Sunday, June 3, 2007

Get on board the Nightmare Plane

Uch. I'm not sure exactly what switch was flipped where, or by whom, but right after dinner (a 'spaghetti supper' fundraiser at the local church with friends), the rest of my day became a seemingly non-stop meditation on death, religion, Hello Kitty and other existential terrors.

The shift in tone from home repair to confronting the great unknown began quite literally as Jim - who works (on his summers off from teaching physics) on the cemetery crew for the church - took us on a tour of the interesting parts of the graveyard. Since the town I live in was established back in the 1600's, the interesting parts of it were interesting, indeed. Jim's favorite: a stone from the 1880's which list not only the deceased and his mourners, but also the man who murdered him. What was the story there? Lord only knows, and he's not saying.

From there, I went for beers - well, beer, since we each only had one - with Chris and Finona, where all manner of soul-searing topics were broached. Now, home, alone, at 1:30 AM and preparing to sleep alone, I can only imagine what sort of god-awful mindfuck nightmares I'm going to end up with. If I get anything good, I'll report tomorrow.

For now, I'm going to try to distract my brain with a Ramble into a different subject. Funny, because at one point, we started to discuss blogging (that was obviously not such a soul-searing topic), and I noted a weakness of the Rambler is that I have a tendency to suddenly shift subjects at random. I likened it to The Simpsons; every episode begins with one story then (usually in a almost complete non-sequitur), shifts gears entirely and ends up somewhere else. That's their formula: say an episode begins with Maggie winning the state lottery. That will run for about three minutes, then suddenly the story goes off on a seeming tangent about Mister Burns trying to have a statue of himself erected in the town square. Often, the first storyline will never be referred to again.

These Ramblers follow that pattern: it takes me about three paragraphs to get my brain running. The Rambler often seems to me like an old barnstormer bouncing down a country dirt runway. It's getting up speed, but we're not sure if sometimes we're going to clear the copse of tall maples lurking at the fast approaching edge of the meadow. I like to think that I've gotten us off the ground safely more often than not, but I'll admit that a few of these have ended with the plane upside down in the thicket, acrid smoke billowing from all available sources, as we crawl from the wreckage and I wonder aloud if there was just too much ballast aboard.

Maintaining interest for both writer and reader is a pretty delicate balance. I've been thinking more about writing lately, simply because the Subway Rambler is my only current avenue of expression - everything else being currently on hold in the face of collaborator difficulties and schedules, the sheer demanding weight of (currently) two jobs and the pressing concerns of the house. And I should clarify that by saying 'thinking more about writing,' I don't mean that I'm suddenly going to up and focus on novels. I've tried that in the past and found that the curse of the unfinished overlong ambitious project that plagues me in both music and comics also holds fast in prose. I have two unfinished novels from the mid-90's and one screenplay with several hundred pages of beginnings and middles, but no ending in sight.

My main goal here is not to bore you, while at the same time keeping myself engaged. I know full well that whatever little bug that's crawled up my ass is highly unlikely to be of universal concern. Conversely, I'm presuming that anyone who rides the Rambler on a regular basis isn't showing up for my sterling prose stylings and sage observations on the human condition. It's the very Daveness of this place that makes or breaks it.

So what about times like these in my life, when I've been mostly erased and replaced by a hazy outline with some Dave-like shapes inside? Can I still hope to get the Rambler off the ground, over those maples, and humming securely and entertainingly over the countryside, sometimes low altitude, sometimes high above pointing out neat little landmarks for the passengers?

We shall see. In the meantime, I'll shift over to a couple of art blogs for the next couple of days. Heck, maybe I'll even do a music blog, but I've become convinced in the last month or so that this might not be the proper forum for music.

I do tire myself out with these blogs about blogging - one of the real pitfalls of doing this on a daily basis, I suppose. But, if nothing else, I think it says something about me to witness my ever-changing relationship to the Rambler. Finona said that when she blogs, she ends up putting up so much negative stuff as a catharsis that she's afraid that anyone who reads it is only going to be getting that part of her, and might mistake it for the whole of her.

I assure you that the whole of me is not a man who frets endlessly, does nothing but work and home repair, and views his art solely through the lens of his anxieties. Now I suppose it's up to me to give you evidence to the contrary.



Anonymous said...

I'm thinking of working on similiar goals in my blogs too but in the meantime I still need an outlet for my daily upset. Otherwise Bubba has to get the brunt of it.....poooooor Bubba. Balance will be my goal as well. I'll let you know when I am capable of doing it.

Dave Kopperman said...


I find that if I do it too much (bitch and moan, that is), rather than be cathartic, I end up just feeling worse. A good amount of release is healthy, though.

Of course, my goals for blogging are different, so if your motivation for blogging is to do so whenever the mood strikes and you find that the mood strikes when you've just had ENOUGH of something, then keep doing it.