Archive for the I Heart My Love-Tribe Category

Do I get Extra Pirate Points For Having the Coolest Eye-Patch?

Posted in Goof & Glamour, I Heart Holidays, I Heart My Love-Tribe, In Celebration of the Absurd with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 20, 2010 by alphabetfiend

Today is International Talk Like A Pirate Day, for those of you who might not already know. I’m sure most of you have been bombarded with Aaaaargh’s and Aye Matey’s all day long.

I’m nutter for holidays. I relish any opportunity for full-blown festivity. Seriously. Just ask my peeps and wait for the groans. But aside from calling my pup a PAWrate today, I really haven’t been making an effort.

Will it make up for my lack of pirate-talk if I post a picture of me-as-Plush D* in what is surely the coolest eye-patch ever?

 

Bedecked with outlaw bling, this sucker is a beloved treasure. Is it any wonder why? Yes, I know you are jealous. I can’t help that. Don’t hate me because my eye-patch is beautiful.

Extra points?

Extra points for being a glam wench with lotsa BOOTY? Y’know, pirate booty, like loot; jewels, gems, bling-bling, gewgaws. Oh, and ASS. I gotsa lotsa ass. AYE am an assly lass.

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“Smoke Bend” Dollar Bill Johnston (Sunday P.M. Punk Rock Gospel)

Posted in country music, I Heart My Love-Tribe, Music & Life & Sundays, politics, Republicans scare me, Spirituality & Religion, Sunday AM Punk Rock Gospel, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 30, 2010 by alphabetfiend

Now it’s winter on the river, and a cold swift swollen tide meets a warm southern breeze from the gulf of memories.  

Every year, around the 9th of October, I fall into a funk. This blue mood is a complete mystery to me until the part of myself that’s been trying it’s best to keep the date from me will lag,  inevitably exhausted, and it will hit me. Oh! Right. That. The day that my father left this lousy place for good. The day that changed everything. The day that was so swollen with uncontainable sadness that even now, all these years later, it still will not be contained.    

      

I have another tough week in the spring. Another mysterious doom. “So?” Steffe’ll ask, pensively. “How are you? You always get down whenever y’know… me too. I miss him too.” And then it’ll hit me. Oh. Right. That. The week that our friend Paul had a heart attack in Florida, while shacked up with another poet on a houseboat.     

   

Souls have a secret calendar of agony.  

The Robot fades to black every year ’round labor day. The holiday serves as a hard-to-suppress reminder of the weekend his cousin/ little brother/best friend put a gun to his own temple. He was drunk and fighting with his girl friend, suddenly desolate, momentarily stupid. Maybe he meant to mash the trigger, maybe not. Those kind of over-wrought emotional moments can color the future with what is really just a temporary explosion of too too much. I keep a close eye on RB as the holiday nears. He wouldn’t do something so drastic but still, the date itself is a reminder of how hopelessness can swallow a grown folk whole.  

Like a snake eats an alligator.   

The gator goes down easier than you’d think.     

   

(Though I did see a story where a python tried to eat an alligator and the snake exploded… so that’s oddly comforting.)     

These last few days, I was hit by another mysterious gloom. It began with three days of insomnia — I was amped & aimless, annoyed with TV, avoiding the computer –followed by 15 hours of boulder-like sleep. It was a sleep-monster Saturday: ’round 4, Robo put me down like a toddler in need of nap; I reluctantly dozed off at the approach of 6; woke up at 3am to finish/post the gospel but mostly spent 2 hrs staring vacantly into space; then came Gospel!? We don’ need no stinkin’ gospel!; at 10am the Robot woke me with my favorite breakfast. I’m still annoyed and considering sending him back for reprogramming. It wasn’t until I finally got online that I ran smack dab into the Oh. Right. That.     

 Katrina.     

   

There, on the wordpress dash sat a letter from a reader/ friend, bummed about the anniversary of Katrina and wondering where-o-where was the Sunday AM Punk Rock Gospel? Ah. Arggghrr. (That’s an argh that becomes a grr.) In a split second of watery blinking, I decided to forsake my previously planned song in favor of another song which we played constantly in the wake of that fateful & fatal storm. Before too, but so so often after. This song has meant the world to myself and the loverman (why, he was just a little robot, maybe 8 or 9, when he first started reading The Times Picayune; wishing he could get into the city, good old Big Easy, to see Black Sabbath at City Park.)     

We played that record ragged. That album was our refuge in the storm. That smoking Piggie was a good gentleman friend to us. The song is “Smoke Bend.”  The album is The Gourds 2002 release “Cow Fish Fowl or Pig.”      

