Nobody's creekbed

songs, prayers, poetry, stories, art, photographs, moving pictures, fondnesses, tall-tales and meditations

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The Anterior Insula and Hwy W

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

While I daydream future words please go check out the incredible artwork of my friend Kelsey Brookes at his website here. Kelsey is quite simply one of the most intriguing, genuine people I have ever met and his artwork reflects an absolutely wild & fully evolving individuality.

Snake Eyes
Kelsey Brookes

If you are anywhere near London, Kelsey is currently taking part in the bazaar art annual known as Santa's Ghetto, put on by the folks at Pictures On Walls.

Monday, November 27, 2006

From the Pitchfork interview with Tom Waits

Pitchfork: There is a rich and wonderful American history of tough, scrappy songwriters--everyone from Ramblin’ Jack Elliott to Bob Dylan--compulsively mythologizing themselves, inventing backstories, changing their names, developing personas to work alongside songs. Is there a Tom Waits mythology?

Tom Waits: I’m sure there is. The fact is most of the things that people know about me are made up. My own life is backstage. So what you “know” about me [is] only what I allowed you to know about me. So it’s like a ventriloquist act. And it’s also a way of safely keeping your personal life out of your business. Which is healthy and essential. I’m not one of those people the tabloids chase around. You have to put off that smell--it’s like blood in the water for a shark. And they know it, and they know that you’ve also agreed. And I’m not one of those. I make stuff up. There’s nothing that you can say that will mean the same thing once it’s been repeated. We’re all making leaner versions of stories. Before there was recording, everything was subject to the folk process. And we were all part of composing in the evolution and the migration of songs. We all reached out, and they all passed through our hands at some point. You dropped a verse or changed the gender or cleaned up a verse for your kids or added something appropriate for your community. Anything that says “Traditional,” it’s “Hey, I wrote that, I’m part of that.” Just like when a joke reaches you--how did it reach you? If you could go back and retrace it, that would be fascinating.

Pitchfork: So the second you write something down, it’s fiction.

Tom Waits: There is no such thing as nonfiction. There is no such thing as truth. People who really know what happened aren’t talking. And the people who don’t have a clue, you can’t shut them up. It’s the same with your own stories, the ones that circulate around with your family and friends. We’re all part of the same hypocrisy.

Read the entire thing here.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

A track listing was announced today for the upcoming album by Justin Stone and the Sea of Tuscumbia. The LP is tentatively titled Looks Like You're the One Who's Laughing Now.

Track listing:

1. A Man To Move A Mountain (A Man To Cry)
2. Blue Jeaned Dreamer
3. Look Ma, No Clean Hands
4. To Dodge A Falling Star
5. Wet Eyed Woman
6. The Night Old Dixie Drove Off The Road
7. Might We Get Lucky Tonight?
8. I Lost Count At Two
9. Skinny Got Juked
10. Blisters and Blisters
11. Rights Read (Early Sunday Morning)
12. Two Wings and a Prayer

The album--described by Stone as "a country album"--was recorded at legendary Water Moccasin Studios in Longbellow, Texas, and was produced by Pill Covington (The Salt Shakers, Donny's Revenge, Radiohead). The album will be released by Bait & Tackle Records on January 23, 2007. "31 years in the making," Stone wrote us by e-mail, "and [the album] doesn't even come close."

Put your boots on and cut something.

Purley's Fourth Rule of Broad-Casting

Train the camera
On the subject
Long enough
And the subject
Ceases to exist
As such.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

I have been gone so long. For this I am sorry. Let me say as way of excuse that the Hot House has been hotter than usual, the bill collectors especially dogged in their pursuit. I have been blinking, looking into mirrors and receding. A thing far away getting farther and awayer. You, however, are a dandy. So handsome. So gentle. So easy on the soul. So good with the hands. Thank you, Balm, we are not chapped as once we were.

I like to ask myself, What would Thomas Pynchon do? and then I remember that what Pynchon most definitely would NOT be doing is writing something like this, spilling such contorted, pointless wordthings, and he most definitely would not be reading that which I write here. So the question, like many of the questions I ask myself, sends me into a tailspin. What would Thomas Pynchon do? Something much more interesting, something much more complicated. We are lucky to get the adding and subtracting right, Balm, nuts to the calculus. Besides, Thomas Pynchon was born without a face. Did you know that? It is crazy, and only happens something like one every hundred births or so in the civilized world, but yes, he come out of his dear mother's wet, dark geniuschamber face-less, without face, sans face, un-faced; what he had was just a tight skin stretched taut over his skull like a drum. The doctors on hand were shocked, but one had the wherewithal to quickly puncture a tiny breathing hole in the middle of the skin. Amazing! But true. The catch? He was writing epic prose at 3 months of age, and finished his first novella at 8 months, a little thing 1500 pages in length. No kidding. Why even begin to hold myself to his accomplishments? I have had a face since day one. This face has been the death of my writing ability now that I think of it. I am so in the face, as they say, so face-y. I do not know that I have ever composed a single properly grammatical sentence (and this one may be among the worst). Not one, even. I do not know that I have ever composed one truly thoughtful sequence of words between periods.

