This Side of Paradise With Holden Caulfield

Poor Butterfly-Judy Garland & Bobby Cole

I’ve been meditating on the Lost Generation, and associated alcoholic flapper girls with tiny mouths. I thought I saw myself, my position in the world with this wandering brigade of writers and artists, stuck between wars and civilizations, who were born too late in nineteenth, to early in the twentieth century, to really get either. Vestiges of a Victorian past. Knowledge of a present debauchery, excess, fluidity of rule and standard.

I’m currently reading Fitzgerald’s This Side of Paradise, didn’t like Amory Blaine, or F. Scott hiding behind him. Obviously biographical while reading, this was confirmed later with Wikipedia backstory. Fitzgerald and his wife Zelda had a notorious relationship. He stole tidbits of her diary for this work, got married on the hustle, the come-up off it. They called her schizophrenic, or whatever, and she wasted away in the asylum until an early death, a prototype of the grungy, burnout pop celebrity. I think the class-consciousness of Amory Blaine is what bugs me, probably out of protection of my own ego. It’s not fun to think of yourself as lower class, less than. Their wealth and opportunity of experience makes it that way though. More over the rampant materialism of my own 1980s Mid-West upbringing carries these same understandings and systems, which I have to acknowledge. I had no Nikes, no shiny new cars, no expensive trips to Disney Land, just Pepsis, and Cosmopolitan magazine, frozen pizzas and box macaroni and cheese.

I think 80s and 90s kids are again a Lost generation, the last of the pre-internet artificial-intelligence/reality generation. We got to see the end stages of the twentieth century, the highlights of that age, cable television, cheap food, shock and awe, GI Joe, Michael Jordan. Music and the Arts in fantastic death flourishes, party like its 1999, before the big reset, the next battle, the next mountain. We get the first glimmers of artificial intelligence and all that, but by the time it arrives we’ll all be on insulin drips, humming the melody of Hit Me Baby One More Time in our State sponsored tiny apartments. The Lost Ones are tired before they start. We want it to stop for a second, take a look around, sentimentalist, romantics, call it whatever the fuck you want, let’s just stop, gorge on each other, engage in an orgy of self. Fine booze, whatever you need, I need. Fine, yes take it away, that’s fine. Watch the glasses. Okay, Christ, sure yes. What version? Baptist, Lutheran? Sorry, I’m a Catholic. Fuck all that, bring the booze back, and can we get the band swinging again. Ignore the rowdies. The poor and the starving. Is there a dusty book to be read somewhere quietly?

I’d like to be in a pit fight with F. Scott Fitzgerald, and JD Salinger. Hemingway could be the ref (and potential traitor at the end) and we would be in a death fight for the love of Zelda Fitzgerald. I would manhandle both with pure animalistic rage, set-off by shared percolating Daddy issues. I’d spit in Fitzgerald’s eye and then choke out Salinger, while I whispered, go to sleep phony, in his ear. Victorious, but bloody, I’d whisk Zelda away, away from the man with the pills and the paddles, away from the screams of desperate people. I would hide her on a farm, like Goldie Hawn in Overboard, give her some healthy babies that ground her, show her the fantastic and the real in another. Let her get the wild out under the moonlight, to dance and make love with a cold night’s breeze, among wild flowers and fireflies; no booze.

Zelda_Fitzgerald_portrait

 

On Dreams

THE DREAM OF SAINT JOHN DAMASCENE

The_dream_of_Saint_John_Damascene_Wellcome_L0041636

At my most sober, center, and worked, I start having the strangest, most detailed, oriented dreams. When things start going lucid, I’m always stuck in a physical space, a movie theater, a mall, sometimes an unfamiliar city, or suburbia. I think my own inherent suspicion and anxiety make it go bad, sour, but there also seems to be something there, watching me, security, the man in black. As a child its a shapeshifting empty, black hole monster, It. With maturity it manifests in real world concerns, personal relationships, physical and emotional harm to self and other. It tries to scare ya.

