Authenticity Gone Missing

The problem is a lack of authenticity. But has there ever been any authenticity in the first place? Has there been anything new since the postmodernists?

New age is old age. Since the new guard became the old guard. We have surpassed the neo-postmodernists and they didn’t even know they were neo. We are members of the rearguard awaiting the changes.

I come from the underground, but where is that?

Have you been alive long enough to remember when people used to add people to their friend’s networks? To be friends. When the phrase was “go hang with your friends” instead of “go network.”

I can’t tell you the last time I got “followed” by a person. I mean, a real person who just exists in this world and wants to read my thoughts.

Everyone is a business these days. “I’m not a businessman,” we used to joke. “I’m a Business, man.”

Now that’s no joke.

For a decade or more it’s always another content creator trying to add me in order to network with me. It’s no wonder Corporations are considered people. Everybody is a business.

Friends with benefits. I’ll be your friend if you buy my makeup, my CD, my oh my my. The modern day Avon salesperson.

The neo post Avon salesperson.

Remember when friends with benefits just meant we were also getting laid?

Those were the days.

We are not friends. We are network partners. We are a bunch of artists, musicians, and writers adding other artists, musicians, and writers so we can bolster our numbers and network towards success.

“Wow, I really liked what you wrote there. Have you seen my Patreon?

The innocent and naive question that stirs often is, “Where are all the people who are just people?”

Everyone has to be somebody and I can’t blame them because since birth I have been very busy being somebody. I feel stupid even wondering why anyone would just want to be an observer or a consumer. I wouldn’t.

And yet if you look out into the crowds of the world all that seems to be there are consumers! But look into the Interwebs and I don’t have an audience. I have a network of networkers. Except for my old friends. The friends I made when we had friends lists and observed each others work, as friends.

Where are the new friends? Where are the couch surfers and the bohemians looking for love? (Sure, where have all the cowboys gone?)

With every “add” I receive there is another message asking me to please “Like” their page or “Try” their wears.

“I follow back!”

Can’t we just have a conversation? Can’t we just travel through and get drunk together? To share a plate of spaghetti and meatballs. Can’t we take some pictures for our personal photo album and not share it with the world? Polaroids, perhaps.

When life was a great night out ending with a great story. Instead of a great night out ending with me subscribing to your Youtube channel. Of course, you already had subscribed to mine.

But what’s wrong with that? Why can’t we have an unbalanced superstar vs. civilian relationship? Why can’t the consumers just give adoration, adoration, adoration?

Why can’t you give me the respect that I’m entitled to? Why can’t you treat me like I would be treated by any stranger on the street? (Mommy Dearest, 1981)

Because everyone is out for their 15 minutes. Because Mr. Warhol promised.

The Artist D, November 2018

The Artist D in the Red Room, November 2018

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Self Mythology

I never really expected that I would get to be myself all of the time, every day. That goes along with my gender too.

I think as a child I decided that I fully disagreed with everything my family told me I was. Since we were in total disagreement I would need to be the opposite. That or I would at least have to ignore the person they told me I was. I really didn’t like that person, because it wasn’t me!

Never listen to other people’s stories about you. There’s a good satisfying piece written about this in Thee Psychick Bible. It goes beyond doing or being what your parents tell you. It truly spotlit for me that which we already know about (parental expectations, guidance, and rule), but there are these stories that we are told by the society around us. And they go beyond the usual “you’re going to be a Doctor when you grow up” or “you’re going to marry a beautiful woman, have 12 babies, white picket fences.”

These stories go deeper than those blatant expectations. The stories are actually what we believe to be our first “memories.” These memories are actually hand-me-downs from other people. Amusing anecdotes passed back to us about ourselves. These stories are from a time in our lives we cannot recall ourselves and dastardly enough we actually begin to build ourselves from these fables.

“Usually, without much consideration of veracity or motive, we assume those original stories (whose source is usually parental) are true, rather than separately authored and constructed mythologies. Yet, with the best will in the world, they are edited highlights (and lowlights) from another person’s perspective, interpreted by them, and even given significance and meaning by their being chosen to represent the whole of us, before our own separate SELF consciousness sets in.” *

That was the paragraph that set off an explosion in my brain. It sticks with me years after first reading those lines. I had fought for most of my life to not be what I was told I should be, almost out of spite, but I never considered what foundation had been put down before I even consciously arrived on the scene.

My family told me that I would be like my father and I would follow in his footsteps. That meant to me, a Sun Sign and wild egotist, that I would never be my own person and forever live in someone’s shadow. I have nothing against my father or his chosen lifestyle, but you don’t tell someone that when they practically have marched from the womb with mighty delusions of grandeur.

