A Personal Interpretation


Fair warning: I follow where my muse takes me, and the other day she took me to a very dark place. If you don’t want to be depressed, I suggest visiting Disney.com. I hear it’s very nice.

I can still remember how
A very long time ago
Acting used to make me smile.
And I knew if I had a chance
I could make people laugh, or cry, or cheer,
Even if it was only for a night.
But the day came I had to admit the truth,
If only to myself
I would never have the dream
And a dream was all it would ever be.
I can’t remember if I cried
That day I finally let it all go
But something inside me was lost
The day my childhood died.

So goodbye innocence,
I looked inside and the well of inspiration ran dry.
All my friends of yesteryear
Have long since faded away,
Long since faded away.

Did you inspire my boyhood crush?
Do you believe in a higher power?
Is it just because you read it in a book?
Or do you believe in art, music, and dance?
Does culture connect you to something greater than yourself?
And can you teach me how to make love and not just fuck?
I know you two are an item. I saw you off by yourselves at the party.
You were off in a corner alone –
-I was off in a corner brooding.
I was a lonely teenage spastic dork
With a leather jacket and a station wagon.
I knew I was out of luck
The day my childhood died.

I was all alone singing goodbye innocence,
I looked inside and the well of inspiration ran dry.
All my friends of yesteryear
Have long since faded away,
Long since faded away.

For ten years I was in a daze,
Bouncing around from place to place
But that’s not how it was supposed to be.
When the Buddha first came on the scene,
With a voice filled with agony and rage,
He was hailed as the voice of my generation.
And while the Buddha was feeling down
He graced himself with a blood red crown.
The bodhisattvas all were scattered,
But the legend was eternal.
And while Al exposed an inconvenient truth,
The market rose like Icarus,
And we all danced while Nero fiddled
The day my childhood died.

He was playing goodbye innocence,
I looked inside and the well of inspiration ran dry.
All my friends of yesteryear
Have long since faded away,
Long since faded away.

The end of our world was televised:
Matching towers falling from the sky.
A hole was made that never can be filled.
A lonely field became a heroes’ grave;
The blue and red tried to salvage the day
While the fool sat bewildered with his pet goat.
There was a brief reprieve of unity
While we were all bound together in grief.
Imagine the greatness that could have been
That was stillborn in the legacy.
Because the fool had to avenge the king,
Which reopened the wounds that had never healed.
Which side of the lines did you stand on
The day my childhood died?

As they were chanting goodbye innocence,
I looked inside and the well of inspiration ran dry.
All my friends of yesteryear
Have long since faded away,
Long since faded away.

So there we were, all in the same boat.
A generation sacrificed on the altar of September
With no semblance of an exit plan.
So Georgie Porgie Pudding Pie,
Georgie Got An Eye In The Sky,
How are you gonna make this one okay?
As the wars raged on and empty promises were made,
The faces changed but the tune stayed the same.
And as the boys and girls bled in the sandbox
Their broken toys lying all around them
In the end what did we accomplish?
The day my childhood died.

They were crying goodbye innocence,
I looked inside and the well of inspiration ran dry.
All my friends of yesteryear
Have long since faded away,
Long since faded away.

I knew a girl with the voice of an angel
And I asked her to sing for me one more time
But she just smiled and turned away.
And I went down to the sacred places
Where I dreamed my dreams so long ago
But the sacred places had long since closed and moved away.
And in the streets nothing’s really changed
Hearts still get broken every day
People scurry here, and scurry there
We do our best to make it somehow.
And the three things that I clung to most –
My grandfather, my father, and my belief in my own immortality–
They all left me at the same time:
The day my childhood died.

And they left me saying goodbye innocence,
I looked inside and the well of inspiration ran dry.
All my friends of yesteryear
Have long since faded away,
Long since faded away.

Goodbye innocence,
I looked inside and the well of inspiration ran dry.
All my friends of yesteryear
Have long since faded away,
Long since faded away.


Creative Ethics


I got to wondering this morning just what does an artist owe to his audience? What I mean is, does an artist (writer, musician, whatever) have an obligation of artistic integrity to his audience, or can he just go ahead and put out whatever he feels like whenever, regardless of how he might personally feel about it, in the hopes that it will sell (or especially because it will sell)?

