Thursday, November 25, 2010

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Log - one year

Tomorrow will be the one year anniversary of my unemployment. It is pretty amazing to really try and take in the past year. I wish that a year of living in this way lent itself to principles that I could share with others (and even myself?) that would help get to a place of security and stability in this structure without having to compromise, but unfortunately, I haven't really figured it out. I've been fortunate in finding people that were willing to exchange material things for the immaterial gifts I have to share. As I have probably recited ad nauseum, much of the inspiration for confronting the world without wanting to compromise my contribution has come from Buckminster Fuller and much of what he wrote in "Critical Path". It is possible that the piece that has stuck with me the most from this momentous book came from the Foreward -

"My reasons for writing this book are fourfold:
(A) Because I am convinced that human knowledge by others of what this book has to say is essential to human survival.

(B) Because of my driving conviction that all of humanity is in peril of extinction if each one of us does not dare, now and henceforth always to tell only the truth, and all the truth, and to do so promptly—right now.

(C) Because I am convinced that humanity’s fitness for continuance in the cosmic scheme no longer depends on the validity of political, religious, economic, or social organizations, which altogether heretofore have been assumed to represent the many.

(D) Because, contrary to (C), I am convinced that human continuance now depends entirely upon:

(1) The intuitive wisdom of each and every individual.
(2) The individual’s comprehensive informedness.
(3) The individual’s integrity of speaking and acting only on the individual’s own within-self-intuited and reasoned initiative.
(4) The individual’s joining action with others, as motivated only by the individually conceived consequences of so doing.
(5) And, the individual’s never-joining action with others, as motivated only by crowd-engendered emotionalism, or by a sense of the crowd’s power to overwhelm, or in fear of holding to the course indicated by one’s own intellectual convictions."

This last point spoke to what I felt was the negative impact of having a "job for the sake of jobs". In his thirties, Bucky decided against "earning a living" and at age eighty wrote that it was often scary, but always rewarding and ultimately led him to the discoveries, designs, and innovations that we acknowledge him for. While design isn't exactly my field, I am beginning to discover my trajectory as one that doesn't need justification. This is a big pill to swallow and I'm still working it down, but one year later, I am still confident that I am moving the right direction.

I'll keep you posted.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

another blog... goddamn it.

Meg and I are on the road now, thus, we created another blog. I don't consider myself a blogger per se, but practically speaking... whatever. Check it out when you get a chance.

Monday, October 11, 2010

a few thoughts on the present

So, I've been doing a considerable amount of research lately on the business of music, and the immense amount of transition and upheaval the industry is undergoing, and has been undergoing, for at least a decade now. It has been incredibly informative, but it also leaves me with some serious quandaries as to where I go from here.

As I am just now getting my full fledged professional music career off the ground (in terms of creating songs I wish to use as a source of income, part of what it means to "make a living" as a music maker) I am both inspired and trepidatious of what the future may hold for me in that regard.

The inspiring part is that with the dawning of the internet, the field is getting more and more leveled. We are starting to see a gradual collapse of major record companies, which, in my opinion, only prove to exploit artists, (with perhaps a few exceptions.) This is in part due to the fact that musicians and artists have a lot more opportunity to get their music to the outside world, within pretty much every facet of the industry (i.e. promotion, distribution, etc.)

However, the frightening part is that the other reason the industry is crumbling is because of the ever increasing piracy that goes on all the time in practically every home across the country, and probably, the globe. People copy illegal files of every sort without much consideration because they know there really aren't any repercussions. There is talk of internet providers eventually cracking down on this, but I don't feel like it's especially realistic.

The other side of the coin (this coin apparently has more than two sides!) is that currently, pretty much every way in which we purchase music puts WAY too much money in the pockets of record companies, and FAR too little in the pockets of artists. This has probably been the case since the dawning of recorded music. But it still doesn't make it right.

In that regard, I am excited to see that internet services like CD Baby apparently give a large portion of the money back to the artists, while streaming services like and pandora open up a wonderful world of independent artists who actually get paid royalties. The fact that artists are starting to sell their songs on their own websites is also promising. But that doesn't change the fact that because this music is essentially made up of 1s and 0s, it is incredibly easy to copy and manipulate by advertisers and the powers that be.

It is just a very strange time to be an artist. I feel empowered and yet, also a bit helpless. As live music seems to be steadily declining in our culture, its evident that for artists to make money from their music, they need to know they can do so in the new mediums of today (i.e. digital downloads.) But while archaic copyright law systems are staying in place, and aren't changing fast enough, technological advances happen on an almost daily basis.

I do know that I plan to forge ahead and use to my advantage this new world that is unfolding before us. Ultimately I believe the evolution that is taking place will find artists far more empowered and rewarded than they were in the past, and able to get their voices heard without dealing with the bullshit of a "music industry." But as artists, we also need to remind ourselves, and those around us, that this trend of everything being free…. books, music, film, etc. is only helping to further the idea that they aren't really worth anything, and surely not worth financially supporting those who create the works.

