Columns

Interview with Ryan Bry

First things first; my entire waking life has been driven by a desire to accomplish something worthy of interrogation, one of my earliest story ideas (unrealized) concerned a ghost who interviews a child in bed.  So thank you, and considering the state of your health, Manners, that story could now be nonfiction.
 
1) What does your home and hometown of St. Louis mean to you?
 
See, Manners, those are two very different questions.  I’ll detail my home first.  
 
I’m typing this on the plot of my first home, a “ranch house,” which I watched as it was demolished by bulldozers when I was wee.  The ranch house had a porch-swing, raspberry bushes, and a bathtub that was sinking through the floor (which, I was told, was why it had to be destroyed).  I hope you’ve now imagined me among heaped housing remains . . . cushioned in tarnished Tyvek House Wrap as I plod away on my laptop which is the only source of light on the dingy tract.  The truth is I’m on my bed in the burbs of “The Lou,” queen size, in my “new home”: (lived in for roughly my whole 24 years, save escapades to Hendrix College in Conway, AR, followed by a stint in Sarasota, FL and then to Stockbridge, MA) surrounded by hundreds of books I haven’t read, on a laptop that contains hundreds of films I haven’t seen, and articles of clothing I’ve worn a million times over, and numerous props for my upcoming film titled Ever Know You.  Well, now I’ve begun describing my room . . . which is a separate entity from my home.  All of my rooms have been “separate entities,” my rooms are anomalous events.  And you could make the logical jump and say that I’m the “separate entity” from my home.  It’ll be Thursday in seven minutes and my mother Darlene is probably asleep upstairs and my brother Jackson is probably asleep above her.  The home I’m living in is both a place of paralyses and freedoms, these come with comfort (which many of us 20-somethings still living in their childhood home will understand).  It was in this home that I decided I wanted to be great, after reading James Joyce’s wikipedia entry or something equally absurd.  I decided that since I came into a world where there are no conceivably necessary actions I needed to find something necessary, and that that is what greatness is.  Finding the “necessary” actions and completing them.  I love this quote by Saint Francis of Assisi: “Start by doing what’s necessary; then do what’s possible; and suddenly you are doing the impossible.”  My father had a similar quote on a paperweight in the office he had built in this home, the office which housed the computer where I would go from reading wikipedia entries of famous authors to watching anime music videos willy-nilly.  The paperweight read: “The difficult we do immediately; the impossible takes a little longer;” google tells me this was the motto of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers during World War II.  Google tells me everything.  Anyway I came to the erroneous conclusion that “everything had been done” so I’d need to offer something different.  Very different.  I’ve now come to the understanding (hence the aforementioned term “erroneous”), over years, that every human thought is original and that that originality is matched by an equally original response in the universe, or action by an observer.  Just a fair warning as you continue . . . I like to “think about thoughts,” which I’m aware puts a lot of people off because it seems uncanny, or woo, or something.  Continuing: when I’d be riding in the car I’d look at all the homes going by and think “I’d like to be in all those homes.”  As if my work was some kind of fireside chat like FDR did.  I guess I’ve always had an ego.  One of the things that sucks about having an ego is that you perceive of everyone else in your life as obstacles who do nothing but try to bring you back down to earth when you don’t want to be there, whether this is true of the other or not.  And so you start looking for new relationships with folks who let you indulge your whim.  It’s a very “modern human” dilemma, like most dilemmas.  And there’s truth there.  I’m a solipsist, but a repentant one—which is even worse.  It’s stuffy, I’m lighting some incense.  I invite you to do the same, resources permitting.  And throw on my favorite album (Talk Talk – THE RAINBOW – 1988 as I am.  I suppose I’d like to be part of a home where I didn’t feel like a “separate entity,” but as Renny mentioned in his interview . . . you know, the “do I really want to be part of a club that would have me as a member” aphorism.
 
