Sometimes I think men are about changing the outer world while women are about changing on the inside to find the magic in what is.
I feel art is a feminine activity…. it lets people transform by seeing beauty in new things. To step outside the judgments which cage their perceptions. Art that simply caters to current tastes dulls the senses like being hooked up to a masturbation machine. Artists have to follow their own muse oblivious to the taste of the people.
The point is not to please nor to shock. But to deliver a fresh stream of water that people can choose to align their psyche with should they need it. The fresh input allows inner things to reconfigure and helps flush out the gunk.
It’s the same with thoughts. Fresh perspectives have value, even if you don’t happen to need that perspective at the moment. At least it will be there offering you a mental alternative should you ever get stuck in the future.
Whether songs are good or bad and perspectives right or wrong seems besides the point. They are crayons you can add to your crayon box just in case. A color you dislike now may appeal in the future.
I’m saying all this because I want to write about hillbillies and am bracing myself for the backlash. I have yet to recover my nerve from when people attacked me for writing about poor people. It doesn’t matter that I was praising poor people & pointing out that they might be fairies in disguise. In fact people seemed angry that I wasn’t describing the poor as miserable beings leading a pointless existence.
I internalized these attacks to where I became afraid to see my own experience of poverty in a magical light. I wish I could return to that lens though. It made me feel safe and uplifted.
But when autumn came I went into panic mode…. I must figure out how to make a living now or I’m going to die! FUCK! FUCK! FUCK! And the more I panic the more I can’t think at all.
So I may just have to accept the possibility that I will end up living under a bridge getting stabbed to death by a mugger because so far no better plan has come to mind.
Maybe if I had the confidence to stay on my own wavelength rather than trying to be Tarzan the Dentist I could think more clearly. Maybe a possibility for how to survive would come to mind, maybe something I could actually do.
Cause the more I try to be a lumberjack the more my brain seizes and my body freezes and I can’t function at all.
All my life I’ve felt this guilt about not being a lumberjack, a gladiator, a professional boxer. I’m never hearty, tough, dirty and hard scrabble enough to please the people around me.
James was the first person to accept me as I was and that caused a lot of my psychological problems to clear up. I stopped needing to match the color of my ice cream to the color of my shoes. I could tolerate a wider range of colors, sounds and smells which let me function more normally.
But none of this happened because he was trying to change me. Its because he accepted me as I was. If I needed white ice cream topped with white sauce and white sprinkles he would help me find it until eventually I didn’t need it anymore. He always told me to trust myself and no matter how far out my preferences were he never tried to force me into conventional ways of being. Paradoxically this made me feel more at peace with conventions until I could see them as sources of comfort. Because I’d become comfortable with myself.
But now that I’m facing annihilation the panic returns that I must become someone else to survive. A gladiator. A lesbian. A mailman. A criminal. I must shut the fuck up and find something heavy to lift at once. Then I’ll be safe.
I feel like people are trying to fix the masculine side of society- the economy, the government etc, when that isn’t what is broken. On a material level, we do pretty well in America with most people able to achieve a reasonable degree of prosperity through hard work. Even the poor can get fat.
It is the feminine side of life where the problems lie. People don’t feel good about life. They have low self esteem. They feel like something is missing. I believe the solution is to stop the degradation of women since they hold the key to our emotional and spiritual well being.
Right now, there is lots of talk about the need to have more female leaders, ceos, scientists etc. But herding more women into dull masculine professions will not bring about the desired changes. It may make life feel even more hollow than before. What women need is that we push back against the forces that erode their sense self-worth,* such as Hollywood, the music and fashion industries, etc. It is the subjective side of life- art, design, fashion, psychology- which needs to be freed from the forces of capitalism and masculinity.** Rather than pushing women INTO masculine domains, why not push men OUT of the feminine realms?***
The problem with men controlling the subjective realms of life (which for the sake of brevity I will refer to as “culture”) is that their masculine, egoic nature will naturally seek a way to harness these energies for personal power, glory, and control- all positive aims when they are operating in masculine realms. The true purpose of culture, though, is to release us from the emotional cage of civilization and reconnect us to a source of magic and healing- the Other World- from which we emerged. To free us from the oppression of social judgments and reconnect us with our source.
