Tag Archives: Personal

“International Players Anthem” (UGK & Outkast)

…Spaceships don’t come equipped with rearview mirrors
They dip as quick as they can
The atmosphere is now ripped
I’m so like a Pip, I’m glad its night
So the light from the sun would not burn me on my bum
When I shoot the moon high, jump the broom
Like a premie out the womb
My partner yellin’ “Too soon! Don’t do it! Reconsider!
Read some liter’ on the subject
You sure? F*** it
You know we got your back like chiroprac – tic
If that b**** do you dirty
we’ll wipe her a** out and send detergent
Now hurry hurry, go on to the altar
I know you ain’t a pimp but pimp remember what I taught ya
Keep your heart 3 stacks, keep your heart
Aye, keep your heart 3 stacks, keep your heart
Man, these girls is smart, 3 stacks, these girls is smart
Play your part
Play your part”

HAPPY VALENTINE’S DAY.

J.W.

“Road to Nowhere” (Talking Heads)

Well, we know where we’re goin’
but we don’t know where we’ve been.
And we know what we’re knowing’
but we can’t say what we’ve seen.
And we’re not little children
and we know what we want.
And the future is certain
give us time to work it out.
We’re on a road to nowhere
come on inside.
Takin’ that ride to nowhere
we’ll take that ride.
I’m feelin’ okay this mornin’
and you know.
We’re on the road to paradise
here we go
here we go.
We’re on a road to nowhere
come on inside.
Takin’ that ride to nowhere
we’ll take that ride.
Maybe you wonder where you are
I don’t care.
Here is where times is on our side
take you there
take you there.
We’re on a road to nowhere –
We’re on a road to nowhere –
We’re on a road to nowhere –
There’s a city in my mind
come along and take that ride
and it’s all right
baby
it’s all right.
And it’s very far away
but it’s growing day by day
and it’s all right
baby
it’s all right.
Would you like to come along
you can help me sing this song
and it’s all right
baby
it’s all right.
They can tell you what to do
but they’ll make a foo lof you
and it’s all right
baby
it’s all right.
There’s a city in my mind
come along and take that ride

We’re on a road to nowhere. We’re on a road to nowhere.
We’re on a road to nowhere. We’re on a road to nowhere.

Jackson Williams.

Why We Need Nomads

Vanessa Runs

Jamming and bumming around on the Homer Spit in Homer, Alaska

I recently stumbled on a Quora question in which the writer was thinking about quitting his job and selling his possessions to travel the world. He gave a brief description of himself (single, in his 20s, a job but no career), and asked whether he should go for it.

The resounding answer was yes, but not necessarily because it was a respectable lifestyle. Rather, because he was young enough to get away with it. Because he still had time to build a career, a family, and a real life. Because now was the time to get the travel bug out of his system.

I was glad to read the encouragement and travel tips he received, but couldn’t help wonder: what if a 40-something man with three young children also wanted to become a nomad?

A nomad is someone who travels extensively, with no real home to speak of other than…

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interlude (meditations): the date prep (anxiety remix)

You did it. You did it, dude. You, after all the nerves and the vomiting and the potent, possibly psychotic self-hatred, finally – FINALLY – worked up the courage to ask her out on a date, and now here you are: in your car and on your way towards picking her up; you’re driving the speed limit & music down low, even though feel your heart pumping? You’re going to fail, dude, you’re going to fail, you’re going to fail, you’re going to going to going to fail, dude you can feel your heart beating in your chest, pumping hard enough to keep a steady beat on your ribcage like a demon playing a xylophone, and music might be a good way to cover up that horrible melody. You’re going to be just fine, dude. You did it. You did it, dude. You walked right the hell up to the girl at the bookstore – fiction section, third shelf, near Pynchon – and you asked her out on what will probably be an anticlimactic, awkward romp through the movie theater. But you did it, dude. You showed confidence and you showed courage and chutzpah and dude, you’re going to be just fine. There is no doubt about this at all. Don’t worry about it. Oh-ho-ho, you are so fucked. You’re going to trip and fall and break your teeth, my awkward friend. It’s only a matter of time. You’re going to burn like the Hindenburg and ohhhhh the humanity, this is going to horrible and you’re going to look like a goddamn idiot, dude. That voice you hear is just your self-esteem screaming out in terror before being drowned in a bathtub. But it doesn’t matter. Look at you: you’re on your way to pick up the most beautiful girl you’ve ever seen. Of all the girls in all the bookstores in this little blue world of ours, it had to be her, you know? She’s perfect: long brown hair, soft eyes, kind smile, a button with “Trystero” emblazoned beneath a muted horn. She’s perfect. Perfect. Stunning and smart and kind. And you worked up the nerve, my god. That’s a rarity & you know it. That long brown hair, that red lipstick, that wit, that grace, those breasts which, I might add, is precisely why you’re going to fuck this up. You ever look at yourself in the mirror? The glasses, the tired eyes. Your awful, coffee-and-cigarette-stained teeth. You’re a mess. Oh, and P.S.: nice shirt, douche. Don’t listen to that voice. Stop listening. Pay attention to the road – that was a pedestrian, dude. Don’t kill a pedestrian listening to that awful little voice in your head. That would probably be a bad move in the long run – like, if the date went well, would she really come and visit you in prison? “Baby, baby, I accidentally ran someone over on the way to your place. Romantic, right?” And she would laugh and twirl her beautiful hair around her long fingers and then oh god, this is going to be such a goddamn nightmare. How far away am I from her place? It has to be soon, right? Oh god, oh god, oh god, I’m going to vomit, I think feel your heart pumping? You’re going to fail, dude, you’re going to fail, you’re going to fail, you’re going to going to going to fail, dude and oh, how beautiful she is.

