Nine or Ten Things I’ve Learned About the Process

Photograph by Jose Padua
You can’t be more avant garde than to tear down
the hierarchy of those who seek to limit you.
Playing “The Revolution Will Not Be Televised”
full blast from my mini-van tends to remind the
people flying Confederate flags from the back of
their pickup trucks that Newton’s Third Law maintains
that for every action there is an equal and opposite
reaction. Even though you can catch more flies with
honey it’s better not to waste your time catching flies
and instead get rid of whatever brought the flies here
in the first place. Pretending that Jimi Hendrix is alive
can help you get through the roughest patches but most
of the time you’ll get farthest by thinking about the people
who hinder you and pretending that they’re dead. Loving
everything works just as well as hating everything but
you’ll have a better time if you love everything despite
the embarrassment you feel in times of deep reflection
when you look back at all the things you loved and ask
yourself, “Well, how stupid was that?” Give the things
that help you a name and give the things that hurt you
a number, that way the things that help you will feel
like old friends while the things that hurt will feel
like obscure statistics compiled by full-time employees
lost within the bowels of the cultural bureaucracy, which
means that no one really gives a fuck about them nor
should you. Remember that just like professional wrestling,
everything is fixed, the only way we can change direction
is through the choreography, which means that dancing is
a direct route toward reaching our objectives, even when
the only thing dancing on pointe is an idea in our heads.
Remember your power chords, play your stride piano
because these are the sounds of the people but be ready
to take the music back out to the ozone because this is how
they learn to fly. Pay homage to and remember the past
but remember that we’ve recently discovered that
what happens in the future can sometimes affect what
happens in the past because time and physics are two
things you must fuck with very carefully if at all. And
be silent, oh my sadness, as we move farther and farther
from the planet, and our troubles themselves begin to weep.
Let us meditate on these flowers and the task that lies ahead.

-Jose Padua

Photograph by Jose Padua

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