Amy Martino’s comment to my blog yesterday
oh you miserable sad ranting turd. take my piece down and whine about something else…
came as a shock.
Not only had I never received such a slanderous comment to my short-lived blog, but this comment also came at an interesting time.
First, let’s look at the comment and the commenter. Then I’ll go into why this is bigger than just adjusting to the comment.
Amy Martino is a professional illustrator. She lives in New York and goes by the handle Yellow Bird Machine.
That’s the extent of what I know. I had never heard of her until a Yay!Everyday tweet said “I Hate Myself & I Want To Die.”
Alright, whether a person’s depressed or loving life, those are mighty eye catching words. So I clicked the link and found Amy Martino’s “Nirvana” illustration.
She (apparently) wrote what she wrote because, in my post called “Chronically Worry Until There Is No Option But To Let Go,” I mention her “Nirvana” piece, saying
I liked it because of its text – it made me think of Kurt Cobain, who escaped this earth at his own hands.
But I’m not sure I’m stoked on the overall picture because it’s so pastel-y and attractive, like the artist is just borrowing the text but hasn’t the foggiest conception of how it actually feels to feel those words.
I wasn’t raving about her illustration, but this wasn’t the place to draw out a full review of her work.
I said what I said because it was what I was feeling at the time.
Those are the only words I wrote about Martino’s piece in a 977-word post.
Was I out of line? Was she? You can have your opinion. I have mine. Martino has hers.
Now, I mentioned earlier that this comment came at an interesting time.
I’ve been feeling emotionally drained and disillusioned since experiencing a mix of disorganization, meathead attitudes, and unfulfilled promises of escape at Shambhala in early August.
Shambhala is a music festival in Interior British Columbia.
2010 was the 13th year they’ve been in operation – that’s an admirable time for any music fest in the world.
Although I’ve lived in BC for more than 10 years, I had never been to Shambhala.
In my inaugural year, my girlfriend and I chose to volunteer. We wanted to get involved and be more than just participants.
Well, rather than simply volunteer for three 8-hour shifts and enjoy the rest of the time listening to music, dancing, and enjoying the pristine surroundings,
I became completely disillusioned with humanity.
As I mentioned above, I experienced a mix of disorganization, meathead attitudes, and unfulfilled promises of escape at Shambhala.
the festival has grown to 10,000 ticket holders + 2,000 staff, volunteers, and talent. It’s become too big to efficiently manage.
This was especially apparent when my 8 hour shift out in the overflow parking lot became a 13.5 hour shift because there weren’t any other volunteers to relieve me (no matter how hard the head of Gatekeeping tried all throughout the night – I heard all the chatter on the walkie talkie they gave me).
- Meathead attitudes:
I’m a tough guy (well, physically, at least) – I can handle some long shift work.
But what really upset me was the attitude of the festival goers. I thought that if 12,000 people gather in the gorgeous forests of interior BC, they would respect it as pristine, beautiful, and precious.
When I saw the thousands of Shambhala festival goers leaving their trash everywhere around the grounds, strew about the riverside, I felt sick. I felt like there was no point to being a caring person.
How did these people, who had traveled for hours to reach this secluded pristine farm full of rolling greens land, hundreds of huge beautiful trees, and a long stretch of river with beachline alongside it, how did they not see that this place existed in the state it did because it was free from detritus?
When a huge amount a glowing florescent green liquid was dumped into the river, and the beach was cleared for fear that it was toxic, my heart sunk. Deeper than the pit of my stomach, my heart sunk, buried itself, and died. I (along with my girlfriend and many people there) thought that the entire riverbed was going to die, because some idiot dumped something like antifreeze down the river.
Luckily, it turned out the substance was non-toxic. Some idiot dumped pool colouring, but the damage, as I saw and felt it, was done.
- Unfulfilled promises of escape:
the previous two points contribute to this point heavily.
I left the city to be “away from it all,” to rejuvenate in the great outdoors, and to have some fun along the way; dance, listen to music, meet new people.
Not only did the disorganization and meatheadedness ruin that, I realized that it’s near impossible to enjoy myself at a party of 12,000 when most of them are there for one reason only: to get fucked up – on e, coke, mushrooms, dmt, you name it!
There were so many unhappy faces, so many people looking for something big and magical, looking to be taken away from the monotony and lack of satisfaction from their daily lives. They have traveled from Vancouver, Winnipeg, Calgary, Edmonton, the northwestern states, and everywhere in between. But rather than coming with kindness and sharing in their hearts, they come tainted and exhausted.
Their everyday lives – working jobs that wear them out, jobs that pay them less than they need to survive, their families that tire them out, the media that tires them out – they come to the forests of interior BC to escape all of this, and the quickest way to do so is to get fucked up. The drugs can make them a little more likely to conversate, but it is not genuine. Though wide-eyed and alert, their faces were still unhappy.
Everyone had their self-absorbed blinders on. They do not see their part in our shared existence.
It’s left me feeling lower than I’ve felt in a long long time.
I decided this year that I want to be as honest as possible in my work. So right now, while my outlook is decidedly bleak, I’ve chosen not to keep it inside, but to hang it out to dry.
Better outside than in, where those thoughts don’t dry, they get moldy. Ewww.
Maybe my concerns aren’t for everyone.
But I figure, I’m not a celebrity, very few people are going to read my words. Those few that do can take it or leave it. We judge one another whether we see the person’s insides or not.
The way I’m feeling, I see absolutely no point in keeping things in.
That’s all everyone does everyday. Everyone hides their deeper feelings and coats their exteriors with a fake varnish of glee.
Sure, some people are happy. Hell, even I feel happy once and awhile! But I don’t see how holding things inside is good for us.
And no, I don’t want everyone to be whining all the time either.
But maybe there’d need to be a transition – after holding everything in all their lives, there’s going to be an outpouring of ache. So I guess for a while, there’d be a helluva lot of whining. Amy Martino could just hang out by herself during that time.
Then we’d get our shit off our chests, and move on. This time lighter and more free than we’ve ever felt before (even without booze or drugs!)
I know! I just went about it all wrong!
Rather than just write my thoughts and my feelings and bare them for anyone who happens to read them, I should’ve written a blues song!
I bet if I would’ve written a smokin’ blues track, I could’ve sung the exact same words I wrote in my blog, and Amy Martino would’ve loved it!
Ah well, I’m not a blues singer (yet) so I’ll leave you with an amazing track by The Black Keys, who, when they’re not absolutely killing it with rockin’ high energy, are singin’ unabashedly about their hard times and worries.
Here’s “Hurt Like Mine” from “Thickfreakness.”