A Klee painting named ‘Angelus Novus’ shows an angel looking as though he is about to move away from something he is fixedly contemplating. His eyes are staring, his mouth is open, his wings are spread. This is how one pictures the angel of history. His face is turned toward the past. Where we perceive a chain of events, he sees one single catastrophe which keeps piling wreckage and hurls it in front of his feet. The angel would like to stay, awaken the dead, and make whole what has been smashed. But a storm is blowing in from Paradise; it has got caught in his wings with such a violence that the angel can no longer close them. The storm irresistibly propels him into the future to which his back is turned, while the pile of debris before him grows skyward. This storm is what we call progress. (Benjamin, Theses IX)
Much of this blog has been devoted to backwards–to history as the storm of progress blows ever forward. Yes, I think I did just compare myself to the Angel above–twisted, backward starting, open-jawed complex that it is (Klee’s painting can be seen here). I’ve always thought it looked more than a touch avian, perhaps more so than an angel “ought” to be. Avian Medusa, at that. I’ve decided that I want to turn around a bit–stop gazing at the pile of wreckage (though undoubtedly not forgetting it) and move into a future that I cannot see and certainly cannot control.
Life has changed radically since last I posted here, and, with the exception of fangirl (and, in truth, even that has had to reshape itself), each of my most-used masks–mother, wife, professor/admin, daughter–has been called to court. After a very difficult year, Tough Guy has successfully graduated and moved out on his own (I have a lovely grandog now)–motherhood is a very changed art these days. My professional life is…unclear on the best of days; through forces utterly out of my control (as if they were ever in it), everything at work is changing. I have a job, thankfully, but I don’t know from day to day what it will be, require, demand, or steal anymore (and while this is necessarily vague, it is not, for once, a matter of being dramatic).
And so on and so forth.
As a matter of self-protection, I’ve locked some of my most private posts, and have pulled the majority of those that remain open and deal with alcoholism under the old title of this blog, Beautiful Disease, which chronicled much of the aforementioned wreckage. Pieces I use primarily for classes are grouped as Everything is Academic. I’ll still lead my students here–as before, I will not shy away from the facets of my identity that bore this blog–as a matter of survival even–but also because alcoholism is a defining feature of my past, present, and, as likely, future. What I’d like to do is use this space as a vehicle for finding my way through dreams and aspirations–maybe even a place to grow up (though, uh, I sort of doubt that).
So, the title: this dawned on me while standing at Orion Festival last weekend, in a wildly mobile pit waiting for Avenged Sevenfold to hit the stage (I think I’d kicked it around before, but it felt right in the moment). It’s true–had I my druthers–I’d be a roadie. Why? Part of the shitpile of my history is music. I am not much a musician–I surrendered playing music to my mother, who ridiculed my voice, and I worried that she’d do the same with any other musical language (and, in fact, that fear was borne out), even though I had wonderful friends who offered to help teach me. I channeled my adoration of music through dance in my earlier years and through the pits in my later years (and, er, current ones. I have a shiner as we speak from a FABULOUS pit last Friday night). I channeled by becoming a fangirl.
It’s also an homage to Berkley Breathed’s Penguin Dreams and Stranger Things, which had almost as much of a shaping effect on my life as his Billy and The Boingers Bootleg.
Bill and Opus, man. All the way.
But, I love shows. I love the trappings of shows (I love that I typed shoes twice before getting the word correct as well). Pyro, smoke, stairs, lights, cords (and chords, ahem), you name it. But, what I really adore about being a roadie (at least in my idealized vision) is the thing that I only rarely get to touch at work anymore, but the one thing about which I am most passionate: creating the space for creativity to unfold and be shared. In those spaces, I can touch justice in the universe. I don’t know why, don’t really care why–I just know it happens.
That is what I want out of life–to create, protect, and maintain creative space. So, this is my space to do that–my own creative outlet, pointers to the outlets of others–whether musical, textual, or otherwise. A space devoted to creative energies moving forward. I’ll be honest, even when it feels like I’m jumping off a cliff.
If asked today what I wanted to be able to do someday–when I grow up? Tech work, sure, but I’d love to write a bio of Avenged Sevenfold (nobody could possibly be surprised by this). Why? I am absolutely fascinated by the ways in which they have (mostly successfully) controlled messages about who and why they are–while managing to remain apparently authentic (and done so through their stage show, at that). I’m curious about the hows and whys–how Zacky manages to manipulate and control his image again and again (and in such ways that make the fangirls–and boys–swoon). Is he even aware of how good he is at his own PR (surely he is)? How they have shaped their image–collectively and individually–and how they look to continue to do so musically, visually, and textually. And, yeah, I owe them something–a thank you, mostly. They created a space in which a miracle could happen, even for me. A miracle on Bader Field; who would have imagined (I’ll try to recount it sometime, but right now, I”m just savoring it)? And moreover, why? Why the hell not?
Yeah, theorizing favorite bands is like a sport to me. Been doing it since GnR. Probably won’t stop soon. And, at least at the moment, I’m thinking I’ll use the space to flex my theory-brain…break out the old Benjamin and see what happens when I let that fangirl mojo back out of the cage.
Work-in-progress, game, survival, creative spirit, fun. Hope to keep some of you along for the ride.