Breithlá Sona, Maud Gonne!

Maud Gonne

Happy Birthday to the Irish revolutionary and feminist activist, Maud Gonne! Born 21 December 1866 in Tongham, England, Gonne is perhaps best known for her turbulent “relationship” with poet William Butler Yeats, who penned much of his lyrical, romantic work with Gonne as his muse. Won over to the cause of Irish independence from British subjugation by the plight of evicted landowners, and by her relationship with politician Lucien Millevoye, Gonne was working for the release of Irish political prisoners when she first met Yeats in 1889, who promptly fell in love with her. Over the next decade or so, she would turn down multiple proposals of marriage by the lovesick poet, viewing him as insufficiently radical in his Irish nationalism. Gonne also believed Yeats’ unrequited love for her was a windfall to his career as a poet, asserting:

” … you make beautiful poetry out of what you call your unhappiness and are happy in that. Marriage would be such a dull affair. Poets should never marry. The world should thank me for not marrying you.”

While many of Yeats most known and enduring works on the subject of love and longing were written with Maud Gonne in mind, the following is one I find of interest today.

Wild Swans at Coole by http://kaycullenpainting.com

Wild Swans at Coole by http://kaycullenpainting.com

A Song
(from The Wild Swans at Coole, William Butler Yeats, 1919)

I thought no more was needed
Youth to prolong
Than dumb-bell and foil
To keep the body young.
O who could have foretold
That the heart grows old?

Though I have many words,
What woman’s satisfied,
I am no longer faint
Because at her side?
O who could have foretold
That the heart grows old?

I have not lost desire
But the heart that I had;
I thought ‘twould burn my body
Laid on the death-bed,
O who could have foretold
That the heart grows old?

William Butler Yeats


© Ryan Scott Sanders and Dharma and Belligerence: Mad Rants from a Free-Range Buddhist Hooligan, 2014. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Ryan Scott Sanders and Dharma and Belligerence: Mad Rants from a Free-Range Buddhist Hooligan with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

YUCK.

Yuck. the band.

Yuck. the band.

Yuck.

I need to “Do Stuff” today

But I would much rather
lay in bed
listening to music
and
reading stuff
on the internet
for hours on end

“Do Stuff”

Yuck.


I wrote this “poem” as a text message to my more beautiful and intelligent half this morning as a description of my day and my attitude towards it. It may well be the most honest — and thereby, certainly the most profound — thing I have ever written.

I may have just broken through the barriers into brilliance, you guys…

BRILLIANT!

BRILLIANT!


© Ryan Scott Sanders and Dharma and Belligerence: Mad Rants from a Free-Range Buddhist Hooligan, 2014. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Ryan Scott Sanders and Dharma and Belligerence: Mad Rants from a Free-Range Buddhist Hooligan with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

volumetric displacement

blood red sky


a sanguine tide
sudden.

flowing

a cry-

spirit of existence wet
on ashen floor

there is too much of me
in you

a shadow, consuming,
prodigious profusions.
time and life spun upon

swallowed.

and all directing towards
and directed out

the chase of this
too-rushed speck

all want just to Be.
I chase for more of you in me.


I wrote this poem with two intentions in mind.  I wanted it to be lyrical, and I wanted it to consist of flashes of images combining to create an overall mood.  I’ve always admired the abstract lyrical style of artists like King Buzzo, Cedric Bixler-Zavala, Neil Fallon, Aaron TurnerMJK (of course) — too many to mention, really — as well as poets with a more abstract style, such as William Blake, Yeats, e.e. cummings, DickensonWallace Stevens — again, too many to mention.  But We do enjoy the name-dropping.

In any case, I have always thought the sounds, the tones, the moods of things were of more vital importance than the textbook definitions, the static “meanings”.  We create our own meaning, by the very act of experiencing a piece of art.  If you allow someone or something to dictate the intent or essence of something to you, it is the same as allowing yourself to be owned, to be controlled.  When has art ever been about control?