I remember the type of anecdotes mentioned above most from a grandmother. If anyone was a fan of the mythology of me, it was she. She would observe me acting in a way she felt was “not me” and then go through great pains to tell me how the child I could not recall would have never done whatever I was doing. When I think about it like that I can see how that really did hurt me. To think as a child that you are not who your people know you to be. It means something different than it would mean now. Because as children we believe that these grown mature people towering over us surely must know something about who we actually are. Surely their time on Earth has been longer and they must know something.

We should all be able to remember a time when we were told, “This isn’t like you.”

How is something not like you? If you are doing it, then it must be like you. What they meant was that it did not match the myth that they had constructed of you in their own heads. I’ve always been the person I knew me to be. The only reason I did something unlike me was because it happened to be a trait I had that they ignored. Until they could ignore it no more.

I now know that these myths, anecdotes, and the common built-in expectations harmed me. They somewhat stunted my progress as a human. I hated things about myself because of what they represented to other people. My name was not just my name. It was a label indicating that I was secondary and “like my father.” It did not speak to the individual I insisted I was. And due to that it expected me, a flamboyant homosexual, to be strong and manly. Therefore I hated my label and therefore my gender. I hated its connection to masculinity and shunned anything presented in the masculine tense. This hatred stopped me from experiencing and learning normal everyday things. For example, as an angry teenager I refused to change my car’s oil or pump my own gas because the society I was raised in said it was a man’s job. I refused to do a man’s job because I refused to be a man if being a man meant everything I was told it meant. To me at that time it meant being something I wasn’t.

I created the persona of who I knew I was and I made sure it was very distanced from the mythology of “a normal boy from a poor farming community.” Instead I would be a glamorous transgender woman (looking back it was more transvestite), an individual, an artist, a raconteur and provocateur. It would service my ego, my lust and sexuality, and banish who they insisted I must be. That person I was before I could even remember being a person.

There was rarely a time throughout all of my youth (0-30) where I ever considered that I would have to acknowledge my birth identity or any of those masculine labels society had placed. I went to school, but that wasn’t really me. At home behind closed doors was when I was me. I went to work at a normal day job but when I came home the wigs flew out of the closet, the martini was poured, and I was living My Authentic Self online for millions of people to adore. Picture the story of Bat Girl from Batman. By day she was Barbara Gordon, the police commissioners quaint daughter, and at night she came home to a closet that secretly revolved to display a wardrobe of masks, spandex, and “interesting implements.” She was not really Barbara Gordon. She was Bat Girl.

Part of my ongoing transition from whatever I was to whatever I am now was the realization that it was all based upon a myth I accidentally believed. We are impressionable children being told stories about our past and our future. What the hell else are we going to believe?

When I legally changed my name it was on the heels of slowly acknowledging that I was going to be the person I knew myself to be, 24/7. I came to the horrifying realization that I might always have a day job and that I wouldn’t be prancing around in stilettos for the rest of my life. I wanted to build relationships with people from the world of daylight just as I had from my preferred world of darkness. And I could not do that while carrying around labels I absolutely knew I was not. There is this invisible barrier when you have to explain who you’re pretending to be vs. who you actually are. Then you’re friends adopt that same policy. They start to explain you to their friends as this great person who has to pretend to be this other person. Bat Girl never talked about Barbara Gordon and vice versa, it was a smart move but it really put a damper on her social life.

People from the streets could not get to know me when there were dozens of labels standing in my way. It’s like living a public double life. There was nothing private about it. And society told me I had to wear all the labels, unless I officially changed them. So, I stripped a few off so my authentic self was a bit more clearer by day as it was by night.

This marked a great psychological change over time. To have people call you something that you want to be called is a game changer. To be treated as the person you display yourself to be instead of the person people were told you were. This is why, among many other things, I can completely understand a person’s need to change their gender, name, identity. It’s not about them hiding who they are. It’s about them becoming what they’ve always been. To shed the mythology is exquisite. It is a psychological breath of fresh air to let a little more of yourself out of society’s bag.

Out of that journey is how I fell in love with being a man. I learned to love myself because I was able to figure out who that actually was. Then I learned to love others. Then others loved me. I learned that men don’t change oil. People change oil. The mythology I bought into as a youngster was that the world I would enter was black and white. Men did one thing. Women did another thing. And growing up in Pennsylvania during the 80’s it was clear that Men were boring and Women were interesting. So, who would want to be a man?

