So, the way that this tattoo wraps around my leg, it’s basically impossible to photograph, properly anyway.
One day I know…
One day I’ll be…
Looking back on me…
It’s from a Priscilla Ahn song, One Day I Will Do, which is off of her really excellent second record, When You Grow Up. The entire record is worth buying, but I’ve gotten really fond of One Day I Will Do.
To me, it’s a song about a life that’s in a drift, and then regretting that drift. You know you could do better, could be better, but you’re not. You’re just not. You know that at the end of everything, you’re either going to to see your life as a giant waste, or as something that was good and beautiful. Knowing that one day you’ll look back across the expanse of your life and might find it lacking, could easily find it lacking, is a sobering thought, a thought that could lead you toward someplace that feels… right.
I feel like this song, I’m scared of that look back on myself. I’m scared I’ll see ruin and waste. These words are kind of a prayer etched into my flesh, a prayer to remember to be better, because at the end of me, I don’t want to look back and see the waste I’m living now stretched until my last then.1 comment
So, this tattoo, #51, is from an Alanis Morissette song, These R the Thoughts, which is off her MTV Unplugged record. MTV Unplugged is tied with Supposed Former Infatuation Junkie (SFIJ) as my favorite Alanis record. MTV Unplugged is so great because Alanis’ voice is gorgeous and being outside the typical studio setting you really get to hear that voice. I’ve seen her in concert too, she just has a spectacular, raw, beautiful voice. MTV Unplugged shows her voice, and it has a few of my favorite songs off of SFIJ, which is why I love it so much. These R the Thoughts is only on MTV Unplugged and no other studio record. The song’s basically a series of worries, questions she asks herself throughout a day. The song doesn’t have any hooky chorus, it’s just a series of questions… Why do I feel cellularly alone? Am I supposed to live in this crazy city? Can blindly continued fear-induced regurgitated life-denying tradition be overcome? It’s so not a hooky pop song, or rock song, it’s a journal set to great music. My favorite section, part of which is etched into my arm, Why do I fear that the quieter I am, the less you will listen? Why do I care whether you like me or not? Why is it so hard for me to be angry? Why is it such work to stay conscious and so easy to get stuck and not the other way around? Both of those sections, the latter, obviously, sound so much like the questions I ask myself, the worries in my head.
In a larger sense, sure, I do worry that if I quit writing here, quit trying to get published in print, quit writing altogether, I’d just disappear. Nobody would care, or come looking for me, or even idly wonder, “Whatever happened to that guy, he wrote about zombies and sex, and loneliness and suicide and addiction and dark optimism and some girl? I think it was some girl. He had all those tattoos… What was his name? Michael something?” I think most writers, even the ones who get seriously paid, write because we love the craft and want to be remembered for what we did with it. We write to be known. I don’t think Jeff VanderMeer or K.J. Bishop or Michael Cisco would quit writing if the paychecks stopped. We have words in our blood and we cut ourselves so that all those words come pouring out, and we want people to watch. It’s a little bizarre, but we want people to watch. The words can’t just stay inside, the words flow thorough our veins and bounce around in our heads, we’re full up, so we have to get those words out and put them somewhere else. Yes, I do worry about getting quiet and fading into oblivion.
Really though, it’s much deeper than that, it’s less about a writer’s want and more about something personal. In the song, Alanis is talking about just one person. I only worry about one person not listening, not wanting to know me. The day we met we talked for three hours, I so wanted to know her, and I so wanted her to know me. I was scared that night, that first night, that there wouldn’t be a second. It’s something out of Shakespeare, something only story-tellers tell, but I loved her that night. It was just one long IM, but as ridiculous as it sounds, I loved her. She sent her picture and I only fell harder, I just left the picture open all night. I didn’t want her to be just a dream, it felt like a dream. No one’s eyes could be that beautiful, showing that much intelligence and warmth. We went to our first movie together, those eyes saw mine, I got lost in them. That was just about four years ago and I still get completely lost in her eyes, I just keep loving her more. Every-day I love her more. My words, they’re all hers, they’re all so that she can know everything that’s in my head. Lots of them are here, some of them ended up in print on Amazon.com. There are pages upon pages that no one, save her, will ever see, they’re hers, written for her eyes and no one else’s. Most of the words etched into my skin are hers. It’s all just so she can know me, and be close to me. How can you really be close to someone if you don’t give them everything in your head, beautiful words, dark words, scared words, every word? I love her more than I can explain, but I try, I so try, in flash fiction, in e-mail that’s written after bad dreams, in romantic paper letters. She asked, “Why do you love me and not someone else? There are thousands of women, thousands of mes.” I didn’t have an answer all in a pretty wrapped box with a teal silk bow on top, the question just scared me. I’ve written a mixed media novel in answer to that question, digitally, in print, on my skin. I didn’t say the right thing, I got frustrated, it just felt like something you say before you disappear. How could she ask that and not know my head, and my heart? I got upset, overly so. Though, the simple honest answer is that when I’m with her, I never want to be anywhere else, with anyone else. When I’m not with her, it’s like part of me is missing, so I’m never completely anywhere since we met.
