Letters to Holly

Tuesday, January 18


Listening to music from my wide-eyed days has shaken me to the gray-haired roots. I copied and heard the two Twin Peaks soundtracks and Depeche Mode's Songs of Faith and Devotion, a quasi-industrial record based on religious imagery. So, yes, your typical dramatic college music. But it all holds up. I think it does, anyway. I'm pretty sure I'm not bolstering it to validate my old interests. I mean, I have no problem mocking my old fashion sense, including my perpetual trenchcoat and dangling earrings. No wonder college buddies took me to gay bars. My afternoon was a fog of distortion and deep, repetitive bass tones. I remembered mindsets long shelved, and I wonder if this is how midlife crises start.

Probably didn't help that I had the Naked Lunch movie running in the background. I saw this film at ECU's old student center cinema and loved it. I was already a reader of Burroughs, and I thought the movie was a dead-on adaptation of a novel that was supposedly impossible to adapt. Legend has it Burroughs was so whacked out on drugs that he didn't know his friends had published his writings until after the book was printed and making money. The film is about a bug exterminator who disappears into a hallucination of a foreign land after he accidentally kills his wife. Burroughs actually did kill his wife in the manner the film gives us: He would shoot glasses off her head in what they called the William Tell party trick. The last time they did it, he missed the glass.

Comparing the film to the book was an evoltuonary advance in my critical thinking skills. Seing it again yesterday revealed what I missed the first times I watched it, yet it felt like slipping on an once beloved shirt. A lot of intensely earnest English majors go to the beatniks for at least a few months, and I chose Burroughs over Ginsberg and Kerouac. He was Hunter S. Thompson before Hunter was Hunter.

 I had this soundtrack on CD, and I remember My Mom hearing it waft out of my bedroom and asking if it was supposed to sound like an acid trip.

"Heroin," I corrected her, and she walked off wondering why they just didn't buy a cat instead of siring a weirdo.

I was initially drawn back from the ennui abyss by my cassette of a Paul Simon anthology, but the tape flows from bouncy '70s pop to a crowd of heartbreak and nostalgia, and that didn't help what was becoming the damp, drizzly November in my soul. Then I ended the night by reading from Steven King and having a dream incorporating Silence of the Lambs (Your Sister and I bought a house with bodies packed behind the clapboards, and suspicion grew that one of us was responsible). My brain has tumbled backward 20 years, and I'm simultaneously invigorated and exhausted from all that black-box urgency.

My iPod-powered commute will definitely have a different tinge to it. I wish car stereos allowed us to tune into others' iPods during commutes. I always wonder what mixes other folks have crafted.

Picture of the Day
This image reminds me that I started sketching my comic pages at a larger size. This is the hard work of tightening camera angles and solving anatomy problems.The final large pages will be a cinch once this step is completed.

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