Had they told me that I had a penis and everything else was negotiable, I may have been much more open to the concept of being the man I was. But people didn’t do that. People still don’t do that! “Your name is Joe. You are going to work in a Button Factory. You will have a wife, three kids, and a family. When you were born you were a good kid who loved Jesus Christ and you never cried in church, so you need to stick to that or else we’re going to fuck you up ...”

This alteration does not disqualify the times I wanted to be a woman (or thought I was). It only addresses a constant transition which all humans should be allowed. We are not the babies we once were. We don’t have to be the teenagers we acted out. We do not even have to be the young adults making the same mistakes. We should be allowed great sweeping changes if that’s where the waves take us. We should build our own stories and not believe our mythologies.

The Artist D, October 2018

The Artist D, October 2018

 

*Quote from “Being the First Part: Change the Way to Perceive and Change All Memory,” pg 277 of Thee Psychick Bible

Coyote Wanderlust

It’s 9 pm and no one has Liked my recent photo for the last hour.

I’ve been checking.

I’m reading a book about coyotes and I keep checking my phone between each chapter.

I didn’t know the book was about coyotes until I bought it. Now I read it uninterested yet oddly enthralled.

Some dumb author I found to be brilliant had recommended this coyote book to me. I guess he’s not that brilliant after all.

I keep reading this book. Like a badly cooked meal you’re too hungry to throw out.

This is the future. This is our 21st century.

I can’t get through a chapter or an act without checking. Feed me the Like. Like good drugs gone bad. Like drugs. The drugs of Like.

It could be worse. I’m not mainlining something that could kill me. Or am I? Likes are deadly substances.

Don’t snort too many Likes or you could OD. I learned that back in 2002.

They ruin our mental state. They take away from reading books and watching plays. About coyotes.

Back with the coyotes I go.

It turns out we’re all rummaging through the trash looking for things we Like. In cities we have no business being lost inside of.

The Artist D, May 2018

The Artist D, May 2018

Death of Passivity

I have always loved the ocean because it speaks to life. The ocean is a visual representation of life as I see it. I’ve often described the need to flow with the cosmic waves. If you become too stuck, too solidly stubborn against the waves, you will suffer more friction and destruction than if you were to just “go with the flow.” Much like how with struggle it becomes much easier to drown.

We creatures float through the galaxy like objects in the sea. All of the swirling, floating, and interweaving is critical for it to make a masterpiece. It’s a chaotic dancing stew, yet it all seems to work out for the best. The tide comes in and washes over the rocks to clear off some creatures while feeding others. If you happen to be one of these clam-like creatures you actually depend on it. You don’t really swim. You float, you’re buried, you’re uncovered, you live. It’s the Art of Being. Clams need not do anything other than be themselves while their environment carries them to live the life that they happen to live.

I think you will be taken care of whether you decide to swim or float in this universe. There is a place for both. However, we should not hold ourselves back when it comes time to paddle our feet to get us to the next place.

For most of my life I have often held myself back from swimming. I opted instead to float. I’ve let the waves of the universe carry me to some pretty great places. With that in mind I have always hesitated to start swimming in another direction.

I have feared changing course in life just about as much as I would fear changing course in the literal ocean. I am afraid to start purposefully swimming towards better land only to end up in one of those tidal wave storms which puts you farther away. Then you’re clinging to a plank, pissed off, and dying of hypothermia.

There’s also a big difference between swimming and flailing your arms violently until the ocean of our universe pulls you under into death. I see a lot of people confuse the two of these all of the time, literally and figuratively. Especially figuratively! There is an incredible amount of people out there struggling violently against the waves, gasping for air, and they have no idea. They’d tell you that they’re swimming. I’d tell them that they’re sinking.

If you float when you could swim you are being passive, possibly too passive. I am guilty of being passive at times when I should have been ravenously paddling. I’ve let people in my life just because they happen to have come into it. I’ve let a lot of things happen to me just because they were happening. It’s the pile of drugs you take just because they happen to be on the coffee table. It’s the sex you have just because the person happens to be all over you. It’s the job you take just because they hired you. It’s the first husband or wife you marry because they were the first one to put up with your cranky ass.

For far too long I was under the impression that this was the way it worked. In a lot of ways that can work, but it will not always be the way and you should not always accept it as such.

There is nothing wrong with making decisions. There is nothing wrong with saying “no” when you don’t want something. The same goes for if you want to say “yes” to something. There’s actually nothing wrong with asking for what you want! This is simple and obvious, yet completely unbelievable to a lot of people.

I was one of those people. That personality is still buried within me. If the opportunity came along then we might as well do it. If the opportunity did not come along then let’s forget about it. There wasn’t much push to obtain the opportunity. There wasn’t a lot of swimming against the current.

