Monday, June 16, 2008

Why we write

One of the shittiest days in recent memory to be sure. The Diaries are already causing a riot since I started posting them again and its been less than two weeks. Perhaps was not such a good idea. Problem with that conclusion is that they are already getting so popular again... the momentum building. The emails, the comments, the dialogues forming...

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 what?
“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

The wealth of unconventionality

Now I may have been the last person in the free world to realize that I am as close to being functionally mentally challenged as you can get, but still, I get that. So I'm always careful now when I do anything. Exactly for that reason. Because enough people that care about me have warned me that for all my great ideas and glimpses of genius that seem to come out of nowhere at the drop of a hat, there are still other areas in this thing called life where I am so damn innocent and naive and ignorant that I need help crossing the street half the time. And indeed there has been more than one occasion where Madelynne O'Ryan or Catherine or Cleopatra or Princess Little Tree have saved my life from just simple dumb mistakes like not looking before I cross the street. I'll be typing in my PDA or talking on the phone or something....

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 fiancĂ©, 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.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Making the switch, Finding Character, and Uncaging the tiger

Ashland, So sorry. I couldn’t finish writing to you last night.

Last night Weather Girl spent the night. I know that must sound so loaded to start off an email right? But yes it is true. I was already asleep and she called and asked if she could spend the night (she lives in NJ now so it was too late to go home and she had an appnt in the city this morning). So I made a bed for her on the couch. I was tired and she was tired so I just wrote a bit (hence my late night email last night) and then went to sleep. She woke me up this morning to say good bye and we talked for a few minutes. She is leaving tomorrow for Miami and several other biz trips. I must say, (or else why else would I be emailing you) that it WAS weird.

And YOU are absolutely right. She DOES have other girls she can talk to about that kind of stuff. So why bother talking about it with me? You know? I mean, hey I know I'm supposed to be an enlightened person... but I am also human... and I also know that I am the one who broke up... but again, I am still human... and frankly that IS a weird experience...

But I know how it is when we meet someone that we just totally LIKE or think we do. So they are all we want to talk about. AND honestly I'm glad to see her act this way. Cause I was afraid that maybe she was a robot and didn't possess those feelings. So it’s good to see her crushing like a normal human being in a way... but still...for some reason it does make my chest hurt a little. Which makes no sense cause it’s not like I look at her and think “XYZ.” Wish I did honestly. Cause I'd love for the chase to be over. But I just don't. And I can’t fake it. So why would i be bothered at all by it? Like we discussed, i don't know. Must be something primordial... because it certainly isn't conscious.

You know? So yeah it made me think about what you said. One = the time thing. Needing space away where you can let the thing totally go... meaning your feelings for the person. and 2 = it is important to know that your friends are seeing someone but you don't want to just sit there and talk about it... and she's not even seeing anyone. God, I think about poor Sabine... how she must have felt... what was she doing???? Being friends with ME during that time??? I mean, that must have just been pure pain for her... what a saint.

Honestly Ash, I just think when we like someone, you see, we would rather talk to them or be with them than not. So even if they ARE seeing someone else... we still sit there and listen to them talk about the other person... which is totally masochistic. Really. So yeah that was kind of masochistic for Sabine. What she should have done is just STOP talking to me for a while so she didn't have to be reminded of it...

(but I bet that hurts too... that “wondering what they're doing now” thing” – have you ever been there? I have. that sucks too. It’s a catch 22.)

Well this is good practice for me. Weather Girl says to me “Fishy, I'm really glad you took the time to work on your whole Cary Grant thing...” (an inside joke...) Meaning that she was glad that I was such a gentleman when we first dated... (I wait like six to eight weeks before I even kiss a girl. Crazy right? I know. But I can’t help it. That's just how I was raised.) And then now. How I just act like her friend/brother and don't say any negative stuff and I try to be a good guy and sit and listen to her talk about how she likes this guy X... Which I might add = thank God – because I would always rather have it that way rather than the opposite way, where the girl is just going nuts for you but you don't like her, because that sucks. You know?

Hey welcome to the Transcendence Diaries btw! If I've written this much to you via email that means that chances are this will end up somewhere shoved in between some pages... or else I wouldn’t be writing this much to you cause I'm too FREAKING BUSY right now with other books!

Point is that when she left I thought to myself, “good job old boy. You're a good kid. You did well. You're a good friend. And you handled yourself alright too.” and I even checked with myself and I felt fine.

Ashland, so then I got up and was walking around. Waiting for coffee to arrive actually... Bunny is bringing me some. And I thought about you. I wonder if perhaps because you come off so much older than your age if that's it... you know? I mean, you must have had tons of guys going nuts over you in school. One would assume. (these are all questions I wondered while knowing you the last few years.) But you have this air of properness that is so off-putting to most guys that I bet they were just always too scared to make a move on you.... and I bet your standards are really high.

