KILL MY WEBSITE†
Iím hoping I took the red pill and Iím not just having a crisis or dipping gently into the outer layers of the middle-aged madness to come. My Shot left for Hollywood on a January morning in 1996. I missed his going away party the night before because I was drunk, riding around in the back of a compact 4X4, bemoaning the end of yet another overly intense relationship. I stopped to say goodbye but I couldnít stay because the ouzo and the irony were churning my stomach into a storm of regretful vomit that I had to keep down.† See, My Shot left without me because I told him to.† I stayed because of her.† Itís terrible to have the kind of cinematic mind that I have, drawing plotlines and seeing movie-like moments in every day life. I knew that night was important. I knew the ripple effect that ironic, drunken, heartbreaking night would have. Sitting drunk in the back of that 4X4 I could feel part of me ending.
I need to kill my website. I never will. But I should. I should erase everything I have ever put there. For 5 years I have convinced myself that itís a stage. Itís a place where I can create and explore different things. But if I stop and listen to myself, late at night, I can hear a sucking sound. Itís the sound of the insatiable hole of my website looking to be fed. Pictures, prose, poetry† ďfeed meĒÖ whatever I can dredge from my filing cabinets, dreams that went unfulfilled† ďGive it to meĒ .† My website has an umbilical cord connected to the part of me that died that night in 1996 and it siphons off what it needs. Very little new is born because I am too busy feeding the old to the hole. I need to kill my website. I wonít. But I should.
I used to sit, smoking, drinking coffee with friends in bars and pubs and coffee shops. I used to scribble in little notebooks, cigarette ash falling like black snow on the paper as I wrote. We would laugh and joke and create. I would write poetry on bar napkins and philosophize about jazz and God and relationships, shit I knew nothing about, just looking to get a secret, carnal moment in the parking lot with one of the women at the table. I used to hang in the dank basement of a community theater surrounded by plywood, mirrors, racks of old clothes from the salvation army, props from shows I have never heard of. It smelled musty like my grandmotherís basement but with the smells of stage make-up, baby wipes, cigarettes, pipe tobacco and reefer. It was down there that brilliant one-liners and poetic declarations fell away in casual conversation and mingled with the sounds of actors working lines and the chatter of the audience gathering above. Thatís where I learned that a hammer screams when your press it into dry ice. Then I would run home and bang out whatever had come to me on my grandfatherís old, green IBM typerwriter. This was how I created.
And I learned. It was in one of those late night bars, drinking endless cups of coffee that a gruff real estate agent/actor told me about the pornographic horror of Image of the Beast by Philip Jose Farmer and started me off on a ten year quest to find the book. I wrote movies in that bar. I wrote novels and songs and poetry there. I named bands there. I watched the LA Riots on the projection screen TV there and heard Rodney King ask if we could all just get along. The back room there was where I discovered what kind of creative force I could be. Now the back room has been gutted and itís lined with white fluorescent lights and slot machines for the drunks who are too cheap to drive five blocks to the casino. Itís gone. The only thing that remains is the giant round table where casts of actors would sit after a performance, take their egos in hand and top themselves off before their energy bottomed out and they drove on home.
I donít remember when I stopped going. I just realized one day that I wasnít there.
Then came the coffee shop, family restaurant years. Late night gatherings with co-workers and friends at a 24-hour chain place. Making the girls who were just out of high school laugh hoping to make some headway toward a bedroom.† Playing ďDesert IslandĒ and vomiting some one elseís stand-up comedy routines as if they were political philosophy. Friends became lovers as the tables grew and diminished nightly. Trying to be the one to cut through the endless chatter with the deepest, most insightful one-liner. It was at those tables that I learned to listen. It was where I learned that the more fulfilling entertainment is not yourself, but those around you. I donít have conversations anymore. I send emails. I do quick phone calls with co-workers, customersÖ people who have no reason to have an actual conversation. The conversations we had drinking that 24-hour chain restaurant coffee, no matter how inane, still outshine the conversations I have now.
So, flatscreen and three mixed whiskeys and I start typing. Iím not old. I know that. But I am reaching the age where I am finally aware of the things I left behind. The things that my relationships abandoned. The relationships I abandoned. The relationships that abandoned me.† Iím not miserable. Misery is so strong. Most everything I feel now resides inside the controlled parameters of 33. I have to kill my website.
I donít know how Dunkin Donut napkin screenplays and poetry written on the backs of bank withdrawl slips gave way to digital recorders and jump drives but they have. I have a bag full of gadgets to help my creative process. To capture every dripping thought , sopping it up like bread in gravy. Recorders, lap tops, jump drives, txt files, Word documents, discussion boards, email... all of it at the ready. But nothingís happening. By the time technology and I caught up with each other, the production line slowed down. Oh, what I could have done with a digital recorder in the days when I would sit around and bang out 2 or 3 songs a day. Whatís the point now? It takes me months to craft a song. Sure, theyíre better thought out, craftier. But the raw intensity is gone. Bled out by the bright white I type on. Bled out by the multi track sound mixing programs that turn my song into these snippets of squiggly multi-colored lines Ė moved around, edited, altered. The magic of two guys who didnít know shit from shit sitting on a bed banging away on beat up parlor guitars has been replaced by soulless, hollow multi-tracked files sitting in a computer folder. And the website wants them both. Always.† An undulating, snarling mass bellowing ďWhatever! Feed me! Feed me the old. Feed me the new. Feed me the borrowed. Feed me the blue. Feed me.Ē
I can hear this desperate artist inside me throwing things to the world through me. Offering passersby a taste of potential like a grocery store sample lady. Begging for legitimacy. Scrambling to find more to show that it all hasnít been a colossal waste of time. A lonely kid with all the cool toys. If I did kill my website, it would be a mercy killing. Taking pity on the fat, sad thing trying to live on the accomplishments of the past. Standing against the wall hoping for a dance.† I should kill my website... because itís killing me.