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Old 09-04-2020, 01:21 PM   #1
Run To Me
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Location: Where the frog spoils the leaf
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Question 3 Jan 2010

3 January 2010
I did it. Thank God. Already I feel much better. Slept in till rip roaring noon, having fine and colorful dreams. Healthful dreams: first I was a guest on the Baysinger’s party. The party was wild. There were frat-men there in togas. There were torches burning in the night, red light glinting off the dark blue surface of the swimming pool, where there was splashing and laughter, the sound of wet feet slapping concrete. The house was this exaggerated version of my sense as a kid of the Baysinger’s house as a mansion. Of course in life it wasn’t really. It was just clean. With a basement that was full of more than mildew and small creatures. And they had a pool and always kept Guy’s potato chips and all the Chocolate Honey Grams you could stomach. But then the party was ending and the family was going to Cancun, so they took me home. Even though it was just a hundred feet from their front door to mine, and even though I was a kid I drove this big black 4x4 home. When I got home (normal East 56th) I went around back and slid down the hill to the creek. It was like a straight up-and-down mud hill this time. When I reached the bottom suddenly there were black girls there with me. We looked into the tunnel under the train tracks, and I said, “Let’s go in there!” To my surprise, one of the girls said, “Yeah, let’s do it!” But there was a weird green light glowing up from out of the water and a cackling laugh. So we went back up the hill. When I reached the top of the hill, the black girls had disappeared and I noticed there were occult talismans scattered on the lawn of the backyard. I scooped a few up. When I got to the top of the hill, Margaret from work was there. She said, “Woah, be careful with those! You know what those are?” I said, “Yeah, I know. I’m okay. It didn’t burn me.” She said, “Well you got to be careful.” Then I woke up.

These long weekends are weird. I always get sort of panicky, like I lost track of what day it is and they’re at work right now wondering where am I. God I need to get on the ball at work! Felt like I didn’t get shit done over the holidays. I’m watching Ghostbusters II. There’s a hilarious courtroom scene. Rick Moranis is great!

Hey, what happened to me? I mean, what did I do this weekend? Why do I feel like I left something out, forgot something, lost something. Why do I feel like I’ve slipped somehow? I mean, the apartment’s a mess, I haven’t showered in a couple days, and I didn’t do any real chores or life tasks, but I’m pretty much okay with that. So why is there this feeling? What is this feeling? Is it residual depression from drinking two days in a row Thurs + Fri? Maybe. Getting out of whack on my St. John’s? Certainly didn’t help anything. If I had to name it, I guess I just feel stupid, less confident. Last week I was sure I was on the right road “more or less.” Sure, there was the blow I gave myself at Robbin’s wedding, but I’d bounced back, I thought, was feeling pretty good again. I thought? Can I still be hurting from New Year’s Eve? Either way, fact is now just sort of doubting my whole platform of operations. Maybe part of it is this coming to the end of a major project. I told Joshua that I was almost done with this thing, and he said, “Wow! what will you do with it after you’re done?” I had to say, “Well—I don’t know!” I could burn it like Howard Mann. Maybe also because I haven’t worked out in a few days. That always makes a big deal difference. At least I didn’t drink all day, like I desperately wanted to. And I really did get some good work done on A.I.V. and D.M.

I think both of those are done and I’m happy with the results. AIV is unsettling, weirdly catchy. With the bass part, I managed to preserve the feeling of the original recording, that sense of something breaking apart and coming undone. Maybe even intensified that sensation in a couple of places. I don’t think anyone is going to initially like hearing this song. This entire song proceeds at a headlong, nervy pace, and now you have Chen’s vocal. I made Chen float in and out and bathed him in this silvery reverb. At parts his vocal sounds like the deep, romantic vocals of the 1980’s. Hard, metallic reverb. I may have overdone the reverb, the layering of multiple takes, the snatching, reversing of certain key phrases. Problem was there weren’t a lot of strong, clear hooks to start with when it came to Chen’s vocal. Guy left off-kilter phrasings all over the place, and the stuff he’s talking is certainly non sequitur in the extreme. But whatever, I think it all adds up to make one especially berserk hymn, especially when paired with my hoarse, barking refrain of “knives ‘n’ guns !!! neil young !!! die young !!!” and to hell with it because I’m done.

