The bigger the question, he said, the more important it is to answer it right now. This moment is all the time you need. It’s the only one we have.
- Don’t settle for anything less than what you really want.
- Be wary about accepting offers of safety and security at the expense of your own creative freedom. Once you trade your freedom for the illusion of security, you have a hard time ever getting your freedom back.
- Follow your heart, and your life will be blessed with unexpected favors.
And, perhaps most important, we sabotaged our good feeling because we simply didn’t have much practice feeling good for any substantial length of time. The history of humanity, as well as our personal histories, teaches us a lot about adversity and how to deal with it but very little about how to feel good and maintain that feeling.
As I pondered this question I began to see through the words and concepts about Jesus and Christianity. Words can cause conflict; people can argue for centuries about concepts. But underneath all the words and argument there must be something essential and pure and true. I began to wonder: What is the experience that underlies it all? Maybe the experience is so strong that people can only handle a little bit of it before they withdraw from it into the world of words, concepts, and conflict. Maybe theh actual genuine experience is so powerful it makes some people crazy. At the other extreme, people withdraw into boredom because they fear the power of the experience.
There was, it is fair to say, less reason for ledge-sitting before all that happened. So don’t tell me that the balance of my mind was disturbed, because it really didn’t feel that way. (What does it mean, anyway, that stuff about “the balance of the mind”? Is it strictly scientific? Does the mind really wobble up and down in the head like some sort of fish-scale, according to how loopy you are?) Wanting to kill myself was an appropriate and reasonable response to a whole series of unfortunate events that had rendered life unlivable.
Most people get suicide, I guess; most people, even if it’s hidden deep down inside somewhere, can remember a time in their lives when they thought about whether they really wanted to wake up the next day. Wanting to die seems like it might be part of being alive.
They spoke quickly, Martin and Jess and JJ. Like people in a soap opera, bang bang bang. Like people who know what to say. I could never have spoken that quickly, not then, anyway; it made me realize that I’d hardly spoken at all for twenty-odd years. And the person I spoke to most couldn’t speak back.
Maybe that’s what we all need, whether we’re suicidal or not. Maybe life is just too big a gap to be plugged by filler, so we need anything we can get our hands on—sanders and planers, fifteen-year-olds, whatever—to fill it up.
People go on about places like Starbucks being unpersonal and all that, but what if that’s what you want? I’d be lost if JJ and people like that got their way, and there was nothing unpersonal in the world. I like to know that there are big places without windows where no one gives a shit. You need confidence to go into small places with regular customers—small bookshops and small music shops and small restaurants and cafes. I’m happiest in the Virgin Megastore and Borders and Starbucks and PizzaExpress, where no one gives a shit, and no one knows who you are. My mum and dad are always going on about how soulless those places are, and I’m like Der. That’s the point.
I thought I couldn’t go wrong with Nick Drake, especially in a room full of people who’ve got the blues. If you haven’t heard him… Man, it’s like he boiled down all the melancholy in the world, all the bruises and all the fucked-up dreams you’ve let go, and poured the essence into a little tiny bottle and corked it up. And when he starts to play and sing, he takes the cork out, and you can smell it. You’re pinned into your seat, as if it’s a wall of noise, but it’s not—it’s still, and quiet, and you don’t want to breathe in case you frighten it away.
This is how I feel, every day, and people don’t want to know that. They want to know that I’m feeling what Tom Jones makes you feel. Or that Australian girl who used to be in Neighbours. But I feel like this, and they won’t play what I feel on the radio, because people that are sad don’t fit in.
And you probably also know that when you look out of an aeroplane window and see the world shrink like that, you can’t help but think about the whole of your life, from the beginning until where you are now, and everyone you’ve ever known. And you’ll know that thinking about those things makes you feel grateful to God for providing them, and angry with Him for not helping you to understand them better, and so you end up in a terrible muddle and needing to talk to a priest.
There must be a lot of that goes on. There must be people who kill themselves because their marriage is over, and others who kill themselves because they can’t see a way out of the one they’re in. I wondered whether you could do that with everyone, whether every unhappy situation had an unhappy opposite situation. I couldn’t see it with the people who had debts, though. No one ever killed himself because he had too much money.
