Thursday, December 27, 2007

US tour: day one

well, it doesnt really count because we havent officially started
yet. tomorrow. two shows.

do you ever wonder:
if someone were to place a real cap on your mortal,
really just give you a concrete date: "your number is going to be up
when you hit 45"
that you would live your life that much differently. fight club
examined this for as split second. i'm in baltimore, i just took a
bath, and i found myself wondering.
if someone were to tell me i had ten years (exactly) - what would i do?
would i tour? stay put? travel unknown?
help the needy? stuff my face?
really hard to say. i think i'd spend a while figuring out, for sure.
the problem with this sci-fi fantasy is that knowing your number does
more than igve you a limit, it also gives you immortality for an
unlimited time period. this is irritating.
maybe what we need is a maximum. you have, maximum, 23 more years to


23 is no fun.

what if

ok, you have 13 months to live.
really. you're not impervious to obvious pitfalls (if you walk in
front of a bus, you LOSE) but as soon as those 13 months are up,
you're out.


what do you do?

i took this photo tonight.
i captured everything i feel about being on tour again. i am feeling
better but not amazing. i have still have snot flowing out of my nose


Shauna said...

You could waste lots of the precious time by just working out what you will do with the short time left, and then life may be too ordered and not spontaneous enough. Then if you some how lived longer, you wouldn't know what to do with yourself, because you would have done everything you ever wanted to do in life and had prepared yourself for so long for death then.
Hmm i don't know what i'd do if i knew i had not long left.
If you got hit by a bus, but still officially had 5 years left, it would be cool if somehow those years could be given, perhaps in.. gift certificate form to someone else so they could extend their lives. Lets invent it.

Anonymouse said...

This line of thinking brnigs to mind one of my favorite lines from the immortial classic, Young Guns 2:

"You are not a god" - Keifer Sutherland

"Why don't you pull that trigger and find out?" - Emilo Estevez


But seriously, this whole line of reasoning sounds like an invitation to turn one's aspirations into a rat race. What about being surprised?

It doesn't matter what you do, it never turns out the way you planned. And this question is unrealistic to the point of sadistic. We live in a world of a lot of give and take. Our dreams and other peoples dreams are all in the same pressure cooker being bounced around, and we all move the best we can with what we have got.

I am not an expert, but I am reading "Happier" by Tal Ben-Shahar, who has some pretty interesting things to say about the subject.

And it seems kind of crass to answer a question you don't seem willing to answer for yourself.

Would it kill you to assume you have nice smile once in a while?

... this post has the back taste of "dance, my little blog comment monkeys, dance!" Boooo!!!

girlwithacamera said...

And it seems kind of crass to answer a question you don't seem willing to answer for yourself.

I don't read it as unwilling. More like unable.

The goal of life (as it seems to me) is to be able to answer that, knowing you had a limited time left, you wouldn't do things any differently. That would mean that you're living your own ideal life already without the need for a deadline. Unfortunately I don't think that's the case for most people, including me, although I feel like each year I move closer to that ideal and the journey is quite rewarding.

That photograph makes me very sad.

Anna said...

My mind immediately jumps to: TRAVEL! EVERYWHERE! See EVERYTHING! I often envy your rock star gallavanting & look forward to the day when I too can hoof it all over the world.

So if I had thirteen months to go, it would probably be spent in a gloriously chaotic fuckfest of decadence spread out over as many countries as possible. All drugs, all illegalities, all sexual combinations. Hand-outs given to anyone I thought needed it. Although as the day drew close I might realize the error of my ways, saying to myself: Self, what about deep, loving connections? Where are the friendships with people who know me as more than the glittery, naked drunken girl riding a liberated carriage horse through the center of the city?

Then would come the frantic artistic creation while surrounded by family & old friends. Self, I'd say, you must produce a work so grand & striking that all these people will remember you not only as their dearly departed friend, but as a tragically ill-fated artist whose vision impacted lives & sparked inspiration for decades after your death.

Ego, ego, ego!

Seeräuberoma said...

it's funny that you mention 45 as an age to die, cause that's the age i always expected me to die. or at least happening something really bad. like falling into coma (i don't know if you can say that. i bet not! it's the german way literally translated into english) or - don't know - loosing your legs or something. i think it's because i read this article in the newspaper when i was a child of 9 or 10. it was about a birthday of michael jackson and there it was said that a fortune-teller prognosticates him he'll die at the age of forty (obviously he did not). and i was like what? he will die at the age of forty? so when will i die? and i thought and thought and thought about it and then forgot about it until the time it occurs to me that i will die when i become 45. why? i don't know. but there where signs everywhere! i got this shirt with a big 45 on it and everytime i used a pencil or something without thinking i wrote an 45 (let me tell you that was a sign and no unknown trick of my subconscious mind or something!) and then we - of course - had the biggest sign: my life line (again it's the german word translated into english, i don't know if it's right) on my palm. it's got a break halfway through and i always thought: that's it! there i have reached the age of 45 and something will happen! coma or death or something. everything is indicating to this! and know you write: "your number is going to be up
when you hit 45" that's some kind of funny. and eerie, too. but still funny.

