Thursday, May 28, 2009

"I miss the mountain; I miss my life."




The epiphany was grand. I had just seen exceprts from the new rocking off-Broadway musical, Almost Normal, featuring Diana, a bipolar manic-depressive who has kept her family off balance for years. I have kept my own family off balance for years.
I look out the balcony and like Alice Ripley playing the character of overly-theraputized Diana, I seemed to see my whole life passing by as if in a parade--
trumpets, uniforms, drums, clowns, firemen, Masons, mummers. And at the end, oneself, though younger, strapping still curlyhaired, leisuresuited as in the Seventies, waving goodbye.
Talk about mourning for the passing of one's youth...Almost Normal.
Seems the theme of this Year of our Lord (Barack Obama ?) himself still a vigorous forty-eight, but it would appear that for some of us
the last fifty years have gone by, full of sound and fury signifying nothing, but wow, what a sound and fury and wouldn't we want it all back?
This is the new spirit of the age, the zeitgeist, a dirge, really of sorrow and regret and it is felt, surprisingly among the creative young-- American Idol, Off-Broadway and the songs of the nation. Oh how grand it had been to fail, to screw up, to lose at love--even that!--but to have been alive, healthy, strapping and shouting wild promises to the wind in our health and wealth.
But Merle Haggard had said it early, way back in 1985.
" Are the good times really over for good?
Should a Ford or a chevvy last ten years as it should?

And on Idol, young Adam Lambert is lamenting, in an incomparably beautiful ode,

It’s a mad mad world that we’re living in
Gotta keep your heads up high, can’t be giving in
Don’t you let one day go by without praising the most High
‘Cause it’s the only way we ever will survive

It’s a mad mad world that we’re living in
(What’s wrong with us?)
Gotta keep your heads up high, can’t be giving in
Don’t you let one day go by without praising the most High
‘Cause it’s the only way we ever will survive

Rough life, nuff crime, youth them a do hard time
No guides, no sign, walking on a thin like
Sentenced, no trial, victim of a profile
No hope, more fight, wonder why we’re hostile

False prophet make profit, focused on them pocket
White collar false docket, door open, can’t lock it
Politics, polytricks, equal econometricks
(Where is the justice?)

Death toll rising, sex commercializing
Barely surviving, future jeopardizing
No compromising, hope paralyzing
Rules need revising, why is it surprising?

Got to heed the warning, see the storms are forming
Not the time for stalling, look around it’s so appauling

It's a mad mad world that we're living in
Gotta keep your heads up high, can't be giving in
Don't you let one day go by without praising the most High
'Cause it's the only way we ever will survive

It's a mad mad world that we're living in
(Mad, crazy you know)
Gotta keep your heads up high, can't be giving in
Don't you let one day go by without praising the most High
'Cause it's the only way we ever will survive

Nuclear warfare, satellites everywhere
Mothers on welfare, what about medicare?
Ethnic cleansing, freedom pending
Government spending, who are they defending?

Bankrolls on poles, anything to enroll
Spotlight's their goal, price paid their soul
Step back, retrack, notice where your life's at
(Where was it worth it?)

Got to heed the warning, see the storm that's forming
Not the time for stalling', look around it's so appauling'
Poor is the mentality that disregard humanity
Say no to this insanity, create a new reality

It's a mad mad world that we're living in
Gotta keep your heads up high, can't be giving in
Don't you let one day go by without praising the most High
'Cause it's the only way we ever will survive

It's a mad mad world that we're living in
Gotta keep your heads up high, can't be giving in
Don't you let one day go by without praising the most High
'Cause it's the only way we ever will survive

Rough life, nuff crime, youth them a do hard time
No guides, no sign, walking on a thin like
Sentenced, no trial, victim of a profile
No hope, more fight, wonder why we're hostile

False prophet make profit, focused on them pocket
White collar false docket, doors open can't lock it
Politics, polytricks, equal econometricks


Cut to: Off- Broadway:

DIANA
There was a time when I flew higher,
Was a time the wild girl running free would be me
Now I see her, feel the fire
Now I know she needs me there to share
I'm nowhere

All these blank and tranquil years
Seems they've dried up all my tears
And while she runs free and fast
Seems my wild days are past

But I miss the mountains
I miss the dizzy heights
All the manic magic days
And the dark depressing nights
I miss the mountains
I miss the highs and lows
All the climbing, all the falling
All the while the wild wind blows
Stinging you with snow
And soaking you with rain
I miss the mountains
I miss the pain

Mountains make you crazy
Here it's safe and sound
My mind is somewhere hazy
My feet are on the ground
Everything is balanced here
And on an even keel
Everything is perfect
Nothing's real
Nothing's real

And I miss the mountains
I miss lowly climb
Wandering through the wilderness
And spending all my time
Where the air is clear and cuts you like a knife
I miss the mountains
I, I miss the mountains
I miss my life
I miss my life


Don't we all "miss our life", the good of it, the bad of it, the heartbreak of it, the poverty, wealth, pleasure, pain....just to be there, still alive, still beautiful, not knowing we were beautiful--and now, either through age, pill or therapy reduced to numbness. Limbo. Sort of like Rush Limbaugh and his party, feeling nothing.
Oh give old Odysseus back his men and his ships.
This is bullshit and psychopharmacology.
Our patched-up selve are nothing, a shadow of what we used to be.
Give us back lovers, wives, husband, children, chickens.
Give us back our God.

13 comments:

Charles Gramlich said...

I'm 50 but not very vigorous. I like your ending here, and say "hear hear."

Midnight said...

Life's what you make it.

I have read, that luck
and life
is the ability to snatch
that one cubic centimetre
of opportunity
that frequently pops up,
right in front of you.

