Welcome to A Wink And A Nod
I’m sitting in my kitchen and noticing how the sky has arrived at its deepest blue before tilting into black. The silhouetted foothills and treetops are life-sized cutouts sitting in front of a glowing indigo vastitude. The frogs have gathered in the creek near my home and they’re chirping a curious song into the cool night air. I am hovering around a simple question tonight: With so much natural wonderment and magic surrounding us, why add anything to the internet?
Remember the internet we imagined in the ’90’s and early ’00s? Sure, it left a lot to be desired, it was slow and it was lumbering but it was pregnant with potential and beyond the swift dismantling of the record industry I don’t think it occurred to many of us that it would become the societal dumpster fire that it is in the year 2022. After the sobering acknowledgment that we’ve collectively created a monster I think it begs yet another question: should we stop? We could end the experiment today, leave it alone forever and we’d still be hard pressed to find the end of it. The internet, that is. Someone might discover its cusp, but most won’t, and that someone would likely be an exotic algorithm or an A.I. left running for an untold number of years. It would dig tirelessly until it reached the place where the sidewalk ends, but it wouldn’t leave us warm and fuzzy and ready for an afternoon nap like a Silverstein poem does. What we’d find would likely disturb us, the way we’d be unnerved but fascinated upon discovering a community of great apes who took over an uninhabited typewriter repair shop, who’s previous occupant had a few guns and a lot of ink. We’d marvel and recoil upon discovering early iterations of iambic pentameter hammered in a haunting repetition onto blood-spattered pages.
But we aren’t going to stop anytime soon are we? The genie is out of the bottle. Stopping would indicate that either the power grid ceased to function, that we met an untimely demise at the hands of an asteroid that succeeded in slipping past our best planetary defense systems or that we finally succumbed to one all powerful authoritarian ruler who deemed the internet “public nuisance number one” and made accessing it punishable by reassignment to some remote and hopeless gulag.
Perhaps, though, we could unearth elements that we didn’t know existed before! We can and likely will uncover a few leviathans and the occasional “thousand-eyed beast from the abyss,” but there could be an untold treasure hoard beneath where they’d slumbered. A way of existing, a social philosophy or an idea so vast in its scope as to be considered revolutionary, and would hopefully make all of the collateral damage incurred by the early days of this fledgling tech feel worth all of the bloodshed. A story penned by the room of surviving apes so important to the collective consensus that we overlook the “Dirty Harry” glimmer in their eyes and the way they so effortlessly twirl six-shooters in their simian hands. If we dig purposefully enough we may even witness an occasional wink and a disparate nod from the chasm we drew, evidence that all of this chatter and its ensuing burden was only a robust exterior above an enlightened, luminous expanse.
Now that we’ve agreed to keep digging, what am I bringing as an offering to this Earth-sized potluck? I suppose I am going to do my best to continue to speak authentically, or should I say, tell the truth as much as I know how to in a time when reality is less axiomatic and more akin to what one can get away with. In this Substack publication I will offer musings like this, as well as songs from the past and from the present. I’ll share stories, both recollected and fictional. Some will be read aloud and some will appear in writing. I will post paintings, photographs, poems and thoughts, and I will also do my best to remain human and to not carelessly pollute our shared information ecology. I’ll continue with a loving agnosticism and hopefully some semblance of epistemological humility even in the face of the the relative power that comes from broadcasting remotely, shielded, as it were, behind my computer screen like the insufferable asshole who tries to incarnate through my voice and dramatic hand gyrations when I’m stuck in Los Angeles traffic and someone dares to merge in front of me without signaling.
The window into all of these ideas will be this publication, and I invite you to relish in the warmth of this house. Perhaps we can share more deeply, maybe even muse on how long it would take a community of chimpanzees left in a room filled with typewriters to pen a Shakespearean-style sonnet. I hope you’ll ask questions, because I intend to answer as many as I can. For those of you who decide to subscribe, I’ll be sharing lots of songs: demos that never made it out of my home and have been waiting for the right time to emerge. I’ll also be posting readings of poems, thoughts and musings. My hope is to make good on that original promise of connection through technology. Social media does have its bright spots but they are getting harder and harder to find beyond the limitless chatter and growing barriers put in place by our robotic and nefarious corporate overlords. I’ve long dreamt of having a better, cleaner opportunity to share what is essentially the way that I see and interpret being alive in these extraordinary times, and with your participation I feel like this could be it.
I hope you’ll join me here!