We all spend so much time not saying what we want, because we know we can’t have it. And because it sounds ungracious, or ungrateful, or disloyal, or childish, or banal. Or because we’re so desperate to pretend that things are OK, really, that confessing to ourselves they’re not looks like a bad move. Go on, say what you want. … Whatever it is, say it to yourself. The truth will set you free. Either that or it’ll get you a punch in the nose. Surviving in whatever life you’re living means lying, and lying corrodes the soul, so take a break from the lies just for one minute.”
Hard is trying to rebuild yourself, piece by piece, with no instruction book, and no clue as to where all the important bits are supposed to go.
Stephen Scobie, on the Naropa Institute’s 1994 tribute to Allen Ginsberg (via thisisendless)
I’m just frozen. Absences of women in history don’t “just happen,” they are made.
We talked about this in my American literature course for about two seconds. When I asked the professor why there were no female poets on our syllabus from that era he just said “there was nothing really of note”.
fuck that shit kids. Hunt it out because there’s some incredible stuff out there
You’ve made just enough safe choices to stay alive but not enough to matter. Is that what you want? You can be more. You want to be more, don’t you?
The window of opportunity is closing. This is your chance. This is not about not losing. This is about you finally having the confidence to walk out on the ledge and know that you’re not going to fall."
— "Halt and Catch Fire,” S01E01
I want to write a letter
To someone whose heart
Will melt at my words,
Whose eyes will blink long
Whose lips will curl
Ever so slightly
Upward in delight.
I want to send my words
To where they’ll touch another soul
At the core of our shared existence,
But I don’t know where to address them.
Yesterday, I traveled to NYC to see Mercy Bell play live, in person, for the first time, after having listened to her album repeatedly over the last two years and watched her play a few StageIt shows. It was a rainy, overcast day, but the weather never dampened my mood as I caught up with good friends, met a few stars from the Brooklyn indie music galaxy, and enjoyed entertainment that still has me smiling widely.
I’m setting down a selection of the random thoughts from the day, in the hope that they won’t leave my memory too soon:
- Shakespeare & Co. Book Sellers on Broadway have a giant selection of film guides and memoirs and screenplays. Makes sense, though, given their proximity to NYU.
- The gentleman in the Starbucks restroom line who regaled me with tales of his old friend Ed (presumably H. Edward Roberts, h/t Google) who invented the PC that made my smartphone (& countless other staples of our modern life) possible also told me he’d ridden his bike 6000 miles across the country.
- This was only my second time in this part of the city, but I was already able to give directions. Of course, when the question is where is 1st and we’re standing on 4th, it wasn’t all that challenging.
- Seeing a photo- and people-loving artist you’ve followed on social media for years play a rare show in a city she used to call home is like walking into Instagram, with so many vaguely familiar faces suddenly in 3D.
- When the sound guy asks if you want a tuner mid-set, you’d do well to accept the offer. (Referencing Joe Marson, who played after Mercy; tbh, I didn’t hear much difference, but you’ve got to trust the pro, right?)
- Orson: The report, Mork.
- Mork: This week I discovered a terrible disease called loneliness.
- Orson: Do many people on Earth suffer from this disease?
- Mork: Oh yes sir, and how they suffer. One man I know suffers so much he has to take a medication called bourbon, even that doesn't help very much because then he can hear paint dry.
- Orson: Does bed rest help?
- Mork: No because I've heard that sleeping alone is part of the problem. You see, Orson, loneliness is a disease of the spirit. People who have it think that no one cares about them.
- Orson: Do you have any idea why?
- Mork: Yes sir you can count on me. You see, when children are young, they're told not to talk to strangers. When they go to school, they're told not to talk to the person next to them. Finally when they're very old, they're told not to talk to themselves, who's left?
- Orson: Are you saying Earthlings make each other lonely?
- Mork: No sir I'm saying just the opposite. They make themeslves lonely, they're so busy looking out for number one that there's not enough room for two.
- Orson: It's too bad everybody down there can't get together and find a cure.
- Mork: Here's the paradox sir because if they did get together, they wouldn't need one. Isn't that zenlack?