© Ryan Scott Sanders and Dharma and Belligerence: Mad Rants from a Free-Range Buddhist Hooligan, 2014. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Ryan Scott Sanders and Dharma and Belligerence: Mad Rants from a Free-Range Buddhist Hooligan with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

“It’s Dark Now…”: A Peculiar Day

 IMG_20141218_120427

“I hate slick and pretty things. I prefer mistakes and accidents. Which is why I like things like cuts and bruises – they’re like little flowers. I’ve always said that if you have a name for something, like ‘cut’ or ‘bruise,’ people will automatically be disturbed by it. But when you see the same thing in nature, and you don’t know what it is, it can be very beautiful.” ― David Lynch

IMG_20141218_120834

Such a strange day today. A very Lynchian vibe. Out on a stroll with the Pack and I felt we would surely find a severed ear in the grass, just around the next turn.

Blue Velvet Ear

An academic definition of Lynchian might be that the term ‘refers to a particular kind of irony where the very macabre and the very mundane combine in such a way as to reveal the former’s perpetual containment within the latter.’ But like postmodern or pornographic, Lynchian is one of those Porter Stewart-type words that’s ultimately definable only ostensively — i.e., we know it when we see it.” ― David Foster Wallace

Lynch Being Lynchian

Lynch Being Lynchian

The lines between things are soft, obscure on a day like this. Reverie and reality bleed together, commingle. Yet the edges of things are sharper, more keen. It’s a curious dichotomy between nebulous fluidity and purposeful immutability. For people like We, it’s easy to get lost in the connecting firmament…

IMG_20141218_115708

It’s too bad this bird isn’t closer. Or, more robin-like.  As in, a threateningly surreal robin feasting with malevolence upon all your hopes and presumptions.  Stark light bleeds all objects of their warmth and color, the mood of the day washes over everything, washes out…

IMG_20141218_120640

And, of course, because my life is all about the #Symmetry, my immersion into the vibe today was accentuated by the fact that I both fell asleep last night, and awoke this morning, to the ageless, ruminative tones of Lana del Rey.


The dissociative bliss afforded by immersion in the unearthly spectral void calls to me like fiendish opium ecstasy, the perfect blanket embrace of blithe euphoria…

In dreams, I walk with you. In dreams, I talk to you. In dreams, you’re mine, all the time. Forever. In dreams…” — Frank Booth, quoting Roy Orbison

Frank Booth

A compulsion towards self-preservation, perhaps?  An essential reaction to deep-rooted fears and insecurities?  Go to your Nirvana, go to your Bliss…  Even so, it is important to find comfort and appreciation in all facets of our Actuality.  Even those in the Dark.

“I learned that just beneath the surface there’s another world, and still different worlds as you dig deeper. I knew it as a kid, but I couldn’t find the proof. It was just a kind of feeling. There is goodness in blue skies and flowers, but another force–a wild pain and decay–also accompanies everything.” ― David Lynch

Blue Velvet White Fence Red Roses


© Ryan Scott Sanders and Dharma and Belligerence: Mad Rants from a Free-Range Buddhist Hooligan, 2014. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Ryan Scott Sanders and Dharma and Belligerence: Mad Rants from a Free-Range Buddhist Hooligan with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

EXODUS: Let The Ryan GO!

Moses Reciprocity Bitches

Those people who have experienced some of The Ryan in person, or those who share vicariously in Our shenanigans through social networking from time to time (We love all y’all!), are generally aware that I am an unpredictable basket case, but mostly the cute, fun kind. Not always, but mostly…

However, more recently and with increasing urgency, I have been finding it a more overwhelming struggle to not completely lose my shit multiple times a day in reaction to situations or events. The Crazy Pills that I am on, under physician supervision of course, always seem to keep me in the Fun Zone for a few months, but then it seems as though The Unhinged among us start to slowly assimilate the Happy Lunatics. Up the Dose, Change the Formula, Reset, Play Again.

