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Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Battered & Bloody

Patti Smith is a poet, singer and song writer..who is probably most noted for her solo work during the Punk Era of the mid to late 1970's. She got her big break playing CGBG's and Max's Kansas City Clubs in NYC. She was notorious for saying "Jesus died for somebody's sins but he didn't die for mine" during a cover version of the band Them's song GLORIA  . I absolutely adored her back in those days for that kind of brave, rebellious giving of the FINGER to established organised religion...and because that is exactly how I felt about it as well. As a matter of fact I felt that way right up until I became a Christian in January of this year (2011). I guess I believed in Jesus...I just figured he didn't want anything to do with me..
Edgar Allen Poe

Smith has been one of my favorite performers and writers dating back to before I was in high school. She was the kind of person I looked up to in the years I spent in the so-called wilderness, after being beaten & raped in the mid 1970's. I was always interested in poets, artists, writers and those who were fiercely independant and original. I was usually drawn to tragic characters such as: Wilfred Owen,Jim Morrison of the Doors, Ernest Hemingway, Jack London, Edgar Allen PoeVincent Van Gogh and the like.
File:SelbstPortrait VG2.jpg
Vincent Van Gogh
Basically from the age of 12, these were the kind of folks I looked up to, idolized... I worshiped them really. Their lives, philosophies and work were the greatest influences on me at that time. I followed a pattern of admiring artists and famous people who had lead "tragic' lives right up until the time I became a Christian, just 10 months ago. At that young age, I started to formulate that philosophy of Self-Reliance that eventually morphed into my own religion of "SELF-WORSHIP" which I believed in faithfully right up until the time I tried to kill myself...I suppose my SELF-WORSHIP strategy/Philosophy had a few flaws, eh?!

When I think about all this today, I am a little bit surprised and embarressed really, that that I went so far in my hero-worshipof these other human beings...I had always prided myself on never NEEDING anyone other then myself yet I was idolizing these very flawed, tragic human beings...I had really felt strongly that I had made better choices then that during this time but obviously I believed more strongly in the abilities of MAN then I would let myself admit at the time.
If anyone is familiar with all of the people listed above then they can pretty easily make the connection between them: They are all artists of some sort...all but one died BEFORE their time...some very tragically like Hemingway shooting himself. Most were famous in their own time except Vincent Van Gogh, who did not achieve fame or fortune DURING his lifetime. Patti Smith is the only one still living, and she has had a fair amount of tragedy in her life but appears now to be healed, happy and thriving....and she is performing again after a 2 decade long hiatus raising a family in Detroit, MI.

I'm not exactly sure what I thought I could get or learn but no doubt there was something very powerful for me in my connection with this group of people. Perhaps it was their rebellion as manifest in their ART and in the way they lived their lives...they like myself all lived HARD, drank, did drugs and pushed themselves beyond the limits of human endurance...testing themselves in multitude of unusual situations. The bottom line here is in many ways I could relate to their alienation from the NORM.

I didn't want any part of a society that allowed 12 years old boys to get brutalized in a public place. I wanted the whole freaking world to go to Hell and I imagined that they (those artists listed above) did too. Their work, their art gave me the courage, the inspiration and motivation as it were to FLIP-OFF our society as whole: Religion, the Establishment, Government, name it. It was taking the "let's love everyone" attitude of the  1960's and replacing it with my own F**K-OFF attitude of the 1970-1980's. That whole "screw you" philosophy and attitude matched up very nicely with this life based completely on my own self-satisfaction that I was already working on and perfecting in my day to day life. I was going to make EVERYONE pay for what happened to me...for ignoring me and MY PAIN.

I'll be honest...tonight...just NOW really, is the very first time that I have EVER been able to articulate these thoughts and feelings with any semblance of order. They have obviously been there for a long, long time...raging just below the surface but until now I couldn't possibly know what it was all supposed to mean. Now I'm starting to understand: to SEE...

Understand...that is how vast the chasm between the isolation, alienation, hate, resentment and fear that drove me for so many years like a HELL-HOUND on my trail and my recent surrender and redemption at the foot of the CROSS. Battered, bloody and hurting, I finally recognized that the real battle of life had already been fought...and WON for me and for all people willing to believe... right there on that very CROSS. And that my friends...for ME anyway, has made ALL the difference!

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