i am surrounded by small sprawling piles of paper nostalgia.
im moving to nyc in the fall, but this very week j&j are driving a giant silver bullet cargo van across the country. so im purging, the biggest purge of the last 8 years, and packing up all my big things, instruments, fancy clothes and worn-through books. and of course the box of unthrowawayable nostalgia.
i havent gone through this box in a long time, and its hitting me hard (doesnt help that im listening to the beatles, complete in chronological order, to maximize my nostalgix state)(btw, what the fuck is with all the clapping in "words of love"?). such a bizarre and arrogant swirlstorm of creativity my friends and i were! there are printouts of old email correspondence from dps, and, mat and more (including a few if i might say so quite beautifully understated love letters to a girl named jen henkin, whom i cant remember at all); there are cassettes and minidiscs of old college bands, early four track noise, a 7th grade "day in the life" documentary, and middle of the night cruise ship piano sessions, complete with elegantly mournful sighs of frustration when i time and time again cant lay down a single perfect chorus of "when i fall in love"; there are 8 years of old datebooks, with entries like "some new pants" and "telepathy/lobster claws/apocalypse"; and there are photos, and bizarre magazine cutout mailings, and old plays and scores, and frantic intoxicated illegibilities.
and above all, there are IDEAS; huge, lofty, horrible, wonderful ideas. looking through my old music notebooks is pretty wrenching when i focus on the specifics, all of these angular, atonal funk lines, unsingable jazz choir music, lots of different ways of notating "noise", 10 pages of random chord progressions created by dps's computer science genius. but the ideas, the ideas them selves are pretty amazing sometimes. there are outlines of complete, bizarre, unrealized music/theater pieces: "the wooden staircase", a ten movement masquerade of robed figures, closed doors, steeplechases and balloon men; a five year conspiracy art piece involving intentional mistakes by a major film company, symphony orchestra, book publisher and new york times columnist; there is "put all your eggs in one basket, put an entire cake in one bag".
all of it tingles and drips with the truth-is-right/stream-of-consciousness-is-truth early twenties idealism, with kerouac, with electric kool-aid, with phish lyrics, stockhausen and stravinsky, with dada and the rat pack and buddhist near-misses. aw god i got plenty old all right, and sure the art has gotten better, but there is that frenetic importance to it all that i miss. there is this urgency to all this creation of the past, this dire stakes, this attitude of love above all and !smash the glasses on the floor! that makes me want to head right out to north beach and find some brandy and a flapper-girl and take the piano out for a post-freebebop spin all over again. all those monkey truths may have had their strings and holes revealed over time, but the exuberant joy is still valid, and essential, and missed.
my favorite thing right now is this scrawled bit from a notebook dating from not too too too long ago, 2002 maybe:
GRANT WRITING TECHNIQUE
a small sealed envelope
unlabeled (or "the truth"?)
-i just have these things in
and i need some $
to get them out.
i think it would
be good to
i still kind of wonder if that would work.