Happy Lunatic? Or The Unhinged? :D

Happy Lunatic? Or The Unhinged? 😀

As a self-identified, sporadically practicing Buddhist hooligan, I am attempting to include meditation and self-reflection in the therapeutic process. This comes with two disclaimers, the first of course being that you only get out what you put in. Meditation is a practice that must be performed and maintained with regularity to develop both adroitness and results. AHEM, Ryan. We said, “Meditation is a practice that must be performed and maintained with regularity to develop both skill and results!” Secondly, though, meditation is also similar to digging a slow hole to China in that, occasionally, you might happen upon something you didn’t know was there. And, occasionally, that thing might have some force behind it.

Geyser Explode (Ned)

Unfortunately, some of The Unhinged sort of, well, became unhinged at work Friday morning, and I had a “teensy” little panic attack. Fortunately I felt it coming and ducked into the employee dumper slash locker area slash break room (it’s the size of a closet) to ride it out. Again unfortunately, though, when I get overwhelmed my brain stops processing normally, I get confused, and instead of acknowledging and allowing myself to feel my fear, I lash out in anger (and those fools gave me knives…HA!). Anyways, once I felt I was adequately re-leashed, I tried getting back to work. It didn’t take me long to realize “getting back to work” i.e. “getting back to ‘Normal'” wasn’t going to happen this time. I was barely holding it together, I wasn’t performing well, I was treating everyone with undue contempt and disrespect — especially my white bread benefactor K-Dub, a.k.a. KMFSM a.k.a. Kevin Mother Fucking Saunders, Manager.

Futurama I Quit

So I called it. I realize now that the whole thing could have been much more grand and climatic, but I calmly asked to speak with K-Murda for a few minutes, thanked him (and by extension, the entire management team…except you, Rhudy. FUCK YOU. Nah, I’m just playin’ bro…) for everything, explained the situation, and excused myself. No firebombs. No battle cries from the oppressed Irish motherland. No fits of explication or explicitness. I didn’t even get to break anything or knock a motherfucker out! Peace out, BJ’s Restaurant and Brewhouse. Oh, hey, can I still get my last free employee meal?

The naked truth that We are left with, now, in moving forward, is this. Getting off drugs and alcohol was the best thing for Us, and needed to happen to keep this carcass alive. In the wake of that, however, has been a series of interesting developments on the mental health front. This was the shit We had going on that I didn’t know about. This is the shit I was self-medicating as a compulsive and fervent abuser of glorious and inimical recreational drugs. Many issues were unleashed quickly and therefore dealt with early on out of necessity. Other issues have been more gradually making themselves apparent.

HST and BFM

Always the over-thinker, I have felt mostly capable at introspective analysis, and have felt a greater understanding of myself and The We as a result of dealing with these matters of insanity as they arise. In the words of one Rustin Cohle, “I know who I am. And after all these years, there’s a victory in that.” But, as with all things, it is when one begins to feel too much contentment (stagnation?) that the unforeseen happens.

True Detective Cohle I Know Who I Am

We have been feeling more Unhinged as of late. It is becoming more difficult to exist in the world as opposed to inside Our head. This means We face more of a struggle when trying to venture out into that world and interact with You People. This is easy to do over a computer, because We can maintain Our illusion of control. Things get infinitely more tricky in a face-to-face, hands-on setting, though, because suddenly there are so many other factors involved. Focus becomes infinitely more difficult. And, as of late, and increasingly, We are becoming less able to maintain that focus. Eventually, as some witnessed Friday, We break.

“Nobody realizes that some people expend tremendous energy merely to be normal.” — Albert Camus


I am not feeding you all this detail in an attempt to elicit sympathy. I can do that just fine some other time, thank you. Part of this is completely selfish, because I am figuring some of this stuff out as I write about it. The other part, equally selfish, is also somewhat altruistic — or at least that’s what I tell myself. I share these things with people so that they can maybe understand me, but also maybe understand each other and themselves.

Dr Phil I Feel Your Pain

Damn, but pretentiousness feels so good!