There’s the door.

Shit.

interlude (meditations): window at night

playing with the moon by laurent laveder (6)As my depression grows and dips and sways and blossoms until it reaches its truest, angriest form — a black hole — I find myself with my head through the first-floor window of my bedroom, breathing in the night air, trying to stop myself from spinning and spiraling into the angry black hole, as if the night air is the only thing stopping me from falling into the molecule-blasting black vortex. (It’s darker in there than it is outside my window, the night more inviting than anything; out there is my beautiful Oregon green and big and charmingly sleepy, the air tinged with the smell of wet Earth and the rain that is always five minutes away — or five minutes past, whichever way you wish to look at it.) I admit it wholeheartedly, mostly if you didn’t know it before by reading this simple blog: I have clinical depression. The angry, sad, paralyzing kind; the kind that appears from nothing and will only go back after pulling me into nothing. That kind that strikes a relative of yours, but never you. The kind you fear. The kind I fear. That kind. And tonight I’m dealing with it in the simplest way possible: two joints, a notebook, and an open bedroom window. I can breathe by this window. I often feel like I can’t breathe anywhere else. Outside the little first-floor bedroom window of my apartment is a small pine tree, discarded packs of cigarettes surrounding the trunk like the remnants of a religious ceremony put on by some lonely band of roaming heathens; when the weather is nice during the spring and summer I get to sit beneath its branches and read in the morning and early afternoon. I live for those happier times. The angry, sad, paralyzing kind; the kind that appears from nothing and will only go back after pulling me into nothing. That kind that strikes a relative of yours, but never you. The kind you fear. The kind I fear. That kind. Tonight my beautiful little tree has a strange blue glow about it, an ornament two weeks past Christmas. It glows as if inviting me to come outside and join the rest of the big, dumb world. (But I can’t: my ego is still too large, my depression too unique and special for anyone else to truly understand. I can’t, I can’t, I will tell myself in the wee small hours of the morning, the prospect of a new day ahead, the air chilled before the rising of a new (and still same old) Sun. But the evening is still young and I am just one more writer cast in a shadow, trying to escape the misery of “what’s next? What is next, what is next, what is NEXT?”

Jackson Williams.

“Once In A Lifetime” (Talking Heads)

one of my top 5 favorite bands…

And you may find yourself living in a shotgun shack
And you may find yourself in another part of the world
And you may find yourself behind the wheel of a large automobile
And you may find yourself in a beautiful house, with a beautiful
wife
And you may ask yourself-Well…How did I get here?

Letting the days go by/let the water hold me down
Letting the days go by/water flowing underground
Into the blue again/after the money’s gone
Once in a lifetime/water flowing underground.

And you may ask yourself
How do I work this?
And you may ask yourself
Where is that large automobile?
And you may tell yourself
This is not my beautiful house!
And you may tell yourself
This is not my beautiful wife!
Letting the days go by/let the water hold me down
Letting the days go by/water flowing underground
Into the blue again/after the money’s gone
Once in a lifetime/water flowing underground.