   

Yes, I know we’ve just done The Gourds recently but we’re talking about Katrina today and for me, there is only one Katrina song.     

 “Smoke Bend” by the Gourds with Dollar Bill Johnston.      

Dollar Bill Johnston joins The Gourds on stage

Dollar Bill is the father is the father of Gourd, Max Johnston (also of Wilco and Uncle Tupelo.)  Interestingly, Max’s sister and Dollar Bill’s daughter is singer/song-writer Michelle Shocked, who I love.       

        

They’re sandbaggin’ the levees     

They’re shovelin’ night and day     

It’s the year of ’27     

Gonna wash us all away     

 This song was not written about Katrina. Which in my mind, for my purposes, makes it better. Rather it’s about the ever-present worry that the levees might break and if so, then what?    

 The levee gonna bust     

On your side or mine     

A little dynamite on your side     

Help the river make its mind     

It’s about the day that you hope never comes. It’s about the risks we all take in life whether it’s living in the basin of New Orleans or loving even when you know know how much losing is gonna hurt.    

 Folks left that west bank town     

 Left it all behind     

 Start life on higher ground     

 Gonna get out just in time     

 I didn’t grow up in New Orleans, but I was worried by my own what-if’s.    

Even as a small child, my attachment to my father was so enormous that I was haunted by his mortality. This what-if stayed with me through-out my life. In college, laying in bed one night, I tried to picture the cruel day and could imagine no future for myself beyond it. I saw myself in my messy closet, tucked in the fetal position, refusing to come out. Ever. By the time it happened for real, that closet was long gone, and I was living in Austin, but I could still find the fetal position.     

It must’ve been crazy growing up in New Orleans in the shadow of what if?    

 After all, that’s was the place I wished to be.     

   

I’m a corn-fed midwestern girl (by way of A! I! Ohio!) so I’m not native to the south. But I wanted to be, oh I wanted it so badly, always, and I think that counts for something. It always made sense, jived with my version of self. I’ve kinda secretly way-down-deep-in-me thought of myself as the Delta Lady, the epitome of southern eccentricity. When I was very young, probably too young to long for such obscenity, I’d listen to Joe Cocker’s “Delta Lady” and think “That’s me! There I am! Standing wet and naked in the garden.”     

   

So it’s no surprise that this secret self-appointed Delta Lady found herself a mint julep of a southern gentleman.     

The Robot’s often spoke of the hurricane parties people have while weathering out the storm. They drink hurricanes, play cards and hope like hell. His stories were always punctuated with “Oh, you’d love it. You especially would love it!” ??? 

A hurricane party?     

   

It did sound like something I’d adore — the enforced play, the mandatory leisure; the tendency towards hedonism or at least too many hurricanes; the chaotic familiarity of community and iffy festivity of gatherings; kids running wild, adults divulging secrets; all that human energy, all that snap crackle pop, and over-top — the bristling electricity of sky & fear.      

But after Katrina, I dunno… it sounds too… scary.      

Robotboy grew up in Mississippi, just outside of New Orleans, so his family was hit. The eye of the hurricane passed directly over the family home. It was scary and it was scary even for us, waiting to find out if everyone was okay. They were. They lost a roof and few 100 year trees, a prized pecan, but our people were all very lucky. But then they weren’t depending on the levees…       

    

“Smoke Bend” is about the day that we hope will never come, and yet we know it will, and still that changes nothing.     

Now there’s mint juleps at Oak Alley     

  There’s poison in the air     

 There’s new dangers on the river     

 It’s so good to be from there      

    

We continue to love whatever it is we’re so afraid to lose. Once we’ve lost out, the love goes on. That’s another little something we can count on.     

{{MP3 17 – Part II – Smoke Bend}}   

Smoke bend 

CHORUS:

