Due to some technical difficulties and aforementioned spooky internet karma, I have been spending time manually loading all my old blog posts into this new website. This task affords me a thorough opportunity to review everything I wrote going back to 2004. It’s pretty shocking how much attention I had for talking about little other than the contents of my interior. It’s not to say that I think the old writing is bad. I am just surprised that I had that much to say about one topic.
And those posts were long. Didn’t I ever get bored of receiving so much of my own attention? It appears not. I think that I was in the process of becoming an expert on myself. Nobody else was going to do it. I was allowed to corner the market on information about me!
Frequently, when I reread an old entry, I do a quick translation of what lays hidden underneath a particular blanket of metaphors. When I read over the story about swallowing a mile long rope and letting it drag the refuse from your intestines as it comes out your other end (08/05), I mentally translate, “Right, I had just gotten back from Europe, and I was feeling cleansed out by the hot times I’d had there with the girl who I had been dying to sleep with for a year. Until then I had been hanging on to the hopeless situation back in Portland with old what’s her name. But she wasn’t giving me anything (plenty of entries are devoted to how much disappointment I experienced with that one, though certainly none specify that even in the good times there was no play). I guess going for it with the foreign sex brought on a flush of new realizations.”
The truth is that I thought and wrote about myself so exclusively because I was fairly intimidated by other subject matter. I didn’t want to know about what people in bigger cities were making or doing or thinking about. I didn’t read a lot of books, or listen to a lot of new music. And when the contemporary arts center in Portland brought performance works to town, I always somehow managed to be too busy and chaotic with my own situations to be able to see anything. This was no doubt unconsciously planned. I remember that my friend who curated the events got really upset with me for missing everything. It would have been cool if I had been self aware enough to tell her, “I am not seeing any of the shows because I am not confident enough to be able to pay attention to other people and simultaneously pay attention to myself.” Or, “Seeing strong work by other people scares me.”
It was thanks to this cavalier attitude about the value of being challenged and inspired by other people’s work that I ended up never seeing Kiki & Herb perform, which I now am mature enough to realize is something that I should regret significantly. In penance for previous myopia, and to catch up on some of what I had missed, I made sure to see the Yoko Ono concert last week. It was playing down the street from my house, after all. I may never get to see Kiki & Herb, but I did see Justin Bond covering Yoko Ono’s What A Bastard the World Is.. The video is kind of shaky (enough to give you that you-had-to-be-there feeling, which you did, it was unreal) but the sound is clear enough to hear every amazing word.
Maybe I really was too sensitive back then to have been able to handle such an electrifying performance. I was pretty delicately wired at the time. I can see for sure that excluding all other stimuli besides my obviously doomed but nonetheless compelling love situation and the feelings which it inspired did produce some valuable long term effects. For one thing, through the zen focus I did learn how to love someone successfully. Also, I squeezed a bunch of song out of the process. I have noticed that the old entries from the period read something like a workbook to go along with the albums made during that time, and it’s really interesting to see the moments where I initially articulated realizations which later became lyrics, of which I am pretty proud. I guess it’s like I really did get a PhD in my own psychology. That’s cool. Now I have more time and space to study up on everybody else.