What do I do instead? Oh, man. You had to ask. Well, okay. It is maddening. Great example: of late, I have spent way too much time in deep consideration of the following phrase:

Momma, don't let your cowboys grow up to be babies.

Just that phrase. Rolling it around. Parsing. Toying with. The many implications of. The points pointed out. The things here. Various heartbreakings. Hidden truths. Weird posturing. Weak internal laughter. Momma, don't let your cowboys grow up to be babies. I am not sure what to make of this idea, or really set of ideas, but making something I am. A thesis, or maybe a paragraph, maybe a song to the repeated chords of G and D on the guitar, or maybe I'll just hop onto my wheel and spin up a large ceramic bowl and then etch a pictograph into its side and toss it into my kiln. Howsoever the doing is done, I promise you lights in the laboratory are on. They have shut off most of my other lights, but in the laboratory I have a generator, and it runs on the grease I pilfer from the House of Pies. I sneak behind the place at night, you see, to the kitchen door, back by the dumpsters. I have a cook on the inside down there at the House of Pies you see, a charming but bloodthirsty kinda fella, his name is... ah, now, wait!! Gawd, you almost had me in the ramble. Down, mouth! Of course I am not going to tell you my cook's name. My grease hook-up. Are you kidding? You must find your own inside guy from whom to buy the cooking grease with which to run your laboratory's generator, EinsteinBalm. Didn't anybody ever teach you that? Didn't anybody ever teach you anything?? Were you raised in a barn???

If in fact you were raised in a barn, I am very very sorry. Some of us were raised in a barn, I know, and here I am mouthing off. Off-mouthing. There is a name for the psychological phenomenon of attacking that which is closest to you. A smarter man would know it, and if I were to enable comments here you could tell me the textbook name, and tell me again how ridiculous all of this is, how unlearned and, worse, how un-funny it all is, how un-everything, I know how you snipers are, and if I were to lay myself open to the assault my reversals would have reversals of reversals, apologizing for the apologies of apologies. I would be taking everything back, always, back-tracking, bumbling, because the mind never quits, Balm, and the idea of a second, questioning voice, much less a chorus of anonymous bastards here is too much to bear. Yet string words together I must. So, yes, shut the mouth. No more barns, no more apologies for degradation of the idea of being born in the barn and not learning certain fundamental life lessons, such as an untoward requesting of illicit connections on the part of your writer, or how to clean up after yourself, if you want to get all properly colloquial. No more barn-bashing, Balm; I love that you were made into a grown person inside the confines of a barn. I love it! Go, Barns!! My yogi teacher advises me time and again to be guarded in my speech, soft in my judgement, and I am trying. I'm'a tryin.

My teacher he also says to be a fruit on the tree of humility. You hear that, Balm? I bet you think that is hilarious. But I think it sounds nice. The creekbed is rather like a swollen fruit on a swollen limb of a swollen humility tree, a leafy tree. The once sweet fruit falls and things begin again. The life cycle. The wheel is invented by a neanderthal. Another ruler falls, has his feet ripped from his legs by an angry mob of farmers, dancers and earthmovers. A kid writes a blog called The Uncle Miltie of Everything. I have seen it all, and can attest. Mountains collapse, mountain cats howl like screaming human beings.

My teacher shudders at the thought of Justin Stone's creekbed.

Cooking grease generators emit an awful smell, I will tell you that much in confidence. And they are loud. But the energy lasts for hours. And the din is like the tumult of initial creation, things jump and leap from it, compose themselves, or so I find. Sweet buttery concoctions that taste of the Lost One Name of God.

Tomorrow: lists, commandments, declarations, amendments to the declarations, a joke or two. Tonight: gentle cradling, lullabyes, cooing.

What else? Certain things are afoot. Others are underfoot. Movies are getting made! Can you believe it? You may see this one, you may not. It might have a "weird" rating, and it might "star" people you would not want to take home.

It was all so empty, so barren around here that I just had to stop in and say some-thing, though the thing-ness of what I said here could be called into vigorous question. I will not be held accountable! That is our battle cry, Balm:
We will not be held accountable!
(Well, wait a second.)
(Until such time and place as we wish to be held to account.)
(Did you know that in Faulkner's hometown they called him Count No Account? Now that I said that, I hope it is true. Luckily we are not Faulkner. We write only of ourselves, and that we do poorly, negligibly.)
(Alright, I have to get out of here.)
(Please, please, please, I beg you: make at least one animal sound today. Think it and feel it. Stretch your neck out and scrunch up your face while you do it, because that is what animals do when they make sounds.)

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Fellow Architects of Lust & Curiousity, the ringing you hear this morning in the teeth of your ears is the heralding of something new, something slightly less unneccesary than most new things. Something for good time grimacing, hand wringing and amusement taking. Indeed! You are going to want to keep a very close eye on UK Snapshots.