The past is an illusion (though an imformative one), and the future a theoretical possibilty, based on decisions we make in our present. Funny, how all decisions are made in the present, and the present never leaves us.

Regrets, while serving to remind us of mistakes we may have made, and ensuring that we don't make them again, should not be allowed to become the prevalent thoughts in our minds, unless we choose them to so be.

We've all lost close friends, in their teens or twenties ; lives shortened, when just beginning.

We should consider ourselves lucky.
After a certain point, life becomes a bonus round.

Fight till the end.

*

A fallen flower

returns to the branch.

It is a butterfly.


- Arakida Moritake

*

ivan@creativewritinb.ca said...

Charles,

Well, I'm still an extreme fitness nut, but maybe just a nut.
Like Glen Campbell used to say, "You can jump as high as the young guys, but you can't stay up as long."

ivan@c reativewriting.ca said...

Midniht,

Well, you can be seventy and still in the midst of life. People are still reacting to you, envious of you, want to fight with you.
Stayin' alive, I guess.

G-Man said...

Ivan...Thank You so very much for visiting my humble blog today. It's quite an honor!!
You are quite a song buff eh?
Galen

ivan@creativewritng.ca said...

Thanks, G-Man.

American Idol is my church!

the walking man said...

AWWW shit Old Man...I never was any of those things for very long, always re-inventing (or just venting) the steam of yesterdays in a flatulent emission powering me to the next me. Hell no I don't want to go back...especially to polyester leisure suits, which I never wore.

And when I am of a refined age, I would hope that the shroud of memory allows me to have the history of me, written by me and no other.

How in the hell can anyone give us our God back when our God is still God? Fuck them who would try to re-invent a new god to placate the masses.

ivan@creativewriting.ca said...

Mark,

Seems to me the past was pretty good until I made the mistake of turning forty.
Seems the last few decades have all been evasive action.
But there were some amazing turns.
Love and money, lots and lots of it--and then kind of a wham...Almost normal now.

JR's Thumbprints said...

Whenever I get one of those students explaining to me that they're "bipolar," I like to trump it. I respond, "that's nice, cause I'm tripolar." Sadly, most of them believe me. It's a mad world indeed.

ivan@creativewritng.ca said...

Ah well. I am schizophrenic, and so am I.

be said...

was it really that much better?
i remember fear n cold wars n hostage situations
of course some of it further away n the world a bigger place but isn't it just as mad as it always was? n isn't it as confusing for both bi- n tripolars but maybe a bit more for the polar bears now as then as later?
n haven't we at least figured out by now that all gods are equal n probably the same one no matter name or religion or if it's really multi faced as long as we believe it? the world being a smaller place making us all related like cousins or grand children to the same old great grand grand
i never liked to be young, it was much tougher n i always believed what all the others said, even when they were wrong

ivan@creativewriting.ca said...

Be,

Catharsis.

The term in drama refers to a sudden emotional climax that evokes overwhelming feelings of great sorrow, pity, laughter or any other extreme change in emotion, resulting in restoration, renewal and revitalization in members of the audience


I hink good art refers to a sudden emotional climax or series of emotional climaxes, a purging of fear and terror that could oterwise had driven a person to madness.. A "catharsis" brings about a change in emotion, resulting in restoration, renewal and revitalization in members of the audience.
What is it had I been building up to, what is it, can I feel, it, name it, and is this the thing that had been bothering me all his time? Religious charlatans and assorted swamis have known about this power of art all along, but they use it to their own ends, little Antichrists commanding heal and to take Jesus as your personal saviour.
But good art is like a mass and not a revival,like maybe a Christmas high mass-- or a Stax concert by Booker T and the MGs to young heretofore dour Swedish kids in about l972-- or hearing Stairway to Heaven for the first time, or perhaps a play like "Almost Normal". It is certainly there in Holden Caulfield in the Catcher in the Rye. Revivalism started in the United States about a hundred years ago, but good art starts at about the time of Homer, long before the Jews and Christians. Twenty thousand years of living brings cultural insight,wisdom, timelessness.
In a world, there is a great difference between being hip and smart. Smart is timeless, and like good art, it cannot be used for some swami's purposes, though I must say that today teachers strongly inculcate a society's propaganda only to realize at some point that they have missapprehended some step in their own study of wisdom. And then, of course there are the whores of advertising. In a word, it took a genius like Immanuel Kant to point out the the universe out there reflects the pure moral sense "in here".
the noveau hip can be manipulated, but for the smart, it's no.
. Smart is timeless and so is good art. The Catholic Church, for example, is a highly developed art form. But it is constantly perverted by charlatans, certainly bymany Popes and apostates. Same with Judaism, and possibly Islam.
You are right in guessing now that all gods are equal n probably the same one no matter name or religion or if it's really multi faced..."--but I think this is knowing rather than believing. Beware the bad teacher and there are so many out there. We need to be told what to do; it's so much easier. Good art puts impersonal nature-- which hardly gives a whit over what we do--into perspective.
This is the trouble with science today. Because we can do it, we think, like the graphic artist, we know it. But the man versus nature game has been going on for some aeons, global warming be damned, and it it art that explains nature to us, nature and human nature.
....end spiel.

ivan@creativewriting.ca said...

Be,

I think I just ran off at the mouth.
Here is what I should have said:

A sure Tony award for Ripley who is simply magnificent as a woman who can’t find her way home from the maps provided by drugs, hypnosis and electroshock therapy doled out by her doctors, both played without glib condescension by the excellent Louis Hobson. “I Miss the Mountains” is Diana’s haunting hymn to the high and lows the drugs take away.