My hometown.  St. Louis.  Here’s a relevant tweet, (and I’ll get into my twitter page further down the page):
 
St. Louis is a midwestern hive for hidden excess, whereas most other cities in the United States offer open excess.  If you’re “in town” you have to act classy & cool, barring all intention.  And let’s be real . . . who has good intentions in 2k18?  The atmosphere of “hidden excess” definitely shaped my personality.  St. Louis has a very deep concern about race, one which I have the privilege to ignore . . . or perhaps address sideways.  The way I see it, we’re all mortals.  Humanity’s existence is a brief but decisive rebellion against the void, which may or may not exist.  The Dred Scott case, which would go on to the Supreme Court, was initially held in a St. Louis courthouse.  He lost.  In the Civil War, Missouri was a border state.  Spoiler alert: The South lost.  I, like my home-state, too have trouble picking sides (but rarely do I need to decide my support for a war, which is another privilege of mine).  I’m anti-war, though.  I suppose.  I briefly pondered entering the U.S. Navy.  I like the oceans.  And if you know anything about St. Louis, you’d know it’s just about America’s city furthest from the oceans.  When I was a newborn my parents took me to Naples, FL.  Being in St. Louis is always being in the middle, and that makes it full of people who want to reach “the next step.”  That includes me.  “It’s a good place to raise a family,” is what they say about it.  When my mom moved to St. Louis—my dad’s hometown—from Massachusetts, the people there told her “so you’re going to live on a pig-farm?”  My mom likes to tell that story.
 
2) Your poems contain offhand allusions to video games and technology. Can you describe how those two have influenced you and your work, and the poems themselves? What is social media like to you? Online dating?
 
See, Manners, those are four very different questions.  I’ll detail the influence of vidya and tech on me first.
 
Well, I can recall the first time I truly appreciated the artistry of a work and it was while playing Tales of Symphonia on the gamecube.  I was probably around 10 or 11, which I imagine is a bit late for that.  It was a very profound experience.  I even cried.  It happened in the same room I’m typing this in, in the basement “game room” which is now my bedroom.  There was a big TV here, where a bunch of clothes and memory boxes are now.  Tales of Symphonia is a Japanese role-playing game that involves an angel named Gabriel manifesting himself to a group of teenagers with the message that among them Colette will restore life-force to the world Sylvarant and the rest of the gang must protect her on this journey.  They learn later that completing this task will deprive Sylvarant’s hidden mirror world “Tethe’alla” of its energy and then their monomythic cycle is catalyzed as they scramble to unite both worlds in harmony and defeat the antagonist Yggdrasil—named after the Norse God for The Tree of Life—before he ushers in his “Age of Lifeless Beings.”  It’s an empowering story; an impossible story with a slew of maniacal twists.  I’m fond of those.  The protagonist of the Lore sections of Information Blossoms has the name “Sylva Ran” after the world Sylvarant and the antagonist has the name “Torden Alla” after Tethe’alla.  Sylva with the Latin for “forest” and Torden with the Danish for “thunder,” which I nicked from Joyce’s Finnegans Wake.  I took the “t” off “Rant” to invoke the Kurosawa film, and “Alla,” you know . . . for God—and the character thinks of himself that way.  Writers probably put more thought into their character’s name than parents do their children.  I was named after Nolan Ryan, baseball pitcher, by the way.  And my mom’s favorite actor is Ryan O’Neal from Paper Moon.  I’m happy with my name and I like hearing it, Ryan Martin Bry.  Pronounced like the cheese, which I like as well.  Ryan means “little king” in Irish, and I am somewhat of an ineffectual tyrant.  I’m one of those who believes that names are an arcane technology, and that their invention sparked consciousness itself and not the other way around.  Going back to vidya, I’ve spent very much of my life feebly pressing in inert buttons to activate an on-screen advance, magic, or potion or whatever.  My Steam library tells me I have 3,867 hours on Dota 2, a staple of “4th Floor Martin Hall,” or the “Sadboys.”  My floor-mates while I was attending Hendrix College.  One of my good friends from that time, Kip (whom I met on the night of “Robots & Sluts,” which I will not detail, as she and her friends knocked on my door and introduced themselves as the previous members of the room and told me how they named the room—Martin 419—”The Peak” while they were on acid, and how one of them defenestrated a speaker system) got a ring from me, I wanted to chat, while she was working at a bar in Alaska, and her phone was on the bar and the old men who frequented the bar saw the name I put in there as “SADBOY” + some absurd emojis and went “Hey Kip, Sad-Boy’s calling you!”  These days technology is ubiquitous, and I’d very much like to make poetry ubiquitous.  Even if this desire spurs an inter-dimensional quest with a gang full of betrayals that leads me to the conclusion that there’s poetics inherent in technology, and technology inherent in poetics: especially if that happens . . . I guess.
 
