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Comfort Zone

September 15th, 2012
it starts and then it stops
it never goes away
I’m eating up my time
I’ll make it up someday

they’re running up a wall
it’s crazy how they climb
I don’t understand at all
it’s funny how we fall

there’s nothing in the way
of what we’re trying to get to know
you get to someplace safe
and then you gotta go

but what if you just stayed
you can lie in bed all day
and fade into the night
and melt into the fade

there’s a party down the road
but I don’t know if I’ll go
heavy in the head
I can’t be held responsible

if I take up my slack
and get up off by back
I stop and then I take
everybody down with me

and why is the fire on fire when it feels so cold
this artifice slaps me on the face if I step outside my comfort zone

I wake up with the sun
beating down from up on high
I take the hours as they come
and feel like I’m just squeezing by

and sometimes I fight myself and it takes its toll
I pick myself up even though this is not what I signed up for

Keep Moving

July 19th, 2009

As I’ve been making progress on the final mixes for “Open,” I’ve been taking walks down 26th street to listen to them.  Looking down, I’ve noticed the words “keep” and then “moving” painted in alternating blue and red in between 35W and MCAD.  As I’m closing this record out, I feel like this little public-art gesture is speaking to me.

I always run into the darker parts of my psyche as I’m finishing a project like this.  Last year I ended up at the airport with bloody knuckles at one in the morning, prepared to spend the remainder of my savings on the cheapest flight going anywhere.  Luckily the gates were all closed and I bought a bus ticket to Chicago the next day instead.

This year, my little episode amounts mostly to bothering my friends and getting drunk listening to records.  Anyways, I’m starting to see that no matter where you get to, there’s always somewhere else to go.  Life is about journeys, not destinations.

I seem stuck on this idea that I need to spend a year making a complete, conceptual album of songs.  I’m going to rethink that in the coming year.  I’m taking a number of different approaches to try and change the way I write songs.  One is the YouTube video notebook.  I’m going to be recording alot while I’m on the road in September, and when I get back I’ll be teaming up with Sarah Wash to write and record new songs.  Maybe one of these projects will take two years to come to a close, and maybe one of them will fall into place within a month.  Maybe if I always have things flowing and regenerating, it’ll keep me going.

I’m going on one final walk tomorrow morning with my tracks, and then I can spend the day preparing them for the mastering session.  After that, I think I’ll just jump right back into recording again.

What to sacrifice in these dark times

March 12th, 2009

Here’s a list of things that I allow myself in life, and the things I’m sacrificing to keep them.

I get:

  • Time.  Plenty of free time to do what I want.  Sometimes that means laziness, others it means being creative. I never get up before nine. I get a three day weekend every week.
  • The following things are always on hand at home: cheap beer, frozen pizza, breakfast food, and coffee. I eat like shit and I know it. I probably drink too much. I’m impatient with food.
  • Trips to Caffetto if the walls start closing in. If you don’t go out because you’re trying to save money, going out for coffee is a good alternative
  • A band to play shows with. This is a good alternative to a social life, and a lot of times, you get a nice package deal: you get to go out, see a show, play a show, and you get paid a little. Plus playing and practicing with other people forces yourself out of your own head.

I lose:

  • Income.  I haven’t paid rent this month yet.  Car insurance is due. I don’t save money.  It’s out the day it comes in.
  • A social life.  I don’t care what people say.  Love costs money.  I don’t go out to eat. I’ll go to a show to see a particular band, but I’m in no position to be buying anybody their drinks. I don’t do dates. Every person I’ve ever been with, we just skipped that part and went right to “relationship.” I try to be nice to people but sometimes I come off as rude or anti-social. I don’t play games and I’m not going to be someone I’m not or try to get you to like me. I try to not try too hard. I’m alone in this world and I’m trying to accept it.
  • My passenger seat.  It had to come out because my driver’s side door is stuck shut, so I had a choice: pay to get it fixed or find some other means of getting in and out of the car without giving myself a new bruise everytime. (Delivering pizza, you can easily get in and out of your car up to 20 or 30 times a day.) There’s also no air filter in my car and it’s leaking oil somewhere.
  • My mental health.  I’m not clinically depressed.  I get depressed when I get tired of fighting for my own well-being.  I get bitter when I look at society and see the kinds of work that gets rewarded and the kind that gets overshadowed.  I get upset about how successful people use their resources.  And I hate that there’s nothing you can do about it unless you become one on them.  Lately I’m reading way too many people’s facial expressions toward me as saying “fuck you, I’m better than you.”
  • Hope for the future.  I tell myself, if I’m going to be living like this the rest of my life, then who cares about saving for the future?  If this is my plateau, then maybe the end is something to look forward to.
  • Material possessions, family (breeding) and empowerment.  These are things I never much thought I’d have anyways.  I always figured that by forfeiting my chances in these areas, it would open up for me those avenues which I wanted to go down.  I was wrong.

