Clarification: some of you may think of this as a self-help blog. I can understand why. Up until this point I’ve been shitting out enthusiasm as if I could float away on it like a cloud over cliffs and valleys far off into space. But, this isn’t a self-help blog. It’s just me spewing whatever’s on my mind. (Isn’t that what a blog is?) Well today you get this: It’s Friday and I’m blocked. Not normal, I’d-rather-play-my-guitar blocked or masturbating-seems-like-a-decent-way-to-spend-an-afternoon blocked. No. Today, I’m the disgruntled-circus-elephant-stepping-on-my-head-popping-out-my-eyeballs-like-little-dry-beach-balls kind of blocked. It’s been nine days since I dipped into any serious writing and I can’t seem to bait myself back into that chair. I made the mistake of looking at something I’d already written and it wasn’t as good as I remembered. It wasn’t something I wanted to edit. It just sucked and that feeling of frustration and fear sent me tumbling down from the afore mentioned, fluffy clouds of excrement into the earth, landing directly on my Icarus.
As a younger man I built altars and begged the muses to slip me David Bowie’s phone number or his mailing address every time I felt like giving up. I had a list of questions. I have a list of questions and he always seemed like the one to ask. He always seemed like he knew the right ritual to make it through these elephant days. He seemed like he’d lived long enough and hard enough to collect Rosicrucian answers. Like: How did he balance his passions? How did he juggle music and painting and acting? How did he reinvent himself so many times? How did he go from Ziggy Stardust to The Thin White Duke? How did he continue to challenge himself? How did survive for decades? How did he get so many naked models into his bed?
You see, Bowie isn’t a god. Gods live in clouds and on mountains. They have PO Boxes and they never make public appearances. Bowie’s better than all of that. Bowie’s a prophet. Prophets are human. They speak our language, they slip us answers on stone tablets, they run away from burning shrubbery, and, just like us, they check for scorpions and snakes before they piss behind a pyramid.
I’ve yet to have that conversation with David Bowie. Perhaps he’s been deified over the years. What I have had recently is the special privilege of interviewing artists Al Preciado and Lou Bermingham for Content Magazine. These guys have been in the desert just as long as Bowie. They know survival. They know how to find mana and how to get sand out of crevices.
So did I ask them how do get over these creative doldrums? You bet your ass I did. I’ve bought books to answer that question; books like Daily Rituals. And Lou and Al said the same thing that every tome and website I could find says: push through. Show up. Suffer the slumps. Live on instinct and habit and leather. Write bad. Paint bad. Sing bad. Shit all over the place until you don’t have to any more; until clouds are ascending again. Because there’s no such thing as a block. There’s no way to ride high on inspiration everyday. Most art is made on the days you have to work. Most art is made in the latrine.
So, yeah I can see why you might think this is self-help, because when I write this stuff, that’s who I’m trying to help: myself. Any answers I have are from books and prophets and friends; anything that get’s the elephant to move. And this, this little blog, that I had to sit in the chair to write, it got me a few steps further into that barren wilderness. It got me “floating in my tin can, far above the moon.”