The movie theater, mall setting is the most common. That’s what really gets to me. Being in a room with all those other people. I start thinking, you want to say that they’re just a figment of your imagination, that its just filler-people pulled from your memory, but in the dream it doesn’t feel that way. They feel real, they react real, slow, life-like, dreamy. What happens with me is I will become suspicious of the authenticity of the whole endeavor, and my subjugation in it. This seems to “wake me” up in the dream, and that provokes a force to come play cop on the whole thing, scare you awake. Scare you awake. Think about it. When you dream there’s a thing in there that wants to wake you up….What?

I’d like to fight it. Knuckles and bones, teeth. I don’t know what that means about me. I can accept maybe its a symptom of my own broken, depressive, scared self. I can imagine others free from this creature, entity. But to what degree? What could you do if you were free in that space? Does it have to be this way?

There’s usually a shake-down with the Shadow Monster. Breath on your neck. Recently they had a futuristic, neon blue probe body scanning systems, armed guards in glossy stormtrooper black. Empty your pockets. But then the vertigo, the flee, the scene has to change. Usually it ends with running, then some subtle torture until you wake up. But what about the moments it bleeds over into reality? What then?

On Farming, Nabokov, Internet, Culture, Knowledge, Writing

Last night I stayed up late watching farming motivation, tomato porn videos on YouTube. The guys was showing how you can greatly increase pollination of the tomato plant by fingering, slapping, shaking the plant, and around the fruiting special bits. Tomatoes carry both the males and the females stuff, so by vibrating the former you impregnate the later. I had noticed last night some drying blossoms on my own, think the heat and lack of water zapped them. Video made me realize maybe they were not pollinated and that made them weaker too.

I’v found my part of the stream and it’s having a cooling effect, or a redirecting of my energy from writing/reading to the farm. Not to say I’ve haven’t been doing either. It’s always there, crawling around, waiting. My JD Salinger binge had me noticeably nihilistic, the Camus stretch ruined me, and then the The Feud by Alex Beam about the friendship and subsequent “fight” between writer Nabokov and Literati Edmund Wilson got my haunches up and has sent me spiraling down the black hole of conspiracy world (Dave Chappelle, Kanye, Johnny Deep, may all be MKULTRA victims and clones). Despite Mr Beam’s and everyone else’s explicit statement not to see any of Nabokov’s work, Lolita and beyond, as confessional or biographical, I couldn’t see otherwise.

I know Tolkien was like that, didn’t like any real world parallels pointed out. I get the psychological need to distance ourselves from the thing. It ruins it for some, like the Wizard of Oz, doesn’t allow them to slip into into suspended disbelief. The real question, is there any other mode? Everything seems made up these days. Don’t know exactly why. Has to be the TV and internet, we live in little electronic bubbles of our choosing, inherently artificial, the so-called external reality has begun to mirrors this process. It all begins to break down at a point, like CNN current meme debacle, old traditional barriers start to dissolve.

I read the news, and about the world, like it is regular installments of my favorite Sci-Fi series. I’m using the internet through tethering my phone. And there’s only one spot that works in the house.. The upstairs window facing north. So the bedroom has become the office. It was nice to have the full desktop back, the youtube, all of it. Senior year of High School,  I made this ceramic block with the word “Knowledge” on it. It’s always been sort of a totem for me, a symbol of first principles.  I set my phone on that, pointed out the window, and it works well enough. And I don’t know while getting reintegrated, I realize  current events are just insane, nightmarish, other-worldly. You try to settle yourself down, cut the anxiety with a bit of reason. And if you shut it off and maybe went and wandered a field, or river, or something you could find ways to forget it, but you sort of don’t want to. You want to see where the story is going. How it will all play out. Stories and book are like that. Trying to write “popular” fictions gets me in a similar way. Conjuring up twisted characters and thick drama, set a tone for the spirit and day, which can sometimes feel negative and costly. I don’t like hurting people, fiction or otherwise, which doesn’t necessarily make for great fiction. It could, but you got to work harder for it, I think. Stop being a pussy, is what the shadow self jeers with.

