Saturday, September 06, 2008
But alas that is not the point of this ramble. Consider it a freebie in case you are right at this very moment plum ripe and ready for a new idea to make millions with and let us move on. Spam be damned, there are at least on most occasions a few hundred emails that pour into our lives relentlessly, unceasingly, and without mercy each day, for some of us each and every God for saken hour, that are actually important and require our attention. When did it happen? Truth be told I don't think anyone really knows. Long gone are the days when email was a novelty. That was quickly replaced by email being a luxury. And then that was soon replaced by email being a downright necessity. And I may be slightly ahead of the curve on this one, or perhaps just as always three steps past eccentric and downright off the chart crazy. But I am done with email. I dug email when it was a novelty. It gave me a sense of belonging to a special elite that could get things done faster and more efficiently than most. And I relished the ease at which I could communicate with more people at a faster rate than one ever could with traditional phone, fax, and letter writing.
When it became less novelty and more of a luxury I still enjoyed it. Even appreciated it. It gave me the freedom to not have to answer the phone nor make calls anymore, nor even write letters or send and receive faxes. And we still accomplished more than ever before. But something changed. Pretty soon the whole world had email and our lives have turned into one giant button pushing nightmare. Worse yet, we have added yet another "thing to collect" to our already over-crowded lives. Thousands and thousands and more thousands of emails. Now that email has become a necessity, an annoying bastard of a necessity at that, right up there taxes and presidents and the United States Post Office, I am thoroughly entirely and adamantly over it.
My friends laughed when I first announced that I was through with email. They thought I was joking. A few days ago I hit that send/receive button just for the sheer fuck all of it -- I had no intention of actually doing anything after I did so. After all, I hadn't actually read an email since August 5th and here it was September 2nd. Don't get me wrong. I still download them into my inbox. I might glance at them. But with over 5000 unattended and unreplied to and 1300 of them still unread, there just isn't much I can do at this point about it. One thing I did happen to notice as I watched the little demons speedily pour into my inbox like rats into a half rotted corpse was the subject line of an email from one of my employees. It said something to the effect of "If you are not going to answer my emails!!!"
"Uh oh" I thought. Better click on that one and see what's up. He was mad as hell. Turned out that he was the author of at least two or three of those 1300 unread emails that had already invaded my overcrowded and overwhelmed life. I read his email. The majority of it comprised of his personal feelings regarding how dare I not even bother to reply to him. Truth was I explained to him I just wasn't doing email anymore. It wasn't a personal reflection of how I felt about him. It wasn't a conscious decision mind you. It was just sort of something that happened. I travel too much. Work too much. Play too much. And after some reflection on the matter I realized that at some point in the last few months I had already made this subtle transition to texting being my preferred method of communication. Again it wasn't intentional. It just sort of happened. Upon further reflection I came to realize as reported above that I had not actually read an email since august 5th. I might give them a glance now and then. But I just cannot bring myself to do anything with them. There are just too many of them, and how do you decide whose to reply to or not? It is all so overwhelmingly unfair seeming. So one day I just stopped.
I explained to my friend and fellow conspirator that if he needed to reach me for something that he could either text me, or Facebook message me. He already knew I didn't answer my phone, check my voicemail, or return calls. That had stopped just about one year ago to this day. So it was useless to suggest that. He knew better. So after really thinking about it long and hard I decided that if he had to email me, he could always Skype, Facebook message or IM, or text me to alert me to the fact that he had indeed sent an email that I needed to attend to. In the real world what else can we really do at this point? Email is just so 2006. And there is no way that one person can sort, handle, and reply to all the email they receive everyday. At this point each of us need at least two to three people to be doing this task for us. And then what would THOSE people helping us do about their own email? A challenging dilemma for sure.
Well the old boy got the message and chose to Skype my phone with a text message relaying the content of his concerns. It worked like a charm. I was able to then Facebook message him the information he needed and all was well that ended well.
But it did get me thinking. I had been formulating a little something I had been referring to as "Plan B" over the last few months and just had not as of yet had a chance to officially implement it. What I had noticed was the following: There were more people I loved and cared about on the planet than I had time to engage with on a regular basis. Blogging certainly helps with that. So does YouTubing. Both vehicles allow us the opportunity to communicate with large numbers of our friends and fans in one go, at least just to say hello and fill them in on our latest goings on.
Texting is also a good way to do this. I have found that after a long day I might sit for ten to fifteen minutes and text ten to twenty people a hello and anything else that might be relevant to our respective relationship. Just to touch base or to pass on needed information. Facebook -- thank God and pray that he saves and preserves the sacredness of this beloved miracle app -- is also another great way to keep tabs on and stay in close proximity to our closest friends no matter how many miles separate us. The reason that the clean, pure, simple, and elegant Facebook so quickly gobbled up the cluttered, heavily commercialized, dragged down, messy, sloppy nuisance once called MySpace was that Facebook -- at least as of this writing -- actually helps us accomplish something -- quick, efficient, authentic and sincere communication with those we work with or love or care about. The interface is simple and clean and they keep the advertisements to a minimum. There is also the tendency for those of us who live and die within the confines of that beloved app to only make friends with those who we are actually friends with. No competition for who has the most friends nor the obligation to accept friend requests from people we don't know. Facebook is not about a popularity contest. It is about real communication with real people that we actually know AND care about. Let us pray it stays that way, or I can guarantee that the whole lot of us will be off that bandwagon as quickly as we jumped off of MySpace.
But still I did notice that in the last year my life had become so busy so quickly that I was letting my life get in the way of my living so to speak -- so much so that there were many, many people who I just was not finding the time to communicate with as much as I would have preferred.
They would call and I just always felt that I never had the time to answer. They would leave messages and again I just never had the time to check voicemail, let alone actually return calls. They would email, and by the time I saw the email months had passed. I found that I was missing out on one too many invitations to things and even more disturbing I was no longer connected to the outside world much at all. Not even to my own family or closest friends. Life had become more of a marathon. A mad dash so fast-paced that it turned weeks into feeling like days, and days that seemed to only last hours.
I first observed this when a close friend mentioned to me that she and the crew didn't bother inviting me to things anymore because I was so busy that they felt guilty inviting me out because they didn't want to make me uncomfortable by always having to decline the offers which she said I almost always invariably did. This made me sad. A few days later I learned that another friend was due to be married in less than a month and that I had completely missed the announcement and invitation. (I had stopped reading regular post mail about six months prior, choosing instead to just let it pile up in gigantic stacks all over the floor around me. So people already knew not to bother to send me anything by post.) A few days after this, one of my favorite friends -- a man I refer to as a brother and feel truly honored to do so -- gave me a real bitch slapping over the phone about how many times he had called me and not received a call back. He actually went so far as to warn that if I didn't make more effort in regular communication with him that he was going to write me off. I was obviously aghast. Shaken AND stirred. I loved The King. There wasn't much use in being The Ambassador without The King by my side. And lest we forget my mom's assertion that she felt that there was simply "no sense in calling you anymore. You never answer or call back. I just assume you are too busy and I just hope that you will still come home for Christmas." Sad really.
But the truth was and still is that I, being (at least in name) the so-called Ambassador, absolutely love people. Especially my close friends and family, of which I am lucky to have many. But I was quickly recognizing that if I didn't do something about this information and communication overload that had led me to this state of tuning out from the civilized world, that pretty soon there wasn't going to be anybody in my life to tune out.
I also noticed something else. I wasn't the only one in this disturbing predicament. I noticed that there were plenty of people in my life who were also feeling the time crunch and not taking calls or replying to emails anymore. As much as I wanted to be mad and lay down some guilt speech on them, I simply could not because I was probably the worst of all of us. And for good reason. We are all just too damn busy these days. Especially those of us who live in big metropolitan cities with too much to do and not enough money to clone ourselves yet.