Is it worth it?


January 4th, 2009

I’ve been trying really hard to hold on to something positive from the nervousness and restlessness I’ve been feeling lately.  The fact is no matter how much I go out and interact with my surroundings, I come home feeling empty.  I don’t know why I think I can reverse the path that I’ve been on all my life, which is a constant state of alienation.

I hate being by myself, but it’s usually better than trying to be someone I’m not, which is what I feel would have to happen for me to have a normal social life.  I like making music, and making art, but there comes a point where the solitude is too much and you have to stop.  People don’t understand that.  The fact is, if I have people close to me in my life, than I can be productive while I’m alone.  But if I’m alone all the time, I lose myself.

I read Wikipedia’s article on loneliness again.  I wonder if what I keep referring to as depression is really just social isolation.  I go to a bar and I see a crowd of people who can communicate with one another.  Sure it’s not on a deep level, but they’re all keeping themselves and each other sane by doing so.  Meanwhile I’m in the corner with an art magazine drawing snake tongues coming out of everybody’s mouths, and I’m the only person in the place who’s by himself.  And although I look around at the couples, and the friends laughing with each other, and I despise the whole thing, I really just wish somebody would say something to me without it being their job.

The more alone I feel, the less motivated I am to be creative and the more motivated I am to try and go out and have fun.  So I go out to be around people, who paradoxically make me feel more alone, and then I get depressed.

I think maybe I was on to something last year at this time when I was just drinking beer at home and drawing circuit diagrams.


December 9th, 2008

I started thinking about autonomy, first for personal reasons I won’t get into, but then as a concept in general.  I used to think of myself as autonomous.  I used to feel like the more time I spent by myself, working on myself, the better.  I felt really good about it for a few years.

The problem was that autonomy is a myth.  In my time of autonomy, I was connected to people and things that kept me going.  Without the friends I had at the time, who were interested in the kinds of things I was doing, not to mention the no-pressure job and college life, none of it would have worked.  I found that out eventually, as I looked around and all of a sudden felt like no one cared.  All those things were gone, and it was just me.

Jackson Pollock, the quintessential autonomous artist, was actually surprisingly connected, not to people, but to nature.  The problem was he didn’t know what he was doing, and since art was still thought to be an expression of the ego, his ego consumed him.

I guess I’m writing about alienation.  It’s the unfortunate byproduct created by the myth of autonomy.  When you think you’re separate from the things supporting you, then there’s nothing to keep those things from falling away.  I feel like that happened to me when I was 26.   It took a while for me to figure it out.  And now I know I don’t want to be separated from stuff.  I need a certain amount of myself projected outward.  I need other people to challenge me.  I need things I’m not used to.

I know I have a depression problem, and I try to manage it.  I think about the way I feel right now, and in a way it’s OK because I know it’s temporary.  But there are healthy and unhealthy ways to deal with your emotions.  I tend to deal with negative emotions in an unhealthy way because it makes me feel connected to things.  I spiral down into myself.  If I’m connected to things, then it’s easier to avoid that.

It’s winter.  I really want to try not to get too sucked into my own head like I usually do this time of year.  I want to keep going out and seeing people and having a public life.  I’ve been doing much better at music now that I’m not trying so hard.  At least I feel like I am, and I’m enjoying it more.  I guess it could go either way.

This is fun…

November 5th, 2008

I’ve been wondering how to go about this post for the past week or so, because it’s not the typical depressing bullshit, plans or mental-detritus.  At some point in the past year or so, I realized that it’s time to stop trying so hard and just live my life.  I knew that when you force something, it breaks.  But keeping open doors can lead to more fruitful things.  Recording “Exits + Obstacles” was one last stab at pushing myself and making myself do something.  The subsequent depressive rampage that found me almost taking a random plane to anywhere at one in the morning (the airport was essentially closed) confirmed my theories about what that can do for your mental health.  It was alot of work to get through that stage, but I have to say I’m really happy with the outcome.

I recently started seeing someone, and that’s the part I was uncertain how to blog about.  I’m used to being by myself.  It’s led to some great things–things that I’m proud of and that without which, I wouldn’t be me.  I’m not the kind of person who is always with somebody just to be with somebody, so when it happens its pretty great.  It can also be really stressful.  Wikipedia’s article on love lists side effects “similar to amphetamines,” including “increased heart rate, loss of appetite and sleep.”  On top of that, I have a new apartment and a new job, as well as my typical shaky financial situation.