Same as it ever was…Same as it ever was…Same as it ever was…
Same as it ever was…Same as it ever was…Same as it ever was…
Same as it ever was…Same as it ever was…

Water dissolving…and water removing
There is water at the bottom of the ocean
Carry the water at the bottom of the ocean
Remove the water at the bottom of the ocean!

Letting the days go by/let the water hold me down
Letting the days go by/water flowing underground
Into the blue again/in the silent water
Under the rocks and stones/there is water underground.

Letting the days go by/let the water hold me down
Letting the days go by/water flowing underground
Into the blue again/after the money’s gone
Once in a lifetime/water flowing underground.

And you may ask yourself
What is that beautiful house?
And you may ask yourself
Where does that highway go?
And you may ask yourself
Am I right?…Am I wrong?
And you may tell yourself
MY GOD!…WHAT HAVE I DONE?

Letting the days go by/let the water hold me down
Letting the days go by/water flowing underground
Into the blue again/in the silent water
Under the rocks and stones/there is water underground.

Letting the days go by/let the water hold me down
Letting the days go by/water flowing underground
Into the blue again/after the money’s gone
Once in a lifetime/water flowing underground.

Same as it ever was…Same as it ever was…Same as it ever was…
Same as it ever was…Same as it ever was…Same as it ever was…
Same as it ever was…Same as it ever was…

J.W.

“Friday I’m in Love” (The Cure)

I don’t care if Monday’s blue
Tuesday’s grey and Wednesday too
Thursday I don’t care about you
It’s Friday i’m in love

Monday you can fall apart
Tuesday Wednesday break my heart
thursday doesn’t even start
It’s Friday I’m in love

Saturday wait
And Sunday always comes too late
But Friday never hesitate…

I don’t care if Monday’s black
Tuesday Wednesday heart attack
Thursday never looking back
It’s Friday I’m in love

Monday you can hold your head
Tuesday Wednesday stay in bed
Or Thursday watch the walls instead
It’s Friday i’m in love

Saturday wait
And Sunday always comes too late
But Friday never hesitate…

Dressed up to the eyes
It’s a wonderful surprise
To see your shoes and your spirits rise
Throwing out your frown
And just smiling at the sound
And as sleek as a shriek
Spinning round and round
Always take a big bite
It’s such a gorgeous sight
To see you in the middle of the night
You can never get enough
Enough of this stuff
It’s Friday
I’m in love

J.W.

There Are No “Real Men” – The Search For A Role Model / How I Learned to Live Without One

Trial of the Century

Pride Weekend

I’m going to tell you a secret.

Since I was young, maybe 8 or 10 years old, I’ve never had a male role model.

To be clear, I did grow up with a father. My parents never split, and while they had their issues – I wondered at times if they should have divorced – for the most part I grew up in a stable environment. I disagreed with my dad (and still do) on plenty of things, but generally we get along and have made our peace on most of the details. Of course, I would do it differently if I had children…perhaps that’s a fairly standard response considering the generational gap (I’m 29, my dad is 72).

But, when I think about men I admired growing up there is an empty space.

Searching for role models

My dad taught me some important things, like the value of hard…

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“Someone Saved My Life Tonight” (Elton John)

When I think of those East End lights, muggy nights
Curtains drawn in the little room downstairs
Prima Donna Lord you really should have been there
Sitting like a princess perched in her electric chair
And it’s one more beer and I don’t hear you anymore
We’ve all gone crazy lately
My friends out there rolling round the basement floor

And someone saved my life tonight, sugar bear
You almost had your hooks in me didn’t you dear
You nearly had me roped and tied
Altar bound, hypnotized
Sweet freedom whispered in my ear
You’re a butterfly
And butterflies are free to fly
Fly away, high away, bye bye

Never realised the passing hours of evening showers
Slip noose hanging in my darkest dreams
I’m strangled by your haunted social scene
Just a pawn out-played by a dominating Queen
It’s four o’clock in the morning
Damn it, listen to me good
I’m sleeping with myself tonight
Saved in time, thank God my music’s still alive

And someone saved my life tonight, sugar bear
You almost had your hooks in me didn’t you dear
You nearly had me roped and tied
Altar bound, hypnotized
Sweet freedom whispered in my ear
You’re a butterfly
And butterflies are free to fly
Fly away, high away, bye bye

And I would have walked head on into the deep end of the river
Clinging to your stocks and bonds
Paying your H.P. demands forever
Coming in the morning with a truck to take me home
Someone saved my life tonight, someone saved my life tonight
Someone saved my life tonight, someone saved my life tonight
Someone saved my life tonight
So save your strength and run the field you play alone

An’ someone saved my life tonight, sugar bear
You almost had your hooks in me didn’t you dear
You nearly had me roped and tied
Altar bound, hypnotized
Sweet freedom whispered in my ear
You’re a butterfly
And butterflies are free to fly
Fly away, high away, bye bye

Someone saved, someone saved, someone saved my life tonight…

(– J.W.)