Let us at least hope that with the dawning of this new age comes not only greater access to fantastic art, but greater awareness of how important it is to our culture, and the fact that we need support it in every way we can!

Friday, September 17, 2010

Fun- Raising!

Meg and I are on a mission that will involve most of the people who read this. Here's more info:

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Log #6

It's been awhile since I've given an entry on my journey through unemployment and it feels like a good time to add a new note. It's been almost 10 months. I've cut my monthly spending to around $150 and even that has become a squeeze. I've sold a lot of extraneous things and have a few more to go. I'm still trying to wrap my head around this system of ours. What I've come to is this:

There is always room for entrepreneurs. If you want to get a PhD in English, chances are, the only practical function you have is to teach other people how to get a PhD in English. If you love science and pursue it to the utmost, it seems as though you will end up in a university. If you want to be a musician, painter, sculptor, writer, poet, performance artist, etc., it seems you will probably be a server in a restaurant or a barista or work in an art supply store, a music store, a record store, etc. Essentially, you will work for someone else, who had the foresight to become an entrepreneur. Frequently, becoming an entrepreneur means inserting yourself as a middle man, raising the price of items and reselling them. You see this very clearly in drug dealers, but it seems to be the same model for every shape and size of retail store and almost every online business from on down. On the street, the only businesses that are really adding value or putting creative energy into what they sell is the expansive myriad of restaurants that populate streets and strip malls. Running a business does not really require an "education". "Education" is the debt that business owners use to keep college-graduate employees from leaving jobs they don't like. Got to pay off those loans! The business-owner, entrepreneur system allows many hands to get paid for a single commodity and allows for many jobs so that there aren't as many unemployed people as there should be. Much progress is stopped because if the technology that has been created was allowed to make our lives easier, then there would not be nearly as many jobs. There are plenty of homes in America to house everyone, but more keep being made because contractors need to keep busy. There is more than enough food, but that has very little to do with the food industry. Right now, there are a lot of people that are committed to making the lives of others more enjoyable, more fun, more connected with their world, more connected with each other, and more meaningful, but unless it is marketed toward the wealthy, it can be very difficult to sustain. Additionally, an attitude of catering to the rich is still working within the system without yet working toward reform.

Where this touches me is trying to understand how to move forward. Is it best to be complicit in the system until... something else? I am very wary of the popular retirement-mentality in our country - "I'm just doing what I have to do, saving up until I retire and can do what I WANT to do". I've worked jobs that were ultimately harmful - Subway-esque sandwich shops, restaurants that didn't make any food that was particularly healthful, a bullshit online retail job (which, incidentally paid me more than any other job and required much less). So I've helped deteriorate people's health, I've helped create waste, and on and on just to live a lifestyle that has more security than I now experience. Maybe I'm justifying my selfishness, but I don't want to be a middle man! I don't want to work for someone else that is part of what I see as the problem! I don't want to help pollute people's bodies, the environment, or our collective consciousness! Why doesn't volunteer work pay? It's not that I think "art isn't appreciated" - I think most people enjoy art and music. It isn't that I think everyone likes stupid music or that people don't know the difference between good art and bad art. Honestly, I don't know that all that matters. I feel committed to making our world happier and I've chosen music as my avenue to that - I just can't get over the fact that there are so many hoops to jump through to make putting a smile on someone's face a sustainable "career". What the fuck, right? Nobody really likes frozen spinach that much, but that is a viable industry, whereas I can play on the street for an hour, make a bunch of people smile and dance and still come away with less than our community deems as minimum wage... I'm not pissed at anyone and I refuse to be too cynical about all of this, because I think there is a solution, I just haven't been able to come across it yet. In the meantime, I'm trying not to give in to fear and nurturing my hope.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Up For Grabs

A new seed has been planted for sharing the wild and creative ideas that come to us without the means to manifest them. An offering up to the gods and to our fellow artists. Check it out and see what you think - feel totally free to share thoughts on streamlining or any other helpful ideas. And please, drop an idea or two to add to the pool.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

This Morning's Lesson

Earlier this morning (and still now) I learned a lesson. Of course, I learned it through fucking it up some, but that seems the most efficient way for me to learn.

Leadership and support are interdependent. The leader/support system is not the same as teacher/student. Certainly not the same as master/apprentice. Leader and support need each other in order to reach a mutual destination, while the teacher is trying to bring the student closer to himself. Leadership doesn't require submission, it requires an empowered body to actively help it stand. This seems frequently muddled. Alexander and his army needed each other for success, but a guru doesn't need a student for mastery. This moves beyond the model of the lone wolf leader carrying everyone along toward servant leadership.

Effective leadership is empowering, not subordinating.
Effective leadership is empowering, not subordinating.
Effective leadership is empowering, not subordinating.

Humility on the part of everyone is requisite for Success; is requisite for Quality, particularly in Relationship.