After some quiet and sincere contemplation of the situation, and a few discussions with others about the matter I came to understand that one of the driving forces behind this new found isolation and lack of feeling free enough to even be able to take a phone call from a good friend was this subconscious feeling we were harboring that stated that "it has been so damn long since I have talked to so and so that when we DO finally talk it will have to take a long time and I just simply don't have the time to catch up with them right now. So I won't take their call right now, but I will call them "when I have the time."" The problem with this belief is that "when I have the time" never comes around. So we simply avoid reaching out because we are afraid that we "don't have the time." Before we know it, a year passes by. We wake up one day and realize "My God, I haven't talked to so and so in over a year. How could that be? Where did the time go?"
Well once I got clear on what the real problem was I decided that something needed to be done about it. This was the impetus of what I began to refer to as Plan B. Seeing that Plan A -- regular and consistent communication with our friends and loved ones through traditional means -- just wasn't working anymore. A few weeks ago I was deep in the mountains and forests of the Great Northwest taking some much needed time off from my regularly hectic life in a literal oasis of a destination spot overlooking a giant hundred story waterfall and river. That place is called Snoquami falls by the way and I recommend it to anyone who needs a week to shut down and recharge. I received a call from our good friend and sister whom we call Tuesday here in the Diaries. She was in shock that I answered the phone. "I can't believe you answered the phone! I thought I was just going to leave a message! If you're mailbox wasn't full that is..."
"Well Tuesday, welcome to Plan B," I replied. "What's Plan B?" she asked. "Simply put Tuesday Plan B states that we are all way too busy, overwhelmed, and overbooked these days and none of us are taking enough time in our days to even say hello to those most dear to us anymore. And this is a problem. Life is moving faster than it ever has it seems and one day I'm just afraid we are going to wake up and realize that we haven't spent enough time with those we love."
She agreed and we both had a good laugh acknowledging the strange tendency, for New Yorkers especially, to take pleasure in making plans to lunch, dine, see a movie, or just hang out with each other and then cancel at the last minute. If one doesn't live in New York they might find this hard to understand. But it is a very common trend amongst New Yorkers and one that many of us take for granted. Absolutely nothing is off limits in this game we all play with one another. Tuesday and I talked about the reasons for this new trend and decided that making the plan was enough to still give one that sense of security and friendship but that due to our hectic lifestyles that we actually gained more pleasure and satisfaction from being able to cancel and just get some quiet time than we would if we trekked off to some meeting or dinner with someone. Odd yes. But very common here in the big apple. It is not uncommon to book one's entire week both day and night with one thing or another to the point of jam-packed and overflowing and then cancel more than half of the things you agreed to attend. It's just the nature of life in the big city where there is always more to do than one can possibly fit in unless one has at least one to three clones to stand in for them for various different activities. (Note to the scientists out there: get working on cloning will ya! We need it!)
After our near hysterical laughing subsided, I proceeded to explain to Tuesday the details of Plan B and invited her to share it with others, spread it virally as quickly as possible, and also to actually partake in it with me so we could in fact see each other more than once a year. Remember this is Manhattan. None of us live more than a mile or two from each other. And yet it is very easy to go an entire year without actually hooking up. My hot and sexy, smart, cool and sassy pseudo-cousin Samantha and I were just Facebook IMing today and to our horror came to discover that we have not actually seen other face to face in three years and yet we live exactly 1.3 miles from each other. That is just so New York. If it weren't so goddamned typical it would be downright tragic. But neither of us reacted at all negatively, but rather just found it hilarious. We made plans of course to have dinner next Sunday but I'd be a fool to assert that I truly believe that either of us will actually make it to that dinner. "Next Sunday" might as well be 2010 as far as New York living goes. God knows what will happen between now and then. But it sure was good making the plan. That in and of itself is a big step. Just committing to an actual day and time (which we didn't actually do).
But living breathing life forms on planet earth must inevitably adapt and evolve in order to survive. And this is where Plan B comes into play. It is an evolvement in order to do nothing less than secure our very survival. Remember the old adage yours truly once one-offed in a loud, noisy, crowded bar to an uproarious response of high fives and laughter from his friends and lovers: "Your net-worth is equal to your network." Meaning, the more people you regularly communicate with the more successful and wealthy you will be. It is a simple matter of mathematics and one of the foundational principles of networking and success. Plan B is a desperately needed emergency strategy to guarantee not only our continued wealth, happiness, and success, but also our very survival. Without friendship, love, the care of others, and real sincere human contact, we have nothing.
Simply put Plan B states this: Life is too short not to spend time and regularly communicate with the people in our lives that we love. But as we have already covered we are all just too busy and deathly afraid that if we take the time to reach out that it will require too much time that we feel we don't have in any one moment to "catch up." So we subconsciously avoid reaching out or even answering the phone and worse yet we are now reaching a stage where even email has become too burdensome and time-consuming. So it is time to implement Plan B. If you think of someone, call them, or at the very least text them. Don't put it off. It doesn't have to be a long conversation. Let go of the need to feel that we need to "catch up." Catching up is yesterday's fashion. Give it away to Goodwill. Those of us who are living life to its fullest just don't live in a world where we have time to "catch up" anymore. Just pick up that phone and say "hello, I was just thinking about you. Listen, I don't have a lot of time. But how are you? I miss you."
And the same goes for when that phone rings. If you don't recognize the number, let it go to voicemail. There is no harm in that. But if you look down and it's someone that you know and love, or someone that you work with, or someone who would be good for your career, take the call. Let them know you're busy as all hell but you love them and miss them, or that their call is important to you, and you just didn't want them going to voicemail. Spend a minute or two touching base and let that be that. No need to harbor the illusory belief that you two need to spend an hour on the phone. Just chat for a minute or two, support each other, positive talk each other, sincerely communicate together, and let it be. When Tuesday and I were hammering out this plan we both wholeheartedly agreed that we would rather talk three times a week for five minutes each than once a month for an hour. And I feel that way about so many people. We both agreed that email just doesn't cut it. Email has now been relegated to where letter writing and receiving used to be. It's a necessary evil. Not a place where our friends belong. Nope. The sweet voice heart and soul of our friends belong in our ear, if not in front of us face to face. Or at least in a text message at the least.
So far it has worked like a charm. Since implementing Plan B in my life over the last two to three weeks I have noticed my "missed call" log reduce by hundreds of calls. I just simply pick up the damn phone. Today I spoke with Weather Girl for all of three minutes. But that was fine. We talked. She got the message that I was busy, but she also got the message that I cared about her. That her calling was important to me. Today I sent a two-line email to a dear elderly woman who has acted as a mentor and godmother to me for decades now. Didn't have a lot of time but I made the time to just write "Hi there, I've been thinking a lot about you lately. How are you? I hope well. Please always feel free to call me if you ever want to talk or if you need anything. Ok. I love you." And that was that. That's Plan B in a nutshell.
You know I bet after some time that many people will come up with more ideas to add to this new method for staying connected to our friends and loved ones 21st century style. If you are one of those people, please feel free to post a comment with your idea(s). Don't expect me to comment back of course. LOL! But please know that at some point I actually do read all comments. It just might take me a few years. But let's all make this a new habit. A New Years resolution right smack dab in the middle of the year. Then again, knowing how busy YOU are, you might not actually be reading this till New Years anyway. Well regardless, let's do it. We owe it to ourselves. Life is good. It's a blessing and then some if there ever was such a thing. But life is even better when it's filled with friends and family and lovers and real honest to god sincere and authentic communication with the people we love.
Here's to Plan B. Let's do it.
Thursday, September 04, 2008
For better or worse our lives here on earth at this time in our history are filled with examples of injustice and inequities. They are all around us; though I do not believe it will always be this way. The measure of each of us, of the very lives we were blessed with, is whether or not we make the most of what we were given to make things that much better for all while we are here. Sometimes this is as easy as a smile, a hug, a phone call, a thank you note, a donation, a sponsorship, or a helping hand to someone in need. Other times standing up for what we believe in can appear much more daunting and challenging, even frightening or life threatening.