The field almost feels easier. Just different, I guess. Farm work taxes the body, but nourishes the spirit, art work taxes both, and leads the body to lethargy and the spirit to turn manic. I’ve set up an academic hour in the evenings six to seven oclock, then out to the field for two hours to weed, mulch, and water. Balance. Knowledge.

img_0343

On America

 

Lady Liberty-Harriet Tubman

447px-Harriet_tubman

 

America is nothing but a base camp. A tent and a fire, laid out on some slab. That is all. A country of highwayman, robbers, charlatans, and the insane, and I love it. It is every place and no place, a final frontier. Because it is a country of immigrants and foreigners, it picks up everyone’s story, and assimilates it. Of course, this process is often ugly, barbaric, and half-baked, but it couldn’t be other wise. America is the Tower of Babel, rebuilt with Elmer’s glue and Popsicle sticks, television on max, Jimi Hendrix setting his guitar on fire in the kitchen, and a pack of geeked out nerds and sociopaths in the garage, playing with concrete and psychotropics, trying to figure out the agenda. The enormity of spaces, of ideas, of waist sizes; limits have never been appropriately considered. We are Fantasy manifest, the settler, the soldier, the capitalist, the cowboy, the gangster, the hippies, the trendy, etc.

It’s okay to hate it, because it hates you too. No one belongs here, so we all belong here. It is Paradox Country. Own slaves, fight and die to free the slaves. Be fearful and xenophobic of outsiders, other cultures, make those black sheep social icons and definers. Rape the planet through Industrialization and figurehead the Green movement. Shining example of a Constitutional Republic, and tyrannical Big-Brother imperial state. Land of the Free, the Brave, the Prisoner and the Drug Addict.

Our characters are the best though, historical and other wise. The later amplified and burned into humanities subconscious by modern and distinctly American Technicolor Babylon. Some of my favorite Americans, Harriet Tubman, George Washington Carver, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Edgar Allen Poe,  Henry David Thoreau, Mark Twain, Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Paine, Daniel Webster, Walt Whitman, Robert Johnson, Ray Charles, Nina Simone, Muhammad Ali, Miles Davis, James Brown, Michael Jackson, Bob Dylan, Woody Guthrie, and on and on, but I’ll stop cause it, because its boring thinking like that, and boredom is America’s kryptonite.

Hating America is quintessential America. Faking like you love America, so that you can fight people who hate America is very American too. Anyone can be an American, just don’t think you can have any part in defining it, or your role in it…unless you have a lot of money, and then you can do whatever you want and you’re awesome, but because you’re an American, you will secretly respect, fear, and want to be the Poor, because they’re cooler and tougher. But don’t worry as long as you exhibit this understanding through things like expensively and tastefully destroyed designer jeans, you should be okay. Remember, money!

I can’t end it like that. It would be unAmerican. Let me put on my thick Sam Elliot voice. Americas riding home after a long day of playing, ball field, swimming hole, park, fire works. Gentle wind on warm skin, as your bikes pushes forward, effortlessly under strong legs. Flying with your friends, maybe a younger sister or brother in the pack. Mom told you to watch her. Don’t let her run off. And you didn’t. You made her the star, the center of the whole day. Your friends let her be sassy, and get away with saying all the things you could never say. And you smile as you think about that flying down the road to your house. The lights are dim, Mom and Dad are upstairs, already in bed. They call out to the gang as they raid the kitchen for popcorn and treats and then you pile on the sofa to watch the latest movie. Your friends will file out one by one, back through the syncopated quiet of the neighborhood, with perfectly mowed lawns, except that one, always that one house, and into their homes. You sit there til its late, scrolling through your phone and it feels like the whole world has gone to sleep. And everything is perfect, and normal, and put away. You toss a blanket on your sister, she likes to sleep on the couch, and you head to your bed in perfect peace.