actually i never really believed in it but i have the talent to become obsessed of something if i want to. so i have this mania about dying at 45 without believing in it. i think michael jackson did believe in it. well, my best sign on my palm becomes inane a few weeks ago. i was in school and asks a friend of mine: which life line is the important one, on the left hand or on the right hand? and of course it was the one on the right hand and of course i always looked at my left hand without thinking about it because there was the sign i needed.

nevertheless 45 is still a weird number to me and i'm really curious about what will happen on my 45th birthday.

to answer your question what i would do when i have 13 months to live: i don't know.
at first i probably would freak out a bit and get some paranoia. then, sometime, i would resign (or not) and start to fill my life with senseless things.
i would skip school or whatever i'm doing at that moment, take all my money and go travelling around, having fun and so on. i certainly would test all the drugs i ever wanted to test but never would without this prediction, because i know too much about the negative aspects of drugs and i think my second talent might be to become addict to things like that very fast. so i am too cowardly for doing it without the prediction of only 13 more months to live.

13 months are so little to do something really awesome. something really meaningful. granted that you want to do something meaningful. so i think if you tell me that i will die (maximum) in 13 months, it wouldn't chance very much. well, it would, but surely not in a very positive way. the end would be too near. doesn't that sound dramatic? perhaps it is. but i think my english is too bad to explain it satisfactorily and in a way that you can really understand what i mean. besides my comment is already so long that i'll just leave it.

p.s. it might be that it was the 40th birthday of michael jackson and that the fortune-man tells him he'll die at the age of 45. there you are. this is the reason. it's even more weird cause it would mean that there is a connection between me and michael jackson. a connection i really don't want. it's unearthly!

Anonymouse said...

"I don't read it as unwilling. More like unable."

That's fair. Thank you for the clarification.

Natalie Rose said...

My mother asked me last night if I think I've changed since high school (I'm a senior in college now). My first reaction was to laugh, followed by a curt, "YES."

I wonder if goody-two-shoes, femme-tacular, straight-A+-student, teacher pleaser, still-thinks-she's-hetero Natalie Rose would get along with queer, androgynous, pot-smoking, hippie, riotgrrl Natalie Rose.

Exhibit A:
Exhibit B:

Truth is, in many ways I'm still the same person. The noticeable difference, I think, is a difference in priorities. Some things just aren't important to me anymore (like the approval of men). Somethings are still important, but on hold (like my writing and music). And somethings are important to me now that I would've never dreamed being important to me in high school (like gender politics and photography-- though I should've seen photography coming).

So, here's where the relevance emerges, if you were ask me what I would do with my 13 months, so to speak, it would depend when you asked me. I do suppose the sudden time limit would change my priorities all by itself, though. Admittedly, I'm currently operating under the assumption that I'll do A now and get to B-Z very soon. After all, there's still time. (I'm aware this is a risky wager.)

Right now, what would I do? My first response is take pictures. Travel the world and take pictures. Speak through my pictures. Have others speak through them.

Then I'd write. Right now I'm determined to create a booklet called, "Everything you need to know about Sex that no one will tell you." It'll cover everything from your standard STDs and birth control to reproductive justice to consent to non-normative sexuality to transgender, transsexual and the difference. The booklet would be linked to a website, with a forum for dicussion, always evolving and adding new things. Then I would go around the country, passing out the booklet (likely selling it for $1 or $2, since I don't really have money to pay for production costs all by my lonesome) to high schoolers and anyone who wants one. Instant education.

I think, though, no matter when you asked me, I'd say I'd want to spend time with my best friend. Especially since I can't imagine accomplishing any of this without her help.

I'm not sure if that's what you're looking for. That is, though, whatcha got (from me).

Now, I have to go find a masquerade costume for New Year's. Be well, Amanda. And take it easy on yourself, eh?

goodnight caroline said...

Today I was dragged along with The Family for a Family Trip To The Zoo. Which was interesting and painful both, seeing as I hadn't been in years but my little brother is very, very loud. (And zoos are generally not that captivating past the age of ten, so most of my train of thought was spent dwelling on a very fractured social situation.)

We went through the reptile house, which I used to love. Used to spend hours there, staring at snakes. The reptile house used to be a quite, dank sort of place, where you had to speak in whispers. For me, it was a place you had to treat with a certain reverence. It was the fucking Reptile House after all..

