Thumbing My Way Back To Me
Sometimes, I don't know who I've become. I look in the mirror, and I see age lines. I see traces of a young boy who was so excited about the potential of every day that he could barely sleep at night.
Now, I am a distant hitchhiker on an unfamiliar country road. The wind is picking up and the cars are humming by faster than they ever have.
My pockets are empty and I'm looking for connection and a warm bed.
We need each other.
Those who have supported me in life have been paramount to any good thing that has happened within the entirety of my existence. As the saying goes, you are only as good as the company you keep. I have been exuberantly blessed to have had some of the top-shelf company I have had in my life.
And now, meadowlarks line the highway-side telephone poles that lead us into the summer. Meadows shed their fluff and seeds into a wispy, comforting wind that helps us to remember the good and to block out the bad. We are heading to a pastoral time of thought, reflection and base importance.
The only real currency in this life is what is shared between friends. You can't choose your family, but you can choose your friends.
I think that speaks volumes to the people who you decide to stand beside, through thick and thin, and prop them up when they need support, and run beside them when they need to get in the race.
Choose wisely, but once you've chosen, give freely. You never know when you might need a light on a dark day.
The Back Alleys and Cities of our fears
The music that plays from the dark, back alleys of our youth beckons us. It allows us to remember who we are and who we were.
We are all woven together by the backstreets thread.
We make mistakes. We fuck up. We say we're sorry. We plug on and pump quarters in the parking meters of our time commitments.
The street below beckons. The steam from the sewer reminds us of all that is unpleasant in this life - but the thin grate of the vent reminds us that we are only steps away from inhabiting those dark, dank, sulphuric places.
The sky cracks a cold November gray - bitter, blackly tinted and unforgiving. The cold comes hard in the evening, and even starts to sting in the late afternoon as the wind strips away our posturing.
We can't pretend to understand the layout of the loud, stinking streets - we just plod onward and pretend we know where we are going.
The human spirit is a closed deli on main street. Boarded up, tired and stripped of colour.
But in the same streets, and in those dark alleys - there is another uprising beginning that we may not see.
It is one that we, in our selfish lives, may never be a part of. We can only be thankful for the time we have spent at the feet of these beautiful but haunting skyscrapers.
The traffic lights illuminate the shadows of what we once were, and the pace at which we forget.
It's been nice to be near the ocean again. I probably should have spent more time on the shores of the great Atlantic, but it's still pretty nippy out here. May is not exactly 'prime' season.
In the city, though, the heat is on and the sun is out in full hang. Its heat and vitamin D has made me happy, tired, and connected all in the same breath.
Although we try to run off and get away from the hustle and the bustle of dragging life, we can never get shut of it.
Everything we have gone through and everything we will ever be is brewed together into one thick and meaty stew of survival.
One of the best quotes I heard about survival lately came from Bryan Callen's podcast when he had Steve-O (of Jackass fame) on the show. He was asking Steve-O about his daredevil style of living and ability to throw himself into dangerous situations. Steve-O, who is mostly known for being a public stuntman, showed some serious depth in his mind-melting response (paraphrased):
"When I was very young, I realized that in life, the only common thread between humans is that we all want to survive. But the only guarantee we have is that we won't."
There are no guarantees of anything in this life. The people we have come to love and trust can end up being distanced souls.
We do what we do to ourselves and no one else.
There has to be some sort of hope - a root that connects all of us. Family. Faith. Value. A base that you come back to.
Even though that may differ, it has to be there.
A truly unrooted soul is a troubled one.
It's been nice to work out some tunes, play guitar, bass and drums, and see some old and new friends. On days where I had nothing to do and no one to meet, I'd sleep. Or I'd go for a walk. Or I'd get lost in my thoughts.
But as much as I love it out here, I'm getting tired, now, and I'm nearly ready to make the long trek home.
For those who take you in, despite your misery, your darkness or your selfishness, are truly your family.
I'm taking a trip East. I'm here, now.
I buckled down on the rugged stretch of asphalt ribbon that ties together Ontario, Quebec and the Atlantic provinces and at 5:30 am, on May 2, I ventured forth from the house of my parents to take in a new adventure.
But unlike other adventures, this is an adventure that I would ultimately be undertaking alone.
Me, myself, and I - and the road. The long, open road that screams of opportunity and past failures in the same wink of an eye.
The first time I took this long road was in 2001 with two of my best friends of all time - Steve and Joel and another Korean pal named Montana (Montana was what he called himself in Canada, but his real name was Woo-Chan). The three of us were convinced that we were going to get jobs and live in PEI. Boy - were we deadly mistaken at the prospect of any employment.
Still - we did it. We tried. It didn't work out.
The second time I made this trek, I took it with two pals in the fall of 2002 - Justin and Tony. At that time, at the ripe old age of 25, I had a lot of excitement in my bones. I had come into some money and rented a jeep for the trip. We were headed solely for Halifax so I could record some music with Charles Austin. I always loved Charles' songs and recording styles as I became a serious Super Friendz listener. In person, he was as cool as he was over email. I recorded 12 songs in 2 days with Chuck - from tops to tails. He told me he liked my music and I should do it more.
I came back again in 2003 with Sarah. We had been dating for a year. We drove out in her parents burgundy Dodge. I recorded four more songs with Chuck. Chuck was what people who knew Charles started to call him. He told me to get a band and play my stuff live.
I haven't made this drive in 10 years, and the pieces of it all mystified me, just the same. From 5:30 am on the 2nd until today (May 6 at 1:39 PM EST), there has been nothing but blue sky and sun. Not a hint of rain. Bright mornings out windows. Long walks and coffees.
I am long gone from the days of being a worship leader at a summer camp - and yet, I am still so much like that guy. I have become a serious writer and tenacious in my expression - but I still like to kick it with some pals.
I've had a lot of moments so far. Moments and thoughts.
Thoughts. A hell of a lot of thoughts.
Thoughts about me and those around me. Thoughts about my mistakes and my heart aches. Thoughts about how things have become more fucked up and more complicated than ever before, but in the same tumultuous breath, thoughts about the moment.
I am realizing that I have always been an 'on to the next thing' type of guy. I'm not good at being in the moment and just sitting on a beach. I have a nervous energy that needs to be working and finding an outlet. But on this trip, I've tried to let that go a bit. I've tried to just be appreciative. Understanding.
I'm trying to get back to me.
I'll let you know how it goes.
As Hard As We Try
What a month. People are dying all around me, and somehow, in the dregs and treachery of muddy and complicated life, I find a way to keep sojourning onwards towards the magical whiff of the tradewinds.
What a gasp this life is.
We try to identify the key factors to the pathos of the script, and the major players who could venture inside the minds of the characters we require, but in the end - we wing it. We fart it out - and the script escapes us.
It's all too sad to think about sometimes - how fast we go. We are here to gaze at the sun, if only for moments, and then, like the harsh winter season, we are all but forgotten in pastures of promising bluebells, spring smiles and sundresses of the future.
We are a whiff of something lasting - but we are a momentary gas in the ether. Poof.
My friend lost his father yesterday. Yesterday. In a span of a 24 hour block, his mentor and moral rock is fucking gone. Cancer. Disappeared. And we are left here, sorting through the pieces of this faded, musty and jumbled life puzzle.
The annals of time click on towards whatever they click to - Freedom? An exploded clock. A release.
The other night, the Ottawa Senators were playing Philly. The Sens pulled out a deep-seated victory but in the game, my old friend's brother Kent Huskins was playing defense for Philly. I saw him on the screen of my living room tv, and he was a pixelated version of a childhood memory. I used to play hours of backyard basketball with Kent's older brother Brad. Brad was a great friend. Kent would sometimes show up in their Almonte pitch, and leave Brad and myself with a few wacky laughs.
