Perhaps, I should focus on making my empire less lonely

All the lonely little empires 
Drifting into sand
All the lonley little empires 
How long can they stand?

And I think, I think the answers gotta be
Not long enough, not long enough for me
And I think, I think the answers gotta be
Not long, not nearly long enough for me

Everything in the world 
Changing with the wind
Everything in the world
Just trying to win
Everything in the world 
Spinning spinning spin

And I’m not quite sure, I’m not quite sure
Just how to be
And I’m not quite sure, no I’m not so sure
Just what is me

Water slowly wears away 
at it all
Suns explode 
and lighten the load

Of our history books
And all those funny looks

But I
I tend to wonder
I tend to ponder 
Just what exactly does it mean

It’s Alright

A band I think you should hear: The Lonetones

It’s Alright

(Steph Gunnoe)


All the lonely whistle blowers of the family

Shivering in studios starting to agree

All the rules in rituals that once held them down

In the lies that organize meaning can be found


And we learn in our own day

It’s alright, it’s alright to be

creatures that lose their way

And make it up anyway (repeat chorus)


All the tired rule-abiders of the family

Pull the weight and tow the line, learn to disagree

Oh, their posture is so telling, prices can be dear

And the purpose of rebellion been coming clear


And we learn in our own time

It’s alright, it’s alright to be free

On our own dime

It’s alright, it’s alright to be free (repeat chorus)


Who’s gonna fix her her elixir and settle her down?

Who’ s gonna light his dynamite and spread him around?

Every little body has an ending, see how we run

Every little body’s offended, see how it’s done


And we learn, tho it’s never told

It’s alright, it’s alright to be

creatures growing old (3X)

It’s alright to die

Rolling Stones Autobiography

a tagline: To stare into the infinite darkness and embrace our finitude
a motto: something about vulnerability

I think a lot about how I might start a biography. Early on I want to highlight the unreliability of the narrator.

I think a lot about how I might start an autobiography. I have a conceit about the lessons the Rolling Stones taught me. It’s a good conceit, and I hope to pursue it.

But the quote that inspired these rumination comes from Henry Miller, by way of Erica Jong.*

I read this quote while on a trip through central america. It meant a lot to me then. Something about it’s logic was inherently appealing. It was exciting to consider myself a God.

But now it means even more to me, I feel as if I have a deeper more nuanced understanding. That I have walked much farther along the path it points to, and I think that I understand it’s truth on a more intimate level.

Like the Rolling Stones, I reflect on Henry Miller as a deeply flawed being, who was morally reprehensible in many ways. What I took from Erica Jong’s book was that what redeems him, if anything, was his willingness to reveal himself.

Most of that was lost on me when I read him myself, I was in it for the power fantasy, and as a result I still harbor some judgement.

But I do think that vulnerability is key. The narrative provided by Jong scares me as much as it attracts me. What if I am vulnerable and open and find that I am Henry Miller. I think I could accept that I hold repugnant thoughts, but what if, like him, I did not use that acknowledgment to avoid causing harm?

What if I found that unrestrained, I just enacted my worst impulses on the world.

The Rolling Stones are rarely willing to be vulnerable in this way.

All of which is a distraction, carried along by the narrative logic of the words that came before, as opposed to my true intent. Some writers are capable of coming much closer to resisting that tide, and marrying their words with their poetry and their meaning. They can make the barrier between their words and their inner reality seem paper thin, and that can be magnificent and powerful.

But what I want to highlight at the start of my theoretical autobiography, is that the barrier still exists, however thin.

Did Miller know what he was saying when he said it? Did he mean what I thought he meant 10 years ago?  Was his openness to the world bringing him ever closer to the revelation it reminds me of now? Perhaps the beauty is that it contains all of this and much more.

Magnificent. The words themselves deceive even as they reveal. Powerful.

What they do not necessarily do, is convey any true sense of history, or what it meant to be inside his head. And as I cobble together stories about my life and try to cram them into a narrative conceit about the Rolling Stones**, I may aspire to poetry. But I want it to be clear from the outset that I have no capacity to convey the truth of my existence, or even my history, nor can I know the truth of yours.

The things that seemed important moments ago, flitter away.

All we have are these words to communicate with. They can be great.