This is why the objectification of women is so dangerous. On the surface it may seem like a superficial issue- less important than war and the economy- but in reality when we make females doubt their beauty and their value- or when we give them the message that these things decrease rather than grow with time- we dishearten them to the extent that they are no longer able to fulfill their natural role in society- which is to connect us to nature. Both our inner nature and the true nature of life. It is only this connection to nature which can bring peace and true fulfillment.
Women bring beauty and depth to life in a way men can’t because their egos are weaker and their connection to the inner worlds is stronger (hence why they have holes rather than poles.) To objectify them is to hypnotize them into a state of narcissistic self-consciousness which runs counter to their true power. In this state, they struggle to be free and creative in the way that is natural to them. Fixated on themselves, they lack the energy to bring to life those things which bring joy and meaning. Forced into an unnatural state of competition they are no longer able to heal others. Without the unique contributions of females, life becomes dry and even men can no longer achieve satisfaction from their masculine achievements.
When men control the arts, for example, art becomes a competitive sport. People struggle to outdo each other in skill, artistry and innovation. The struggle for competence and domination is male nature. Or things may go one step further- as they have in Hollywood and the fashion industry- with men using their creations as Trojan horses bearing toxic messages designed to disempower the population as a whole. In many cases, these poison arrows are aimed right at women. Maybe because they are extra-susceptible due to their softer nature. Or maybe because the culture lords know that women must be displaced so that they can dicktate values and control the subjective realm in women’s place.
But true art is not about self-serving messages hidden within an artistic facade. True art carries messages from the heart or from realms which bring healing or a greater connection to life. Art is meant to FREE us from the judgments and spiritual toxins of society- not reinforce them. Whereas a masculine art tends to reinforce these judgments as the artists struggle to outdo one another in their ability to embody group values.
Currently, our culture lords present women with two main avenues for achieving value. 1. Achieve a sexy appearance by conforming to their artificially constructed ideals. 2. Prove ourselves in the masculine realms by having a successful career and making lots of money. Or even better, do both!
But neither of these are feminine aims.**** Females like to connect, heal, deepen, and beautify. And beauty- from a female perspective- is very different from the ideas promoted by the phallocratic culture gods. To them, beauty is superficial and hierarchical, based on how perfectly you approach an ideal of their determination. It is basically a competitive sport.
In a feminine sense, beauty is that which brings an inner sense of harmony, peace and healing, regardless of how rough or primitive the container may be. Interior design by males for example, tends to be ridiculously impressive to the eye and mind. Interior design by females (if they aren’t trying to compete within a male industry) would probably not impress and yet somehow create a feeling of comfort and home. Males use “beauty” to impress and intimidate. But I don’t believe that is true beauty. True beauty is what makes us whole on the inside.
So, basically, I don’t believe anyone will be healed by socialism. It will only undermine the masculine side of life while doing nothing to uplift the feminine. But we could create change by pushing back against messages which degrade and objectify women. Women should not feel their beauty and value is something to be proven. We are the EMBODIMENT of value and beauty. Whatever we are is what beauty is.
It is the nature of beauty to carry us some place new and this can only happen when you open your mind to see the perfection of what is, rather than trying to find something which adheres to your own suffocating judgments. When you seek that which reflects your own opinions and judgments beauty will always elude you. That which is perfect by your own standards is merely a reflection of your own limitations and has nothing to offer you.
This same principle applies in art. When we look for art which is good, skillful and impressive, we are only looking for that which holds us in place. The only way to travel someplace new is to appreciate that which does NOT appear to live up to your wonderful notions.