And here I was, watching my old pal's brother on my television set - wondering if I could somehow get back to that backyard basketball innocence.
But I can't. I'm stuck in the cruel, cold light of day where the age lines crack in the faces of everyone I know.
I see now why it was so appealing for Lou Reed to skip the life completely. Skip it. The angel may ride with hunchbacked children, but we still hold out hope for that angel to grace the freeways of our misty, gray existence.
Skip the heartbreak and the hurt and the constant mountains of fucking up.
As hard as we try. we kick against the goads.
We are goats - headbutting the fences of our own mortality.
But like the figure in the photo, we venture onward. We long for the moment where the scales fall from our eyes on the road to Damascus.
And amidst the shit and the fight and the rain, I feel your breath. You are still here. And so am I.
We thought we lost you.
Getting Back To The Heart Of You
The distant cries of our childhood songs fade behind our dirt-crusted footsteps, as we trudge through the long, dark day of responsibility.
The calls for daddy and mommy seem to be another language, now - and we walk onward.
But in many ways, who we were then is who we are now. No one can seem to interpret the echoes in the canyons of your mind - they are imperceptible and beyond the worlds of light and sound.
But those echoes are pieces of us - careening of the high, rock walls of our past and reminding us in a far-away, weepy tone of the people we once were.
The lands between the worlds of dreaming and waking seem to be drawing closer. We sleep more than we used to. We can't run as long as we once could. We weather and we wilt.
But after the long, entangling and often overwhelming cosmic joke of this life, we will get it right. We will watch the movies of our memory fly by like billboards on a southbound greyhound bus. The dim light of day, fading all around us, into a grapefruity reflection of the sun - the sun of our youth.
As it sets into an orange technicolour sky, we wave it goodbye and watch it fall.
If we went back, could we change the mistakes? Or are the mistakes all part of the many autumn colours of this wild ride through the seasons?
Our childhood is a passageway of past continents - forever broken and placed differently on to the map of our adulthood. We float on icebergs of morality and consciousness, but all the while, we have no direction. No anchor. No roots.
We remember the poem, but we, much like the author, continue to write our Ode To A Grecian Urn.
We will be who we are
Some nights, in the dying crevasses of the dusty-lit day, my mind wanders. It wanders to a place between dreams and sleep where I think about everything and all in between the ruts and the ditches of this long drawn-out life.
We used to get excited for summers. The excitement was palpable, and that deep sting in our guts let us know that the days were getting longer and that our time of scholastic slavery was at an end for a season.
We dream of getting back to the past - to the time where life seemed to make sense. Time was a figment of our spaced-out minds, and it was buried somewhere in the blackholes of distant galaxies.
Now, time is a runner, and we watch the trails of dirt that seem to burn around us that much faster with every waking second.
I've been traveling.
I'm a journeyman along the roads of this long, weary life. I don't like to stay in one place for too long. If I do, the bottoms of my feet get itchy and my dry soul feels like it needs an unearthed water.
Recently, I did some video for a band.
That band lost one of its guitarists only 4 days after I parted ways with them.
And I'm stuck here in the interim - in the purgatory of my thoughts - and I don't quite know how to reconcile what happened with the reality of 'moving on' and 'making it through'.
What are we making it through to? When the day ends, where does the light escape to?
What gets us to such a fucked up point in the non-linear graph of our lives?
Oddly enough, I only had one conversation with Jay. It was during the neon-overkill of the Indie Awards in Toronto. He was at the bar and we traded pleasantries. He looked like Johnny Cash if Johnny Cash had spent his adolescence playing punk rock. His eyes seemed to look upward when we talked. We mentioned Dave Marsh - Joel Plaskett's drummer - and how Marsh seems to send the oddest texts at the oddest times. We compared a few on each other's phones and shared a chuckle. Oh, that Marsh.
Jay also asked me if I had filmed the latest Plaskett videos from the Horseshoe tavern in December. I said yeah, and he went on to tell me that he had just returned from a tour and watched all of them and really enjoyed them. What a nice compliment.
I don't know what happened to that nice man who chunked his Gibson with an electrical current of feeling like no one else. Maybe he couldn't take it. Maybe there were other things at play. I recently listened to most of his solo album, and it's seriously fucking good.
It's so sad when someone gets to a point of no return. I myself have had some darkened days of deep contemplation and inner suffering, but above it all, I have this feeling of wanting to see how it all plays out.
If Jesus comes back, I want to see it. If it's all a sham, I want to find out how.
The roadsides and byways of this life scream with disappointment and sadness. We cannot, for one moment, pretend to be shiny happy people with all of the answers. When that happens, we are at a place of sickness. But in the same vein, we must find the tether that pulls us - the string that pulls out of the ether and back to the mothership.
I'm so sad for what happened. I'm also sad for a long time friend who is going through some awful shit. What's worse is that I don't know how to help. I nod my head, and try to listen - but I am answerless.
I guess we must remember everything - all of it. The family. The brothers. The enemies. The shit. The good. The pain. The sex. The frustration. The embarrassment.
This is the unavoidable horror of realizing that we will ultimately be who we are - and sometimes, just by being who we are, we fuck everything up.
The Jesus Complex
Amidst the lonely corridors, crevasses, highways and bi-ways of this life, it was great to spend a night in the big city with some true friends. In my life, I've had a ramshackle ride when it comes to people being there for me - and in the same breath, me being there for them.
But when you find the friends who will speak out to you - across the chasms of doubt and darkness and worries - and who will say 'Who gives a fuck about everything else because YOU are what really matters', those are the friends we need to embed ourselves within.
Often, and in many circumstances, our biggest problem as humans is that we can forget ourselves. We march through the shuffle and demands of this life, but we do it without an identity...or a soul. We become people who are solely and squarely concerned about that age old trap of 'making other people happy'.
Let's call it 'The Jesus Complex'.
We feel like that because of the way we've been raised, or because of the things we believe deep down, we need to constantly put ourselves second in life. Second to your wife. Second to your husband. Second to your children. Second to your job. Second to your church. Second to your community.
But what kind of life is that? Sure - Jesus really did that. But I ain't him. I'm only me.
So onward we plod down this lonely path - this secondary trail that is filled with expressions like 'It's ok - it's ok - go ahead, sir'. Or 'I'm fine, really. Go on ahead'.
I'm not saying we can't look out for others - I'm not saying that at all. We need to get out of our eye-bleeding, smartphone, cell-phone, text and image based realities that we use to placate ourselves with. So often now, instead of truly reaching out to a friend for a suggestion or a helpful idea, or to talk about a struggle, we can get mad and then go online and tell thousands of people exactly how we feel.
We publish the things that don't need to be published. We live in ones and zeroes and not reality.
We watch fights happen when we know we could easily make that 911 phone call - or at least yell something in distraction. We see old people struggling with groceries and think 'next time'. We bombard sidewalks with our strollers and project an attitude that says 'clear the way for me, because I'm a mother or a father - and damn you for thinking I don't deserve to have a red carpet rolled out'.
We need to get our heads out of our asses.
But when it comes to our happiness, that is something we cannot fuck with. Sure - we can't be happy all of the time but when it is within our control, and we turn towards that secondary trail willingly, there is something wrong, there.
I've been unhappy for a long, long time. And so many times, I questioned that thought. I thought 'maybe there is something wrong with me - maybe I'm at fault, here for wanting to be happy'. I thought that the secondary life I've been leading was the way to peace - to joy - to ultimate fulfillment.
But I now know that statement is a lie. We cannot go on in a darkened world when a light switch is within our reach. If we are a people of belief - a people of any sort of form or semblance of hope, we will strive for happiness. We will want to infect and inspire others with it. We will no longer be playing a dusty piano in a boarded off room - we will throw open the windows and let the notes out into the evening air.