I got the tattoo when she felt far away, I felt like nothing I said meant anything. So, I got quiet, and I got scared. Now I’m here and she’s somewhere else. I’m lost and drowning in words she doesn’t want anymore, not from me.No comments
The last post, that weird italic paragraph, I found a new Nirvana song that brought that into existence. I was listening to this song, The Other Improv (Demo), off their With the Lights Out collection, and it just sort of took over the post. It’s a fun song, one of few I’ve never heard. Their playing, the music sounds done, but the lyrics, it sounds like Kurt’s just making most of them up as he goes. Lots of Nirvana songs seemingly don’t make sense, but the lyrics are written and set, and if you take them apart you see the parts with meaning. Kurt liked mixing sense with nonsense, the nonsense often being the hooky, pop sounding parts that rhyme. With The Other Improv, you hear he has the general idea of the song in his head, but he’s making up most of the lyrics on the spot. It was fun just hearing him create a song rather than perform something that’s already created.
I’m thinking about Monica, so I just started writing flash without thinking about anything but the words stumbling out of my head and posting it unfiltered. I saw her, it didn’t go right, I got scared of what she was saying, I reacted wrong. I don’t want this, I love her so much, so fucking much. I can’t fuckin’ sleep. God, I just want to go home. It’s like half of me is always someplace else, my head is never completely anywhere, with anyone. It’s like I’m in this car, drinking down some dirt road, and no matter how far I drive, the road just keeps going and I can’t go home. I’m in this bad dream that doesn’t stop when wake up.No comments
I’ve said that I admire Elliott Smith as a writer, I think he was a genius. He’s a writer whose level of brilliance I aspire toward. He captured human experiences so perfectly, told these perfect little stories of love and loss and sadness and loneliness and addiction in just a few hundred words. Theres’s a special skill in that, no less brilliant and beautiful than the tens of thousands of words that writers like KJ Bishop, or Michael Cisco, or Jeff VanderMeer put into their stories. It’s not easy to capture how it feels to lose someone you love, to capture it in a way that is universally accessible, in just a handful of words. Smith’s Sweet Adeline off his fourth record, XO, is a gorgeous example of describing the end of love and the aftermath of that ending.
Waiting for sedation to disconnect my head, for any situation where I’m better off than dead.
He felt that, put it into words, perfect words. It’s how I feel right now, and a thousand times before right now, and probably a thousand times after right now.No comments
So, the last two posts are some nonsense, but it’s grammatically correct nonsense. I’m just trying to write, anything. Elliott Smith has this song, New Monkey, and the one line that always really gets me goes, “got a whole lot of empty time left to go, now you’ve gotta’ fill it with something…” Then it ends, “Anything is better than nothing…” It’s a very autobiographical song, a big theme is the idea of being unhappy, being fucked up, but writing anyway. He was a musician, but his songs are often about writing. I see him as a writer, his writing is tattooed all over me.
Anyway, I’m trying to fill that empty time, and trying to be me again.No comments
So, this tattoo is from one of my favorite Nirvana songs, Blew, which is on their first record, Bleach. Nirvana songs don’t necessarily tell a story that goes, and then, and then, and then. Nirvana songs are often a mix of lines that mean something and lines that mean absolutely nothing, so it’s a matter of picking out the important lines and figuring out what they mean as a whole. That’s one reason I love Nirvana so much, every song is sort of a puzzle to solve.
