Friday, August 23, 2013

New Drawings Published in Everyday Genius

Friends,

I have some drawings published in this month's issue of Everyday Genius magazine.

Go here to see them:


Thanks ever so much to the illustrious John Dermot Woods for the invitation to submit. 

Happily,
Matt

Monday, August 19, 2013

Long Trail Field Notes #8

On The Custodial Spirit, and the Excellence of Eric St. Jean and Eva Malone

Several days into my Long Trail trek, I met two 23 year old hikers who had a similar pace to my own: a lovely couple from Portsmouth, New Hampshire, Eric St. Jean and Eva Malone. I was hiking up Bromley Mountain, a pretty ski mountain covered in a meadow of wildflowers, and at the top, near the ski lift, sat Eric and Eva, with a pizza (!) they'd carried to the top. When they offered me a slice I yawped with joy. Fast friends.


(Eva, Eric, and Bruce, an Appalachian Trail hiker and fellow pizza lover.)

Eva and Eric and I managed to hike in synch with one another throughout many of the days, sometimes chatting as we hiked, sometimes simply hiking near one another in mellow silence. When The Long Trail split with the Appalachian Trail, after 104 miles, Eva had to get off, due to a foot injury. She's a great hiker and a bright spirit, but the intensity of her injury required her to make the wise decision to finish the remaining undone section of The Long Trail at a future time, when she's healed.

So, a little bummed, Eric and I moseyed forward, into the mud and rain. We set our tents up alongside each other and spurred each other onward through some gnarly weather, tough terrain, and achy legs. Eric is a quicker hiker and would usually get to a peak several minutes before me. I'd yell to him to "reel me up!" He'd yell "You got it, Matty!" We'd often walk within eyesight or earshot of each other for hours in quiet, just appreciating the sounds of streams and thrushes and the feeling of cool breezes on our necks.

A few days ago, in high winds and damp weather, we came to the top of another ski mountain area, called Smuggler's Notch. At the mountaintop sat a nice looking warming hut and we decided to see if it was open, even though it was summer and there was no ski snow to be found. Wouldn't you know...the door was unlocked and we went right in. 


(Eric in front of our happy warming hut.)


But to our dismay, we found the place utterly trashed inside. A large group of hooligans had very recently driven up a Jeep trail and had a clandestine party in the hut. Garbage, spilled beer, and broken bottles were strewn everywhere inside. It made us both sad. So we decided we'd do what we could to tidy it up. There was a large garbage pail and a broom and we got to work. After an hour or so we had the place looking pretty spiffy. We'd thrown out all the refuse that was strewn around and as we cleaned we found 1/2 a chocolate bar, 1/2 a bag of marshmallows, a package of hotdogs, some buns, and a bottle of ketchup. We considered this booty our reward for a good cleanup job and we proceeded to make hot chocolate and cook the hotdogs on our camping stoves. I dried the slightly soggy buns over the stove flames while the dogs cooked, which made Eric laugh like hell. Very tasty cookout! Our bellies full and our good deed done, we slept soundly in the windproof mountaintop hut.

Two days before the end of The Long Trail we ran into a southbound Long Trailer who was having some aches and pains and asked if we had any ibuprofen, since she'd run out. Eric gave her a nice pile of Advil and in return she told us about a secret camping spot up ahead next to a pretty pond that was great for swimming. This was pure trail magic. We hiked the rest of the day, found the nice little spot, called Ritterbush Pond, and swam to our hearts' delight.


(Ritterbush Pond, great for swimming.)


(Eric feasts using his new "woodland chopsticks.")


We had a great sunset meal and camped on a little covered dock looking out over the water. When it rained through the night we stayed dry and happy.

Yesterday, as I approached the northern end of The Long Trail, Eric, who had arrived there a few minutes before me, yelled, "Run it, Matty!" And I charged to the end, bellowing with glee. It was great to share the joy of completion with a new friend.


(Northern Terminus of The Long Trail.)


(Eric sings "Oh, Canada!" at the wilderness border between the U.S.A. and Canada, just a few feet away from the northern end of The Long Trail.)

Eva drove for hours from New Hampshire and met us at the trail terminus. We jumped in her car and proceeded to the lovely town of Stowe, Vermont, where there was a warm inn Eva had booked for us. Much feasting and laughter ensued. This morning they drove me to the Amtrak station in Waterbury, Vermont, where I hopped on the Vermonter train, to ride back to New York. Goodbye for now, Eric and Eva. Thanks for everything and I'll see y'all soon.