(well don't we all have high standards? But some of us more than others.) You see, what you DON'T yet know is that I was raised the same way YOU were... but I was the rebel of the bunch and took off to live the wild bohemian life and did my best to attempt to strip all that off of me throughout my wild college years and twenties... So I give off this air of being this crazy wild guy but I have these really high standards and only go out with girls from “the best” families etc... a very off-putting contradiction to most girls. Trust me. And frankly it CAN foul things up because I've been with some of the finest girls there are in the world, but I have this ridiculous yardstick I measure them with... and often times have to let them go simply because I am waiting for Mrs. Right. And she has to be absolutely perfect...

One of the most beautiful girls I ever dated is known as the Italian Stallion. Now remember we are in the Diaries already here. But she is “forget about it gorgeous.” And she was cool. But she said a bad word and I broke up with her. And she couldn’t believe that I was breaking up with her for that... she still doesn’t actually. But I just had to... I mean, I could never bring a potty mouth home to mom if you know what I mean... it just made my stomach church... too bad. But because of the way I was raised I have these crazy high standards....

You see, that may answer a question as to why out of all the girls, I ended up with Weather Girl for a brief spell there... I know people were like “what the hell? He’s going out with WHO??!!!” But truth is, those are the kind of girls I go out with. I just feel more comfortable with them...

But I learned a lot from that experience. A LOT. I learned that I have to ease up on that whole prim and proper thing and let the right girl come in regardless of how she was raised... hence my slight and short lived attraction to Red if you remember that one... you see normally I would never go out with a girl like that. Simply because she doesn’t come from the same side of the tracks. Regardless of how snobby that sounds. It was actually a real stage of growth for me as a person. I realized that you can’t just date a girl cause she DOES come from the right side - like Weather Girl, and then not have much in common and make all these compromises in your head and heart... So I got that. And hence decided that I would open my mind to other girls... and instead of looking for the right side of the tracks I would look for the right heart...

And then I just realized that I am really just waiting for REAL LOVE to strike... like everyone else. Regardless of who the girl is.... the kind that we see in the movies... and well, some people tell you that you’re a dreamer and that's just the movies... but I for one actually believe otherwise... perhaps there is that ONE person for each of us, and I just haven't met her yet. Or else I'd be married already.

Perhaps the same thing with you. You just haven't found Mr. Right. Assuming there is such a thing...

But I'll give you some thoughts for you. From the objective sidelines as a guy. You ready for this?
Say yes. Or stop reading now. Your choice. Red pill or blue pill. It’s your choice Neo.

For one thing, because you do act in “that certain way.” (I recognize it because I grew up in Palm Beach and Naples so all the girls act that way from those upper-class waspy American towns) So for most guys it’s a little off putting because they didn't grow up that way and don't know how to act around girls like that. it’s intimidating if you don't really have something BIG to fall back on and give you major confidence. I mean, hell, if you didn't meet the guy HERE in NYC where there is 14 million people.... but then again I don't know you so I don't know what was really going on... or what you were looking for... But the point is, you have to actually be open enough to give that guy room to make his move in... or else he's going to be too intimidated to do so...

But I will tell you this, once a guy gets to know you, he realizes that you are actually a COOL CHICK. But you would never know it at first because you come off so straight edge at first. Got it? So then a guy’s like what? You're eating at McDonalds? How cool! (not if its everyday. But if it’s once in a while, that is totally COOL.) And other things too. So Ashland Meadows turns out to be a cool girl after all. But she just doesn’t come across that way at first because she is still living through that filter of “the way I was raised...” (wow is that o.k. to even say that to a person? well if Fishy cannot say it then who can, right?)

But you know, a guy does want a cool girl. Someone he can actually talk to and hang with and be loose with and get deep with...

Yeah. Well for what's its worth, that's my two cents. I didn't get to know Ashland Meadows too well. Only a little. And it was really only towards the end that I got to spend enough quality time with her that she opened up – her actual person and soul opened enough and I saw through all the etiquette and protocol -- and saw this super cool fun deep chick underneath that was there all the time. It was actually on the plane in Tangier that I really got to see it. She opened up a few times and I was very surprised. I was like “wooo. Alright. Not only is she cool and fun, but she actually does have these thoughts... I mean, like, real thoughts. It’s not just about tea and cake. Good for her.”

Does that help? well probably not. you didn't ask for help. But still. I think the world of you. I've often spent time in prayer for you. And I've often spent time contemplating just who might be the best guy for you and frankly I think there are THOUSANDS of them out there. But you just have to open up and let them know its o.k. for them to make a move. Show them that you aren't “off limits” so to speak.