Tech’s influence on poems themselves.  Well, I type all of my poems on my ASUS laptop and rarely do I edit anything in them, save for petty rearrangements and petty additions/subtractions.  My poems are futurists, if futurists could cry & act stupid.
 
I suppose my mom wasn’t asleep because she facebook messaged me three “can’t sleep” gifs.  Took an intermission to converse with her.
 
Social media’s a strange beast, casualties of the zeitgeist.  My friend nicknamed “The Reeceter Bunny” encouraged me to get a twitter in order to get twitter famous like Mira Gonzalez or Tao Lin.  7,639 tweets later (not accounting for the few times I’ve employed the use of “tweet delete”) and I’ve got 225 followers, but I’ve come to accept that’s typical for a local.  The creation of my twitter was during “peak” alt-lit, 2014.  I got all my friends to read Taipei, whose author I had heard of from 4chan’s /lit/ page: the “Go to bed, Tao,” reply that would inevitably surface—accusing him of self-promotion—whenever mentions of his work would appear made me laugh.  I saw online sometime in 2012 that he was selling things like his blender to stay afloat and I offered him some money, $40 if I recall correctly, for miscellaneous items.  He sent me a draft of the first few pages of Taipei with copious handwritten edits, some books (“Shoplifting” in Spanish, During My Nervous Breakdown I Want To Have a Biographer Present by Brandon Scott Gorrell, Mira’s book which I already owned, and a few more), a thing of chapstick, a surgical mask, some mixed CDs (the one I played most had cuts from Rilo Kiley, Broken Social Scene, Ben Gibbard projects), a picture of Koko the gorilla, some disposable camera photos like the one I’ve added here:
 
(idk who’s pictured)
 
(signature and date of 12/4/12)
 
and some more crap I can’t recall.  I don’t think Tao Lin’s a good person—he’s funny though—and I can’t ignore his influence on my online presence when I was quite impressionable.  I’ve put this on now btw: (The Avalanches – Live At The Cornerstone (25 minute mix)).  My social media shtick—cause it’s a shtick not a brand—is basically, if you’re not being ridiculous online . . . what are you doing?  There’s a Seinfeld episode where Jerry jokes about “the scoff,” and how that’s all there is really to fear.  If my tweet elicits “the scoff” I’ll consider it successful.  Maybe I’m facing mankind’s most elusive enemy—and mankind’s enemies are all elusive—maybe I’m just a jerkwad with wifi.
 
Online dating?  You wanna turn this into a tea party?
 
3) There are many dedications to actual people, living and deceased, in Information Blossoms, as well as places, imagination, dreams, films. Describe the role of memory as it occurs with absurdity and the heartfelt.
 
See, Manners, those are zero questions.  In fact, that’s a demand.  And I’ll indulge you because as you referred to me on the phone some hours earlier, I’m your “dutiful stooge,” your “Sancho Panza” squire.
 
