*I* am the ‘piano’ man; *i* am the sultan of swing; A sense of SOUL: intelligence; especially the emotions of ‘interest’ and ‘love’ (Friday, August 21st, 2020)

Thou shalt not engage in social media communication at bed time

(and especially not if one is especially tired and/or mixing that context with alcohol!) for one may wake up thinking “oh fuck, did I really say that? Can’t I just press delete and pretend I never did? What the hell was I thinking? Or why couldn’t I think a bit more reasonably?” and not feel so grand in the realm of one’s conscience or sense of self.

I say things to people or on follower-wide posts that with more prudence and honesty I would not say… you know, just like if you were writing or emailing or texting and you write one thing and then you’re like…wait…that’s not it at all…but when still in the process of writing or texting you can delete, rephrase, revise, correct, et cetera. Sometimes you say a thing online, on social media, and it’s not for you to delete. Damage done. Thing said to person or people.

Last night I was feeling a little “blue” over the complexity of the artist’s effort to make her or his living via his or her art, exclusively, just as a doctor would her or his medicine, or an electronics retailer would via their retail service. I got to thinking of instances when people would respond to my comments about my art and media endeavors by saying “yes, but what are you doing for ‘WORK’” as if no “work” may count as “work” unless it yields substantial money.

“Never the less, so powerful is my enthusiasm, so naive my faith, that all this amuses me and I cannot believe in my defeat” (Andre Gide; Journals 1889-1949; p. 16)

“I suffer absurdly from the fact that everybody does not already know what I hope some day to be, what I shall be; that people cannnot foretell the work to come from just the look in my eyes” (Ibid)

It’s an idea that is complex because there are so many different factors involved.

Pragmatically speaking, let’s say that while a massive chunk of the population is going to buy either a Mac or Windows operating system (i.e., not a lot of competition or sizeable options for a thing which most people more or less need).

ART on the other hand…even supposing we generally agree it’s a need…it’s so individualized/personal, and so inherently shades of gray, outside the box,  with respect to how a person may enjoy their art, as consumer or creator, pragmatically speaking the fact is that it’s EXCEPTIONALLY RARE for art to have a near universal appeal to humanity at large. AND…even when it does…art is so niche within niche within niche. Not only may a person maybe like one kind of art, but only a certain kind of that kind. Let’s say you enjoy watching dance for example. But you dislike ballet. You only like Jazz dance. So it is only the jazz dancers who have a shot at making a living off your enjoyment of them.

Thus, the argument may be had that it is unreasonable for an artist to aspire to making a living via his art…but we know it is not so much unreasonable as just rare and hard. Similarly hard is what goes into trying to be one of those rare people who strike gold with their art because it requires you to ask people to even acknowledge it, to say, “hey, I was wondering if you might take a look at my art” and then add to that, “and would you like to buy it so you can have it for yourself?”  

And who shall you ask?

You could send your work to the corporate level, elite, top of the hierarchy power brokers of your art field’s PR in contemporary culture but one also likely knows that even in the non-art world of career development and job seeking, it can so often be “who you know” as opposed to “what you know” and/or “what you can do.”

In other words, assuming you choose to ask the art dealer to look at your art and consider selling it—so is everyone else and their grandchildren, right? How many people do you know who do one thing because it makes money all the while squeeze in as much time as they can to advance their chance to make money doing what they want to make money doing? I think Billy Joel’s song “Piano Man” delves into this consideration quite well.

The song gives me the fucking chills unlike almost any other song I’ve ever heard.

“Now John at the bar is a friend of mine
He gets me my drinks for free
And he's quick with a joke 
or to light up your smoke
But there's someplace that he'd rather be
He says, "Bill, I believe this is killing me"
As the smile ran away from his face
‘Well I'm sure that I could be a movie star
If I could get out of this place’

Now Paul is a real estate novelist
Who never had time for a wife
And he's talkin' with Davy, 
who's still in the Navy
And probably will be for life

And the waitress is practicing politics
As the businessmen slowly get stoned
Yes, they're sharing a drink they call loneliness
But it's better than drinkin' alone

Sing us a song you're the piano man
Sing us a song tonight
Well we're all in the mood for a melody
And you got us feeling alright

It's a pretty good crowd for a Saturday
And the manager gives me a smile
Cause he knows that it's me 
they've been comin' to see
To forget about life for a while
And the piano, it sounds like a carnival
And the microphone smells like a beer
And they sit at the bar and put bread in my jar
And say, "Man, what are you doin' here?"

Similarly, the song “We Are the Sultans” by The Dire Straits

“Well now you step inside but you don’t see too many faces

Coming in out of the rain they hear the jazz go down

competition in other places

Uh but the horns they blowin’ that sound

Way on down south

Way on down south

London town

You check out guitar George, he knows-all the chords

Mind, it’s strictly rhythm he doesn’t want to make it cry or sing

They said an old guitar is all, he can afford

When he gets up under the lights to play his thing

And Harry doesn’t mind, if he doesn’t, make the scene

He’s got a daytime job, he’s doing alright

He can play the Honky Tonk like anything

Savin’ it up, for Friday night

With the Sultans

We’re the Sultans of Swing

Then a crowd a young boys they’re a foolin’ around in the corner

Drunk and dressed in their best brown baggies and their platform soles

They don’t give a damn about any trumpet playin’ band

It ain’t what they call Rock and Roll

And the Sultans

Yeah, the Sultans, they play Creole


and then the man he steps right up to the microphone

And says at last just as the time bell rings

“Goodnight, now it’s time to go home”

Then he makes it fast with one more thing

“We are the Sultans

We are the Sultans of Swing”

By the way, go to 4 minutes and 51 seconds if you LOVE guitar…

if that’s your kind of art…oh man.. Mark Knopfler, for me, is the God of guitar…the mood of it, uplifting, energetic, complex and yet modest and humble, thoughtful….