So where does that leave us? Well, that was certainly a strange experience. Having Weather Girl wake me up in the middle of the night to crash for the night and then wake me up in the morning to talk about how she should handle this thing with this guy. But it actually just made me feel stronger. More mature. Like, o.k. old boy you really want to grow up and walk your talk? Here's a great one for you. Watch this: BAM!

Can you keep your cool? Can you remain selfless? Can you let go of your “guyness” – that wildcat who just lives for the moment? AND your ego? And can you really be the gentlemen that you were not only raised to be but that your friends, especially your girlfriends, want and expect you to be? And just be there for another person AND act on your true feelings rather than act on some imaginary evolutionary feelings that crop up here and there non-deliberately?

Well it turns out that I can. And I did.

That would have actually been a great ending to a chapter. But just allow me this as a prologue. Here's the thing that I realized from it. We’re there on the bed. She's talking. And I'm still lying there half asleep. I'm not even bothering to open my eyes. And I realized that somewhere there is a switch that takes place. Where we switch from still having feelings for someone to not having those feelings anymore. And even though we might reach that place called “I already know I don't want to be with this person in the long run anymore,” we can still have FEELINGS for them... that attraction is still there. Those underlying curious feelings of “what ifs?”

So we have to allow ourselves time to make that total switch. Or else, as you said, it WILL drag on, even though in the bigger picture we don't want it to... So moments like this morning are sort of dangerous... because if that switch is not totally made yet, then we are still taking the risk of everyone getting hurt or being confused. But if you are strong enough to stay true to how you really feel and what you really believe is best for both of you, then regardless of what might be happening, then you CAN remain TRUE and FAITHFUL to your highest goals for that situation. It just takes strength of character. Yeah. Something like that.

The final chapter – That moment of epiphany strikes:

I just got this major hit! Wow. I was in the kitchen adding protein powder to my coffee. (you didn't know this but alas it is true) I know. It sounds gross. It’s actually a great way to save two birds with one net. And doesn’t taste half bad either. Bachelors without a full-time housekeeper and cook are a dangerous thing. I know this fact intimately. We fall victim to the most dreadful solutions when confronted with such a fate, however temporary.

So -- not to jump back and forth but hey what fun is there in being the composer of a giant five thousand plus page magnum opus such as this one if you can’t just do whatever the hell you want to?

So yes I was stirring this powder into the coffee and I was thinking to myself, "just what the hell am I even doing writing to Ashland Meadows in the first place." And then deeper, “what is it? What IS the message you have for her?” And then it came to me....

Ashland Meadows my suggestion to you is to open up more. Let guys know that you actually are fun and cool and free and actually a bit wild underneath all that. Cause here's my guess about you. (And since I am after all creating you in the first place, sort of, I should know.) But here it is: YOU really want to go off more. Like you sort of are longing to go off the beaten path a bit more.

But the guys that are attracted to you or who feel comfortable enough to ask you out are all super straight edge. But you have this wild side that is longing for something wilder, some real action. Some adventure. Or else let’s face it, as most girls from your group, you would have already settled into something. But you haven't. And why? Because while yes there is this whole “Stepford Wife/Brie from Desperate Housewives” thing going... underneath that is this wild girl who wants to jump into a convertible and drive a hundred and fifty miles an hour down some wide causeway on a small island with water on both sides screaming and singing out loud at the top of your lungs to the music playing. And that's just the start of it.

I mean, my true guess would be that you just haven't met any guys who are totally insane enough to totally capture that wild side of you. Even though you have probably met plenty of guys who fit in other ways. But especially if they always let you call all the shots. Then yeah you're fine in the moment but you aren't being swept off your feet. You need someone like Richard Branson. Someone who is really going to take you on a ride. And I'm not just talking physically. Like “where are we going?” “I have no idea, but lets go!” That kind of stuff, sure. But also someone who is going to take you on a ride mentally and emotionally too. Someone who is really going to be a trip for you and intoxicate your mind and your heart and your soul in a way that is totally unconventional. Because underneath all that fine china is this tiger who is waiting to be tamed. But you can’t tame a tiger if the tiger never even comes out from its cage. So yes, Ashland Meadows is in fact a tiger waiting to be loosed from her cage. But she needs to meet a man who is going to bring that out in her.

More but my fingers are tired.

Find that tiger within Ashland. And let guys know its there. Let out a few growls now and then. Ha! Why wait forever? Half the reason why you are so afraid of settling down is because you are afraid of trapping the tiger within. The tiger doesn’t want to be caged. So marriage scares the hell out of you. (yeah I know) And why wouldn’t it? Because if you really are a tiger then no you aren't going to want to be tied down “forever” to anyone or anything or anywhere. But you have to let that tiger out NOW. Now that I am thinking about it... my intuition tells me that you are fighting inside against this mild but still totally crazy tiger wild woman who isn't going to let you tie yourself down... but at the same time you haven't met anyone who has brought out that wild woman in the first place... So it sort of sits dormant. Waiting. But at the same time it also doesn’t let you settle down either. So you're always on the move.