To me, Blew is about being stuck, feeling intensely frustrated, and wanting it to stop. I’ve felt that way for so long… One night a few months ago, I felt like making those feelings something external, marking them as part of the story of me.No comments
So, in about ten minutes I’m going to die. I woke up late, my alarm didn’t go off. My alarm didn’t go off because the power went out. The power went out because, well, and this is so fucking stupid, apparently some giant fucking monster sauntered out of the Pacific Ocean and decided to crush San Diego. Who knows what woke the thing? Maybe it was off-shore oil drilling. Maybe I played my music too loud. Maybe this whole Goddamn thing is my fault because the fucker doesn’t like listening to Heart-Shaped Box at 4 AM. I don’t know, nobody seems to know. Just before the radio went out they were talking about casualties, people abandoning their cars on gridlocked roadways trying to get away on foot, trampling each other to death and getting nowhere. There’s nowhere to go, between the fucking Cloverfield Godzilla Sea Monster and the military trying to kill it, it’s nothing but chaos outside.
I’d rather just sit here with my Goddamn breakfast, my last meal of Fruit Loops and a bottle of vodka, than die out there in that sea of inhumanity. I’m just talking into this tape recorder because it seemed like the thing to do, to save a piece of me. I’m going to get smashed or burned to death, but maybe this tape and my voice will stay without me. I don’t know. Maybe Cloverfield Godzilla whatever the fuck it is will be the end of everything and my stupid voice on this stupid tape won’t mean a Goddamn fuckin’ thing. I don’t know. I really don’t know much of anything after twenty-nine years. I wish I could laugh about this because it’s so absurd, but I can’t. I hear sirens and gunfire, smell smoke and a million dead fish. I’m going to die and I’m scared. I’m thinking about someone who isn’t here, someone I love so much. If you’re alive and you get to hear my voice on this tape, I love you and I wish we’d had more time. I know it’s pointless to say that, but it’s all I can think about just now.
I think I have time to polish off this vodka. I don’t know what’s going to happen to me after I close my eyes for the last time. I wish to God this would just stop, but You’re not going to do anything, are You, you fucker? Maybe You’re not even there and I’m just sitting here talking to no one. If You are there, and You are listening, I’m sorry. I don’t know, I really don’t know anything.
I don’t know what else to say, except, well, goodbye.4 comments
I’m fairly behind on things I mean to write, thoughts back up fairly quickly.
Apparently, I blacked out or something because Aimee Mann released a new album at the beginning of June and I totally missed it! Sara and I were hanging out and listening to music during which she asked, “hey, have you heard Aimee’s new stuff?” To which I typed, “omg! is it out???” Her new album, @#%&*! Smilers, is out and it’s fucking awesome. It’s full of pianos and keyboards, incredibly sad songs that often sound very happy. I kind of can’t stop listening to it, for a few reasons. First, it’s just amazing. It also makes me feel a little closer to my Sara. I haven’t written about it, I don’t really feel like writing about it. Sara’s in Boston for work, I’m here in Tampa until I can go North. It’s weird being so far apart, it’s definitely not something I like. I miss her more than Fentanyl, more than my own voice. I’m not exaggerating for affect, I mean it entirely. At some point, every single day, I miss the spectacular emptiness found in Fentanyl and I miss talking. Not all day, mind you. Just a moment or two. I just miss Sara more. We broke up once, which was bad, but it wasn’t because we didn’t love each other, and she still lived five minutes away. We weren’t “together,” but she wasn’t so far away that geography kept us apart. This is very different. Anyway, she visited last week, it was great. We laid in bed, listening to Aimee, just like I’m listening right now.
Wanted was an astonishingly bad movie. I mourn for my $9, I mourn for my 2 hours, I mourn that the movie exists at all. Honestly, I like crazy over-the-top violence. I loved Shoot’Em Up! I just could not buy Wanted. The dialogue was flat, the characters boring, and the film’s world was NOT conceived well enough to make me believe that bullets can curve. I don’t give a fuck how you flick your wrist, a bullet will not travel in a 360 degree angle outside The Matrix.
WALL•E was a beautiful movie. I thought Pixar might have peaked after Finding Nemo, but I was wrong. WALL•E is gorgeous and melancholy, but hopeful at heart. That pretty much sums me up, melancholy and hopeful.2 comments
A few weeks ago Sara and I went to see Radiohead. Between the two of us we only knew a hand full of songs, but the show was absolutely fucking awesome. They sounded amazing, but their stage was just gorgeous. The lighting was insane, I have no idea what it was, but I totally want a set in my room.3 comments