An Apology From My Liver 


I am Nora's Liver. I detoxify her blood. I will be running a gauntlet this weekend. Nora will not be able to post or write.


Kudos if you get the reference. However, the point stands, the next 4 days will be a gauntlet of drinking for me. Hey, I'm a writer, you should be suspicious if I don't drink.

In short I have my standing night on Thursdays where I drink craft beers with fellow geeks, then Friday and Sunday I have a friend's birthday parties at my 2 favorite clubs in Chicago, and ironically my only night off from drinking should be St. Patrick's day. However much of my blood is Irish, and I think I'm actually obligated to consume mass quantities of beer.

I've been kind of detoxing lately, not drinking much (or trying) so this should be fun. I have a feeling I'll behave like a Brownie Scout at a biker rally.

So in a piss-poor attempt to tie this in to writing, I'll revisit something I've touched on in older posts. Writers and vices, and how they relate to the human experience.  I firmly believe to be even halfway decent at writing fiction, you have to understand the broad experience of human emotions. You must know the heights of pleasure and the depths of pain. You must know achievement and disappointment, the line between fantasy and reality, the flavors of love, lust, hate, and indifference.

In short, to write about life, any facet, you have to experience it. Now here is where writers and musicians have to live in symbiosis, but I never could figure out which one of us is the shark and which is the little cleaning fish.

I'm going to throw up some musical examples of emotions we feel, but have no names for. Iif you can listen to America's "Tin Man" and understand truly the emotional range of ennui, you're good. 


If you can watch that, listen to the song, and have no idea what I'm talking about, you've never spent time with a group of friends quietly observing and desperately trying to figure out what's missing in your life, and if they have all the pieces they seem to. In short, you've never truly questioned yourself and your role in the universe. The emotion there is something between loneliness and isolation, but without the jagged edge of pain. it's the moment when you ook at you social circle and introspectively begin to ask yourself where the source of bonds with your fellow man come from, and how much you value them.

If you can listen to Ani DiFrnco's "Both Hands" and frankly not shed a tear, well, you're less of a pussy than I am. But if you do understand that this is the song about what every commitment-phobe fears about love, you get it. I myself am a commitment-phobe (shocking I know considering how much I write about love) but this is the fear: the loss of self, the utter despair that derails you. As fun as the tumble into love is, the fall that comes after it what stays with you the longest. That's the thing that rips you away from your sense of self and the path to your goals, and it's the emotional equivalent to being ripped from the womb. 

On the another side of the bucky ball of love is unrequited. Oh, we all know that chestnut, don't we? I don't even need to put song here, we've all felt it, and at some point or another we've all been friendzoned by some ungrateful douchebag we know and for some reason pine for. But friendzoned is the word for the action, yet there's an emotion. it basically goes like this "look, bitch, I am perfect for you but you're too much of an idiot to see it, you jackass." Yup, girls can be friendzoned too. There's not the best song for it, but Pantera's "Throes of Rejection" comes fucking close.

 

And what about other forms of strange love? What about that almost-disappointment you feel when the chase is over and you've caught a lover (or been caught) and it's not a 10/10 on the passion scale? It's that feeling when you've caught them and the romantic feeling is kind of there, but you're a little disappointed and wonder what to do next.

Well, Walter Egan's got you covered with 'Magnet and Steel."



What about joy? Too much time is spent on the dark side of emotions, and not everyone realizes there are as many shades of happiness as there are of anger or despair.

There's the happiness when you've overcome a bad situation, friendship, or relationship, personified well by Bif Naked in "I Love Myself Today"


What about that odd happiness that comes from just not giving a fuck? Truly not giving a single fuck and just enjoying existing? It seems we have to go back to the '60's to find it with The Drifter's "Up On The Roof."


Now what about anger? I don't mean romantic anger, just anger at another person, and that beuaitufl moment when you know factually you are the one in the right, your head and heart and gut line up, and it's time for them to come to heel. Garbage's first single "Vow" covered it pretty well, but sadly did frame it in a romantic term. So the classic anti-social anthem "Hair of the Dog" by Nazareth covers just general "I will fuck your shit up"edness...oh, wait, it's about a woman? Come on modern musicians, emotions exist without genital contact coming into question! Eh, fuck it, it's a great song




There are so many more, but what I wanted to show you (with song!) is there is a giant range of emotion in human experience. Our vocabulary in English is sometimes so limiting. The interesting thing is cultures that have no words for various reds or pinks see all reds & pinks as one color. Every language has words that can't be translated, and they often cover emotions we feel, we just don;t recognize. Having only general words such as "happiness' "joy" or "anger" provides for a limited mindset. Watch any reality show and you'll see the average man on the street has the emotional range of a dead coyote.

Now how do we truly learn this emotional range? Not by listening to music but by doing, though music helps us to recall it when it's time to write. This weekend, I'm working on shame. As I was writing this, I got invited to 2 events on St. Patrivk's day and I've decided to go with "Shot Cailber" where 2 people at a time square off in Soul Caliber and the winner does a shot. So by night I will experience joy, revelry, new and old friends, and every morning intense self-loathing, shame, and bewilderment.

There. I think I've justified my drinking.