This Jesus Complex - it might have right beginnings but in the end, we need that happiness. We need that meaning. We need that substance. We cannot be held accountable for the actions of other people - we can only be accountable for ourselves.
If there is a loving and all-knowing God, I believe that he would want us to be happy.
Jesus replied, “And you experts in the law, woe to you, because you load people down with burdens they can hardly carry, and you yourselves will not lift one finger to help them."
Room To Breathe
"Rock n' roll is a voice that says here I am...and fuck you, if you can't understand me."
What a few months. Months of hard nights in Barry's Bay, and rough, dark mornings on a long road that stretched the start of every week into a bear of a day. Nights of whiskey reflection, sitting in my living room and smoking menthol cigarettes, as the bay light burned into an orange trace of a skyline.
Since then, I have retreated to a strange place. It's not a place that I enjoy and it is a place, in more ways than one, that I wish to leave but which I must endure for the time being.
I have drifted from the starry-eyed, youthful betweener I was last year, where I spent two weeks sleeping on a bus with Doc Walker and waking up in a different city each day, along the string of the astral-like map of Eastern Canada.
But tonight, I am alright.
Tonight, I have found it. That space. That enjoyment. That room that I go to that plays the distant coo and tinkle of a grand piano; a piano that is entrenched in a catacomb of disappointment, past mistakes and hollowed out, forgotten dreams.
In the room that used to be my brother's - and in the quaint suburban house that I grew up within - I have touched on something, and on this arid beast of a dead-breath winter's night, that something has been deep down and set aside. I pump my fist into the terse January northwind, and I open the door.
Enjoyment. Understanding. Enrichment. Peace.
Sometimes, I get lost in who I am. I don't like to admit it, and I like to pretend like I'm that fairly together, laidback dude, who you can usually chuckle and drink with, and forget the pressure with - but I am not that guy.
I am uncertain, I am self-conscious, I am an average artist and I am a compartmentalizing, self-obsessed child.
And tonight, I think am okay with that. Because I found the space. The magnificently lit, motorcade of dreamy thoughts, acceptance and light within the heart and being.
It's the space that we find as children, but only rush to forget as quickly as we can, as our responsibilities and bills increase, and our bones creak and gain rings in diameter, like the trees of our lives.
Some will talk of regret - and that regret shaping the paths of their lives.
But broken down rock bands in dirty suburban basements will be a testament of the things we tried. Playing Lenny Kravitz at the volume level that goes off the knob, with a shy best friend but thoughtful drummer, a loyal guitarist, a lanky bass player, an unsure lead man with artistic skill that is otherworldly - and only to be 'ear-plugged' by a parent sitting in the audience.
There may have been a girl, at one point in my life, who I should have told something to - but I never did. That may haunt me a bit, but timing is timing, and its heavenly clock is above and beyond all of our earthly minds.
Starting a music festival for kids to come and enjoy themselves within. Traveling across Canada as a musician. Playing a shitty show in Calgary, squabbling with the staff about how money was owed to me and my musical partner, and hating everything about that town. Connecting with an old friend who I thought was lost forever, but who has some dark nights ultraviolet in brightness. Being there for a cocooned, childhood pal who is going through a world of shit, depression, hurt and pain. Supporting a friend who is losing a dad, faster and faster, with every waking hour to the horror of cancer. Losing a young friend to suicide, who I dreamed that made it to heaven, after I prayed over his coffin, and he emerged from while taking deep breaths and hugging me. Having the cigarette-wielding Dave Marsh tell me, outside of the Carleton in Halifax, that I have a great voice, and saying with a conviction and honour.
You and me, kid - we did the things.
Sleepovers at my grandma's house, under starched sheets with my brother or my cousin, continue to replay in my mind. I would be staring at the wild, flowery wallpaper with an interest and an engagement that is all too easily lost, as the daylight quickened away and scampered into a tight darkness. A distant and strict grandfather that actually recited scripture in his sleep, would often haunt the dreams of my brother, and even to this day, the figure sometimes returns.
The distant notes of a Wakefield church hymn, to the tune of 'great is thy faithfulness', reminds me of my grandma and how good of a lady she was. She set the tone. She promised and she followed through. She was tender - but she was fierce. A woman of God she was - and beyond the doubt of the hardest, cloudiest atheist heart, this lady had God in her. You better fucking believe it.
God like we used to talk about in sunday school, when we wanted to help and love everyone, and think was impossible. God beyond any culture-obsessed, hipster home-group, misanthropic cell church could speak so lustrelessly and hiply about. God beyond any oil baron's trophy wife, convertible-driving, multi-bling wearing, status-figure and appearance-lover of an excuse for a pastor. God beyond any home-field advantage wielding, self-righteous church that preaches love and exudes hate and segregation.
The God that touches your heart, and makes you feel scared shitless, because you don't ever want the natural soothe and stinging wind of that encounter to fade.
The God who is sometimes absent, but who is, most of time, working behind the scenes, like the princess in the room, weaving the loom and unraveling the string that leads us home.
I don't know what happened to that kid- that kid who slept over at his grandma's house with dreams and characters and books floating in his mind. That kid who rode the purple trike in a field of grass. That kid who remembers the Hatcher boys making movies and kick the can with Trevor. He grew up, got scared and adapted to an easy path.
I want to find that kid again, and I want to tell him that even though being me will be tough, it'll be alright.
I have taken some lumps, made a few mistakes, and I will continue to trod along the rocky path that is beset, but I will navigate. I will jag when I hit a red light. I will push beyond the mediocre and be excited of the potential of the earth-shattering and the inspiring. I will not be imprisoned by my thoughts, by my fake lovers but true haters, and I will shake those motherfuckers to the core and make their eyes come alive. I will take down those old, passion-less robots, who squat on a land that is not theirs, and cast judgments upon the hard-working and the pure of heart.
I will write circles of intense expression and cogent communication around those who arrogantly think that they understand journalism, and the essence of words.
I will dive inside of them like Neo, and come out the other side in a ball of fire and truth from their comfortable, posery, deceit-filled, deadened bodies.
Think what you will, but the best is yet to come.
I'm going to make you believe. Just you wait and see,
Former Lives and Dreamscape Designs
I think I knew John Lennon at one point in my multi-adventured life. There is something about his songs and his musings that I connect to, and how even in a love relationship, he was a man unto himself. A man who walked alone. Sometimes, I like to believe that we shared a warm ale in 1974 at a dark, dank pub in Dublin. The pub was called the Mossy Log and John was just getting ready to make a new album with Yoko. He was out for a walk and I just happened to be sitting in there, reading over a profile article of a local 19-year-old cricket player prodigy I had written about in the Free Press. The pub only had three people in it, and 2 of them were 70+ men who were sauced and sleepy beyond any sort of conscious state.
As he walked in, with flecks of rain on his glasses and beard, he nodded at me, seeing that I'd recognized him, and I nodded back calmly. He ordered a jug of the house ale and brought another glass to my table. I wanted to ask him a billion questions about the Beatles and his inspirational musings and life philosophies - but I resisted. I continued reading, while glancing over his way a few times. He looked tired and sat across from me like a stranger at a train station. He was deep in thought. He downed the pint quickly, and then motioned for me to finish the rest of the jug, and walked out while fastening his coat.
I've been going through a heck of a time in my mind, lately. I've been hiding - hibernating. Succumbing to comfort. Keeping issues buried. Burning. Waking up with heavy breath and a heavier heart.
I had such a ride of momentum after and during school; new friends, a renewed vision, a starry internship, a job, and eons more.
Now, I am a jobless man in my mid-30's and I feel like I'm stuck between two different worlds.
I need meditation. I need peace.
I need direction.
Sometimes, the trials we must endure are unique to us, but that can be an excuse to stay buried longer than you need to because 'no one understands'.
