Process, Process

I keep these sketchbooks. I’ve been doing it fairly religiously for about fifteen years, and I wish like hell I’d started sooner. I carry one with me at all times, in case I get THE IDEA. Or an idea. Or even a non-idea.

I used to like drawing stuff from Awake magazine, that hip publication for teens published by the Jehova’s Witnesses. The photography was delightfully strange to me, and the subject matter always cracked me up. Like this poor fellow… “For the social phobic, normal interactions become a nightmarish ordeal,” explained Awake.

In the beginning, I did a lot more drawing… all these cross-hatchy, messy bits of half-connected thoughts. I wanted to be Robert Crumb, minus the T&A and incessant masturbating. I tried my hand at comic strips and panels and odd characters. I kept it next to the bed so that if I woke from weird dream, I could write it down. Over the years, the words started overtaking the pages, for better or worse. A lot of it is nonsense. At some point I discovered automatic writing, where you just write down whatever comes into your head, no matter how insipid. If I was lucky, I’d get all the stupid crap out of the way, and meaningful things would start to emerge, with no more effort than it took to come up with the stupid stuff.

I found this bit of psychosis the other day. I don’t really remember writing it, but I liked it. So I thought I’d share it here:

I have an ant farm. They go about their business everyday, moving bits of soil to and fro. But they have problems, believe you me. Often ants disagree or suffer inner turmoil. When that happens, they pray to me. I try to answer every prayer but there are a lot of them. Anyway, to the ants, I am a god. To those that please me, I show mercy. Those that do not anger me and suffer my wrath.

Sometimes I pick an ant out and put him on my desk. He crawls about, frightened and confused, no knowing what to do. “Silence!” I boom, “Your time has come! What do you have to say for yourself?” If his answer is satisfactory, I place him in a large, clean terrarium, where he will live forever munching on tall, green plants. If his answer is unsatisfactory, I place him in a smaller terrarium, with harsh cement all across the bottom. I shine a hot sunlamp down on the ants in this terrarium, and they have nowhere to hide from the ravenous wasps that hunt them tirelessly. They will cry out to me for help but I will not listen. They should have thought of that before they pissed me off.

Don’t be alarmed. I don’t really have an ant farm, for obvious reasons. I do however, have two children.

Virtually all of the lyrics I’ve written from all of our albums and singles exist in some form in these books, along with the lyrics to songs yet to be made. Since we’re blogging here, I thought It’d be fun to periodically post some pages and bits from these books, and share a bit of our process with those that might be interested. There’s plenty more insipidity where this came from.

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