The hardest thing to do is start typing. There’s all this defeat in silence and procrastination. And our ambitions hold us up so high. It’s just that life gets in the way every single day. If it weren’t for the reality of the human condition, we would all be prolific artists and have profound interactions with the people we love every day.
“My body is a cage”
I have been thinking about this for a few weeks. A few weeks of silence. It’s so easy for me to be prolific and enlightened when my whole world is balancing on the head of a pin. I’m on when there’s a crisis. I can do extraordinary things and keep all of my dreams in focus. This realization has been pretty eye opening for me. It certainly explains a lot of my self-destructive tendencies.
“that keeps me from dancing with the one I love.”
So this made me think about how to recreate the sense of crisis without all of the actual… uh … crisis. Just some kind of ordered chaos. And then I started thinking about how often I had actually tried to change this about myself. How many times I have set up shop and thought about keeping a job for 10 years.
“But my mind holds the key.”
And what’s funny is that people don’t really like me as much when I am showing up every day on time. This has led to a lot of job changes. A lot of different projects that usually involve start up companies in the middle of a crisis. I am pretty exciting to people in a crisis, because I seem to function best there. People want to hear me talk and tell them what to do.
“I’m standing on a stage”
And this led me to thinking about how everyone probably has a different stage or set of circumstances where they shine. For the most part, we are discouraged from finding the scenarios where we thrive. If we don’t achieve a narrow definition of success in an even narrower set of circumstances, then we wonder what is wrong with us. It’s seems self-defeating to be competitive with each other in these tiny arenas.
“of fear and self doubt.”
And I think about all of the times when I wondered why it was that everything was falling apart on me yet again. And I think about how many times I have organized my life from that crisis to rebuild everything in a matter of months. It just makes me think of all of the wasted efforts. And no one is unique. How much wasted effort is there? If we piled it all together and organized it into people using talents to achieve real things in a concerted effort rather than this isolated way in which we all work for our individual success.
“It’s a hollow play but they’ll clap anyway.”
They will clap anyway. And each one of us will take what we can get. Our celebration of the individual. And it’s funny, because on the other hand, it’s the individual spirit that keeps our creativity alive. I just wish that somehow our learning experience didn’t take so long and have so many consequences. But the consequences seem to be the motivation that helps us discover where we actually shine. And sometimes, we just don’t find that at all.
“I’m living in an age that calls darkness light.”
And sometimes, we find where we shine and we just can’t find a way to make ourselves do what we want to do. Or what we are best at. We just become consumers of junk. Using the tools of the day to escape ourselves when what we all really want is to live extraordinary lives. Not lives handed to us in packages and boxes, but lives that we have created and shared with those around us.
“Though my language is dead, the shapes fill my head.”
It’s like living in a cage. I can see where I make a huge impact on my world and the people in it. And I put it off. And I put it off. And the time passes. And I get older. And I see that I have missed a lot of opportunities. And sometimes I just need to put my foot down.
Arcade Fire does all of these songs with these huge themes and this incredibly dramatic presentation. And it seems that every time one of their songs starts, I get lost and the time passes and I have thought about a million things. It’s the passion and the escape. Singing about the cage sets us free. We have only to see it. And I think for about a year now whenever I have heard an Arcade Fire song I go, “Who is that!?!” And I forget. And it seems that I have had this parallel relationship with this topic.
Because sometimes I just wake up. I was just thinking as I was watching my son drift off to sleep about all of the opportunities that are available in times like these. And then I thought about all of the opportunities that are available on a daily basis even in different times. There is never a good time for an extraordinary life. It’s all a battle with the self. A battle that can’t be won. With enemies that can’t be seen. And the struggle is the story. And it’s the motivation we are looking for. Just enough to save our own lives. Just enough to move us in the right direction.
“You’re standing next to me. My mind holds the key.”
We are all that huge. This is who we are and what we do to ourselves. Carrying commitments for revenge for things we’ve done to ourselves in the past. Dragging ourselves through the dirt over and over again. A feud for the ages with no outcome but our own defeat. Always leaving enough of ourselves alive to come hunt us down and kill us over and over again.
“Set my spirit free.”
Yes. Set my spirit free. I lose to me. I don’t just surrender. I am dead in the dirt, but I am alive to seek something new in the spirit of renewal. Raise me from the dead. But end this senseless reign of remorse and guilt and terror. There is no one to blame.
And here I will embed the video that I think is such an incredible expression of this song. And it makes me think about derived art and it makes me happy. Charles Bronson and Henry Fonda in a classic standoff in a classic Sergio Leone movie.