Friday, July 9, 2010

A new way to be socially responsible

I'm totally geeked about this iPhone app I just found out about and I don't even have an iPhone! A friend of mine has this amazing manual on how companies rate based on environmental issues, social justice, philanthropy, and a handful of other good ones. I went to their website and lo and behold, you can access their database and rankings in your hand! (Provided your hand has an iPhone or iPod touch in it...) If implemented, this could totally be a game-changer. I think Bucky would be proud.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

henry threadgill speakin truth

People are blazing their own trail. That is what seems to be important. I don't care to follow and to do what the mass is doing. That is not doing anything, to be doing what everyone else is doing. Everybody is unique. The funny thing about people now is that people don't really understand or really appreciate how unique each individual on earth is. You see, Fred, I understand that uniqueness and I worship that uniqueness. People short-change themselves thinking that I am not as good as so and so. Yes, you are. You just have to discover what you're about and what it is that you do and what you are good at, what you love to do. If it is sweeping the street, making an omelet, writing poems, whatever it is, rather than try to be like everybody else and do what other people are doing. That is not important. Do we really pay attention to people that try to be like Michael Jackson? Or try to be like Beethoven? Do we really?

Thursday, July 1, 2010

New paths...

I feel as though I have started really listening to what the universe is trying t tell me, and it has proven to guide me along some pretty profound paths recently that I have only just begun to travel. As one might expect, these paths are in the forests of my musical experience, yet both are incredibly unique to each other.

The first series of calls from the universe were essentially in the forms of opportunities that "fell into my lap." I use quotations because I'm not really sure if that ever really happens, but... I digress. The opportunities involved both my teaching of music and being a session musician for recordings. And there were multiple instances where these opportunities arose .... from presumably nowhere.

Now I have been having issues with the idea of session work for a while now, feeling as though my participation in these endeavors only prove to "feed the machine" that is the music industry, something I don't really care for in the least. However, I have been able to step beyond this rather crippling ideology, no matter how true it may seem, to realize that I have spent many, many years honing my musical craft, so why not take advantage of opportunities that utilize these skills doing what I love: playing music? (and strangely enough, I do really enjoy session work in the studio!)

And considering there are over 500 professional recording studios in Nashville, only 3rd in the US behind NYC and LA (and not all for country music thank god!) than it seems like a truly viable way to make money, connect with a music community, and ultimately do something that I am good at and enjoy (and isn't that the aim of any career?) So I am opening my world and pushing in the appropriate directions to see what comes of it all.

And with regards to teaching, I have one, potentially two trumpet students, without having looked for any! And I don't teach just trumpet... so I can't help but feel this is the universe asking me "what if you actually put some damned effort into it?!"

Now for the other musical path I am beginning to travel. The yang to my musical yin, or rather, my creative musical fulfillment.

It started when Ellen and I were in NYC a while back and I happened to see that one of my good friends (and easily one of the sickest musicians I know) had posted an invite to a gig he was playing at a bar called Nublu that night with Butch Morris and the Nublu Orchestra. Nublu is a club I had been to a number of times while living in NYC because a) it was literally only 3 blocks away from my apartment and b) it had some of the most fun, innovative, and truly badass music of anywhere in the city as far as I was concerned. So obviously, I had to go!

I had actually seen this ensemble once before and remembered begin moved by it. But that night I was moved in a way I don't think I have EVER been in my life. And I say that because although I enjoyed the music immensely and was incredibly inspired (as is often the case having experienced a wonderful show) this time a lot of puzzle pieces to my musical voice started really coming together, and I left the club that night feeling more purposeful than perhaps I've ever been. It was one of the few times I truly felt like I was merely a vessel, fulfilling a purpose I had been called to do. Dramatic, I know, but it's true.

So upon returning to Nashville, I immediately, and without hesitation, sent out emails to every musician in Nashville that I respected and felt might be interested in this new project. So, after countless hours of research and conceptualization, I've already had one rehearsal or "collective" as I like to call them with nine people, all of whom kicked ass, had fun, and seemed genuinely interested. And we already have the 2nd collective scheduled for next week, with musicians offering up their help and advice.

Now I am fully aware of course, that as purposeful and almost destined as this project may seem, I know it might not live as long I would hope. And I have come to terms with that. But to experience even the slightest glimmers of power the universe can show you, and to open yourself to that power, allowing your personal quest for bliss to convene with that which calls to you in the series of moments that make up your conscious (and unconscious) existence ... then you start to see traces of that light with burns as brightly as the center of our star and the essence of our souls.

Tally ho!