We whizzed through in thirty minutes, other families faster. There were kids screaming, shouting, tugging at parents telling them to Make The Pretty Cobra Move.

So if I had thirteen months left to live, the first thing I know I would do would be to go to the zoo and go to the reptile house. And wait all day until it got really loud and yell "Be quiet!".

After all, the snakes can't scream...

awillhoff said...

there are three words i say to myself when i can't take it anymore. when i feel like the world is crushing me and my clothes feel too tight and my bed is itchy and i want to move and go somewhere but i can't because i have so much to do. when i start to feel this fire burning inside of me and i start to freak out about all of the deadlines that i have and the fact that there is work on top of that and school on top of that and it all just keeps piling up and up and up until i just know it's all gonna fall down, what i say is i say stop. breathe. relax. it's what i call a three word meditation using the sounds of the words to slow down my world.

June Miller said...

You see, this question scares me a bit, because I'm there, in a sense.

Every day that passes and I feel stuck here, I feel like I'm dying inside. I try not to sound overdramatic by saying that, but I can't really put it in any other way. I worry that, instead of fighting through feeling so bogged down and attempting to better my life in the long run, I might give up at some point and sink into it. Does that make sense? I don't want to do that--the sinking.

Being the faggy goth kid I was in high school (and still very much am, damn it), I hung out in the cemetery a lot. We only have one real major one here. It's conveniently located directly across the street from our main high school. Hm. Cute. Anyhow, it wasn't until recently that I was thinking to myself in there: 'God, I'd hate to be buried here. Living here was pretty bad, but resting here, in this ground? Forever? Ugh.'

So, to answer your question...

A lot can happen in 13 months, surprisingly enough. Ideally, though? I'd get that manuscript finished, that's for damn sure. And published, for that matter.

I'd want to get this crazy idea for a band going, and perform, at least once, an amazing cover of "Black Sabbath" by Coven. (Have you heard of them? They're freaking awesome. Late 60s psychedelic satanica. Imagine goth-y Jefferson Airplane.)

I would definitely have to travel.

I've not really had the chance to check out the East Coast. We have relatives in Pennsylvania, but I haven't been out there since I was a youngin. I'd check out New York, as well as your fair state.

Then, I'd probably just high-tail it to Europe and remain there for the rest of my days. Oh, hell, alright...I'd probably want to go down to the Anji bamboo forest in China, for a little while. Have quiet time there for a week or so. Who knows.

You know...I don't think I'd want to be running around fucking anything that moves, honestly. That's never really been my style to begin with. That's why I've still got the V (gasp!) I suppose, in my travels, I'd keep watch for that new lover at the party who's supposed to catch my eye. There's always a possibility that there can be more than one of those, and in fact, it's kind of a guarantee Hopefully I get to 'em before my 13's up.


When I want to feel not as shitty, I get the fuck out of town. I drive, I walk, whatever. The cemetery wore its wear after I had that thought to myself. I like being down in the city, though if I want quiet I go to the barnyard studio and chill out there for a while. Well, around there. Walking around and stuff.

I'm trying damn hard not to get bogged down. I hope you do the same. Have a good tour. Drink tea with lemon and honey in it.

And have some fun out there, damn it.

Flozza said...

It's an interesting question to be asking, but only on a theoretical level. If you're feeling a bit disoriented and directionless, in between the cracks, at the moment, the last thing you should be concerning yourself with is creating artificial pressures to do - something - lest you waste any time.

Fact is, if we knew when we were going to die, we'd all be depressed, because we'd constantly think of more stuff we still absolutely have to get done until that dreadful moment arrives when we just run out of time. This is one of those things where it's better not knowing.

Anyways, I've been trying for a while now to make the "Black Dog" disappear or at least fade into the background by keeping myself busy no matter what with work and uni and that sort of thing. I don't think it's working - all that happens is that the things I once really liked to do become a chore, a means to some other end.

I think you are on the right track with taking some time off. Just bum around, go to Mongolia and live in a tent, plant yourself a Bhodi tree and have a sit-in. Do anything that doesn't have to do with your normal life. I think you'll see that there is a reason you got into it - you do love it, and you are made for it. You just need to rediscover that.

And besides, all this talk about time running out is no good. You're way too young to have a midlife crisis, Amanda. :p

David said...

Wise words flozza! Why dwell on time remaining, since we have all of eternity? Amanda, you're already living a wonderful dream as an artist, sharing your vision and poetry with us, your fans. Let that "black dog" give you a big slobbery lick on the face. Read about this guy's near-death experience for a little New Year's inspiration.

Happy Touring Doll! Be Safe.

David said...

Almost forgot, you don't have to FEEL amazing to BE amazing!

Mouse said...

I am going to see you tonight.

