Thursday, March 26, 2015

(part 296) This Time Will Be Different



My brother Bill and I used to talk about the day I got a phone call from some stranger about an old album of mine from the 60's. Up until that day, in 2003, I had pretty much quit thinking and talking about my time in the music business. I would say to Bill, "I wish I never got that call that day!" And he would say back, "Yeah I remember it well, it screwed your life up again!"
"Yes it did," I'd say, "it started the same old shit all over it again!"
Again! That's the right word alright. That word represents my life in general. I did it again. It happened again. I tried again, and I got fucked again. Man what a lethal word.

Bill had watched me change a lot over the years we were in San Luis Obispo. He had seen me become more considerate, and reliable, when it came to doing things that helped the whole family, as opposed to just serving my own interests. Things like work. Work meaning physical labor and getting paid, which in my life had been something that mostly didn't happen. But that fucking phone call had landed smack dab in the middle of my life of responsibility, and began eating away, like termites, at the foundation of what I'd accomplished. I know I've said this before, and recently, but this event looms as the single most devastating thing that happened back then. Bill knew it, and wasn't afraid to say so. I knew it too, and so we spoke about it on numerous occasions. When you watch someone get better, like Bill had watched me, you know when that progress gets threatened, and in clear terms Bill saw the whole thing happen in one afternoon. The old obsession had been given entry into the quietness that life had become. The old uncertainty, and questions about an old record, quickly became the topic of too many of my days. In Bill's mind I had become more human, and less impressed with my past. But in the space of less than an hour he witnessed the dynamics of unwanted change stick it's ugly-ass face into his world, through me, and that telephone call. He was supportive, but feared the worst, because he knew me, knew how important all of it had once been to me. And that day he saw the old glint come back into my eyes, and heard that old mile a minute talk rumble out of my mouth. Like I said, he was supportive, but feared the future, if it was going to be filled with my past.

The call led to the internet, and connecting with people in the music business, and those who were interested in it, or otherwise had some sort of connection to it, real or fancied. In other words my focus had been completely altered because of that single telephone call. Everything I did after that was different than what I would have done had the call never come. My mother, and brother Bill, were as clear as a bell on what had happened, but knew that to question me would have been useless, so they did their level best to support my choice. They listened to me scream and yell about, not one, but two different albums that got reissued as cd's. They listened to me argue on the telephone with record companies, publishers, and others, about song rights, money, and the past. They watched me turn into a crazy person all over again and stood by helpless to assist, though they tried repeatedly to do so. My favorite thing to say to them was, "You don't understand," but in truth they understood perfectly. It was me that didn't understand...

Like a drunk who thinks, "This time will be different!" I traveled the same route that had led to my original downfall. I had to learn that it was a lie. A lie I wanted desperately to believe, but a lie nonetheless. Like getting clean and sober, I had to admit where and when I was wrong. It was, and is, the hardest thing I have ever had to do. To say, "No!" to myself. "Not again! We're not gonna do that again!" I wish I could have spared them, in their last few years of life, the turmoil that my choices brought them. I wish I had been unselfish enough to put them first instead of me first. I have had to sit with myself for many a long day, and look deep into what happened, and realize the damage my obsession with the music business has done, both to myself, as well as to others.

I don't pick up a drink, or get loaded, and haven't for 39 years, come April 1st of this year. It is my single true success in life. But I still need to learn that me and the music business are done, and until I understand that I will always be subject to trying just one more time, thinking, "This time will be different!"



Wednesday, March 25, 2015

(part 295) Would The Real Us Please Stand Up

I find myself longing for something more, something solid, something I can depend on, other than my ability to continue on in the face of ongoing disasters and hardship. It gets dreary knowing I will always have the strength for one more battle. I've had a lifetime of battles. Back in 2007, when I began this blog, I suppose there was something I expected to achieve beyond just writing it for the sake of writing. In the back of my mind, somewhere, there must have been at least a hope that something good would come of all this. But in 2015 all I see are the same old consistent, "Oh shit!" moments I've grown accustomed to. I have watched people come and go for decades, and the only difference between the virtual, and analog versions, is I used to be able to actually see them walk away. Now days all I see is the absence of things with no real explanation as to why. Like a bunch of slots that once contained color they now stand opaque and empty. Some mysterious communication that makes it's point by the absence of communication. It allows one, this brave new virtual world, to say something without having to say anything at all. I can liken it, I suppose, to the past, where someone who consistently showed up at your door suddenly stops, giving you little or no warning, or reason for it. But the world of virtual friends, and lovers, is entirely different from the old school versions of, "see ya later!" In the new version, those who communicate the message of, "see ya later" may have never been present in the first place. So the mind fucking reality, is, that you now feel the loss of something never possessed in the first place. Like a make believe, make believe.

