Sunday, February 8, 2009

Deep And Weird

My baby brother sent me a text message at 9AM on a Tuesday, asking if I had seen the movie "I'm Not There".

"No", I replied.

He answered, "I'm watching it.  It is deep and weird, just like you."

Director Todd Haynes, when asked why he made this movie, exclaimed that "Bob Dylan made me do it" and that his (Todd's) hands were "tied behind my back!" 

Figuratively speaking, I'm certain.

What he said immediately reminded me of a favorite lyric--If my hands are tied, must I not wonder within, who tied them and why, and where must I have been?

Dylan song.  Oh, the irony.

Mr. Haynes' answer did not seem as strange to me as the fact that someone chose to ask him "Why?"  The interviewer was an idiot, though "Why?" is not always a stupid question.  It is sometimes a painful one to ask an artist, however.

Sometimes, a thing is made as a result of a long, drawn-out obsession that you could no sooner explain than you could take out and switch your own eyeballs from one socket to the other and have them still work when you had completely the grisly task.

Let us not forget that in the throws of obsession, the eyeball option could potentially start to make sense.

The thing is, you don't know why.  You have no idea.  Sometimes, you're not sure you even wrote a thing so much as you just looked up, saw it hanging in the sky, and plucked it out of the air.

Obsession is like rocket fuel for a writer.  High Octane..  Fast-burning.  Expensive.  Sometimes it takes you somewhere.  Sometimes you just blow up.  Sometimes, you think you have arrived at "somewhere", while the rest of the world is convinced that you have, in fact, blown up.  You can't really win when you're losing your mind.  Explaining why you did a thing isn't going to make anybody else like the thing or, like the fact that you took time out of your life to do it.  Better to just speak the truth, which is to say that you did it so you could finally find some peace.

"Deep and Weird", something my brother meant as a compliment, is the type of high praise that could only come from someone who is, themselves, a little deep, and a little weird.  Like my brother.  Maybe its an Aquarian thing--He's having a birthday today.

Randy once wandered the streets of Okinawa looking for a barber who spoke no English, because he figured that was his best chance at getting a "real" haircut in Japan.  He's like that.  He thinks about the authentic experience.  He doesn't go for things produced by huge conglomerates--he'd rather have the thing handmade by "some dude".  He lives a very relaxed existence with out on the prairie, in a town with a population of about 12, if you count his fiance and their two cats.  Of all of my siblings, he is the one most likely to drunk dial me.  He still has that worn-out copy of Cyrano de Bergerac that I gave him when he was 13, but no longer owns the Bible with which he was confirmed.  He listens to ancient blues records.  He is incredibly opinionated, while still being among the most open-minded people I have ever known.  He regularly plucks things out of the air, and fearlessly shares his finds.  Occasionally, you find him inquiring about rocket fuel.

Oh, and he likes Bob Dylan.

I lucked into this man as a brother, given the fact that you can't choose your siblings.  While I may lead the family charge in the Deep and Weird department, he runs a close second.  And I mean that as a compliment.


  1. A touching birthday writing.

    Thanks for sharing....


  2. Deep and weird like you-
    that's it!
    nuff said-



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