Happy July 4th, American and British friends. I trust y’all’ll be dressing up like New Zealand-rugby-supporting-goths to mourn this day of infamy.
Because, you know, don’t we all need each other? I was reading a post by fellow blogger, Amanda Palmer, the other day. Having seen a Dresden Dolls video on whatever MTV call 120 Minutes these days so they don’t have to play two hours of music (it’s Subterranean, grandad), and not been grabbed — I’m a very busy man — I don’t know much about Ms. Palmer’s work. I mean, I’m aware of the furores (it may be 4/7/13, but there will be no pandering today) surrounding her Kickstarter album funding, and also her crowd-sourcing of musicians, but I don’t know her art. But I do know that
I love you she’s married to writer and twitter royalty, Neil Gaiman. So, it wasn’t a surprise when a link to her review of Gaiman’s Ocean At The End Of The Lane (and her marriage) showed up in my feed. Thankfully, it doesn’t say too much about the details of the book. All I’ve heard is that it’s particularly good, and that it will be Radio 4’s Book At Bedtime beginning on Monday. I’m avoiding spoilers.
What the post does suggest, though, is that:
we are the ingredients of our own art…, but the amount of distance from the “reality of our experience” to the “art we create” spans a scale of one to ten on the blender of art-making.
Whereby Woody Guthrie has his art blender on a 1, the Cocteau Twins blend at 9, and William S. Burroughs or Jackson Pollock are each a 10.
The stuff on this nakedly confessional, self-therapizing blog is, of course, unblended. Like pear cider that’s made from 100% pear.
Ironically, I suspect that the unstudied reality of this blog hides some of the messages held within. Like inverted poetry. So, if you’re sitting comfortably, let me turn my blender down to 1 and proceed….
Last night, my dad and I chatted about how I was feeling these days, both physically and mentally. After briefly summarizing my current physical condition, I told him about my emotional lability, and how hard the early days after my release from hospital were. I was glad to be able to share some of my experience with him. For myself, and for him too, I think. As a parent, one of my ambitions for my kid is that she be able to talk freely with me about her thoughts and feelings.
We were chatting while watching the second episode of a new show on BBC3, Don’t Call Me Crazy. The three episodes of Don’t Call Me Crazy follow various teenagers held in one of the largest teenage mental health inpatient units in the UK for a year. The show is part of the A Mad World season of films on BBC Three “looking at a range of mental health issues affecting young people in Britain today, from schizophrenia, OCD, eating disorders and self-harming to dealing with family members affected by mental illness.” There’s a page on the BBC website that provides links to mental health organizations that can educate and help with various mental issues: http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p01b86w5/features/info-and-support
I decided to watch Don’t Call Me Crazy for a couple of reasons. First, the trail was good. Second, I saw said trail after returning from a trip to the GP (or primary care physician. There, just a little pandering. Happy Fourth!). In the waiting room, I picked up a leaflet that made me want to be made aware about most anything that has an awareness campaign. It began: “In Scotland… 1 in 6 of us will have a stroke.” The figures are similar in the US.
So, a personal plea: please, wherever you live, go here and pledge your support to the Agenda for Action for Stroke in Scotland. It doesn’t matter where you live, and there’s no cost: The Stroke Association in Scotland simply aims to collect at least 13,000 signatures, and present them to the Scottish Parliament.
More awareness: death cafés. This Guardian article may include the unsupported and irresponsible sentence “My own religious perspective on death and dying is that secular atheism is proving to be a very expensive and a terrible burden on the NHS,” but, hey, it’s all about awareness, right?
Edinburgh is about to host its first death cafes, as part of the Just Festival. The venue is Punjab’n De Rasoi, and the dates are August 10 and August 17, at 3pm. Here’s the spiel from the festival program:
At Death Cafés people come together in a relaxed and safe setting to discuss death, drink tea and eat delicious cake. A light hearted natter taking the darkness out of death, whether you believe in an afterlife or not. Punjab’n De Rasoi will provide traditional refreshments served at a Sikh funeral.
There are death cafes in New York, too. So why not update your HowAboutWe profile and pop along to one? As anyone who’s seen Wedding Crashers will attest, it’s bound to get you a lumber.
But that’s enough death and darkness. Get out there and have some Fourth of July fun!
There’s a fine line between fireworks and weapons.
— Mike Birbiglia (@birbigs) July 3, 2013