I want my life to be drenched in the golden light of vintage polaroids. The casual coolness of a weathered dark denim jacket. The glow of Farrah Fawcett’s hair and skin in that iconic picture of her in all her feathered locks and hot shorts glory.
The day before leaving for Ohio for the holiday break, I got out of work early, went home, and turned on the Palladia channel. Palladia is owned by the same company that owns MTV and VH1, but they strictly play concert footage. Ever since discovering it this past year, I’ve become obsessed. Anyway, I started up laundry and packing, and rested my head on the couch for a quick nap before tackling my final clean of the apartment. I had the Palladia channel on faintly in the background. I slowly awoke to a seventies sensation that I did not recognize. As I teetered between sleep and conciousness, drifting along a hazy world, I willed myself to open my eyes and investigate what my ears were loving.
I clicked on the guide to discover I was watching a concert film called The Last Waltz. I had never seen this classic rock documentary of The Band’s final concert in 1978, directed by Martin Scorcese. I couldn’t believe my eyes and ears. I pushed the record button, and proceeded to replay it the entire time I packed. I stayed up all night, and even began writing this very blog while watching and listening.
I love movies that celebrate music. I long to create a film like The Last Waltz and Almost Famous. To capture the essence of an era. To manifest that sensation where you identify so intensely with the story and music as you feel yourself submerge into a time so fully, head first, smoothly, subconsciously. You feel cozy like a pair of burnt orange corduroy bellbottoms. You want to part your long, straight hair in the middle and sway to the beat. You feel as if you could pick up a wooden acoustic guitar and play something fantastic. You want to run barefoot in a sunflower meadow, the sun beaming on your face as you twirl around in a flowy skirt, fall down softly, then tie the stems of daffodils together to make yourself a headband.
Films that are music centric, whether it be the bearded, blousy, pure sound of the 60s and 70s, or the gutwrenching synthesizers of 80s British rock that the movie 500 Days of Summer so brilliantly references, these are the kinds of movies that I devour. The music takes you somewhere safe, somewhere where you completely feel yourself. No self consciousness, no wondering who you are or what you want. You just ARE. Without even trying.
My heaven would be sitting with my legs crossed on a bean bag chair in a lush den, surrounded by velvet floor pillows with magenta, swirl-patterned tapestries covering the walls. Bulbous hookahs tower over me as I stare into the soft light of a hanging pink paper lantern. And the best music I’ve ever heard just plays as I am just lifted off onto a mental rocket.
If I could create a world where I take others on a trip on their personal self plane, whether it be through writing books, movies, blogs, fucking facebook statuses…anything…if I could just make people feel that connection to themselves, I will know true success. If I could contribute that to the world, a creation that matters to people, like really matters. That mind trippy whoosh after watching Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. That holy fuck moment. I want to provide that holy fuck moment.
The older I get, the more I feel my creative mind expanding. The more I pay attention to my instincts, my passions. Throughout most of my late teens and early twenties, I didn’t pay attention to my surroundings. I didn’t listen to myself. I listened to others, watched what others desired and figured that must also be what I desired. The only thing I did know was that I didn’t truly feel like I belonged in my own life. I was in a haze, going through the motions, and literally drowning my feelings of unrest in loads and loads of liquor. I would just drink so I could feel that rush, that warmth, drink until I felt special. But once the buzz was gone, so was the feeling of being anyone I would ever really want to be. I felt generic, like a knock-off designer handbag, but I didn’t even know enough to know there was a better version of myself.
Until a sequence of events led me to move out West. Ever since moving here, I’ve felt a mental evolution within myself. I organically started caring about costumes and fantasy. I discovered that if I let myself go, that I could just create an existence that I could recognize myself in. Without trying that hard. Without wondering if people were judging me or thinking I’m weird or agonizing if I’m saying something stupid or out of turn. I just plain stopped worrying about who I was supposed to be and I started becoming who I wanted to be. It was not a conscious effort. I just look back at the last five years and I know I’ve changed.
But I know my evolution has just begun. And I can’t turn back now. I need to trust in my direction and unabashedly move forward. This new year I shall continue to write, to create art, to pour my brain out into the world. I feel an electricity that is still trying to spark. The light is lit, but it has the capacity to burn so much brighter. I just need to focus, push through, continue, and break even more barriers. I believe in destiny. I used to think all that ‘new age shit’ like astrology and fate was just illogical farce. I realize that I don’t feel that way anymore.
If I could embody even an ounce of the individual beauty of my musician friend Alicia Gatto, I would feel accomplished. She lives her life with heart, gusto, and pulsating passion. She creates music, style, and sincerity. Not only is she stunning, she is bursting with soul.
I am striving to eradicate the superficial. To see beyond the trivial problems of every day life to get to the good stuff. The things that matter. The goals that matter. To not be distracted by negativity, insecurity, or heartache. To mentally picture that vintage polaroid glow around me. To quote Jill Scott, to “live my life like it’s golden.”
And during my journey, I shall replay The Last Waltz as I write and create art in my apartment. I will let the sounds of the great songwriters shove me towards achievement.
So Neil Diamond, sing to me. Sing to me with those seventies sunglasses and send me swooning into self-inflicted glory.