But the sort of sad truth is that a woman as amazing as you, and I am creating Ashland Meadows to be one of the most dazzling heroines of this entire series, - in fact you have no idea of her fate as I do... - should not be waiting, nor should she be always on the move either... she needs to be RAGING. She needs to be totally living life to its absolute fullest! She needs to be uncaged and let loose on the world.

I will await to hear the news from the frontlines. Good luck.

And hey, welcome to the Diaries.

Lost in the Matrix

Hey Brit,
Was this the show????

So this kid is just like totally into you right? So fun.

I like the skirt.

Wish I could have been there. Next time yes.

The Sweed and I should do a show together. We’ll pack the place. Charge ten bucks per head at the door and spend the cash on drugs and prostitutes later that night.

Did I just say that? Whoops. LOL!

Enjoy this beautiful weather till we get a chance to hook up.

O.k. from here on out we’re in the Transcendence Diaries world so read on or just hit delete cause you know that you-as-Britney are like a character and thus almost more of a tool than a real person.... not that you aren't real, because you quite obviously are, and yet at the same time you are also a character, just as I am... people don't understand that. But some do. They think I am Fishy. They get confused. But you get it.

Yeah, so here are those lyrics. I really like this song. melody and lyrics. Been on a real kick. Little T and I have written 10 songs in the last five weeks. He pounds out lyrics like there’s no more tomorrow and I put them to music. So we are going into the studio to record a new solo album with these songs and a few others I told you about... not that we have a need for a new solo album. But there are no rules regarding any of this anyway. So the more the merrier.

But this song (my song by the way, before I started collaborating with T) means/meant a lot to me cause I wasn't just writing a song. I was actually trying to say something, but wanted to say it in a song... rather than just “write a song” (which is what we do a lot of the time...) But I actually sat down with this intention... I believe I was more like pacing actually like with that in my heart... and was lucky enough to actually be able to sit down and create something really pretty from that intention. Which is just so awesome when that can happen.

Of course, we also have to realize that with all things in the arts there is this fine line between what is truth and what is beauty or art for the sake of beauty or art.... and I think that now, we, meaning WE, have come to that, we get where that fine line is... you know, with you, I'm sort of sitting on the fence just watching from the sidelines... a smile on my face. A proud fan, a loving admirer, a protective brother, a noble knight in waiting in case there’s any action or trouble. A piece of hay-straw in my mouth and a smooth looking cowboy hat tipped just right... Just watching the mayhem from the sidelines. Quite a show.

In the song, it’s a vulnerable place to come from, to write it, and then to admit it, but I mean every word of it, and yet I'm also aware that I don't necessarily, because I'm also a professional writer. I mean, that's what I do. More than anything else. I write. So part of it is just writing a song... which is that fine line that even we the writers can never quite figure out where it is, let alone the people who happen to cross our paths...

I'm not dying inside or anything... I wonder if you have any idea what I'm talking about here? I think if there is anyone in the world who would know what I mean, it would be you. So yeah, I'm going to assume that you do. Like, hey, here's another song. But don't worry. I'm not in pain or anything. I just felt this once and sat down and said “I'm going to turn this feeling into a song.” and out it came. (it was actually more like “I NEED to turn this into a song!” Which is where all the great songs come from... that absolutely dire NEED to put something into song form.... that's where the best songs come from.)

I think it came from that feeling of frustration that I was feeling a few months back when I felt like we weren't communicating as much as I wanted us to. (which is totally selfish I know)... but I was just like “God, I would do anything to be closer to her...” like that... you know. But then you have to ask yourself “well why?” I mean “why? What IS your motivation?” and I'm like, I don't know. Just because. I guess. Wow. Good question. I guess I never thought about that... I just feel it. Maybe just to see what's there. Maybe because I know that you understand everything that I say. That you actually have the capacity to understand what I'm talking about. and that's rare. I mean, it was right there. From that very first moment we met. It was in the space that surrounded us. It was understood. It was in our eyes. It was laughable. I believe we laughed a lot that day. From the knowing. From the absurdity of the circumstances.

Even though as time passes you freak me out sometimes and surprise the hell out of me. But I still get that when we DO connect that it’s as deep as we care to go... there is no limit to the potential for depth. Which again, is just so freaking rare in this world because lets face it we still live in a world where most people live their entire lives caught in the Matrix and aren't even aware of it. Most people are sheep. Just totally deaf dumb and blind. They just don't have a freaking clue. And this isn't being negative. Sometimes people ask me “why are you so negative?” But I'm not being negative by simply saying out loud what a few know and most don't. I'm not out in the streets yelling it from a soapbox. I'm just passing it in a note in the middle of the night to a close and trusted compatriot.

