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The Cyberspace Shuttle

So this internet thing is a pretty big deal. I’d go so far as to say it’s the biggest deal. Without the internet, we wouldn’t even know what make a big deal out of. The other day I was listening to a University Alumni  who graduated in 1994 speak to a group of students. They looked at the room before they began speaking feeling something out of place, “Well this is kind of weird, when I was in college laptops hadn’t been invented yet.” And while the exact time of the laptop’s entrance in the consumer world isn’t cited in this statement, the point remains that technology has blasted forward with no remorse in the past 20 years.

It hasn’t been that long folks. So back to the internet. Trix are not for kids anymore. Everyone from Ted Cruz to the Queen of England has a twitter account. Facebook has a over a billion users. Think about that, a billion, and Facebook can recognize each and every one of your  faces every time it sees a picture. Jesus.

The internet is so big that if I wanted to call it names I would only be able to refer to a small constituency of internet activity and consumers at any one time. The internet is an equalizer of educational opportunities, between OpenLibrary and Wikipedia and of course all the colleges that exist solely on the personal computer screens of working class adults, one can leaner almost anything they choose to, bearing in mind the sources of their information.

The internet is also the ultimate perpetuator of gossip, cheap gossip. It has turned the entire entertainment industry, including its extended family (politicians) into a small town bubble, where news travels faster than it does in Stars Hollow.

I could spend my whole life critiquing and glorifying the many dreadful and delightful aspects of living life with internet connections but alas, I also must live. I will attempt to get back to my original point which is twenty years ago, it was all so radically different and we are all here now like nothing has ever changed, like it has always been this way. Children born in the year 2000 are teenagers now, a generation that knows no different. I met a nine year old who email his christmas list to his grandmother in the form of Amazon links, there are those who would have to sleep for twenty four hours to go a day without indulging their social networks.

I am not one of those who believes we should all go back to analog making playlists on cassette tapes instead of iTunes but, all of us humans might do well to keep in mind there was life before all of the interconnectedness we constantly take for granted. The whole world lives together, they can talk to each other and that is a wonderful thing. If we could get rid of the mindless, trigger-happy, naysaying keyboard operators who fill the comments section of every nook and cranny of cyberspace with pointless negative and slanderous commentary, you might be saved from me ranting about the internet once more. Again, this will not change. The world is what it is now and unless the President of the United States follows through with his executive power to “shut down all telecommunication services and devices in the name of preserving homeland security,” we will keep logging on to Facebook, we will keep receiving diplomas via email, and everyone will continue to be passionate about the most minute details of Kardashian life. It’s fine, I’m really not that bitter. Really.      

Losing Touch with the Ground at Our Feet

Memories perpetually collapse into new thoughts, but I do remember so keenly and so vividly you and I beneath the willow trees. Our cathedral, our house of worship. The willow trees greeted us with open arms and offered us salvation.

The cool summer breeze of Upstate New York glides a million fingertips across the gloss of our eyes. Sitting under the willows we can feel everything: the slivers of grass poking gently through our clothes, the knowing that we are not alone. Do you remember that incredible sound?

The magnificent whirring of cicadas, louder than you’ve ever heard it! They would be dead in a week, falling without grace on the heads and bodies of persons and dogs, but in this moment they were experiencing the great climactic moment of their existence. We won’t hear of them again for another seventeen years.

Within the willows, our buzzing cathedral, we become so pure that every insect dies for a taste of our blood. Our blood is our tithing to nature for providing us shelter this evening. We medicate ourselves with what is grown from her soil and enjoy her that much more.

But why is it that now we must go so out of our way?

Civilization has conquered this earth and there is nothing we can do about that but, why must our minds depart from nature as well? On top of the concrete, we see nothing but separation, borders, boundaries, exclusions and limitations: everyone and everything existing in the pursuit of definition.

The natural order of life is nothing more than particularized energy. Do you remember when I told you this as we gathered wildflowers growing between the roots?

