A funny thing happened on my way to writing an update on the continued dismemberment of the corpse of the American dream . . .
Journey to the Center of the Dream is finally printed and bound. Writing this one was easy; simply sift through the old fliers and foggy memories of rock n' roll excursions past, change some sticky details, names, dates; spice things up a bit, or tone them down; work it all into one flowing narrative. Keep the literary pretension to a minimum. Keep the story action based. Write it like Hemingway as a stoned, modern-day hipster. The artwork came together nicely - I was able to tap some friends who also happen to be talented artists, and my "project manager" put it all together lickety-split. Then came the the unforeseen hurdle - standing like a giant in the fog off of Lake Michigan - of formatting the files for final upload. It was not easy framing the unwieldy scroll cataloguing a five-week booze and pill-fueled march through America's scumpits into a form translatable by the computers of CreateSpace. Well, without divulging specific details, the deal was finally made in the basement IT headquarters of my company. I assured a clamoring public, in my last blog post, that the book we be out "some time in October, I swear!" With eyes like cracked saucers and nerves like bare wires, I finally launched the thing on November 25. In the future, I intend to approach self-imposed deadlines with a bit more care.
As I said, I tried to keep the internal dialogue and psychological fumblings to a minimum in this one. Tried to let the words and actions of the characters speak for themselves; to be less intrusive as a narrator; to let the reader draw some of his or her own conclusions. A novel concept. In the end, it was I who learned something pretty damn profound. In setting down this tale, books like Journey to the End of the Night, by Céline, and Fear and Loathing were obvious influences and conscious guideposts. Considering this, I could not have expected to end up with any great affirmation of human goodness. In drawing the multitude of secondary characters in the book, (by the itinerate nature of the storyline, most characters come and go in the space of a couple pages) I felt it necessary to accentuate their foibles, to paint them each in the most vivid shade of their fluctuating freakiness. And yet what stands out most to me upon reading the text, more than any particular weirdness, is the bravery and selflessness of these people. I'm going to throw a lightening bolt at you here: it seems that the powers that be in this country have decided that it's not in the best interest of the American economic juggernaut to empower, encourage, or otherwise support fringe artists and musicians. To keep the underground music scene alive, it takes a vast community of people who are willing to do the thankless work of booking shows, putting up bands, promoting shows, putting out records, even just venturing out to see a band in some scary dive on a Tuesday night! Most people who do all this dirty work can expect no reward other than knowing they have contributed to a cause they find worthy. And worthy it is.
A lot of weird shit has happened since my last blog post. Some of it might have seemed unthinkable, even in October. Many of you may be entertaining thoughts of skipping off to Canada, or perhaps adopting a drug regimen that will make current political realities more palatable. I take some solace in what I've learned from my own 268-page rumination on the American dream. There are people out there, in America, who still care about music, who still care about art. They are are connected or have the ability to connect. Perhaps the political controls are slippery to our grasp right now, but that can change in an election cycle. We all need to do what we can do, do what we're good at, and maybe attend a city counsel meeting here and there. Call your state representative. Post a rant on facebook. I don't know. Just do something. At the very least, don't be a fascist pigfucker. And don't abide by pigfucking. Remember: silence is implicit consent.
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