I do. Because of John Sebastian and the Lovin’ Spoonful, and their capacity to lyricize something that I felt but didn’t know how to express.
At this point in my life, I don’t believe in much. I used to wish, to have hope, to trust that love would make everything all right, and that if I just tried hard enough, I would find something that could allow me to live a life free from constant mental anguish.
Those urges, impulses, and ideas all got shot to hell, for various reasons. Although I do still believe inside of me that I’m not trying hard enough. I’m working on that one. I read a study recently which reported that people who are most understanding and forgiving of others are also generally hardest on themselves. No kidding? I could have told you that one for free. But, then again, I wouldn’t have been able to isolate it as a scientifically provable human trait. I would have just said that I was a fuck-up and because I could understand what causes others to act the way that they do, I should be able to apply those principles to my own life to make me a better human being.
I used to be able to hide from life and take comfort in my favorite books. ”I have my books/And my poetry to protect me. . .” (~ Simon and Garfunkel, ‘I Am A Rock’). I would read everything that I could get my hands on, during every free second that I found.
I haven’t been able to sit down and focus on anything longer than a magazine or newspaper article since I underwent ECT. Which was more than a year ago. That hasn’t stopped me from trying to, though. At the moment, I’m hanging everything literary on Joseph Heller’s Catch-22. It’s a book that has been very good to me in the past, and I’ve read it enough times that if I set it down for a month or more, I can pick it back up and still know exactly what’s going on.
Sometimes, when I’m too far gone to read, but not so far as to be unable to focus at all, I can watch old films or good television shows on DVD.
But there frequently come times when it’s all just too hard. When I can’t lose myself in Katharine Hepburn or Miranda Cosgrove, and I can feel the weight of the world pressing down on my chest as though I were three miles beneath the ocean without benefit of pressurized air to breathe or encompass me.
“And when the static’s screamin’ louder than your life/Just try to ride the waves in the air tonight. . .” (~ Goldfinger, ‘Radio’).
It’s then that I turn to music. It may not fix me, or even make me functional again, but it does pull me back from the edge, from the point where if a feather landed on my back, I would go reeling over into the abyss, not sure if I was ever going to hit the bottom.
And if there is anything worse than bottoming out, it’s knowing that as low as you are, you can and will get lower. I don’t really give a shit when people say, ‘Everyone has their breaking point,’ and ‘You have to hit bottom before you can climb back up.’ Because the bottom doesn’t exist for me. I never hit. I just keep falling, falling, falling. . .
Moral of the story: “Do you believe in magic/In a young girl’s heart/How the music can free her/Whenever it starts/And it’s magic/If the music is groovy/It makes you feel happy like an old-time movie/I’ll tell you ’bout the magic and it’ll free your soul/But it’s like tryin’ to tell a stranger ’bouta rock ‘n’ roll. . .” (~ The Lovin’ Spoonful, “Do You Believe In Magic?”)
To John Sebastian, a.k.a “Mr. Woodstock”
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