Now it’s winter on the river

And a cold swift swollen tide

Meets a warm southern breeze

From the gulf of memories

Missouri and clear Ohio

Give their currents to the tide

Now the river’s Louisiana’s

For the willow tree-lined ride

From cruel Angola down to Venice

Scatterin’ horseshoes everywhere

The river’s Louisiana’s

With no glory or bank to share

If the river had its way

The Atchafalaya’d be its home

Straighten out them horseshoes

Find another bank to roam

There’s cane fires up the bank

Of that horseshoe of Smoke Bend

The smoke was double thick

And the fog was rollin’ in

Tie your boat to a willow tree

Climb the bank so high

Above the blanket on the river

See every star in the sky

Smoke fog and family

Kept to that west bank town

Smoke and fog would burn and blow away

The folks they’d stay around

There was catfish with the Kingfish

And a culture spice gumbo

There’s coonass music playing

On a glowin’ radio

Klan and crackers on the side

At the Last Chance Cafe

Crawfish etouffee

Warm red river Beaujolais

CHORUS

They’re sandbaggin’ the levee

They’re shovelin’ night and day

It’s the year of ’27

Gonna wash us all away

The levee gonna bust

On your side or mine

A little dynamite on your side

Help the river make its mind

Folks left that west bank town

Left it all behind

Start life on higher ground

Gonna get out just in time

Now there’s mint juleps at Oak Alley

There’s poison in the air

There’s new dangers on the river

It’s so good to be from there

CHORUS

**************************************

Stay ahead of the snake, y’all, don’t get swallowed up cause really that’s silly, a gator in the belly of a snake, c’mon? Even a python! C’mon! And it’s not safe for the snake either. So just lift yer snout outta the swamp n’ hum a little cajun tune or maybe that one about the river, who did that one? The potatoes? The parsnips? The Gourds! With Dollar Bill Johnston!   

 So whaddaya say, alkies, got a hankerin’ for hurricanes? Well, why’ont you whip us up a pitcher!     

  

Thank’s to Mike — fellow Austinite, who grew up in Chalmette — for documenting his own (from afar & helpless) vigil during the storm and subsequent obsession with the recovery of his homeland. See his story and more of his storm photos (like above.) 

Immerse yourself in gourdy goodness at the band’s sweet sight, complete with wood round rekerd playa.   

If you’re in love with “Smoke Bend” (and you should be) the song can be downloaded for 99 cents. A great song for the price of a candy bar. The album “Cow Fish Fowl or Pig” available on amazon.  If you’re not ready for the I couldn’t nor wouldn’t begin to suggest where future aid should be sent so I open comments to suggestions.  

*************************************************   

Today’s edition of the Sunday AM Punk Rock Gospel is dedicated to everyone who saw Nola through that storm as well as to those who continue to be with her now. To those who lost lives, loved ones, homes, schools, churches, haunts. To those still healing and still helping in the aftermath.     

My heart aches for all of you, for your families wherever they may live, and for every one who had their heart mangled by that hurricane (even if “only” in an an empathic human way)  

Today was hard for people, people’s hearts are still hurting. Even those not directly affected by Katrina, even those hearts are clenched like angry fists. In a strange sad way, Katrina became a shared trauma, a throbbing dated ache that yearly seizes up. Katrina blew through our TV screens and flooded our family rooms. Which is not to diminish the unfathomable experience of being in New Orleans both during and after that storm; nor the losses borne by other areas hit by Katrina.

Sunday Morning Coming Down (Sunday A.M. Punk Rock Gospel)

Posted in country music, Friendship, I Heart My Love-Tribe, Music & Life & Sundays, Sunday AM Punk Rock Gospel with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 15, 2010 by alphabetfiend

On the Sunday morning sidewalk, wishing, Lord, that I was stoned.
‘Cos there’s something in a Sunday, makes a body feel alone.

Some sad-sacks say this song is depressing but not me.   I say it’s breathtakingly beautiful. 

 

A feeling doesn’t have to be “happy” to be worth something. 

A Sunday doesn’t have to be “joyous” to be well, a SUNDAY.  

I think this song — this “sad” song — is very life-affirming, very human, and very very AUSTIN.   It’s everything I’ve come to know and love about my life in this stony Texas town: Saturday nights spent with people I adore, music that moves me, drunken 6th street hugs as we all disperse after a great show.   

Maybe in the morning you will feel achey or godless or lonely but that’s okay because you are an Austin punk-rock darling who loved Saturday too much and now Sunday is giving you the cold shoulder.  

Have a smoke, eat an egg, enjoy being alive.  

Make amends with Sunday.

Now go pick a handful of yer neighbors posies and see how easily Sunday forgives. 

Sunday Morning Coming Down

Well I woke up Sunday morning,
With no way to hold my head that didn’t hurt.
And the beer I had for breakfast wasn’t bad,
So I had one more for dessert.
Then I fumbled through my closet for my clothes,
And found my cleanest dirty shirt.
An’ I shaved my face and combed my hair,
An’ stumbled down the stairs to meet the day.

I’d smoked my brain the night before,
On cigarettes and songs I’d been pickin’.
But I lit my first and watched a small kid,
Cussin’ at a can that he was kicking.
Then I crossed the empty street,
‘n caught the Sunday smell of someone fryin’ chicken.
And it took me back to somethin’,
That I’d lost somehow, somewhere along the way.