Saturday, June 26, 2010

you are to use this body you are to dance.
go learn from the masters the language of the body and find your dance.
you will create and recreate this dance many ways and many times and make it known and yours and illuminating and powerful and one with your vision and you will make it lightening and levity and lifting off into space above the building you build.

you are moving quickly and at the right pace and the building is nearly complete.

this is your inner building. the outer forms later, after the inner is complete and set on the trusting process of journey and every time you overcome a fear you build a wall a floor you install a high beam and this is a building of light – tensile, strong, impossible to “break” because the paradigm of destruction no longer applies to your life because you are beyond breaking now.

this building of light is your soul’s home, temple, playground, theater, church, mosque, office and only after it has become these things and do not despair, it can become them quickly and in a time-passage you might not expect, it is all up to your willingness to go where your fear sleeps, to wake it and ride it into itself where you will find a dear friend an ally a powerful being you need to call on access send out into the world as an ambassador – only then will the outer building of “income” and “profession” manifest for you.

did you know you are to let all your selves out to play?
no more trying to be one self.
this is the paradox of wholeness, of health.
this is what most of you cannot see, but many of you sense.

this the way to your holiness.
to manifest a myriad of selves, this is joy, this is the beauty and fun of life on this plane.
the power.
the exhilaration.
unpack your armor and let all your selves out to play.

and yes, the grounding is important.
you have a ground of Being on which you reside and stand firmly and connecting to this will keep you “sane” as you call it.
this has to do with levity and is another paradox to understand and unpack later.
come back to this.
it is important.

but for now, know that the world is waiting and needs all your selves.

and you will find they continue to come, one waiting behind every door in your deep Being and behind every door behind every door, and yes, as you suspect, they are infinite, these doors, and you do contain multitudes within multitudes and it is for you to learn how to access
release contain grow
nourish lead guide
and challenge them, give them pathways to self-mastery, and this is what is meant when I say that you all need to learn the art of mothering
the heart of mothering.

a spiritual mother, unconstrained by physical form, can give birth to a thousand thousand selves, beings, incarnations, such is her creative power and each of you has this within you.

and yet you decide on one for your whole life?
why commit this imprisonment of the soul?
why lose your light so easily?

these are the disenfranchised and as long as they lie unawakened in your own inner graves there will always be those deeply disenfranchised ones on the outside and the way to healing and wholeness is not to lock them up even more deeply but to let them out, give them ground for standing and it is for you to see that your way is illness this way you follow and worship like a god, this idea of being one self forever through time and space.

and yes, this is the madness you all fear.
go toward it. it is a beauty you cannot imagine and it will be your cure.
it looks like madness but only from where you are, it is not that serious or dis-astrous, it is simply the Divine playing.
the Divine Story unfolding in form, time and space.
this is your bliss.
your calling is deeply connected to it.
you know this.

this is the deep, deep forest – go in and dance.

(others will come.
they will not be able to stay away.
and this will be your “in-come.”)

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Morning Walk

and i don't know where i am today except that i just took a long walk to Starbucks, by that i mean, down some alleys and danced a little and looked at some gnarly flowers (flowers are not smooth like in children's pictures. they're vinous and furry and gnarled.)and i passed store fronts and cars cars cars going going going. a store front with rugs. a store front with meditation paraphernalia and books and books and books on how to find peace. a store front with records. a store front with pink sandles and ruffled pink tops and flowy skirts. a store front with children looking smart and text that read, let your child amaze you. and there were samples of their tests laid out for all to see. and a store front with lizards and bunnies. looking. looking. looking. doing exactly what they would do in their natural habitat, but behind glass and the lizard opened it's mouth and displayed its nearly white tongue for me and smiling displayed its rows of saw teeth. and it's orange eye looked. and looked. and the hole in it's head that looked like it was covered with a dryer sheet to keep dust out was listening, i think. and the tiniest and biggest spikes all over were malleable and it's throat would puff. and i fucking screamed. i stared at that thing and said, it's an alien. it's an alien! and it's doing stuff to me through the glass. it's playing with my mind through the glass!! and i flew back onto the sidewalk holding my head "aaahhhh! arrrrrrr. ooowww!" and some people laughed and some people tried to help me calm down. and some people turned their heads and walked on. then i walked across the street to where moms where making plans and yuppies half-basked and half-squinted their faces wrinkling up against their mortality. and the sun blazed and tunnel vision went my eyes to two children. the girl was on the bench getting wierded out and joyfully so at her brother who was leaning over the back of the bench lyaayying at her and leaning over her and then lar lar lar yar ylraring at her again and i could only imagine that his eyes were doing something totally crazy too at her as she leaned away from him saying, "eeeeeeee. aaayyyy ll" and the people that were my size were doing robotic squinting brain things about what the day would be like if we did this or if we did that and what do we have to do, let's figure that out first. but i stared at the kids. i stared at them. i stopped in my tracks loosely pinching my two floppy dollars. i was outside of the starbucks store. i did not go into the starbucks store but i stared at them. and i stared. and i stared as they lollygargled on the bench and the birds sang and the grown-ups made plans. and then i took a deep quick split second breath and then with the force of a fire truck let out a roar at those kids, my eyes lit up like a dragon's. they screamed and jumped clear from the bench and and started running the opposite direction. i took one leap toward the bench, one leap on top of the bench where a mom sat hard in her sunglasses next to her buggy and one leap over the bench as she said "hey!" and i, despite the calls and confused cries of the big people that their children had disappeared and a stranger, was running after them, i ran.