In any case, obviously We cannot survive only as Tortured Artists. Not at this point. We haven’t yet developed the resources. The challenge in moving forward, is, how do We attend to keeping the level of disquiet manageable while also seeking out, acquiring, and performing acceptably at a “day job”? Wherever I go, I take myself with me. Wherever I go, there is still the We, and We still must maintain control over the Unhinged. Therefore, I have been looking for opportunities that elude a perhaps more tolerable level of additional stress, even if that inevitably means less pay. Something associated with The Arts, i.e. publishing, entertainment, freelance writing, whatever, would be ideal, but obviously I must also look outside of that intriguing, challenging, and ornately adorned box.  I am very interested in things I can do from home, perhaps, for many obvious reasons, the second most being that I would be able to make some money while also pursuing and developing This Writing Thing. Again, though, in the short term at least, I must also remember to think…um…within, um…what’s the word? Oh, right…”Reality.”

Because, of course, the goal is for writing to one day be The Gig. I wonder how We’re doing so far?

You Want To Be A Writer Why


© Ryan Scott Sanders and Dharma and Belligerence: Mad Rants from a Free-Range Buddhist Hooligan, 2014. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Ryan Scott Sanders and Dharma and Belligerence: Mad Rants from a Free-Range Buddhist Hooligan with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Catacombs of The Ryan: The Lost Writings

Old Books

I was fifteen the first time I left home. “Left home,” that is, in the sense of it being the first time I left the place that had always been my home to go live somewhere else. The “somewhere else,” in this case, wasn’t far — there was maybe a thirty minute drive between the two — and I wasn’t on my own. My mother and I moved from the rural principality of Fruitland into the “bustling metropolis” of Farmington, following her divorce from my father. Both parents have expressed some level of sorrow over this occurrence in the lives of my sister and I, but I embrace the event and its effects. I would not be the same person I am today without it. This was the first thing that really prompted me to start figuring things out for myself in the world. It was the most striking catalyst of my independence, both of thought and action.

Since then, I’ve moved fifteen separate times. Lived in thirteen different places. Established residence in three cities across two states. Still plenty of travel left to do.

travel map with push pins

But I digress

Focus Scrabble

With all of that tiresome moving — the packing and unpacking, the sorting, the storage, the arranging — with all of that activity, there are bound to be items, possessions, mementos, sometimes even people that break loose from the caravan and are left somewhere behind. Most of these things are never thought of or missed again. The thought, memory, the desire for some of them may come wandering back after a time. Occasionally, though…

TRAGEDY.

TRAGEDY.

Something of this sort has happened to Us here, now. Once upon a time, in an era oft referred to as “The Day,” there existed a now archaic and obsolete form of information storage and transportation known as a “floppy disk.”

NEVER-FORGET.

This “floppy disc” was the primary means of storing important digital documents during the time that I was in high school and college. Therefore, I once owned many a floppy disk packed full of various tediously assembled Word documents. Most of these are shit, and are not worth mention here.

But there were a few “special” floppies. These sacred repositories — of which there were at least two, but legend tells of more — were entrusted with the storage and protection of the earliest known writings of The Ryan. Finely honed short fiction. Laboriously extracted philosophical treatises. Fiercely ornate doggerel, dripping with pretense. Blood and tear-stained literary analyses, rescued by ego and hubris from the proverbial fires.

Handwritten Text

Hours upon hours of Our earliest Canon, a tribute to Our most malleable and formative development, bred of blood, soul, and youthful, anxious vitality. And We have discovered them all LOST.

Lost in the Desert

We encourage and appeal to all prophets and acolytes of We The Ryan — please be on the look-out for these priceless tomes. Untold fortune and reward awaits the auspicious disciple who may stumble upon these precious volumes of boundless wit and fancy, and return them to Our wretched, forlorn clutch!

