Cabinessence is the official soundtrack of Easily Mused, Spotify playlists chock full of infectious and stimulating tunes from many places and times. It's outsider music, hidden gems, buried treasures, and hits you remember! And it's absolutely free, a labor of love from a lifelong music lover. Simply go to the Cabinessence page on Facebook, click "like" and you're all set! Stay attuned...

January 11, 2011

Rise and Fall and Rise Again

Ladies and Gentlemen, two years ago I started Easily Mused as a way to share my pop culture passions. The thrill I get from listening to a Beatles song or studying Alex Toth's linework, just to cite a few examples, is practically unbeatable. Aside from the experience of being a father, it is the greatest high I have ever attained.

The first year I blogged here very regularly. In the midst of an almost complete life reset, I found the act of sharing very cathartic and grounding. I was and still am spending 95% of my free time at home alone or with my amazing girlfriend Heather, cocooning, if you will. Initially I wanted to blog about all kinds of culture. I quickly found that the comics related posts found the largest audience. Occasionally, I would do something creative. The post Why Chicks Cry, a gentle lampoon of romance comics, generated an unexpected and much-appreciated amount of attention. The response was almost universally positive. For one brief shining moment, I experienced firsthand the awesome speed and scope of internet communication.

Sometime last Summer, I started to feel less inspired to post here. I felt that blogging about pop culture was somehow taking away the time I needed to enjoy pop culture. I really wanted to take a step back from the routine I had established, and examine it more closely, ask myself some pertinent questions. What is my purpose in blogging? Is it simple narcissism, or an attempt to connect with others? Or is it just cheap therapy? I confess to being a weary soul, tired of all the strife in the world, feeling powerless to affect real positive change. I don't think I am the only one who feels that way.

My time away from blogging was revelatory. I now have a deeper sense of the direction I want to head, here at Easily Mused, and elsewhere. Here is a list of some of the events and ideas that that have been generated from this period of introspection:

1. Easily Mused really should be just about comics. It's really a no-brainer. A cardinal rule of blogging is to stick with one subject. If you get people excited about the idea of daily visiting a blog about eggs, don't surprise 'em with posts about grits or bacon.

2. I have spent much time absorbing art and culture, and not nearly enough time contributing. I am a songwriter. I have written hundreds of songs, but I have not shared them properly. I could write the greatest song in the world, but it wouldn't matter unless I shared it. Responsibilities, fears, and financial obstacles have held me back, but I must share my art, and I will. Not here though. A new blog. It might be called Eastern Standard Time. Or Tin Pan Rally.

3. I need more friend experiences. I'm afraid I give the impression that I don't like people or care about others because I have spent so much time away from society. As an artist, I do tend to observe more than participate. I admit that. I say little but I think much. I wish to have friends who make art. To talk with them, be in their circles. Writers, songsmiths, artists. More importantly, I wish to be friends with civilized people, trustworthy people, people with a healthy sense of humor. Non-judgmental people. Idea people. People who dig Zappa and Bob Clampett. I need to leave more comments on blogposts and forums. I need to check out one of Skip Elsheimer's A/V Geeks events here in Raleigh. I must find my friends!

4. Multi-tasking is not necessarily good. I have always been into multi-layered sensations. What do I mean by this? I can't just read a comic. I have to read a comic while eating sushi and listening to Vince Guaraldi. It's the combination of sensations that excites me. Look at that Kirby machine! MMMM ginger. Nice piano riff. Drum fill, wasabi, meanwhile in Metropolis...fresh eel, Joe Cooool, you get the idea. And then I think, how many people in the world are eating sushi, reading Kamandi, and listening to Vince Guaraldi at this exact moment? 500? 10? Sometimes it's nice to just do one thing at a time though.

5. Limit news exposure. A friend once told me I was living in a time warp, but actually I like to stay very informed about current events. The only problem is, too much of the news is negative. Everyone knows that good news is not reported as much because it doesn't sell as well. Brian Wilson talked and sang about "good vibrations," and I feel that people today suffer from the results of too many "bad vibrations." Negativity comes in many forms, and I have to avoid it as much as I can, like Superman avoids kryptonite. I would never tell anyone how to live their life, but I think negativity is the single greatest challenge facing the world today. Many artists live lives of suffering and great art comes from it, but i don't think those artists are, on the whole, filled with negativity. I think instead they are absorbing the negativity and reflecting it back as something positive. Like a tree absorbs carbon dioxide and produces oxygen in return. This is why art moves me. It's so often quickly dismissed as entertainment, unimportant. Maybe it's one of the most important things for human well-being. Tigers do not draw. Mice do not pen novels. There is too much talk I think about humans being a disease on the face of Planet Earth. We have every right to be proud that our ancestors have opened doors of enlightenment with their fine works of art. My hope is that societies will re-engage in that enlightenment process and resist the primal urge to once more retreat into barbarism. Death metal sucks...the positivity out of people.

6. I canceled my cable. I will no longer waste precious time flipping through 500 channels of lowest common denominator tripe to find something inspiring (or at least entertaining) to watch. I can watch Netflix and Hulu on my PS3 and it's great. this past week, I watched a Dana Gould concert, 30 Rock, Alfred Hitchcock Presents, The Creature from the Black Lagoon, Woody Allen's Bananas, The Munsters, a Moody Blues concert, Naked Lunch, Louie, and Drawn Together. I caught a fascinating 1973 Tom Snyder interview with Alfred Hitchcock on YouTube and during last night's ice storm I streamed the local news right from their website. The future has happened, and cable is irrelevant. I have my own network! I will miss TCM...

7. Time to get healthy. This has been an ongoing battle for as long as I can remember. I recently discovered that the Prilosec I had been taking for heartburn and GERD has terrible side effects. It's tough to go off the Prilosec because, not being used to feeling heartburn, the pain seems enormous. I've been a week without though, after initially cutting my dosage slowly, and I feel great! I wouldn't be at all surprised if the weight I gained (15 pounds, ugh!) in 2010 was not partially caused by Prilosec. I have been running, drinking lots of water, eating smaller portions more slowly. If you also want to get healthy I recommend Bragg's all-natural cider vinegar. Also, liquid vitamins, because pill vitamins are a crock. Your body only absorbs a fraction of the vitamins delivered in pill form. My girlfriend has educated me greatly on the subject of nutrition and it's finally starting to get through. I want to live to be 100 so I can see my great-great grandchildren graduate! I also want to live long enough to see how great America and the world will be once we all get our heads out of our arses!

8. There is no #8.

9. I really have to try harder to get a Why Chicks Cry book published.

So that's about it. Tomorrow or later today, look for another in what will soon be a long line of comics related posts here at Easily Mused, where comics are once again king (and I really really mean it this time part XVII).

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