It's time to come out of the sand and into the light.
I'm listening to Pinwheels by the Smashing Pumpkins. It's a track from their latest record Oceania.
In my mind, it represents the dimly and brightly coloured landscapes of our lives.
For so many, SP was a lifestyle. An iconic band of the 90's that showed the glossy, glammy power-chord bands that there could be another style of music that could grip the hearts of millions - alternative. Corgan and many of his contemporaries basically pushed the boundaries of genre with the creation of the 'alt' tag.
But they are no longer that band. Billy is still there, yes - but they have changed.
As we run through this life, sometimes with arms wide open and other times panting ceaselessly, we continue to get to where we aim to be. Wherever that is and whatever we want it to look like, we strive for it. We focus our eyes to the fuzzy zenith ahead.
And sometimes, in the smallest glint of horizon light, the end goal changes. We find ourselves asking the question 'what was I running for in the first place?'
And then, as we cross a frozen pond of struggle, we see our own reflection.
We have changed. We are no longer who we were.
SP will never be the same and this song represents the best thematic structure I've seen or heard in a while that illustrates the unmovables. And although those unmovables are there, we must still navigate around and beyond them.
The songs of our heart sound the same even though the goal may have changed.
Change is alright.
We change our breathing.
Lost compadres and the Myopic Mind
There are moments in this life that pass through the looking glass of objection, ridicule, meter and fly off the grid of tempo into a beatless universe.
Some allies rise and fall alongside you, as the battle is being fought, won, regretted and trudged through.
But others stay the course. They never leave your side, even in the face of the most Godless storm with a fierce, spinning eye.
Some of those are like Luca.
Although Luca was only a 5 or 6-year-old tabi kitty with a strong character, she was a force.
I never cared for pets until I met Luca.
And then I got it. It sunk in.
Sometimes, in the mornings in Ottawa, and although she never did this for anybody else, she would let out this weepy coo - almost like a soft cry. And sometimes, I'd wake up and then call her name and she'd stop the noise and come in from another room, and then show up on the bed near my feet, or near my face while I tried to sleep.
It was almost as if she needed to know that you were there to feel comfort and to go about her sleepy, pouncy, naturalistic feline day.
At another point along the timeline of our sleepy centretown villa, Luca left us for a while.
She ventured downtown and several streets away during a rainstorm.
We thought she was lost forever.
Four days later, I got a call from an old lady while working at Ecclesiax.
I thought she was dead...but the old cat woman, who had four of her own, was keeping Luca sequestered in a front room of her house with some food and water, because she wouldn't play nice with the other frisky critters.
Luca was her own cat. No one owned her.
In the tumultuous times of this wavy age, where we can barely trust our closest kin with a nickelsworth of secrets or our best pals with a dime of despair, Luca never let anybody down.
She never betrayed me and she never asked for anything in return.
Just the odd cuddle, face-rub, feeding and someone to open the door so that she could explore the squirrels, grass, birds and the world she understood. That was about it.
Even though I'm a lucid and sentient human being, I even had a few chats with Luca, and believe it or not, I think she may have actually understood me.
I'll miss you, pal.
It is universally hard to deal with loss on any level.
There's something inexplicably sad about losing a good soul. It somehow knocks the wind out of our collective consciousness, and maybe even makes us lose a bit of faith.
All of these fallen soldiers and ghosty remembrances line the hallways of our memories, and after a short while, we even start to forget what they look like.
We always have photos, sure - but there is something untraceable about the movements and liveliness of a living being.
Something that will never be regained. Something that is gone for good.
And through the sadness and the truth of this life, we must venture on.
If a gone soul were to continually show up in living form, we'd all be forever haunted and unable to recoup the expenses of our bankrupt existences.
Because I think it has to be said that wherever they all go, wherever they all end up, and wherever they travelled through to get to where they are now...
They are still there. Watching us. Wanting us to know that it's going to be alright.
Our family members.
Our lost compadres.
We can't lose sight.
What you can't understand
Beauty. It enraptures. It captures. It takes a snap shot of such vivid colour that the processors of our mind have no choice but to pixelate it and make it black and white just to understand it.
We are fools in the face of a higher intelligence.
Most of the time, when honest-to-goodness beauty and truth and overwhelming exuberance-based epiphany comes, our minds cannot handle it.
The speed is just too quick. We try to speak when something truly awe-inspiring and majestic sweeps across the treetops within the forests of our minds, but we cannot. Words come out like a foreign language from a distant alien planet that spins thousands of light years away.
When we are presented with the real, we can't handle it.
We don't know what to do with it.
'Figure out what you don't understand - a billion leaves fly when the wind blows your mind'.
We try to tell others and even document the experience with the use of a pen and a yellow legal pad, in a sweaty Hoboken apartment of the consciousness, but the cat on the fire escape distracts us.
We are victims to the sway of the breeze.
When your mind is truly blown, and when the trumpets have allegedly struck their triumphant vibration of shrill sound, we are dumbstruck.
We try to move, but we are in mud. We try to make sense of it, but our brains are soup.
When beauty truly shows up in a real and unexplainable format, we are helpless - like we are in a dream when you try to talk and only gibberish comes out or no sound at all.
Don't fight it. Let it work. Let it root.
Let it grow. Let the wind get knocked out of you.
Look at the stars after you fall on your ass.
You will breathe again, very shortly.
You might even like the way you are when beauty hits you in the gut.
The Bright Bay Moon
Soon enough, the winter will be here.
These charms of summer, though bright and tantalizing, will fade in the haze of a dying heatwave.
Rivers will dry up. Lakes will freeze.
Seasons pass. Moments fade. Chances die.
For the first time since I've lived in Barry's Bay, I had the chance to drive up at night. All of my other drives, to date, have involved hard, calculating daylight and a race against the clock on an early monday morning.
Tonight, though, I took my time. I swam through the Canadian shield and tall pines. I felt the wind pull me. I evaded dead raccoons.
I thought about a lot of things.
Sometimes, even though a moment may be captivating, it passes. We see a portrait and it strikes the eye and it stirs up something within us. Our soul lights up. We dance and sing with inspiration.
Down the road, however, we may see that same portrait and feel no connection. Experiences have accrued. Winds have changed their timbre. Thoughts become more focused and sobering.
We dig for that connection but it is gone, as fast as the seasons change. The once lush soil becomes a frozen wasteland.
I long for Reason. I long to make the right decision and to weigh everything before taking a step. And although the angels may come to earth for a moment and remind us of the ethereal plane, we are still here - we are still mortal.
The moon is shining into my window, tonight. It is pure and unadulterated. It is cascading from another dimension.
It's helping me to know that it will all work out exactly the way it needs to.
The Wind in my soul
When do we get the time?
When can we finally breathe deep, and look out on the lake?
When does that perfect sunset come?
When are we truly one, and connected to our inner selves?
Like the Cat Stevens song, there is a true rustling in the leaves of our lives. There are perpetually so many things to think about and wrestle with in this jagged storm front, and all the while, the breeze continues. It gives us shivers. It blows away sand from the stone. It separates the wheat from the chaff.
We can look into the distance all we want, and surmise that a magical path will unfold, but in reality, there is no magic path.
On routes that sweep across the rocky crags of this country, and through the dead-straight squared fields of yellow, I've done some thinking.
I've heard a lot of songs.
We move with the song. We let the notes careen around in our cortexes and we take a step. It gives us courage and it keeps us centered. We hear a powerful lyric and we get urged forward.
We don't know why - we just step.
We move with the feel-flows.
I've met windy individuals in my life - figures who seem to show up at the height of a majestic moment and then disappear into the shadows when the rubber hits the road.
I've experienced some deeply spiritual moments that can't be explained away.