Waterworld Paper


© Ryan Scott Sanders and Dharma and Belligerence: Mad Rants from a Free-Range Buddhist Hooligan, 2014. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Ryan Scott Sanders and Dharma and Belligerence: Mad Rants from a Free-Range Buddhist Hooligan with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

a flash of crimson on the cliff face

Sonoran Desert Sunset, September 2014

a flash of crimson on the cliff-face

a warning,
take care
danger abounds among the saguaro
beneath the pulse of a brooding sun

there is little room for mistakes
in a place like this

yet life abounds here
at the roughly hewn edges of survival
instincts bred of brutality then
filed to precision
by necessity

life abounds here in the
tall, stoic namesake
of this vast desert forest and
encased within
the desiccated fibers of the
sun-baked ocotillo

life flows, too,
through the churlish disposition
of the tetchy javelina
the vaquero baquiro
whose ardor for life and tenacity
can leave an effusive impression
on the unprepared rover

life abounds here in the
stealthy midnight tours
of the prowling spotted owl
whose furtiveness of flight
and inclination towards the night
make him, for some skeptics,
an unlikely resident in this arid land
of scant provender

the vibrant abundance
and thriving vitality of life
hidden
between and the harshly drawn
sun-drenched lines
of the desert apparent
in fact become most prolific
in the night

free from the scathing circumspect glare
of that blinding burning orb,
Tawa’s fiery well-spring,
the nocturnal creatures of the desert flourish
and the pulsing vein
of this faux-barren, oft-accused “wasteland”

opens up,
spilling
the urgency of life
into the night

from the trickster chortling
and tactical scavenging
the opportunistic chaos
of that most ubiquitous of desert mascots
the artfully duplicitous coyote

to the clandestine and manic
often maniacal
invisible feasts of flight
and deranged dermatological derailments
of an untold, immeasurable horde

those ghastly miniscule menaces of the night

the blanket of cover provided
by the cloak of moonlit twilight shade
beckons all size and manner
of wisping wily wanderers
to the opaque expanse
of the dusty desert floor

20141026_173135


baquiro, brooding sun, coyote, javelina, no-see-ums, ocotillo, provender, saguaro, Saguaro NPspotted owl, Tawa, trickster, vaquero


© Ryan Scott Sanders and Dharma and Belligerence: Mad Rants from a Free-Range Buddhist Hooligan, 2014. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Ryan Scott Sanders and Dharma and Belligerence: Mad Rants from a Free-Range Buddhist Hooligan with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

How The Ryan Writes, Part I: The Harangued Warrior

“Writing in English is the most ingenious torture ever devised for sins committed in previous lives.”  — James Joyce

Voices In My Head

“You guys ever notice how burger joints in the fall always have that smell I finally discovered in my grandmother’s house to mow the grass, so I’ll catch up to fishing in the stream when I was a kid. But I digress…”  — Ryan Sanders

Inasmuch as The Ryan is composed of the many We, each of Us distinct in voice, temperament, action, tastes, each unique in composition yet united in the Whole, so is Our “process” when writing made up of many different habits, methods, techniques. As the occasion to do so arises, We will be sharing some insight into these processes from time to time. Perhaps in doing so, Our readers may come to know more about Us, but also We may come to understand more about one another and Ourselves.

Those Elite Few who keep a regular watch on Us mental patients might notice that things have been quiet for some time, up until today’s new post and various surprise updates. This is because We The Ryan have been embroiled in a bitter and costly internal war with Ourselves. Some might describe such a conflict as “procrastination” or “laziness.” However, for We, things are never so simple. And it’s all part of the process, from time to time.

This picture was unabashedly ripped from www.fromthewriteangle.com. When I steal, I have more time for writing...

This picture was unabashedly ripped from http://www.fromthewriteangle.com. When I steal, I have more time for writing…

We’ve been slowly and deliberately carrying out a staged insurgence on Ourselves to identify, target, and overcome those internal factions that would seek to undermine and assault the creative endeavors of The Ryan with campaigns of deceit, fear, disinformation, psychological torture, and disorder. Eventually, once all trace of sedition and insurrection has been eradicated, and the streets have run red with the blood of the nonbelievers, We can then use that blood as ink to pen a prosaic epilogue to the spoils of psychological warfare. Or something of the sort.

