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Sunday Soul – Preparation for a Journey
Year 11 – Playlist 9/52 – For the week of June 15th 2014
American author Henry Valentine Miller, the celebrated flautist, invented the semi-autobiographical novel by blending character study, social criticism, philosophical reflection, explicit language, sex, surrealist free association and mysticism wrote “One’s destination is never a place, but a new way of seeing things.” Miller wrote six books between 1934 and 1959 and all of them were banned in the United States until 1961, when someone either actually took the time to read them, or got their head together about what reading is, what writing is, and how important our exposure to ideas, observations, and different points of view are to the human experience (very.)
Henry grew up bouncing between Bushwick and Williamsburg, the only son of German Lutherans who seemed for all intents and purposes to have immediately faded from his life. In 1930 Miller was splitsville. He sailed for Paris where he settled in and began actually writing. There he became notorious for his sexual exploits, prowess, and manly ways. He fell into a long and much written about affair with another man’s wife, and he took turns stealing her and giving her back to him, and then wrote all about it. The object of his affection (Mrs. Angela Anaïs Juana Antolina Rosa Edelmira Nin y Culmell) also wrote quite a bit about Henry. Anaïs Nin also pioneered female erotica – that’s openly sexual or sexually arousing writing written by a woman, presumably for, but not exclusively directed toward, women – and had quite a few adventures of her own.
My point here is that it doesn’t matter if you think Henry Miller was a fat dummy or a masterfully demure precursor to Heinrich Karl (Charles) Bukowski, but rather this man travelled. He got out of his high chair in Manhattan, joined the American Socialist Party in WIlliamsburg, married some innocent bystander, had a child, and then jumped on a boat and expatriated to France where he started to wander around nude smoking a cigar and chasing lesbians until they not only slept with him, but wrote volumes and volumes about him and his body all during an era when one simply didn’t do such things. One didn’t even imagine such things. One could be locked up, put away, humiliated and ruined for even admitting that one had considered such things. It’s true. But Henry Miller was ready to go well before his boat arrived. His books were 30 years ahead of the American cultural morality, and after a brief spell of success they faded away into hum drum and ordinary. They remain valued because they were first, and because of the great gifts his work has given to every other writer, thinker, lover, pervert, and dog who ached to find a place to say everything (and baby, I mean everything to anyone and everyone who will listen, or look, or read. From great repression, hypocricy and fear springs an endless river of raw, beautiful truth.
Last year the new pope, Pope Francis, said “The whole journey of life is a journey of preparation.” When you leave the sentiment at the man’s word it’s beautiful, and I don’t think that he and I (or Henry Miller, Anaïs Nin or Chuck Bukowski) would disagree with the Holy Father too much – well, ok, maybe there’s the whole thing about living now, and here, and being alive, and maybe that’s where God truly exists, but even that could be a vehicle for the next realization, or state of mind, because everything passes from the present tense sooner rather than later, dig? – but the editorialists who never seem to sleep
(you know the people who talk during sporting events, and pop up at the bottom of your screen all the time telling you what you’re looking at, and explaining what you’re seeing, what they’re saying, what it means, and then after it’s over spend another 12 hours telling you what was seen and said), those people (who are obscenely paid to really just be the spokesmodels for the man and are brainwashing you in a somehow pleasant way because you think they have cute hair) added “to Heaven” at the end of the statement. The pope didn’t say that. Papa Francisco, said “The whole journey of life is a journey of preparation.” Full stop. The very idea that living this life is meaningless for any other reason than to prepare for the next one is some serious throwback dogma. You know, the old idea that to be virtuous is to live like a dog now and keep your hands to yourself so you get your sweet, sweet reward in the next life? That. It’s silly when you think about it – we could be making a heaven here and now (if not a haven) and forging a true refuge for all of us.
Imagine that world – A world where love and peace, justice and devotion were our primary virtues. Where your voice was as important as mine, mine as important as anyone’s, and together we engaged in thoughtful, open, and honest dialog. Sure, we’d get mad at eachother, there’s bound to be hecklers in any crowd, but we’d understand through love and brotherhood that this was merely our human weakness, and ego’s hallucination. We may never agree, but the discussion is vital, and the fruits are a magnificent tapestry all around us – a better world.
Not one person would go hungry, or be left out in the cold. Not ever. We would house and clothe, heal, and employ people with humility and love, duty, and gratitude. We would be true custodians of this planet. The world of percieved wealth, power, superiority, and legacy would be pale, sad, and something we laughed about from the olden days.
It’s a childishly sad fantasy, right? A utopian notion of hippy crap that pracitcally no one wants to hear about anymore in a world where Punk rock is pop music, hip hop is pop music, capitalism masquerades as rebellion, no one reads, no one votes, and if you’re still out in the street with your fist in the air you’re either a fat dummy or an obstacle to progress. Well, I’m working for heaven on earth. I believe in love. I believe in living in this moment now. I am preparing for my journey, and I am angling to bring you along for the ride. Susan Heller is credited as having said “When preparing to travel, lay out all your clothes and all your money. Then take half the clothes and twice the money.” I don’t know who Susan Heller is, or where she’s from, if she’s married, or ever wrote a book, but I fear she’s absolutely right.
Thank you for listening. See you next Sunday.
Here is the track listing for Sunday Soul: Preparations for a Journey
1. Preparations For A Journey – David Sylvian
2. Miura – Metro Area
3. I Just Wanna Fly – Sunshine Jones & David Devilla
4. Skyrunner – Hologram
5. Atlantis – Downtown Party Network Remix – Solila
6. Who You Are – Zwicker
7. Mem Mem Mem – Summer Mother Version – Sunshine Jones
8. Can’t Get Enough – Roman Fleischer
9. Kontinents – Force of Nature
10. Free Flight – Acos Coolkas
11. Square One – Rub n’ Tug Remix – Coldplay
12. Preparation – Jonathan Kusuma
13. Olson – Midland Edit – Boards of Canada
14. Everything Must Change – Ólafur Arnalds
15. Sunday Soul – Program ID
16. Why Can’t I Touch It – Buzzcocks
17. Sunday Soul – Program ID
Year 11 – Playlist 9|52
15 June 2014
Total Running Time: 01 Hour 33 Minutes
May the stars above you shimmer and shine, guiding your heart always, all of the time. May they guide you sweetly, all the way home. And may all your sundays have soul.