Then there’s DM, where I was able to pull off some last minute, seat-of-pants lyrical fixes that really help tie the song into the context of the rest of the album. I even snatched up and employed a couple of Jerry’s lines from AIV to complete a circle. Recording this vocal went very quickly. I love it when it’s easy. Both of these songs are weird in a lot of the same ways, set-pieces of warped metal, perverted cousins of the New Year. Just really happy with my vocals on DM! That song is spooky, but funny, too. “He just wants to party, he don’t care who you are (OMG, did he say ‘he just’ or ‘Jesus?’) /Get up in them guts then puke in the yard!” That’s cracked, man! Like to think that watching Ghostbusters I and II in between mixing sessions had a tangible effect on the outcome. Not just the wonderful 1980’s music in both flicks, but the ghostly subject matter too, as I was moved to put lots of ethereal vocals and whispers in both, especially DM. That song is chock-full of spooky, druggy easter eggs for anyone unlucky enough to try it on headphones. How I mix is this: I mix it on headphones at the computer, then put it on the stereo to check it. Net result is I make a zillion trips carrying a USB back and forth across the apartment, until I am able to stop cringing at what I hear. It’s very exciting when I begin to get close. Very satisfying after hours of sometimes frustrating effort. Because there always are hours completely lost following the wrong road to a dead end. One key I learned is to never underestimate the importance of starting with quality takes and recordings before you ever start mixing. ‘Cause I’m tempted sometimes to get lazy, to cheat, using the few effects available on my recording software, in an attempt to make a half assed take sound fully assed. I need to just remember that it’s damn near impossible to make lemonade of what sounds originally like shit. Perhaps now’s the best time to recite that familiar maxim, something we like to say: doing a record is a lot like wiping your ass … you’re never really done but, you’ve got to give up somewhere!

After this record is done, I envision a very liberating time of play. Free of any pressure to produce serious, or share-worthy recordings, I can experiment, stumble easily, innocently into the new sound. Lord knows I’ve plenty of material to translate into the future. There are a lot of riffs in my closet. Luckily I never deleted everything in a fit of self-revision. All the embarrassing dorm room anthems are still there. Waiting to be turned into bluegrass, into Spanish techno. Speaking of self-revision, I’m feeling better right now just from this typing, this talking to myself. Revising myself. My thoughts, which are me, in the end. Aside from the chance to work out, get literary, the journal is an important emotional tool that I need to remember. It’s a good rule of thumb: when stymied, at utter loss, simply begin to write about it. Describe this loss, see if I can wrangle it, weaken it with an electric stream of glowing words. My proton pack is full of words, and this journal is like my ghost-containment chamber, where this Real Ghostbuster puts his bust ghosts.

This week I’m going to call about volunteering at the shelter. I am going to call my family. I am going to pray, and be sober, and watchful. I am going to keep alert, aware. Find that flipping, flopping, slippery tendril of love that’s still there, still struggling to keep alive in my dry and barren breast, get a good grip on it again. Start to feed it again. Let it lead me. Be aware of the love in and through all things and how it can animate me if I give over to it. Willfully become nothing. Chase, pursue nothing. Catch at it. Let love take total control. Serve the only master. That’s what it was, this weekend. I lost some awareness, slipped into dull focus for a few hours there. Left my master and my source of nourishment, to go lean against a bar, go on vacation. That’s the loss. I’m feeling this way now, I think, because I’m still mourning those hours I lost. It’s okay to bury them now, and get on with life I think. It’s good to think about and write about this stuff. These words are reinforcements against the drinking plans of the Illness. Oh, he’s at work. He’s roaming around in there. He’ll always be in me. Trying this way, trying that, to get that burning stuff onto my tongue. He is a wily, untiring enemy and he will be in me until I die. I thought I could kill him if I ignored him for a month. He just came back stronger. Or kill him forever by coming up with a new way to finally control my drinking. This is one of his ploys. Remember. Because there is no hope for control ever again. The only hope is to keep the drink from my tongue at all costs. All costs. Social or otherwise.

I’m going to start learning again, too, this week. That’s something I missed lately. Missed this weekend. Hanging with Joshua was great but there wasn’t a lot of time for learning. For reading. To let a poem hover inside me. Allow a select passage from a book to cause me to gaze away from the page, let the words flip those internal switches, set off small psychic explosions.

I’m looking forward to the cold blast of Monday morning and the first workday of this new year. Work’s good for getting you in the right frame of mind for improvement. Right? Forward movement. Self respect. Self worth, after the challenge of a day, however uneventful. Hell. Getting through the day without putting a fork in my eye is sometimes accomplishment enough! Honestly, I’m bonkers. I don’t know if I am more or less bonkers than anyone else, but I do know that I’m bonkers. There are bonkers voices in me. All I can do is tell them no. Tell the good ones yes. There is one now that says: all this you’ve written is hogwash. You know it is, and you know that you’ve forsaken the Holy Ghost, and the demons are on their way, and you know it’s because you were ordained an Elder but’ve become an alcoholic faggot that wears women’s underwear and rarely reads the Holy Scriptures of the Restoration; and this lusty, vain faggot plays at learning other gods, like Kali Ma, sings wicked songs pairing the sacred with the profane, makes strange musical statements with his evil-sounding guitar. Yes, you know it’s none other than The Devil that guides your fingers on the guitar strings, when your mind shuts off and you channel the unseen; and you know this: that all is futile and you are damned.

Yes, voice. Thank you. Yes. But. Even if what you say is all true, what could I ever do about it now but repent. Then try, and try, and try. Jesus Christ. Help me, please.

At least I didn’t drink today.

 
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Old 09-04-2020, 01:31 PM   #2
smashingjj
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