Note: this very freeform (and rather intentionally self-indulgent) flow was written as an assignment for a class at The Evergreen State College. Wasn’t what the professor was expecting but whatever, this is how it came out. Who i am to defy the muse #ha!
Anyhow, read if you want, whatever. Added notes from brother Bob at the end. Not meant to be exhaustive or comprehensive (or comprehendible for that matter).
Brushstrokes and Backpacks, a brief autobiography
By Dave Olson, 2002
My life and myself are defined by the exceptional moments, the flashes of clarity that may last a second or a day. A pleasant day of contentment or perilous adventure, overcoming fear or doing nothing but sitting/thinking/breathing in a place of beauty. Could even be a place of turmoil or even somewhere where I’m not quite sure where I am but are enjoying the ride nonetheless. Moments when the conscious, subconscious, the universe, the tangible surroundings and even any humans entering the scene (or not) seem to be washed into a harmonious watercolor.
These events, sounds, nonevents, glances, coincidences
and snapshots of sorts that stick in the mind, sometimes recalling a story, or more often just a thought when you remember the best of someone or something that seems to make the wind stop for a second.
Was it a lesson? A badge earned? Just a happy memory with no long-term importance beyond an anecdotal tale saved to tell youngsters in later years? Did I see that in a movie? Was that really my life? How long ago was that now? Was that after the fall of the Soviet Union? Where was I then? What else was I doing and how did it happen? Where did the time go and how come I still feel as though I’ve hardly started?
9 years ago today, I presented “fuck stats make art” to a full house at SXSW, scored hash brownies and MDMA in Austin, drank whiskey backstage with the black angels. 11 years ago, signed up for Twitter. Also brother Bob’s birthday.
These days, a challenge to just get out of bed for a cup of tea… I’m really trying to “move on”, find “acceptance” and “close the book on old life” but it sure the fck ain’t easy with such wild & fulfilling actions in my past
Sometimes, a plan comes together just right, and then sometimes there’s the opposite…. This night of X (Dec. 9, 2016) was definitely the opposite.
The “Plan” was to come back from a healing journey at an Ayurvedic clinic in India to meet up with old friends and celebrate this legendary punk band’s 40th anniversary. As it goes, my trip was cut short under frankly the worst circumstances (which I won’t bother you with here). Then, my friends decided to go to the LA shows instead of the San Francisco 3-night run, another friend simply didn’t show up, and phone calls to other pals couldn’t rally up any excitement.
In a dream state(ish), I keep singing a lyric which I assumed/I thought is by Tanya Donnelly… but I did a crash course on her entire catalog yet cannot find any sign of the song. Also a search more widely produces not a clear match. That said, Internets is limited in my sequestered room. Noting the same mystery happened with the lyric “Grandma take me home, I want to be alone” which later turned up on a cassette from brother Dan while in Saji, Japan on Nirvana’s outtakes “Insecticide” “grandma take me home, I want to be alone” just as I remembered it. By this point I’d written a song in my head with the same riff and lyric. Sigh. Kept rewinding to reconcile memory from erstwhile reality. “Mom and dad went to a show, drop me off at grandpa Joe’s, I kicked and screamed, said please don’t go…” In this case, and this isn’t the first time, and feverish haze I thought of the Atlantic. The fucked up the Bucerias trip as well left me looking east word overwater as though in the Canadian Maritimes, basically something like “the Atlantic she calls you, the Atlantic she needs you she need you to come home.” I’ve visualized lighthouses and rocky headlands and stone houses. Maybe Cape Breton, Nova Scotia where a Buddhist monastery is mentioned in “when things fall apart” coupled with thinking about Leonard Cohen living as a monk on Mount Baldy. The same mountain Gary (Japhy) and Jack rambled (mostly) in Dharma Bums. I had it “the light houses will bring you, the hearth will warn you, so please, please come soon.”
Indeed, this stretch of life for me is about reinvention, changing everything no matter the pain to me or others. This is terrible to think and worse to write but I am renewed, not by choice as I was pleasantly addicted to “old” life of authentic, adrenaline, admiration. But, by necessity, I no longer have ability to compromise to make others content. Brutal but true. Will “it” revenge self on me? Perhaps, but I know I can find silence at the edges and fringes of salt water-even the bay of Bengal or Indian Ocean. Filthy at the beach I saw despite a vantage name. ## Found the song – tis: Cape Ann by Tanya Donnelly from her Swan Song series. I ordered a 3 disc vinyl delivered to Pacifica – “the Atlantic she needs you… You’re the one who got away.” Indeed.
When the road was wide
We walked side by side
Where it narrowed one fell behind
It was okay in those days
We were headed the same way
Didn’t care who’d get there first
You copy you paste you lose
So your bird can sing
It’s a beautiful thing
And you taught her all the songs we knew
But your bird, your bird, makes up all her own words
Which is just what I loved about you
Coming off of Cape Ann
Head to toe salt and sand
And the stain of the yellowing foam The Atlantic, she loves you, you’re the one who got away And she wants you back home
When the road is wide
We walk side by side
Where it narrows one falls behind
It’s okay, it’s okay, we’re all heading the same way
I don’t care who gets there first
Coming off of Cape Ann
Head to toe salt and sand
And the stain of the yellowing foan The Atlantic, she loves you, you’re the one who got away And she wants you back home
The Atlantic, she loves you And she wants you back home The Atlantic, she loves you And she wants you back home
The Atlantic, she loves you You’re the one who got away And she wants you back home
She wants you back She loves you You’re the one who got away
The Atlantic, she loves you You’re the one who got away She loves you