monday song #34: castaway
with number 34 i begin the second year of monday songs. i hope to be a bit more consistent in 2010: in songwriting, in many things…
another in the “mind on fire” cycle. mostly speaks for itself, in that it says very little, and suggests less. and more. the clarifying madness of mania allows you, a confirmed genius, to knit together opposites, painting abstracts that counter reality, and at the same time capture reality more succinctly than has been done before. at least for the moment. then in another moment you move on to the next idea, the next creation. if there is a central motif, it is an enthusiasm verging on grandiosity. that and the grandiosity itself. what a powerful feeling when you’ve lived a life crippled by self-doubt.
it says a lot that the more i tipped over into the deep end, the less i needed to capture anything on a page or on tape. i filled dozens and dozens of notebooks in the weeks leading up to the plunge, went through three in an evening before truly diving in, but in mid air, it became obvious that the act of capturing the moment only pollutes the moment. the need to document, to journal, to record, born of a fear of dying unsung, slips out the door with the other fears, like the one of walking naked in a public place. as you let go, deeply let go of inhibition, self-consciousness, and ultimately sanity, you let go of all those imperfect representations of the world you’d created for yourself. you’re trading them in for a permanent lifetime of living in the moment, where there is no need to capture time. every moment celebrates itself infinitely.
still, this piece isn’t quite from the brain-fried zenith of the experience, but more the navel gazing that comes at a down time. chuckling at the counterweights and juxtapositions that tie most mortals down, as you knit together fabric and flesh and understand more deeply than ever, just how little we can understand. as with socrates, this is the division between the normal and the majestic. beginnings are endings. life is death. a pearl is a used cone of coffee grounds.
i should mention that the line “you can only wake when you’ve fallen asleep” is a lift from a lyric i wrote in my walrus days (mid-90s) called “wake.” i’ve been thinking of doing a version for monday songs. it’s one of many songs i wrote before losing my mind that accurately explores the experience.