There is not one of us who is not faced with this dilemma on an almost daily basis. But let us all as friends and lovers and associates and coworkers be inspired that the path has already been forged for us by others as the speech below reminds. And let us each commit to one another in our hearts in silence or aloud that before we pass that we will each do our absolute best. Together there will be no stopping us from creating a truly enlightened world for ourselves and for those who will come after us. --Ed Hale
“I say to you, this morning, that if you have never found something so dear and precious to you that you will die for it, then you aren’t fit to live.
"You may be 38 years old, as I happen to be, and one day, some great opportunity stands before you and calls upon you to stand for some great principle, some great issue, some great cause. And you refuse to do it because you are afraid.
"You refuse to do it because you want to live longer. You’re afraid that you will lose your job, or you are afraid that you will be criticized or that you will lose your popularity, or you’re afraid that somebody will stab or shoot or bomb your house. So you refuse to take a stand.
"Well, you may go on and live until you are ninety, but you are just as dead at 38 as you would be at ninety.
"And the cessation of breathing in your life is but the belated announcement of an earlier death of the spirit.
"You died when you refused to stand up for right.
"You died when you refused to stand up for truth.
"You died when you refused to stand up for justice.”
-Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
From the sermon “But, If Not” delivered at Ebenezer Baptist Church on November 5, 1967
Thursday, July 31, 2008
A sleepy Sunday morning. What DID we do last night? Wrote a beautiful song… my god what a gorgeous melody. Stayed up till dawn madly scribbling notes as fast as i could… transcribing the dialogue of a forum between Arthur C. Clark, Stephen Hawking, and Carl Sagan about physics and cosmology till i couldn’t keep my eyes open. Pen dangling. Dropping to the floor. Woke up in time to catch battered and war torn Tom Brokaw, so sold out and bought in to the system that when he commented on NBC’s Meet the Press “…at least we hope that everyone will be tuned in to watch the Summer Olympics here on NBC next week,” he didn’t even blink an eye at the irony of the statement. Perhaps there might be a reason for people NOT tuning in Tom?
The Olympics is about sport. At some point surely this was true. But it is more about money. Money is everywhere. Every pocket gets a little. Everyone is looking forward to making money over the next few months from the sport now called “the Olympics.” Human life be damned, everyone is out to make a bloody fortune. Bloody being the operating word. China itself will make a killing. An angelic pun. Each of the countries represented who will win Gold. The TV stations, the vendors, the newspapers with all those fancy high-priced ads with the Olympic rings around that brand new plasma screen TV you just gotta have from Best Buy…. It’s all about money.
Dear TuneInTurnOnHelpOut.org members,
Torture. Long-term detentions without charge or trial. Censorship of the internet and media. Does this sound like a country that’s trying to improve its human rights record?
Ye Guozhu, a human rights defender in Beijing, was sentenced to four years’ imprisonment for taking action against forced evictions related to the Olympics. Amnesty International fears he has been tortured while in detention. He was due to be released on Saturday, July 26 but will now remain imprisoned until October, after the end of the 2008 Olympic Games.Chinese authorities have stepped up their repression of human rights defenders in order to “clean up” Beijing. With the Olympics only 10 days away, take action and urge China to create a positive human rights legacy.
He went to prison and was tortured for defending human rights.
Friday, July 11, 2008
Fascinating... Allow me to explain. I first started getting visions of free-gravity environments in 1995. It was January to be precise. I will never forget the moment. I was in the living room of my mother's house, visiting. I just all of a sudden saw this vision that things in the room at some point in the near future would start "floating" -- that we would invent a new anti-gravity device or system and that it would enable us to make much better use of vertical space. For example desks could be placed mid-level in the room above another desk etc - and there would be no need for what we now use as "stairs." I have by now actually so worked it into one particular novel because i have been taking it for granted for so many years now -- just assuming it was bound to happen soon, but not knowing the specific science behind how we would do it. Just knew it. Saw it. Think about it now and then. And voila, here it is. As in Meet Joe Black, "Yes."
I will go further regarding the idea of "visions" or what we might refer to as tapping into the intuitive mode of consciousness or our intuition - and then paste the specific science notes regarding the "God Particle" below that help to explain this rant.
Visions... yes, a big subject. But simply put, how to tell if we are indeed having "visions" of the future or "premonitions" - or, if we are simply mad or insane? Yep. That's the big question. But remember that Arthur C. Clark envisioned satellites, laptop computers, email, and many other things long before they existed and he was not a scientist. But rather a writer of pulp science fiction from a postal employee family. But nonetheless, he envisioned many of the things that we take for granted today. The space station even. Etc.
In 1992 while writing in the journals that would eventually become the novel The Adventures of Fishy, I wrote these words, "This of course transpires just after the Middle East attacks the financial district of New York City in the United States at the turn of the century which precipitates the economic collapse and this great holy war that our hero and the rest of humanity is now engulfed in."
Well less than eight years hence we all watched it happen. Was that a vision? Or just a lucky guess? Either way, what i wrote was so damn "on" that it scared the hell out of me when i saw it live on TV - and yet as i watched, i also was keenly aware that i had already seen it hundreds of times in my mind because i had already "seen" it and knew it was going to happen eight years prior... and was already working on a giant novel series where it really does happen so I was already taking it for granted. Eerie. Sure. At first.
Over the last fifteen years since, the envisioning process has become easier and easier for me. Now i take "visions" for granted. Meaning simply that I trust my intuition. I have so many of them about so many things that I do not question it anymore.
The most difficult aspect of this paradigm? After all, what are we really speaking of? Tapping into an aspect of our own consciousness that already exists, our intuition. Just as we tap into "love" - which is another aspect of consciousness, or "hate" or any of the other things that we now call "our senses."
I firmly posit that intuition is what we now loosely refer to as "the sixth sense." That "seeing" or "having visions" is nothing more than simply being aware of the fact that we DO NOT HAVE FIVE SENSES, but in fact AT LEAST SIX. I would guess we have many more than that. WE just haven't labeled them as such yet.
Just as we were once taught that there were NINE PLANETS. Well at this point, who really knows... some say Pluto is no longer a planet. And then there were those two others they found a few years ago... so at this point there is no general consensus about it. So we were taught WRONG. Just as once people were taught that the Sun revolved around the Earth because Aristotle told us it did. But unfortunately for human scientific advancement, we were all just plain wrong. And for hundreds of years. Thousands really.
I believe the same thing will eventually be common knowledge with this whole silly notion of teaching "ourselves as children" that "we have five senses." It is silly when the sense of intuition so obviously exists. To some people it comes in visions that they see. In other people it comes more in voices that they hear. In still others it comes in something that they FEEL. It is a phenomenon at this point that we are still just feeling our way into and still discovering. Or "creating." Depending on how you look at it...
Anyway, people ask me all the time, "how can i tell the difference between my intuition and "an impulse." And my answer is always that for me personally i just "know." I can tell the difference. Sometimes. Operative word there. I believe it is still something that we need to do much work on still - we need to practice using it. We need to cultivate it. A good start would be officially acknowledging it scientifically in what we refer to as the "medical community" - so we can stop telling ourselves that we only have "five senses." That would be a good place to start.
Philosopher/author Harry Palmer, the man who created the Avatar courses and knowledge base which is now becoming so popular in mainstream society, (and who much of the above is greatly indebted to) once remarked that when we step into a room we can "feel" the energy of the room... we can FEEL if there was an argument or fight that just took place in the room... etc. Or we can feel if there is a lot of "love" in the room. Makes sense. No need to go into it, for we have all had that experience... So there it is in a nutshell. It is something we take for granted as a real experience for us as human beings... but we just don't label it medically or biologically yet... but we will. And soon.
Let us begin to cultivate this sixth sense of ours and perfect it just as we take seeing or hearing or tasting or smelling for granted... and then soon enough we shall see.
Now here below is an excellent summary of the God Particle work that prompted this particular post. It was written by Simdul Bala Shagaya and called Finding the God Particle:
inding the God Particle
Friday, April 25, 2008 at 4:52am
A few friends asked about the God Particle. It is notoriously difficult to explain this facet of physics but here's my stab at it.