I deceptively resembled a person who took chances because I did take chances – passively. I blindly threw myself off of a lot of cliffs and hoped for the best. That’s where my faith in the flow of the universe stems from. That’s where I got terribly confused about being a drifter, never decidedly swimming to the desired opportunity.

This is why I had absolutely no understanding of college students. To put yourself in an eight year program with a belief that you are actually going to get to the end is as likely as swimming a straight line in a hurricane. Do you know how much can change in eight years? Do you know how much you probably will never want to do in eight years what you are doing today? I could not fathom the desire to do anything of the sort. For me, a one year plan was quite enough because I knew that at the end of that plan I’d be ready for a completely different map.

The only thing that has changed my mind about long term planning is finally capturing some realization about the hurricane in between. If we are open to changes of course during our plans then it makes sense. It turns out that most people understood this. I was far too black and white to see it until now.

The dawning realization has been that it’s OK to make hard choices. It’s OK to decline an invitation or disagree with an associate. We learn this even more when we are placed in management of others or owning a business. That can be learned from the corporate world or from managing an underground art magazine. Are you ready to have difficult conversations with people you may not like? Are you going to cope with the disagreement when your word is the final word? Are you OK with pointing out things that someone else may have absolutely no clue about? Would you be willing to fire someone for their shitty behaviors?

We do not always need to float. We are not all clams. We are allowed to decide on a course of action which may not be easy, but doable, if we have working arms, legs, or a giant propeller for a nose. The balancing act is to learn when to stop driving your boat into the Tsunami. The secret is to know the difference between swimming and flailing.

The Artist D, Autumn 2017

The Artist D, Autumn 2017, Beating a Metaphor to Death since circa 1997

Chris the Robot

Hi, my name is Chris. I’m a licensed massage therapist living in the metro area. I like food, cats, gaming, and healthy relationships.

Hello Chris, do you know you’re a cylon? You’re a carbon copy of a carbon copy. You’ve been placed on this Earth as a place holder, a space filler. I’ve met 20 other Chris in 20 other cities across the nation.

Welcome Chris, with you’re dead-eyed Instagram photos and your laze-fare Facebook posts. Your walks in the park and calmly concise candlelight suppers where neither party reveals anything true. Not that either has anything true to reveal. Because you’re Chris and probably Joel. Joel is your date. He also is a cylon.

You’ll go home tonight, Chris and Joel, and you’ll fuck. You’ll fuck boringly and shoot your plain vanilla cylon juices. You’ll feel scandalous for a moment and then Joel will break up with you in the morning.

That’s OK because you’re meeting Ben at the coffee shop where he’ll buy you a triple shot extra large something-something while he listens to how boring Joel was. From your boring mouth. Your boring mind. Your dead eyes will look up into the sky as you and Ben take a selfie for another boring dead-eyed Instagram post. Ben doesn’t care because he thinks you’re besties. You share so much of nothing with Ben that he’s drowning in artificial substance.

How could you be besties if you aren’t real? How can you be Joel’s lover if you are only programmed phrases and functions? Flaunting the programming embedded from the media, the religion, and the back of your daddy’s hand. Are robots in love truly in love at all? The robots seem to think so.

A carbon copy of a carbon copy. I could scrape your surface and find more surface, Chris. You don’t know. You’ll never know. If you met a person like me you wouldn’t believe I was a person. I would blow your fuses and put you in an institution. We’d peel back the plastic layers of skin to find metallic sputtering and you still wouldn’t believe me. Because you’re a robot. Sparks would fly. Chris the robot with cliche programming and vanilla juices.

What has happened now will happen again. With you. With the thousand of other Chris replicas around the globe. There goes Chris the rebel. Chris dancing to his own beat. Beating what he thinks is his own drum and dancing his own dance track. That drum of someone else’s design. The dance track already laid in and playing before Chris was even switched on. Chris, your dead eyes and extra large throbbing latte. You’re taking a walk now. You’re on the beach and you’re thinking about cats and computer games. You’re dreaming of healthy relationships. Listen to all of those clicks and whistles! You’re a cylon. You’re Chris the Robot.

The Artist D, October 2017The Artist D, September 2017

The Artist D, September 2017

Travelers Inbound

They piled out of a beaten up cliché of a wanderer’s van. He wore a short raggedy belly shirt. His skinny stomach showing off to the world. He had a vest on. Tall with dirty blonde hair. I could have eaten breakfast off of his stomach had I not been so concerned with where it had been.