the threshold to the alley shook, and i was there alone. in the alley. my hands and feet were smaller and less vinous; my eyes fell on a different part of the buildings. the big people who had been chasing me and had shaken through the threshold themselves were small too. their clothes baggy on them. the girls had dropped their large heavy purses and blinked at them. blinked at me. we stood there blinking at each other.

one boy began to huff and puff and huff and puff and huff and puff and huff and puff and we looked at him and he huffed and puffed and squealed and squealed and flew into a rage squealing and screaming: "yeah! YEAH!!. YEAH!! YEAHH! YEAHHHHHHH Y! Y! Y! YEAHHHHHHHHH." He stumbled and tripped out of his baggy clothes; big boxers dropped and he threw the tangle off of him and started pounding and beating on garage doors and running (yyyeeeahhhh!!!! . yeah yeah! YEAHHHHHHHHH!!!!! YEah!~ YeahYyyyyyYYY YY Y Y YY YY aaaaAAAAHHHH!!!!) and jumping up against garage doors all up and down the alley. jump pound beat. jump jump. jump pound. jump pound and powerfully clumsy beating.

We burst into laughter, some of us. some of us followed right away. some of us tried to follow but were laughing so hard we couldn't. goofy enveloped us. and we were tumbled and tossed screaming naked down the alley lyyllaarlyall yall yall-ing and jumping against garages and each other.

a big person came into view to call us onward to call us to task to call us into separate vans to click our belts and go go go to the stores and get get get things.

she had no air when she saw us. "what" is the only utterance she could utter at the tribal scene. Then she came to and started screaming with equal emphasis on the beginning of each word. what are you doing. and then a very fast get over here and then a deep and resounding now.

the boy and i had the same instinct, we sprinted toward her naked as the day we were born as she was born as all was first and then cut a hard right down the side walk sprinting as if our legs were twice as long and the big shouts followed. terrifying big shouts booming get back here.

with a one two three step something different was happening. i look down and my little feet were only skimming the ground and the boys little feet were all the way off the ground and we tilted and were tossed in to flight headlong into the wind like fish of the air. dodging bicyclists dogs big people like fish of the air. the big shouts stop. there are only shrill barks of dogs. then there is nothing but wind whipping past as we dive through the the air the wind hitting the top of my head and flapping down my hair. the wind rippling along my back and shooting off my feet and hands. we slip through.

i close my eyes gently and let the soaring wind-song envelop me and let it carry me.

the top of my head is smacked with pain darts and i am cold and fresh flopping around in the wet place. all is wet. swoo swoo spwoom zwoom zzooom! shlap! shlap shlap! three follow us. we pant. sniffle. bobbing in the waves, the light wind and seagulls in a sonic dance. and there is giggling and splashing and the light wind and seagulls in a sonic dance.

there's a hint of a wonder breezing in my mind about where i am exactly. and how i got here. it waxes and wanes and we splash we splash. we play and we float. the sky is definitely bright blue. and one cloud floats in reflection. we float. we float. we float.


I have been going on and on to those immediately around me about my fixation on the voices in my head. I aim to stop talking about it soon, because it is really dear and maybe I just need to let it sit in me before wearing it out. However, there is an important point that I want to sit with and that I invite you to sit with. First off, if I haven't talked your ear off about the voices, what I mean when I say "the voices in my head", I am referring to all inner dialogue - the voice narration, the voice that articulates ideas and thoughts, the voice of self-reflection, the voice of doubt and insecurity, the voice that analyzes the other voices, etc. All of it. Even the voice that I am allowing to come through me in typing this post. I have been getting to a point of trying to detach from identifying with these voices. Not that I see them all as malicious, or egoistic, or helpful, or anything. It's just that since they pop up uninvited with fully formed ideas and beliefs of their own, it doesn't seem like they necessarily have my best interest in mind and so far, believing they are me or that their thoughts are mine has frequently led to conflict. This is the point I'm trying to get to. According to a voice that seems reasonable and that upon reflection I choose to agree with, all human conflict appears to be the result of taking what one or more inner voices tell us and identifying with it. The conflict is that other people are doing the same thing. We seem to be complicit in acting as vehicles for the opinions and ideas of something outside of us to the extent that we will defend them in the face of opposition. That's it! That's all conflict breaks down to! To me it seems as though we are cars in a demolition derby and that we've let unknown drivers take control of us, ramming us into each other and creating all sorts of misery. I may have said too much already, so I'll stop here, but I invite you to listen to your own inner voices and see how they respond to all this, consciously observing that "Jeremy" did not necessarily come up with all this and that "you" are not necessarily the one articulating the response.

