Monday, September 19, 2011

Illegal Art

Do you ever hear words spoken or read signs and interpret them differently than they were intended? I do. A lot. I once saw a bumper sticker on a Volvo and I swear it said “Jesus is my beast fiend.” I’m sure that my misinterpretation was probably better than what the bumper sticker actually said. I often mis-hear song lyrics too. In the early days of REM, Michael Stipe would say that his mumbled, often unintelligible lyrics were purposefully obscured and that the words you think you hear are more meaningful to you than the actual lyrics. He felt that the songs were more powerful this way. I tend to agree with him. When I’m writing something or recording a song, often I mess up but like the mistake better than what I intended to do and decide to keep it that way. I call these mistakes Happy Accidents. I don’t always end up where I intend to go, but often am happier when I end up somewhere unexpected. I believe in intuition, chance and idiot wisdom. It can be very hard to realize at the time but often a mistake is not a mistake. This is also true when seemingly bad things happen to you in life. The picture above is a mug shot from when I was arrested when I was nineteen. The judge assigned to my case decided that she wanted to teach me a lesson. I was convicted and had to serve a very short sentence at the Franklin County Men’s Correctional Facility. Medium security prison is no joke. In my cell at night, I laid awake and listened to the crazy, homicidal stories of my fellow inmates. My short time there helped me to recognize that life is an adventure. What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger, right? I think that I learned more about myself from that unwelcome escapade than I did from many other selected employments.