6:36…. This specific mini-melody starts, like a mantra, soft and slow, then it picks up volume, intensity and speed….slightly sad almost but sticking with the affirmation…yes I will…yes I can…yes I will…yes I can….fuck yea I can….yeah… yes I can ….I see  it I SEE IT, I VISUALIZE MY SUCCESS!!!!!!!!!!!

And it persist like amazing fucking…penetrating…. 8:29 is like the orgasm… the female orgasm cause it keeps going….like the first time one ever sees a big check written out to them in their name…more money than you ever thought possible….you count it….you conceptualize all you can do with it…

Made some changes this morning to the blog website appearance:

  1. I changed my slogan slightly. Instead of constructive, humanistic “cultural criticism” I’m using the word “extrospection”; why “extrospection? (side note here, the British spelling is “extraspection” while the American is “extrospection”—or at least, Oxford versus Webster’s. And while I do consider myself somewhat of a “cultural critic” I think that as a diarist I extend even more broadly than into culture…maybe I want to jot notes down about the grass on ground for example in a merely descriptive way. While perhaps “cultural” in that it bases itself on collective knowledge on the grass, to be even broader, more abstract, more extrospectively inclusive, and also, to be more specifically, explicitly, and exactly in tune with the act of looking at that which is exterior to one’s self/ i.e., the empirical and whatever interpretations, deductions, inductive ideas, THAT…, MORE EXACTLY is “EXTROSPECTION.” This “paints” a closer to real picture of my aesthetics than the former “cultural criticism.”
  • I added my slogan to the Table of Contents/Archives/Blog page, on the top, because I believed it would create or potentially evoke with more nuance, the artistic assertiveness and….sense of identity…sense of confidently articulated identity?
  • I picked a font for the slogan: Annie Use Your Telescope. Perfect mix of almost handwriting looking and yet still looks so typed….versus other fonts I used to give a more elaborate “handwriting” appearance.
  • Changed the name of “contact info” to “Contact Information for Readers, Critics, Advertisers, Publishers, Et al. Who Want To Share Thoughts”—yes, my way of putting it out there that I’m interested in any sort of symbiotic connection, be it esoteric/intellectual/spiritual or financial/business oriented.

One of the more frustrating aspects of anxiety and depression, for me, is dissociation.

In the last week or so my feelings of dissociation have been exacerbated a bit. My therapist suggested I write about it. So I am.

What is dissociation like for me? It’s a very cognitive and intellectual-ish experience. The best way I can explain it is by comparing the dissociation thought process I have to a Behaviorist perspective of human psychology. I don’t have a purely Behaviorist perspective—I think, for example, that the notion of mere stimulus and response does overlook the nature of, say, the sorts of stimuluses that lead to the best sorts of responses and that take us outside that paradigm, specifically, I’m thinking, that then it goes into Positive psychology since this is the realm of psychology that focuses on what it may mean, based on the academic research, for a mind to be said to be optimized, thriving, efficacious.

But back to the “Behaviorist” model of my dissociation episodes. First of all, I find this model to be ironically mystical…and it’s the mysticism of it that perhaps most distresses me. By this I mean…to what extent can be objectively stated that I AM THINKING AND DOING X? If we examine the nature of thinking and doing in a more granular and nuanced way…I hate to sound so reductive and nihilistic almost, but…what are we really, other than brains with bodies?

(Interesting here how we get this mix of raw ontology and theoretical psychology in one)

I think, for example, of Data, from Star Trek: The Next Generation. Other than that Data’s “parts” are more human-technology based and synthetic, than the more raw and fundamentally biological parts of the human being, and that Data apparently experiences no emotion (I may have more to say on the topic of emotion a bit later), as one episode in fact explores, when the question of whether or not Data can be considered alive and thus granted political and legal freedom, how are we so different?

I dislike…or feel uncomfortable, however, with this…ontological paradigm of humanly being. To merely react to stimuli….I’m not a “me” but just a reaction, a reaction of which I have little control?

And yet…upon deeper consideration, I do see a little pool of beauty…a sense of SOUL. INTELIGENCE. And to be more specific…. Genetically and experientially unique intelligence. Moreover, we are complex. We are amazingly and abundantly “intelligent” and we experience this thing we call “emotion.”

The mixture of emotion and intelligence..

especially the emotions of INTEREST AND LOVE.  How fascinating, most of all, is love? And so easy to lose focus on. I’m thinking of my polyamory and sexuality exploration phase that lingered on from about April to early August of this year, where I thought so much about only select layers of love, and quite widely and deeply about sexuality—sexuality both experientially/academically, but also the question of what it means to process a sexual feeling and determine how to move forward with or let go of it based on a sort of ethical appraisal.

Love, in my opinion, actually REQUIRES an intellectual foundation and connection because I believe love cares to think as thoroughly about LOVING as it can…this requires at times a scholarly and/or intellectual series of thoughts. And yet…love is so personal, so emotional, so complex, so fluid, and so sacred.

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