Summer messes with my sleep patterns something fierce. I can’t sleep. When I finally do get to sleep, I have weird dreams. Most of the time, those dreams evaporate into the mists of waking consciousness, sometimes leaving an emotional aftertaste and, sometimes, not. The dreams of winter are different, but I can’t tell you what’s different about them right now because I forget.
What I remember this morning was that I was cleaning up, and I had this inner urgency to do that because there were larvae in my living space. I glanced into a bathtub, and there were 20 or so giant maggots, your basic housefly larvae but the size of small thumbs, wriggling about. I went to another part of the house, and there was a corner that was swarming with mealworms, or larva-stage beetles, and then when I was in the kitchen, there were moth larvae moving about in the cabinets. I instinctively knew to grab a large plastic bag, which was shiny white, and I went to the bathtub and scooped up all the maggots with a dustpan and dumped them into the bag and, after that, hosed out the tub. And then I went to the corner where the mealworms were crawling, and I brushed them into the dustpan and dumped them into the bag, and used a small vacuum to suck up whatever was left. And then I went to the kitchen and, realizing the moth larvae had infested bags of bulk grain I had, I threw all the bags of grain into the big white shiny bag, and I brushed everything clean. I walked through the house, satisfied that I’d gotten everything, and then I asked someone who was there if I should burn the bag, and they said, no, just sealing it up would most likely do the trick by depriving them of life-giving oxygen.
Later on, I was having a discussion with this guy I work with about God. He’s a Mormon, and he was saying something like, “Well, you Buddhists don’t believe in God.” And I started explaining the concept of dependent origination, which posits that everything emerges from causes and conditions, which is one of the things the Buddha taught. But I added that my own spiritual experiences in recovery have led me to the conclusion that there’s some kind of benevolent intelligence at work that steps in when we open ourselves up to its presence and handiwork, and sometimes even when we’re not overtly looking for help. Maybe, I added, God is like an ant colony, with billions of ants of limited intelligence working together to compose something far smarter and greater than each individual. Then we got into talking about the nature of God in relation to man, and I had to admit that the Latter-day Saint idea of eternal progression, or that a man can become a god, with his wife as Mrs. God, on another world or in another dimension wasn’t something that resonated with me, but neither did a heaven with angels singing and clouds and harps. More like: We’re just like a glass of water pulled out of the ocean, and when we’re done, the water goes back into the ocean, and maybe little drops of us end up in a lot of other glasses, combined with a lot of other drops.
Sorry if that sounded like babbling. It probably was. Dreams make no sense to me. —Jackson Griffith
Boy, do I have a lot to say, and I’m in this just overflowing with groovieness mooding, too! Peaches! We are special golf make shop! If I don’t put a damper on my effusive effusivious Vesuvioness, um, I’m just going to boil over with goody-goodness and get my dinkle squinkled so many times, I’ll probably lose count!
Heck whiz! Actually, I’m in Stockton, I seem to have misplaced my favorite hat today, and I’ve gotta blow this Peet’s popsicle stand and get to my gig, which is at the Blackwater Cafe on Yosemite Street, nine-something-something is the address, where I’ll be playing some music later with Dan Ambiance and whoever else shows up. You got a guitar and have some particularly odious jam-band hippie-rock anthemic 20-minute buttnuggets you want to foist on the sparse crowd? Come on down! Because if you don’t bring it, I will, and you have no idea what I will be pulling from my gigbag. Hell, I don’t either! Show starts whatever, like nine or something, and it’s Friday, July 22. The sun is trine my native sun, and apparently Uranus is in my trousers. Wait. That doesn’t sound good at all.
Aw, fuggit. Come on down. —Jackson Griffith
If I hadn’t made a commitment to writing something here every day, I’d probably be doing something else right now — accompanying the sounds of the neighbors fucking with a serenade of ninth chord-based riffs, funky-butt bass pops and other musical cliches sourced from my half-remembered arsenal of vintage porno-soundtrack grooves, perhaps. Or maybe I’d be dressing up like a scantily clad goat god/satyr fueled by shitty goth records and clove cigarettes and warm Red Bull, and I’d head out to the places where my imaginary entourage of nymphets congregates. It is a motherfucking big-ass full moon tonight, after all.
But, sadly, no. I am alone, in the corner of a coffeehouse, typing, sipping some non-alcoholic lemonade concoction, watching people walk by who I most likely will never carry any kind of a conversation with. It is a cool night for July. Apparently, most of the imbeciles in town are elsewhere, strange for a full moon. They’re probably all huddled together somewhere else, jizzing over each other as they read banal couplets and turgid prose, too artsy to engage in the drunken limericks of my sodden youth. Most of the people here? Studying for something. Quietly studying for some kind of stability while a full moon hangs in the sky.
Innocuous techno burbles in the background. To my ears, that’s the perfect coffeehouse music, with its cold, clinical precision, hyperactive percussion and washes of choral-like sounds. Better that that Sirius Buttrock Favorites As Selected by Some Tattooed Douche Who Ran a Stripper Bar Just Off Sunset Boulevard Circa 1987 channel. In fact, this being Bastille Day, the only thing I’d like more is something shlocky and French to go with this full moon.
