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Saturday, August 18, 2007


Good evening, BanjoSnakers.

Times are weird. Friends have lately been describing me as "rattled," (and that's not some oblique reference to my fascination with snakes) and they're right. I'm distracted, frustrated (if not outright pissed off), unfocused, and if I'm not in the worse physical shape I've ever been, I'm damn close. I'm so out of it that I even crashed Kim's scooter last week. Thankfully, there was mostly just cosmetic damage to both Chipper and the scooter (although I've got a skid mark on my knee that's killin' me!)

I've had too many irons in the fire for a long time, and at this point, I can't even tell whether I'm gradually taking them out, one-by-one, and beating them into something useful; ignoring them; or uselessly sticking more of 'em in, just waiting for the forge to explode. I'm afraid that often, it feels like the final possibility. But I thought that I'd take a moment and see if I could possibly explain things, even if only to myself.

My good friend Juan Del Llano and I have been chatting occasionally, and (if I may speak for the man) we both sense some sort of gauzy, vague terminus is approaching. And we're acting a little strange. Today I described us as like Roy Neary and others in "Close Encounters Of The Third Kind," folks who are getting shit beamed in by the aliens and thus are acting deeply weird, and our poor families and friends don't know how to take it sometimes. We're unsure what all this means, but we both feel like personally and socially we're in some kind of "death throes" and that if we can just make it to the other side of this shit, things will be much better... or at least entertainingly different. But who knows? It might be the twilight of the Gods for real....

We recognize, if only in an oblique way, that some of this is perhaps a changing mood in the country: politically, socially, culturally, etc. etc. I think that even folks who would normally describe themselves as "conservative" are getting pretty damn tired of watching a bunch of self-serving frat boys pollute, starve, torture, murder, and otherwise run a once-great nation (and others) into the ground in order to serve their own smug little power trips and enrich their corporate ass-kissing buddies beyond all human moral boundaries. Folks on the street are pretty grumpy... that much, I get.

And I can still self-examine enough to understand most, if not all, of the outside influences that are screwing with me. The process of cleaning up and marketing for sale "Casa Bruja," my house here in Taos, feels like it's about to kill me. The emotional end of it isn't too difficult (although here's where I probably can't see things clearly) but physically it's wiping me out. It's taking hours and hours each week, I'm outta shape in a general sense, and fifteen years of accumulated dust is giving me enough ongoing asthma problems that last week I really only slept about two nights... and that was when I popped a Valium! The stress makes it all worse, and I'm more tired, and it's harder to breathe. Not to mention that this crap takes so much time that the "artist's way of life" (that is: enough unstructured time that you can take your life experiences and turn them into some sort of meaningful song, poem, short story, or what have you) is right out the window. Hence a lot of the frustration. And therefore more stress, and the downward spiral continues. Ugh.

I also feel some inward changes happening, or trying to. Kim and I are getting married next May, and that's a big one, of course. I've moved into her house, so "home life" is a lot different now than what I've been used to for about seven years, and that's a bit disorienting.

But professionally (and here it gets really vague) I'm coming to realize that if I'm going to keep on playing music, I've got to make it pay a hell of a lot more than it has up until now, or just go on and declare it my hobby. I love it, and I won't stop even if it makes me nothing, but we all gotta eat. My lifestyle (read: guitar fetish... but also the first mortgage I've had in years) hasn't kept up with my cash flow, so I'm feeling the financial crunch, and it sucks.

So... Juan tells me that some giant cosmic thing is (or was) supposed to happen today, and that the "New Age" community was on edge, watching the skies and cataloguing every new ripple in Wiltshire's crop circles... that kinda thing. Something about August 18.... I'd never heard a thing about what he was talking about, but hell... I could feel it, or at least I thought I could. The air just seemed unsettled today. So it seemed like maybe the time to chat about the art.

