ECSTASY. THE ARTIST’S WAY AND A VERY POLITE CURTSEY AND FU, JULIA CAMERON 😀
One of these days I’ll write as the sun rises like a proper white lady in a garret with her tea. Got the tea part, fuck that decaf to hell it never tasted right and how stevia always makes your drink just a shade over too sweet and you have to dump out and start all over.
Just me? Typing morning pages instead of writing them longhand brings out a performance aspect of my diamond I don’t like but cannot help no matter how hard I try. I was raised in front of screens. Television screens. Microwave screens. Waiting for the next show, waiting for the popcorn, the pizza bites, the 3-cheese lasagna Budget Gourmet and roasted chicken ramen I lived on for five years and probably why my gall bladder is bad. That popcorn was dinner a lot and I gourmet-d it up by taking Dad’s yardsale gift of a huge plastic dome version that looked like a big yellow spaceship and pouring about a pound of butter purloined from the refrigerator at Mrs. Field’s all over it. Melted in said microwave. Oops I dropped the butter, popcorn for dinner! Again!
Cheap, filling, tasting great with movies and weed because sure I was dining like a Carhartt cow but no way was anyone taking the beloved bud my friend Bryan brought every Tuesday like clockwork on his 10-speed bike. He fucked my best gay friend once and then said friend rolled over my Cannondale, the dearest item in my possession it cost more than my car long story, but I still loved Bryan. I rode the bus, had an $800 bike, made minimum wage, worked in a food court, but I always had good weed to get through it all. Because of Bryan so every law broken forgiven and leave a quarter in the collection plate on your way out. Herbal tithing. Makes me wonder how many others I’ve “forgiven” in the name of my own addictions?
Julia Cameron says you get more out of writing longhand and my body screams rebellion. I’ve slowed down that way, am slowing down still. But I find my thoughts race alone with our worldwide sense of time causing me to want to share and share some more. Before what I don’t know. It must be of value. It must be shared. Beyond that it’s as gray as the paint on my walls which will become navy soon and thank you once again for the reminder conscience. Make room on your plate for that too, Woman! Never enough, not enough! Do more make more be more! The culture screams and wow, I’m so out of breath.
Which I’ve learned is the time to back away, circle the block and try that parallel parking place again little lady. Back it in slow this time and try it on for size just like every night you did back in the day driving home after three cocktails you couldn’t afford, praying a spot would somehow magically appear right in front of your house. A free spot because it was the weekend so you wouldn’t have to move your car again until Sunday evening and thank God for that.
That one time you DID find a parking place and good thing because you were tripping balls on LSD and everything looked like a Tom and Jerry cartoon and you were Jerry. How you sat in your red as fire painted bedroom that gave you crazy dreams, how you sat in that room the size of a matchbox car and gazed out the alley window at the rain pouring down like a waterfall because of the clogged gutter. How you played your Billie Holliday cassette over and over, Good Morning, Heartache, you old gloomy sight. How you gazed out that damn window trying to look through the Grace Street alley thunderstorm. Trying to look through to the other side of something. Anything. How it all fell to hell but for right now you were grateful to have made it home safe and for this cool wet breeze and the sounds and the wavy groovy lights and how maybe just a little you were even grateful for the drugs but maybe not for the fact you’d have to do this……FOR THE NEXT 8 HOURS.
They never tell you that when you put the paper on your tongue. How fucking long it will be. How relieved I was to take my first ecstasy TABLET because yeah that’s how early I was popping the drug they promised would make you happy all the time and love everybody. Me all in black listening to Morrissey like he was Jesus and never happy was all about that little white pill yes indeedy do.
And it did make you love everyone. And their mother, and their mother’s mother and even that asshole brother of theirs who you’d probably let assfuck you in the bathroom stall if it was good ecstasy. Molly-schmolly we had medical grade psychiatrist level shit from Washington, DC baby and one $20 pill of that would allow you to love the entire world and all its misery like it was Christmas morning for exactly 8 hours and change.
The comedown was horrible – extreme depression for days, months, years, possible permanent nerve damage, thirsty but don’t drink too much water or you could physically drown your lungs and not know it. We didn’t care. When you spend most of your time either waiting for a bus or riding to and from work on a bus just the way you rode to and fro on a bus for 12 years of your schooling, you tend to want time off the gerbil wheel. Time away from life’s factory. Time at the fucking amusement park.
For $20 or the price of four beers (hello 1992!) you could be blissfully happy with every pain and problem in the world for half the day. Sign me up as much as possible – or as much as Chip could get it and we never asked where it came from either. When the tablets stopped coming and capsules arrived, about the time Chip and his lover Skip simultaneously died from AIDS, it just wasn’t the same and my conscience started whispering. Loudly. Hissing in fact. Now I’m glad I heard her. My own little fairy godmother who suspiciously resembles a perpetually perturbed Endora mixed with my Russian ballet teacher. I said sayonara to Mama’s little helper and to my credit, it was many years before I clung to another god bless and that’s another story for another time.
That’s the thing about writing longhand Julia Cameron Artist Way-style versus listening to your heart and following through with what it tells. Maybe I’m deeper, MORE confessionally vertical longhand? Maybe stuff gets left out because I can’t type as fast as I can write? Or maybe TYPING this way, WHICH FEELS LIKE ME ends up being more “ME” whatever that is.
I was weaned on screens. Now I’m addicted to others. My writing persona developed over years of publishing through many drafts. That Jenée, now Nae is already a bit muddled, an online “version” of whatever Nae is to you in this moment. DJ’ing has taken that and trebled it right to my heart. My true “me” has further morphed into something else I sometimes don’t like. An avatar. An outline. Something with description which lacks words. And I’m nothing, if not wordy. It’s something which makes me want to drive around the block and find a better parking space. Marc Maron would be so proud of that callback just now. Call me, darling.
It’s a thing I fight, then ask, then fight again. Choose, settle, choose again. Privacy and sharing and connection as an artist and musician which of course are one and the same. Today I type out my thoughts, yesterday I deleted all my YouTube morning page videos because it all just felt too personal. We have choices. Today anyway.
Yesterday I thought 500 words would be enough, today I’m well over. Another choice. See you tomorrow. Go make some choices. Go make some art! ps. Frances guards this piece of land like she’s Laura Ingalls Wilder and it’s a South Dakota summer in 1878. Good for you, girlfriend. Enjoy that salad bar. Matches your eyes 🙂