I’m very attached to my memory.  That’s a pisces trait (was born on 3/3), and I have just about all of them.  Observant, sensitive, creative, quiet, spiritual, active dreamer, and so on.  Remembering is such an absurd act, and I’m very fond of the kind of absurd acts that don’t hurt others.  Remembering alone is basically you trying to prove to yourself that you exist, and remembering with others is basically you trying to prove to yourself that the other exists.  No matter how much I grow I know I’ll never leave my middle school emo phase.  Middle school emo is ubiquitous.  I’ve dedicated this book to my grandmother Charlene Bry, who nicknamed herself Bebe after my birth and passed on this July.  She had a very full life, philanthropist and all.  She was a published author of nonfiction, a history of the affluent county Ladue—Ladue Found—where she resided & World of Plants: The Missouri Botanical Garden, some tidbits on the wonderful garden we have here in St. Louis.  She was very much a St. Louis gal, and she’d always get recognized when we went out . . . although she’d mostly only go to places where she’d be recognized.  She had all of these business/book ideas.  I probably get that from her, the book ideas anyway.  She was very into the plan for one of her grandchildren to start developing iPhone apps.  Her last project was a piece of writing on the backers (early supporters) of Charles Lindbergh, who flew the airplane Spirit of St. Louis across the Atlantic in 1927.  Of course, she didn’t agree with his politics but she couldn’t resist a St. Louis success story because that’s what she was, of course.  The sudden, unexpected death of my father in March 2017 and then my grandmother’s slow passing months ago has filled St. Louis with haunted maturity, the kind that the city almost flaunts.  The city has some kind of backwards propriety I’m afraid I understand much too well.  I’d like to move soon to a place I don’t understand.  I’m making good use of my active memory now, as an argument my mother had with her ex-boyfriend Mark Pannebecker—providing his name to plug a fellow St. Louis author (of a fool’s journey: a series with titles from the tarot, & others)—comes to me, about the Eric Clapton song “Tears in Heaven.”  He had claimed that Clapton was profiting from tragedy on that track, and my mother took the stance that if he had experienced tragedy as an artist he should write about it, and the profits are beside the point.  Pretty sure I told her “the song sucks, so who cares?”  There’s tragedy everywhere, there’s love everywhere.  Escape it all with Information Blossoms.
 
I like the idea of dedication accompanying a piece of art, and there are many dedicated poems in Information Blossoms because there are so many important people in each of our lives, so many moving parts that deserve to be addressed.  I love Joyce’s romance, how Nora was his inspiration for it all even though she was just some plain Irish girl who never cared for his genius and wished he had had a palatable career in music instead.  I feel I could write a Ulysses about any of my friends or lovers.  I have the best friends.
 
Dreams are very important to me.  They’re like witnessing different facets of the singularity at once.  Much of my waking life involves random resurgences of dream memories.  I just had one that my ex’s sister was working in a brain factory in Antarctica.  That’s a pretty typical dream for me.  I’ll share my most recent entry from the Arclantis dream journal discord channel.  It’s a group of online friends which was founded based on a shared interest in astral projection but it’s “evolved” into shitposting.  The server’s been up for almost two years.
 
“had a dream i was in Canada watching a young Morrissey out a window in the rain, he was doing a ‘performance.’ he went inside and i went down the stairs to follow him. i went into a place that looked like the entrance to a mental hospital, those big metal doors. i got in line and told the dude my name and then took a filled out scantron from the printer, it had my name on it which said “Ryan Bybbe” and i shrugged and thought that was close enough. i went down the hallway and into a classroom and one of my friends was teaching. i saw people i knew from high school. i said hello to crystal johnson and said it was nice to see her in Canada, and at this point i knew it was a dream. i saw on the board there were rankings that went: 1: heaven 2: fear 3: purgatory 4: hell, my name was next to heaven. i said to my friend matan who was sitting next to me (and also teaching) Morrissey doesn’t believe in purgatory. i noticed that another board just had the word Joyce written on it and that made me happy cause i love James Joyce. the teacher (matan) asked a question and i raised my hand and said ‘but what if this is a dream and i’m really in another classroom somewhere?’ then i woke up.” — 08/06/2018.
 