I sat in a room the other day with a small group of ten or so and there were people there in their twenties, thirties, forties, even fifties, and not one of them knew what “organic” meant. Not one of them knew how absolutely horrendous factory farming is or how dangerous or how inhumane or how unhealthy it is... none of them. They spoke about it as if it were some sort of secret knowledge. And this is pretty common stuff. We weren't discussing the Illuminati or the Freemasons or anything esoteric. You know? And these are all college educated and graduated people. People with “degrees.” [Which from an artists perspective, from the wizard’s perspective, you know, is another one of those first signs of someone not “Knowing” capital K knowing. When they are the type that fall into the “need to get that degree” group – which is an amazing paradigm in and of itself – to actually deliberately indoctrinate oneself in order to receive something that you can then use to join the herd – what Timothy Ferris calls the “slave, save, retire too old to enjoy it” crowd.

So I'm sitting there dumbfounded because these are all great people. And super good at what they do. But they just don't have a clue about the most important things in life... there was another event where I came to realize they didn't even know who Ram Dass was... can you imagine? One of the most important figures in the history of the evolution of human thought and no one in the room knows who he is. And then they all start talking about how important can “organic” really be? since “none of it has really been proved” and “there's no science behind it” and “well if it were really important “then the government would tell us something about it...”

At this point I go into slight shock but try not to show it. Right? I mean. These are all friends.... But I'm thinking to myself, have these people never read a book about history? Ever? Do they know absolutely nothing about human history? Do they not realize that “governments” of the world have NEVER told the “people” anything remotely helpful or informative in ten thousand years of human history. In fact that it is just the opposite? That they consider it part of their job to do just the opposite – to tell the people the exact opposite of the truth or what's really going on? (reminds one of that famous quote by Hitler – something to the effect of “It is easier to lie to the people than to tell them the truth. They will believe you more easily if you lie to them.” That's why you only hear about “asbestos” or “DDT poisoning” or “lead paint” or “Phen Phen” after it has already killed millions of people. That's how you can assassinate a president with ten bullets and blame a guy who only shot two and then immediately assassinate him too - so he can’t speak up for himself - and “the people” still believe you.

Precisely because they are so indoctrinated to only believe what they are told. Since we were children, that is how we were indoctrinated. From infancy. All humans. No matter where you are born. If you are human. That's how you can tell those same people that JER killed MLK even though the forensic evidence showed that the bullets IN MLK that killed him didn't actually come from the same kind of gun that JER had -- but the people don't even notice this... by then they are already onto the next story because they got their answer and they’ve moved on to talking about Gwen’s new baby or whatever... and because “well that's what the government said....” You know in that particular case, even MLK’s own wife and family SUED the US government to get JER freed from prison because they knew he didn't kill MLK? I mean, that's about as obvious as you can get. And then just before he died one of the men who actually was on that team hired to assassinate MLK actually came out and admitted to the press that he was "one of the men who did it" and that it was a CIA job and that JER didn't do it but was only “set up” just as he claimed.

And yet if you walk up to ten people tonight and ask them “who killed martin Luther King?” all ten will tell you “James Earl Ray.” And not one of them will realize that they are lying. Cause the truth is that they aren't lying. They just aren't telling the truth. And that's because they’ve been taught from a very early age to speak what they're told to, not what is true.

And so I was aghast this particular night. But not obviously so. Cause you gotta keep your cool when you're with people like that because insulting them by pointing out what they don't know never helps a soul. So I was just playing it cool, trying to appreciate them for who they are and what they mean in my life.... and from a cultural-study perspective I just found it absolutely fascinating. And I started asking myself “So what DO these people know about? You know? We all have the same number of hours in the day. So you have to spend that time doing something... and these are all relatively “smart” people – meaning that there is nothing genetically abnormal with their brains, so they do have the same amount of time and the same intelligence capacity as those few that are on the outside of the Matrix...

So if they don't know about all the important things in life, then what DO they know about? I was fascinated by this thought for some time as I sat there listening to them. But then I get on the subway and I pass by one of those little bodega type newsstands and I see all the covers of the hundreds of newspapers and magazines that the masses gobble up each week and there it was again, you know, the same answer... it wasn't as if I hadn't already come to the same conclusion before. I mean, we all have. At least those of us who have thought about such things.

You see stories about so and so’s new baby, or so and so’s new boy-toy and such and such team just won such and such championship... and you realize that people can actually name you all the names of the college basketball teams in the country and yet they don't know about organic food or factory farming or who killed their own president... and with basketball in particular we’re talking about human lab-rats or laboratory experiment subjects running back in forth hundreds of times in a row on a little square in order to throw a little ball into a small hoop, just like rodents in a lab experiment. I mean this is about as primitive and caveman-like as it gets... this is precisely how one million Iraqi people can be murdered in five years and the “people” of the government doing the murdering can be totally in the dark about it. They watch the lab rats running back and forth and picking up the cheese and putting it into the hoop hundreds of times while hundreds of thousands of their fellow humans are murdered and they tell themselves "don't think about. just try not to think about it. there's nothing we can do about it anyway, so just watch the rats running back and forth... it's safer that way."

