4/14 ESCAPISM: ‘The Calm and the Storm’
I sit here with a bowl of mint choc chip ice cream and stare at an empty screen. A screen I know I’m supposed to be filling with insight. With wonder. With mesmeric prose. And the ice cream is melting. But it is good ice cream… because it hasn’t crystallised – you know, when you let it melt and then you stick it back in the freezer. It comes out with ice saturated through it. Ice cream with ice. NO!!!! I want my ice cream with no ice! And that’s what I have. So I am relatively happy.
To write about a song called “The Calm and the Storm” should be so fitting at the moment. Bill is experiencing some of the sentiment of the song literally. And while he ponders why the storm always has a girl’s name… I sit here eating mint choc chip ice cream. Rum and raisin is probably my favourite flavour. But I can certainly learn to live with mint choc chip. Anyway, this relationship is not going to last. The bowl is emptying steadily. Well… sporadically… in between fits and starts of typing.
I sit here in my studio and recall the writing of “The Calm and the Storm”. The album was progressing beautifully – plenty of hit singles in the making. Things were in danger of becoming too easy. I felt compelled to throw a spanner in the works. I embarked on a song that couldn’t possibly, conceivably, ever be a single. When I toyed with the Les Paul I was trying to choke out notes that would cause the listener to furrow a brow rather than tap a foot. I was messing with time signatures and messing with the concept of what an Eleventh Hour Initiative song should be. And when I finally sat back in my chair and surveyed all that was before me I realised that I had accidentally recorded perhaps our defining moment. It was with a sense of trepidation that I sent Bill the music for “The Calm and the Storm”. I so wanted him to like it… but for so many reasons. I needed him to like it… because the song had become an important statement of intent. The song had become a symbol of how strong my music could be. How strong music could be. full stop – /period . . . Like an obelisk surrounded by apes. I had thrown the bone to Bill and I hoped the jump cut would work. And it did.
Bill understood where I had taken our music and reciprocated with some tremendous lyrics. Not only that, but he also added more to the music and made the epic more epic. We could seriously state that our music was cinematic. The song projects images into my head. Static, moving, flickering, full colour, black and white. The song is a true journey. The song is a pivotal moment for the album that has become “Escapism”. If we were brave before, we came out the other side victorious warriors.
I feel we need Bill’s input on this one. For he talks so eloquently when the subject of this particular song arises. And I think this song justifies a second talking head.
Oh.. and the ice cream has been eaten. Everything is good.
‘Non Submersible Units’
So we’re sitting here now, I have no idea what time it is where you are, but let’s pretend it’s 3 in the morning. We need to talk clearly with this post, and as I’ve said, there is no better time.
I want you to think about some of your favorite daydreams. Are you there yet? Now imagine yourself. Who do you see yourself as? I don’t mean where you’re at right now, I mean where you’re going. Who is that person? How do you see the world? Again, not as it is, but as you think it should be. What about all those mysteries out there? What are some of your theories about them? What do you believe?
Don’t worry, we have infinity to do this, remember?
It is my belief, feel free to agree or disagree, that in order to be truly fulfilled you need to take all of these things out into ‘the harsh light of the noon sun’.
As I said in my last post, some things will be utterly destroyed, and yet that same destructive power will give other things life.
‘Why do I need to throw all of them out there?’, you ask.
Well, ok, not all of them. Just the ones that are important to you. ; )
It gets a bit more complicated though. You see, if you’re throwing everything you deem worthy out into the sun, well some of these things are going to be part of the core of who you are. Some of these things are going to be what Stanley Kubrick would refer to as ‘non submersible units’. These are your anchors. Destroy these things, and your whole internal world comes crumbling down.
Why risk it, then? Why throw something so important into the unforgiving sun?!!!
Because as awful and hard as it is, it’s a bit easier when you choose to do it. If you don’t, at some point, life will do it for you.
Trust me, life always hits harder…
Sometimes, whether you did it willingly, whether you saw it coming, or whether you were blind-sided, one of your non submersible units gets obliterated by the sun.
Some people refer to this as the death of the self. If you’re Christian you may have heard it referred to as ‘being put on the cross’. Carl Jung or Joseph Campbell would call it the death/rebirth archetype. Poets? They call it ‘the dark night of the soul’. If you asked the guy next door, he’d probably just call it deep, dark depression.
If you’re wondering if you’ve ever experienced this, then you haven’t experienced it yet.
Your entire inner world is utterly destroyed. Nothing remains. I mean nothing.
There is no quick recovery from this if it happens to you. Usually, at first, you need to mourn what you’ve lost. You want to hold onto that dream so bad!!! You fight, you struggle, and then, finally, …it dies.
What needs to happen at this point is you essentially need to be rebuilt from the ground up. Unfortunately, Rome is never built in a day, …or so I’ve been told.
It’s been my experience that you don’t have any blessed clue how to do this, how to remake yourself. You don’t want to. You don’t want to do anything! Then some time passes and all that fury of emotion settles into sadness, then cynicism, and finally apathy. You usually get one direction then. Call it intuition, call it what you want, but it’s like a quiet and calm voice, not audible, but you just know.
It says, ‘go here’
You say, ‘go here?!!!’ ‘why?!!’ ‘What’s going to happen?.’ ‘is this going to help me?!!!’ ‘i want some answers!’
It says, ‘Ok.’
So after you fight it, doubt yourself some more, and then fight it some more…. you get tired, and finally
you go ‘here’.
‘Here’ is not necessarily a physical place. It’s more about starting again. Everyone has a different ‘here’.
Once you get ‘here’, that same feeling leads you to go to another ‘here’
You ask all the same questions, and the process repeats itself, until you stop asking so much and you just go. I mean, at this point, what better thing do you have to do?
It takes a long time, but at some point, things start to feel ‘new’ again. There’s no other way I can describe it. Then you find that after another great long time you look back and you realize that you are a really different person than you were. You’re a better person. You come to terms with why that particular dream had to die. Something new and very real tends to take its place. The experience itself just changes you.
There is no moment I can put my finger on and say, ‘that’s when it happened!, Resurrection!!!’. I guess it just happens at some non-descript time when days are blurring into days. Maybe part of it is that you’re no longer thinking about it, so you don’t notice exactly when it happens.
I’m sure some of you have no blessed clue what the hell I’m going on about. This is for those of you who do. Even if you don’t, their may come a time in your life where you’ll get what I mean. When that happens…trust me,