Saturday, November 26, 2011

Not Drinking During the Holidays.

If not drinking is generally difficult, because of self-loathing, or because it calms anxiety, or because it is isolating, or because you find yourself at ten in the morning with a bottle of whiskey and the rabid intensity, and joy, of a live birth, then not drinking during the holidays is even harder.

And it is harder for one reason: shame.

I'm convinced that not drinking is easier if you say you're not drinking (not, ya know, just generally, but when you're in a drinking environment).  Own up to it, say it, out loud, to yourself and others, and, say that it is your preference, and don't explain anything else.  You don't really have to, even when they gawk, and stare, and worse, forget, and make you repeat yourself, and when they get loud and sloppy and needlessly stupid and romantic for nothing, and rage against the world and rage against themselves, and rage against you.  Ultimately, you are not drinking, not because of all the negative shit drinking leads to, but because you value yourself more than that, and drinking is, for you, or me, or whomever you might be, self-inflicted abuse.  You don't need to say that to anyone, but you don't need to feel bad about not-drinking, either.  Ever.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Got Sucked In.

Into an interaction that I didn't want to be in, that is.

This morning,w hen I noticed a homeless man on a bench pouring some soda into a small bottle of whiskey, I stared, thinking, honestly, that I've done that before, and thankfully I'm not on a bench at 9am doing it now.  Either way, he saw me seeing him, and his reaction was to start swearing at me.

And before I knew what I was doing, I started to talk back.

The point is only this: he knows what he is doing is wrong, at some level, but also, at a different level, protects the hell out of it.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Life is Limited.

Let's recognize this: for lots of reasons we can't understand, life is simultaneously more complicated and restricted than we can fully comprehend.  We don't fully control the trajectory of our own lives, much less other people's lives, and everyone generally acts out of what they think at the time is a good idea, however much we might disagree from outside.  The basic fact remains that who we chose to be vulnerable with, and who choses to be vulnerable with us (vulnerable: showing or expressing emotions that you would only look at fully alone, and/or asking for advice on key life issues, and listening, developing an ear, and offering those things) is going to play a large role in determining how we see the world and how the world appears to us.  If we're always inflated by grand ideas and unobtainable dreams, we may in fact be doing some harm to those that we're in fact closest to, and that harm might simply be the negligence of our own expansive ideals, the underbelly, if you will.  In that case, maybe it is time to roll up the sleeves and make some pot roast.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Alcoholic's Best Friend: Sugar

Don't underestimate the need for appropriate nutrition.  Lacking essential nutrition, as you most certainly are if you've been drinking substantial quantities of whiskey or beer.  Sugar can be vicious and mood altering.

In short, cut salt and sugar and increase protein and vegetables.  That's simple to say.  I'm still working on implementation.

Honey is a good substitute for white sugar, especially raw uncooked buckwheat honey.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Suffering to Produce Art?

What is it about suffering that makes good art?

Let's back up, because maybe you disagree with the premise.  Or maybe it is stated too generally to disagree or agree with. What makes folks who have seemed to suffer produce good art?  Or, alternatively, what makes previously good artists who make it commercially, bad.

Alternative scenarios:

1) The artist's work hasn't changed at all, but the viewing of the work has changed

2) The work has changed in a dramatic fashion, and superceded the public's taste for the work: the artist has, essentially, advanced, or branched out, faster than allowable to stay relevant (in the current country/culture/milieu/etc).

3) The artist never suffered at all.  But mass appeal came about and changed his/her status, so that his/her work must now be taken more seriously.  Anything taken more seriously--i.e. anything we're willing to become more familiar with--will yield some forgiveness in the dance we call perception.

I'd like to propose that artists do indeed get worse if they don't push themselves (or somehow are pushed).   I don't think it is the suffering that causes good arts, but the capacity to back away from the suffering, to get through it, to have a change of perspective, that allows a certain alignment, a certain insight, and, after a lot of work, perhaps, some art can emerge built on that insight.  In short, without becoming uncomfortable, we don't change perspectives too fast, and don't produce very good art.

Disclaimer: There's a long continuum between dissonant art and consonsant art--i.e. art that drastically differs from what you expect (so much so that it takes serious amounts of time to begin comprehending it) and art that is slick, easy to digest and finds instant resonance.  However, it is assumed at times that consonant art is somehow inauthentic.  That's perhaps not the case as much as we (cynics) would like to think.  It is incredibly hard to produce a piece of very slick immediately available art.  It may even be easier, at times, to produce something aphasic, ineffable, or so dissonant that there can be almost no audience besides those sympathetic with the artist, and not because the art is available to them.  Having said that, naturally those folks who become specialized in viewing art have a different taste, by virtue simply of higher exposure.  I'm not exactly sure what role that plays in the fundamentals of the piece of art on display yet though.