If I only had 13 months to live,

I would first kiss my best friend goodbye
and make sure that she knew as long as I have known her, I have loved her, inside and out, very seriously and very much for real. Maybe then she'd believe me.

I'd go to Nova Scotia
and whilst there, learn the cello and the piano and the harp and all the other instruments I've never learned to play.

I'd visit Boston. I'd visit Japan. I'd visit the moon. I'd be your groupie.

I would not waste a single thoght on where in hell I'm going to go to college or even IF I want to go.

I will take a thousand pictures and give them to my brother to write poems for and publish.

Then I will die, and someone will plant daisies and microwaved CDs and paper cranes on my grave, and play violin at my funeral.

Yeah, that's the life for me.

Get well soon.

Marti said...

I guess from working in health care for so long, I've seen how everything can be taken away from you in seconds. I'd do what I do... but knowing what I know, it wouldn't have to be any different than what I'm doing today.

Josh said...

My girlfriend and I saw you at the Ram's Head last night and you guys were great. I have to admit I mainly only bought tickets because my girlfriend likes you guys but I'm glad I did, the show was awesome.

We loved that song you did with Meow Meow's pianist, it was really great.

Thanks for coming out after the show and meeting with the fans. It may not seem like much but it means a lot.

Good luck with the rest of your tour and feel better Amanda!

Chris said...

My wife and I are flying in from Houston to see the show in Chicago. The theater looks so very cool and we have friends there. I hope you are feeling well long before then. Performing while sick it even more draining than just performing itself.
And on the topic of time limits, I think I would still want to work on things I loved. Perhaps with a bit more focus on finishing than brainstorming, and very likely with more passion and recklessness. It's not like I would have to worry about a follow up or deal with the ramifications of my actions.

Damien said...

Spend as much time with my loved ones, as possible, let everyone who means anything to me know how much they meant to me, confess all crushes, unrequited loves, and pinnings, listen to as much music as possible, read as many books as I could, on the way to other places (trains buses planes), meet new people, send letters to you Maynard, Stephen King, Susanna Clarke, and many others, thanking them; meet, in person, all the people I never got to meet, but whom I knew online.

There's more, but I'd do my damnedest to have a roving troupe of about 100+ people with me, for the entire time, living and enjoying each other, in as many ways as we felt were right.

There. Not too much time wasted.

Ben said...

Thirteen months from today is January 26, 2009. That is 397 days.

I get to spend 397 more days with my wife and celebrate our 12th wedding anniversary together.

I would visit the house I spent 14 years in. If my car conked out during the 45 minute drive, since "It doesn't matter what you do, it never turns out the way you planned," I'll hitch a ride, call a cab, take a train, or walk there.

I get to celebrate the Earth Rat AND the first day of the Fire Ox.

I will get to see 13 more full moons, plus a few hundred sunrises and sunsets.

"And it seems kind of crass to answer a question you don't seem willing to answer for yourself."

It's your choice to never let us know what you would do with 13 months or maybe you will tell three people in the morning your list.

Skitzo™ said...

ummm aint you da peeps who done that song "coin operated boy" ??? yo, if you are, my sister loves dat song. and you two are kinda freaky leaky. wanna be friends? HA! check me out sometime.


Hubris said...

If I had 1 week to live, you bet your ass I'd still be at your show this Friday.

I can't wait!

Joshua said...

I was reading the comments on this post and then Dirty Business came on, on my playlist. The lyrics really fit in some weird way :).

My philosophy on this whole death question is that one should live as if the present moment is the only moment. This means, if you feel great, then really feel feeling great, or if you feel terrible, then really feel it and move on. Then: the next time you feel great, remember the day you were feeling awful, and just feel yourself in this constantly changing state. Expose your vulnerability to others or don't! Of course, it's impossible to follow this to the letter, but I find it really grounds me to think about things this way.

For me, it's hard to quit smoking with this philosophy though :(. The remedy to that is, "I feel great! but there's phlegm in my throat again. Ah!"

The second step is taking risks. I wasted several years of my life living the way my father told me to. It was incompatible with my entire BEING. He taught me the bible to the point of it being recalled by my memory at really uncomfortable moments at random in my life. So I replaced the bible with a moleskine journal, and now I just follow any impulse that I feel like following. I tell people exactly what I think or feel at any given moment, mostly without reserve (the exception being my father). I put it all on the line for the sake of pursuing my own creative drive, and work to pay the bills.

You know all about taking risks, exposing your vulnerabilities, and following the impulse of the moment, of course. This is why I love your music so much! At your age it is much different than at a meagre 21. I feel invincible, but I know that I'll probably live to 22 and then that year will be different. Having said all that: if I can't set my watch to the flow of life, then I will just have to improvise.

I look forward to your Toronto concert tonight!

P.S.: Anyone want a free bible? Genuine leather!

sexy said...