Monday, May 10, 2010

*On the Plane*

It is funny/frustrating for me to think about how quickly I can go from despair to acceptance on any given topic. The frustrating aspect is that it reveals the shaky, subjective nature of perspective. On the airplane right now is a nature show. Animals eating animals and the Earth, the Universe, and time finishing off the rest. Humans may yet destroy much of what they love about this world. Is that bad? Would it be less bad if it was a meteor that destroyed everything? It seems like some people need to go around raging at atrocities and some need to knowingly or unknowingly commit them. It is hard for me to find my place in this. What is worse about factory farming - that it causes unnecessary pain or that it shows a fundamental lack of respect? Maybe this lack of respect is the hub of atrocity? Native Americans are often portrayed as having an abiding and deep respect for their world. They still ate meat and warred, but in my romanticizing mind, it was coming from a more natural place. Or maybe just from a perspective that is more frequently seen mirrored in the natural world.


Current definition of Respect: the felt experience of recognizing others (plant, animal, mineral, ETC) as being of unique and fundamental value to the universe.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

eternal issues ... blather blather

just watched treme, the new hbo show about new orleans after katrina, and it served to bring up once again, my personal issues with sense of community absence, and that the "general culture" I exist in is rather vapid and superficial. I have wrestled with this issue for a long time, and I'm not sure exactly how to accommodate it. Oftentimes I choose to ignore it, because it tends to fall, among many other things, into the category of "can't do shit about it, so don't stress" which i am successful at for the most part.

I guess what I'm getting at is that I feel as though I'm surrounded by a society that has its values out of whack, and because of this, the cultural vibrancy is practically null. I watch this presumably realistic depiction of a small New Orleans community, people who have, in essence, been left with very little, yet they have these traditions of placing value on thing I also value: good food, good music, and especially, camaraderie, which inevitably involves the previous two items.

And I can't help but feel like this is what so many of the "american romantic" novelists, beat poets, and those influenced by them, might be touching on when they talk about the american loneliness. We are without deep roots, and feel forced to constantly move, change, build, grow, progress. Obviously New Orleans is one of the few gems in our country that was able to cultivate such roots and use them to maintain such powerful connections.

But then I think about the fact that I'm not necessarily a traditionalist, and I don't necessarily like things to stay the same, so maybe I'm finding myself in a bit of a paradox. Maybe its essential to have roots and traditions in order for people to feel that level of deep connection. Then again, there also exists a deep sense of community in groups that feel outside the fold, or who are going against the grain.

I guess I'm not really able to articulate fully what I am blathering about (case in point!) Sometimes I think things like facebook and twitter are bringing people closer, but more often, I feel like its just the opposite. And I can't see myself jumping off the wagon, because then I'm in the dust, all alone. I just feel like we live rather hollow lives as a culture, and its only getting hollower. And I don't know what to do about it, or if I should even try. Or care. Perhaps zen is the truest answer, to "turn off the mind, relax, and float down stream" as lennon says via the tibetan book of the dead. but then i would need to live in the woods. ah whatever, there's no conclusion to be reached. only the abyss of the now : : : : : :

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

working the wonder-muscle.

blogging about blogging. I am a journaler and an letter-writer and thus used to writing my observations for an audience of zero or one. But blogs are intended for a bigger audience; I'm at a loss as to what would be of value under these conditions, but Jamison and Jeremy have encouraged my participation so I thought I'd give it a try. And here it is, the beginning of saying something. See, if I were writing in my journal I'd say: hm, don't know what to write. the green velvet chaise lounge in the corner beckons but too tired to move from this bed. Mr. Jimmy, Jeremy and Dave are on the porch going on and on. pyramids float. a crate of books. my ginger tea. my thermometer. what a strange little music town. what a strange long adventure. Friends are the thing." And I'd go on like that without worrying that no one knew what any of it meant and without having to introduce the "characters".

Blogging about questions about blogging.

To say something lots of people might care about, I'll piggy back on Jeremy's post about the woods and the complexities therein. We were on the same "trip" trip trip. what. something gets going in the brain that makes you fall in love with a stick. This is why hippies are so peaceful. This is what's behind the thought "everyone should do this". Logically, if you could allow the eyes to swim along the intricate patterns of the stick and behold its wild colors (there really are purple sticks), you have a more difficult time dropping the thing much less being the force behind ending the movement of an autonomous creature. Were we all to ingest this magic potion that makes us want to explore, forever deeper, the intricacies in nature and those in one another's faces and bodies, the desire for deeper experiential knowledge might overcome the desire to inflict pain or even negligence on one another and even on ourselves. peace. voila. right?

Short of such idealistic goals for all the people on the planet, I'll mention that I had a profound time swimming with the patterns of moss trees sticks plants muscles bones movement grass ...and also getting to observe this Jeremy (who I call "yemmy" in many of my journal entries, courtesy of a few friends who helped birth this nickname, which alas, he hates, and which i won't use in this blog entry because it's only intended to show it's face in my journal:)) and getting to know him better. It's quite a simple thing really, love. But that's another post.