A couple years ago, after I filed bankruptcy and got rid of my studio, I was confronted with what was left of my life, my mind centering on one thought: that there was nothing I was connected to that I cared to hold on to.  I had reduced myself to only those things I was indifferent to.  I feel the complete opposite now.  I’m surrounding myself with things I care about.  I’ve never felt this comfortable with a job, home or another person.  I’m writing songs, and things are coming out really easily and I’m not worrying about when the next CD is going to be done.  (It’s going to take enough time to try and sell 1000 copies of “Exits”)

When things were going really bad, I could see depression in flux with my life, adding fuel to the fire. In college, I remember depression would simply cause a bit of reflective sadness, which I enjoyed. It’s only when my life is spiraling downward that it becomes a problem, making me lose sight of how to take control.  I say this because I know sadness will hit after the high is over, and that’s OK.  But I feel like all the hanging on is paying off right now.  After I flipped out and went to Chicago, my goal was to get a job that I could tolerate and try to be social.  It seemed like such a hurdle at the time, despite it being such a simple goal.  But it worked, and I couldn’t be happier.

Afternoon is the new morning

October 24th, 2008

This blog is getting spammed up for real.  What the F.

My activities have dwindled.  I’m scatterbrained.  I’ve been meaning to get into the marketing process for the CD,  but I’m not really on right now.  I’ll get internet before the snow falls and get to work as a complete shut-in while I’m not sliding around on Minnesotan Ice with pizza.

Time flies when you’d rather sleep.  It’s weird to me now, when depression hits you at a time when everything’s going fine.  Reminds me of being in college.

First Dates and Fourtrack Tapes

August 24th, 2008

The normal thing for people to do it seems is make a lot of mistakes in high school, have a lot of fun and adventure in college, and then take what you get out of it in your mid-twenties and turn it into a “life.”  Turn your job into a career, buy a house, marry whoever you’re with, and become an “adult.”  I’ve always felt like I was 5-10 years behind.  My mistakes are more spread out.  My adventures have been a little less adventurous (camping in the badlands vs. backpacking through Europe.)  I hardly started dating by the time most of the people I know had met the person they were going to end up with.  The relationship I was in at 25 created more issues than it resolved.

I’ve worked more intensively on things I find personally important, and less so on things that are socially meaningful, mainly because I could do them at my own pace.  Social activities always put pressure on me.  I’ve found that creative things like art projects or music I could mediate the pressure and channel it properly.  The pressure comes from life and the world itself and as an artist you work as a filter for that, to make it meaningful and do something with it.  Social pressure is different and I never learned to deal with it.  It’s not as heavy but it’s directed right at you.  If you fuck up with a friend, you feel it.  If you do somebody wrong, it’s obvious.

Obviously the ideal is to live with someone that’s easy to live with and ignore the greater world around you.  Some people do that, but my guess is they do something for that greater world that supports the dominant powers within it to back up their lifestyle.  You can’t ignore a world that’s crushing you.

When you’re 22 and in college, living in the city, and everyone you know does art, and they’re all in bands and carrying notebooks around, it’s easy.  When you decide that you want to take that aspect of life seriously, you have to be ready for everyone that helped you to be inspired by it in the first place to ditch it for a more normal life.

I turn 30 next week.  My late 20s have hands-down and overall been the worst 5 years of my life.  I’m trying to dig up the parts of my younger self that I miss, and weed out the baggage that’s been holding me down since I was a kid, all while trying to hold on to the parts of myself I can’t afford to lose.  I’ve never felt this alone, and probably not coincidentally I’ve never felt less creative.  But knowing what you need to do and having the means to do it are two different things.

By the way, this blog is really supposed to be creative-oriented.  I don’t like this stuff, but I have to write about the things that are keeping me from maintaining that aspect of my life.

Sick of it/stuck in it

August 15th, 2008

About every other day or so I end up in a fistfight with some inanimate object at work after about two hours of being there.  I leave, because there’s no sense in letting that get any worse.  Today I left with my knuckles bleeding from punching a door over and over again.  I don’t really know why this happens.  Is it really because the pen stopped working?  Is it because I feel like I’m being taken advantage of?  Is it just because I had different plans for myself at this point in my life, or because I feel like I failed at everything else?  I need to get out of this, but every time I go and actually look for a different job, I get even angrier.  I get this sense that the whole system is just flawed and the real problem is that there’s just no place for me in any of it.

Until further notice, I’m not playing anymore shows. There’s probably about six people in the world who aren’t in bands themselves who have ever come out to see me play.  I got the hint.  Not a big loss on my part, I guess.

I don’t want to be so negative, but it’s better than pretending to be positive.

July 25th, 2008

Follow any path as far as you can take it and you always end up in the same place: in the dark. Everything looks the same in the dark. If you’re unwilling to except that, then you make stuff up. You pull whats buried inside and project it into the darkness to try and make sense of it. One thing you don’t want to do is invite the darkness inside. I wish I could put it away, turn it off, and save it for later. I’m always walking into the dark, and that’s fine. But what I need to do is stop believing that the things I see in the dark are real.