Saturday, May 31, 2008

Looking forward

I see a bit of a situation brewing on the horizon if this coming summer and autumn doesn't rectify it on it's own. I've been feeling it the past couple weeks, and it has been profoundly effecting me emotionally, (just ask C), but it wasn't until I was writing to a friend tonight that it dawned on me what this thing actually was.

In the past, my work has always been based on my life experience. As I get (ever-so-slightly) more mature in my work, it becomes more and more of an influence. Nevertheless, it is there, and without life experience to draw on- to cannibalize- I have nothing worth saying that can't just be hammered out casually like this blog-post, and then just as casually forgotten. I want to contribute more than that. As much as I'd like to see my book sales grow, there's almost no payment better than the few who contact me saying that I've changed their lives in some profound way. People I've never met, may never meet- changed. That's why I write, it's why I produce albums, or make visual art. For that, or even better, the people that I come to know through that work, or collaboration on future projects. To do this the work must be grounded in experience. Inspired from elsewhere, sure. But that ground, that honesty, has to be there.

After about four or five years where, on the whole, the output has been considerably higher than the input. I have "assets" to draw on for the projects I have planned up through the summer, but I really see myself hitting that bottom full on if I don't have more and varied experiences. Hours a day working in front of a computer, a couple hours of light socializing, making dinner, working, and going to sleep do not inform an artistic career. Contrary to popular opinion, that experience needn't be poverty, heartache, and despair, (I've had more than my share of all of those- it really isn't interesting material to draw from. Honest.) But it does have to come from outside the realm of expectation, a series of mental or emotional arrests, which complacent existence doesn't provide. If it doesn't hurt, it has to reach beyond itself, yearn, struggle, consume. My first book was inspired by an adolescent trip to an asylum, and several years obsession with psychedelics, the esoteric, and the occult. The second drew on a host of experiences which completely shattered everything I had thought to be my world, a re-inspired fascination with mythology, being in a band, living on the road. What can happen when you cling on to things too much, and what it can be like when you truly transcend fear and hope. It was a mental excursion into a hypothetical future, an alternate dimension, in every way different and yet at the same time very similar to our own present.

Now what do I have to draw on? What's the next story?

I guess I'm going to have to wait to find out, because these are the kinds of initiations you can't sign up for. Life gives them, or she doesn't. You can make yourself open to it, or not- but if it wants in, it'll damn well bust the door down if you don't open it up politely. And if it doesn't come, no amount of begging or posturing is going to give you that transformative experience that you need. But I've never been any good at waiting.

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