Friday, October 30, 2009

Signal to Noise

We are information gluttons. All of us, in our own way, pushing information into ourselves as fast as we can. Even the slow people -- not the stupid people -- I mean the people who just move slower than others, even they are guzzling at the info nozzle for all they are worth.

Information is our mental sustenance. And everything is information. Even the tactile, the solid. We don't think of food as information, but it is. For our brains every single interaction with the world is a piece (rather billions of pieces) of delicious information. And regardless of whether we actually "like" something or not. Too hot, too cold, too painful, too fast, too slow? How the brain exalts in laying down the neural pathways that tell us how we feel about the things we dislike, and the things we like, alike. (Like totally.)

Remember that time you got a ride with that guy who drove too fast down that tiny curving road and all you could do was bite your tongue to hold back your screams?

How many times have you been in a car? You can't remember. But that time with that guy, that time you really didn't like: your brain was going "FUCK YEAH! Ima lay down this memory nice and deep cuz this shizzle is whack!"

MmmmmHmmmm. Your brain is a pervert. And so are you.

It doesn't matter what the information is: we want it, we want it now. And we want control over it. Some background noise is inevitable and often yields the juiciest morsels of new experiences, but we all seek to increase our signal to noise ratio.

Some people seek their information in the physical world, things they can touch and interact with, they sneer at people who spend time "blogging" or catching up on a social networking site. Other people are happy to interact with the internet, which in many ways gives us a high degree of control over our signal to noise ratio. It's all personal preference. But it sure is fun to sit up on a high horse (especially if it is a real horse cuz you're one of those physical-world-is-better folks) and toss your lofty morals down onto the masses who find their information fix in another way.

My horse doesn't feel so high at the moment, more of a pony, or a chicken, or maybe a kitten. Yeah, I have a kitten sized pony that just wants to cuddle and we don't care where you get your information (oh wait, is it too late to change my spirit animal? I would rather have a kitten sized whale. On a stick.) - anyway....I don't care where you get your information today. Just get it, enjoy it, maybe think about how you're thinking and try to start a little feedback loop inside your head.

I'm going to ride off into the sunset on my high pony/chicken/kitten/whale now and leave you with the aftermath of this information. On a stick.

Nerd out.


Monday, October 19, 2009

The only way out is through.

Someone asked me about my motivation the other day and here is what I had to say:

Starting solo really feels like starting over. I know it isn't quite starting over, but it feels like I've been kicked back to the start by a cruel overseer. I am really quite scared of performing solo. And that is exactly why I keep doing it. For some reason I have been shaped as the type of person that charges forward when something scares me. When I don't understand, when I can't see, when all I want to do is hide: I keep going.

Someone told me once, "The only way out is through."

It's so true. There may be nothing truer.

I know that no matter how scared I am of success or failure or whatever it is I am doing, even if I back out the fear will stay. The only way to get past the emotion is to continue what I started for as long as I want to. For as long as my passion drives me.

I decided long ago to not let fear guide my life. I do what I am driven to do, what I am passionate about. If I let fear stop me my life would be a small pale thing instead of the wondrous fairy tale I choose to live each day.

Fear is the little death. Fear is the mind-killer...

I have to remind myself often of this choice to not be ruled by fear: to be open: to smile at strangers: to hitch hike: to speak a language I am not comfortable with even if I sound stupid: to go for the high note even if my voice cracks: to love someone beyond reason, even if they don't love me back.

The choice has its costs. I am sensitive. I am often hurt. Because I am an optimist I always expect the best and end disappointed. But because I am an optimist I also see wonder where others see none. And because I push past my comfort and beyond what I know, my time on this planet is richer and deeper and filled with strange and wonderful things.

And the more I push my boundaries the further I can go. The less I give in to fear the better I get at it. I exercise my will and it gets stronger, like everything else I exercise. It isn't easy. But it is rewarding.

I take these chances because I know that when I go beyond my comfort, beyond what I know, that is where the purest art comes from.

"When we venture beyond the edge of our knowledge, all we have is art." Jonah Lehrer (Proust was a Neuroscientist)

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Video, Blog, Art

I made a really good video for this fundraiser: go watch it before alien squids eat your face!

The Disconnect

We do what we love, we follow our passion. We make our art because we have to. Asking for money in exchange for art is a strange concept. I won' sweep your floor unless you pay me but I will write songs no matter what. My creative output is not dependent on monetary contributions.

Well: everything is connected, and all things are affected by the environment in which they exist. So an artist making money will have more resources at hand in order to make the art. And a starving man will only make grumbling sounds with his stomach. But beyond the basic necessities and some resource issues, we make art because it is as compulsory as breathing.

To put that art out into the world is an entirely different matter. To attempt to 'make a living' off something as intrinsic as breathing seems somehow wrong. And yet the effort to make art is great. Blood, sweat, tears and more. Art consumes us, chews on our bones, has it's way with us. Sometimes to connect to the art we disconnect from the world. We cannot sleep, we cannot eat, we forget our grandmothers' birthdays.

To further our art we hurl ourselves down into the rabbit hole, blind faith tells us it leads to a new universe, reason tells us we are mad. And since we live in a world which insists quite unreasonably that reason is the order of the day we are made mad by our choice to be mad.

But is isn't a choice, no not really. We can stay on the surface and let the tattered and forgotten beauty of our dreams drive us slowly into the death of the mind and soul, or we can dive deep, down into the thick soupy abyss of the creative force that spawned us and lose the thin threads of reason that keep us tied to the 'reasonable' persons on the surface.

And somewhere in here, in the midst of this and that, the surface and the abyss, the beauty and the boredom, the guitar and the television, we must make our way to eat, must remember to keep one golden shining thread trailing back up to the light above - our life line. We must remember how to speak to others, how to ask for what we need. We must do the unthinkable and ask for sustenance so that we might breathe.

I'm going off the deep end friends. Follow me or feed me. Maybe both.

If I forget how to talk please remember: I always loved you.