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Thursday, February 13, 2003
In a world filled with friends, you lose your way"
- Scott Walker, "Big Louise"
What follows will get pretty grim, so skip it if you'd rather, but consider this fair warning.
Got a call from a journalist who had interviewed me recently. Looks like his promised newspaper article is very unlikely to run. So this pretty much freezes the progress of our record at one mini-review in British mag, another in a mag I write for, one in a local paper (written by a friend), and an online site or 2. This current disappointment is the result of my article getting cut several times because the editor regards EVERYTHING else that comes along more important.
CAT POWERS releases hotly anticipated album; critics orgasm as one
DEVO zany MARK MOTHERSBAUGH to score new cartoon
PHISH drummer buys sandwich
ARGENT tribute album to feature SEA AND CAKE and WILCO
CHRISTINA AGUILERA shows ass crack on new video
ANI DEFRANCO declares "I'm against a war with Iraq"
BEATLES hailed as "perennial favorites" in new poll
Sales figures for latest JAY Z release cause much discussion
Genius of BECK "inarguable" says TOM BROKAW
Nobel prize nomination for BADLY DRAWN BOY
The editor is far from alone in his assessment. I dearly wanted this ink if only for my family's sake, who read that paper regularly. The same paper covered the conspicuous grief of Pete's widow in daily installments; the articles were grueling in their crass exploitation of 9-11 emotion to inflate the status of this hateful cunt and her even more obnoxious relatives. This is what forced me to stop reading newspapers, and it also influenced me to make Uncle anything but a further exploitation of Pete's death and the deaths of all the others massacred. If I'd been less cautious about all that, maybe the album would have been more ink-worthy, but I'd be as blood-covered as the Gr*ces with none of their sense of entitlement and arrogance. I could not live with that on my head. No article could save my album from oblivion, but this one would have been a coup in terms of morale, and a small measure of righteous balance would have been struck. It is not to be. My well-intentioned friend who wrote the thing says to tell him, though, if any shows come up, and he'll see that there's a mention.
There won't be shows though… I tried to overcome hopelessness this past weekend and plan a gig or 2 with the musicians I've been working with. They were all at a party I'd invited them to. I invited a lot of people to this thing, and some of Shelley's friends drove up from New Jersey, but the only friends of mine who made it are those who live a few minutes away. Anyway, the band will not be doing any shows. Interest is apparently not high enough to warrant the effort. Nobody's interest is high enough to warrant much effort, in fact, and so, 3 weeks into its existence, I declare Uncle dead. A moot proclamation, but it'll have to do in lieu of all the positively-directed effort I'd like to exert if ANYBODY else gave a shit.
So that's the situation here. Well, not really. It would be impossible and pointless to describe the tidal wave of black misery that slams me awake every fucking morning after a couple of hours of restless, pill induced sleep. As difficult as the process of recording the album was, it directed my thoughts and energies toward something that occasionally seemed meaningful. That's all over and all that replaces it is the daily awareness that yet another album is dying just as undeniably as my family is dying around me. My head feels ready to burst with toxic concentrations of defeat, hatred and sorrow. The only personally mustered relief comes from idiotic distractions and this little recurring fantasy where I slo-mo the bullet passing through my palate and into my brain, blowing every thought, memory, fear, hope and emotion out the back of my skull into some perfect, absolute nowhere.
There are several actual friends who read this blog and write encouraging emails to me, and for these few precious friends I hasten to add that I'm not threatening suicide… it's not something I'd consider while my loved ones are living. I've decided that the least act of nobility I can perform in this wretched life is to endure it until that blessed, inevitable day when all faiths are proven wrong and all achievements join all failures in infinite irrelevance. I want to spend my remaining years in some version of happiness I can share with Shelley. She's the one who usually hears the kind of things I'm telling you here, and if I'm to spare her such agonies I'll need to become something else.
For one thing I have to find a way to give up creative ambitions completely, devote myself to them with an ascetic's determination or somehow mutate them into something that will fulfill and contain passion, even as it remains a private hobby. For those to whom this is alien gibberish, let's draw a metaphor of learning how to satisfy one's urge to love and be loved through celibate solitude, nymphomania or masturbation. Attempts by others to achieve this kind of adjustment - a repulsive choice forced upon some by most - resulted in Van Gogh's corpse lying in a wheatfield and the collapse of Charles Ives' physical and mental health before the age of 50. And I don't apologize for comparing myself to those two great artists. My failure or success in making work of that stature will not be determined by the idiots of my day any more than theirs was by contemporary idiots. But if I don't try to make work as personally honest and artistically ambitious I have no right to call myself an artist. And that is the only job description I've ever had any interest in fulfilling.
The dilemma here is probably meaningless to most people… it seems like yet another manifestation of my absolute self-obsession. Well, this blog is a steam valve as truly as the music itself has been. If it helps to rid my mind of a fraction of this pressure, then it's worthwhile. In the actual living of life, I try to be the kind of friend who is fun to be around and helpful when needed. Other than with those with whom I have a close, reciprocal relationship, I never fully air these woes outside the blog or some expressive equivalent. For a while now, I've mostly opted to stay home rather than drag my burdens around publicly. I've replaced most correspondence with these cloistered monologues and comedy routines, since the need to vent would unavoidably and negatively affect the content of any email or phone calls. Isolation has resulted, but that's preferable to the strained friendships that would otherwise occur; it seems better to have a wide range of glad acquaintances I can periodically "catch up with" than a sequence of close friendships done in by my own problematic personality.
I'm also aware that these self-indulgent horrors hold sway only when I'm not fully absorbed by the crises of my family. Right now, depression is acute because I'm not otherwise occupied by emergencies affecting them, and it's oddly welcome for that reason. I reckon that, given patience, soon it'll all seem less pressing and I can rejoin life in my role of eccentric, ne'er-do-well amigo: there is a sort of "depression release" that comes after critical mass has been exceeded. I'm waiting for it. When that happens, a refreshing gust of apathy sweeps over me and, for a while, the inner torments give way to enjoyment of numerous amusements. That's when I'm at my social best.
Anyway, as my family members are subject to depression stemming from old age, ill-health, the deaths of loved ones and the mind boggling cruelty of the Gr*ce brood, I am usually forced to maintain a happy demeanor around them. It's part of the duty to help. So please forgive this entry as the necessary expression of overwhelming stress and sorrow. I'm pretty sure it'll end up getting deleted out of embarrassment anyway. In any event, it's no more harmful or noteworthy than these songs I've wasted my life creating, and likewise, it'll soon be superseded by something far more trivial and entertaining.
Stay tuned, if you care to.
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