I want to share with you some excerpts of a long ass letter I sent via e-mail to Señor, who is in India. Since you only get to read what he writes, now you'll get a glimpse of what I write him. Enjoy.
Dear Señor Pee,
I'll begin with answers for your last few questions.
The Phish CD has been out for a month, and at first I didn't like it too much. But I played it one day non-stop while I wrote and I let it fully sink in. There are some great songs in there. Some are kinda slow, but a few have the potential to be as big in a decade as some of their older classic stuff is today. Waves, Walls of the Cave and 46 Days are my favorites, and they're also tunes that they can jam out for 30 minutes on. I saw Waves & Walls of the Cave on NYE and they were superb. If you also include Round Room and Anything But Me, and you got some good shit going on there. I'll bring you a copy.
I have not seen KBB. But I will and I'll let you know what they are like. I hear they play some Dead tunes.
And as far as me and the TAO being your connection to the world... I'm flattered.
So I guess I should sum up what's been going down.
The Raiders are playing Tampa Bay in the superbowl this week. The fucking JETS blew it! Oh well. I dunno who I'll bet on. I'll be taking a breather from sports until MARCH MADNESS arrives...
World War Three will be starting soon, as you already know. I have a morbid curiosity to see what's going to happen. Of course, I'll be watching it on TV, just like the rest of us. Our foreign policy has become a lethal game of global chess... using warplanes and thermonuclear devices as chess pieces. Will Saddam be just another chess piece we gobble up? Placing us in a more strategic position to handle the coming onslaught of Billions of people that would like us to die tragic deaths? Or are we walking into a classic trap? I wonder if ancient Roman or Athenian generals had to deal with the complexity of war on the global scale like our leaders have to do today. But then again, they never had to make press appearances on CNN.
Personally I think we should take out Saddam. I laugh at all these celebrities and hippies protesting Bush (like's its his decision). They have a right to protest, but then they get into their nice cars, SUVs, etc, and go home afterwards, snugly safe under the blanket of security that our military can and will provide. Let's go get Saddam now. Not for oil, or for getting rid of those phantom Weapons of Mass Destruction... it's more for the primal and basic survival of America. As much as we'd like to admit, we have entered an enlightened era of democracy and peace, but the majority of the world is uncivilized and do not rationalize or comprehend to Jeffersonian thinking of freedom, democracy, and the equality of all persons. And in order to deal with people that value death more than life, and who want you killed, you need to be strong and use violence. Does violence beget violence? Sometimes. But if we just stand around doing nothing, it's giving anyone a greenlight to threaten our way of thinking. This is like going to prison for the first time. You need to walk up to the biggest baddest motherfucker and kick his ass, or your time in prison will be a living hell. Well, if the remainder of my life wants to be "living hell" free, then I say go in there, kick some ass, and let everyone else watching (North Korea, China, Osama, Egypt, Saudi Arabia et al.) know how we'll be doing business in the future. Everyone hates us anyway, so we might as well knock off some of the hate mongers before NYC looks like Jerusalem.
In local politics, your senator, Joe Leiberman is running for President. His chances of winning in 2004, are slightly better than me walking into a party at Hugh Hefner's Playboy Mansion and going home with Miss June 2002. It'll be a nice effort on both our parts, but we'll both go home as losers. (Do you like my comparison to the most powerful job in the world, the office of the President to a surgically enhanced, anorexic blonde named Crystal, who likes horseback riding and Adam Sandler movies, and whose turn offs are mean people and rats?)
The Golden Globes were last night, and of course I didn't win one for Best Screenplay. I'm going to write another one this year (maybe two). So maybe in 2004 or 2005 I'll at least get nominated. As you know I don't care about awards. If I'm playing the game (or trying to get into the game), it's because of the money, not the fame or power. Hollyweird is like Las Vegas, Wall Street and all your Dreams & Aspirations rolled into one shit sandwich. We know their flicks are awful and tastes bad, but it looks so fucking good, you want another sequel and another and another...
