Idiot Glee

I had a dream that the landlord cut down the fig tree in the backyard and put in wall-to-wall carpeting. It wasn’t even nice carpet, either, but the nasty industrial kind that looks grey but from two inches away can be seen to be composed of ugly blue, red, and puke green fibers. At the time, I approved. Upon waking, I debated whether I’d sacrifice the pretty tree just to get rid of the smell of rotting humus beneath it.

Victor the cat is licking baby powder off the bottle.

Now Victor is licking it off my fingers. Now the floor. I have discovered the opposite of catnip. I will never need to mop again.

From today’s subway ride to and from Far Rockaway:

I must cut a ridiculous figure with my Eno book stuck full of Post-Its like a zealous Seventh Day Adventist’s Bible. (Why are Seventh Day Adventists my go-to for kooky Christians?) I have heavily annotated this excellent book. Today I read Eno’s essay ‘Into the Abyss’* and its page and a half was worth the price of the book. Clarifying, wonderful — it made me want to rename all my projects ‘Idiot Glee’.

Thinking about the psychic space of different subway stations just as the A leaves the tunnel. Unbelievable sense of relief — am I too sensitive? No, sensitivity is good; getting hung up on any one sensation, however, is bad.

Suddenly, multiple nervous tics on right side of neck and face. Autumn leaves just noticed for the first time. Woman with curiously-shaped leather case…French horn? Gotta stop writing — feeling slightly motion-sick — lousy, lurching New York subway trains.

Crossing the sound…. Abandoned boats. Chlorophyll recedes and other photosynthetic agents can be seen.

  • An excerpt:
     After several months of work, I slowly grind down and it all starts to seem like ‘my job’. I do it, and I probably don’t do it too badly, but I find myself working entirely from the momentum of deadlines and commitments, as though the ideas are not springing forth but being painfully squeezed out. At the back of my mind, unadmitted to, are some nasty thoughts swimming about in the darkness. They whisper things like: ‘You’ve had it’ and ‘You’re out of steam.’      Experience has shown me that, when I reach this point, all the distractions I can muster are only postponements. It’s time to face up to total, unmitigated despair.      I sometimes do this by going alone on a ‘holiday’ — though that word scarcely conveys the crashing tedium involved, for I usually choose somewhere uneventful, take nothing with me, and then rely on the horror of my own company to drive me rapidly to the edge of the abyss. It goes like this: me thinking, ‘What’s it all for?/ What’s the bloody point?/ I haven’t done anything I like and I don’t have a clue what to do next/ I’m a completely empty shell.’ This lasts two days or so, and is the closest I ever get to depression. Then I suddenly notice — apropos of something very minor, like the way a plane crosses the sky, or the smell of trees, or the light in the early evening, or remembering one of my brother’s jokes — that I am thoroughly enjoying myself and completely, utterly glad to be alive. Not one of the questions I asked myself has been answered. Instead, like all good philosophical questions, they’ve just ceased to matter.      I think the process involves reaching the point of not trying any more to dig inside, but just letting go, ceding control, saying to myself, ‘I am utterly pathetic, so I might as well give up.’ And at the point of giving up I’m suddenly alive again. It’s like jumping resignedly into the abyss and discovering that you can just drift dreamily on air currents.      I think I got this idea from Robert Fripp. I was in New York in 1978, living in a hotel, with bronchitis, and feeling very miserable. I met up with him one day and, on the subway, told him how down I was and that I felt like a completely empty shell.      ‘But, Captain,’ he said (he always called me this), ‘don’t you realize that all over North America people are shelling out enormous fortunes to feel the same way?’ I nearly fell on the tracks laughing, and felt wonderful for the next six months. Peter Schmidt used to call that feeling Idiot Glee.      This feeling, of sheer mad joy at the world, is ageless. It’s the fresh, clear stream at the bottom of the abyss.      Joy is energy.       (I can get there even more painfully by sitting and working alone. This is a real cruncher, as I try one old idea after another and they all look miserable and stupid and embarassing, until finally I stop caring and, in a condition of total somnabulism, fall over something new. This is much harder, and wastes a lot of tape. It’s better to do the holiday/abyss first, and then work alone.)

That was the whole thing, actually. I really wanted to share it. Love!