This post is inspired by the title of the latest album by Finnish jazz trumpeter Verneri Pohjola,‘The Dead Don’t Dream’.
I have come across Pohjola’s amazing modern music quite recently and have been mightily impressed by what I have heard.
The musician was talking about the making of the album (dreaming it into existence as he termed it) and remarked that “it’s about embracing life in all of its complex emotions, while we still have it … after all, the dead don’t dream”.
He nailed it for me with that statement.
To live is to truly engage, and to dream. You may as well be dead otherwise.
You can listen to the tune behind the thoughts below (via YouTube):
” Healing doesn’t have to look magical or pretty. Real healing is hard, exhausting and draining. Let yourself go through it. Don’t try to paint it as anything other than what it is. Be there for yourself with no judgment.” – Audrey Kitching
If, right now, you more time than usual to contemplate your lockdown self, consider this:
“You were born with potential. You were born with goodness and trust. You were born with ideals and dreams. You were born with greatness. You were born with wings. You are not meant for crawling. So don’t. You have wings. Learn to use them and fly”.
(and try not to shit on others from great heights when you get there)
” If you ask me what the most grotesque thing about alcoholism was I’d have said, indeed I did so over and over to anyone who asked – and plenty who didn’t – it wasn’t the physical stuff, it wasn’t the humiliating death stuff… it was the sadness. I called it my angst. A suitable august, Germanic word for a basement depression that was fathomless and occasionally erupted in gasping panic. And even when locked away it would seep out and sour every other emotion, like bitters in milk. Alcoholic despair is a thing apart, created by the drink that is a depressant, but also the architect of all the pratfall calamities that fuel it. Alcohol is the only medication the drunk knows and trusts, a perfectly hopeless circle of angst, and it is powered by a self-loathing that is obsessively stoked and fed. And it’s that – the personally awarded, vainly accepted disgust – that makes it so hard to sympathise with drunks. Nothing you can say or do comes close to the wreaths of guilt we lay at our own cenotaph.”
– A.A .Gill, from “Pour Me: A Life.” (highlights mine, as were the lowlights…)
“If you hold a cat by the tail you learn things you cannot learn any other way.”
– Mark Twain
Pictured recently, yours truly, seated with a bronze statue of the great man (real name: Samuel Clemens). As close as I will get to meeting him!
I have long admired Twain’s wry humour and sage veracity.
Like the quote above – you laugh first and then the wisdom drags you in and sits you right down, as you reflect on hard life lessons.
I sometimes feel his writing gets me, rather than the other way around.
When I was a young man I took a Greyhound bus from Chicago to New Orleans ( helluva long ride!), and the road more or less followed the Mississippi River south after St. Louis. My best companion on the journey was Twain’s ‘Life On the Mississippi’, published in 1883 . A great read – fantastic tales of diverse folk, working and up to all sorts otherwise, on the river back in the day (it’s well worth searching out).
It just made my trip feel damn boring by comparison though…
“You cannot, in human experience, rush into the light. You have to go through the twilight into the broadening day before the noon comes and the full sun is upon the landscape.” – Woodrow Wilson
Those words sum up my own experience; my picture recreates its memory and serves as a reminder.
When you know a darkness, it is tempting, when you are leaving it, to want to parade in the fullness of light.
However, in the ‘tween time – the twilight – you get to really know show the shapes and forms of the important things, dimly lit as they are.You feel them deeply, even as you peer though the mystical interplay of shadows and light.
There will be plenty of time for full light to illumine all the details…
“Sometimes we do not want to avoid the Void. When someone gives us flowers, it’s nice to have an empty vase. Finding an empty train carriage is a stroke of luck; an empty motorway is almost a miracle. Making the first pen strokes in an empty notebook or the first steps in an empty new house are sources of pure delight.”
-Louise van Swaaij & Jean Klare,‘The Atlas Of Experience’
For a void is not nothing! Even if a void is a scary prospect, it is also the realm of the infinite possible.