On the Sunday morning sidewalk,
Wishing, Lord, that I was stoned.
‘Cos there’s something in a Sunday,
Makes a body feel alone.
And there’s nothin’ short of dyin’,
Half as lonesome as the sound,
On the sleepin’ city sidewalks:
Sunday mornin’ comin’ down.

In the park I saw a daddy,
With a laughin’ little girl who he was swingin’.
And I stopped beside a Sunday school,
And listened to the song they were singin’.
Then I headed back for home,
And somewhere far away a lonely bell was ringin’.
And it echoed through the canyons,
Like the disappearing dreams of yesterday.

On the Sunday morning sidewalk,
Wishing, Lord, that I was stoned.
‘Cos there’s something in a Sunday,
Makes a body feel alone.
And there’s nothin’ short of dyin’,
Half as lonesome as the sound,
On the sleepin’ city sidewalks:
Sunday mornin’ comin’ down.

***********************************

I’m on the road, heading back to Austin from my dog days in Mississippi. I hate to go. I hate like hell to be separated from Thing 2, my baby niece who is at the cutest age (almost 2) and will grow too much before I’m back. We’ve forged quite the juicy bond. Uncle Robot sez, “She loves you! Your name is an exclamation of joy to her. Dia! Dia! She says ‘Dia’ like most folks say ‘hooray’.”

Who wouldn’t miss that?

Anyway, back to Texas I go and so I have chosen this post ( another repost* “Sorry” gulps the gasoline gypsy) because it was a love letter to Austin and I need to feel some of that love. But it’s also a love letter to Saturday nights and Sunday mornings, wherever you may be, and an ode to the punk rock good life.  

*An inferior version was originally posted on the 21st of September 2008 as one of the very first punk rock gospels. Back when the idea still had wobbly newborn legs. Back when I tried to keep things brief. Do y’all prefer a shorter gospel? Let me know! 

If you’ve read this before, don’t despair. Check back in the next couple days for I hope to post a brand new special “Belated-Birthday” edition in honor of my Dad’s August 9 birth. So you know it’ll be a good one, being as I am a daddy’s girl who loves that man more than books. Fur reals.

Alphabetfiend is Dia VanGunten — a writer & wanna-be circus freak living in Austin, Texas.

Happy Birthday, Ruby Slippers!

Posted in Alphabetfiend, Art & Culture, Books & Writing, I Heart My Love-Tribe, I Heart Robots, Movies & Movie Stars, Photography, Rock & Roll, Style & Fashion, Technicolor Pop, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 12, 2010 by alphabetfiend

A yellow brick road is today’s Google header — celebrating the 71st birthday of the landmark film “The Wizard of Oz!”

Happy birthday, Dorothy! And you, Lion! And you, Scarecrow! And of course, the Tinman!

And your little dog too.

Toto!

I think I can hear a heart beating from that box, Tinman. Unless it’s a bomb! I see a big butterscotch bow wrapped around a brain, Scarecrow. And for you, Lion, a lovely vial of courage serum. A little goes a long way! Don’t be a jackass! Dorothy? There’s a ticket to Kansas waiting at the airport. Tom Wolfe sez you can never go home again. Be forewarned, there’s probably a strip mall in Aunty Em’s corn field. So we got you a Pretenders album, so you can rock out to a song that this corn-fed midwestern gal (Holy Toledo!) has often enjoyed in a bittersweet kinda way.

MY CITY WAS GONE

I WENT BACK TO OHIO
BUT MY CITY WAS GONE
THERE WAS NO TRAIN STATION
THERE WAS NO DOWNTOWN
SOUTH HOWARD HAD DISAPPEARED
ALL MY FAVORITE PLACES
MY CITY HAD BEEN PULLED DOWN
REDUCED TO PARKING SPACES
A, O, WAY TO GO OHIO

WELL I WENT BACK TO OHIO
BUT MY FAMILY WAS GONE
I STOOD ON THE BACK PORCH
THERE WAS NOBODY HOME
I WAS STUNNED AND AMAZED
MY CHILDHOOD MEMORIES
SLOWLY SWIRLED PAST
LIKE THE WIND THROUGH THE TREES
A, O, OH WAY TO GO OHIO

I WENT BACK TO OHIO
BUT MY PRETTY COUNTRYSIDE
HAD BEEN PAVED DOWN THE MIDDLE
BY A GOVERNMENT THAT HAD NO PRIDE
THE FARMS OF OHIO
HAD BEEN REPLACED BY SHOPPING MALLS
AND MUZAK FILLED THE AIR
FROM SENECA TO CUYAHOGA FALLS
SAID, A, O, OH WAY TO GO OHIO!