They are what they are.
But still, we press on without the perfect, picturesque. We hide it in our mind's eye and we let the effervescent spring-mist guide us.
That wind. That cold, cold wind of truth and change.
It is there.
It comes for all.
When a moment comes, much like Al Pacino's character Ricky Roma says in Glengarry Glen Ross, "We are either looking forward - or looking back. There is no in between."
Sometimes, when the music plays, it is too beautiful for the ears. There is something going on that stays upon an ethereal plane and never touches our mortal mud.
We see fields and grasses of our youth, whizzing by in a whiff of pollen, hayseed and longing.
The far-awayness of a lap steel, twanging somewhere among the meadowlarks and lost loves irks something within me that is so poetic that it's ultrasonic.
The piano strokes of Joni Mitchell in 'River' make me think of an old art house, in the Ottawa countyside, that my mom took me too and taught myself and other friends about making wax prints. We did stencils of leaves. It was near harvest. The floors were white linoleum and the chairs were those wood composite/veneer jobs that had a thin strip of ply across the two, erect gray steel pipes that wrapped around the back and were snipped on an angle, near the top of the back support.
I don't know what happened to my childhood. It was here and it is gone.
How are we supposed to know the answers? Why is there no crystal ball that lays everything out, in a metaphysical script, and lets us see our lives in a scroll of blips, buzzes and whirling colour. Why?
'I made my baby cry'.
To see someone you love in pain is never an easy process. It is twisting and burning, like a cylindrical fire poker that has been sitting in flame and ash for eons. It cuts through skin and bone and sears our conscious spirit.
We take unbelievable risks and let others hang out to dry in the rain of our selfishness.
But on twangs the lost-summer-love steel - and we heed its distant cry.
We cry adventure but whisper comfort.
We long for home - the home that is gone.
When the backward path is all that we see behind us, I find it hard to know which way to go.
Adventurous Angels: Why do they come?
Recently, and more than ever in my life, I've been having visitations.
Angelic figures have been coming down from the heavens and pouring light into my life.
I don't know why and I don't know how, but lately, they've been pouring out of the woodwork to speak truth and light into my life - almost calmly whispering into my sleeping ear to say that everything will be alright.
But in the same motion, ripple effects are being felt elsewhere. The presence of these angels has attracted attention. It hasn't just been a dockside lake wave - It has been a noticeable ocean current.
I know that the effects of these creatures will be substantial to everything I know and have known. I know, more than I've ever known, that they are real people. They are touchable. Tangible. Visceral.
They do exist.
And so, I ride the tide in the wake of joy and pain and anguish that they are creating. I look back and wonder if some of the casualties will ever be healed - or if they'll ever be in my line of sight.
There are a few that I would miss. One that would be extremely painful. One that would fuck up a lot of foundational merit of this life.
For so long, while being restrained, I dreamed of being free. I dreamed of running where I could not run. I longed to swim to the deepest depths where I was free from the shore-dwelling onlookers.
I wished to be free.
I wished to be me.
I think I'm finally becoming that - thanks to some long overdue adventurous angels who are ready to ride rough-shod with me through the rugged foothills of this life.
Maybe I am a fool. Maybe I've made mistakes. And maybe I still will.
But maybe I can inspire - and I can be inspired. By the Paradox. By the dawn. By the manifold witness and genesis of nature in all of its glory.
Rekindling the flames of past fires
We wander on through this life like a a vagabond - a nomad. We hop from town to town and from purpose to purpose, searching for some sort of unifying bond that glues it all together.
Most of the time, though, we don't see that theme. We see chaos. We see atoms and particles spinning out of control in a ball of exhausted, endless circular movement.
Lately, though, I've had a system re-boot. I have a spring in my step. I have a focus.
Years ago, in the tall grasses of lore and yesteryear, I had a friend who was like a sister. I always worried about her and when we met, we had a pretty deep connection that went below the surface in a frightening way. It wasn't cheesy. It wasn't teenage or hormonal. It was scary.
We understood each other in a very instant way.
Back then, she was a small town girl with a huge heart. She had pie-eyed dreams and the bluest eyes ever known to man. She emanated light, life and energy to everyone she met. She inspired.
The years faded and I lost touch with her as the sands of passing time blew by, creating storms of mystery and uncertainty about her mythical self. I'd hear rumblings of her or a faint apparition from a third party who said 'Oh yeah - I saw her' but I never really believed them.
I thought she was gone. Either gone from this life completely or gone from mine.
As luck, fate and all serendipitous holiness would have it, this past winter, and nearly 20 years since we spoke or saw each other, I found her again. I was combing the online databases of my many networks...and I found a blip on the radar.
There she was...looking like she was still 16.
We quickly connected and the words started to drip out of us like honey that had been preserving and sweetening for ages. We were both as excited as innocent and overalled children in a field of wildflowers and sunshine, dancing in the glow of August.
That was 6 months ago and though we both made a few attempts, we didn't make it work.
This past weekend, I made my way to her city and she called. I went over.
There she was. For real.
She walked out the front door. We choked back tears. We hugged for what seemed like a century.
We talked for hours about the fucked up ways of this world, love, life and all in between. We talked about lost love and the pain within that framework. Tears welled. Even though we sat on a wooden deck. Our spirits danced.
I found my sister, again.
A writer has found his muse.
Sometimes, through all the shit and mire and deep, dark winters, you get a real glimpse of summer - a real glimpse of a soul that lights up the evening pathway like fireflies blinking in the ether. We find our way through the thickets to the cabin. We get in our beds and we close our eyes.
The stars flicker like distant satellites - planets of a foreign world that brightens the backdrop of our bleak existence. We look to the lake and the long, yawning shoreline during a sunrise, and in the calm, we see our own reflection.
Sometimes, when you least expect it, this life is so beautiful that it makes you sick. Fuck all of the wars and the hurt and the hunger. At the end of this long, hard wagon ride of endurance, we find our destination. We let the airplane take off. We get over our shit and call our mothers. We hold hands with our enemies.
And we know...that we will find each other again.
Ages and Ages of Pages and Pages
I haven't been here in a while.
Once again, Blogger has changed their interface and it makes me question the whole ritual of my outpouring in this space.
It may be ending. It feels different.
I've been gassed and the proverbial pedal has been floored for many a month, now. The greater Renfrew County, or rather Barry's Bay, has seen me haunting its many nooks and crannies. I am an official small-towner with a camera, a notepad and a recording device.
Watch your asses.
I'm liking the region. It's small and it all shuts down at about 9 pm. The streets get quiet enough to resonate the sound of an ash hitting the pavement from a freshly lit Honey T.
It feels good to write with no mandate, script, cutlines, attribution or quotes. My words are connecting with the laminar flow of the water-based world and the fluid of my verbiage is becoming one with the ever-adapting liquid of the planet.
The fuselage of advertising and public persona blasts into the stratosphere as I write, here - and the real me emerges. Sunward.
Places like the Wilno Tavern are an inspiration, cut jaggedly from the rock of the countryside.
I don't really know where I'm headed. I'll be the first to admit it.
Life feels to be at a giant crossroads and I stand on the precipice of something much larger and greater than myself.
I am in the office...and I need to get back to work.
It feels good to write.
We Now Hope We Win
Blogger has a new interface, now. It's been a few months since I posted anything on here and this new look makes me wonder if I'm almost ready to pack it in and set sail for a new endeavour. Wordpress maybe?
So the trials and the tribulations continue. The deeper we trek into the woods of this life, our surroundings can become that much darker and thicker and more complex. There is no easy way out. There is only the heartbeat, the breathing and the rhythm of our footsteps keeping us going.
I'm back in Port Hope for the most part and I'm trying to stay positive and enjoy my surroundings. I'm trying to take less for granted. I'm trying to get a job. I'm trying to find ways to stay motivated. I'm trying.