Until the Casket Drops / Four Years Later…

Reposting this on account of the impending four year anniversary of my friends’ deaths. I’m sitting here staring at the screen, stunned that it has been that long. I still miss you gentlemen, and I always will.

With love.

J.W.

Typewriter

Although it was difficult for me to pull off, tonight I am writing to you without snark or pretense, my two greatest weapons as a writer; and, for the short time that I am able to pull off this lucid sincerity, I wish to speak a bit about what it is like to lose a friend too young, especially when those friends, by all accounts, are superior to you in every way — in life, in spirit, in ambition, in grace, and in love. This is not a matter of my low (and mostly self-deprecating) opinion of myself. It is instead how I feel about Collin and Ellis, two friends I lost in a car crash exactly one year ago today, and the effect they had on me not only in life but in death, far after the casket has dropped on the world they made better when they were alive, and far after the casket has dropped on the world that in death they have made feel strange and empty, like a song missing its strongest, captivating notes.

I remember exactly where I was when I first heard the news: it was late in the evening and my then-girlfriend was over, nagging at me to get ready to go to the movies. We were going to be late to Black Swan, which to me didn’t seem like much of a tragedy anyways, and somehow she never got the message that the Bijou was never crowded, even on weekends — especially cold, depressing weekends in January where no one in their right minds wants to go outside, let alone go see Black Swan at an art-house cinema. It smells like a funeral home in there, which makes total sense since it happened to be a funeral home at one time point, way, way back in the foggy, marijuana-glazed past of Eugene. She was as amped up and naggy as ever because of me, her flaky boyfriend, and I was as low as could be from painkillers to kill the dull and yet somehow roaring pain of a few jagged stones running through and cutting up my kidneys, and in those few moments, unaware that in a minute or so tragedy would strike, it felt as if the world was slowly becoming trapped in a dark amber. By all accounts, this evening was going to be hell.

And then, like prophecy, my ringtone began to go off — “A Beautiful Mine,” the theme song from Mad Men, the same ringtone I still have one year later — and when I looked down at my phone it was my buddy Ethan, who rarely calls (this being before he moved to Vancouver). I call this is a red flag if there ever was one. I answered, and before I even spoke a word I knew something was wrong. Have you ever answered the phone and before any words have been spoken you can tell the person on the other end of the line has been crying profusely, you can just feel the tears over the phone like a strong mist that doesn’t show itself until you’ve stepped right in to the middle of it.

“Ethan? Dude? What’s the matter?”

I asked him this, scared out of my wits. You can always tell when tragedy has struck, as if people don’t realize how easy it is for someone to notice that you are in pain. We’re all just wounded animals making our way across the Savannah.

“They’re dead, dude. They’re dead.”

“What the fuck are you trying to say?”

“DEAD. Collin and Ellis. There’s been an accident.”

“If you’re lying to me, Ethan…if this is some kind of sick joke, I’m going to fucking kill you,” I yell at him over the phone, the shock of what I’ve just heard now rapidly turning in to tears calmly streaming down my face. As you could imagine, my then-girlfriend was looking at me like I had antlers suddenly sprouting out of the top of my head.

What I learned, as much as it pains me to write, the replay of the event in my head that drives me to a solemn silence whenever I picture it: early that morning, on their way south to go snowboarding at Mt. Bachelor, Collin, Ellis, and my other buddy Nick, who admittedly I did not know as well as Collin and Ellis, the late-80’s BMW that they were in had hit a patch of ice and after spinning they rolled down an embankment in to a small patch of woods, the car slamming in to and wrapping itself around a tree on the passenger side, which was the side that Collin and Ellis happened to be on. Nick was driving the car that awful morning and escaped with a broken leg and some lacerations to the face, the poor man somehow managing to crawl away from the wreckage just before the car caught fire.

