Sunday, March 2, 2014

There's Blues and then There's Blues

It always puzzled me when I'd play music, probably some sort of blues, with people who seemed to be approximating what they thought it felt like.  But then, they were thinking in terms of other "cool" guitar players or old time blues men.  I never was.

I've never been the greatest player, but  suspect I've often been the most heartfelt, tormented, passionate soul in the group.  I don't say that as necessarily a self congratulatory remark.  That is no assurance that the sound is going to be pleasing or move others.  It can move others right on out of the room to get away from the racket.

I played to get that feeling out, and go into that place where time stands still and I'm floating in the scream or whatever emotion.  It is suspended animation.  That was why I played.  Now, I'm not sure. I am more aware of good, bad and little technical things, and what everyone else ought to do, according to my taste and vision.  It used to be 100% feel and not much else.  I always had sense about not stepping on others for the most part.  Maybe I lay back too much. Maybe not.  The emotional outlet is still the deal, though.

From all the poking prodding, mri,  brain waves, etc. that were done and analyzed on me, it is clear that I probably have an electrical or chemical oddity that messes with my mood or aspect somehow.  I can be fine and almost happy in thoughts, but feel that thing you feel if you are sad and grieving.  It comes and it goes, and lately it has been a little more dynamic than usual.  Whatever usual is.

I know from experience that I do not want the miracle medicines for add, depression, narcolepsy or any other epsy.  I'm sorry I do know from experience, but glad I finally decided I'd rather deal with the fog and other such things than side effects and whatever.  It may be tougher to conform in certain ways but I'm convinced creativity is improved, and, if I can quit fighting my nature, I'll likely find my happy niche.  Or not.  Probably.  But I may die first and that will be that.

The trick, though, and the reason I mention this at all, is to find ways to mitigate these spells of sudden physical grief which leave you in a puddle of meaningless tears and blank, numb, frozen inaction.  I'm finding a couple of ingredients which seem essential and effective.  One is that I have to just go with the flow of that sense that there is something more at play in life than meets the eye.

The hip deal for academics and young know-it-alls is to accuse those who believe in a power beyond themselves and what is visible as having an imaginary friend.  So be it.  When you've been to hell more than once and ridden different trains to get there, who cares what anyone thinks.  Being laughed at sure beats that rotten dark despair that some things bring.

Some people visit hell through depression or sadness, despair and that sort of thing, just because of upbringing, environment and/or genetics and physical chemistry.  Alcohol and other substances can amplify and compound the problems to the point that they are still a tangled mess even when all those substances are long gone.

So, the trick is to find a way to believe in something, but don't expect burning bushes or seventy two virgins to come knocking at your door.  Just expect the right thing, and look for whatever that may be.  And the easiest way to do that is to put yourself in a place where you might be useful to someone else.  They need not know it.  You know when you can possibly boost the morale of another or help raise a barn or whatever it is humans do.  I avoid the conspicuous look-at-me kind of thing because I find it a little annoying and in some cases it kills the value in my mind.

Sorry.  If I really think I am doing something to cure cancer or help patients, I will do it directly one way or another. I will not wear the tee shirt and run around the block.  Fine with me if you do that, but I have had friends who directly did things which actually aided the science, developed better study methods, etc.  To describe the disgust one major player had with the big charities racket, and his horror stories regarding government involvement and the cancer society would only make you doubt the veracity of my story, or make you cynical.

I don't want to do that. If you want to walk up and down stairs and be on tv and get everyone to pay you a dollar a mile, go for it.  I am simply not wired that way.  But I think that anyone who knows me well would be fairly certain that they could call me at three in the morning from anywhere, if they needed help, and know that I would do anything in my power to help them avoid whatever disaster is at hand, even if it wipes me out.  Just don't give me a tee shirt that says I'm oh so altruistic, blablabla.

I'm not altruistic or wonderful.  I just hate to see people suffer, and I know what it is like to be in a bind. And when I can be somewhat helpful, I forget that I am in a fog and fearful of my life, sad and whatever else.  It even helps me find the humor in my own frailty and can result in a big belly laugh at my expense.  God, it feels so good when I'm talking to a confidant and we can laugh at me and my condition.  I'm very funny in some ways.  So are my friends, on good days.

They are funny because they are navigating with a muddy compass, too.  Maybe we don't share the same radical brain waves or whatever, but we still share enough of the same madness that communion is possible on various levels. That is what makes some people more suitable friends than others.

So, if you are plagued by sadness, give me a call or send me a check.  Or give people a call or visit that will be happy you thought of them.  Any contact helps.  That kind interaction with others helps the most.

Avoid people who are usually uncomfortable with you calling if you are in a possibly fragile frame of mind.  Those are hit or miss.  Wait until it won't send you into  dive or hurt your feelings if you feel like contact is an intrusion.

 You never know when you make them feel worse or better if you make contact.  And if you're battling overpowering blues yourself, you can be the worse for the effort.  There are other ways to have contact with people, and people you can be sure like hearing from you.

It is apparently a long term war, this sort of thing.  Of course it is all due to being abused and neglected by women.  I may have trouble proving that, but I enjoy putting that label on the cause anyway.  Probably because I'd love to think some wonderful woman could make me well.  But it does not work that way.  Behave in the way that is healthiest, and right--in every sense--and then maybe all that will work out.  I'm counting on it.

I'm also well aware that this phase of the ballistic tour is somewhat of a blind leap of faith from day to day, but far better than it was 6 or 7 years ago.  It depends upon how you look at things what kind of reaction you have.  I do not want to panic or go nuts any more than I can help, so I don't focus too hard on the grim aspect of my reality.  There are many things in the plus column, some of which can't be taught or bought, so that is fortunate.

The universe and all the gods and angels like me in spite of myself.  I don't think they really like everyone even though I've seen that on bumper stickers.  Probably, if you really do have some purity of heart and aren't unusually mean, they'll like you OK.  I find it tough to believe any good force likes sadists and jerks and people who tailgate in rainy weather.
So, that is the trick.  Just quietly be in the company one way or another of someone who can use it or gives a damn or in whose presence you tend to behave like you aren't sad and lost.  They'll never have to know it is therapy and they are keeping you from jumping off a high cliff.

That is the way of it.  Make it about someone else and it will bring a little relief and even clarity.  And don't worry if you are feeling a bit mystic or spiritual and all that. Keep it a secret unless there is good reason not to.  Otherwise you do no one any good and you could lose it anyhow.

I know what I'm saying. Remember--I'm the harp player of choice for the Mormons and the Lutherans--even dead Lutherans.  And I am not officially sanctioned by or a member of any religion.  Just a peripatetic holy blues harp man.

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Ballistic Mountain, CA, United States
Like spring on a summer's day


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