Monday, March 22, 2010

the trees

This is going to be a little bit understated and simplified, but these realizations occurred to me whilst under the influence of psychedelic mushrooms, so there is really no other way. In my experience, nature is often considered to be simple, uncomplicated, direct and so on. Cities, on the other hand, are considered chaotic, busy, complex and the like. While these observations have truth in them, on the whole, I think they are backwards. Nature has millions and billions of complex, intricate, and beautiful ways of expressing itself, while in any given city (in America, at least) is nothing but a few reworkings of straight roads, straight lines, straight buildings, commercial and residential zoning, square parks with grid-based plant life trimmed and pruned. All of our systems have to be dumbed down and diluted so we can wrap our heads around them, but in any forest in the world, the planning and systems are only limited by what could possibly function, leaving a myriad of possibilities that are all explored and them some. If it doesn't work to build somewhere in the forest, then the plant or animal dies and they try again in a way that nourishes the existent and future plant life. Here we have to invest thousands and millions to build and if the business doesn't work, it could mean years of debt and material waste. Our systems just aren't advanced enough yet, I guess.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Log 5.0

I am coming up on the four month mark. I just got my tax return two days ago, so February's bills and rent should be taken care of and most of March's, though I'm going to Austin for South by Southwest and I'm not sure exactly how all of that will be financed. There is a potential catering gig in April that will pay maybe $1000 for a week of making kosher dinners, but it isn't for sure. My mom called me the other day and asked if I needed her to send me money and it was nice to be able to say that I was fine. I'm still hoping that something sustainable will show up. I was to be going on tour in Europe in April and it was even going to be a paying gig, but that got bumped to next January and I am not even sure if I'll be invited to that one. I am not having a hard time coming up with things to do or projects to work on, but they continue to be unpaid and for now I guess I have to be okay with that. Thus far, it's been a priority to make myself available (creatively, personally, emotionally, etc.), but yesterday and the the day before I hit a snag with "what about my projects - what about working on my thing and making that a priority". It's funny, because I don't have a "thing" right now that is tugging me, I was just having to deal with the egoic aspects of doing work for other people or at least following their lead, even though a lot of it has given me tremendous creative freedom. The funny thing is that I was not even experiencing difficulty with it, I was anticipating future stress and conflict. Simultaneously, I see that perhaps my greatest gift is the capacity to be with other people and to help facilitate their creativity and blossoming. I don't see it as being a sideman (which is very hard for my ego to handle), but as being an active participant in something going deeper than the immediate project. There is tremendous power and energy in this and at some level I may need to acknowledge that this is the gift given me and the gift I have to give. Regardless of whether or not that is my life's project, I am okay with doing it now and I don't have to worry about how it will come into play later until later is now. Concurrently, amazing synchronicities have been abounding. Of course.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Free University

Amazing amazing things are afoot. I don't know exactly how to explain the Free University, especially because it is still in its infancy, but I can say that last Monday night, 13 total bad asses convened in my apartment to discuss how we could begin a program of education for each other, from each other. We had people who's chosen passions and specialties ranged from found object sculpture, to Chinese philosophy, to capoeira, and on and on. Everyone had something that everyone else wanted to explore with them. So we ate amazing vegetarian food (potluck style) and just went around the room discussing how we thought a program could work and what we all thought we could contribute. The group is continually growing and the program is evolving and evolving. The seed was actually planted last fall and is now starting to really come up from the ground. This week, I led a Harmonic Experience group that essentially consisted of me cultivating my morning routine and inviting others to join in - Tuesday it was just me, Wednesday Meg came by, Thursday Molly came by, and Friday had Meg, Molly, Leslie, and Aaron. It doesn't matter that you don't know who they are, but it is of note that Aaron has a master's in classical piano performance and specializes in advanced tuning systems including microtonal composition and alternate equal tempered tunings. Fucking AWESOME! Where this is all going is still in the air, but there is a lot of momentum, a lot of heart and love and a growing number of brilliant people wanting to get involved. We have a chalkboard wall in my living room, and the picture is of the wall after the notes from the meeting. Additionally, my roomies and I are going to be hosting a weekly underground coffee shop in our apartment and I'm scheduling for a lecture series that will convene at each of the coffee shop sessions. If any of you are in town on a Tuesday, we'd love to have you speak!

PS - we're looking to get a website and it appears as if we may go with Ha ha ha!

Monday, January 18, 2010

stained radiance

something i've wanted to explore for a long time. beautiful concept. art of impermanence at its best.