If I can believe soothing words, which I always choose to do as a rule, my friends died immediately upon impact with that tree, instantaneously peaceful in death, forever-youthful in their steel cocoon, already in the presence of a place called Heaven before the fire began on the side of that snow-covered highway. Sometimes at night, when I dream in my warm bed, I can see that highway, that horrible place where the casket dropped forever and ever amen, and though sometimes in those dreams I see the fire that swallowed the car whole, my friends are never in pain. Not one of those dreams has ever been filled with pain. They stand by peacefully, smiling and watchful, like I always knew them to be, and I do not feel sad. Not even the loss of those wonderful spirits can shake my feeling that they are sleeping peacefully. I feel the turning wheels of the universe bringing us all in and spitting us all back out, treating us all one and the same and without prejudice. What’s the point of making people hurt when we all die equally anyways?

…although it was difficult for me to pull off, tonight I am writing to you without snark or pretense, my two greatest weapons as a writer; and, for the short time that I am able to pull off this lucid sincerity, I wish to speak a bit about what it is like to lose a friend too young, especially when those friends, by all accounts, are superior to you in every way — in life, in spirit, in ambition, in grace, and in love…

At twenty-four years old I have already been to seven funerals in my life. This is the first time I’ve ever really noticed just how many that is at such a relatively young age. Seven times I have stood under some solitary tree remembering the dead, seven times I have walked a walked through a cemetery lane alongside the dead, and seven times I have listened to words spoken by a preacher under unmistakable silence, the dead inhabiting that silence just as much as our own hushed voices do. These seven trips to the land of the dead have taught me nothing about what it means to be alive, as much as I ask for wisdom out of their ethereal silence. From the first to the last, all I’ve understood is that what separates me from them is not much more than fleeting air in the lungs and little electrical explosions in the brain, somehow giving me consciousness. Or, those seven occasions were trying to teach me something this whole time and maybe I just wasn’t listening.

I believe that part of the problem is that I see no point in learning from something only because it has disappeared — why wait for knowledge that way when you can just as easily learn a lot from those who are living, and not just come to cherish their words when they have passed on from this world to the next? Does Death, that cold bastard, suddenly make normal words become words of infinite love with one sweep of his black robe? Does death make a saint out of all of us in the end? Does everything become mysteriously, I don’t know…illuminated, in the end? Is that how love and wisdom are brought to the world?

I think not.

I believe deep down that the goodness in people can be seen well before they are taken from us, unfairly and far, far too young. Angels, like their mortal counterparts, can never keep themselves and their angelic nature a secret because, like we mortals, their goodness shines through all attempts to be secretly wonderful. It is like some holy white light that you try to cover up, but good luck — you’re just too wonderful for us not to notice. And, when that light is suddenly extinguished without warning, we feel that part of ourselves has been doused with water too. The winds calm down, the smoke becomes nacreous, and that wonderful white light that filled us with joy is nowhere to be found. Rest in peace, little light.

But, my dear friends and readers, do not worry yourselves, for that light will never go out. For a moment it appears extinguished and then, in a flash that can’t help but gift you with tears of joy, it reignites, sometimes brighter than ever. Anyone who tells you differently is absolutely full of shit. When those we find wonderful and special are taken from us, that light is left there in their place. It was there when you knew them, and it stays after they are gone. Collin had wanted to be a neurosurgeon and do good for people, to make them neurally whole again. Ellis was studying eastern medicine in hopes of trying to better the lives of others. I look back on my two dear friends and I know that the world has lost two good men too early. I know that if they had lived just a few more years they would have found a way to better the world, both on a micro and macro level. They, out of all of us lowly and scared spirits, were the ones who were truly going to make a difference. The world was going to have a future with them being alive, this I am sure of, and though they are gone the world still beats on like an engine; it will keep on turning, regardless of much I want to the world to stop and let me just mourn for two of my best friends, now lost.

Summer of 2009: me and a few friends, Collin and Ellis among them, watch the fireworks after a baseball game at Civic Stadium (which would be closed down by the end of summer). The feelings I have about this memory almost seem cliche now when I look back. You know the old song-and-memory dance: the future is bright ahead of us, our youthful faces lit up by flashes of red, green, blue, phosphorous white; beers are in our hands, we cheer the explosions over the old baseball stadium; we will live for today and not for tomorrow, since it won’t be here, so you might as well drink that Coors and finish off that freshly-rolled joint in the parking lot. We were just kids in college, we had no idea that tragedy could find us just like everybody else. I wasn’t as close to them then as I would eventually become, but love and friendship always have to have a beginning, if they even begin and end at all!

I miss them dearly, forever and ever. I love you, Collin and Ellis, and I will always miss you.

Sincerely,

Jackson Williams.