(Eric and Eva at the railway station.)

Long Trail Field Notes #7

On Stories

There are these stories we tell ourselves, over and over, until we believe they're real. Stories that become grooves and ruts in our hearts and minds until we think we know who we are. Sometimes these stories, these narratives, are positive. Sometimes not. We'll turn certain experiences into full-blown catastrophes, over and over in our heads, until we think we're unlucky, troubled, downtrodden, etc. Or we'll look in the mirror and see affirmations of the messages we've been telling ourselves for so long that it all feels like Truth. But, walking all day, one day after the other, 17 miles per day, and coming to the end of The Long Trail of Vermont, I've had a little chance to watch my mind grab certain tales, hang onto them for a while, and then (often when I get to the top of a mountain, refreshed by a blowing breeze) let go and relax into a less grasping calm. A calm in which I'm not sweatily trying to tell myself who or what I am. A simple, quiet being. 

I'm sure this is not new wisdom I'm doling out here. I'm sure we all have this experience, from time to time, of thinking we know who we are and then allowing that knowledge to gently slip away.

I had this narrative in my head that I simply had to wear heavy boots that covered my ankles, or else I would injure myself and be unable to finish my trek. And then I met Dilan and Kelly, two sisters walking The Long Trail. Dilan, a first-year college student, found that her hiking shoes were not very comfortable to her and decided to switch to trail-trudging in her Crocs. Yes, her Crocs! Those light, minimally supportive lounging shoes that are made of foam that's only slightly denser than a marshmallow.


(Hiking sisters, Kelly and Dilan, near the end of The Long Trail.)


(Dilan's Crocs, which took her through the toughest section of the trail.)

Dilan walked 171 miles of the toughest and most rugged part of The Long Trail in those little Crocs, just taking it easy and enjoying the walk in the most comfortable footwear she had.

So, when my Achilles' tendon started giving me trouble, I thought of Dilan and I let go of the narrative that lacing my boots all the way above my ankles was "the only way." I put duct tape and an Ace bandage over my irritated spots and walked on. For over 50 more miles. 


(First the duct tape.)


(Then the Ace bandage.)


(Then the sock and loosely tied, more comfortable boot.)

I was inspired by Dilan to let go of my narrative that my shoe must be a certain way. And I relaxed into what became a much more comfortable experience. Maybe on my next hike I'll even try low-top shoes...or Crocs!

This is just a wee example, but there were other times when I'd stew my own brain to its boiling point over various issues and troubles from my paved life, even while surrounded by grand mountain vistas. Often such psychodramas would make trekking over easy terrain feel like I was trapped in a bog. What would it take to get back to the moment, to the immediacy of lived experience? Breathing helped. Cool drinks of water and snacks helped. But even more helpful was simply being attentive to the styles and textures of my thinking patterns until I could see that I often held onto certain negativities for no reason other than sheer force of habit. Sheesh. How ridiculous I am when I am convinced, with white-knuckled conviction, that I know what I am. How foolish to let the shifting web of narratives and my inevitable embellishments define my world. There's a certain clarity, and even a strange security, in letting the stream of thoughts just be a stream...instead of trying to weave them into something permanent.




Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Long Trail Field Notes #6

Have now hiked 212 miles of The Long Trail. Only 60 miles left to complete the "through-hike." The last three days have been grinding and tough, with Burnt Rock Mountain, Mt. Ethan Allen, Camel's Hump, Mt. Bolton, and Mt. Mansfield (Vermont's highest mountain). All of these mountains have their own special way of busting your ass and crushing you. On some it was crazy weather (high cold winds, heavy rain), on others it was lots of climbing up and down ladders (ladders!) bolted into the rock, on still others it was long cautious shuffling up and down very slippery vertically challenging boulders. It was never boring, believe me. Anyway, these last 60 miles to the Canadian border should be challenging as well, though not as ridiculously steep as this section I've just finished. Onward!


(On Camel's Hump.)

(Ladders bolted to the rock ascending Mt. Mansfield.)

(Freaky red mushrooms...do not eat!)

(Pretty little red berries.)

(Pretty little blue berries.)

(View from the shelter where I'm sleeping, by Sterling Pond.)

