On living as an artist in Brooklyn circa 2013 (and why I currently am not)

At the best of times you are absolutely part of something.  This something is a thing on the tip of your tongue, a thing that any moment you risk swallowing and no longer tasting.  It is a kind of living that becomes terrified of itself, lest one day it may become the only thing worth remembering.

I wanted to drag everyone along with me in this life.  On a good day this meant picking you up in a ‘98 Toyota with a busted door handle and chauffeuring you from underground show to underground performance to the diner in almost daylight.  We would bash souls like heads and share in this proverbial something like goats chewing the memory of food.  On a bad day this meant spending weeks recovering from a night or two or 6 weeks of chemical bliss.  I probably fucked you.  You were the proprietor of an underground gallery or mentally ill or nine-times-out-of-ten another cold blooded musician eager to succumb as much as I.  This really only happened in order to create pain.  Create the pain in order to extinguish it, and again.  If this applies to you I shouldn’t have to tell you.

Despite this, it was good, all of it.  That’s the thing about life.  Even in ridiculous displays of self injury and homicidal lasciviousness it sounds perfectly great, afterwards, as long as you lived it.  Really lived it.  And I really, really lived it.  If for nothing else, I lived my life in complete denial of any alternative.

What’s bizarre is that at a certain point, lacking alternative, life begins to turn papery.  I’m not sure I can explain it better than this.  You just start finding yourself in inexplicable corners in dimensions which probably do not exist.  On a Sunday you find yourself unable to stop researching the early 20th century medical phenomenon Phossy Jaw, a condition that developed due to exposure to white phosphorous, thus almost exclusively affecting workers in match factories.  The jaw bone begins to abscess, causing necrosis of the surrounding flesh, brain damage, organ failure, death.  This doesn’t really exist anymore but it did, and this blunt fact is really all that you get out of anything if you’re not living it.

You start seeing your life as a creation, or perhaps more accurately, a fabrication, that’s the thing.  Then you start searching for the thing that’s been fabricated; you realize it isn’t there.  At all.  It’s not a question of wishing it was something else, or somewhere else, it just isn’t.  And the alternative becomes researching the Krokodil phenomenon in Siberia on a Friday, another form of necrotic death, the drug that eats junkies, and you wonder if it isn’t so much that your life that simply is isn’t, but that you managed to kill it by exposure.

Hi.  I’m Valerie.  I’m a living, breathing art experiment.  I will tell you point blank that experience is the only proof of life.  Surprise!  The problem is that in experiencing you cease to exist.  The problem is I still have a jaw bone.

I’m not going so far as to say that I’m walking away from everything at the age of 29, it never goes down that simply anyway.  I will say that when you really, really love something, or someone for that matter, (probably yourself included), you must be able to walk away from it in order to preserve it.  Otherwise it doesn’t really exist anymore but it did.  Experience becomes meaningless through experimentation.  Blind faith is a dangerous thing without knowing grief.  Don’t bother asking what any of this means.  Art makes about as much sense as limbs falling off, on a Saturday, at dusk.  This is simply a means to write about what happens, afterwards.

About thesupercoda

A weekly experimental cabaret
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