*Where is the quote? It is here: “Like every man I am my own worst enemy, but unlike most men I know too that I am my own saviour.”

Why is it at the end? I wrote this draft with only my memory of the quote. In that draft it was inserted into the text 3 times! When I finally tracked down the quote it was so far from what I recalled I would have given up the whole endeavor, if this was not exactly the point of this piece.

**I came very close to telling this same story using a Keith Richards quote about the lack of and real security in the world. But that was not the quote that inspired these thoughts. All that stopped me was the knowledge that I could highlight  that I had NOT done so, and it would reinforce how unreliable the construction of narrative is.

Preview of Rolling Stones lessons: Something about being open to encountering the worlds most famous band as new, about the power of myth to both illuminate and distort, about the power of controlled chaos, about rhythm that moves and withholds, about how that’s achieved in the studio

Unfinished Lyric

I sit in the dark
My mind collides with itself
Thoughts so stark
Unwilling to see itself

Vulnerability wants flow
Words want to know
If they mean something
If they should sing

I am you
You are me
I am you
You are me

These slivers of sanity
Keeping us together
Holding us apart

I sit in the dark
Everything passing along
Trying to make a mark
Trying to write a song

My name, written by clouds in the sky
The wind blows peacefully by
Letting go always makes me cry
I do not wonder why

Pointing at some stuff I like

I really like:

The concept popularized by John Rawls that when organizing a soceity, a useful thought experiment goes like this:

“No one knows his place in society, his class position or social status; nor does he know his fortune in the distribution of natural assets and abilities, his intelligence and strength, and the like.” 

But pretend that you don’t know what starting point you will get. So make a society that you would be willing to enter from any starting position.

The line from Talking Union that goes “Take it easy, but take it”


A quote, a lyric, and some sounds

How is this for a quote?:

“The best-adjusted person in our society is the person who is not dead and not alive, just numb, a zombie.

When you are dead you’re not able to do the work of the society.

When you are fully alive you are constantly saying, “No” to many of the processes of society, the racism, the polluted environment, the nuclear threat, the arms race, drinking unsafe water and eating carcinogenic foods.

Thus it is in the interest of our society to promote those things that take the edge off, keep us busy with our fixes, and keep us slightly numbed out and zombie-like. In this way our modern consumer society itself functions as an addict.” – Anne Wilson Schaef

How are these for some song lyrics?:

‘Cause you can’t free nobody else
If you can’t be true to yourself
If you’re looking for a miracle now
Buddy, you better be one
All alone, on your own

How is this for some sounds?:

Aldous Huxley Quotes

It helps me keep things in perceptive to recall that other people have already thought, and clearly expressed, whatever it is I think I have to say.

All that’s left to produce is debris from my mind.

I stumbled across these quotes from Aldous Huxley that do that fairly well

After silence, that which comes nearest to expressing the inexpressible is music.
~ in Music at Night

Science has explained nothing; the more we know the more fantastic the world becomes and the profounder the surrounding darkness.

If art is… debris from my mind?

If art is some mingling of personal expression and things created to delight and entertain, then this site is now officially tilting towards: debris from my mind.

I apologize for any inconvenience this may cause.

“Pebbles and marbles like things on my mind
Seem to get lost and harder to find
When I am alone I am inclined
If I find a pebble in sand
To think that it fell from my hand”
– source

I couldn’t decide if sharing unentertaining content* is an act of utter hubris, or the serene acceptance of reality.

Which impulse is correct? After awhile I decided that both were true, and that obsessing about it was the most narcissistic thing of all.

* I have been unable to articulate this without invoking a phrase that seems to ask the reader to protest on behalf of my genius. I find this frustrating.

Cohen’s Poetry

I want to think there are better uses for my time than writing confessionals.

One of the things poetry can do is capture a reality so completely that you can begin to understand its multifaceted truth. It can take that reality and redeem it. It can show you something about grace.

Leonard Cohen was a poet before he was a songwriter.

The ninth song on Leonard Cohen’s 1979 live album (Field Commander Cohen) is “Memories”.   Sung to a do-wop track, the music and vocal swells until Cohen croons

I said “won’t you let me see”
I said “won’t you let me see”
Your naked body?”

It is a moment of sublime beauty, helped along by some biographical knowledge.

A man known in later years for his impossibly deep voice, in this moment, he croons.