There are many paths to the truth. Yesterday, Avant Garcia weighed in on how to get weirder; today, Mahatma Adam shares his advice.
Dear Weird Lessons,
I'm living in a snow-covered prairie, but I dream of technicolor snafus. How can I get weirder (on a dime)?
Signed, Shipwrecked on an Ocean of Snow
I know the bland, Eucharist wafer of that landscape and how it can gnaw at a person. The spirit of that flat world in snow, it’s like a brown mouse, shifty-eyed hugging the wall, from one corner to the next trailing little shit pellets – no; I pushed my metaphor too far. It’s the little brown mouse inside us all, secretly squeaking towards the warmth of other bodies, bashful, hungry for the light of a home.
It’s far from the doll-house grandeur of Vermont’s Green Mountains or a cutened-up, Colorado ski town. Most landscapes in those places, most mountains feel like you could just barely touch them with your fingertips if you stretched. The flat nothing of Middle America in winter, it’s all horizon, all distance. It’s wholly vacant; it’s other, an inhuman something.
I want you to set aside your rainbow dreams for now – when the first yellow grasses and robins break out from whiteness half-way through March, under a fat blue sky, in contrast, you’ll feel Sanrio or Sailor Moon enough. Instead, I want to see you trudge further out over that vacant horizon, pass through the blandness. In thigh-high snow, find the prairie’s belly button and, emotionally, tunnel into her belly. You should wallow til you’re birthed again, metaphorically, with ribbons of fur and warm blood. Your claws and teeth, your gums will be rainbow-colored, and you can hide them or show them as you wish.
You should indulge in strange thoughts that only make sense when there’s more stars than sun. I want to see you shovel someone’s driveway on a new moon night, draw all over it with rainbow chalk, then put the snow back. Stand on the porch and pretend to smoke until you get a nicotine buzz. Combat seasonal depression by filling your coat pockets with Indian food when you’re in the city – when people smell you and stare, you’ll be smiling uncontrollably. Write some incredible paragraph and take out a blank sheet of paper – note each letter once in order of appearance, and that’s your new alphabet. This alphabet will need its own song, and you should forget it’s not the only alphabet song.
I want you to practice being quiet. See how long you can stand silent in the entry to PacSun before someone forces you not to. Drive to the top of a parking garage when it’s snowing, look out over the ledge and unfocus your eyes until you’re totally drunk. Get as close behind a person waiting on the bus as you can, maybe standing back to back, and reach out with your fingertips towards their fingertips – don’t touch, you want to hover fingertips over fingertips as long as possible. Get close enough for long enough and close your eyes, imagine the most mundane things in their life, and you might nearly see backwards through them. You might approach the infinite limit between two consciousnesses – not sure what color that is, but I bet it’s white.
It might be that consciousness doesn’t exist; we’re just neural functions and material objects, consciousness a metaphor – practice that in February, it’s the shortest month.
This winter you’ve been stranded in is a hungry little mouse-spirit, but it could also be a fat, unopened present. Yes, it may be empty inside when you open the box, but its vacantness is a mirror. It reflects an image we ignore: our own stuffness/thingness as human bodies. In warmer weather, it’s easier to run around all day, tearing into things with our teeth to keep us from stopping our running around, using our organs to eat other organs for energy, not thinking about it.
This winter is for practicing not being dead, so go do something weird and pointless.
I hope that helps,
Mahatma Adam F. Jay-Z PhD
Adam Jordan has had poetry published in Fence and other classy publications, none under his own name recently. He also plays noise ‘songs’ under the moniker School of Drums.