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Long Trail Field Notes #5

Brook Brain Babble

Hymn them hawks, wheeling on the wing, four like spokes at peak tops. Tip of the morning to little berries, tiny crimson and dark blue orblets, vibing beside long rushing water. Some days it's bursting clouds down all day, greying every view in mist, socks sogged out and sluicing. Hands heavy in hard rain, holding trees for support down muck-slid path. Boots heavy too, soles scrabbling for grip over shiny green stone. Wince, wobble and sweat up dripping quartz crevices, legs bowing outward under salty all-day strain. But then dawn has pine branches drop cool dew on hot brow when hearty walking commences anew.

(A fun graffito found etched on a trail shelter.)

(How a camera sees three night hikers.)

(In the distance: The Camel's Hump, a mountain I will climb today.)

(On top of Mount Abraham, mile 154 on The Long Trail, The Adirondacks way in the distance behind me.)

(A steep part of the trail, with helpful rooty tree.)

(A hawk in the deep blue aboveness.)


Saturday, August 10, 2013

Long Trail Field Notes #4

Come Stroll

Come walk with me over shining black mud puddles, oozing and gooping on all sides, smelling of cool rain and full of prints from people, dogs, deer and moose. Come stride with me over shiny shale rocks and slippery reddish roots. Come stretch over fallen birch trees, their white bark peeling like rolls of pale paper. Come stumble down little hills with me, clumpets of scree scattering and plinking as we descend. Come plash through streams and brooklets, that wash the mud off our boots and glister with swirling silt. Come ford rivers with me, using our sticks for balance as we step between the slippery freezing stones. Come sit, rest, and drink cold cold water with me, as it springs out from between two mossy stones. Chuckle and find the trail with me as it hides in high grass and tall purple thistles. Come, reach your hands up and scramble over large, jagged, lichen-green stones. If anything falls out of your pack I will pick it up and hand it back to you, grinning. This is the woods.

The Appalachian Trail and the Long Trail diverge here. The A.T. goes to New Hampshire and Maine. The L.T. goes to Canada. I've now walked 108 miles, with 165 left.










Wednesday, August 07, 2013

Long Trail Field Notes #3

How I Walk:
I walk with a pair of hiking poles. They give me extra balance and power. I wear boots that go past my ankles, for extra support on the treacherous stuff. I wear a very light wool T-Shirt when I hike that doesn't smell horrid after many days of walking. If it gets cool or rainy I throw on a rain jacket. I take medium or long strides on flattish ground and short ones going up or down hills. I break every hour or so for water and every two hours for a snack. I walk 15 to 20 miles per day. So far I've covered about 80 miles.

What I Have:
Knife, tent, sleeping bag, food, camp stove, fuel, bowl, spoon, disinfectant, map, first aid kit, flashlight, water-purifying tablets, notebook, long sleeve shirt and long underwear, extra pair of socks.

What I Eat:
Breakfast: Grape nuts with milk (powdered and water added).

Lunch: Banana chips, peanut butter, and sopresatta (or salami or jerky).

Dinner:
Grits or instant mashed potatoes, miso or chicken boullion, sopressata (or salami, tuna fish, or jerky).

Snacks:
Clif Bars, trail mix (no peanuts!), sopressata, or salami or jerky.

How I Think:
In the morning when I wake up (about 6:30am) I'm all business...eat breakfast, break camp and GO. My first hour of walking is "clear my head walking"...I simply walk and watch my breathing. The second hour of walking I think about poetry. These are the only two quite disciplined thinking hours of my day. The rest of the day is enjoying the scenery, taking pictures, making up little songs, chatting with other hikers I meet on the trail, etc. When I get to my campsite at night I'm all business again...getting water from the stream and treating it, boiling water for grits, setting up my tent. I try to be in bed and asleep by 10pm, so I can wake and repeat!











Monday, August 05, 2013

Long Trail Field Notes #2

On Slipping Categories

"How am I not myself?"
--I Heart Huckabees

How am I not this wind, this quick breeze muttering in the leaves? How am I not these spiders, whose glinting webs catch and then release me? How am I not my family, my friends, even the rascals, and the troublemakers? Drinking from a cold spring fuzzes my boundaries. And these wacky roots, headed in all directions, drawing life from everywhere? How am I not them too, covered in bright moss? Yesterday a wide-eyed man in the forest told me he saw the planet take a breath. How am I not that emanation? Am I not also time? And if that, then change itself? The light rain becomes torrential and laughs me onward. Is it me or the mountain asking this? Sometimes even a small child can wobble a huge stone.










