I sort of had writer's block. (Don't all say "thank you!" at once.) I had this idea I was going to run with last month, but kept putting it off, and as my depression worsened, my posts followed en suite. I was reading more than I wrote.
What was cathartic for me? The video I posted Wednesday that Luke took of me being ambushed by assault rifles. Neither his therapist nor his dad understood why *I* found it so utterly comical and well Luke, needless to say, he found it hysterical. It doesn't mean he has homicidal thoughts against his mother, or that I necessarily want to be shot to death. I just thought it was a stone gas to watch and it made me laugh harder than I've laughed in a long time. (Luke went on to drop a giant boulder, smashing our neighbor's Jeep, have a cop car and a sedan plow into another neighbor's townhouse, down a bunch of power lines outside, send a missile through the middle of my bed and incinerate my mother. It's an iPod app.)
What was a definite positive? This UK-based web site that I write articles for, http://www.myroutetohelp.co.uk relaunched with a newly designed, fancy format, and the web owner told me that my post about the NyQuil incident in February still holds the site record for the most hits in one day: 3,400. I said on Facebook that it was a tough lesson to learn, but a good story, and that even those who are seemingly the most secure in their sobriety can misstep, but that I'd been back on the wagon for almost 3 months now. Yes, it still sucks that it happened at all, and more so that it happened a week before my 4-year sobriety anniversary, but whatever. And the hits just keep on comin', or so I've heard.
The darkness that remains ebbs and flows, though I think I'm doing marginally better. I read a good quote from Joseph Campbell today:
"Writer’s block results from too much head. Cut off your head. Pegasus, poetry, was born of Medusa when her head was cut off. You have to be reckless when writing. Be as crazy as your conscience allows."One certainly couldn't accuse me of giving too much head over the course of the last year, but having too much head? Certainly. I want to try and write more poetry, but haven't been poetically inspired as of late. I've been deliberately disassociating from my own head over the last few days in order to gain some perspective and be more productive, not solely in my artistic pursuits. All that, and trying to convince my brother that the Earth is *not,* in fact, only as old as the Old Testament (which is also a struggle I'm confronting with Luke).
from A Joseph Campbell Companion: Reflections on the Art of Living
The idea I was running with late last month had to do with the death of Dick Clark. As I told a friend, "'Music is the soundtrack of your life.' -Dick Clark. RIP to my perennial New Year's Eve date. It's an abysmal holiday anyway..." and it is an abysmal holiday. The years I have custody of Luke for the holiday aren't as bad as the ones without him. The one thing you could always count on for New Year's Eve was Dick Clark, though. Even after he had the stroke and his appearances on "New Year's Rockin' Eve" became pathetic and sad, he was a fixture of Americana.
Last year, I had Luke, and I think we stayed home with my mother. Tepid, not entrancing, but we watched both the New York and Chicago countdowns and drank sparkling cider and called it a night, after snacks and without anyone bickering.
The year before that, ringing in 2010, I was shat upon by a girlfriend with whom I'd had plans to go out and do SOMETHING, we didn't know what, exactly--whether that'd be a singles' dinner/dance, we toyed with the idea of driving down to Oklahoma City for the Flaming Lips' annual Freakout & to see Steven, or whatever, but for months, we'd been planning to get together for NYE. I was still dating Chris at the time, who'd decided to have a stuffy dinner party with his stuffy collegiate friends from Northwestern (who were all a bunch of quasi-intellectual, politically-fueled, foreign-policy-interested white affluent collars who thought I was the embarrassing freak who went outside and SMOKED during a stuffy dinner party at one of their homes two years prior) and didn't invite me. Because he was a prick, but we've already gone there.
My girlfriend had met up with a guy she knew way-back-when, and they were on a date one night that turned into something like a week-long date, and she asked me on NYE if I wouldn't mind cancelling our plans so she could, well, screw this guy more and in my usual self-sacrificing way, I gave her an enthusiastic thumbs-up and told her not to worry about it. My mom was away for the night, Chris didn't say "Oh, sorry your plans were cancelled-come to my stuffy dinner party, though miserable, will still be somewhere to go," and it was too late to fly to OKC on the spur of the moment.
I'm proud that I didn't drink that night. I went to one of my favorite AA meetings that was still being held despite the holiday and while sparsely attended, I wasn't alone with my illness breathing down my neck and I felt relieved enough of the pressure to down a bottle of champagne at home to just GO HOME. Fortunately, the Flaming Lips Freakout was being streamed on the internet courtesy of Rolling Stone, with a contemporary setlist for an hour and a half followed by a performance of "The Soft Bulletin" in its entirety at midnight. So I climbed into bed in my room, had Dick Clark on in the background, and watched all of my Okie pals whoop it up. Unfortunately, due to copyright restrictions with Warner Bros., the feed of "The Soft Bulletin" was cut off after the first song, which was disappointing at the time, but I got to see it performed live in Chicago in July of last year, TWICE!
Thinking of Dick Clark again, though, I thought about my favorite "American Bandstand" moment, which happened several years before I was born. The Beatles had stopped touring, and had taken a hiatus from public appearances altogether, concentrating in the studio on 2 singles and what would ultimately become "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band." In the meantime, they, well, evolved. When the promotional music video clips of "Strawberry Fields Forever" and "Penny Lane" made it to the USA, Dick Clark broadcast them on "Bandstand." Forever gone were the lovable mop tops, the Fab Four, as they were previously incarnated. Damnit, they turned into fucking HIPPIES! This video clip is extraordinary. Beginning with the end of "Strawberry...," Dick Clark interviews the kids on Bandstand, asking them what they think of The Beatles' new song and video, and most of the kids are aghast. The song is dark and brooding in comparison to the fluffy pop tunes The Beatles cranked out in years past. Few of the spectators like the group's "new look" and "new sound," though they clearly prefer "Penny Lane" because at least it's a bit more upbeat. These poor kids on "Bandstand" are all so square. I love the burgeoning hippies themselves who speak out and think the shit's some pretty cool shit.
So today, we say goodbye to Adam Yauch, or "MCA," as he was known, of the Beastie Boys, who lost his battle with salivary gland cancer at age 47. It's not that I dug the Beasties' music all that much, as I'm not a big fan of rap, though I admittedly FUCKING CRANK IT THE FUCK UP when "Sabotage" is on. That mofo is one hell of a tune, with an extraordinary video directed by Spike Jonze. Yauch was a tireless altruist, activist and supporter of freedom for Tibet from China, and garnered much from the teachings of the monks with which he spent time. It's only fitting to pay tribute to someone who, in the late 80's, taught me that I had to fight for my right to party. My friend, Shane, posted this picture of Yauch along with the following caption today: "While the heart weeps for what it's lost, the soul laughs for what it's found."
You know you're getting old when people in the Rock n' Roll Hall of Fame start dying and they're only 7 years older than you are.