But most importantly, I must wish The Ruby Slippers a happy birthday, being as they were my favorite character in all of Oz. Or they were until I read Wicked by Gregory Maguire.

Before it was a blockbuster musical it was just a really great and lovely book. Wicked tells the story from the witch’s point of view, so gorgeously that I fell in absolute love with Elphaeba aka “Elphie” with her green skin and her yearning heart. Wicked is one of the sexiest most romantic love stories I’ve ever read. Crazy sexy! I still get the shivers just to think of Elphie and her loverman with the blue tattoos. If you haven’t read it I highly recommend it. It’s one of my favorites. I’ve read all of Maguire’s books and each one is a memorable joy.

Speaking of great Oz books, I recently bought a chunky tome by Graham Rawle that is outrageously illustrated with photographs of old toys and surreal beaded landscapes.

The book was a birthday treat for myself but then my baby niece, Thing 2, saw it up on the shelf — cover showing — and demanded to see it. I brought it down like a precious treasure and we very gently turned the pages. Thing 2 was enchanted and continues to be. She calls the lion a “GRR”

And she pointed to the tinman and exclaimed, “Robot!”

Thing 2 has a robot for an uncle so she knows all about robots. I didn’t correct her cause I’ve always thought the tinman was a robot too.

It’s a big birthday blow-out for childhood memories. Oz is 71 and Dr. Seuss’ Green Eggs and Ham is 50. Google coulda celebrated Seuss instead with two green eggs as the double o’s.

The Rawle’s Oz (highly recommended by Thing 2) is available on amazon. So is Wicked by Gregory Maguire. And the Pretenders too!

Happy Birthday, Sam I Am!

Posted in Alphabetfiend, Books & Writing, I Heart My Love-Tribe, In Celebration of the Absurd with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 12, 2010 by alphabetfiend

Today is the 50th birthday of the Dr. Seuss classic “Green Eggs and Ham” which is undoubtedly one of the most amazing literary masterpieces of all time. Seuss wrote the genius gem after his publisher bet him that he couldn’t write a book using only 50 words. A fine 5o words they are!

Dr. Seuss was a true poet and a gentleman of letters. He was a master of surrealism and a great hero of mine. 

I could not, would not, in a house.
I would not, could not, with a mouse.
I would not eat them with a fox.
I would not eat them in a box.
I would not eat them here or there.
I would not eat them anywhere.
I would not eat green eggs and ham.
I do not like them, Sam-I-am.

I’ll be celebrating the book’s birthday by introducing it to my niece — Thing 2 — for the first time! She’s nearly 2 and it’s high time she fell in love with Seuss. I’m sure we’ll read it about 50 times.

50 words, 50 times, 50 years.

Maybe I’ll be a real go-getter and whip up a batch of green-egg cookies … mine will be like these:

Rather than like these fancy-schmancy hams. Hey, I’m not that ambitious!

I gotta save my energy for repeated animated readings. My niece refuses to let others read to her, claiming they don’t do it right. Naturally this is an enormous source of pride for this book-worm Aunty.

Enjoy this book’s birthday, y’all! Maybe a ham & spinach omelet for dinner??

Green Eggs and Ham is available on amazon!

A WordPress “Why-Not?” (To Alice)

Posted in Alphabetfiend, Books & Writing, I Heart My Love-Tribe with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 10, 2010 by alphabetfiend

I have written this letter in response to a recent conversation between Alphabetfiend (OK, myself) and Alice (a most beloved Cream Scene Carnival reader and new friend.) I have chosen to post it here because it was way too long for the comment box and also because I gave voice to some of the things about wordpress that have surprised and impressed me. Why not say them and let the words fall where they may. Consider this the wordy equivalent to blowing the fuzzy afro of a dandelion. It’s for Alice but hey, maybe it’s for you too?

If so, let me catch you up!

A*Fiend:

Do you have a wordpress, Alice? You should! Your writing, your sense of delish, it’d be AWESOME!

Alice:

Oh my! I am swooning from your compliment, because I admire your work so much.

And no, I am not on WordPress, I will leave that up to you , and the other talented writers out there, for now.

I am still an eager student of the writerly craft;so thank you for your encouragement.

Here is a quote, describing how you make us all feel…..

“Good writing is supposed to evoke sensation in the reader–not the fact that it is raining, but the feeling of being rained upon.” E.L.Doctorow

Peace, Alice

OK, finally, after a long delay due to birthdays, babies & strep throat is my (pushy?) reply which hopefully makes sense considering it was written at 4am while drowsy & jacked up on cold meds.