I don’t post my dreams often anymore, when I did I dreamt more and I’d rather not.  I see my childhood friends in dreams a lot, dream characters switching roles is not unusual, and the same goes for appearing in locations I’ve never been.  The motif of trying to decipher whether I’m in a dream or reality is consistent.  Whenever I ask a dream character they always say we’re in reality.  The transition between dreams to waking life is harsh for me; if it were up to me I’d stay in reality all the time to avoid it.  When you’re asleep it’s as if you’re constantly trying to reach yourself but you’re never there.
 
4) Many of these poems veer toward glossolalia, lettrism, unusual punctuation, and there’s a playful freedom in some of the more percussive, cacophonous ones in here. I understand this style emerged recently. Describe your shift from the two-tone bubblegum of your earlier works to the frenzied chaos and dissonance of later works. Did anything in your life bring this about?
 
See, Manners . . . alright I’ll drop it.  I guess that’s what makes me different from bibles, who never drops it (to the man’s credit, of course).
 
The reader deserves some context here.  These poems & hybrids are not in chronological order, they’ve been arranged artfully by the venerable Manuel Marrero with the narrative arc of the 1927 film Sunrise in mind—my favorite silent film.  The first pieces in the book to be written were all of the hybrids, which were constructed in Ty Jaeger’s Literary Hybrids class at Hendrix fall of 2013.  Excepting the poem “Polygon Cathedral/American Poetry,” which was inspired by a trip with friends to Subiaco Abbey, a monastery in Arkansas, and by Heather Christle’s poetry.  It came earlier, and was my first piece to appear in Hendrix College’s literary magazine: The Aonian.  Tales of Symphonia was my final project for that Hybrids class.  Although, they’ve been tagged the “(Lore)” pieces in the book.  Manny said we couldn’t get away with using the title, those video game companies man.  (got Steely Dan’s first record) Those “two-tone bubblegum” works I feel a slight aversion to, because they were written on a time when I was on heavy medication, antipsychotics: which was a very necessary thing, at one point.  More on that further down.  The lethargy and ambivalence in the older ones absolutely reflects my mood on the drugs.  Your phrase “playful freedom” accurately represents my current lifestyle/mood/poetic style, I’d say.  More exact to me than “frenzied chaos and dissonance.”  I don’t experience my recent output that way, they reach me as more intentional—they read like deliberate breaths to me instead of the careless ones of the past.  Abrasive things bring me a kind of comfort; I meditate to musicians like Stockhausen.  I’m a slave to that “poetic distance/transcendental longing” thing.  Getting more and more deliberate is how I imagine most folks experience aging—and I’m not excluding myself.  It’s a good thing.
 
5) Who are some of your favorite authors, directors, musicians, artists? How do they influence your work?
 
Novelists/Poets: Flann O’Brien, Alasdair Gray, James Joyce, Richard Brautigan, Heather Christle, Boris Pasternak, Philip K. Dick, Emily Dickinson, Borges, Wallace Stevens, Grant Morrison, Dostoyevsky, Victor Pelevin, John the Apostle, Kafka, Lydia Davis, Salman Rushdie, all “The Beats,” Zadie Smith, Camus.
 
Filmmakers: Andrei Tarkovsky, Terrence Malick, Richard Linklater, Harmony Korine, Lars von Trier, Truffaut, Jodorowsky, Kubrick, Robert Altman, Gaspar Noé, Cronenberg, David Lynch, Hal Hartley, Wes Anderson, Kieslowski, Akira Kurosawa, Werner Herzog (whom I saw speak in Hot Springs, AR), PTA, Resnais, Fellini, Spike Jonze, Agnes Varda, Orson Welles, Hitchcock, Aronofsky, Thomas Vinterberg, Godfrey Reggio, Todd Haynes, The Coen bros, Wong Kar-Wai, Terry Gilliam, but I also like capeshit so.
 