In any case, the process, as it played out today, looks something like this:

First, Our Esteemed Warrior must consume the lifesblood of Our slain enemies. This stage in the process is known as “Motivation”.

As you can see, Our motivation comes from a place of Love <3

As you can see, Our motivation comes from a place of Love ❤

Then, once properly motivated, We are able to write.

That's good keyboard, man...

That’s good keyboard, man…

All part of the process

Sound off in the comments about your own process, or whatever other thoughts fly into that pretty little head of yours!


© Ryan Scott Sanders and Dharma and Belligerence: Mad Rants from a Free-Range Buddhist Hooligan, 2014. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Ryan Scott Sanders and Dharma and Belligerence: Mad Rants from a Free-Range Buddhist Hooligan with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

A Cobblestone Walkway of Broken Chords: Piecing Together Mine Own History of Music, Part I

“Music expresses that which cannot be put into words and that which cannot remain silent.” — Victor Hugo

"Sky Pilot" by Virgil C. Stephens, www.musicalpainter.com

“Sky Pilot” by Virgil C. Stephens, http://www.musicalpainter.com

Anyone who knows me for even a few hours is aware of how ingrained music is in my life. I wish I could say that I meant creating music, but that is another project, and perhaps a discussion for another day. Here, I speak of my lifelong passionate appreciation of, and sometimes fanatic devotion to, the music created by other artists. Lately, I’ve been pondering the paths upon which my musical quests have taken me. My own Mellifluous Origin Story, so to speak. Specifically, I’ve been thinking about my earliest memories as a “fan”, even before I could have known what that meant, and about the way in which my tastes and interests in music, artists, genres, movements grew and progressed. And perhaps, in the end, reflecting on where I’ve come from might give me some insight into where I’m headed, hmmm?

(Origin Stories, You Say?)

My oldest memory is one that has stuck with me since childhood, always stored closely away for quick recollection or quiet reflection. Appropriately so, too, since that is precisely what a memory is, and is For. Time and experience have inevitably shaped and even, with subtlety or not, perhaps altered this memory, but that is not what’s important. With reminiscences, truth and accuracy do well to fall by the wayside of emotion and essential substance.

In this memory — and thereby, of course, once upon a time in my life — I am a toddler, probably no more than two years of age. I am sitting in my car seat, which is resting on the floor of the living room of our first home, a modified mobile home with custom additions and improvements built by my Pops. A Redneck Mansion, if I may.

redneck mansion

It is strange for me to think back to moments like this and remember my parents when they were younger than I am now. Those people were KIDS! And they were raising a human! But not just any human.

Ryan Toddler

ME.

What happened?!  So many things...

What happened?! So many things…

But I digress…

I am sitting in my car seat, staring in awe and wonder at the thick, bowed-glass screen of our giant wooden box of a television. On the screen towers Billy Idol. Blonde, spiked hair. Signature snarl. Punk rock attitude. Rebel Yell. I was enthralled, and I, too, wanted MORE… But, being an infant, I had neither the means nor the experiential knowledge necessary to seek out and acquire more, and so my development fell by the wayside. (Two uses of that expression in one essay! Not bad…)


From here, for a time, I entered a period known as The Dark Ages… Not much is known of The Dark Ages, because it was so very Dark.

Dark Ages Artwork by jonasdero.deviantart.com

Dark Ages Artwork by jonasdero.deviantart.com

My next major development, as far as my fragmented memory can recall, would foreshadow a significant coexistence throughout my musical travels between music and film. By fourth grade, my lifelong buddy Brandon and I had met and bonded over mutual weirdness, a proclivity towards the fringe, and a shared obsession with Billy the Kid. At the time, of course, this primarily manifested in a fixation with the Young Guns movies, and by extension the Bon Jovi soundtrack for Young Guns II. As we blasted “Blaze of Glory” and “Dead or Alive” from that sweet, sweet early 90s boom box and fashioned “I’ll Make Ya Famous” pistol stamps and collages in art class, we were convinced that Bon Jovi and the like were the epitome of bad-ass rock musicians. Later, Denis Leary would set us straight, but for now, fuckin’ “Never Say Die” was where it was AT!