This is why art, as well as women, must be freed from masculine judgments. We need things in life which are wild, which can be appreciated but not judged, and therefore allow us to travel beyond ourselves.
*I realize I am writing as though women are helpless victims but that isn’t how I see things. I believe women have the power to wake ourselves from our own hypnotic slumber. But I also believe any male who helps women to value rather than degrade themselves will be rewarded. Because the essence of femaleness is to reward back manifold any good thing that is put into them.
**I am very much in favor of capitalism, but do feel it has spiritual dangers. For example, humans can come to believe that value itself can be determined by the market, which in essence makes popular opinion the benchmark of value, something we all know is disastrous..
** I’m not literally suggesting we push males out of the arts because then we would miss the raw, pulsing expression of red dick energy and the golden intricacy of masculine skill. .
**** I realize aims vary according the individual. But qualifying every statement is tedious.
This song is called “Old Guitar” which is strange because I hate songs that mention guitars in them. It is creepy- like a painting of a paint brush. I don’t trust artists that are so into art that they actually write songs about it. It feels masturbatory when artists set art too high on a pedestal. If artists are going to worship anyone, it should be the people who make it possible for them to pursue lacy ephemeral things- people like lumberjacks, soldiers, carpenters, farmers, moms etc. It is only thanks to these practical people that the ones like me can exist.*
Also, I sort of believe that- as much as possible- artist should try to be soldiers & lumberjacks themselves, not just sit around fingering a guitar all day. Otherwise, they are like cut flowers that don’t have much to draw upon.
A song about my desperation to leave the cold world of outer space and feel earthed again. I wrote this song in Nashville. As a kid, visiting Nashville from Kentucky, I had always liked its warm, earthy vibe, like pizza cooked in a red brick oven. But when I moved there as an adult- around 2006, I think, it didn’t seem the same anymore. It had become citified, slick, black, stylish, and cold. Sure, there was country music, but there wasn’t anything country.
What is country music, anyway? To me, it would be any music inspired by a southern, rural life. It wouldn’t have to fit a certain mold- it could be strange, nonsensical, angry, dull, sad, or wild. It could express the full range of human emotions and the crazy imagination of nature. But Nashville music isn’t rooted in the country, it is rooted in the tradition of country music, which is a very different thing. It pulls its tradition from a handful of 20th century country heroes, a well that becomes more depleted with every song written. Art that draws on other art as its foundation… well, I think it can get a little inbred. That is how we end up with blank canvases and the like hanging up in museums.
But that is just my opinion. The point is, I felt disappointed that Nashville had become more cosmopolitan than homey. I wanted something soft, warm, and natural, but ended up with something cold, hard and plastic. It may be no coincidence that so many of the songs I wrote in Nashville relate to being lost in outer space.
Another one of my first “Dusty Stables” songs that would have been lost to the sands of time if James hadn’t pulled up the lyrics on his computer the other day…
This may be the only song I’ve ever written that is intended to convey a positive message…
well, I guess it is not so much a positive message as a desperate question…
I wrote this song after having to declare bankruptcy from making a series of outrageous purchases, ranging from $500 garbage cans to $5000 shirts in an effort to achieve financial stability via the law of attraction. Really, I think I had suffered a financial break with reality when I got married and had to assume my husband’s six-figure debt, something that seemed soul crushing given my $20,000 yearly income. Not to mention that he wanted Porsche’s and caviar and fine dining experiences and it seemed that his spirit would leave this earth if I could not find a way to provide them…
I suppose I could be grateful that my desperation drove me towards the purple end of the insanity spectrum (fantastical thinking) rather than the red and black end of crime and violence.
I remember having to go to court to declare bankruptcy… I was so scared and my legs were shaking… it seemed impossible to go through with it. But in the end the judge was a light & cheery man who just said, “Oh you’re an artist. Well, great! You’re free to go. Keep up the good work!” It felt like he was congratulating me. Sometimes I really love California.