Shooting For The Stars
Rolling over the clouds, chasing the sun, looking back at the expanding crescent of the earth's shadow in the sky behind, it hits me all over again.
I'm going to have to find my own way.
And the only way that works is if I've got the pride, ego, confidence, vision or whatever you want to call it to make it happen on my own terms. I spend a lot of time second-guessing myself and guarding against hubris -- a well-known tragic flaw -- but it's too late at this point to hope that some ordained path will mystically arise. I'm not destined to fit into a "career track," too independent (cocky) to go into apprenticeship, and I'm certainly not going to find some guru to hand me down my purpose on a silver platter. That much is clear by now.
My experience as a performer (and with a few other things) has given me a bedrock belief in my power to create moments of sublimity, to temporarily transcend the normal boundaries and limitations of humanity and make contact with the divine. It's real, glorious even, but also ephemeral. You can't live it, although you can do your damnedest live for it, by it, and through it. For better or for worse that's how I roll; seeking the edge.
This past year and a half I've struggled with my rambling nature, trying to settle down in one way or another. It hasn't really taken. I've learned a lot about myself and gotten into some really great things -- and so I have no real regrets -- but I'm coming to the conclusion that now is not the time for me to put down roots in the conventional sense, and indeed that "conventional sense" may simply not apply.
I'm not opposed stability per se. Good things last, and I'm a lover of quality, but reliability and routine have no appeal to me as ends. Security is a desire written into our DNA, but like a lot of those hardwired things ("I'll fuck anything that moves!") it's irrational and insane. I like trust, which is related, but again I tend to find my way through to that on the top end -- through quality and exceptionalism, not predictability. I don't really trust that which is predictable; to be honest I relegate it to a lower order of consciousness.
Sometimes I worry that this is just me wrapping a semi-intellectual conceit around the old "live fast die young" rag, that once I lose my edge (or my hair) I'll change my tune, and by then it'll be too late ("There goes Koenig, a broken old man"). But I don't think so. I've made my life what it is largely on my own initiative and pluck, and that's come from my trusting my gut feelings. This is one of them.
So what does it mean? I'm going back on the road? Hardly. It's a shift in perception more than anything else. Actually, it means taking on more responsibility, that taking my own bullshit somewhat more seriously, owning it. Once again I return to reclaim the dignity of my own experience.
I won't reach my destiny by trying to pick a career or an industry or a scene, by being a businessman or an artist or a politician or an engineer or an outlaw. It won't happen by finding the right place to settle, or even the right woman to settle down with either.
Indeed, I'm coming to believe (again) that I must eschew such narrow thinking. My ambition involves all these things and more, but reducing it to single constituent parts -- much as it appeals to my inner project manager -- pulls the life right out of the system. The whole is more than the sum, and a plan is just a list of things that don't happen.
But as the general said, plans are useless, planning is essential.
So the above was written on the plane ride back from NYC to SF, where I stayed for three days checking out the office and getting some things done with my partners. I drove home Thursday afternoon through some of the most intense balls-out springtime environments I've seen yet.
The vineyards are sprouting up green and the hills have yet to dry out and go golden. Flowers are everywhere, and as I rolled down out of the last batch of hills the coastal lowlands of Humboldt Bay literally reeked of organic tumult, some musky and specific mixture of chlorophyl and cow manure.
It brought back a flood of memories, this smell. Baseball in Iowa. Hiking up the hill on the Four Winds Commune. Driving up from Roseburg after a day trying to sell vacuum cleaners. The Oregon Country Fair. A pretty mixed bag, really, but all full of wonder.
Last night me and the Alaska Redman cleaned out my stash of Czech Sunshine, an idea that's been in the works for a while, but got activated as a spur of the moment thing. We've got a little history here, going back to age 19 and three hits of blotter a piece shared with our old Waldorfian comrade Mr. Jacksaphone. It was a giddy teenage trip, but things went south in the wee hours and I spent the time from three to six AM holding old Red down on the floor so he wouldn't do himself harm. Which is what friends are for.
Eight years later and on a lower dose we have a better time of it. No king-hell revelations or visits from another planet, but plenty of postmodern laughs -- how many cheap pieces of glass do I have to give you to get this fire back? -- and a chance to blow out some mental cobwebs and get another perspective on things.
The best idea we came up with was to put forward the notion of The Nothing (the villainous force from The Neverending Story) as being behind all manner of creeping corporate evil. Kids getting lost in My Little Pony fractals. "When we retire, Clara and I are going to take trips like this all the time." Vote Nothing in 2008!
In the morning we have a nice chat, again around coming of age issues, the end of childhood, the notion of family, careers, locations, communities. It sometimes seems and impossible task, getting it all together. I'm no closer to a grand plan or vision, but tired as I may be I've got plenty of hope.