Friday, January 15, 2010

cruisin' for a brusin'

Upon hearing news of Haiti's earthquake, and literally feeling the waves from its after shock on a cruise boat I've been playing on, I got to thinking deeply about socioeconomic issues on a global scale, and how I fit into that arena personally. The situation in Haiti is obviously devastating, and of course,all of the major media channels are running what appears to be a 24 hour spiel on every detail of its aftermath. Of course, it is important to be aware, but I can't help but feel of course, that as one might expect, American media is again, just trying to make a buck. And I also think about all of the people on this cruise ship: tourists wearing floral t shirts, drinking cheap beer and listening to cheesy blues music they can "shake their thing" to, trying desperately to leave their cares behind. They are the ones who upon arrival at various caribbean ports, proceed to engulf themselves with a practically "disney-fied" version of some faint idea of what the caribbean actually is. All the while, there is a truly third world culture literally blocks away, that no one cares to see. I wish that I could articulate all of the things that go through my head when I confront these issues . For instance, I feel like the slightly intense waves that our cruise boat felt analogously represent how outsiders, particularly Americans, are affected by Haiti's disaster. They watch the news for a while, truly feel sad, and wish they could do something, but eventually forget about it, because ultimately its depressing and their world around them has to take over. There is no one to blame for this... it is a cultural norm that has established itself over decades, perhaps centuries of social evolution. But this kind of cultural disparity can be looked at on an even deeper level, in which we see such intense alienation between third and first world cultures: again, the example of cruise ship ports and the vicinity of sub cultures that exist within them. And to further my angst about all of this, I am a white male from a privileged culture, wanting desperately to respect, and ultimately connect, with another culture so far removed from his "likeness." I wish people could look past my exterior and see that I actually care about them, that I don't judge them or think less of them because they are dark, or poor, or desperate. And believe me, people do. You can't tell me that a lot of first world cultures (again, America seems to come to mind) have a population of people who feel in some way superior to other individuals because their culture is more "civilized" or "wealthy". What they don't realize is that none of these people really have much to do with any of that. So much of how these cultures evolve is based on a web of complexities, including human behavior.... ultimately that one of the human's species major weaknesses: the idea that power and money (which can be perceived as the same thing) are of upmost importance, and are worth so much as to sacrifice the quality of life for millions of people. It is indeed self-preservation taken to the next level: self-aggrandizement and thus: selfishness in its truest sense. Anyway, the point of the matter is: I feel angst. And the problem is, I understand why it is happening, and I also understand that the angst really isn't necessary, and that ultimately I can't do anything about it. But I also realize that I am in a unique position, with potentially unique feelings and experiences in this regard, and that maybe my thoughts and feelings on the matter could actually be of some value to others. All I know is that these thought are with me constantly. Thankfully I I have learned over the past few years to come to terms with a lot of them, and realize that my happiness cannot be at their mercy. But, again. I wonder if I can offer up my perspective and open someone's mind, even just a little. Why does it matter you may ask. And I would say, I don't know. Because, when you break anything down long enough you find yourself in a nihilistic state of depression, and lets face it, that is no way to live. So instead, I am planning to explore these issues further, for whatever good they may reap. It is something I feel strongly about, and have had enough experiences with to feel confident in expressing my ideas. We shall see where it takes me. At the very least, I will grow as an individual, and connect more deeply to the world around me. Isn't that what we are all looking for anyway? Thanks for listening.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Log #4

So full of hope! It's funny how very little has changed since the anxiety of my last log, but for some reason, I don't feel the weight of it any more. At least not how I was. I now see that I'm going to be able to make rent this month and if I can get my tax return in a timely fashion, I should be able to make rent in February as well. After that, who knows. I've been contacted by two families to teach their 4-6 year-olds piano lessons and I'm psyched about creating and exploring an experimental curriculum that would emphasize the playing and improvisation (something my childhood piano lessons completely lacked). Additionally, Meg hired me to transcribe 5 of her tunes and put them into Finale, I'm going to help my roommate DJ another junior high dance this week, and may help cook some more kosher food this weekend. Who knows. I've been thinking about the idea of living in relationship vs. trying to maintain the illusion of independence. Part of me thinks that if I can give up thinking of myself as My and Self and really see and feel myself in the context of the rest of the world, then the process of finding my place will be a lot easier. Honestly, most of the time, I get the impression that it is always easy, the only difficulty is dealing with the fear and projection of insecurity. NOTHING IS SECURE! NOTHING IS SUBJECT TO STASIS! The sense of security that I'm looking for is really just an attempt at an opaque illusion wherein the future happens just like I want it to because I will have enough money to overcome adversity. Fucking ridiculous, really. There is no amount of money that voids you from the curveballs life throws at you - death, difficulties in relationships, self doubt and feelings of being alone in the world, etc. I had a really good talk with Forrest last night. He's probably put himself out on a limb as much as anyone I know and he told me he's still out there, but that everything has always worked out and he seems to have trust that it will continue to do so. In some ways I think it has been a little frustrating for him - I don't think he is presently out on a limb that he intended - but it was absolutely inspiring for me and encouraging to share stories and commune with him. Yee-ah!

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

new project!

Just thought I would share a project that Jeremy and I just worked on via Meg's vocal piece. Jeremy did a beautiful job with the this rough mix - I have a feeling this is only the beginning!