Same thing with eastern Asia and the whole Vietnam mass murder. Three and half million people murdered by this same small group of people. And not only are most of “the people” hypnotized into believing that “this is o.k. There must be a reason for it. It is too horrifying to think about so I will watch something else on television,” but the ones that do recognize that there is something terribly wrong with it are unable to do anything about it because they can never get enough of the masses on their side to take any action.

And now we have the poor soul trapped in the body known as "Robert McNamara" - who was one of the masterminds behind the whole thing - finally coming out of the closet over the last ten years because he realizes he is getting old and is going to die soon and wants to clear his conscience and so he has written this book and made all these documentaries and movies and does all these lectures all over the world trying to explain to the people how illegal and inhumane the whole act was and how many lies the government told and how totally utterly heinous the whole thing was and how sorry he was for doing it.... and for the most part "the people” don't even want to hear about it, let alone learn anything from it in regards to how that same thing is happening again right now in our own time...

People ask me sometimes how come one of my best friends in the city is a 15 year old kid - (who btw has been one of my best friends since he was 11) But the answer is obvious. Cause the guy is a freaking genius. There is nothing he doesn’t understand or have the capacity to understand. You know? I mean, he's that smart. So it’s easy. I don't have to dumb down to talk to him. He's a mile or two ahead of me in some cases already.... already teaching me things... its amazing really. I don't know if I've met anyone so smart before in real life. He's just that smart, intelligent, educated, informed, ahead of the pack. The poor kid. He has to show up for “school” each Monday and listen to all the kids talk about this team or that team and how they won or lost some “game” or how they talk about playstation or Xbox or guitar hero or the newest Hollywood blockbuster or whatever and he's just sitting there dumbfounded because he just spent the weekend reading “confessions of an economic hitman” or Cornell West or Noam Chomsky and he can’t communicate with his own peers at all. And of course they can tell... so he isn't that popular. He's a total outcast. He calls me everyday. He has to. He tells me I'm his lifeline to the real world because there is no one else out there that he has access to yet that is on his level except for me. I assure him that as he gets older he will meet more like us. There are people in the world who “Know.” It will just take you time to meet them....”

And trust me, it isn't easy to be friends with a 15 year old. So I've gone to prayer before and asked “lord if its cool I'd be just as happy not having to talk to him all the time. I humbly await your reply.” And each time I hear this voice back in my head very clearly say “You were put in his life for a purpose. Imagine if you would have been so lucky yourself... to have someone such as yourself as a guide and mentor when you were his age?” because I had the same problem growing up. “So Fishy if you don't mind I would appreciate if you remain in his life and do your best to be a positive role model and a guide for him. One day he will not need you. He will find a girlfriend and friends his own age, and you my friend just might be surprised how much you miss him... but for now I ask that you stay in his life until that time comes.” So I stick around and I let him call me everyday and try to be there for him and frankly I learn a lot from him anyway so it’s cool. I mean, imagine that, “I learn a lot from him anyway...” Funny. But it’s true. He's that smart. Just way over the top smart compared to the rest of us.

So what does that have to do with you dear Britney? Well I guess really what it comes down to is that there are very few of us out there. You know, Bunny told me the other day, “You're my only real friend that I can really communicate with in New York. I have friends here. But you're the only person that I've met so far who is on my level and so I pine for you when you're not around.” And that sucks for her. You know. I'm glad things worked out the way they did and we had a chance to meet cause she is totally one of us. She really KNOWS. She's young. But she KNOWS. She's a Buddha already. I'm lucky in that I am now old enough where I have a lot of aligned companions all over the earth who are on our level.... so I don't feel like Bunny does. I have you and Tuesday and the Flow Coach and so many even right here in New York City. And so many more all over the earth now that I'm fine. I have a very strong team of aligned companions. But yeah, so because you and I do share that, of course I was jonesing to be closer to you. Always have. Always will.

Truth be told I get more out of one “Hey” from you on the phone than I can get out of a half hour conversation with many others. Just in the depth of your “hey” and the reminder it gives that “there are more of us out there...” When things seem weird... go off a bit, I think of you. And it brings me comfort that you are out there. That we are out there.

Something like that. So I think that's where the song came from. Glad you like it.

Stay you so I can keep writing more.


I would do most anything to get/be closer to you
Yeah I would do most anything to get/be closer to you

I’ll try to be strong for you
I'll keep on writing songs for you
Don't know where I'd belong in this world
It’s true, without you

Repeat chorus

I'll stop by the church for you
Try to heal your pains and hurts for you
Lord knows I've tried to flirt with you
It’s true. I'd do anything for you.