From there, Brandon and I discovered music through movies we, occasionally in ignorance and naivety, attached our sensibilities to, such as Cool World and Wayne’s World. (I sense a pattern?) Not all was for naught, however. Because, in the very least, those movies introduced us to David Bowie, Ministry, Queen, RHCP, Ugly Kid Joe, Alice Cooper…actually, the Wayne’s World soundtrack is still pretty fuckin’ good!

But I digress…

None of this could have prepared Brandon and I — or the world at large, as history would prove — for what would happen next in our euphonious lives. The early 90s found us and all of rock ‘n roll on the precipice of something that was never intended to indelibly mark and reshape culture and society the world over. But nothing significant or culturally affluential ever is. I speak, of course, about the tidal wave of social hysteria and upheaval that was Nirvana.

Nirvana

Growing up in the Kirtland/Fruitland area of San Juan County, New Mexico, Brandon and I — and everyone else, really — were always, by default, a bit behind the aesthetic curve from the “rest of the world.” Occasionally, one could discover something “new” and intriguing by accident, or one of us would bring something intriguing back from The City and share it with anyone with a curious disposition. (Did I forget to mention I was raised in a 1940s dust bowl? Just kidding.) But beyond fortune and chance, you really just had to know what to look for and laboriously seek it out. Fortunately, times have changed for the Four Corners and culture. I mean, they got a show from Lamb of God last year, for Christsakes…

(Not to mention MervDezert Banditz, Ill Methods, and any other local musical acts.  Leave a link for your group or project in the comments!)


I vaguely recall the circumstances by which we came to discover Kurt and the Boys. It had to have been sometime in 1992, and I would imagine this was a brisk fall morning before the daily drudgery of our first year in middle school. The cool, dry high desert breeze…the changing of the leaves…the wafting, charcoal scent of smoke as local drunken rednecks set their property on fire doing “landscaping”…Brandon, skinny bean pole of a boy, bristling with frenetic energy, shoving a CD into my stiff, icy fingers. “Hey dude, my sister listens to this. Check it out!”

Subtlety.

Subtlety.

On the cover, bathed in aquatic blue highlights, a naked baby, arms and legs splayed in an awkward floating pose, coaxed by a dollar bill on fishing line. Nobody but no one should have any trouble immediately conjuring their own specific memory of this album at that conspicuously pervasive, instantly recognizable photograph. But, I’ve been surprised by ignorance before, so just to be certain, I speak of course of the watershed landmark album Nevermind. If you don’t know or understand the cultural, artistic, sociological, and historical significance of this album, I would like to introduce you to the internet. Pretty sure you’re using it RIGHT NOW.

This only captures about 30% of the Internet's Awesome!

This only captures about 30% of the Internet’s Awesome!

In any case, I will never forget the ingenuous awe and precipitous exhilaration that overcame me during that first listen. I can barely stand to hear “Smells Like Teen Spirit” these days, a bitter casualty of hackneyed pop culture oversaturation. But, the first time that pervasive and cataclysmic riff hit my ears was fucking LIFE-ALTERING! Who ARE these feral, deranged beasts? Where do creatures like this come from? What is this frenetic sensation arising from my soul? Why are they so…so fervent, so excitedly zealous? And HOW can I get MORE?!


To be continued… In the meantime, sound off in the comments! What was your first significant musical experience, or other formative moment? Did Nirvana and Nevermind carry a significant weight for you? How far back can you remember, or what is your earliest recollection? Let Us hear from you!


© Ryan Scott Sanders and Dharma and Belligerence: Mad Rants from a Free-Range Buddhist Hooligan, 2014. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Ryan Scott Sanders and Dharma and Belligerence: Mad Rants from a Free-Range Buddhist Hooligan with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.