She was the quintessential new age hippie. She wore a Hugh Hefner smoking jacket, booty shorts, and a pirate’s hat with cat ears on it. An old guitar, non-electric also known as acoustic, hung from around her shoulders. At times she strode down the median strumming a god awful noise.

Their third and final partner in crime was also a woman. She looked like Janis Joplin. That was it. That was all. She stood near the van. She rummaged through their junk. She even had on those round sunglasses.

They sat there aside from the traffic going by. Some people honked and others stopped to have weird conversation. I was of course most taken with the man. Remember, breakfast on his abs, if only his abs weren’t the direct correlation of gum on a park bench. You just don’t know where those abs have been.

Bell bottoms! They all wore bell bottoms! Everyone was so cliché that it was a wonder if they were truly an organic 21st century wanderer. But you can put all doubts aside as they smelled organic.

It makes you want to run away. Maybe not you. Maybe it’s just me. I want to run away. I want a beaten up guitar and abs that surely someone would eat breakfast off of no matter where I have hung my hat. I want cohorts. I want traveling companions. I want to live in a van and play music down a median while wearing cat ears. We can bum coffee and donuts every morning. I can bum it. We will bum it across the country in that beaten up van. We can play Free Bird until our ears bleed. You can pretend that Janice Joplin hasn’t been dead for six hundred and fifty three years. You and your round sunglasses.

Let’s go into work on Monday and tell them to shove it. Let’s tell them that there is bumming to be done across this great country. We don’t even have to tell them. Let’s leave now. We’ll make this country great again with your booty shorts and cat ears. My abs. My abs will make this nation great. Our van and our donuts. Eating breakfast and getting off.

Me and my abs. The random villages. The random men. With random women. The random dicks. The random pussies. With the random breakfasts served upon delicious skin. You and me and Bobby McGee.

The Artist D Meets a Man in the Woods, February 2017

The Artist D Meets a Man in the Woods, February 2017

Dirty Thirty

They (whoever They are) often say that people find themselves in their 30’s. It’s a time where all of that pretense and angst of the 20’s is shucked. The bullshit factor is greatly reduced to a place where you begin to “really” live what you think is your life.

Whereas most people have found who they are in their 30’s, I found out who I am not. I never suffered from the same 20’s muck that most did. If I’m to believe the lore, I was actually living my 30’s in my 20’s. I was invincible and on fire. My teenage inhibitions slowly fell away as I stepped out on the town in fabulous stiletto finery.

Learning who I am not has come as a great shock to the system. I continue to blame the circumstances of the 21st century for that. That’s the easy part. We can always blame the times for our troubles, because they are always working against us. The Internet gave me everything I needed in my 20’s and then the Internet took it away in my 30’s.

The dreams of being a star eventually fade to a reality based endeavor. I grew up with the idea that I would be paid for being Me. What did I want to be when I grew up? I wanted to be Me. I wanted to be Famous. I knew that I was unique enough to be paid for simply being. What did Quinton Crisp do? The art of being.

Your body begins to speak to you on a more serious level as the decades continue. You are no longer invincible. The drug and alcohol bender that used to take a day to recover from now takes an entire week leading up to the next bender. The lifestyle which used to be easy is now tedious. You don’t go on the bender because you don’t have enough time for that. It used to be so easy to go into work on the brink of alcohol poisoning.

A lot of this has to do with being an Artist. What do you want to be when you grow up? An Artist. What kind of Art will you create? The Art of Me. I will be Art.

As you can see I have always been a deeply shallow individual.

In my 30’s I learned that I would not be getting lucky by just being. I always worked side jobs, day jobs, night jobs, as a temporary gig. I never once considered the possibility that it would last. Participation in normal every day life was simply something to do while awaiting money, fame, and glamour. I’ve worked for a lot of years now and only recently did it ever occur to me that it may stick. I would rent an apartment thinking that in a few years time it would get better. Surely dollars would pour into my accounts from adoring fans to support me. To be paid for being me. The Artist who creates art by just being.

Unfortunately I grew up within a generation where everyone else had the same idea. While I fought to capitalize on my brand of lifestyle, so did everybody else. The only difference was that a lot of them worked very hard for it. I always added a bit more entitlement to my style. I showed up and I was fabulous, shouldn’t that have been enough? I worked hard, but they worked harder.

They (whoever They are) like to say that I have always been ahead of my time. It could be even as little as a decade ahead. Had I been in my 20’s in my teens I would have accomplished much more on the Internet in my 30’s and I would have been rich in my 40’s. By now I’d be sitting back to scoff at all the people in their 30’s struggling to profit off the Art of Being. But that’s Hindsight scooped into a blender with 1 1/2 cups of Nostalgia. It doesn’t work that way. Everyone is always struggling to Be. Everyone always thinks it would be easier if they were just born a few years earlier.