The problem I have, is trying to use the same medium, that didn't work, to fix the problem of it not working. Like trying to put out a fire by using more fire. If it failed, which it did, to adequately make  relationships real, then it is insanity to try and now make the failure into a success by employing the same means. But this is all the virtual can offer, in and of it's self. It is strictly limited to it's own built in limitations. We have suckered ourselves into doing it for convenience. We can travel the world, virtually, from one end to the other, simply by sitting at a keyboard in our underwear, tapping out whatever the hell we want. The more we do it, the more we do it. And the more we do it the less we do of the other, like seeing people in person. We cannot be there so now we don't have to. We have online get-togethers with moving pictures and sound, but we don't have each other. We have more than nothing, but far less than what is actually available. It is a hideous way to communicate, unless it is absolutely better than nothing at all, which surely happens. But my complaint is viewed from the standpoint that virtual communication, in place of real human contact, is a form of mental, physical, and emotional, capitulation, which has, and is, numbing us to the need for real person to person relationships. Why bother? We can just go online and present anything, in any context, at anytime, to almost anyone. We can weave bullshit into whole cloth with our fingertips. We can lie and deceive in secret, because the online "us" is no more than a dancing puppet whose strings are manipulated by the "real-us" in the background.

There are those who will say, as they always do, that the virtual world allows them to make contact with things, and people, that they otherwise could never do, and I understand, and agree, with this sentiment. But again, my position is framed around the doing this instead of doing the other. Instead of going to meet someone in person the, opting out, for the keyboard instead, is a growing and loathsome reality. It appears that too many people stare at screens, of all sizes, in all sorts of different places, rather than into the eyes and hearts of real people. They send type written messages rather than have real conversations. I see people walking across the street looking at their phone, oblivious to where they are, and unaware of what they are doing. I don't do that, but I am complicit in this madness to some degree, and tell myself daily to turn the damn thing off and go do something else. "Hell, walk to the mailbox Bob, you may run into a real person and get to say hello, and who knows, maybe they'll say hello back, and give you a smile...

Monday, March 23, 2015

(part 294) Come Sit With Me





Come sit with me...Tell me which of your parents committed suicide...
Which brother, sister, or other, killed themselves
out of sadness, disappointment, or rage...

Show me your scars and I will show you mine...
Tell me your dream and I will tell you mine.....

Which of your family went insane...
lived in that dark place where there are no doors unlocked,
no windows without wire grates.....

Come sit with me...and we will bleed together, cry together, laugh together...
The two of us, shedding blood in the moonlight, kissing each other's tears...
wiping away the stain of life...so ruthless, so cunning, so sour...

Let us greet a new day, and stand together against the scoffers...
Those who would love us today, but will betray us tomorrow...

Come sit with me...show me your wounds suffered along the way...
Show me the graves of your dead lovers and broken promises...
Walk with me in the moonlight.....

I come to you not as King, but as a leper...
not as a prophet, but a liar...
I have triumphed over peace through chaos...
and bludgeoned my way here...

Come sit with me...let us talk honestly and openly to one another...

Bobby Jameson

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Saturday, March 21, 2015

(part 293) Yesterdays, Today, And Tomorrow



I sit here in 2015 looking back to 1985 when I left Los Angeles and Hollywood for good. I didn't just leave a town, I mean I left, lock, stock, and barrel. I left my life there, my dreams there, my longtime plans there. I was like a dead man back then. All that I had ever wanted was connected to that town. So when I finally called it quits, it went a lot further than just changing my address. It was one of the hardest things I ever decided to do. It gutted completely my sense of purpose, and who I was, at least in my own way of thinking. I had lived and died in L.A., literally. It was more than a town, it was a lifestyle. A way of thinking and being. For better or for worse it was my home, so leaving meant I was homeless. "Home is where the heart is" they say, and in my case that was absolutely true. I could find a place to put my body, I always had, but I could not find another place to put my heart. The twenty-two year investment, 1963 to 1985, of all that had been me, was in that town, in it's pavement, strewn from one end to the other. Like leaves on windy day, parts of me still rattle their way through the streets and alley's of the place I called home. To find myself at the point, in 1985, going back to mama, represented, for me, an utter catastrophe and proof that I had failed. Whether or not others agreed with that assessment was immaterial at the time. It was my life, and I had set the sails. I had held fast to the rudder of my own ship, as it's captain, and I had landed on the rocks. So the mental and emotional state I was in, the day I drove away, was that of a beaten man, like it or not, agree or not.