The God Particle (aka the Higg's Boson) was proposed over 40 years ago. Its existence explains why everything has mass in the universe. Without allowing for this particle, everything should be "weightless" (if you can imagine that) and gravity would be non-existent and there would be no life in the universe.
The God Particle existed a few moments into the creation of the universe when things were very very very hot. But as the Universe cooled down, mass was conferred on everything by the Higg's Field (although some stuff - like photons/light - escaped the effect of Higg's and are thus weightless).
Anyhow, CERN is a cutting edge research institute that is building a large machine that will replicate the first few moments of the universe. This machine - the LHC - took about 25 years and $16 billion to build. It is undoubtedly the largest and most ambitious experiment ever carried out by humanity. It will be turned on at some point this summer.
Its aim is to ascertain the existence of the God particle. If the particle is found, it will answer some very deep questions about the universe and open the door to some pretty profound applications. Some of those applications may be:
1. Humanity will be on the way to being able to manipulate gravity by in turn manipulating the Higg's Field. In English: levitation may be possible.
2. It would mean that the traveling faster than the speed of light may be possible as the confines of the famous E=MC^2 will not apply any longer. Within the confines of this law, it would require infinite energy to move a mass towards the speed of light. But what if we could get rid of mass altogether? Then you could accelerate matter to and past the speed of light. Meaning Inter-Stellar travel to other galaxies may be possible some day.
Monday, June 16, 2008
The YouTube experiment is now over and I believe I gathered a lot from it. A downright fascinating and engaging and educational and definitely a fun experiment. In one year I filmed roughly 350 movies, managed to edit and post about 90 of them, and just let them take off... I am now in the process of creating a summary report about what I learned from it. And everyday they still continue to teach me plenty, because they are still up and active and being actively viewed, rated, and commented on. So it IS a fascinating cultural experiment. The greatest joy – the secret giggle – coming from the fact that not only did I become almost instantly addicted to the process itself... which in itself says a lot about us as a society, but also in the irony in that they were ultimately a covert mass-cultural experiment. To see what was hot, what was not hot. What would take off, what would not take off. What people like, what they don't like. What they comment on, what they don't comment on. What gets viewed a lot, and what never gets viewed... all categorized and sorted based on keyword searches, comments, ratings, etc... again, fascinating.
But there was something about the art of WRITING – especially just blogging -- that I really missed. Especially since the writing that I am doing in the Transcendence Diaries is really just a massive book writing experiment in real time online for all the world to witness as it is being written... so one cannot really call it a “blog” – especially since we started posting them long before the word “blog” even existed and long before the first “blogging” website ever appeared... we had to create our own website and system for it... this was back in the year 2000.
“G2? I love your idea...
“Which one dog? I have so many,” he comments with this smirk on his face...
“The one about me posting my diaries online for fans, as I write my book in real time... it’s fucking brilliant... but how do we post all that? I mean what system are we going to use for this?”
“Good question my man. It is simple. You write them at night. Then email them to me before you go to bed. I then post them to this page I've created every morning. You see? It’s all in frames... It’s that easy. People log on to that page from a link on your band’s homepage.”
Just one twenty-mile long ass HTML page is how they started... day after day, month after month, and eventually year after year... what a long strange trip its been...
But now after a year and a half off from “posting” (I have still been writing – 250 pages written but not posted in the last year alone) we’re back and it feels great. Based on the immediate positive response I received when I started to post again I was excited by the new potential of it. that was until today...
What we WILL do is PUBLISH them as a book instead. Bunny is already grabbing large chunks of them in her off hours – what she calls “the nuggets” out of them – for certainly 2000 pages is just too much for a book... at least according to her. And what she plans on doing is just putting together one really exciting solid book with one or two main plots and themes and just focusing in on the major characters... And the irony is that this will end up being WORSE for those who are adamantly against them.... but at least create a small fortune for us all. So maybe all the fuss is for naught. Because I think in the end, people are willing to put up with some privacy exposed if they're profiting from it... who knows. Again, as with many things that I do, its an experiment. We will just have to wait and see...
We know this much though. Fishy does disappear suddenly. Whether he dies or not or how he dies or when he dies we may never know. Perhaps it is these very Diaries that kill him. Who knows...
So yes, the good old Transcendence Diaries are back... a source of never ending confusion, angst, and passionate arguments and heated debates since we started with the experiment way back in 2000 with the very first post. I don't know what's worse really... the Transcendence Diaries or the YouTube videos with me half clothed rambling incoherently for ten minutes about the most ridiculously controversial and irrelevant subjects. Both seem to cause problems...
So where to begin... after church today I was to have a strategy meeting with Catherine Darlington, mentor, advisor, patron of the arts, caretaker, dream creator, extremely disciplined and calculating business mind. One that Fishy needs desperately. I was to meet her exactly one block north of our church so no one would see me get in the car. Ever the prim, proper, elegant, well spoken, calm, demure, but demanding as all hell hostess, she lets me into the back of the limo as is her usual ride on our way to brunch to hammer a few things out and review my week’s activities and I casually mention to her that I have started posting to the Transcendence Diaries again and how I excited I was by the fact that we have hired illustrators to start illustrating all 179 characters and how amazingly cool that would be when it is all finished and up on the new site that Bloopy had created. A totally dynamic web2.0 near-graphic novel experience for the user. Fresh. Hot. New. Cool. Cutting edge.
Only she didn't think so at all. “What may I ask does this have to do with ANY of the other projects that you are dong right now darling?”
“Well it doesn’t exactly...”
“I didn't think so. So WHY are you doing it? Haven't you learned anything? How many times do I have to repeat the same things to you Fishy?! NO MORE NEW PROJECTS!”
“Well this isn't exactly a NEW project.... I mean, I've been doing it for a while now to be technically factual about it.... eight years to be precise.”
“You know EXACTLY what I mean Fishy. What does this have to do with your BOOK? What does this have to with your continuing Iran media campaign? What does it have to do with your consulting company or your band’s new albums coming out? What does it have to do with MAKING MONEY?! What is WRONG with you?”
I sat up in my seat and faced her. “Well Catherine, its just that this could be really big... you see.. not only are people really excited by the fact that I started posting to the Diaries again, but once we add the illustrations then we’re going to have this totally new thing happening that no one’s ever done before and....”
“We’ve been having this same conversation for a year and a half Fishy. I heard this same thing about the ebook. And about the barter company. And about the consulting company. And then about the pop-culture book and have you finished either of those projects? And then you're off to Iran! Out of the blue, you're off to IRAN! And then because of that trip you have to start two non-profit websites??!! And let’s not forget about the THREE albums that you have recorded and have still NOT released. And you're going to record another album with a fourteen year old kid now?
“Well actually he's fifteen... I mean, to be accurate...”
She turned to face me with one of the most stern looks I had ever seen coming my way before. “Fishy. I don't care how old he is. Don't be a smartass. The point is that you going off to record another album doesn’t make any logical sense when you have three already recorded and not on the market yet making you MONEY!
“Yeah that money thing is always a problem...” I mumbled.
“For whom? Perhaps that's the question we should be asking? And now you're back on this other book? Still haven't turned in the first chapter to your new book to the agent yet, no word on what’s happening with the Sundance Film Channel or Elle Magazine yet and I asked you that three times now, and you're spending how MUCH time BLOGGING???!!! Fishy you have to grow up and get it together or you're going to be living in the park.” She pointed out the window to Central park that was to our right as we were driving.
Catherine was right... again. I slumped in my plush leather seat and stared out the tinted window to my right... as usual... what was I going to say? On the one hand she was right. why WAS I starting a new project? Even though it is an old project? But still... why? Why NOW when I am right in the middle of another project that is worth so much more money? I mean, could it be true? Am I really retarded as Bunny and a few others tell me? Am I that dense and I just don't see it? I didn't know... all I knew was that I was really loving this whole new idea of the resuscitated Diaries and my whole life I always just followed whatever I was into in the moment based on whatever inspired me - knowing that I would always be successful with whatever I did... and my whole life smart and organized girls had always organized my life and my ideas in ways that always kept me safe and out of the streets and wealthy most of the time...
