Friday, March 15, 2013


Let the word be made clear. If you have any artistic pretensions whatsoever, the knowledge of Zen is a slap in the face. Because it ain't no knowledge. See, that may sound like I'm trying to be mystical, but I'm not. If you are a writer or a cartoonist or a comedian or a dancer or a poet or a freaking cake decorator or whatever, there is that one shining moment where the riff or the gag or the whatever the hell it is just pops into your head from NOWHERE. It's like free money on the sidewalk, man. Some crazy phrase, some guitar line, whatever. It flows through you -- the first time -- like an electric spark. The line goes down on paper. The words come out of your mouth. Oh, damn. It's so fresh and free and good. Zen. Yeah. And then you do it a second time. And you discover you are imitating yourself. Where before it was the free ecstatic dance of a being of light, now it is a corpse-puppet you're moving around on strings. An echo. A dead imitation. Going through the motions. But, living in this world of published books and gigs in bars, you are not free (if you want to eat) to say to hell with that, I will never repeat myself, I will never go anything twice. No. And, to turn the screw even tighter ... You can take that blinding illumination that flashed through your head like lightening -- and in a mental feat of prestidigitation -- you can do it a second, third, fourth, fifth time ABSOLUTELY FRESH. You can trace the line and it can still be alive. You can speak the line again and it can still be alive. Sure. You can be spontaneous on purpose. Because, you know, everything else is really dead. A corpse on strings. A whited sepulcher. You can fool some of the people, but you can't fool yourself. The good stuff is free. The good stuff pops into your head without any credit card debt. And that's the only good stuff there is. It's the reason you is. But you can't control it. That's the rub baby. You can't make the monkey dance. So ... For that one Absolutely Free flash of mental freedom ... You have to play Limbo. You have to play Twister. You have to catch the lightening in a bottle. It can be done. Sure. But it's very, very easy to kill that fair, fragile butterfly of light. Like me, for example. Trying to find a sanguine conclusion to this insight from above. Which is far, far higher than the normal processing power. Of this pitiful monkey brain.