Dearest Darling Alice —

If you’re interested in doing one of your own, you are certainly more than capable of kicking blogosphere butt. Maybe it doesn’t interest you and I totally get that. It can be a time-consuming and emotional process. Maybe it’s not for you but NOT because you’re not “ready” writing-wise.

I only came to wordpress because I’d started goofing off with this stupid myspace blog, putting time and effort into it. So the Robot urged me to move my efforts to wordpress — because it was “more prestigious” and “hooked up with google and other search engines” and “intended for blogging” therefore more user-friendly and more likely to build a real readership. I was actually getting some readers on myspace which was very cool but nothing close to what came my way on wordpress. The coolest part of wordpress for me, and what I so did not expect, was how easy it was to create something that was really pleasing to me aesthetically. I still pull it up sometimes and marvel at how “real” it looks, like something I’d run across on the web and totally dig y’know looks-wise. I never expected to have something so… nice & pretty & cool & circusy etc, something so like the little me-magazine of my dreams. The writing I could wrap my mind around but I assumed that a low-tech Luddite like myself would never be able to make the writing and the aesthetics match up. I honestly had no idea that wordpress would be so freaking easy to figure out and play with. I’m in love with that part of it and that once seemed so beyond my grasp.

As a reader, I’m sure you’ve figured out that wordpress users are as different as snowflakes. One of my favorite blogs never ever uses pictures or video and he’s still using the stupid winding road header that came with the theme. For him, it’s all about the psychological exploration and the journey his mind/heart is on. It’s just text and he never sullys his space with pop culture etc. I love it and have read every single post. I appreciate his approach very much (tho I’d love to hack into his account and change that generic header! hee hee) Then there’s other blogs that are just pretty pictures or cool stuff with only two or three sentences of text. Some are emotional & confessional while others are just odd or goofy or funny. Another blog that I follow is the packaging from vintage sewing patterns combined with brief musings. There’s a lot of difference too in the frequency of posts or even the perfectionism (grammar, typos etc.) Not everyone (barely anyone) is trying to “do it all” like I am, with big long-winded essays on every possible thing from tv to spirituality. My little mash-up is fairly unusual and no doubt alienates a lot of readers. In fact, all of the many books I’ve read on the subject of blogging strongly advise against such a broad and wavering approach. Suggesting instead that the writer pick one theme/idea and do that one thing really well with a fierce and thorough examination of the subject be it music, babies, sex or “creepy things in jars.” Those are the kinds of blogs that have seen commercial or critical success. I truly believe those books are 100% right. I’m completely convinced of the good sense in that. But it doesn’t change things for me or for Cream Scene Carnival cause I wanna do what I wanna do and so that self-indulgence must serve as the unifying theme for Cream Scene. 

Basically, anything goes and anything is possible.

I have no dog in this fight. Hell, I could be greedy and keep you all to myself, all witchy gingerbread-house style. *Guffaw* It’s really not my intention to pressure you into it cause what’s the point in that? I guess I just wanted to say that your writing and your ideas, your curiosity and generosity, are well-suited to a unique wordpress project of your own creation. What might that be? I dunno! But my mind marvels at the possibilities. Do it, don’t do it, doesn’t matter to me either way. I only know that you could do it but have no idea whether you should do it. I just want to say A) Hell yea you’re writing — and you’re mojo — is on par with anything anything on wordpress and B) If, like me, the whole idea of doing it to your satisfaction seems intimidating or impossible then I must bear witness to how surprisingly easy it is. As easy as signing up! If I can do it, so can you. Of that I am absolutely certain. So don’t let that influence you. Cause honestly if the Robot hadn’t pushed me into it and if it wasn’t so immediately satisfying and easy, I definitely would not be here. I was just too daunted by the process and my own perfectionism.

As an eager student of writing as a craft (that rocks btw, people don’t necessarily view writing as a craft anymore or appreciate it as art) there is something to be said for playing around with words on a regular basis and blogging can be a place for that. One of many! Perhaps not the right one for you. You’re a purist and a perfectionist. I get that. I love that. Just don’t let that hold you back. (Sez the pot to the kettle, “Yer black!”) I support you whatever you decide. If you do it, I’ll read it and link to it. If not, I’ll be glad to be greedy and keep yer pretty words all to myself. My Alice. *Smirk.Shrug.Grin*

Lastly, I must thank you HUGELY for supporting me in my own endeavors, for reading Cream Scene and for commenting. Every time I see an Alice comment on the dash I get giddy and gooey. Thank you especially for that E.L. Doctorow quote. To say you feel that way about my work… wow, that’s enormously kind and it is fuel for the soul in terms of forging ahead and fighting the literary plague of self-doubt. 