Nature is nature, and always will be, but reality as we humans have grown to understand it exists as a mega-conglomerate of representations, everything you do or see becomes a symbol. Do you remember when you thought life felt like a movie?

When moments in life cannot be comprehended, as a result of the limiting criteria we apply to reality, we assign it to symbols that have been fed to us like starving dogs in an impound lot.

What I mean to say is, there beneath the willow tree, that was life and we were living it. We were us and everything was everything else and there was fuss over what was what it just was. Do you understand? Nature is not a front lawn, it is not a bouquet of roses or straight line of palm trees running down the avenue. Nature is the moment. It is a sensation yet nothing defines it, and it make no attempt to define itself.

In the arboreal temple we needed not collect ourselves, we obliterated the individual, we came full throttle into the infinite source, filled the creases of our toes with the mud of a northeastern swamp and we lost our definition, along with all that we could tangibly perceive. We were free.

Validation of the Scream

I want to scream everyday. I want words for the screams but I don’t always have them. Maybe I do have them, but my liberal arts education reminds me of how informed I should be before I speak my mind. Should I temporarily censor my feelings and opinions because I fear I might be ignorant to something obvious or important? I do not fear but rather encourage others to talk me down. I am willing to accept another’s opinion, but still must I wait before I scream?

I have offended people my whole life. More so, they were offended by me. I do not seek to hurt a feeling or viciously rub the sand paper against a sore subject. I do mean to rock the boat a little. Life is not stable. The future is wobbly. Why do so many remain conservative in their articulations in an attempt to fake it? We fear extremism. Mind-speakers undermine the authority of governments, more generally they undermine the status quo.

Perhaps the tide is turning. Edward Snowden lives. Wikileaks is published by Hollywood, but who has glorified these saboteurs? The “Mainstream Media.” Is the government being subverted or is it all just part of the game? Ah look at me, today’s scream is turning into a paranoid rant. Let’s rein it in.

What must I consider when I publicly express myself? The audience, of course. I was long under the impression that considering or “knowing” your audience was a process intended to mold one’s expression in an attempt to make it more accessible. Accessibility is quite relative. So I must measure the accessibility of my art based on the composition of my audience. That is, if I seek to reach them, to pull them in, to garner their interest.

I have had a great deal of trouble coming to grips with this, which seems to be a certain reality of my experience. A large part of me seeks to reject it. How can I create and express in the way that I want, in the way that I need, if all I ever do is produce work on terms other than my own. Popular art has been reduced to a conglomeration of advertising campaigns. I will not suffer the same defeat.

With this I propose to future audiences of mine and every other’s expression of art or opinion is that you understand it as it affects the spectacle and as the spectacle intends to affect the spectator, rather than imposing the status quo upon the spectacle and searching for some intolerable deviance that then denies validation for the particular expression. Close your eyes and inhale.

In either case I will be fine. I will continue to consider my audience, but through them I shall seek validation no longer. I will give that to myself.

The Self-Deprecating Voice

It was hard for me to get out of bed today. Not for any physical reason. Some years ago, I may have resisted putting my feet to the carpet operating with the belief that there simply was no point, that I had nothing to work on or contribute to this world, “I don’t have anything to give today, so why try?” I don’t feel this way anymore, and now my reluctance to rise from the mattress comes from a feeling of having too much to do, and not enough time to do it. As I have implied, this is a relatively new sensation for me.

I am called by something within me to create, but so often I find myself staring at a shade all too familiar: the great white of blankness. I keep pushing, because as it stands now my creative expression is all that I am being held accountable for. That, and reading a few books here and there, as recommended to me by those who advise my projects.

It was hard for me to get out of bed today because when I woke up, I was instantly reminded of that which must be done in order to move forward through the trajectory of my life. I am often contemplating this trajectory, perhaps a distraction and perpetuator of the blank page. My hesitation to express comes from the profound nature of my self-criticism. Two voices speak inside of my brain:

“It’s time to work. Fingers on the keys or wrap them around the ink stick.”

“Why bother? Your expressions do not affect. Besides you’re a terrible writer, terrible in all your affairs. Why bother?”

