Audiophilia, Thoughts

Finding the Same Wavelength

I’ve listened to Matthew Good since high school & this spring, I’m hoping I can live out a dream I’ve had since that time then to see him perform.  He’s been posting more frequently on his Instagram lately, especially in the last few weeks where he admitted he had had a near-brush with death again in September of this year.  Since I’m dealing with my own mental health issues at the moment, I’ve been inspired by his self-awareness & determination.  The following post that I’m reblogging below stood out to me.  I’ve reread it a few times, reminding myself again & again that my creativity is my redemption, not my shame.

Knowing who you are is difficult. There are many that spend their whole lives looking. In such cases they tend to be more running from what they’ve never wanted to confront, meaning they’ll spend their lives using whatever is at their disposal to deflect from that reality. There is a marked difference in life between honestly growing and learning and employing the act of it as subterfuge to ensure you don’t have to go into certain rooms in your own proverbial house. In truth, one can run from it for only as long as they can maintain the perception that they’re not running. In my life I’ve grown and faced numerous truths. The growing has been difficult, facing truths has been difficult. It is for everyone. I possess both bad and good traits, like everyone else, but seeing them, acknowledging them, is the key. In that, I have been enormously fortunate because since the age of 11 or 12 I have always turned to the arts to express, and therefore deal, with things. I wrote my grandmother’s eulogy at 14, something I had to do given we were so close and her passing devastated me. I channeled everything into literature, painting, and finally music. Over the last 30 years I have lived with one absolute gift that I’ve been fortunate enough to become my profession. That through art I must succumb to growth – be it ugly, beautiful, or otherwise. Through it my entire life is mirrored, through it my thoughts, my anxieties, my joys, and my many faults have been captured for all time. It’s a unique, nerve racking, yet fulfilling thing, because you simply cannot run from that which is eternally captured and digested by others – out there forever unalterable. In my life I have lived with those who have been one thing at one time and, six months later, something else. It’s not something I can imagine the horror of enduring because I have never had to. But like anything, one must be empathetic to those who cannot go into certain proverbial rooms. I cannot imagine running, because I’ve never had to. Through mistakes and triumphs I have always had the same ground beneath my feet. In that, I know I am overwhelmingly fortunate. I can be alone only because it is always with me. A gift.

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Books, Thoughts

Off the Shelf: The Wicked and the Divine, vol. #3

The Wicked + The Divine, Vol. 3: Commercial SuicideThe Wicked + The Divine, Vol. 3: Commercial Suicide by Kieron Gillen

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A collection of stories that give a little more insight into the Pantheon & slowly develop Anake’s fatal plans for her charges. Readers see Morrigan imprisoned for Baphomet’s carelessness, Woden explaining his part in this whole intrigue, Ameratsu & Cass fight-bonding in Japan & Tara giving her story before killing herself.

Commercial Suicide is much like the interstitial stories from a series like Sandman: the creators get more of a chance to explore their characters & let other artists play with their interpretations. The differing art can be a fun exercise, but also, for me, changes the dynamic of the book. McKelvie’s art for previous stories was specifically locked to the text to reveal twists that had actually been in the background the entire time. These issues with guest artists aren’t as visually dense but can still be interesting takes.

My personal favorites were the stories for Morrigan & Baphomet as well as Ameratsu. Morri & Bap because I love them & Ammy because the artist did a lot of work to convey the different qualities of light & shadow–as befits the goddess of the sun. (Also, the antagonism between Ameratsu & the Norn(s) is great drama.) Tara & Sakhmet’s stories are the weakest but again the respective issue artists do a fantastic job conveying a myriad of emotions with a glimpse or simple gesture from the Pantheon member they’re focused on. Woden’s story is probably the most visually interesting here–unsurprisingly this is one put together by Gillen & McKelvie from assorted previous images of the earlier issues. Other than that, the issue also gives readers a first glimpse into the deeper conspiratorial workings & is packed with clues.

Final takeaway: these one shots will let readers indulge in fanning over their favorite Pantheon member, p.s. the gods were once fans themselves, Anake is playing the really long con aaaaaand give it up for my girl Kore Persephone Hekate back in da hooouuuuusssse! At least I hope so–I have my fingers crossed so hard.

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Books, Thoughts

Off the Shelf: Fight CLub #2, issue 7

Fight Club 2 #7Fight Club 2 #7 by Chuck Palahniuk

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Sebastian’s struggle to remain in control continues as Dr. Wrong tries to tell him about earlier times Tyler has been active and Tyler returns to his original mission statement from Fight Club. Marla & Chloe continue to search for Junior through data-mining & eventually find him at Tyler’s secret chalet. The issue is bookended with the reappearance of Robert Paulson & the Write Klub house where Mr. Palahniuk hangs.