Newsflash: We’d be just as stupid to not capitalize on it then as much as we are now. Here, have another sip of your Hindsight Nostalgia Smoothie.

Somewhere along the road you come to the realization that you will not be who you thought you would be. Unfortunately it seems to often happen all at the same time. Dreams and goals morph, but so does the meat suitcase you are piloting. You become keenly aware of mortality as your friends and lovers begin to die at an alarming rate. To the point where you are no longer Superman, but instead standing with everyone else in a thunderously stormy naked game of Russian Roulette.

It could also be said that all of this has a lot to do with the chosen profession of Artist. When choosing that lifestyle path we rarely seem to keep in mind that most true Artists are not rich and famous until they’re dead. And between you and I that’s just a little too late for my tastes.

True artists are artists who had no choice in the matter. To be an artist is one thing. To live it is a harsh reality, if not for anything but our sweet sensitive artistic egos. I had no choice in the matter. I was an artist upon exiting the womb. I have been an artist as I crawl across god and country. I could not be anything else. I wouldn’t have chosen anything else. Well, I might have been a slender gay satyromaniac prostitute with a muscular stomach you could eat breakfast off of. But Simon Says that would not have gone very well for the elongation of my years.

In my 30’s I have learned to carry on. Definitely not to stay calm. If there was any give-a-fuck left I lost it when mortality came into play. I lost it when everyone started to fade away. I lost it when the halls of my Internet were destroyed by technology. I will always make art from being, because that’s what I wanted to be. It was genetic from the Universe.

The Artist D, February 2017

The Artist D, February 2017

Cavemen with Smart Phones

The people of Earth love to sum everything up into a nice neat package called a Year and label it with a number. Then they like to discuss those years like chapters in a book. They like to say 1999 was a good year or they’ll never forget the 80’s.

Every year in recent memory the people say the same thing to me about how terrible their year has been. I’ve observed that it has actually grown exponentially from a personal “bad year” to a group experience. They used to tell me that they had a bad year. The year gave them personal challenges, losses, and there was no fairy bopping them on the head with a magic wand. These days they say we have all had a bad year. In 2016 we lost David Bowie and countless other classics. We have continued to experience senseless mass killings. We are face to face with very specific discriminations. To a lot of folks we are entering the Dark Ages due to electing specific potential Mad Men into the kingdom.

With every year comes along another person to tell me how bad they have had it. Now they come to tell me how bad we have had it. Every year I respond that it’s all about perception and you make of it what you will. I still believe that, but I do have to take a moment to ponder why people continually think it is always and forever getting worse.

The way we treat our lifestyles has changed drastically from the last century to this one. This is sadly the only thing that has changed. The sociopolitical landscape seems to be exactly the same as it has always been. The players get switched out for more of the same and our day to day doldrums remain. It’s more about how we have reconceptualized the way we treat things. And to sound like a complete broken record I believe we can heap the blame all on top of The Internet.

The technology of the 21st Century has drastically altered the way we treat old stuff. Life is like your average cake. The frosting can be exciting and delicious, but eventually underneath it all you will find the same dry lump of baked substance. That’s where we currently are in the 21st Century. Our problems remain the same, but we have changed the way we digest them.

We are basically cavemen with smart phones. We still brush our own teeth in the morning. We elect dangerous people into government positions. We exist in this weak flesh luggage that can give out at any moment. Buried underneath all of this technological advancement sits the same sad fleshy thing that has been there for hundreds of years. We really are born naked and the rest is drag. Clothing and makeup is drag. Flashy cars, enormous houses, and breast implants are drag. Technology is drag!

They tell me that 2016 was a horrible year for everyone. I remain firmly by the defense of perception. This life is what you make of it. Whether you have or you have not. I have turned a cold can of pork and beans into a lavish event for myself. You don’t need a movie when you have a blank wall and an imagination. Life really is what you make of what happens to be laying around. And maybe the key really is you have to be a little bit psycho to get that picture.

Even so, is it really worse than ever? Yes, we did lose David Bowie this year and so many of our classics are dying. But that’s what people do. They die. Yes, we have corruption in the government and people on both sides are all about vying for their own personal wealth and interests. But that’s nothing new. The people felt the same way about Presidents Franklin Pierce, George W Bush, and James Buchanan (all sweeping generalities throughout time). Yes, people keep killing other people for no good reason. But people have certainly always done that!

