RAVEN MACK is a mystic poet-philosopher-artist of the Greater Appalachian unorthodox tradition. He does have an amazing PATREON, but also *normal* ARTIST WEBSITE too.

Monday, June 6

J.J. Krupert Top 13 Countdown - April '11 #1: "Be Thankful For What You've Got" by William DeVaughn

2011 has been an interesting experience almost halfway through, full of a variety of personal obstacles. Honestly, I'm not quite sure how to describe the whole affair, because it hasn't necessarily been bad, although if I make a list of what's been going on, it certainly seems that way. I tend to be used to the whole lemons/making lemonade mantra, or at least good at it, or something, so shit gets done and I tend to find the positive brightness in the dark. I guess the best description would be this year has been hard, but even that connotes a frustration and exhaustion that's not really there. It is what it is, and you either deal with it or wallow in the misery. It's emotional survival, so to speak, where you either adapt and thrive or you fucking struggle and die, except with emotions your death is slow and internal and not a physical death but you instead become a creepy shriveled shell of your full potential.
Now before I get too far off into some sort of bullshit interwebz self-help peak-realization tangent complete with powerpoint presentations, let me just bring it back to earth. I have realized over the course of the past few months that a lot of the support structure I felt was in place was not hurricane-proof. It could hold up so long as there was nothing to test it, or for as far as it was convenient or beneficial to that support system to be down with me, but when shit got real a few times this year, there were a handful of situations where someone I had been counting on could not deliver that key block or wasn't able to deliver on a promise when I finally wanted them to deliver. But no sweat, that's human nature, and sometimes we should all realize we are surrounded by fatty relationships and not necessarily getting the interpersonal nutrition that we need to thrive, both in our every day life as well as physically (balled up bellies full of stress tend to keep the body from being upright) and yes, creatively, which is probably a contributing reason why there's been so little done on this site lately outside of haiku/pictures (as well as why the ezine launch has been pushed back). Also, the fact I have not had time to really do anything outside of process all the bullshit going on, then sleep for five hours, then get up and sail through the shit storm again the next day has contributed to my lack of long-form creative productivity.
And at the same time, even saying something like "creative productivity" is annoying, and a huge part of the problem. Fuck attachment to the fruits of your actions, especially if those fruits are the false shine of material wealth. I have been very struck by how fucked this world can be in certain circles, but more striking to me is how there's whole worlds of people whose lives are off the interweb radar - people who are hopeless and reckless and shiftless and aimless and trapped. I have a step-brother (not legally anymore as my pops passed on years ago) who is exactly that, excited to join the fucking army because he's tired of sitting around in Shithole Southside, Virginia, unemployed, struggling to figure out how to translate an EBT food stamp card into a bag of dirtweed. Excited to get into the army, at like age 27. And I find myself surrounded at work in normal work-to-home/home-to-work travels by people who are caught up in the most superficial nonsense, accumulating a lot of what will be nothing in five years, and expecting others to respect that. It seems like we are disconnected from the realities of our worlds a lot more now than I think ever before, although I am the first to admit there's always that problem of getting older and hitting that "today sucks compared to yesterday because I am older and things used to be better" stride of our more advanced in days lives.
Nonetheless, I've recently instituted Boogie Jam '11, where I meditated by the pig pen under the new moon last week, and cast my intentions to trample this world with soulful righteousness. This is not meant in a Jack Johnson song sort of way either (hence the William DeVaughn track accompanying this diatribe, because "Be Thankful for What You've Got" is my Sunday morning church service the past couple months, and the ol' lady's too; we've played this song a zillion times since April Fool's holiday), because a major fault in left-leaning thinking is that man is somehow evil and separate from nature, that we are the cancer of the earth. This is the extreme pendulum over-response to man having dominion over the earth. We are neither this world's Lord Incarnate nor it's Terminal Cancer; we're just people. And under that new moon last week, I cast the intention to be more aware of my place in the physical world, which hopefully will strengthen my e-aura back to proper levels, and will also affect tangible life with tangible good times. In the past week I've hiked a hobo trail to an abandoned power plant and soaked in the goodness of industrial wastelands covered in graffiti murals, crushed beer cans, with the meditative backdrop of the tinkling river nearby. I've tromped along railroad ties to a sidetrack rail yard hardly used but only quiet on a Sunday afternoon, and felt the immensity of what we've done as a mankind - not bad, but just immense. No shit, you know how people claim to hug trees to feel the soul of the plant (which is something I believe in, but don't practice because of the types who tend to talk publicly about such endeavors - I am still working on my judgmental decisions blocking myself to opportunity)? I did that with old freight cars, leaning against the edge, feeling the decades of shaped metal, covered in shine then grime then paint then acid to etch off the paint then rust then whatever else. It's beautiful that strange rust/paint patina of an old boxcar that has been stripped and painted and overused and neglected and vandalized and stripped and on and on. That's us. I think we tend to still, even when we are godless environment-lovers, to still think we have dominion over the earth, separate from it all, as a cancer, and we are ultimately doomed.
We are not. We are people, wandering around doing shit. Things changes and get hectic as fuck and we will fight it and die or accept it and thrive. My air conditioning is broke on my truck and it's been almost 100 degrees already in early June multiple days, but that's fine. I can't be riding around in creature comfort all day long to hustle into creature comfort work and creature comfort homes, all the air conditioned to a cool perfection all the time. I've got to sit in the fucking heat and feel it and let my body adjust. So that's what I'm doing, wandering some new paths, jumping into some new circles, realizing that a lot of my old support systems that held me in certain places were not able to withstand the turbulence of 2011, so why bother to continue counting on them? I don't have as much as I thought I did at the beginning of this year - in the way of family, in the way of friends, in the way of future - but I'm thankful for what I do got, and I'm gonna keep moving, keep sipping on my life's lemonade, and keep adapting and thriving.
STEAL "Be Thankful For What You've Got"
Is last month!

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