For exactly one month as of today, (from July 19th to August 19th... and I've done 19 drawings! Cool synchronicity!) I've been drawing and posting these odd little numbered diagrams that some of you have been asking about. Prior to that month-ago genesis, I'd been seeing shapes in my mind - very abstract shapes and colors and masses that didn't seem to "mean" anything in a literal sense, but that were coming to me unbidden and unexpectedly. They didn't frighten or unsettle me, but they were strange and cool and I wasn't sure what, if anything, to do with 'em. But it occurred to me that I could draw 'em....

I've drawn for a lot of my life, usually privately, but sometimes for public consumption (see my poster gallery, if you like). My father was an artist, and my late wife Lanford and everyone in her family was an artist, so it comes naturally, I guess. But I'd never really worked with color, or tried very hard to be good at representing three dimensions in my work. It's been mostly just poster graphics up 'til now.

But I started using some colored pens I had on hand and globbing these shapes onto paper, just for the hell of it. It was pretty fun, and didn't take up much time when I haven't had much to lose. Then something even weirder happened. Just as my personal awareness of abstract art was waking up, Kim and I were sitting at the Taos Inn having a pre-movie drink when some folks walked in with the coolest-looking abstract-art book under their arm. I had to ask, and it turns out that the local Harwood Museum is having a show of Richard Diebenkorn's work. I'd never heard of him, I must sheepishly admit. But Kim and I went to check it out, and it kinda rocked my world. Someday, I'll write some more about that. But then...

...the diagrams started showing up. I don't want to disappoint all of you, but this blog isn't gonna tell you "what they are." Mainly because I don't know, but there's some other reasons, too. (The guesses so far tend to run to the alien, such as "Arcturian house plans" or "alien schematics" or one imaginative soul suggested "alien baseball diamonds." Hell, any or all of those guesses might be right!)

The most important thing for me, though, is that I keep on doing them, "keep the door open" as one friend said. I know that I went to bed last night feeling like crap after bitching and sniping at Kim for utterly stupid, childish reasons, then started today feeling like warmed-over crap and couldn't shake it no matter what I did until I blew through drawing not one but three new "diagrams," then I felt altogether better for the rest of the day.

There are moments of doubt, or at least cynicism. Occasionally I think I'm totally wasting my time and precious paper resources of the earth with my dumb little drawings. Other times the creative process is distracted and (slightly) corrupted by the thought that "Hey! maybe I could make some money doing this!" But even when it's not perfect, it still feels healthy for some reason, and I keep on drawing them.

All of this feels connected with the notion that the "death throes" are happening whether I want 'em to or not, and I've gotta keep my feet moving and plow through my own personal Gotterdammerung to the other side, and there'll be some "new me" waiting for me. I hope so... this me has been okay, but I'm getting tired of him. In the mean time, I hope you enjoy my art; I welcome and indeed crave your comments on it any way you like (positive, negative, or neutral... I'm up for it) but please don't get frustrated when I don't respond other than with another "alien diagram." Like I said, even I don't know what this is all about yet, and I often feel I'm in danger of "clouding the vision" (whatever that means) 'cause I've thought about it too much already!

Well, I've droned on too long... but I'll add one more weird synchronicity: When did Wagner debut his "Ring Cycle Gotterdammerung?" August 17, 1876... we're one day off, but still... pretty weird, and pretty cool!

Adios for now, folk-n-rollers, sleep well in this alleged new age...



Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well, I dunno man. Best not to put too much emphasis on individual dates, I guess. I've been following the same investigations that I referenced earlier, and nobody has said anything yet. But the rising level of tension is undeniable, and it looks like IdiotBoy is about to start a whole 'nother war.

Hey, but what about "liberation"?

Yes, I've been feeling something akin to the death of my old self. A good thing, of course, but not at all easy to navigate. Something I try to remember when my energy is scattered is to focus on what really nurtures ME, whatever really feeds the soul... Just let everything else go and take care of Juan, in other words, because if I don't, who will?

I think there will be huge changes in the world in the next few years. Problem is, that doesn't take me off the hook! Nobody can wake me up but me, is how I see it. Rats! A lazy man's disappointment and a great relief, all at once.

Most people don't even go there, so be glad you got the bug. The mark of the true artist, is what that is.

8:04 AM  

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