I watch a lot of old black and white television. I get lost in and romanticize the 1950’s quite often. I see calm and collected people speaking properly to each other. They appeared happy and in control of their lives. However, they were dealing with the Cold War, communism, and other challenges. They too lost legends due to death, some too soon and others right on time. While I am certainly no historian, I can guarantee that if you pick any year out of thousands and spoke with most people they would tell you that they were experiencing “Big Problems.” I bet a lot of them would also tell you that it was “The Worst Year Ever.”

The Internet is to blame because it changes the frosting on the historical cake. Instead of reading your news once a day at arm’s length (literally and figuratively) you get it right up close in the palm of your hand. The news of the world is on your socializing walls. Your friends all talk about it because it’s all in front of your faces all of the damned time. Instead of coming home to the Nightly News you get the daily news. It can ping you on your mobile device at every release of another headline. The news has been readily available and in people’s faces, but now it has seeped into everything. We used to come to The Internet to get away from life, now we live life on the Internet. Our safe havens keep going away.

We used to have safe havens from the current goings on. Life was compartmentalized because we lacked technology. People had to wait for things and that waiting created special moments away from the madness that was history repeating itself. Remember when you had to fax your manuscript to the publisher in New York? Remember how long it took you to create that manuscript on the typewriter before faxing it all? All of that technological lag created safe spaces. For when you waited you found other things to do. You picked up a book and comforted yourself. You came home at night and relaxed, because you didn’t have everything (literally everything) at the tips of your fingers to fill your junkie brain with until you pass out in bed.

The Internet brings closeness and constant awareness to the same problems we have always had. The problems haven’t changed. The way we display those problems has changed. It sheds more light upon them than ever before. Which is what actually really bothers you. Deep down you do realize that the cake is the same and you’re finally pissed off about that. You’re frustrated that we have advanced in our ways of displaying the content, but the content remains the same. The headlines are the same whether it’s a yellowed newspaper from 1945 or a shiny tablet from 2016!

It’s just like me always telling you that it’s a shame we all still have to go to work every day. It’s also a shame that we still have to go to war. It’s a shame that we have advanced so far and yet we haven’t overcome death. These things people have always taken as part of the story. You work, pay taxes, and then you die. We’re swimming in advancement and yet the mass populace still thinks they have to work, pay taxes, and die. Silly humans …

You’ll never get over the hump until you begin to understand why you are so angry at each passing year. It’s not getting worse, it’s getting the same. We either perceive to take it as is or collectively change it. That’s why I dabble in the arts of perception. I’d rather control my own perception instead of attempt to change everybody else’s. I know that reworking the basic life and social concepts of 7 billion Earthlings is just a touch outside of my capacity.

Originally published on TGForum.com, December 2016.

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The Artist D, December 2016

For Immediate Release

The key is to invent ways to speak into the machine but not listening to what it has to say. That I have been learning within this immediate future.

To release our thoughts into the machine. It’s what we do. It’s what I’ve always done. It’s what you have become obsessed with doing. Your sounding board. Your deafening stick. You keep preaching to your own choirs.

For immediate release. You are ready for immediate release. You should release. Doesn’t that word all by itself sound so delicious? Release. It is becoming of so many things.

Release yourself from thinking that you have to fit in. Let yourself flounder in the steamy pools of insincerity that humanity has conjured. Release yourself into the flow of the universe. Speak into the machine. Do not listen to the machine. You speak to it, it does not speak back to you. DO NOT LISTEN TO THE MACHINE.

The art of releasing yourself from the fear of them vs. you. To pull your hands away from each other just because a stranger approaches. We wouldn’t have these problems if we all talked to each other. I want to see you do more than hold hands in public. Right in front of me. In public.

To release yourself from the employ of the Barons of Normalcy. To put down your fondle pad and remove the ear buds blocking your canals. To call in and say, “I’ve decided to not come in this month.”

May your hair not look the same every day. May you eat banana cream pie with a modified paper cup because you forgot to steal a spoon. May it taste even better because you had to create a spoon.

Engulf yourself with enlightenment by taking the trail which has not been beaten. Take the turn with the sign marking, “Danger – Do Not Enter.” Do not go down their paths. Make your own damned paths. The secret is not on the paved road with all of the people crowding your view. The secret is hidden after the weeds and the trees, up the steep cliff where few have thought to climb. If you are not stabbed by a cactus while getting there then you haven’t gotten anywhere. You have to bleed on your unbeaten path to make it yours. Release yourself. The javelina must circle you in the dark.

Release yourselves to the wild. Release your wiles to the rainbows. Talk to strangers and steal a moment of release with them. Dye, cut, crimp, and straighten. Ferment in the muddy gully until you bring the hypnagogic dreamscape into the known landscape. Release yourself immediately for immediate release.

