Appreciation, or the Absurdity of Predestination

This started out as a journal entry, but I decided to post it as a blog post because I felt inspired to do so. This is my first blog post in a few months! It starts out a bit personal, but that’s a risk I’m willing to take in this day and age of transparency. I hope it encourages some fresh new thinking. Please keep in mind that this was all written by hand in a fevered rush of authenticity, and that it’s not to be seen as an essay or a manifesto – simply a glimpse into a Feeling. As such, I would ask that you take nothing here as my true, lasting beliefs, opinions, or convictions.

When I was dating [a certain young woman], it always seemed as though I kept having a certain perception of her – even viewing the circumstances surrounding us as only temporary and fleeting. I would often remind her, and myself, of this temporary feeling, almost as if the things that were happening between us were simply “interim” events.

I now see the folly in this, and how deeply I wronged her. For to see any experience as nothing more than a forerunner of a future anticipated experience is insanity. [This same young woman] is but one example of the countless times I have been guilty of this. I have, in fact, treated my entire life, up to this point, as a means to an end – always looking toward something better ahead, something more “me”, a time and a place that is my “destination”, where the current time and place is an inconvenient means to that end.

How much life have I missed in this way of seeing the world! I’m not condemning my hopes and dreams for a brighter future, or an authentic desire to go somewhere I’ve never been. But to think that all of this is just a transition, a pre-requisite, that is the cause of discontent. And while there may be something noble about a sense of adventure, a longing to see what’s out there, there is nothing noble about discontent. After all, my free-wheeling has led me here, has it not?! And how can I expect that I shall find more of a sense of rightness, of belonging, anywhere else I may wander?

The only way I can ever hope to find this Home Sense is by having a greater appreciation for all the moments that are NOW.

I am certain that predestination is a myth. For I was surely given an abundance of Free Will. I’ve had everything – I acquired so many opportunities, so many gifts, [with the aid of] my free will. I once stumbled upon the entire volumes of the memoirs of Casanova, front to back, for just twenty bucks! Those volumes – were they predetermined to fall into my hands? It would seem so, but due to some mistakes I made in the following months (all of my own free will), those volumes fell out again, and were lost. How can I say that I was meant to find Casanova’s memoirs, only to lose them again? No – I found them, call it luck, call it God – and then made a choice that caused them to be lost. And so, the WILL is the cause of Destiny, the WILL determines what will come next. For at any moment, I can change the sequence of events with a wave of my hand. Something that I may have been “meant” to have, according to those predestinationists, can be taken away by my own self with just one simple choice. Where, then, is the meaning in that? There is too much chaos in life for predestination.

All the more reason, then, why we should soak up each moment, not as if it is our last, but as if it is our only. We should drink up each experience with such gratitude, grasp at it with such greed that Bacchus himself would look at us with envy. Even the shitty ones – especially the the shitty ones. For they are none other than our Life. They are slipping away, oh, so stealthily. We’ll never get them back again. Let me say it again – we’ll never get them back again! So, live large, speak grandly, be extravagant! Say and do all of the things you haven’t said or done for fear that you would be scolded, ridiculed, or politely dismissed. Let them dismiss! Be nothing more, or less, than Yourself, with your bold ideas and your absurd wisdom, your insane sense of humor, and your irreverent lust for life. Let them taunt you, let them ignore you, let them thrash you, let them hate you. For only then will you find your true kindred souls.

Above all, honor this place, this time. Live it as a Gift, for that’s what it is. It’s not a bridge to somewhere else – it IS the somewhere else! You’re here! You’ve arrived! This is it! Be glad of it!

Back In The “Groove”

As the days unfold, and the time to go back down South approaches, time speeds up. And all at once, I find I am to be gone on Friday, not Saturday as planned, and my time in West Virginia has already come to an end.

Back in early June, when a debilitating accident brought me home for the summer, I remember dreading the long days, the simpler small town life, the humility I knew that I would inevitably have to experience. And, as I expected, life became much different for nine weeks. But, through the space, I got back in a groove that I had been missing in Nashville – having no other choice.

That groove was Songwriting. Often in Nashville, I’d been so caught up in how to make just enough to get through one more day, that I would have no room for writing songs. I wasn’t doing it right. The stress that came with this struggle brought about outside issues: I was distracted.

I knew that things weren’t right and that I was approaching a break in the tracks, and when that break came, it wouldn’t be pretty. Something had to give. And what gave was my foot.

Here, at the foot of the Allegheny mountains, I was forced to sit with myself (and my swollen foot) and face the situation. I had really no choice but to continue writing, so that’s just what I did. I even recorded some, too. I just sent off some work tapes to good friend and drummer Aaron Latos to have some drum tracks added.

Don’t get me wrong. There were days when I did Nothing, too. But those days were just as important and just as necessary. They say everything happens for a reason, and I believe this summer’s “accident” was no exception. Here’s to another return to Nashville, another great round of music-making and collaborating, and to some fantastic adventures ahead.

Don’t forget to catch me Sunday night at the Commodore, at Holiday Inn Select, 2613 West End Ave, Nashville, TN, 37203, playing a few NEW original songs with some other great songwriters! Here’s the schedule.


IMG Source:Gramophone record – Wikipedia