Saturday, August 03, 2013

Long Trail Field Notes #1

Of Tranquility, And Commotion

Trudging through mud today, I dug the fluted stylings of seven thrushes. I thought: Isn't it all just movement and stillness, anyway? As with the forest, so with the city. And the heart. Strange metallic attenuations, rising out of a bird's throat and drifting on air. Thinking all this, my wits half-focused on wet moss and patches of sunlight, I found I had stumbled up on Consultation Peak. Isn't it all just stillness and movement? The quiet. And the thrum.










Friday, August 02, 2013

The Long Trail of Vermont

Friends and Family,

I'm headed out on a little walking adventure for a bit.

My itinerary is to hike The Long Trail of Vermont. Built by the Green Mountain Club from 1910 to 1930, it's the oldest long-distance hiking trail in the United States. It's a precursor to the Appalachian Trail and it actually coincides with the Appalachian for about 100 miles. The Long Trail goes from the Vermont-Massachusetts border to the Vermont Canada border, over 272 green mountain miles. It begins near Williamstown, Massachusetts and ends near North Troy, Vermont.

I have my tent, sleeping bag, and plenty of beef jerky with me.

I will walk northward, hoping to cover roughly 15 to 20 miles per day, and finish the route in about two weeks (maybe a little more). My pack weighs 33 pounds with all my gear, water, and six days of food. I'll resupply at a trailside town or two along the way. For perspective, when I Through-Hiked the Appalachian Trail, my pack generally weighed more than twice what it does now...that was 18 years ago! I'm happy that technology has made big strides with ultralight backpacking gear.

I'm taking my current poetry manuscript with me to work on solidifying the final order of poems in the book. That will be my intellectual project for the trip, occupying my noggin as I stumble over muddy rocks and gnarly roots. I'll also be sending lots of love and happy energy to you all as I go. If, in these next couple of weeks, you happen to glance up at a mountain or stream, or take a favorite forested stroll, mentally send me some good vibrations...as I'll be sending them to you! I'll be traveling solo but keeping you all right next to my heart.

Shortly I'll step off the bus from New York City...I'm about to arrive in Williamstown, Massachusetts...it's a quick walk to the trail from there...the woods and mountains beckon...

Andiamo!

Dal mio cuore matto,
Matteo

Thursday, May 02, 2013

Come Join Surrealist Writing With Matt Rotando!

Come join me in Tucson!

for

A Surrealist Writing Workshop
At the University of Arizona Poetry Center from May 20 to May 26

This is a week-long intensive Surrealist writing workshop. We will not write “poetry” exclusively, because to limit the medium would only negate the expansive attitude the early Surrealists worked so hard to encourage. In his “Manifesto of Surrealism” (1924), André Breton wrote that the imagination knows no bounds, but that we are nearly always engaged in actions that limit it. This class works to reverse the process, to “unfurl the flag of the imagination” and produce the strangest and maddest pieces of art and writing, in order “to express, either verbally, or in writing, or by any other manner, the real functioning of thought.” We will read and discuss key texts such as the major manifestos of the early Surrealists, and early iconic poetic and dramatic formations by writers such as Breton, Tristan Tzara, Benjamin Péret, Robert Desnos, Henri Michaux, and others. We will also make contact with newer works by more contemporary surrealist artists and writers. However, all of our looking into Surrealism’s past and present unfolding will be to illumine and inspire us to create our own imaginative works. This workshop will actively explore both individual and collaborative writing and art. Even the “critiques” that we perform will be creative and entertaining.

Exercises will include, but not be limited to: collaborative poetry and drawing, written interactions with visual art, reading, writing and performance of short dramatic scenes, extensive automatic writing projects, postcards to nowhere, and building dream sculptures. The workshop is open to writers and artists of every type and skill level. If you are blocked or stuck in a particular mode of expression, or feel the need to kick-start your art in an open and imaginative space, this class is for you.

In addition to the 2 ½ hours that our class meets each night, Matt will hold office hours several times during the week as a supplement to the workshop. These will be optional and anyone from the class is welcome but not obligated to attend. Also, the class will culminate in a short performance or recital of some of the works we create during the week-long intensive workshop. This is also fully optional.

Tuition: $225 + $5 course material fee

Class meets:
Monday through Saturday, May 20–25, 6:00–8:30 p.m.
Sunday, May 26, 7:00–8:30 p.m.

More information and registration can be found here.