I looked over at Catherine. She was perfect. Totally out of my league. Her shoulders back, chest out, head up, nose in the air. My mind began to wander... I started imagining this commercial... the one we would use to advertise the third or fourth installment of my life-story... wherever we are now in this mammoth work, I'm not even sure... So I started commentating it out loud there in the back of the limo.... “Obligatory French-imported-chic-gay-guy stylist in New York City style haircut? Three-hundred and fifty dollars.” I looked down at her shoes... “Fifth Avenue Prada designed white snakeskin and bamboo mid heel platform slides? Six-hundred and ninety-five dollars. Imported Italian leather and gold Gucci handbag? One-thousand two-hundred and ninety-five dollars. Yelling at Fishy because you are a patron of the arts? Priceless.” I let out a big belly laugh. “Goddamn I'm funny.”
“Get out,” Catherine said quietly to me. “If you aren't going to take this seriously then get out.”
So I did what any normal sane thinking person does in a situation like that. I opened the car door at the next slow-down, jumped out of the car, lost my balance, fell down to the ground into a triple roll -- barreling down Fifth Avenue and 60th street and almost killed myself landing flat on my back in the middle of the street. “Well that was really smart,” I thought. “Way to go there pal.” I was lying flat out near the curb of Fifth Avenue out in the open for everyone in New York city to see. And just then my cell phone rang. People were staring at me from all four corners... probably wondering if I was alive or dead. I reached into my pocket and answered my phone. “Hello?”
“Fishy, its Sabine. How are you?”
“Oh hi Sabine. I'm fine. I'm good. how are you?”
“I'm o.k. I just got back. Where are you now? What are you doing?”
“Um well... not much really... I'm just sitting here... you know... working...”
“Fishy it sounds like you are outside... where are you?
“Uh yeah well I just stepped out to take a walk actually... I'm on the upper east side...”
“Good. Come over.” And she hung up the phone. That's Sabine in a nutshell.
“o.k. wow so this is going to be one of those days...” I'm thinking to myself. I sat up on the sidewalk so I wouldn’t get run over... And I did end up sitting there for a while contemplating whether or not to go to Sabine’s house or not... She had been on the road for a few days and we had not seen each other in weeks. Maybe months. I finally decided I might as well. I was in her neighborhood. But as soon as I got there I knew something was wrong.
Polite, uneasy hug. Less than a minute of small talk and then “Follow me please,” she motions to me with her finger and turns and starts walking into the office of her apartment and I followed her. She points to her computer screen and what do I see? Seventeen inches of full screen Transcendence Diaries up on her computer.... I swear to God I almost ran out of there... this just wasn't going to be my lucky day.
“Fishy what the FUCK is THIS?!” she screams.
“Holy shit! You're reading my diaries?!!!! You said you would never read my diaries!
“I never said such a thing! And besides I don't WANT to read your diaries!
“So why are you reading them? Woman you make no sense!”
“But everyone else DOES read them. How do you think I FEEL Fishy? With this shit up here?” “Poor Sabine? Poor Sabine?!!!” This is what you're doing with your life? Writing “poor Sabine”? Fuck you Fishy!” I was dumbfounded. I mean, I was really in shock. Felt like I got hit in the stomach by a two by four. Two in one day. Just too much. And all because of the Diaries and they'd been back up for what? A week? I mean, this was just too much...
“Sabine I don't know what to say. I'm back in the flow now... I'm writing again...
“I thought you had a book deal for some non-fiction book?
“Yeah that too... its coming along... but the Diaries are my life. You know that...”
“And evidently my life too! Bastard! How could you?!”
“Look Sabine! Just stop! I'm sorry. I cannot sit here and argue with you about every detail in my fucking book!
“It’s not a book! It’s a blog! And it’s online and everyone can read it! I don't want people reading about my personal life Fishy!
“Hold on... are you saying that if this WERE a book that you would feel differently?
“Well it would just be different...
“How?! How would that be different?
“Well for one thing you would be making more money from it... and...
“And maybe then people wouldn’t log online to read it!”
“You don't think a book is gong to be read by people or be just as personal? It’s the same thing. Sabine! This IS a book. But you know me... I'm just coming at it from a different angle... from an unconventional angle... I'm writing a REAL BOOK but in real time online.... fifteen-hundred-fucking pages... gosh, now more like two thousand pages really...
“yes I know, you and your fifteen hundred fucking pages!” by now she was
crying... not crying as much as tearing... and that's the worst thing for me. Like, I would pretty much do anything to get a girl to stop crying. Especially a girl I love. And the thing about me is that I love every girl I've ever been with. You know, its some sort of glitch in my system... I never stop loving them.
“Sabine you know that Bunny has already started to grab chunks of the Diaries and she is now in the process of turning it INTO a book! O.k.? I already told you that a few weeks ago on the phone when you were in Omaha or whatever.
“It was Idaho you bastard!”
“O.k. Idaho. Whatever. You know what I mean though? I mean how are you going to deal with that? You KNEW this when we met! You knew all about the Diaries!”
“And I told you that I WOULD NOT BE in your BOOK! Or in your Diaries! Remember that? Remember that? I told you that. Period. Sabine not in the Diaries!”
“And I kept my freaking promise to you didn't I?! I haven't blogged in almost two years! I have left almost two freaking years out of Fishy’s life now in the Diaries, and why?! Because of YOU. Because you asked me not to write publicly about you. But YOU were in my life during those two years and YOU were all I wrote about mostly so it put me in a position where i couldn't post ANYTHING that i was writing! Take a look at those years... I post a few music videos and that's all... And as a writer I can tell you that it sucks...
"Well as a writer you can write about other things besides Sabine!"
"Sabine, no I can't. You see. That's the thing. I HAVE to write about you. It's already a mess... no one even knows you exist. Now if you do show up in the Diaries out of nowhere everyone is going to be so confused. And people want to read that stuff. They want to know what the hell happened during that time. I can’t just leave out two full years of his life!”
“You can’t blame that on me! That's because you were busy youtubing and filming yourself all the time you egomaniac!”
“O.k. I know.” I sort of laughed here. “ O.k. so that's true. But it was also for YOU. Because I told you that I wouldn’t write about you. And I didn't. Not a freaking word. It was like you never existed!"
“What do you call what I just read Fishy?! What do you call that? That WAS ABOUT ME!”
“Well that's because you told me that you would never read the Diaries! And plus we've been broken up for over a year. Almost two now. So I thought it was o.k. I really didn't think you'd mind.”
“Do you think I want to read about you and your other girlfriends?! How do you think that makes me feel? Huh?!”
“Sabine look around your apartment!!! You're a freaking artist yourself! Look at these books all over your house!!! Half this stuff is REAL!!!! Do you like these books????!!!” I picked up a giant hardcover coffee table book on the life of Picasso... “Do you LIKE Picasso? Because his life was REAL. o.k.? This stuff in this book is REAL. His various wives and mistresses and girlfriends and the phases of his art that were all inspired by these different women in his life... that is all REAL. Just like YOU are real. And you know what? You LOVE reading about the life of Picasso! So what am I supposed to do? Stop living my life?!”
“No! Just stop writing about it so the whole world can read it! Why don't you try that?!”
“But this is my life! Right here. This book! And you, and me, and everyone else, this is it!!! And you're asking me not to do my art and not to do my life. This is freaking crazy! You can’t ask that of me. I already have a year and half missing because of you and I just can’t take it anymore. I have to do it Sabine.”
“You WANT to do it. You don't HAVE to.” She was sniffling. Had stopped crying... “You could easily turn the last year and a half into a book that wasn't so personal and change everything around and not post them online and then I wouldn’t have to be in it.”
“Sabine there are things that I have written about us that I HAVE to post. They are just TOO good. Really good scenes. I've been reading them... really really good scenes...