As time draws out on a long-sheathed sword of anticipation, I gaze. I wonder. I put it all into view. I ask the questions but receive very few answers back. I see that people become sculptures of comfort, who get placed into a certain role and stand on that pedestal. They don't even have to - but they do it. They are only sculpted to be seen a certain way. They can break free if they choose to - but they don't. They stay there.
I saw an old friend today for lunch - a friend who will surpass the moronic and the idiotic traps that other friends have fallen into. We both asked each other questions and we both listened. It was a thing of beauty.
Summer is nearly upon us, now, and a new set of questions emerges with that season. Heat. Intensity. Youth. Bugs. Smiles. Warmth.
Whatever the question set, the answer will always be about winning.
The Sad and Unending Truth of this Life
For as much as we want to believe it, communities will not save us. Try as we might to reach out for compassion, romance and truth from another hand - we are still only a reaching hand, in the end.
In the end, we go through the hardest moments of this life when we are alone.
This sad, sad life.
We look back constantly, in a state of childlike wonder and amazement. We think 'it can never be like this again' and we mourn those July days of Westport ice cream, grassy and dandelion-ridden fields, flowered shirts and brown acoustic guitars.
But like the band says the words, "we are fated to pretend".
We grow up and we get good at faking it. We go through the motions and live a wooden life of puppeteered moves and calculated decisions. Our finances don't bring excitement - they bring us larger concern and worry. And for a while, we think we can get out of the funk.
We bring a child into it. We conceive a version of our selves back into this sick, demented world.
We become intertwined with the wires and broadband data of the internet and we treat it like a real, living, breathing friend. We embrace it. It rarely lets us down and we use it for all that we need. It is there to serve us.
It's cheap. It's fake. It's instant.
I have 8 Bubble Witch Saga requests on Facebook. I don't even know what the fuck a Bubble Witch is - let alone, how she rides on a broom if she's made of fucking soap and water.
Seriously. Horse shit.
We create false worlds of digitally pixelated farms and we take tiny resources of mouse-clicking stock for an LED-grown harvest. We live in the warm light of our laptop screen. We dwell there. We bathe in its comfortably incandescent glow.
I'll miss the comfort of my mother and the weight of the world.
Yeah, I'll miss the boredom and the freedom and the time spent alone.
Like the makings of an early spring morning, we see the condensation on the inside of our lives, and we pull the covers of complacency up higher. They engulf our hearts and make wombs out of our ambition.
If you really hear Jesus talking to you, then get out of those rotted, board and batten pews and get out into the street that scares you the most. Stand among the needles and the HIV and the dirt. Don't sit around in your turtlenecks and knits, inside a comfortable building with a large window and year-round AC, and speak a language that no outsider can understand.
If you really want to be like Jesus, drop it all and do it. Be prepared to be raped by the world - just like he was.
Sure - you can wish for friendship, understanding and acceptance from all facets of your social streamline, but in the end, you are a consumer - awaiting a plastic product.
As sure as the moist cookie crumbles in my mouth, and takes me back to summer nights of my youth, licking the dessert off the roof of my mouth, I am there. Tasting it. Letting the sugars soak into my being. Feeling the sun like a warm ray of condolence from the heavens. The sun finally lowers into a bath of warm gamma-rays from the truth of the sun.
But one day, we will get it right. We truly will.
If we embrace it - if we let the slow, cold dark in with open arms, we just might make it through the night and see a brighter day. A brighter day that only lightens for your eyes and no one else's. We all need to hit that moment where the straw breaks the camel's back - for at our boiling point, we see other revelatory things illuminated that were dark before.
And we will take joy, and one day, we shall know that there really is no 'we' - there is only I.
And I'll be alright with it.
These days are going by in a flurry of light, sound, schedules and clock-staring. It sounds like a cliched conundrum but I really do have very little time for anything.
Time to sleep. Time to eat. Time to pump out production.
Time to make hay while the sun shines.
I've started interning at the CBC and really, I do like it. Great people. Great experience. I slept a lot this past weekend (which would explain why I'm awake now) and I had some good down time.
My guitar collects dust.
My ideas for films sit in a rusty, steel idea drawer.
My desire to write or be creative dwindles in the lure of basic function.
My hours are absorbed.
My minutes crumble.
I do what I need to get done. I move from point A to point B...and then back again.
The work week is not ideal. I know it's real life and everyone says "it's something you must get accustomed to" but damn - does it ever stop? Leaving early and getting home late? Watching the day burn outside while you're corralled in a bullpen?
I'm having a hard time transitioning from the lofty, surreal student life into the professional schedule. There's a disconnect.
Have I come to where I want to be?
We'll have to find out.
'Hopefully, we can jump the rift
and watch the rivers of responsibility finally shift.'
Ushering In The Spring
There are rows and rows of things to come. Nothing in this life is certain. All we have is a raveled up mystery - and we do the best we can with the knowledge and time that we have.
Tomorrow, I'm starting a new venture. This whole year away has led up to this - internship. Placement. Connecting with the job world. CBC. Real world Journalism. No more bullshit.
This is the big time.
Tonight, I stepped out on to my parent's back deck. This house is vacant. It was the place where I grew up and yet I feel so distant from it. I try to connect with the bricks and the mortar and the trusses, but I can't. The spring, it seems, is here. At a balmy 12 degrees today, I drove to the grocery store and saw my brother there. I couldn't see him in the sunspots. I had on a vest and a short sleeve t-shirt - and I was almost too warm.
I lit a mini-cigar and took a swig of scotch. Yeah - I have to get up early, but I don't care. This life is all about routine and getting up early. We need to break the routine.
I have the house to myself this week and Sarah is away in Jamaiica. I have time to recollect but I'll be busy as a bee.
I recently connected with an old, teenage friend who has been a good friend to me for many years. I am continually reminded that the friends who want to dig deep with me and be in my life are the ones who show up - bottom line.
The weather reminds me that new things are afoot. Soon enough, all of this crusty, brown/white Ottawa snow will be melted and in the sewers - and people will have to deal with all of the garbage buried underneath.
Slay The Anger Dragon
Sometimes it comes out - this spiteful and unsightly beast that tries, with all of its might, to get the better of me and turn my view to a downward gaze of seeing red and taking revenge.
It can be righteous - but most of the time, it is just unfounded at every turn. It burrows its way in behind the framework of my thoughts and takes up arms. It tries to trick me into thinking it's pure - it turns a disagreement between two friends into a slanderous rage.
It is an energy waster and a user of resources.
We think we are so justified when we get angry. We think our opinions are from the heavens and that our status-structure of other people is properly balanced.
But it's not a fleeting thought or a quick blast - it begins to take over our thought process and influences our actions.
The scars we carry with us tend to turn inward, after a while, forming callous scabs on the insides of our beings.
We must cleanse. We must get it out.
We must confess.
The beast will always be the beast - that is its nature. It will exist and writhe in fiery pits of fear and it will do its best to encapsulate our energy.
But that doesn't mean it can't be slain. That doesn't mean that we cannot, armed with the arrows of honesty and the swords of peace, sever it out at the knees.
We may chase it a long, long way - we but must slay it.
Or, in the end, it will slay us.
The Art Of Friendship
Old friends...in a deep groove...
Friendship is a fickle mistress. Over the years, it is a primordial stew whose essence is like nailing jelly to a wall. Nothing can define it - nothing can truly verbalize it. Words fall short on the doorstep of description.
I used to think I knew who my good friends were. I made a lot of friends through a specific place and a specific venue. Those were golden times - framed in a warm innocence that can't be recaptured or relived. Ultimately, though, those times will be raptured. Raked under the gardening tool of God.