Wednesday, May 01, 2013

Regarding Pain



Sometimes the thing I try to do is feel all my pain at exactly the same time. The pain in my legs from running too hard, the pain in my chest from my lonely pleasure, the pain in my back from my bicycle crash, the pain in my temple because I don't see my grandma enough, the pain in my left knee from when I carried Butch on my shoulders and stepped into a ditch, the pain in my cheeks and stomach from one recent and particularly premature goodbye, the pain in my eyes from the time I saw what I shouldn't have seen (a death too young). I think of all this and I try to bring all this physical pain right up to the surface, all at the same time: the itch, the heat, the dull knot, the ache, the pressure, the stab...I let them all take me over, fill me up, so there isn't any idea of me left that isn't pain pain haha pain haha. 

And then he just spins there, a pain man, a hot popcorn kernel whizzing around in a kettle about to pop...but he doesn't pop...he just spins and spins, getting hotter and hotter and the walls of his skin begin to turn black and smoke...and still he gets hotter and a little orange flame forms and dances across his surface and his face cracks and falls away and his eyes light up, sending Fourth of July sparks everywhere and the full moon begins to wobble in its orbit around the earth from the incredible nuclear heat of this man made of pain spinning faster than a quark, faster than Einstein ever dreamed. A new and very unstable source of gravity forms and drags all sorts of unknown elements out of the center of the earth's molten core and they blast upwards towards the moon, which has begun to rumble and tremble. And weird milky stuff the color of Brie oozes out of the cracks in the moon's surface. And all the people of planet Earth are out of their beds now (half of them were awake already anyway) and they look up into the sky or down at the fissures forming in the rupturing earth and they begin to feel all their pain too, because of a strange chemical associative effect from the scorching speed and intensity of the man made of pain going round and round haha haha. 

And before anybody knows what to do or how to do it the whole shitshow makes a sound like the puff of air from the device the eye doctor uses to shoot in your pupil during your eye exam and it all disappears. And then...Nothing. Just a faint smell of unpopped popcorn and a vast and endless space. And Werner Herzog in a space capsule with a hand-held camera over his shoulder pointing into the blackness saying to himself: "Yesss. Yesss. Haha. Yesss. I knew it. Thiss wass the right time."

Monday, April 22, 2013

Wavy Kat Tink-A-Tink



Tuesday, April 16, 2013

The Beast That Lunges/ La Bestia Que Abalanza

(I'm deeply grateful to my good friend Dr. Marlowe Daly-Galeano for her editorial assistance and guidance with the Spanish version of this poem.)




The Beast That Lunges

The best thing about remembering is that it’s in your hands. You revolt against sleep and become a phantom in time, moving through rooms and visions as a wiry, feral child. You don’t need words to eat, to find shelter. You taste water in air and move to it with your thirst. You kneel over a lake at night. The outline of your face is a surprise. You breathe hard and lunge into recollection. You run backwards and laugh at your heelprints in the earth. Snakes slide back to their skins. Fires grow into trees. Pearls soften to sand. You unwrite the future for the happy beast you are becoming. Rain whispers quietly upward. The past begins to show. Clarity is dimness. Your hands as clouds, as fins, as roaming notes.

***

La Bestia Que Abalanza

Lo mejor de la memoria es que está en tus manos. Te rebelas contra el sueño y te conviertes en fantasma del tiempo, moviéndote a través de piezas y visiones como un niño enjuto, salvaje. No necesitas palabras para comer, para encontrar refugio. Saboreas el agua en el aire y acercándolo con tu sed. Te arrodillas sobre un lago en la noche. El contorno de tu rostro es una sorpresa. Respiras duro y arremetes contra el recuerdo. Corres hacia atrás y te ríes de las impresiones de tu talón en la tierra. Las serpientes vuelvan a sus pieles. Los incendios crecen en los árboles. Las perlas se ablandan a la arena. Desescribes el futuro de la bestia felíz que serás. La lluvia susurra en voz baja hacia arriba. El pasado comienza a mostrar. La claridad es penumbra. Tus manos como nubes, como aletas, como las notas que vagan.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Your Newness