Repeat chorus

I'd give up all my kicks for you
Stop turning midnight tricks for you
If I could get one kiss from you
I'd be happy. It’s true.

Repeat chorus

I'll hammer at the gods for you
Try to make friends with your pa for you
I'll get down on my knees and pray
Everyday for you.

Fade out on chorus

Classic. Love it! Very happy with this one.

And indeed happy that you allowed me to use you as a sort of a racquetball court back wall to shoot out a few quick pages. I am happy to be back in the Transcendence Diaries again. It’s been a while. But it feels good.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Lord Increase My Faith

Well I think its good sometimes to be kept up to date and notified now and then how those little actions we take effect those around us... to lift a thought from one of your long but not lost past sermons... made all the more ironic (or more coincidental) since this particular update is to you and about you and for you.

“My aren't we being evasive Fishy...” he comments and smiles that smile that so many have come to love. “Is there a point might I ask?”

“Yes there is. And no, no sir not at all. I'm sorry. It’s just because I'm knee deep in this ‘book writing mode’ as you know... so even my day to day conversation has turned into this weird sort of... well, book writing style, a novelistic approach... right down to my daily speech and even in my emails! It’s crazy I know. So let me get to the point. Because I do think it is important and actually interesting. At least to some it might be,” I answer. “And it might actually be helpful and inspiring to some.... Or so I thought as I was walking home this afternoon and reminded myself to email you about it.”

“O.k. I'm game. Fire away,” he replies. And I do.

O.k. so to get to the point, what I decided to do after that one sermon where you encouraged everyone to pray to ask God “lord increase my faith” I decided to add it to my own personal morning “recurring alarm” in my pda – you know, the one that wakes me up each day. Now of course I can add to it or take things away from it whenever I please but every morning these are the first words I see... so I fill this particular recurring alarm with very powerful words and images of faith or inspiration usually.

At one point in the last six months I added to the very top of this particular alarm in all caps “LORD INCREASE MY FAITH.” based on this sermon.

And then what I decided to do was start my day like that, immediately go into prayer – that prayer. And then jump up. Within a very short time I decided to start snoozing it for exactly two hours. and each time it went off, no matter where I was or what I was doing I go right back into that prayer. No matter what or where. Important. and then I snooze it again for another two hours. and I continue to do that all day long till I go to sleep. The last one might go off at 5am depending on how late I stay up or what I time I finally hit that bed. So in your average day I have prayed that prayer anywhere from 8 to 12 times.

So this began a few months ago... sometimes I might be on the phone when it goes off. In fact, oftentimes I am on the phone when it goes off, or in a meeting, so I have no more time in that moment than a few seconds to close my eyes and feel the Divine within me and around me and whisper “Lord increase my faith. Lord help me to increase my faith. Thank you, thank you. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.”

What is interesting is that the more you do it the easier it becomes and the more you look forward to it and of course the closer you feel to God/the Divine. After some time of it you might start to find that you are really feeling God or “God’s presence” in your life all the time... as if you are living in It, as if you and he/she/it are connected... as if you have this special bond... as if he/she/it is looking forward to it as much as you are... as if he/she/it is right there in you and all around you/us all the time anyway and thus all you are doing is reminding yourself to open up to that and become aware of it once again in each new moment...

Another thing you might notice is that as you pray this same prayer repeatedly like this – essentially turning it into a mantra – something that not only becomes part of you, but actually has a tangible and palpable effect on you mentally and physically – as mantras often do, and should – that the words, the ideas behind the words begin to bring questions up... questions such as “what am I praying for exactly? Am I asking this “God idea” to increase my faith for me? Or am I simply asking he/she/it to ‘help me’ increase my faith? And more, “increase my faith in what? What am I really asking for? Increase my faith in what? In God? In myself? In “faith” itself?” And on and on it goes... eventually you begin to realize that those four words pack a pretty powerful punch because they can take you on quite a ride if you let them. If you just flow with that mantra and allow whatever words to flow out of your mouth that happen to want to come out, you really can get carried away. It can if you let it become an easy path to an enlightened state.

Because I am now doing this 8 to 10 times a day, there are some times luckily where I might be free in that moment so I will stand up and raise my arms and hands up into the air and give it some time and really pray it “Lord increase my faith. Lord increase my faith. Increase my faith in you. Increase my faith in general. Increase my faith in myself. Help me to increase my faith in the path that I am on. Lord help me to increase my faith in magic. In everything that we read about and are led to believe. Lord take me beyond believing and into pure knowing. Increase my faith that you are here, right here, all around us, inside of us...”