Friends are the folks who you think about calling but then end up calling you. Friends put their families aside, sometimes, because they know that the meaning of the words 'kinship' extend beyond bloodlines and into something very visceral.
I've lost some friends. I'm saddened by that - I truly am. There were some serious battle partners who held my psychological and spiritual weaponry in some tough times (and whom I did the same for). As time draws out like a lengthened blade, though, we are standing the wake of dirty reality and those 'friends' we thought we would never part with are ghosts - memories. Apparitions of a fake vapour trail.
But to be honest, and somewhat dirtily truthful, I don't care to be friends with those who don't get the cost of friendship. Those people are robots and moving through life in a dead, dry-weed manner - blown about by every passing breeze and non-foundational whir in everything they exude. I don't care for friends who want to play 'hide and seek' in a childish fashion, and who expect me to do all the work of contact and correspondence. I'm tired of being that guy. I've been that guy all my life.
Cut me some fucking slack. Pick up the damn phone and get over yourself.
Where are the friends who will return the favour? Where are the friends who will put aside their bullshit and pettiness, reaching out through the fog of the unknown and finding the lighthouse of contact?
I long for those people. I long to be in community with those people.
I long to hear from my friends.
My friends are a great people - often shifting in size and scope but certain in their outlook. They are friends who live on islands and friends who are not my immediate neighbours, but friends who are still truly 'there' in every notion of the word. They know what's going on in my current life. They don't smile at me falsely, and give me a handshake and a hug and a parting word. They stick with me. They jag with me.
They get over themselves - as they understand that I'm constantly getting over myself.
Thankful For All Of It
Today, I am thankful. I look back on the things that have happened in this life and the things that I've done, and I have a deep gratitude for all of it. Paths have unfolded in a manner I could never have predicted and I've done some things that I deeply despise - but I've done other things that make me innately proud.
I have a great family. I have an incredible wife. I have some golden friends.
We have to get it right, this balance - the balance of the beast.
Two years ago, I was directionless. I had creativity and I had support but personally, I had no resolve. I didn't know where I wanted to go, in any professional sense, and how I would make ends meet in a career setting. After 6 months, my mind-frame is rejuvenated. Since 2010, I've traveled across Canada with two different Juno-winning musicians and filmed footage for them. I've traveled across Canada as a musician, on my own, playing original material.
And more recently, I've been accepted as an intern for CBC.
All this time, I've been working. I've been honing my craft and forging my end goal and my ultimate output in the furnace of dedication.
We live in such an ageist society and for many people, I often get the response 'Haha! Well that's great. Don't you wish you'd figured this out when you were 25 instead of in your thirties?' And to be completely honest with those debbie-downers, no I don't. I'm glad that I know now, if at all, because now, I have a consciousness. I have a fully-formed frontal lobe and I can make the decisions and accept the outcomes and fully invest myself into what I'm doing.
Wouldn't you want to get somewhere and fully realize the action and potential of your destination - instead of just magically plopping there and realizing its significance years later?
I am where I am - and I am who I am.
And I appreciate it, all the more.
The Blood Of The Words
I can't wait to sleep tonight. I'm excited to pull up the covers and let the sheets pull me into a warm womb of dreams.
It really is draining to let the words loose - to let them explode from the corners of your freed mind and spout in a fount of revolutionary truth. They rattle around and careen off the sides of my cortex, like a pinball off of a rubber bumper.
The words take shape. They live. They breathe. They form an entity.
I long for lakes. Lakes and long sunsets that make you see the cracks in your skin in the silhouette of the grapefruit coloured sky. We squint our eyes at the source but the light pixelates and distorts in the water of our eye.
But instead, I am here. Here in this deep, dark frost.
We bundle up. We face the winter.
A windowsill cracks open in a frozen crunch of suction and dead cold. The wind is like a vacuum that pulls the breath from our lungs.
Opportunity shines in the cool, austere moon.
Let the words out. Let them bleed.
The Godliness of Guttural Laughs
Get out your favourite comedy - maybe even the one that you hide from your kids.
When we lose sight of everything childlike - everything that sparks that sense of wonder and rejeuvenation and joy within us - well, then we've lost it all. The goofy sensation that overcomes us when we really laugh, and lose the sense of worry that comes with feeling guilty or watched by others, is something not of this world.
It cannot be. I don't buy it.
The serious vultures of somber reality swoon and spiral above the stratosphere. We avoid them and don't look up, but we know that they are there. Flying. Shadowing. Lurking.
Bills mount. Obstacles stack. Smiles turn into half-forced grins.
We are sucked in by the sorcery of the serious world.
Why can't you tell people that they're beautiful? When did we get so ashamed about being publicly uplifting?
Truth is a laser beam. It strikes light and heat all in a nanosecond, and it is there without warning.
I don't think that if anyone is truly laughing at something, and laughing with all of their being and feeling a sense of bewilderment and uncontrollable reckless abandon, that they should be made to feel guilty about that action.
That quiver. That body shake.
There's an inspiration that comes like a shock of cold water on your cortex. You open your eyes for the first time, the scales come off and you see how we are really meant to live. And the tears come without warning - in a hot stream of conscious sobriety.
When you write your friend and ask 'What do you think it would be like to live inside of a candy cane?' just to get a golden, dumbfounded response and a returned laugh...
I think it's all worth it.
The Best Of The Beast
We forge our way through this disgusting land of compromise and the stink of failure looms large.
The moonlight saves our pity and spits it out in a cool, February night light. The landscape of our dreams and our youthful desires dies against the furry flesh of all that we've become.
I think that I've finally figured out how to end The Matt Show.
I think I have the framework in my mind.
I don't want to feel shame anymore. I don't want to keep thinking about what an old, wizened and sickened bunch will think of my lifestyle when their crust-cut-off sandwiches are ready on trays in a sterile kitchen. I want to run free in the fields and think about nothing but the sting of a spring wind.
We now hope we will wait. We don't want to run or act or exist in a cogent space - we want to be hidden and unidentifiable. In a land that has no markings or geo-coding ability.
Trees. Water. A piece of sky.
When Jack Nicholson walks into the restaurant, in that epic scene of As Good As It Gets, extends his arms and gut-wrenchingly asks:
"What if this is as good as it gets?"
There is reality to that. We are always yearning for this example - this ideal of how we think things should be. The ultimate being. The ultimate me.
The ultimate you.
But we are stuck with who we are. We cannot change it. Though we try and struggle and kick against the goads of this life.
We try to look so distinguished - so polished - so ripe.
But in reality, we are part of the mud and the roots and the guts of this world. We are connected to the breeze, when it swipes our cheek in a moment of ethereal chill.
We are roving beasts, caged in a game of beauty.
Whatever we will get, whether we think we deserve it or not, will only ever be...
The Best Of The Beast.
'And the beasts will dance...in a sunny field of grass and warmth and joy...in a space that exists beyond time...in a forever summer....a forever summer..."
We Eek Our Way Through
Write the lead. Write your guts out. Eat hearts and take no emotional prisoners because you are here. You have made your way and you are almost out of the tough slog.
We all make mistakes and look for ways to stay alive. We constantly undercut the impression that we are actually making a mark - a carbon footprint on the planet of our creativity.
Light explodes into a ball of frequency and disjointed perception. Our brains try to keep up but they just can't.
The words come too fast - and the actions come even quicker.
It's hard to respond. And some times, we do the things we should have never done. We feel regret like we've never felt it - in stinging waves of hurt and drenchings of anguish and Irish guilt.
We go to dark places that we should not have tread to. We feel the darkness of the moon as we look behind us to see if we are being followed. We do the deed and we embellish upon our deepest and most twisted desire.
And then, in a flash, we see that the deed is not as monumental as we made it out to be.
We want accountability and strive for it at the core of our humanity - but in reality, we reject it. Accountability is hard. Accountability is a continued practice.