Palahniuk gives us a wink & a grin as he acknowledges that ‘fictional characters can survive their readers’. Tyler embraces the ‘ideas breed us’ idea that our author puts forth and returns to his former self as if trying to convince us readers that the old Tyler that they used to know is still around & that we should totally still be with him. But really, from here on out I think we’ll be seeing more meta-fictions & this story will become more about Palahniuk trying to reconcile with his own characters rather than any modern-day updating of Tyler’s philosophy. I wish we had gotten to this point sooner, because this is much more interesting to me–an author struggling with the unintended consequences of his writing & how those reinterpreted ideas have “bred” new perspectives. 3 issues to go; let’s see what happens next, shall we?

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Books, Thoughts

Off the Shelf: The Wicked and the Divine, vol. #2

The Wicked + The Divine, Vol. 2: Fandemonium (The Wicked + The Divine, #2)The Wicked + The Divine, Vol. 2: Fandemonium by Kieron Gillen

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Laura mourns Eleanor Rigby (AKA Lucifer) & has a secret meeting with Inanna, who has discovered that the two would-be assassins Lucifer killed were obsessed fans. Intrigued, Laura infiltrates Ragnarock, a Pantheon con, as a speaker & learns about the Prometheus Gambit, as well as some of the more hidden workings of the Pantheon. Baphomet & the Morrigan meet up with Laura again & they join the rest of the Pantheon at Dionysus’s rave. Ananke gives Mr. None-More-Goth a few wrong ideas, Cassandra becomes the Norns, and. . . Laura is special, you guys, she just doesn’t get to live.

This collection ups the ante of the previous issues. Not only is the original mystery expanded upon & new gods introduced, the double whammy of Cassandra’s ascension & Laura’s uncovered identity will leave readers stunned. I feel like I should have seen the latter surprise coming, since the series had played pretty blatantly with the over & underworld aspects of the gods. (Lucifer is the fallen Morningstar, Tara’s unclear status as either a god or a demon, Woden as sky-god who descended into the underworld for his wisdom–even Inanna mentions her rule over night & day.) Hindsight is 20/20, until all sorts of fiery death goes down. Smart moving giving us a few black pages afterward to decompress.

While I’m left wondering how the story will move forward without Laura, I know that Bap & Morrig are going to totally break my heart. He’s clearly bad at making decisions, but he’s not totally evil. And she’s just a big softie underneath & it’s going to completely undo her. It’s like watching The Thornbirds–you know misfortune will strike but you’re rooting for them anyway. I’m fascinated, I’m in love, and I can’t hardly wait for the next issue.

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Books, Thoughts

Off the Shelf: The Wicked and the Divine, vol #1

The Wicked + The Divine, Vol. 1: The Faust Act (The Wicked + The Divine, #1)The Wicked + The Divine, Vol. 1: The Faust Act by Kieron Gillen

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

A funny, glamorous, intelligent series recommended to me by my book pusher/best friend. Wicked & Divine follows the Pantheon, a group of 12 gods who return every 90 years to inspire & rejuvenate the masses before dying young. Our guide through this heady, captivating group is Laura, a British girl whose been following the various members, hoping to get a little attention from one of them. After enjoying a show by the goddess Ameratsu, Laura’s swept up in the Pantheon’s affairs after witnessing a bloody confrontation between a reincarnated Lucifer & a pair of assassins. Determined to help Lucifer clear her name, Laura seeks out answers from the other pop idol gods, which includes Baal, Sehkmet, the Morrigan & her partner Baphomet.

Not only is the concept of this series a lot of fun, the talent behind the art & writing are amazing. If you’re curious, just look at a couple of pages & see if you aren’t intrigued. Not only does the writer perfectly juggle his alluring cast of characters, the artists also do a great job setting up events through the background before quickly bringing them up to the forefront. The joke of the laser pointer before the assassins reveal themselves was a big hint to take it slow–I didn’t even see that Laura had one until she said something.

Speaking of Laura, she really works as both a character & a fictional insert for readers. She embodies the drive of youthful curiosity & is definitely much more than just a groupie. Who else could pull of a quasi-Shakesperian monologue with two arguing celebrities threatening to destroy each other? The gods themselves are beautiful & charismatic & will totally have readers picking their faves. Mine would be the Morrigan & Baphomet–both are ridiculously over-the-top & serious as a heart attack, as all good Goth adherents should be. But Lucifer–when she says to Laura, “Because Lucifer is in Hell and you are the only one who came.”–she got to me. To quote Laura, that probably says bad things about me. 🙂 An amazing series that I’m looking forward to devouring!

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