“Like what? What have you written about?"
“Pretty much everything... I guess,” I confessed.
“And now you're going to post them?! What are you going to post? Our sex life?
“Well yeah, some of it. I mean there's some really good stuff in there from the last two years...”
“You are NOT going to post anything about our sex life Fishy! I forbid you! Like what? What are you thinking? Are you even thinking?! I'm a professional dancer Fishy! I am a public figure in the arts! And so are you! You cannot post shit about me and my sex life in your Diaries!”
“You know, o.k. look, just us, you know... and our dynamic and our attraction to each other and our sexual chemistry – I mean that's all really important stuff. You know... its revolutionary in the life of Fishy. It's big stuff.”
“You WILL NOT post anything about me online in regards to our sex life!” she stood up and lit a cigarette. I hate the smell of cigarettes. Especially in a closed room.
“How the fuck can you smoke and be a dancer?
“Baryshnikov smoked and he is the greatest dancer of all time! I can smoke! Fuck you! And you aren't going to write about our sex life online. Nor in a book. Period.”
“Well maybe just the virgin islands then... I mean that was an amazing moment in time... Do you remember that weekend?" [I closed my eyes for a moment and allowed myself to just look back at that weekend in my memory... it was one of those moments that you never forget... there was the night on the chaise lounge under the stars and moonlight... half awake, half asleep... time stopped.... two as one... how could i NOT write about it? I reopened my eyes and looked back at Sabine who was still sniffling...]
“I remember that we spent the whole weekend drinking and making love. And that it was beautiful. That's what I remember. And I remember that that is PERSONAL AND PRIVATE information. Not something for you to write about!” She sat back down and continued to tear and sniffle and to smoke her cigarette.
In that moment I just looked at her sitting there across the room from me... her tall thin frame twisted into a ball on the chair. So elegant and graceful still even though she was so angry with me. When girls get sad its kind of a turn on. I don't know why. Her olive skin. Her long dark curly hair. Her eyes all wet with tears... On the one hand I still find myself madly in love with her. It takes everything for me not to reach out to her, caress her, hold her, kiss her, and spend all night making love with her... how easy it would be... falling asleep... argument over... But I'm also just looking at her thinking I cannot believe we are having this conversation.
Not more than a month previously she had told me that the biggest money I was going to make was going to be when my memoirs finally came out in book form. That she was reading Eat Pray Love and that it made her think of me and how big my story would be, based on the Diaries... which is one of the reasons why I started in on this project again in the first place. From her advice!!!! From something that she said! It was just too ironic and twisted that we were sitting here arguing over something I wrote a week ago... and I was doing it based on her suggestion. A casual comment she had made. And now she was upset that I had taken her comment seriously and had started writing again.
I felt so exposed... how strange... you can have your diaries online and have that many subscribers and you're fine with it... because you don't know any of them, and if you do, they don't really talk to you about it anyway... they’re strangers...
But then when someone you know is sitting there reading your personal diaries right up there on their computer screen, you feel so exposed. Like it is this major invasion of privacy... It was something that just struck me as extremely odd. And funny. So I just let out this laugh – right in the middle of this very uncomfortable silence in the room...
“Why are you laughing?! Your such an asshole!”
“Sabine, can you please not use language like that? Why do you have to speak that way?”
“Why are you so self righteous that you are allowed to say whatever the hell you want to and I can’t? Why is that Fishy? Why aren't girls allowed to curse in front of you? Why can’t I say asshole? Huh? Asshole!” One has to remember that she still speaks with this Israeli accent so almost everything she says sounds cute and funny... even when she is serious...
“Sabine. Please. I'm serious. It's just gross. Trust me. English is not your native language so to you these are just words. But to me they strike a certain chord within me and it is not pleasing to my ears nor to my heart or stomach... Please. Just stop.”
“God, you're such an asshole Fishy. A dramatic asshole. Everything you do and say is such a contradiction!” I just sat there staring at her yelling at me. Time seemed to stop. The room got silent even though I could still see that she was still yelling at me... But I was reaching my breaking point by this time... I just wanted to leave. I couldn’t take another second of it. My insides felt so sick.
But at the same time I didn't want to abandon her either... I mean, just leave her there alone in her anguish and discomfort... it felt so unfair. So ungentlemanly-like. But the thing is I could never say anything like that to her because she is such a feminist she will think it is a chauvinist thing to say. And then she would just kick me out screaming at me. A strange situation. So I just tried to be with her and keep calming the situation down... what to do...
She was right though. My actions WERE affecting other people. I had never thought about that... well that's not true actually... I had thought about it... back in ’03 when we had to pull the Diaries down entirely for almost a full year. That was back when I was still writing with real names. My real name, Fishy, but also everyone else’s real name... it had turned into a nightmare. I couldn’t go anywhere anymore without people referring to what I was writing in the Diaries... At the time we only had 650 pages online. But we pulled them all down... Because the truth of the matter was they were affecting other people negatively... It was a real invasion of their privacy...
It took me almost a year to figure out what to do... I kept writing privately but not publicly... and for some strange reason it was killing me... I needed a solution... I had to figure out some new plan for them.... after almost a year of contemplating the matter we finally came up with the idea to incorporate the real life Transcendence Diaries into the semi-fictional book The Adventures of Fishy and make them one singular gigantic entity. I will never forget the moment I got the idea... it was dusk. The sun was setting... I was standing out in a parking lot on my phone with Princess Little Tree pacing in the parking lot back and forth trying to come up with some solution to the Transcendence Diaries dilemma... it finally occurred to me right there on the phone with Princess Little Tree...
The plan was that I would sit down for two solid weeks at my parent’s house over the Christmas holidays – I must have smoked 30 cigars out there on their back porch -- and edit all 650 pages - changing everyone’s name and image and face and personality to protect their identity. What a task. But I finished it in less than two weeks and the Diaries were back online.
So yes... I HAD experienced this before. I just forgot... But what Sabine didn't realize and even Catherine didn't understand is that the Diaries are my therapy. Sabine was busy reading each and every entry... analyzing who was who, what was said about who and all that... like she really believes they are real... but by the time I post them I totally forget about what I even wrote. It just flies out of my head. For me its over then. It means nothing. Its like some sort of voodoo therapy for me.... Some true. Some not true. Who knows.... To me it’s just writing... it’s a drug. It just has absolutely nothing to do with anything that you can sit down and analyze from a personal perspective anymore than anything else that happens in life... because in the end it is all just the human condition... the human experience... and we can’t spend our lives analyzing every detail that happens in our lives. We have to move forward. For me, writing the Diaries has been my way of getting beyond the past and constantly stay moving forward.
I could never imagine going back and reading any of it. I already told my agent “Look, I am really psyched that you are so into the Transcendence Diaries and The Adventures of Fishy projects, but you know that project isn't really going to be something I'm gonna be into... I would love if you guys take it and edit it all down and turn it into one big story with a narrative ark and all that... but that's not going to be my thing. Four or five thousand pages of memoir? No way. I'm just not interested. I'll keep writing and you just grab whatever you want and take it and publish what you want out of it and I'll trust you. And hey if we make some money even better. But for me its all about the NOW when I am writing and then baby the thrill is gone.”
And you know, that's the way good therapy should be really. In the end, if you forget what you are writing about, then that means you did your job. You exorcised those demons. They're gone. You never go back and look for demons...
Maybe one day Sabine will realize that. She didn't that night. I left her apartment a heaping mess of tangled flesh and emotion and angst and sadness and self loathing... Her too. But the following day we sort of worked it out... texting each other back and forth what we had learned about ourselves from thinking about it... I learned. She learned. That's life. I mean, why write? That's why we write isn't it?