I’ve been such an anxiety-permeated dog lately. Dunno why, really; it’s just this baseline of anxious background noise that surges and wanes in intensity. I’ve been feeling slightly more alone and out of sync with the rest of humanity, too — not uncomfortably so, but just like I’m being pulled back into the weird-loner status I thought I had escaped.
And then, I look at all these beautiful women floating around me, not like some kind of perv does, but with that muscle memory of hugging them but with a sighing regret that that sweet and fruitful part of my life may be over with, and I can accept that. Time for chess with the other old men in the park, perhaps, or arguments with trees.
Jeebus. What the hell am I on about? I think it’s time to bid adieu for the night, go home, crank up the white noise sound app on the phone to drown out the grunts and groans from across the way, and maybe play some bluesy shit on my guitar until the eyelids get heavy.
And if not, there’s always Jack Webb and Harry Morgan. —Jackson Griffith
Don’t know why, but I’ve been feeling a little run down lately, stressed, not up to my usual superhuman ability to grab the universe in a half-nelson, flip it sideways and slam it to the mat in a piledriver. I’ve been running through a bunch of variables, and maybe it’s the usual poop: Get more sleep, improve the diet, be sure to exercise, pay attention to how much I’ve got on my plate.
After last night’s post, I got a really nice and long letter from that early girlfriend I’d mentioned, the one who lived in San Francisco. She told me she regretted turning me on to that spooky astrologer, and advised me to pay more attention to free will and not listen to anyone who uses terms like “converse progressed Chiron sesquiquadrate North Node” to make predictions; that if I’m going to buy into that line of bullshit, then I ought to stick with the basics: conjunctions, sextiles, squares, trines, oppositions.
Then she goes into this “I see you’ve still got that emo rollercoaster ride of transiting Uranus conjunct natal Sun going on, so stay flexible.” I think she mentioned yoga.
I’ve been thinking a lot about yoga lately. Thinking is the operative word, because I just haven’t gotten much farther than that, even though my 56-year-old body is crying out for something to twist it back into shape. I used to do yoga for a long time, off and on, and I even went to this place in town called Yoga Loka and did Bikram-style hot yoga on a pretty regular basis a decade or so ago.
The problem was, I’m like six-foot-seven, and I have a nasty habit of toppling over when I lose my balance. And I lose my balance when the room is heated up to “kill the bedbugs” range, because I am in fact a big pussy or maybe just a hereditary cold-weather Scotsman who blanches at the mere mention of tropics. And so, I would topple around like a drunk on one leg trying to keep it together during a roadside field-sobriety test, and I would utter “Fuck!” and “Shit!” and the other yoga class people would get pissed off at me and complain to the teacher that my grunts and utterances were fucking up their yoga time.
So I didn’t get kicked out, but I got actively encouraged to learn to practice yoga all by my lonesome. Not by the teachers, who were really cool, but by some of the other students, and by my now ex-wife, who made fun of my efforts. Fuck it. I’m a spazz.
And so, it is time for me to sing “Yoga Is as Yoga Does.” Alone. C’est la vie. —Jackson Griffith
Okay, I’m sorry. I’m still stupidly distracted and busy, so I can’t get down to any of the really ambitious stuff I have planned. Instead, I have to sit here on a Friday night after coming to from a semi-comatose state (read: nap) after work, after which I crawled into the shower and then trimmed my beard and brushed my mossy teeth and threw some clean clothes on and came down here to Weatherstone to try to wrap up a project that I just haven’t been able to wrap up. Perfectionism is a cruel master.
If I had a goddamn lick of sense, I’d … I’d … well, I’m not even sure what I’d do differently than sit here, munching on a salad and sipping on an iced mocha which will keep me up for a while but that’s the whole point: Stay awake, close the sale. Coffee is for closers only, and I’m not fucking with you. I’m here from downtown, and I am on a mission of mercy.
Oh. Have I got your attention now? Well, it’s fuck or walk. Have I made my decision for Christ? Am I not making sense? Well, watch that clip. David Mamet may have turned into a Dennis Miller-style wingnut tool, and Alec Baldwin’s a bit of a screwdriver, too, but this scene is utter perfection. I find it weirdly inspiring. Maybe it’s time I morphed into a reptilian asshole, eh?
Well, not really. I’ve learned too much to do that. Love is the answer, and I say that earnestly and unironically. We’ve got to come together and stuff. Like, maybe all pile onto a big cruise ship to the Bahamas with some saxophones and feel the love.
This is what happens when you’re too ADD to have anything to say. It will get better. —Jackson Griffith
Part of the time I don’t know what I’m talking about, or where I’m going with something. And that goes doubly when there are other people involved, when a conversation starts out one place and then jumps through a bunch of hoops and ends up in a completely different place. Happens all the time. Ever trace your conversations to see where the pivot points, where one subject morphed into something different, were located, followed by another pivot point that led off into an altogether different direction?
Ever sit down and close your eyes and follow your breath, and perform that same tracing-the-pivot-points action with your thoughts when they arise? Or when you remember to go back to the breath, ever remember a whole string of thoughts and images that transpired?
Ever have strange dreams, the ones that don’t make any sense as a linear narrative, and upon awakening they’re tightly woven together like a film, but within the first minute’s breaths you take, they come apart like clouds under the hot sun, vanishing like wisps from your memory?
Happens to me all the time. Pleasant dreams. Or strange dreams, if that’s your preference. —Jackson Griffith