Maestros: Joanna Newsom, Julia Holter, Cocteau Twins, The Jesus and Mary Chain, The Beatles, The Cure, Robert Schumann, Talk Talk, Chuck Berry, Yung Lean & The Sadboys, REM, Yellow Magic Orchestra, Madonna, Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds, Tom Waits, George Harrison, The Beach Boys, The Chi-Lites, all of Mathew Lee Cothran’s projects, Animal Collective, Syd Barrett & The Pinkboys, The Cranberries, Sun Ra, Derrick Harriot, Fleetwood Mac, The Velvet Underground, Bright Eyes, Orange Juice, Jeffrey Lewis, Cat Power, The Pogues, Andrew Jackson Jihad, Neil Young, Jonathan Richman & The Modern Lovers, Bob Dylan, Pulp, The Cascades, Yellow Swans, whatever’s on 88.1 KDHX, Dumbo Gets Mad, Slowdive, Steely Dan, Scott Walker, Tim Hardin, Jacques Brel, David Bowie, Arthur Russell, any vaporwave artist, Davis, Coltrane, the list goes on.
 
Painters: Wassily Kandinsky, Basquiat.
 
6) What are you working on next?
 
Ever Know You; it’s a non-linear feature film with a Linklater/Korine vibe.  My friends will be the actors/crew/soundtrack providers.  I’ve got a lot of talented friends.  The script features girls wearing flaming black angel wings, friends sliding in a greased up inflatable pool down Art Hill (St. Louis landmark), hipsters arguing on the existence of aliens, the lead role reading excerpts of Junkie over the William S. Burroughs grave in Bellefontaine Cemetery, etc.
 
7) Describe the role of mental illness in your art.
 
I’m living with a diagnosed mental illness.  Schizoaffective.  If you don’t know what that is, to put it simply it’s like the symptoms of schizophrenia and bipolar combined.  In me, the illness manifested in the form of obsessive delusions and mood swings.  I had a huge months-long breakdown that began gaining traction around November 2014 and culminated in a psychosis February 2015.  I’ve been met consistently with one of two reactions when I express some of the delusions I’ve had: fear or interest.  Fear, although it is a natural, understandable reaction to this, is extremely unproductive because the mentally unwell experience enough of that.  Martin Prechtel goes more in depth on this subject in his talk “Grief and Praise,” available here: (Grief and Praise part 1 ) The primary objective of humanity is to share stories . . . stories nurture good will.  When a story is dismissed because it seems too impossible just remember how the lot of us are putting air into our lungs that’s been incubated in an entirely incomprehensible number of years of cosmic disturbance & balance.  The pathologization of these types of musings is an absurdity, considering humanity’s long history of it.  I have a problem with these docs—whose main preoccupations concern the weather, quality of their steak, bank account balance, how fuckable their wives are—telling me my philosophies on the state of the modern human race, a zeitgeist that’s been building in the canon basically forever, is a disease, a disease comprised of thoughts, words.  I’ve spent a lot of time in the psyche ward (most times on voluntary admission), although I’ve been out for about a year—close to the same duration that I’ve ceased taking all forms of medication.  Nearly every time I would ingest a pill—and I’ve been on nearly every psyche pill there is—I would think to myself “it’s leech swallowing time,” because that’s what mood drugs are.  I’m very intolerant of this “science culture,” whose argument seems to be that the universe—which inhabits all of our senses—somehow occurred randomly and yet can be understood rationally.  I feel as though humanity’s stupidity needs to be embraced—kick back with a PBR and throw on Dragonball instead of watching news designed to make you angry with grating soundbytes.  Antipsychotics sapped my energy, making me unfit to do anything except eat and sleep a sleep filled with dreams blighted with nauseating twists, discomfiting grotesques, and endless false awakenings.  They’re designed to make you so unfit that you can no longer imagine personality in yourself, and the drugs feed off fear.  Stop pathologizing personality 2k19.  These pills make you feel like shit so you try and go off them, get withdrawals and end up needing to go to the hospital where instead of weening you off they just up your dose and the cycle continues: the docs making bank off prescribed fear.  When I went to jail for breaking my college apartment window with my guitar & jettisoning all of my belongings into the wood (climax psychosis time, baby) I screamed “WHY AM I HERE?!” and a lady a cell over said flatly: “money. they want money.”  We live in a very reactionary culture, people are very easy to say “something must be done,” when there is nothing to do.  Let me be, and I’ll let you be you.  Come to me with interest and I’ll meet you.  If you’re interested in reading more like this stay tuned for my short memoir titled Just It.
 
