I've been trying to be better at knowing where my phone is, having the ringer on, answering it when it rings - three things which are sometimes difficult to me. I tried to cut down on beer & coffee these past few months before I go traveling, but ended up drinking more in total, just less regularly. Isn't that often how resolutions go? Who cares anyway, with this moderation of these earthly crutches, it's not like I'm trying to moderate a crack habit. I was just trying to clear my head of the apathy & lethargy which has kept me hitherto from becoming a famous billionaire artist, but I doubt it's the caffeine or alcohol, neither of which I intake at the levels of the Ancient Sumarians or Elizabethans. Did I mention that the remainder bookstore I've been working at sells a kids sticker/coloring book called God Created the Dinosaurs of the World, which has stickers of Adam & Eve feeding dinosaurs, & (my favorite) a viking ship with a prehistoric dino-fish swimming beside it. Another sticker has a quaint group of semi-naked humans planting crops, & one with a hoe is trying to scare away a foraging dinosaur. "Shoo, you rascally dinosaur!"
This could be the dilemma many people in my age or position face in America today - an immense & devastating drop in creativity & energy. Now, I'm not going to play fickle with lady inspiration - I agree with John Adams that if you work hard at anything, inspiration comes when it needs to. The issue is the motivation - I believe writer's block is more of a chemical imbalance than a mystical ennui. But why, for example, do I get so bored when I'm writing music? The last few weeks, I was sketching out a piece for piano, bass & percussion, & it was the physical process of putting notes on a staff that I just couldn't focus on. There was nothing great nor mediocre about the quality of music I was creating, but the fairly meditative & tedious process of scribing it, which I used to fly thru, enjoy, or hardly notice, now, after about fifteen minutes, I find myself surfing the internet or pacing the room. Several obvious problems: a) no commission or deadline, b) no community of artists to discuss with or try to impress, c) no specific stylistic argument I'm trying to make, to necessitate an example piece, d) no long stretches of time where I'm by myself, not working, where I can really get into some creative process. But even in combination, I should be able to transcend above all of these problems & write for writing's sake, build up a portfolio or repertoire for an audition or for whatever future needs, with the youthful motivation I used to have - (I'm only fucking twenty-five!) - unhinderable.
There is one huge reason I have squandered my hours at this boring job for so long (five months) - I am never asked to do anything. They pay me next to nothing to do next to nothing - wait hold on...
Bookstore Conversation #1,493
Costumer: Excuse me, do you have any fabric paints?
Your Hero: No, there's no more art supplies - only books here now. The art store went out of business.
Costumer: Wouldn't you know. Is there another art store around here?
Your Hero: Yeah, four blocks down, at University & Sixth, called Blick.
Costumer: Okay, thank you.
Where was I? O yes - being payed just to sit here started out as a fantastic boon. I read a ton. But the last month, I haven't been able to focus on anything, frustration of frustrations. So that's it, time to move on. When I knew I was truly bored, six weeks ago, I bought a plane ticket to Alabama & Atlanta, the first time I've been on a airplane since college, the first time I've ever been to Alabama - I've been to forty-nine states of our huge union, this will be my fiftieth. I'm freewheeling it for the first week in Alabama, I intend on attending two annual sacred harp sings in churches in small towns in Alabama - the second Saturday of every May at the Oak Grove Primitive Baptist Church in Sylacuaga, then the second Sunday of every May at the Old Flatwoods Primitive Baptist Church near Nauvoo. I'll probably be staying in Tuscaloosa, so I've been e-mailing & calling Sacred Harp singers looking for rides to & back from these singings. Yesterday, I spent forty-five minutes on the phone with a ninety year old woman who won't be attending this year. Here's an e-mail from the pastor at Sylacuaga:
Hello Brother James Welsch,
Then, I'll be watching my friends put on a puppetry festival in Atlanta. When I come back I will only be working part time while I look for more inspiring & fiscally remunerative employment. I'll try & report about my travels a bit on this blog, so stay tuned! I'm bringing Joyce's Ulysses to try & finish before Bloomsday in San Francisco next month. I'm sorry to be so "biographical", one thing I have promised to do infrequently on this page, but I thought it would be better writing than a review of Grindhouse or something. (It was really gorey.) P.O.E.!