Monday, May 08, 2006

"felonious while moving"

Been thinking about the relationship between self-destructiveness and creativity--the obliteration of the ego and the freeing of the self through whatever means necessary--and the dissolutions, positive and disatrous, that come as a result. There's something about giving in to the looseness and danger and uncertainty and madness that we all hold back from that unleashes tremendous and terrible potential. Maybe addiction is a form of committment, and maybe at heart that committment to throwing yourself into anything is where art comes from, even if it comes at the expense of the physical body or, some would say, soul--certainly at the expense of normal relationships and "happiness". The key, of course, is to channel that terrible freedom, to give it form, rather than to just let it dissipate, which is what most addicts do, I imagine. They experience it, but don't give the experience form.

Townes Van Zandt considered himself "felonious while moving", which means, I guess, the he figured as long as he was conscious and doing, it was probably breaking some law or another. And yet the image this conjures for me is one of beautiful, terrible, freedom--the freedom that will destroy you. But what's the alternative?

There are lots of alternatives, many of them sane, productive, and fulfilling. I just don't know how people do those, either. I fall somewhere in the middle--too cowardly to ride the back of chemicals and destitution--to really let go and see what it's like on the margins, to be 'felonious while moving', and too far from the norm to achieve any sort of centrality.

Sometimes I have the urge to dive off the nearest cliff and sing as I'm falling. But I hold back at the last minute. Ultimately, I guess it doesn't matter what you use to cut the ropes--alcohol, drugs, gambling, sex, Zen, love, sprees of every stripe--what matters is to cut the damned things--if, and only if, of course, you want to be an artist, a mystic, a saint, a whatever it is...

Almost every writer/creative person I admire is/was/has been an addict--drunks, mostly, but throw in a few junkies for good measure. I can't think of a single favorite writer who wasn't an alcoholic. I also tend to adore alcoholics in person. So the question is, what is going on with this? The river of alcohol tends to carry them to places both liberating and unwholesome, and, of course, winds up killing them. But I love them. So. I don't know.

Sometimes I think all this trying to get healthy, all this upwardly mobile self help is a load of tripe and that maybe "healing" or getting "centered" is a different kind of suicide--or if not a suicide, at least a pipe dream, a fantasy, a way of sanitizing (Sanity-sanitary?) those places where the ground is most feral, most fertile. I'm too chickenshit to really let myself go and find some bottom, and I'm too suspiscious of the alternative--of getting my shit together... maybe I should just go on a major bender instead of trying (or pretending to try) to know what I'm doing and who and how I should be.

Maybe I should stop fearing the long arm of the law and become a moving violation.


Blogger Juan Bodley said...

Through our "loosely veiled" acquaintance at RW...BS, you are a major enemy of the state. Seek shelter in the witness protection program ASAP.

11:08 AM  

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