 
People will see mental illness in the art I offer, that’s fine.  I don’t really see it, I see it more in the celestial mundanity of everyday stimuli.  It’s everywhere for me, my art is an escape from it.  I hit a breaking point years ago, where I decided I would push my thoughts to their most extreme limits.  My mind became an experiment for me.  I’m not like that much anymore, or at least I try to keep from going there.  But I get relief through pushing words to their limits, exploring tangible experiments.  I think words are material.
 
8) What is poetry and writing in general with regard to your artistic freedom?
 
Poetry is the most indulgent of all the art forms which is why it comes most easily to me.  Composing a poem is like riding out an exhale.  Other artistic expressions provide more barriers, there’s more technicalities & headaches.  Writing poems isn’t very rewarding save for the times when you uncover something; there’s a few like that in Information Blossoms.  I won’t name them but they’re very obvious.
 
9) Tell me about the women and men in your life.
 
I don’t see women and men, I see children and children.
 
10) You’re a young up-and-comer, an upstart, a phenom. What should people know picking up a book by a previously unpublished author whose work they aren’t acquainted with, a book called Information Blossoms?
 
I’m a song and dance man.
 
11) Do you prefer to write poetry, fiction, nonfiction, direct films, make music, or do it all? What’s the difference for you?
 
There’s value in it all.  That’s why I want to do it all.  The most rewarding out of them all is film directing, because it involves everything and I’m an everything type fellow.  The thing I’m proudest of in my life is my short film “Adam.”  You can watch it here: Adam.  I’m a big fan of emotional intensity.  There’s been quite a lot in my life.  It feels good to be able to spit it back instead of being the sponge sometimes.  I’ve been a sponge for a long while.  I’ve witnessed enough, dreamed enough.  It’s time to spit it back.
 
12) What keeps you up at night? What philosophical concerns and preoccupations drive your work? What tragedies and epiphanies have shaped your path of discovery and introspection? 
 
Well, to start, I have a massive fear of death.  That’s common for people with egos who thrive in reality.  Kant wrote: “One can feel well but one can never know one is well.”  He was a hypochondriac.  I go through phases of hypochondria and abandon.  The massive amount of perceiving flesh in this world confounds me.  The idea of consciousness as a medical condition confounds me.  Footage of crowds disturb me deeply.  The concept of “revealing” is a preoccupation of mine.  I feel as though I’m an open book, yet everyone tells me I’m hard to read.  The world is delighted to reveal itself to you.  Missouri is the “Show Me” state.  The inevitability of death scares me.  People say it’s just the fear of the unknown, I don’t think it applies.  You aren’t there anymore, it’s known.  I’m not afraid of the pain, pain is temporary.  The permanence of not-being scares me.  It seems impossibly fantastical.  I’d rather not be floating in a transcendental nothing between lives forever.  Give me something to hold on to.  Not-being is even more fantastical than any of humanity’s gestures at an afterlife.  I do believe in Jesus Christ, and I attend Catholic mass, but I suppose my belief is rather sideways.  I don’t believe in a heaven or hell; I can’t convince myself that there exists a realm of only bliss and a realm of only pain.  I don’t really believe in God either.  However, I read The Book of Revelations often, it’s my favorite book of The Bible.  My favorite psalm is psalm 23.
 
Psalm 23 King James Version (KJV)

23 The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.

He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters.

He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.

Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.

Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.

Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever.

I have faith in every religion; I believe humankind shares a common interest in existence.  I believe the messiah is the culmination of that interest and proof that no matter where you are “you are.”  Everything being a possibility makes everything inevitable, but you need the material.  The material is Christ’s eternal offering from His mortal body.

There’s been a lot of heartbreak in my life.  I love very deeply.

Thanks for reading, I’ll leave you with my favorite song: “Iceblink Luck” by Cocteau Twins