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This Content From 2003 (or earlier) see index

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Art... Text!

...And I'm not fucking around...
Text by Josh Koenig

I made an audio recording of this if you'd rather hear it than read it.

Originally Staged 9/13/2001 at Axiom's Post-Traumatic Gathering (produced by Axiom Creative Collective) with Josh Koenig as the BEAT IDEALIST. While the content for this piece had been on my mind for some time (ever since I read that kerouac quote in Frank's beat reader), the text as you see it was expressed as a unit on the evening of September 11th, largely in reaction to my own feelings of impotence in the face of tragedy.

ON STAGE: A BEAT IDEALIST who reguards the audience as a gathering of skeptical friends. He wants to inspire them.

Ok, look, I wanna talk about something. I know, predictable. But really, I think this is kind of important, and I'm not fucking around.

The first thing I want to talk about is experience. Your experience, my experience, our experience. Experience: the things that have gone on the in the past. Experience: the thing that is happening always and forever right now. Experience: the experience of being alive.

Have you ever been experienced? I'm not fucking around.

(sings) "Have you ever been experienced? Not nececessaraly stoned, but... beautiful." That's fucking genuis, man! Jimi fucking Hendrix. You are experienced, we're all very experienced and capable, man, but how often do we realize that - realize: to figure out, decypher, to remember, but also to real-ize, to make real, to be - have you ever BEEN experienced? I'm not fucking around. You are experienced, but have you even BEEN?

You see - and I'm going to get political here for just a second - you see, there are a lot of people out there who want to sell you something, and the basis of selling someone something is making the someone feel a need. Not a desire, a need. This is sales, baby, not seduction, and we are not fucking around.

The basis of need is some lack, some weakness. some inability. The constant message, "you need, you need, you need", it belies our own experience. My experience tells me I don't need a whole lot - in fact what I need most is more experience, to have more experiences, not to have a new pair of super-low-cut jeans.

Anyway, what I'm trying to say here, what I'm trying to get across is... the idea of... awww screw it, I'll just say it: "Reclaim the dignity of your own experience". Your experience, my experience, our experience. Experience is valuable to you and it's valuable to other people and I am not fucking around.

Your exerience, that's your life right there, and that's important, and there are a lot of forces out there that want to tell you that it's not, that it's of secondary importance, that unless you have what they are selling it is not noteworthy, valid, rich, varied, beautiful and true.

Ok, I wanna slow down for a second and qualify here, just because I want to be clear about what I'm saying. I'm not talking about being self-involved, obsessing about your experience, your life. It's quite the opposite. Actually, it's a letting go.

See, if you really reclaim the dignity of your own experience, if you're really being you in your life, you don't have to defend it all the time. You don't need to impress anyone , you don't need to assert your validity. You don't need to act like a bad ass, like a hard ass, smart ass or dumb ass.

I'm not fucking around. Because you'll know: life - your life included - if infinitely full of truth and beauty, and anyone who tells you different has been jaded by their inability to participate. You won't need to impress anyone: you'll just be the thing that you are, which is really far more impressive. I mean, we all hate watching someone try and impress us. It's like a bad circus act, "Be Astounded by Me!" It's a flawed performance by definition, and I'm telling you, baby, there is another way.

Ok now... tangent time! HA! We're talking about experience. How do we change our experience? How can we tune it? If we don't like what we're experiencing, what do we do about it?

I'm going to give you a recipie for experience, like an equation, ok? Just trust me here and let me take you on this trip. Ready? Experience = Reality x Fantasy.

Now, what the heck do I mean by that? "Hey, is this guy just, I dunno, fucking around?" No! Reality (at least for our purposes here) is the collection of things that are objectively facts, the things that we all more of less share in common. Fantasy is the layers of story and myth and history and image that we perceve this reality through. That perception is experience.

So what? So - this tells us something about how we can control our experience. Soo, reality is really hard to change in big ways. The sky is cloudy. George W Bush is president. I'm almost broke. These are all things in reality we might like to change, but which are somewhat difficult and/or time consuming to alter. We don't have a lot of control. But what we have a lot of control over is our fantasies, the fantasy that cloudy skies are boring, that Bush's presidency presents us with no positive opportunities, that having money is essential to having fun. Change these fantasies and you change the outcome of your experience equation.

But here's the kicker - you can adjust reality this way too - see, the experience equation is a recursive one, it's constantly being made and re-made based on the changing moment. Adjusting your fantasy causes your experience (your perception) to change, which enables you to change your actions, which has an effect on reality, which then changes the equation again, and... you get the point.

So, dig it, your expereince is powerful, and it comes from the relationship between your fantasies and your reality. By altering one of these three things, you can change the others. Change your reality, shave your head, move, eat a new food, or find a new fantasy, believe in love, in opportunity, in your fellow human, and you change your experience. Change your experience, change a lot of experiences, reclaim the dignity of a lot of experiences, and you can change a lot of reality. Then you too can move the heavens and the earth.

And I'm not fucking around.

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© Josh Koenig | You can perform, read aloud, copy, print, distribure or otherwise be inspired by this to your heart's content. Please don't re-publish for profit or plagarize it though. And if you ever do anything with it (i.e. performance), let me know!

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Trips in Space and Time 8/02/03

Big Wheels in Berkeley
I scored a set of west-coast wheels today at the Ashby BART station flea market. It's a very tall schwinn road bike, black, deceptively heavy but smooth-riding. Thirty-five dollars to boot. I oiled and cleaned the works, dialed in the bakes and took it out for a shake-down cruise immediately. Nice riding on a beautiful saturday, realizing how out of shape I am as I wheezed my way though the hilly area behind the Berkeley campus.

After about an hour I started to get the swing of it. Made some minor mechanical adjustments (including a free wheel truing at the bike collective on Shattuck), drank a few liters of water and started finding my groove, cruising up and around and ending up with a beautiful view of the whole bay. The roads here are not kind to the speed inclined -- too many stop signs and crosswalks and lights -- but it was good to get out and proj for a while. This changes my summer dramatically.

...older trips...


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