I feel honored to have attracted you into this here rabbit hole.

I just ADORE you. Thank you, thank you, a million thank yous.

I look forward to more Alice-ness. Alice-ness is a wondrous and goof-blessed thing. Damn! Is it ever!

All my love,

Dia VanGunten aka “The Alphabetfiend.”

“If You Have Ghosts…” repost (Sunday A.M. Punk Rock Gospel)

Posted in I Heart My Love-Tribe, I Heart Tricksters, Intuition & Gut Intelligence, Mythos, Rock & Roll, Spirituality & Religion, SPOOKY KABUKI, The wisdom of the universe with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 9, 2010 by alphabetfiend

Well, lovers, the week started out nice enough what with spoiling the RobotBoy for his August 3 birthday and then a new little niece was born which was all kinds of exciting but then I made a fateful decision and let a 2 year old — my niecy, Thing 2 — handfeed me spaghetti. My friend Vince said, “Ah, you’ll do anything for a baby” and he’s too right. Pieces of parmesan cheese or stray bits of noodles fell from her mouth, onto her sauce-stained shirt, and when she gathered up this germy detritus with her chubby grubby fingers and aeroplaned it towards my mouth, I opened up. Yikes! I must be crazy! It’s a biological evolutionary power these babies have over us grown-ups. We’ll set aside our own good sense just to see ’em grin. Anyhoo. No sense crying over spilled spag. Now I am laid up and only barely human with a wicked case of strep throat. I’m missing Cyndi Lauper in a New Orleans club tonight and still unable to wrap my feeble mind around my half-done draft for this week’s punk-rock gospel. The Robot was gonna fill in for me but then he got sick too so I have decided to repost an oldie but goodie from way back when. (originally posted on the 28th of October, 2008.) Newcomers, enjoy! I’ll make it up to those of you who have read this one already. I’d give you big old smooches but I love y’all too much for that, cause I’m “naasty” as my niece would say and who wants my naaaaasty kisses anyway? Be well and beware of germs!

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“If you have ghosts, then you have everything…. You can say anything that you want and you can do everything that you want… one never does that… In the night, I am real. …I don’t want my fangs too long…. The moon to the left is a part of my thoughts and a part of me is me.”

These strange words, a mad shaman’s chant out of the speakers — volume LOUD — and into my atomic self… “eye” at the essence/energy level.

This was a hymn from the church I’d been waiting for. This was reckoning & rock n’ roll at once.

This was the theme to the soundtrack of my life. NOT one of those songs that I came to love. I loved it on first listen — in my bones, in my molecules, in the depths of my mind. If you have ghosts, you have everything. I had been waiting all of my days and nights to hear that song. I still shudder at every listen. It is my anthem. It is the mantra which saves me, its odd sequence of words spirit me off to my truest place. Where it is all okay. Not just okay but gorgeously fortunate.

Roky, my coyote in the dark piney woods. He howls. Pine cones float in the moonlight as organic odes to Tanuki and Kitsune. The coyote says “This was the life you wanted. How lucky you are to be haunted.”

If you have ghosts, then you have everything.

These spirits that clamour, who are they? Why are they here? What do they expect? They leave omens everywhere, valentines in the path of days. Instructional pamphlets? They are here because they adore you. You are who? The “universe’s darling”???  Who told you that? You have won their gaurded hearts. The telephone rings (Dad called it the “cosmic phone”) and the voice on the line is the voice you were longing for. The scarab in Jung’s window will knock with more frequency should he see that you too have twitching antennae.

Ah, to talk about what this song means to me is almost impossible! When the effect it had was to scatter me like seed while condensing. How can it feel this way?

It reminds me of Alice with the Drink Me bottles and the Eat Me cakes. I am ENORMOUS! Crowding, pressing, filling up. I am tiny. A nanotech hologram of all that I am, a portrait of Dolly Parton etched on a grain of basmati. Practically invisible, wholly infinite.

I am simply being forthright when I say that this song means the WORLD to me. Is there anything more in the world than this?

If you have ghosts, you have everything.

 

I have ghosts. More and more everyday. I feel their presense at the tips of my shoulders. I dream of complex impossible machinery and blame them. They are always watching, wondering. What now brown cow?

Some people point to their scars and say, “See! I have lived! I took the leap!”

Others point to frown furrows. “I have suffered. My heart has broken in a million places.”