As a particular example of this, I’m going to pick on poor Piers Anthony (yes, me and every critic in existence). I used to read pretty much everything he wrote, and my gateway drug was his Xanth series. I read the first twenty or so, which I think allows me at least a bit of leeway in my criticism. Additionally, unless I completely misremember (always possible) Mr. Anthony himself has stated on more than one occasion that he basically keeps the series going because it’s easy to write and it keeps him paid (although perhaps not so crudely). Considering he pumps them out at a rate of approximately one a year, that’s hardly surprising.

So here’s the question: does he (or any author) owe it to his fan base to stop writing a series that he’s not personally invested in? As long as people keep buying the books, clearly they see some value in them. Nobody is forcing anyone to buy the books, after all. This feels rather like a distasteful answer to me, but on the other hand we don’t expect factory workers to love the products they create every day (or I hope we don’t anyway). Is there anything wrong with simply being a craftsman, banging out a product that people enjoy even if you personally don’t care about it, and collecting a check? Do we hold artists to a higher standard?

Another point to consider (staying with Mr. Anthony for reference) is that not every work is one that an artist is doing just for the money. After all, I started on Xanth, but I went on to read Battle Circle, Incarnations of Immortality, Bio of a Space Tyrant, and many more works by Mr. Anthony. Xanth was my gateway drug as I said, but it led me into so very much more. If creating schlock is what allows an artist to keep body and soul and family together while working on “true art”, is that a sufficient and worthy price to pay?

And finally, let me point out that all art is, much like beauty, in the eye of the beholder. There was a time when I actually defended the Xanth series as great literature, and there are some books in the series that I still consider to be pretty good fantasy. Regardless, it’s all just one man’s opinion. Does that make it any more or less “art”? I’m going to go with “no”. It’s neither more nor less, no matter what any one person’s opinion is, including the creator’s. Art is just too subjective to be defined by one person, or even a group of people, for anyone else.

Or maybe I just like knowing those books are still out there, waiting to entice some young kid and become his gateway drug. Everyone has theirs; that first creative work that pulled them in to a favorite field or genre, no matter how disdained it might be by critics or friends or even an older and wiser self. And as long as it brings us pleasure, and brings us to pleasure, I think that’s a high enough calling for creation.


Lines I’d Like to Use


As some of my friends and family know, I’m not just a blog writer; I also aspire to be a fiction writer (unlike almost every OTHER English major throughout history). So far I haven’t had much success in getting published (see previous snide aside), but I still plug away at it when I find the time and energy. A large part of that is I jot down ideas for stories and, more importantly, lines of stories or bits of dialogue I’d like to use. For me a lot of stories grow out of these tiny seeds, built around what seemed like a passing fancy at the time, or just something that popped up in a conversation with someone. I may never get around to using any of these, so I’m sharing them with the world. Feel free to take them, use them, make them your own. All I ask is that if you do you share the results so we can all enjoy them.

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“Now honey, stay calm. I’m sure you have a lot of questions-“

“Yeah, like if you’re an international assassin, why do we live with these assholes?!?”

“These assholes are my friends.”

“Hey!”

“Look, I said you were my friends.”

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“Yeah, sure, I’ll get right on that, just as soon as you go fuck yourself.”

_____________________________________________________________________________________

“I would totally fight a hobbit for you, honey. You’re my preeeeciiiouusssss.

“I’d fight a hobbit. It would have nothing to do with you. I’d just fight a hobbit.”

_____________________________________________________________________________________

He radiated a palpable aura of ‘go fuck yourself’, with a side of ‘eat shit and die’.

_____________________________________________________________________________________

His tombstone read ‘He had a better second half.’

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“Maybe I’ll just withhold the Midol from you.”

“I want you to think very carefully about what you just said.”

____________________________________________________________________________________

Truly, he was a king among his people: the douchebags.

_____________________________________________________________________________________

“I see a lot of things in my dreams, honey. I don’t want to take most of them home.”

____________________________________________________________________________________

“If these walls could talk-“

“I’d burn the fucking house down.”