“Irrational. I’m an artist, a writer and a performer. I do these things not because I am good at them, but because my livelihood depends on my ability to express and to produce creative works.”

“Your dreams of being successful in your artistic endeavors are worthless, and your efforts to fulfill them are futile. Are you so egotistical as to think that even one person gives half a shit about the work that you do. Artist? Please, you are a filthy whore for attention, without the prospect of having an audience, you would willingly be gone from this earth.”

“I just received a project grant for six hundred dollars because there is someone, a group of people even, who believe that the work I do has some merit and deserves tangible support. Receiving funds and/or resources for that which you, the Self-Deprecating Voice, have called worthless serves as an evident contradiction to your statement. If I am alive today because of the work I do, because I have opportunities to share my expression with others, is that not enough worth all on its own?”

“You will never be successful as an artist. One day you will wake up and realize that your electricity is out, the pantry is empty, and all you have for currency is a mound of scribbles, chicken scratches that lead to nowhere. Your life is, and will be, a series of unfulfilled ellipses should you choose this path.”

“Success will come to me if I am open to it. If I leave myself vulnerable to the infinite opportunities I have being a citizen of the first world, I will be fulfilled. I will have the pleasure of being able to do what I love and know that others enjoy my work because they have supported my process. O Self-Deprecating Voice, you shall speak no further.”

The First Post

As someone who expresses creatively in the medium of writing, I often find myself at a crossroads in terms of where to start with new material. For example, what do I write about, specifically, how do I go about writing the first post of this blog? Here in this conglomeration of words is my first open and vulnerable offering to the entities and participants of cyberspace, what do I say? Do I write some review of an Ultra-Hip Bourgeoisie Gastro-Pub? Maybe a step by step guide to building a small corner shelf?

My attitude about writing these days is similar to my attitude about food: I don’t care what it is as long as it can be digested. That is to say a few things, 1) I am attempting to write in the direction of my subconscious with some wild assumption that the product will be a more pure form of art and that 2) regardless of the result of my efforts, I am always writing for an audience, and that audience should be able to comprehend or at least be able to create their own interpretation of my work. It is said that one must write and express for themselves but I have also found that if you can’t get other people to understand or at least have an appreciation for the work you are doing, all of this art making becomes seemingly pointless, as the mounds of scribbled on pages begin to pile up in boxes and closets. I have a whole arsenal of material I will probably never show to anyone as long as I am alive, but what good is that doing me? I’m not even talking about that “good” in a monetary sense, I mean in the sense of the satisfaction of expression. It’s like having intense emotions or feelings that you bring all the way up to the back of your teeth and then leave there until someone punches a gap in your mouth and all of it spills out accidentally.

Maybe right now as I write, as we the writer and reader converse, I am speaking around the subject in which I intend to broach. I am having the most difficult time generating content, and every time I get blocked like this, it feels like a wild goose chase trying to diagnose the issue. About a week and a half ago, I was in the midst of a dangerously high fever, hitting temperatures between 102-104, with no break for four days. Now my problems with creating new work now I’d like to blame on the possible brain damage I may have suffered in the midst of such a high fever. The problem with this reasoning is, if I am wondering whether or not I have brain damage, I probably did not suffer any as a result of my temporary condition. So what else is it? I’ll go days on end and cut out all the vices, alcohol, caffeine, cigarettes, etc., in an attempt to “clear my head.” None of this in my current reality has proved to give me any relief from the creative blocks I am suffering from. Maybe that is it. I just need to keep suffering. And suffer harder. I looked back today at a collection of poetry I wrote a few months ago and, if the me then went up to the me now and handed me this work I would tell him to go commit himself, but first I would tell him that this is powerful work you’re doing. It takes a toll on the emotions and I love when I can do that with simply the word on the page.

My anxiety runs deep, it is conniving and now I find, quite silent. In the past it has been the channel through which I feel some of my best work has been produced. Whether to calm it down now or to enflame it in the name of creating more material, I don’t know. I just need to create, and it all must be capable of being digested.