Sunday, June 15, 2008
I mean, truth be told, I wouldn’t even be here, now, doing what I do, whatever the hell that is, in all of its various forms, without the kindness foresight organizational skills and generosity of people like Catherine Darlington, Princess Little Tree, Madelynne, Mohdie, St. Theresa, or Beaver. It is almost as if I am an expert at certain things, and just plain tone-deaf at others. Luckily music is not one of those things - this is debatable I guess. But when it comes to life, it is almost as if I'm not reading the eye-chart correctly even though I don't appear to have any obvious vision problems. But given any extended length of time in my company and just about anyone will usually come to the same contradictory and vexing conclusion: that I am at once both damn near genius and damn near retarded.
Luckily most people don't seem to mind. Bunny is one of those people. She says my retardation is bearable because I make up for it by constantly turning her onto to so many cool things that she would never know about otherwise. She also holds a contract which gives her 10 or 15 % (I can’t remember – which perfectly illustrates just how dumb I truly am) of everything I make or will ever make from my next published book. So she could just be blue-skying me. Who knows. I doubt it though. We’re close. She's good people. Just finds me an enigma and doesn’t mind telling me sometimes. Especially when it happens to affect her or her life in a negative way. But the thing is that half the time she's fucking nuts. So it’s like who is the kettle and who is the pot? And what is that but life itself?
Catherine Darlington is even worse. She, having all the grace and more than any well mannered good natured girl from the South would be expected to have, but a demanding downright fearfully intimidating willfulness that anyone has who plays at the level she plays in the Fortune 500. At that level you have to be as diligent, disciplined, vigilant, brutally honest, cut-throat, and yet politically correct all at the same time as she is or else you just aren't going to last at that high of a level in the corporate world. She is an expert at it. I would say I am just about her polar opposite. No need to go into the details of the differences.
But let us not forget that for all of my numerous successes in the corporate world, we must be reminded that it has always been MY corporate world. I have never swam in anyone else's company pool. It’s just not my thing. You can promise me ten million a year and I still wouldn’t take it if it demanded that I have to actually do anything according to anyone else's schedule but my own. that's just the way that I am. Throw in the fact that I don't like the idea of political correctness, am as truthful, sometimes painfully so, as one can get, too frank, too blunt, and just too damn naive and lost in my own world to ever make it in the corporate world unless I am running that world. Which is what I've been doing now for the last twenty years. Ms. Darlington is the exact opposite. She has jumped from one firm to another over the last twenty years of her life and with each move doubled her salary to the point where she lives a life only dreamt about by most people. It makes the American dream look like something out of mother goose or little house on the prairie. But she's done it at a great expense. She works just about harder than anyone you'll ever meet.
But none of this is really the point. The point is that she being so practical and down to earth and logical and demanding finds no end to things that I do or say that drive her absolutely crazy. why on earth she still remains one of my dearest friends is beyond me. Certainly a fan of my work, but that doesn’t mean that she has to call me friend. Over the last twenty years I've had all sorts of investors, many of whom I've never even met. They just see a good thing when they see a good thing and if they can make money from it they're smart enough to throw money in its direction so they can reap the rewards of it. Many I've never been friends with. But I've always been lucky in that. Money flying at me from all over the place based on my ideas.... it’s gotta be something in the stars and planets... you know, something astrological. I was just born that way. And many people are. And many aren't. And that is that.
But Catherine Darlington doesn’t give a shit if she ever makes a dime from her investments in my various ventures. And quite frankly neither does Princess Little Tree or the Big Man in Black or Madelynne O'Ryan or that investor down in Guatemala, God what is her name? Vida de Paz – what a sweet soul. And neither does Eunice Fortunada, a long time investor in my projects since 1995 from Brasil. Years now. And more than that, they really want to be friends with me, and I don't think its ever been about money. At least for some. Catherine said to me the other day in regards to all of these different projects that I have going on right now, “I couldn’t care less about how much I make from them. I just want you to prosper as you always have. Ill be fine watching that.” Princess Little Tree said the same thing two days prior. And the Big Man in Black said to me, I'll have to paraphrase here, but it was something to the effect of “Fishy, I've made very little from you and I've managed you for almost twenty years my friend. But I swear to God that before I diiiiiieeeeeee,” and he really did stress this last word out like that, as he always does when trying to prove a point that he believes is very important “the world will know about you and your musical genius if it’s the last thing that I do my friend.”
“Well thank you man,” I said. “you know how much me and the boys appreciate all your work over the years. I mean, we try hard. You know. and its nice how much you like our music.”
“But this isn't just about your music Fishy. There are plenty of artists out there who are fucking great. Not necessarily in the same vein that you are, but I'm talking about because you are a good person. You are an honest person. and you are a man of integrity. If you don't mind me calling you a man,” he laughs. “I know how sensitive you are about your age Mr. peter fucking pan over there.” He knows it’s a touchy subject.
“Nah, you can call me whatever you want. That's what managers do. look. I know I'm not a man. at least not yet. So that's all that matters.” We both laughed our asses off for a few seconds. “But seriously, thanks for all your kind words Big Man. I'm serious. Thank you.”
“I'm serious Fishy. I have a good feeling about this next month or two. We are going to see you rise in a way that we have only dreamed of.... and I don't even care that I don't have a contract with you guys. This project I am doing for God and for justice.”
He was referring to the fact that as our band is about to release three albums this year, and it looks like it may be on three different labels, our contract with him expired years ago, and he has never even bothered to ask to renew it. Now that's trust. That is something that you cannot buy. You simply have turned into that kind of a person over the years or you haven't. And I can honestly say that I didn't even wince while he was speaking. it didn't boost my ego. But it also didn't make me feel all goose-pimply of uncomfortable either. if anything it just made me feel proud. Cause quite honestly I have worked my ass off on trying to be a good person. I mean, I wasn't born a good person. So I really had to work at. Some people, like Little Tree or Catherine Darlington, they're just born good people. Me, I was born with demons flying out of my ass and all sorts of problems. It took me years to settle into myself and gain control over who I was showing up as... so it was nice to hear that the big guy was that committed to our success, not just because he loves our music but more from just a place of wanting to do right by us because he liked us as people. That was a good feeling.
So yes. Ms. Darlington on the other hand is just always seeming on the verge of going mad from one thing or another that I do. And I am indebted to her for so many things as a friend. I mean one time a few years ago she said something to me like “Well sweetie, I'm the closest family you’ve got in this town so yeah you better care what I say and listen when I give you advice.” I think this was in response to some smart ass comment I made to the effect that she treated me like my mom or something and why was she always giving me advice all the time. that I could handle shit on my own. Thing is, she was right. I was reaching a point where I couldn’t handle it all on my own, and she was right there to help pick me up and see that I got back on my feet. Just like family does for each other.
So yeah she's pretty hard on me. People are always surprised to learn that my day to day work is actually taken directly form spreadsheets that she designs each week and passes out to me so I stay on task and achieve all the dreams I want to achieve in my life. again, that's not something you can buy. Someone that special in your life. That's just plain dumb luck, or perhaps its just working real hard at being a good person. But either way, I pretty much always do what she says. Cause she hasn’t let me down yet. But I sure seem to let her down plenty. The other day for example when I yelled at her at dinner with my mouth full of food which she hates “who the hell else do you know that goes to bed at five am when the sun is rising and the birds are chirping and then sets his alarm clock for 8am and wakes up three hours later?! How much harder can I work Catherine?”
“Well sweetie no one is doubting that you aren't working hard. But I just don't think that you are working smart. Answer me this, since you're so smart. Who the hell else as you say works as hard as you do on two non-profit projects and a million other projects that don't actually make him any money but does it for the “sake of art” and can’t even afford to buy food for themselves?”
“yeah, good point. I guess I do sort of go off on my tangents don't I?”
“And they're all noble goals Fishy. No one can take that away from you. But you need to bring it down a notch, let go of some of the fifty projects that you are working on right now and focus on the ones that are going to bring in actual money. Can you see that? how do you expect to ever get married and have children if you can’t even afford to do your own laundry?”
“Well I figure my wife will just do my laundry...” I replied but I was joking.
“With WHAT money sweetheart?” she asked in that sexy Southern drawl of hers.
