear the voice again.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Little Cigars

Words cannot describe how much I need to smoke. It is the first time that the slimy fangs of addiction unfurling themselves. Granted, the living situation up here in OKC is trying. The stress of change abounds. It isn't so much the fact that being up here is bad, but the revolving door of guests has become trying. I am a morning person by nature. Most every one up here is a night person. Even now, at two twenty three in the A. M. there are four people up who will be awake till four . And they sleep for four or five hours at a time, making my normal sleep pattern impossible. Living in a loft for free has it's price.

Not that I complaining, as such, but I marvel at the need to inhale the sweet carcinogenic smoke out in the night time air. It reminds me of the simpler times when I didn't care about long term health. Back when I felt young. I'm only twenty two, but time has encroached on me. I find myself looking around, damned if I know how, I have responsibility. I work, I manage a 3.7 GPA, and I make time for friends and my own pursuits. Friends that like to go out and watch plays, or read books, or just sit around and talk and have a quiet drink. I don't know how I used to party all the time. I really have no taste for it anymore. I've become... Mature. Ish.

All this is trivial and pointless, but it has killed ten minutes or so. And maybe I can fight down the urge to stand outside and smoke. For now.

Sunday, June 1, 2008


So, I had one of those late night, passion fueled ideas for a story, then the moment passed and the groove was gone. I did squeeze out a paragraph's worth of text from it, though, and I'm determined to keep it alive until such a time that I can give it adequate attention. Until then, I'll leave it here to moulder:

We all grow up in our own, personal Hells. Some have worse ones then others, but we all have them. Pain and fear dig themselves into the furrows of our minds in ways that happiness and banality just can’t. Look back and you’ll see that I’m right. You are running form the shadows of your past, just like I am. It is a legacy that any living person has. Those shadows from our past are what propel us towards the future.

Friday, May 23, 2008

The living past.

Sweet Antebellum. Putting aside all of the rampant racism and slavery, the time itself was a simple one. It embodied the American standard. You work to live. That sort of simplicity lives on in the deep south. Tucked away in the backwoods and the corners of time, people live simply. They fear a wrathful God, work all week, and rest on Sunday.
They live a simple and sparse life, but the deepness of the world never factors into it. There is no time to ponder death and mortality, it surrounds you. The time and energy saved by the automatic world of today gives birth to thinking. We live our lives in a safe cocoon that at the same time is overborne with the troubles of the world. Living with safety and with all the time in the world to imagine the dangerous things that lurk in the great Dark to take it away from us.
In the simple lands of Antebellum there is no wondering about what might happen. The dangers are all known and faced on a day to day basis. Upkeep of the family, the crops, and the livestock. The death of one means the death of all three. Not that the labour takes away from thinking. Quite the opposite, in fact. The wonder of the world can be found in both sides of the spectrum. In our world we see how very small we are and how little we understand. It strips us of our ego and how superior we think we are in the world. In Antebellum they know the world is large. They are aware of their ignorance. And just as long as the giant world keeps to itself, the industrious residents are happy to keep to themselves. They stick to mending fences, shoeing horses, and plowing fields. And while they work they let their thoughts drift softly at the greatness of things. There is no preoccupation with where life is going or what the future holds. In those little eddies in time the future holds exactly what the past holds. Life is going to stay exactly where it has always been. When today is like yeaterday and yesterday has a strinking resmblance to what tomorrow is starting to look like, thoughts can be soft.
It lets one look at a cloud for no other reason than that clouds are truely spectacular, when you get right down to it. Simply because they exist. It makes me smile to think that somewhere out there life refuses to be rushed. It's a dying way of life, but, for a time, it clings to that life with an aloof determination.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Rouge Notes

The music pours from my fingertips. They swoon and sway to the rhythm of my mind. The lights are bright and the room hot. Sweat from every pore. Left works the pounding beat, following the heart. Right works the sickly sweet melody, telling tales of the past. The vibrations paint the air thick with the vivid vision of nothing in particular, but everything of importance. Pulses race. Memories spark. Tears flow. Power. There is a collective sigh as the hands dance the keys on their own, making it up as they go. There is no more control, only music. I become one of the crowd. Lost in the orgy of nostalgia and healing hearts. We all see what the sounds mean to us. Our bodies become sympathetic the the waves of feeling making their way from the deepest center of the piano.

I regain consciousness and start to take it away. The crashing crescendo replaced with a gradual let down. The last trickle from a torrent. One last lingering note and it is all over. No applause, just the overwhelming pressure of times long gone. We leave each other and go on to our lives. But we all share the experience.

Old poem

The Itch

When cold, His is the Blanket offered.
When tired, His is the Bed supplied.
When deaf, His is the Voice all heard.
When pained, His is the Sympathy cried.

He lends you His Strength.
He lends you His Wisdom.
He lends you His Wealth.
He lends you His Kingdom.

He speaks the most sweet,
Writes the most kind,
Gives the most gifts,
And spends the most time.

Then when you feel the safest,
And no riches you can't fetch,
He'll call back His loans with interest,
And all you worth He'll catch,
So beware when you make wishes,
And steer clear, Dear Friend,
Of Old Scratch.