And on and on it goes. Truly no end to it. A few minutes with each session is enough to get you reconnected, put a smile on your face, and a sense of calm and power, certainty and centeredness in your heart. Snooze it for another two hours. And off I go with my day.

Just thought I would share. I have no idea if that particular sermon holds or held any significance to you. Nor where it came from or where it is leading you or others. But this is where it has led me over the course of the last six months. I have had a lot of fun with it. And by God it just may be working.

As always thank you for what you do.

See you soon,

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Easy to say, easier to know, but hard to feel sometimes

What a day. Granted that after yesterday’s unexpected visitation from no less than Tobias Guess himself – after how many years now? -- not much could overshadow that puzzling and yet exhilarating event to be sure. But still... a few things to ruminate on perhaps and nothing more.

To begin with, we are still totally up in the air regarding which record company or companies are going to release the three albums we have coming out this year. My entire day is spent on the phone at this point with our manager the Big Man in Black and the guys in the band and with various radio promoters to gauge their opinion of “potential singles” and with various record company execs. It is total insanity. And I'm starting to feel the pressure from it all caving in on me...

In other news, we have spoken about this before. So not much need to dig very deep in the setup. But just to catch up where we are with it. Still struggling over a sort of underlying jealousy regarding Sabine and her new found freedom since we broke up. Which I might add was over a year ago... but there is still this thing between us when we do on occasion get a chance to see each other... which isn't often due to her travel schedule. As a professional ballet dancer it just wasn't something she was willing to give up... and me being a professional God only knows, I too didn't want to give up my own traveling... So we had no choice but to end it. Because what kind of relationship are we going to be able to cultivate from that. But I still find myself sometimes entirely transfixed by her beauty, her exotic nature, her mysteriousness, her quick wittedness, and quite frankly, the most sensual love affair I have ever had in my life with a woman. And that says a lot. Because up until that point I thought I had pretty much seen and done it all. But ours was way beyond anything that either of us had ever experienced. We could orgasm just from making out. Crazy. But true. Just from touching each other. It was insane like that. But that Israeli temper of hers, mixed with my half Italian temper... there was just no hope. We were bound to destroy each other. I am glad we were able to get out alive quite frankly. But it still doesn’t stop the pain sometimes.

Knowing that Ashland Meadows had also recently experienced something similar, I texted her something short like: “Question, when you have a free minute.” She texted back. “whatever you need.” So I gave her a call. She was of all places at a McDonalds getting a McFlurry. Talk about turn-ons. It doesn’t really get better than that. Ashland Meadows and a McFlurry in the same sentence. In the SAME ROOM no less! Too much for words. Well that's besides the point. I just wanted to get her take on the whole thing. And true to form, she was dead on in her analysis of the situation. We both concluded that if anything, it is something primitive, something evolutionary in our DNA. Though we might KNOW a person is right for us, that still doesn’t stop us from still wanting that person, or even if we no longer even want them, we still find it hard to think about them with another person. It is only natural. It sucks but its just plain true. I believe that in time it goes away.

In fact I know so. Because I have so many ex-girlfriends that I am now lucky enough to call best friends. And truth is many of them are now married to someone else and I can no longer even think of them in that respect anymore. Even Cleopatra who I was the closest to and stayed with the longest... I just couldn’t imagine being with her in that way. But with other girls, it’s slightly different still.... Still hard for me to think of them with other people. Even though one, I don't want to be with them like that anymore, and two, in reality I hope and pray in my heart of hearts for their true happiness in love and everything else and really want them to find someone who is better suited for them than I. But you know, that still doesn’t stop the pain when you are listening to a recent “ex” talking about being with some other guy or girl... it’s perplexing. And quite frustrating. It is like a battle between the heart and the mind.

At one point Ashland said something to the effect of “Sabine is smart enough to know intellectually what to say. And I think she really believes what she said to you and wants the best for you, which in this case is for you to find someone who is more suited to you and that doesn’t travel as much and who you really can have lots of babies with if that's what you want. We know from the left side of our brain what the right thing is Fishy, and we can even say it, but to get ourselves to actually feel it, that takes time. I think she’ll get there.”

I don't think it could be said any better. So we’ll leave it at that. But I hope she's right. The last thing in the world I would want is for either of us in pain.

Saturday, June 07, 2008

You could have heard a pin drop

From: Bloopy
To: Infinito; G2; Fishy;
Sent: Thursday, June 05, 2008 7:14 PM
Subject: RE: in defense of the USA

Guys check this out:
When in England at a fairly large conference, Colin Powell was asked by the Archbishop of Canterbury if our plans for Iraq were just an example of empire building' by George Bush.
He answered by saying, 'Over the years, the United States has sent many of its fine young men and women into great peril to fight for freedom beyond our borders. The only amount of land we have ever asked for in return is enough to bury those that did not return.

You could have heard a pin drop.