Or to smile lines. “I have grinned. I have beamed. I have known joy, I have brought joy.”

I point to ghosts. They are the proof of a life lived on the curled up smoky edges of existence like burnt paper. They are testament to …. willingness? …. courage? … awe? … curiosity? … wonder?

 

If you have ghosts, then you have….

  • an open mind like a a wind-whipped hallway. Where is the wind coming from? It just comes.
  • a hungry heart. Skulking in the dark, turning over every rock, nibbling velvet moss, barky twigs, souls unlike your own, souls akin, a lover’s skin, a friend’s soft spot.
  • made allys amongst the gods, the totems, the sky, the dirt. Unlikely connections bind you to the hearts of others forever. Your allys fight for you with fervor and loyalty. They defend you against haters. When you are injured, they gather you up in cloudy limbs and carry you to a bed of soft thistle.
  • loved, you have loved to love, and that they are loved is no secret to those you love. You have grabbed their cheeks or pounced on their goodness. You have pointed out their attributes and celebrated their quirks and their quarks. Even their molecules feel handsome. You don’t withhold kindness. You take liberties with love. You lay it on thick.
  • been loved, always, and with such enthusiasm! They love you fully and fiercely. Even death cannot change the love they feel for you. It is more than emotion, it is a morphic field. It all gathers there, all the love that you’ve ever been given. All the compliments filed away, all the talismans built from origami & feathers, all the tokens of affection. And so many keys to so many hearts on a ring that clangs in your pocket. Lucky lucky lucky to be so loved.
  • you have found members of your tribe, recognized them, summoned them, exalted them, comforted them. SHOOK THEM.
  • not just people loved and lost but selves, moments, ideas. Pets. So many layers of being like tissue paper glued over glass. Illness, experience, dreams, injury, heartbreak, love, longing, learning. All the things that contribute to the complexity of your being.
  • had an unexplainable unduplicated drug like any other … wine, hallucinogens, tobacco, soda pop, sex… none of it compares to the ephemeral solace of the spirits that carry you, ferry you on a raft of peach skins, banana peels, orange rinds. You float on the current of time, space, electricity, wonderment. You crack the pod and lick the shell. The doorway swells with feathery light. You swallow the bulb and become a bulb. Incandescent.
  • no need for long fangs. No need to take, rape, steal, beg. If it’s not willing, you don’t need it. Hate is not welcome in your heart.
  • a glow-white lightning bolt of SPOOKY KABUKI, theatre of synchronicity, dance of the Mindellian demon. When the audience laughs, just bow. Whether they are laughing at you or with you, it doesn’t really matter. When you stutter or miss your cue,  you are Pee Wee Herman who meant to crash his bike into a rose bush. They will appreciate how you stop to smell the roses. Should you mangle a line just tie your mustache into a bow like your mouth is a gift to the world.
  • your toe in the water while the wave has its toe in you.
  • EVERYTHING.
 
IF YOU HAVE GHOSTS
 
If you have ghosts you have everything
If you have ghosts you have everything
if you can say anything you want
then you can do anything you want
If you have ghosts then you have everything

one never does that
one never does that
if you call it suprise there it is
the moon to the left of me is a part of my thoughts
is a part me is me
one never does that  In the night I am real
in the night I am real
the moon to the left of me is a part of my thoughts
is a pert of me is me
forever is the wind is a part of my thoughts
is a part of me is me
in the night I am realI don’t want my fangs too long
I don’t want my fangs too long
the moon to the left of me is a part of my thoughts
is a part of me is me
forever is the wind to the left of me is a part of my thoughts
is a part of me is me
I don’t want my fangs too long
if you have ghosts, then you have everything.

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The three paintings (above) are by the mind-boggling Miss Van who has captured my soul as well as my skin. Hopefully her brilliant renderings can help to translate my urgent over-wrought gobbledygook. When you love something the way I love this fucking phantom-tastic Roky Erickson song, your brain turns into a dollop of whipped cream. In the struggle to grab the meaning from its swirling vortex of importance, the writer looks like a hack and a zealot.

So please, please, forgive my words, excuse my raving mythos.

Just look at these masterpieces by Miss Van. 

Just LISTEN to Roky, my coyote guide, our city-shaman, our genius mad man who was spirited home to us at last. 

What God is to Goof, amen is to Aha!

God=Goof.

Amen=Aha!

Goof+Aha= if you have ghosts, you have everything.

Fur reals, y’all, not funny math. 

Thank you for tuning in/turning on to this special SPOOKY KABUKI edition of the Sunday AM Punk Rock Gospel. 

AHA!
  
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