Snippets 84

A Farewell to Arms-Ernest Hemingway

If people bring so much courage to this world the world has to kill them to break them, so of course it kills them. The world breaks every one and afterward many are strong at the broken places. But those that will not break it kills. It kills the very good and the very gentle and the very brave impartially. If you are none of these you can be sure it will kill you too but there will be no special hurry. (226)

Snippets 82

A Farewell to Arms-Ernest Hemingway

“What is the difference?”
I cannot say it easily. There are people who would make war. In this country there are many like that. There are other people who would not make war.”
“But the first ones make them do it.”
“Yes”
“And I help them.”
“You are a foreigner. You are a patriot.”
“And the ones who would not make war? Can they stop it?”
“I do not know.”
He looked out of the window again. I watched his face.
“Have they ever been able to stop it?
“They are not organized to stop things and when they get organized their leaders sell them out.” (69)

Snippets 81

Neil Gaiman-Trigger Warning-From Short Story “The Sleeper and the Spindle”

The old woman passed a mother, asleep, with a baby dozing at her breast. She dusted them, absently, as she passed, made certain that the baby’s sleepy mouth remained on the nipple.
She ate her meal of turnips and greens in silence. (243)

Two weeks from mission complete.

Two weeks from mission complete. I’ve been on hiatus from computer, running operations. Shut the internet down. Felt good. For years now, about six, ever since we bought our first house, or rather got a mortgage on a house, wife and I have pined for the country life. Big lots, less people density, farm-stuff, crazy gardens, chickens, maybe a pig or two, who knows? Things had reached a feverish pitch roughly two months ago. As our kids are getting older 2, 4, and 6, change is looking less scary and more revitalizing. We came to the conclusion we would start trying to sell our house in February of 2017, but as we sat there one night and thought about it more, like the fact it could take several months or more to get it done, and no better time then the present, and really what was stopping us? We knew a lot of course (Contingent Contracts, Winter, etc.), and it has ended up being a lot, but none the less, here we sit, two weeks from closing on our current house and a new farm house on December 23, 2016.

It’s sort of remarkable really. I’m still in the whirlwind of it all to relate it appropriately. There’s secrets in all this. Which I will relate for a small fee. If you’re a cheaper, wiser man, I will tell you the key right now. The key is best summed up by the title of book I read once, by Susan Jeffers called Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway. That’s it. Dreams always hold this element of fear. You fear you and it won’t live up to your expectations, you fear the hard work and change a dream might entail. Your Will scans for hurdles as you plot the course, and highlights easiest solution to these hurdles, which can often make giving up seem like the best option. But it’s not, feeling that fear, rolling in it, chewing on it, sucking back the sickening slurp and hocking it out, and doing what you want to, is the best feeling you’re gonna find, I say. I think the only exception is stupid stuff, like really stupid stuff, jumping out of plane, no parachute. But maybe that’s the key to flying, Faith of a mustard seed and all that.No, physical safety first, then any unreasonable, but awesome dream should be pursued.Forget the rest of it.

It’s practical too. You pursue a dream, and you will learn skills which help in other areas. Maybe guitar won’t make you immediately rich and successful, but all that practice, focus, and pleasure in progress, leads to a person who can accomplish even more challenging tasks.

Then one day you’ll hold the guitar, or the paintbrush, or hammer, and you’ll realize your doing things you didn’t know how to do before. To be great you have to do something that will make you scared. Seems some important paradox in that. Just too damned excited about it all to pontificate more. Ill be back…

P.S. Just knocked back some heavies ones in the Literature realm, Lolita, Orxy and Craker,   As I Lay Dying, The End of Eternity, amazing works, so much to say in response may have to do a dangers of Padding the Reading Part 2. Dystopia had a me a little worn thin in all that though, had to look away, Lot’s wife.  But that’s the true power of the bitter pill, there’s secrets there too, I think. Every read any of those? Let’s talk about them!