I saw a documentary film on Widespread Panic. It was really good. I almost cried when Mikey and JB were sitting on a porch in Athens, playing an acoustic version of Driving Song. I felt sad, not because I missed Mikey... I felt sad for JB because he won't be able to play music anymore with his best friend. I am glad we got to see as many shows as we did (and I know they weren't as many as we should have seen), and of course the Beacon Theater run last year was some of the best music I had ever been a part of. Our roadtrips to shows in Atlantic City and Asbury Park were classic moments, and we always seem to meet the most random southerners at our shows! I think you'd agree one of the biggest regrets in our lives was not seeing Widespread Panic at Red Rocks.
I am in the middle of reading a couple of books. A friend of mine from Norway suggested Hunger by Knut Hamsun. It's all about the struggle. Struggle to live, to create, to exist. He wrote it over 100 years ago, and his words are crisp and clear to me. It's about a man who sacrifices everything so he can write. After reading some of it, I have that urge to throw myself out there again, and make another run at it. We all struggle in life, it's those momentary gasps of fresh air that we strive for, and what we do with that time is what we are. I see an air bubble and I just want to jump...
Which leads me to the writing aspect of me. I came to the realization that I am wasting my time working like a fool on Wall Street. I secretly like the work, and the high... the gambler's high that I get, and you know what I'm talking about... when you roll the dice and wait to see what comes out... or you wait to see what cards you get dealt... or you anxiously await that field goal attempt... it's a rush, a mini-cocaine high, and some days I'm so jacked up at work, I can't sit down. I guess when I plug in, it's hard to shut down. But it's not the right time for me, because I have more confidence in my work than I have ever had. I'm a writer, not a worker. I'm finally begin to believe again that anything is possible and I'm willing to take risks again to better myself as a writer, and if that means switching my day job, then so be it.
Rib suggested I get into war reporting, and this, as you know, I have been actively exploring. There are over one hundred armed conflicts all over the world, and not all of them are being covered. This is the struggle, I was talking about. It's not fabricated pieces of Hollyweird shit spliced together... or a small news blurb on Reuters. These are places in the world where people wake up and think, "Today I'll die today?" That's some serious shit going on, and I feel hypocritical even writing about it, while I am stuck in the middle of meaningless wealth and an over abundance of everything, and I am horrible person to even acknowledge that I threw away more food last year than most people in villages in West Africa and in India had a chance to eat in the last five years. Whereas my struggle is inherently selfish and self serving (finding my place as an artist), the majority of struggle in this world is exactly the opposite: "Will I be able to breath today?" If I were to tell everyone I'm getting rid of all my material possessions and give away all my clothes and food to the poor, I'm looked upon as a freak here in NYC. In India, you're called a Saint, or Mother Theresa.
Obviously I am willing to subject myself to these horrors of famine, war, and uncertainty. I think it's a self imposed penance, to punish me for all my mistakes and sins, by willingly wanting to experience these tragedies, up close, to see the unhealed scars, to smell the wafting odor of death, to invite whatever energy is being dispersed into my senses, and have them haunt me, my dreams, and my writings for the remainder of my life. But I am also the budding capitalist, looking to exploit these people and their situation to better myself as an artist, and improve my career, and possibility for a nice financial gain all rewarded on reporting other people's misery. I guess this indicates how sick, vile and twisted a human being I am. Or am I trying to gain truth and perspective on the world I live in? I know most of the mainstream media is propaganda, entertainment, and a money generating machine... so most of what I read and hear is bullshit. I will only know what exists if I go see it for myself. Will I be doing a greater justice telling everyone what's really going on (all be it, MY VERSION)? Or am I risking death, dismemberment just for a writer's high?
These are questions I am bogged down trying to uncover answers, or at least, workable justifications so I can continue down the path of my journey in life. I didn't mean to get too heavy in this e-mail, but these are the random thoughts flowing through my head, as I write you, so I figured I'd just let it all out.
I will see you soon. You have written and told me stories about this paradise, I think it's time for me to go see for myself.
Be safe. Be Sweet,