Years later, the past, and my part in it, had faded to the back lot of my thinking. Out of necessity I'd created a new me. A different person with a different plan, in a different place, at a different time. I had remolded, reconfigured, and rewired the old Bobby Jameson into a "worker bee" human with only the daily grind to be concerned with. I learned to care for things like my brother, and mother, and a home that needed tending to. I only occasionally, very occasionally, allowed myself to look back on who I once had been, and what I had once done. It was my survival mechanism. It kept me from regretting the past and hoping for a new chance in the future. The new opportunity, new dream, and new failure syndrome. Looking back, I am still amazed that it took only the voice of a complete stranger, in a single telephone call out of the blue, to interrupt my new way of life. With limited facts, and a single promise, he woke me from my long self-imposed sleep. As a result, I found myself once again living in the possibility universe of old dreams and magic-carpet rides. In the twinkling of an eye, in that single conversation, I was transported into another world that would prove to run contrary to all I had built in the preceding twenty-two years. I was catapulted into the mind numbing world of false promises and candy coated dreams.

Who I had become, between 1985 and 2007, was completely different than who I'd been in L.A., decades earlier. Those who once knew me had no idea of who I'd become. Those who had since learned of me were limited to secondhand stories they had heard, or read about on the internet. I say 2007, because that was the year I finally bought a computer and ventured out into the world of online communication with that old familiar reality I had long ago rejected. It marked the turning point of me reclaiming my old self in public. It quickly taught me I had no idea of what I would find online until I found it. No idea of who I'd encounter until I encountered them. It disrupted my life, and the lives of my family, in a way that is hard to explain. It split me in two. My time was suddenly, dual purposed, instead of that of a single minded responsible person who had learned to do what was necessary to make life run reasonably well. The edition of old friends, and lovers, again, split my attention away from the daily tasks of getting along with my more mundane way of life. I began to get lost in the old ideas of the past, and susceptible to the desires and words of others. I went back to making my emotional well being dependent on what they did, instead of what I did. I allowed my world to be turned upside down by the same old things I had walked away from twenty-two years earlier.

So now it is March of 2015, and both Bill and mom are gone. It is with that on my mind that I write these words today. The regrets that I live with for wasting time away from them while I chased after the things of yesterday. The carelessness of selfishness that leaves it's mark on life, yet is only seen in hindsight after the damage has been done. I would give up all of my yesterdays, today, and tomorrows, for a single hour with them both. An hour I would spend making them know how utterly important they were, and are, to my life. Regrettably, that is not possible.




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Friday, March 20, 2015

(part 292) Who Had The Right?


                                   me, mom, and bill


As I continue trying to secure legal representation for my brother, Bill, because of his unnecessary death at the hands of various doctors, medical, and care facilities, I end up feeling the same way I felt while fighting for my own rights in the music industry. A lot of, "Gee that's too bad, but I can't help you Bub!" I know what "no help" feels like and what it produces in the long run, and it is virtually nothing. The endless words, comments, and suggestions, boil down to....you're on your own.... I have been on my own for most of my life. It's the oldest and deepest complaint I have about being alive. Those who would like to help, but can't, versus those who could, but won't. Not once, since the day I was born, have I ever had the experience of another human being coming along and offering real and serious help, other than my mother. My emotional reaction and frustration in attempting to advocate for, Bill, who was terribly wronged, is pathetic. I have already heard too much, "Well don't let it get you down, or let go and move on." This kind of crap is the denial of reality. It is emotional cruelty disguised as help. It is in fact someone saying, "Oh shut up and quit complaining!" It is the process by which real complaints are dismissed, by some, as unnecessary whining by those who were actually wronged and/or harmed. Since I have nowhere else to go, and no one else to talk to, I share my frustrations about these kinds of things here on these pages. I suppose it will become another one of the deeply painful things in life that one is left alone with to sort out on their own. There have been too many already telling me how to cope with these losses, casually announcing from on high, that this is just part of life. Really? So life is where we just get fucked, over and over, and we ought to damn well get used to it, because nothing can be done about it? I find that intolerable as a suggested remedy, or pathway to peace of mind, even though it may well prove to be the case in the long run.