Sunday, April 07, 2013

On Memory

I have just woken from a dream in which I ran into my dear friend, S., after many years. In the heat of the afternoon, at the same moment, we each turned a dusty corner on a quiet street of our old town, which I happened to be visiting. To my pleasure and surprise, there was S., thin and loping, and wishing me a good day. I embraced him of a sudden, and he took several confused steps backward. He did not remember me. I could hardly believe it. We had not seen each other for some years, but we had shared so much. We once walked and laughed together, many miles, in the blistering desert. We had browsed the cramped markets together in the Valley of the Brave. We used to spend hours in silent meditation, sitting alongside each other and breathing. I tried to remind him of his love for huitlacoche and for the chocolate sapote, and for the wings of men. He shook his head in silence. I recalled how we once appeared to each other in the hills, summoning one another with our thoughts. Bewildered, S. remembered nothing. I recounted in detail how we laughed at the wind when it dislodged and flung poorly attached shingles from the roof of the little mountain house we once lived in. I told him of how he comforted me after I had to leave a woman I loved, who had been his friend. He stared into the distance. I told him of one of his own lovers laughing and throwing her head back and tossing firecrackers from windows of moving cars. I told him of how he taught me to be patient, very patient, when sautéing mushrooms, and to use more butter than I thought appropriate. None of it came back to his mind. He could not even recall my face. I began to wonder if I had invented him. He certainly looked like the S. I thought I knew, but since he neither remembered me, nor our experiences together, was it not feasible that I had created him, that I had made his likeness a character for my own use? Was it possible that I had never been to The Brave Valley, had never savored the huitlacoche, and, indeed, had only dreamed myself into such scenes, using the template of S.'s face as a companion in my imagining? Perhaps I was a mirrored reflection of the forgetfulness of S. Perhaps my memories, which I had cherished so hotly, were pure invention, immaterial as wishes. I tore at my chest with my hands, and trudged from the street where we met. I looked back only once and saw him, perplexed, holding my black wings in his arms. They had fallen into the dust when I turned away. That was the last moment in which I could recall him.

Tuesday, April 02, 2013

On Art, Part III

(This is Part III of a four part mini-think piece on art. Every section qualifies and contradicts every other section. Okay?)

God, to me, is only the vast expanse of neural fire and silence that gives rise to the imagination. Hence, in a metaphysical sense, there is no death. But we use the word as a stand-in for an infinite depth of unknowing. And I suspect there is a way to touch that sea of storms and quiet in this lifetime...and I suspect it is through the heart door...because sometimes when I'm making art the world of distraction slips away and it's as if I'm barely there, my words are uttering themselves, and all I really need to do is get out of their way.

Thus, regarding art and everything else, there are two modes: pressing forward, or giving up. The former allows for an upsurge of inspiration, of questions, emotions and thoughts in the artist and the audience. The latter is a dusty secluded room where people go to be bored by an assembly line life...moving around as mere meat, shrouding the burnt-out remnants of consciousness. And if we decide to embrace the former, which we should do, definitely, then life becomes this risky and deafening cascade of glorious and terrible interactions. Even when we're by ourselves, alone in a room with our thoughts...and especially then, because to feel the weight of those thoughts as things we make and then let go of forever is to feel the weight of time and oblivion, which we all must face. Now and at the hour of the body's demise. 

Art is the process and the practice of knowing that every moment matters. This doesn't have to be a fearful knowing...but it makes some people desperate with denial if all they've been doing is pushing their meat-suits around, grumbling about how much highway tolls cost. But seriously, that is the silliest thing...you have someplace to go, the road you're on takes you there...just go. Enjoy the scenery and the music and the sound of the engine and the wind in your face. And when you come to the toll booth, pay the price, say "thanks" and make sure you touch the toll collector's hand (at least acknowledge the minimum of human contact). And then go forward. I'm not talking about tolls, of course. I'm talking about obstacles...every one of which is both a pitfall and a chance. But the idea is to pay the toll and use courage and momentum to look forward into the wind. Keep one hand on the wheel and one hand on your lover's thigh, and turn in the direction of brightness, strangeness, and adventure. Then art is not just something beautiful that you make to leave for the world so that it remembers you (it either will or it won't). Art is also a tool and a talisman that you use to see ahead of you into the night. It's something you use to look into that vast neural fire and emptiness. Because you have to look and you have to go forward into it, despite all fears, to avoid the insipid meat-suit shuffle. 

The rooms with those selves of ours that are just acting life out, rather than living it...those rooms are always looming and lurking right behind us. And jutting our necks out into the uncertainty and strangeness is what causes us to embrace the death game, saying, "Yes, death, I know you're here...but look, I'm here too, and I made something that even you have to contend with, before you pull the sheet over me." And though we may shake, art is the love that propels us forward into the glimmering dark...and it's also the message we bring back to this humming world.