UK Snapshots
UK Snapshots
UK Snapshots

Thursday, November 02, 2006

my hood

The old saying has never been truer:

If it ain't one thing it's a gay sex scandal.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Oh, Dear Reader, where does one begin? The day after, the next day, the follow-up, the closure; how does one do it? From where does one draw upon the necessary resources? I try very hard not to pollute this space, this creekbed, with the news of the day, or my day to day goings on. And it is hard. Believe me, it is hard. When I wake up and have to somehow digest the latest “flap” over the latest “comment”, or comprehend the latest “death toll”. Or, say, I am bored. And want to just tell you, hey, I am bored. I fight the urge, for you and for myself. You can get such currency at other banks. To hold my tongue. Is not easy, friends. Because we live in a ridiculous world, the only we have. I show up here from time to time with small offerings, a smile etched in my hand-drawn face. Runes, symbols, etchings, sketchings, figures. Old pictures you have not seen, and really do not even need to see, but. One wonders why one even does it sometimes. But. The answer is always the same, and obvious—what else is there to do? It is fun, or ought to be, this play of words, this one-sided dialogue, this one hand clapping. You, in my mind, are a rich listener, and I, another travelling pauper with song, dance and tiny, beaded outfit. While the world rages around us, we create tiny paper animals.

Okay, so, Last Night. Halloween. The thing began simply enough. But if forced to again choose, maybe deciding to do cheap domestic beers and Wild Turkey down at The Drawing Room, as opposed to, say, dinner, won’t be repeated. But there we were, my sister and I. And why not? Halloween and all. All Hallow’s Eve. Better yet, Dia de los Muertos. All that. Picture me as skeleton. And at some point we are back at our apartment, blurry, music turned up, and I am dancing. Dancing! A kind of goonball aerobics. At this point, it is still early, still very much a decent hour in other, decent human beings' world, and although Lindsay and I had discussed the need to acquire some sort of “candy” earlier in the evening, should trick-or-treaters, our neighbors, come a’knocking, as of course they were bound to, we had not made the move. No candy in this home, friends. No treats. And like a ridiculous dream where you know something is happening, where you are simultaneously aware and bearing witness as you are even deciding, realizing the thing in your mind, the doorbell is ringing, the dance lurches to a halt, Lindsay and I share an oh crap moment, and sure enough there in the eyehole is one of our so sweet neighbors and their sweet little kid, Dear Reader, please bear with me, and Lindsay is answering the door, and I’m hearing “trick or treat!” in some far off corner of my mind as she hears the thing in real time in the very real (too real!) open doorway, and I am frozen in the kitchen, petrified, and then she is scrambling, my sister, looking for something, picking up dirty clothes, looking under desks, tyring to find something, anything, to give, and suddenly I’m doing the same, I am rooting about the kitchen, opening and closing cabinets with wild-eyed fear, and I hear her throw several items into the sweet kid’s candy bag, and then I’m scurrying erratically toward the door clutching a bag of unpopped Paul Newman’s popcorn in my hand, ridiculously, and I’m saying, “Give them this,” and the poor, dear sweet mother, bless her heart, is saying, “No, no, that’s fine, thank you,” trying with desperation to get as far from this doorway as possible in as short a time available, but it’s not enough for her, there is not far enough away, there is no soon enough, because Lindsay has given the poor child one caramel candy from God-knows-where and I am clutching unpopped popcorn, and then somehow the door is closed, the encounter done, when not moments later there comes another knock, another neighbor, one who has not learned the lesson of knocking on the Stone’s door on Hollow’s Eve, there with dear, sweet, perfect child, an awful re-run, and the mad scramble again in our apartment is upon us, and this poor, beautiful child, God bless his heart, has to watch as Lindsay drops an apple and an open pack of gum (spearmint gum! an open pack!) into his treat bag, and, adding insult to injury, I hear Lindsay fairly shriek at the kid, “What wrestler are you?” because, God, the sweet little thing loves wrestling, and he obvously has dressed up as a wrestler again this year, but I do not see any of this because I am crumpled in the kitchen, on the kitchen floor, like a discarded, fearful thing, and I’m forced to bear witness from afar, with my ears, and this is even too much. Wow. Rarely has the simple, rote question “Trick or Treat?!" been answered so bluntly. Trick, little friend, trick, the worst of tricks, and I am so sorry. How does one apologize deeply enough? What banner is big enough? What font appropriate? There are not words in the English language necessary for such expression. But, I am sorry. The answer is trick, and no, this mask does not come off. How did I come up with this costume? Don’t ask. And next year, it is in your best interest to skip past Apartment Stone, shield your eyes with cape and travel far, fast, to the next apartment.

And then suddenly we were driving, hurtling, into North Hollywood with one friend (sober, this friend, mind you) to pick up another friend and at some point I had a light sabre between my legs, in some kind of insane, new sabre technique, a ridiculous wielding. Do not ask.

Okay, so. Again. Take this—as all things creekbed—In Jest. Have fun with it. Thank you for stopping by. I pray that your day is somehow fun for you to-day. It’s a gift, really, to-day. The old cliche—like all of the old cliches I toss into your Treats Bag—is true.

Happy after, Dear Reader, you are the best friend I have.

Prince Danglion
Hollywood, you are on notice. This thing is available. Come with currency.