The days and nights alone, attempting to grapple with these questions, and their possible solutions, is tiring at best, and leaves me pondering what the next step is. At times I feel like giving up on the whole thing and just walking away, saying, "Well I did the best I could!" But deep down inside I have to ask myself, "Did I? Have I?" It is an insistence that comes back, again and again, as I search my mind and soul for answers. When do I know if I have done all I can do? When will the time come that I can put down my need to do more? I have worked on this problem since early June, when my mother had her first stroke, and then through the subsequent problems of Bill spiraling downward as the resultant fear of losing his great protector, my mother, loomed before him. In Bill's mind, and rightly so, our mother, was the single force that stood between him and the idiots. And without her there to protect him, Bill knew, and again, rightly so, that he was doomed. His life, and hers, were intertwined like Ivy growing along a fence line. The two of them together had formed a mutual dependency on each other, whether by choice or accident. I spent years, decades, learning to understand, and accept, that this arrangement was both real and necessary. It is now, by looking back, that I see, full scale, how utterly important they had become to each other. It is this that drives me. This that makes me want to pursue an answer to the question of, "Who had the right to destroy their pact? Why are they both now victims of stupidity and malpractice?"

I find myself torn by the various possible outcomes to all of this. I think daily about who I believed I could rely on for needed emotional support through all of this. The answers are not there, and so I am left with the confusion and sadness that remains in place of the missing persons I was sure would be here...

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Saturday, March 14, 2015

(part 291) Of Time And Space


                         my brother quentin, my mother, me, and bill


Don't get me wrong. I've met some people online I truly like, and respect, in the virtual sense of the word. But at times I find myself so alone at this computer that it makes me numb. The occasional glimpse into the reality of, where I am and why, is devastating to the point of tears and anger. If my health were better I can easily see that life, my life, would not be as constricted as it has been, and continues to be. Only a short while ago I had the daily arrival of my brother Bill, and the 24-hour companionship of my mother. We all had a great deal to share with each other, and we were all artists, so we had that in common too. Bill's drawings, and my mother's writing and painting, fit right in with my work on this blog for the last seven or eight years. The loss of both of them, one after the other, in a matter of months, completely altered my life.

The daily knowledge, that there is, or shortly will be, someone to communicate with is gone. The habit of it is not. The need of it is not gone. Like a pulse, it taps out, clickity click, it's old familiar rhythm as before. As I walk through the house I am confronted with all of their things daily. I am glad I have their things. It gives me a feeling of connection to them, a sense of continuance with them. My brother's art work, and writing, of which there is a great deal, and my mother's work as well. I look through it, read it, handle it, and feel their presence. I talk to them as if they were still here, and remember moments with them and smile. The little things. The human things. They keep me honest, and I proceed on as they would want me to, expect me to do.

So the computer, and my ability to make use of the virtual world, to capture in history, the work of this family, and their collective personalities, I see as a good thing. A thing that would not have been possible without the online connections I have at my disposal. It is that capacity that I am grateful for, and make use of constantly, or whenever the mood strikes me. No one knew of my brother Bill's artwork, outside of a handful of people, until I began posting it on facebook.   Bill Jameson Art       
As well, my mother, and her varied array of interests, and talents, were not known either, until I began posting her work on facebook. Her surprise, as well as my brother Bill's, at the response to their work was heartwarming as hell to be honest. They had never had so much attention and praise as they received from that simple act of letting people see their work.  my mother's art
I am glad I did it while they were here, so I could witness their childlike responses to the acceptance they received from strangers. The work they both did, all of their lives, was for the most part hidden away from the world, and both of them were timid about how it, and how they, were viewed by human beings throughout their lives. Neither of them had ever experienced any kind of real acceptance, as artists, until the work itself was available for people to see.

So for me, the world of online reality, or unreality, is a mixed blessing for sure. It allows for certain things perfectly, while at the same time, disallows, the deep satisfaction of real companionship and personal connection. No matter how hard I try to connect with people there is always that ever present void between us, of time and space. A separation that cannot be denied, or overcome, without real personal contact.

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