But then we find someone. Someone to truly connect with and establish an innate and sibling-like understanding with them. And they get you. And you get them. And it's glory.
And this dark night shall pass.
But the weather turns and all harsh storms must truly end. The river of futures and potential rise to meet my feet as I stand on the banks of uncertainity; waiting and pacing. The water gets higher still and overtakes the grasses and the pine cones and sticks around my feet. I close my eyes and feel the cascade of coolness continue to climb all around me. I succumb. I let go. I fluid-ize as my joints and parts become limber. And I move.
I am at one with the Water.
The bright, cool Water.
Sometimes, maybe our own perception of 'how our lives might or might not turn out' should not, in fact, be the standard that we should set ourselves to -
And maybe, just maybe, the life that we've all wanted and desired and pined after for so long is the exact same one that we are living.
This morning, I walked to school with a lighter head. The clouds seemed to break open, if only for a moment, and get torn apart by a sun fighting to reach me. The lightness of the barely frigid air comforted me as I didn't even need to wear gloves for the first time all winter.
I've been in a bit of a spiritual funk lately, but it seems as if I'm emerging from the smoke.
I've been watching a lot of Rescue Me lately and in many ways, I'm a lot like Tommy Gavin. I stay strong for others and I gain strength from being a figure of solidarity. Underneath, though, I have my demons. I have a lot of secrets but then again, who doesn't? I like whiskey, too, but I don't drink nearly as much as he does.
I have a theory that secrets can sometimes can provide strength and allow me to learn how to deal with issues on my own and without the need of others.
In other ways, I'm learning to let go of some of the ones I once held dear. This year has been incestuous, in the sense that I spend most of time, days, hours and weeks with the same people, but in another sense, I am building a portfolio and a network of people who want to work hard, write hard and get a lot of information out into the public sector. There are some good people, here, and I've dug the lot of them.
Friends are a weird beast. Those days when you laugh, live and love with them are the days that you could never imagine being without their presence. But when they go, sometimes very suddenly and with no explanation, you feel a tinge of sadness, but you regroup and journey on.
Sometimes friends aren't really friends - and it takes time and distance and meditation to see and understand that truth.
For a long time, I put everything under the umbrella of this special property. This property had (and in some ways still has) a vibrant community of young and old people and I made many connections through there.
But as much as I love that property and that community, it's a very ethereal and almost angelic place. It's romantic. It's star-soaked. It's luster-filled. It's a little bit magical.
But it's also not really real, at times.
Well, at least, not real for me.
But that's okay. There is a time and a season for all things. These days, I'm focusing on an end goal. I'm very, and admittedly, self-absorbed these days but I have to be to get to the next step. I'm honing my craft. I'm working out the kinks.
I'm working on me.
It's getting brighter, out there.
The Desperate Souls and the Lucky Ones
All around me, I see them. They're coming. They're approaching. They lurk on the horizon, just barely out of the crest of your view but still within the whiff of a strong breeze.
They are the walking dead.
I'm not talking about the HBO series - I'm talking about the people who have given up on this life and who are basically dead in their own shoes.
You've met them. Their views are set. They know everything. They judge. They don't need to go out past eleven because nothing good happens after eleven. They drive minivans. They have kids when they don't need to. They own a house that they can barely pay for. They wear sweatpants most days. They enjoy watching others and offer little creatively.
They are done, in every existential sense, but they continue to exist just for the sake of fulfilling some earthly quota.
They haunt me. They haunt you.
They haunt because they are.
I have recurring dreams of laying in a field, on a warm and mystical summer night, in the shower of a billion stars. I feel the grass through my fingers like the hair of the earth. I feel cared for, I feel warm and I feel connected to everything around me. I'm wearing a hoodie my friend Garry bought for me at Value Village. I celebrate the summer. I smile in the darkness where no one can see my expression, but it's as real as the stars. The corners of my lips spread. My face warms. I tuck my hands into my front pocket.
I tap my foot to rhythm of the universe.
And I get it.
Between the highways of and bi-ways of the rocky crags of this great country, I've seen peace and I've seen interest. The arms of the road are endless and they call to me, extending from molten rock into the flesh of my being.
Sadness is all around us, friends. It pervades our thoughts. It perverts our innocence. But in another way, it must be embraced. As children, we get coddled into thinking that the power of 'happy thoughts' will pacify us through the eye of any life-storm. Real strength and spiritual compassing, however, comes from the welcoming of sadness and the learning that is involved with dealing.
Dealing with the fact that we all have our burdens and our own shit to get through.
Sometimes songs say it best.
Torquil Campbell of 'Stars' drips it best from the steam of his pen in Life 2: Unhappy Ending. On one of their best albums to date, images of street brawls, riots and spray-painted hearts cascade through the flow.
'Life was supposed to be a film - was supposed to be a thriller
Was supposed to end in tears
But life could be nothing but a life - could be nothing but a con
Where's my unhappy ending gone?'
What happened to this life? Where did we go wrong? When did we, as humans, lose the passion and replace it with predictable, inane bullshit and comfortable couches?
Whatever we get is short, often filled with regret and never the way we'd imagined it to be. The moments and seconds are machine-click reminders that we are here and in that whatever we do, we need to inspire.
We need to fuel the lifeblood of each other's dreams. We need to stop being afraid of what people think of us.
We must sail on, through the stinging winds of conformity and the cold crash of rejection. Jon Brooks once said that even if one person, through the performing of his own songs, stepped out of their crappy basement and wrote an album, then it was all worth it.
Can we make it all worth it?
Are we desperate or lucky?
Wanting To Feel
I really miss my grandma. I feel that without her in my life, I'm missing a lot of spiritual navigation these days. She was the one who grounded everything. She was the one who brought my father into being who later made me.
She was the one who made me feel everything.
This life is an emotionally and spiritually bankrupt one, at times. I just finished watching the golden globes and though there were some people admonished, on a pearly, glittery stage who I really desire, I kept asking myself; "Is this it? Is this what all of us want?"
What the tract of land that we so desire to perch upon? Where does it rest in those seas of mysteries? Where does it reside in the skies of the great divide?
A friend of mine told me about her grandmother tonight. Some idiot told her that her grandma died and had no soul and that nothing would become of her eternity.
What a shitty, decrepit and ethereally bereft thought. And what an asshole to say such a thing.
How can we think that we have rights or ranks to supersede other people in what they believe and in what comforts them in the darkest nights? We are all working at it the only way we know how on this spinning, floundering, careening ball of mud.
My grandma just made sense. She knew God. And I'd like to think I know Him, too - in fact, I know I do. The One she spoke of loved everyone. The One she spoke of poured light and life into neighbours, widows, cellmates, hangers-on, hobos, artists and all people within its immediate vicinity.
And my grandma emanated those attributes. She was light. She was life. She was joy in a very immediate sense.
She loved to entertain and discuss. She loved to read the bible.
She once gave me 60 bucks so I could fly somewhere and visit a girl I liked to see if it could work out.
I was 19 - that was over a decade ago.
As we sat in her kitchen and I told her the deal, she said 'Well ya know Matt, you're a good kid. You're not on drugs or out screwing around so yeah - I'll lend you the money."
As she worked her way through the oggled logic of her loving mind, it somehow made perfect sense. She respected my dream and my desire.
She was really something.
We dance our way through this ridiculous maze and we only know how to spin, move, intermingle and intermix to the music and the beat that is being played.
I'm trying out this Journalism thing, and I hope it leads to something promising and career-oriented...
But my heart will always be with my grandma. She had a way of speaking into my life that no one else embodied. She was tender, understanding but firm when she needed to be.
Some people get replaced - and some never do -
But some continue to exist in our actions.
In our thoughts.
In our words.
In our love.