July 2nd, 2016
(From my journal
Feeling mildly nuts, brain spinning all kinds of insults and then reassurances, back and forth, one always trying to correct one correcting the other. You’re fat, no, you’re thick — a quote comes to mind, “Thick girls think they’re fat, and fat girls think they’re thick” — funny, but unhelpful. Nothing helps today, or ever, there’s no formula, recipe, equation; nothing helps but to ride it out, breathe in, breathe out, take naps when things get too intense, drink a shot of Slivovitz. Micro-dosing, maybe that helps. Or maybe finding the cure is the biggest bullshit of all, maybe there are no cures, there’s nothing to be healed, cause you’ll never stop being flawed, there will always be something that’s off, that’s life, that’s who you are, a dog rolling in piles of shit and dead fishes and rotting flesh to compulsively camoflage your scent.
Among other things, of course.
Playing viola is a wonderful relief these days, I play like a dream, with all the depth of my darkest, finally a way out, is art all I’m good for? Is the rest of my life always bound to a certain level of disaster? Who are these magical, self-assured, wildly successful people I am comparing myself to? Thin and non-nail-biting, finances always in order, always enough work, having the perfect boyfriend, nay, husband, the kind of guy who always returns phone calls, is never absent or complicated or on wild drug binges. Oh, living the dream. Some nasty voice “Oh, but wouldn’t you be bored if you had that life?“, as if being pursued by the same mental illnesses over and over was someone’s idea of interesting. Interesting, yes, but only if you turn it into something. In itself, painful — and the same “interesting” repeated enough times is boring to anyone.
And love, love, LOVE is the solution, but not at all love of another, getting or giving, as summertime opportunities present themselves to me. No, the love is more simple, a self-love, a total acceptance of one’s self, one’s character, in which case flaws turn into advantages, and problems cease to exist, or, at least, your perception of them (which is all that problems are). There are no problems when one is in the flow, following the current, not kicking and screaming but drowning, dying, giving up.
How would I feel if I didn’t know about anything better? If I didn’t have this idea that I would be cured one day in the future, that I will wake up one day and suddenly never feel bad ever again? That some Americanised perfection will one day materialise before me, and I will be one of those upstanding citizens, one of those imaginary people I so idealise, worship, compare myself to?
Someone told me the other day that it is better to aim for self-actualisation than happiness. And it is true, thinking of happiness does nothing but make me miserable. I am more self-actualised than ever, I am who I am and do what I am doing; but I am not happy, no, not today. If I were happy I would have nothing to write, nothing to do, thus, happiness is unavailable to me the artist, the one who wants to feel everything, the problems of the whole world, the problems that are not even my own fault, not even addressed to me specifically.
Maybe happiness is too vague and powerful of a term to be used so thoughtlessly. What the hell am I actually talking about? What exactly am I fighting about? And with whom?
At Bar Babette in Friedrichshain, the drummer Rudi Fischerlehner and guitarist Olaf Ruff about to play in front of me, CD launch concert for their duo project Xenofox.
Stiflingly hot room crowded with salt-and-pepper hairs, strangers, around me the excited gossip about the happenings of the free-jazz world, did you hear, Christian Lillinger this? Oh, Nicola Hein that! Oh, that festival, that duo was terrible, nur aus Höflichkeit bin ich da sitzen geblieben, meine Göte. Oh, Rudi and Olaf. They’re fantastic. I just love what they do!
And they are a great duo. Like a married couple, but the good kind of married couple, the kind of couple that gives hope for marriages everywhere; the music entirely improvised, and the message clear — melting, fusing of two souls, two completely innocuous yet totally psychadelic spirits, cool exactly because they weren’t trying to be, in an honest talk, no holds barred and nothing to prove, swimming deliciously through an atonal world centered around flow, feeling, ooze, texture, not melody or rhythm (or, godforbid, jazz!). Theirs is a pairing of motion, storytelling, but the plot is just music. Music for music about music.
Their passion overwhwelms me, fuses with the alcohol in my blood, and I am unable to write anymore. Their dedication moves me, their unquestioning faith in what they create is more than inspiring, it’s life-giving. Their music about music is a clear transfusion of joy after this confusing, heavy day.