The Sayonara Playlist

voodoo 3

 

In the unlikely event that any kind of memorial gathering should occur, here is the music I recommend, and copyright be damned. Not a problem, though, because like I said, my goodbye party will be more of a virtual event, and this is its soundtrack.

 

 

 

 

Witchitai-to
Jim Pepper

Sweet Release
Boz Scaggs

Galileo
Indigo Girls

The Great Divide
Joe Cocker

Presence of the Lord
Blind Faith

Land of Hope and Dreams
Bruce Springsteen

Heading for the Light
Traveling Wilburys

Rock and Roll Heaven
Righteous Brothers

 

P.S. Apologies for any out-of-date links. I’ll try to reach back from the beyond and fix them. Also, sorry about any ads. Even from the beyond, I doubt if they can be excised.

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Dear Unapologetic Hippie

 

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Total vegetative nonsentience for all I knew could produce the same visual effect as transcendence of maya’s veil.
— Norman Spinrad in Child of Fortune

(This responds to a piece Phil Polizatto wrote. From here on down, the fancily-formatted quotations are from his “The Last Saturday in July.)

A few elderly people were sitting on the porch rocking in their chairs, taking it slow. At least that’s what one might think watching them as they swayed forward and backward, seemingly staring into space, removed from the headlines, the hammering news of the world. Maybe they’re not taking it slow. Maybe it just seems that way to us…

Your words bring to mind one of the zillion science fiction stories I read as a young teenager (and long before the advent of entheogenic drugs.) It described a farmer striding through his field, looking grim and forbidding. But his eyes were seeing a wondrous dazzling landscape like fractal animations, or that Kurosawa film where the world looks like a Van Gogh painting.

I used to have a decorative wall poster with sayings by Vernon Howard. I forget how it went exactly, but he admonished us to not be intimidated by the look on someone’s face, even if it seems to be angry and hostile. Just relate as if the person looked neutral or pleasant. There’s an expression now, RBF, which means “resting bitch face.” Some people just can’t help how their face looks in repose. Or even in action. In other words, whatever thoughts you have or deductions you make about a person’s facial expression, might bear no relation to her or his actual inner state. So the old guy on the porch…

He is having his own kind of acid trip, his own kind of suspended animation. His mind is filled with galaxies. He is experiencing both inner and outer space simultaneously.

In a story, I gave a character this line:
“I don’t care how I look to the world, as long as the world looks okay to me.”
Maybe that’s how the folks on the porch feel about it.

Time and its passing

For a reminder of time passing, women have a built-in advantage. Every 28 days or so, comes the biological signal that another month has gone by, “…and what have I accomplished besides getting a month older?”

I adore the full moon, it’s creative prime time, and now it’s the marker of time. What worries me is how quickly it comes around, reminding me each time of a piece of writing whose completion was going to be my full moon project more than a year ago, and every full moon since. The velocity with which time progresses is really appalling.

Entheogens and eternity

You were part of everything. You were everything! And everything was beautiful.
Time stopped. The Eternal Now.

Know what’s amazing? It’s astonishing how just an instant, a few seconds, of a certain kind of experience can be enough to fuel a whole lifetime’s peace of mind.

You expressed interest in my theories about the afterlife. Okay, think of the best Space Porn website you ever saw, but even better. Three-dimensional, and each vision more mind-blowing than the previous. I think, after vacating a meat body, you get to float around looking at the wonders of creation for a while. It’s a vacation. When it’s time to sign up again, maybe you have the option to be reincarnated as a mollusc, just for the experience. Or something fun, like a bonobo.

Sooner or later though, you have to come back as a human on earth, or another planet’s human-like equivalent. The point being, to have a conscience and karma and a sense of humor and other distinctive attributes that molluscs may not possess. Also, I think you get to pick the circumstances you will be born back into. Sometimes it’s like taking a class where there is no other way to get the credits. It might not be fun, but you know you gotta do it. Until graduation or promotion or Bodhisattva time or whatever.

I think something you and I both did right was to publish a book about our experiences this time around. It’s like a message in a bottle, that you cast adrift in the remote hope that a future self might stumble across it. Imagine another incarnation of you, discovering that book and being seized with the conviction that you had lived that life, and it triggers a major spiritual awakening in your life…

Oh, Okay

David Foster Wallace said, look at this bullshit, and it’s kind of surprising, when you think of it, how richly rewarded he was for saying it. Look at this shit, look at your shit, look at my shit, and even though he was no different or better than anyone else, a certain segment of the population bowed to him and described him in superlatives. It seems like elevation was uncomfortable for him, even knowing he worked hard and deserved it.

I’m guessing that for DFW, interviews must have been hell. You spend years writing, eviscerating yourself onto pages, then they put a microphone in front of you and ask you to say something.

The whole practice of interviewing writers, and especially painters, and more especially musicians, may come under the heading of “unclear on the concept.” Yes, these people have something to say. In their book, painting, or performance, they said it. What more does the world want? Plenty, as it turns out.

One of the things a creative person is supposed to explain is, how he or she got to be so special. People want to be special, too. So the artist spills the beans… “Well, I practice every day…” and they’re like, “No, really, tell us the secret. So the artist says, “Okay, I smoke a lot of reefer…” and they’re like, “No, really, tell us the secret.” And so on.

Even when some obliging fellow like Baltasar Gracian writes it all down, spells it all out, step by step – here’s exactly what you must do to achieve success – they pick and find fault. They don’t listen, because they don’t really want to know.

Then again, some do, and wisdom is out there for them to find. Any advice book, any how-to-live system, has nuggets of gold in it. There are things that, if you do them, your life will change. Myths and folklore embody the stories of what happened in the past, when real or imaginary people acted on various tenets of their how-to-live systems.

One thing about the Sixties, the cultural not the calendrical Sixties, was that we got a fresh supply of myths and stories to supplement or supplant the ones we grew up with. Our stockpile of Disneyfied European fairy tales was shoved aside to make way for an influx of stories from the sages of the East, a vast territory encompassing myriad traditions and thousands of, to us, fresh narratives.

A story that resonated with me was about a monk who lived on a hill, and one day a delegation of village elders hiked up there and handed over a baby they said he had caused, and would now be responsible for. The monk knew he hadn’t fathered a child, but he was like, “Oh, okay.” He took care of the little boy for seven years. One day, a delegation of village elders climbed the hill and told the monk that the boy’s mother had admitted her lie, and they would take the child back. And the monk was like, “Oh, okay.”

Non-attachment, versus the ten thousand things. Sigh.

Pink Curtains