“Yeah good point. Look, Catherine I hear you. Everyone’s been saying the same thing to me... so I hear you. I'm going to ease up on stuff here and focus in on just money making projects now. I promise.”
“Well you better. Because I don't know how much longer anyone can stand watching you live this way. I don't know how YOU can stand it honestly.”
Now to be honest and set the record straight here for newer readers we have to point out that at this point in our saga Fishy has been for a number of years already and is still actually a wealthy man who just happened to have been jilted our of his fortune by his former fiancé, Cleopatra Ecstasy, and her new husband, a shady character at best who goes by the name of Flyboy and practices criminal defense law as his occupation. Talk about Cleo jumping from one extreme to the other... but back on point. So despite all the “struggling artist talk” it is important to note that Fishy is actually sitting on a considerable sum of money being temporarily held in a court system battle that's dragged on for three long miserable years for the old boy.
He doesn’t mind living in the gutter so to speak because he is well aware of his considerable fortune and considers this part of his life an important if not essential learning and growing phase. Which indeed it has been. We have watched him slowly transform from an almost blindly materialistic, international traveling, jet-setting, big spending playboy, to a downright humble, relatively manageable, spiritually centered, honest to goodness do-gooder for the sake of do-gooding man of integrity in less than three years. And one could easily argue that we may have never been fortunate enough to witness this sublime transformation in our hero had it not been for Cleopatra and her wicked deceptions – as heinous as they may have been. There is purpose in all things if we care to sit quietly and observe all things.
The point is that for all his crying wolf, Fishy isn't lawfully impoverished – he's just temporarily flat broke with not more than a penny to his name (as of today that is. He does in fact have ONE penny in his pocket and that is really it) And for the reasons noted above and below he seems not to care at all most of the time but just keeps on working day to day with what many consider an illogical carefree and chipper attitude about life in general despite his apparently impoverished circumstances.
What else would explain a man who while walking down Broadway is approached by a beggar who asks him for a dollar and then reaches into his pocket, mumbles "well let's see what we've got..." pulls out two bills – a twenty and a one and says to the beggar “Here, this is all I have to my name. You take the twenty. I'll keep the one. You need it more than I do.” “May God bless you son,” the beggar says and they both mosey along in opposite directions into the New York night. More enigmatically, our hero literally with now only having one dollar to his name seems legitimately more happy than he was two minutes prior to giving away all he had left in the world but one dollar bill.... There is no explaining this. Trust me, I've tried. I unfortunately have to live with Fishy. And i can tell you that sometimes it just isn't easy sometimes to understand his motives or his m.o.
Except for the fact that he is in fact quite well-off. That is, if Cleopatra eventually wakes up, gets honest, follows the law, plays by the rules and gives him his money back. Point made. But an important one. Because there ARE artists out there in the world, hundreds of thousands of them, who truly are flat broke and really truly flat broke. And it isn't fair to play Fishy off as being in that same coveted category of geniuses, madmen, magicians, artists, wizards, nuns, priests, humanitarians, do-gooders, activists, et al... at least not yet anyway.
But let us also bear in mind that Cleopatra Ecstasy is every bit as evil and unpredictable as she is beautiful. So at this point in the story we aren't sure what will happen between the two of them.
We do know this much though. Cleopatra owns three homes, several of which are still in Fishy’s name, drives around in a Mercedes convertible, spending his money freely and with wild abandon while pawning herself off as a successful business person, while Fishy shuffles through the streets and subways of New York City flat broke doing his best to pawn himself off as a struggling artist. Both of them are in reality pretending to a certain degree to be what they are not. An odd contradiction. And an interesting sub-plot that speaks volumes about the anomalies inherent in the human condition.
“You see Catherine, the thing that I need you to understand, and I'm not trying to undermine what you are saying at all, I mean, I hear what you're saying, and I agree, but the thing is that I've always been this way. And as you know, I've always made it. I mean, I've always been successful. I just have a different way of going about it. Like if I were an army general. I just don't attack the enemy from the front line. I sort of take all my men and we all split up and head in different directions and for a few days or weeks or months even we may not see each other, and we may even feel like we are lost.
“But one day we all come charging into the center towards the enemy and surprise the hell out of them and we meet back in the middle completely victorious having surprised and slaughtered the enemy while they were asleep. And that's how I do life too. It might take me two months to write this damn first chapter of the new book, but I also happen to be writing three or four other books at the same time. Same thing with our music... I know it sounds crazy to you that we have three albums coming out this year, and another half finished at a studio down in Miami, and here I am talking about starting to record another one here in New York. But that's just the way I work. And then one day we wake up and one of our little projects takes off and then bam! It takes all the other projects with it and pretty soon we’re rolling in money. that's the way I've always done it. “
“Is it working?”
“Well not yet. but it will.”
“Well is it working now?”
“Well not right now it isn't, but I'll tell you this. I can feel it in the pit off my stomach... we’re damn close. I'm telling you right now. one day in the next month or two we are going to wake up to a Fishy explosion that will make the last twenty years of success seem like child’s play. I know what I'm doing. Trust me. I know what I'm doing.”
“Well let’s hope so. Cause I don't see any plan of action at all. all I see is a man with a lot of good ideas working himself into poor health and an early grave and not finishing anything he starts.”
“Well don't you worry. I'm real close to finishing a few different projects. and we’re going to be popping so many corks on so many Champaign bottles that you'll be sick of Champaign by the time we’re done celebrating.
“I'm not thinking about celebrating and Champaign Fishy. I'm thinking about you being able to live the life you are used to living again. And that's going to take you finishing at least one of these projects.”
Catherine wasn't saying anything I hadn't heard at least ten times in the last month truth be told. Even G2 had been recently sending me similar emails.... so I know my strategy seems a bit askew... but what choice do I have? I follow my muse. I just run with a lot of different projects at once till one hits and then I use that one’s success to carry the others and pretty soon we are in a place called “how the hell did he do all that?” My life has always been like that.
But to be fair, I have also had my share of losses too from just procrastinating too long on certain projects too. So I am aware of a real need to change my tactics a little bit. And thank God for all these amazing people in my life who care enough and are courageous enough to tell me how they see it from the outsiders perspective. Even my friends who are literary agents are going nuts. “Who the hell takes three months to finish one sample chapter? Do you have any idea what a privileged position you are in? Why can’t you just set a deadline and meet it?! For once? Just finish the freaking sample chapter and stop telling me you're writing some other book or you're too busy working on your band or some new non-profit project. I don't give a shit what else you are doing. I need you to turn in that sample chapter Fishy. Period. Got it?”
“Yeah. I got it.” So I've really been trying. Like here I am doing what? Three am in the morning and am I finishing that sample chapter? Nope. I'm just typing away in the Transcendence Diaries. why? I don't know. Maybe because its easy. Maybe because there is a glitch in my neural programming. Maybe because it feels good. Maybe because it’s the way I relax. Maybe because I think the ideas that are in my head need to be jotted down for posterity. Important stuff to remember. And maybe its because in the bigger picture I see it as an important element to our master plan.... probably a little bit of all of it.
So where we were? Yes. Right. The jury has made their decision and they have determined that I am guilty for being functional on the surface but entirely retarded and mentally challenged underneath it all and I am risking dragging a whole team of others down with me into a bottomless pit of half-finished projects and utter poverty and non-famousness. But what they don't understand, my ace in the hole, is that I am damn close to finishing many of these projects.... and then its all downhill from there.
Like Bunny tells me “Fishy when I look at your life I think two things: goddamn is that guy one lucky bastard. And two, from the outside it looks like you are this little snowball at the top of a mountain and once you get a slight push from anywhere up there, you are just going to come rolling off and continue to snowball downhill racing down that mountainside faster and faster and growing bigger and bigger. And fuck yeah if I'm not coming along for the ride!”
And my gut instinct tells me the same thing. That we will all be fine. I'm just going about things in an odd, eccentric, and confusing manner... an unconventional manner. That's all. In one fell swoop I will have finished close to twenty or more projects all at the same time. Rather than one at a time. That's just the way I do things right now.