“I read; I travel; I become.”
Here’s to finding a thousand noble causes, a thousand reasons to live like rain and to write like stone, a thousand perfect songs, a thousand rare and beautiful words, a thousand bands playing their music through all my surviving nights, a thousand perfect photographs, a thousand stories to hear and retell, regardless of whether they’re true or made up, a thousand ways to talk about love, a thousand ways to escape in the nick of time. All I have is what I have right now. I want to cradle the sun, dissolve into light, and spend the rest of my life trying to find the words to tell you all about it.
“Don’t be frightened and sad because I am not coming back any more. Learn, my child, to look at life as a serious matter. Life is hard, it does not pamper anybody, and for every time it strokes you it gives you ten blows….
“…but don’t let it defeat you. Decide to fight. Have courage and clear goals and you will win over life.
“I kiss your hair, eyes, and mouth, I stroke you and hold you in my arms….”
[A short excerpt of a letter written by Milada Horakova to her 16-year-old daughter the night before she was executed in Prague. Albert Einstein, Winston Churchill, and even Eleanor Roosevelt, along with many others, signed a petition in an attempt to save her life. Milada died for her ideals. But she lived for her child. She wrote a mother’s letter for her daughter. Be brave. Be kind. Be fierce. Be you.]
“Everybody tries to protect this vulnerable two three four five six seven eight year old inside, and to acquire skills and aptitudes for dealing with the situations that threaten to overwhelm it. So everybody develops a whole armour of secondary self, the artificially constructed being that deals with the outer world, and the crush of circumstances…. And in fact, that child is the only real thing in them. It’s their humanity, their real individuality, the one that can’t understand why it was born and that knows it will have to die, in no matter how crowded a place, quite on its own. That’s the carrier of all the living qualities. It’s the centre of all the possible magic and revelation….
“And the only thing people regret is that they didn’t live boldly enough.”
[A short excerpt of a letter written in 1986 by Ted Hughes to his beautiful son, Nicholas, who, in 2009, suffering from depression, took his own life. Nicholas was 47 when he died. Don’t waste a minute. Be bold. Be real. Be difficult. Be hard to handle. Use it all up.]
Al Spx brought her band, Cold Specks, to Seattle’s Neptune Theatre in Seattle, Washington, 15 May 2013. Cold Specks, touring in support of I Predict a Graceful Expulsion, their first LP, opened for the mountain mystic Jim James at the sixth annual Little Big Show, a fund raiser for The Vera Project in Seattle. I think this must account for the house not being completely sold out, or for so many signed copies of Regions of Light and Sound of God LP going unsold.
That night, I thought we’d get a short set from James. Instead, we got almost three hours of stunning live music. I spent the evening next to the guy filming the show for KEXP, Seattle’s godlike indie radio station. By the end of the evening everyone holding a camera was wiped out. Be sure to check out my Jim James shots, posted earlier this month.
“Slavery was never abolished, it was only extended to include all of the colors.
“…I still feel that something in me is going to remember (no matter how far I’m gone) how I’ve come through the murder and the mess and the moil, to at least a generous way to die.”
[A couple of lines from a letter by Charles Bukowski to John Martin, the publisher at Black Sparrow Press, written in 1986. Bukowski became a “professional” writer at 50. Write letters, to anyone who will read them. And don’t let modern life kill you. Opt out. Walk away. Be alive. Be generous. Be you. Forever.]
“Your mind is working at its best when you’re being paranoid. You explore every avenue and possibility of your situation at high speed with total clarity.”
“Whatever the imagination seizes as Beauty must be truth, whether it existed before or not.”
Out beyond ideas of wrong-doing
And right-doing there is a field.
I’ll meet you there.
When the soul lies down in that grass
The world is too full to talk about.
And you say, be still my love
Open up your heart, let the light shine in
Don’t you understand
I already have a plan
I’m waiting for my real life to begin
(From “Waiting For My Real Life to Begin,” by Colin Hay, on his record “Going Somewhere.” Hay has done his best work these past few years, as a solo songwriter, and I bet you forgot all about him. A journeyman guitar player.)