The Artist D, November 2016

The Artist D, November 2016

For 15 Minutes

You have a new Follower. Someone would like to request to be your Friend. He has 137k Followers. She has 2,145 Friends and an empty photo album.

A longtime peeve of mine is the lack of people whom I would like to call Enjoyers. At one time they may have been labeled consumers, but that is no longer the case. Enjoyers are viewers and are happy with their lot in life. There does not seem to be a lot of Enjoyers out there anymore.

I get a lot of Friends requests on Facebook. I have several Follow requests on Twitter each day. I will approve anyone as long as they appear to be a valid Noun. That is a person, place, or thing actually existing for a reason. That is not a Spam Bot named Jessica Rabbit with nothing but phishing click bait on her feed.

But it’s such a disappointment that the majority, almost 98% of the requests, come from people who are Doers. A Doer is the opposite of an Enjoyer. A Doer wants to do things, get places, and be Famous. They think they have something to say. They are a Creator. They are a Maker. The last thing they do is Enjoy.

The Doers have thousands of followers. They post, they Tweet, and they reTweet in the name of networking. They have usually added me as they needed another number to add to their audience. They hope I will be another audience member or even better, a consumer!

I am a Doer to a certain extent. My Doer vs. Enjoyer ratios are probably different than other people’s. I do not Do for the soul purpose of Doing. I do not create to sell, but I do create with the hope of amusing the Enjoyers. I do want Followers and Friends, but I long for more Enjoyers than network hungry Doers.

Yet I do not see a lot of Enjoyers out there. When a Friend or Follower request comes in they are from fellow Doers. How I wish that I would click through to find Mary Jane, a small town housewife who thoroughly enjoys my writing. Mary Jane likes to read. Mary Jane has no ambition to write. Mary Jane doesn’t want to be famous. She just wants to enjoy the creations put out by another human. Mary completely understands that her talent is in the domestic and raising her little boy Johnny is what she wants to do.

In fact, when I reach out to Mary Jane and thank her for her custom she is thrilled to hear from me. She is flattered that I appreciate her being an Enjoyer. That is the end of it. I am a Doer and she is an Enjoyer. We appreciate each other and continue on.

Reaching out to most people in the 21st Century usually reveals that the Enjoyer is also a Doer. You thank Mary Jane for reading and her response reveals that she actually has a side business. Mary Jane makes homemade candles in her kitchen. Here is Mary’s business card, website, Twitter feed, and Yahoo! Storefront. Mary asks that you please buy her products and Tweet them out to your “many Followers.” And by the way, is there any possibility of Mary getting some free advertisement on your artistic blogging website?

My frustration is not that you Do something, but the fact that it makes you less of a real person. When I arrived to the Internet in 1997 we were all artists and creators, but we were real people. Almost everyone online back then were Doers, but we also had a high quotient of Enjoyer. I wanted to come over to your house and you wanted me to. We wanted to hang out and not always talk about networking or becoming rich and famous. We shared struggles, stories, bottles of booze, and sometimes had a quick passing lust affair.

Today it seems that the 15 Minutes of fame has turned into an angry beast. I reach out to you, the Doer with 23k Followers, and you don’t get my message because you are too busy Doing. You are no longer yourself, but you have become what you Do. This is what makes me wish for more Enjoyers. Because the Doers have been consumed and no longer stop to say, “Hello.”

I was having a conversation with my phlebotomist the other day. She asked me what I Do and I told her all about it. I saw the photo of her three children on her work station and asked about her family. She told me a bit about them, but then said that she was a Mother. She said that was her lot in life. She is here to raise her children to be good people. She didn’t ask me to Follow her on Twitter. She didn’t ask me to buy her homemade candles. She has a talent. Everyone does! But she isn’t selling or networking it. She just does it. She wants to be the best mom. She wants to guide her children to be best people. There was no sales pitch. We were actually two people just talking, like friends.

Everyone does have a talent and everyone can Do. The problem is that is now all they Do. The 15 Minutes have consumed the majority. Everyone has an Etsy store and a Vistaprint Business Card. Everyone is so busy marketing themselves. I just want to talk to you. I do want to entertain you, but for heaven’s sake can’t we just talk?

The plight of the business owner is that they are working 24/7. That has always been the plight of the business owner. And today’s flavor makes everyone a business owner of their own Doer brand. It has consumed them. Which is ironic that the consumer consumes and the Doer has now been tricked into consuming themselves.

The Artist D, October 2016

The Artist D, October 2016