What is it?

Brown, blue, violet sky—it’s funny how tiktok trends rehash and recycle artifacts that don’t quite feel very retro, though, they must be, alas. The world doesn’t really accelerate; we just get older a lot faster every day. And so, when that kinda thing is annoying, it’s really annoying, but when it’s not, it can be prophetic, like a planetary return, or a shift in the seasons, or a long-gone friendship reborn.

I used to repeat that old lyric by that half-Lebanese crooner, who, at one point, provided folks with a global reference point, like tabbouli or hummus, to place me when it wasn’t that guy from Lost or maybe even that guy from Numbers, depending on the place or time. I used to repeat it like I’d repeat a handful of clips and soundbites about myself—like why my English is the way it is, or how my name isn’t short for anything—as constant re-introductions to ever-fresh locales, always on the move, always someone new and intriguing and in need of procedurals.

The cardinal/fixed sign in mutable clothing—hurtful, purple, whatever you like.

All of this makes for one juicy inconjunction: to relish the shadows but be hyperaware of first impressions; to prefer it backstage while trying on every costume. I’ve collected stories of how I’ve come across to people the way that other people collect pinecones on a stroll through the park; I don’t go out looking for them—those same people just like to tell me.

And so, as the first heralds of spring begin to bloom, I’m taking a moment to reflect on the mean green growth sprouting all around me. Are these just impressions? Yet more frameworks to parametricize the “you” within the “me”? Or has a new shade of snowdrop broken through the topsoil?

I love my lyrical oracles. But one thing I know for certain is that alleluia is much much more than a song.

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“I thought: what is this? A digital agency? But it’s got over 700 posts, which is a lot for an agency. So what is this? A spiritual journal? Someone having fun?”

I ran my first sponsored post a few weeks back, just to see what would happen. I didn’t expect much; maybe someone would get curious and click around for bit; if I’m lucky, maybe I’d get a follow or two. That was pretty much how it went for the first few days, as “Meta” pulled out a couple of bucks at a time. Then Adam reached out. Then we spoke on the phone.

I don’t know Adam well enough to say much more than that, but what I can say is that he was generous with his time, insights, and encouragement. As was Annie, as was Jessica, as was Melissa—all three, incidentally, February babies, who, each in her own way, added a little more sparkle to the turning of this crystal. Here, a gentle nudge. There, a quiet confirmation.

We live in an age of validation by strangers, the shadowy side of Rob Brezsny’s techno-optimist vision of universal blessing that we now know too well, ~two decades after he wrote his antidote to doom & gloom. But the promise of “pronoia” he preached still holds: every stranger is a potential friend and ally, even if fleetingly and for one reason or another. The trick is to keep breathing in their inspiration. The trick is to become a better container.

And so I give myself permission to be inspired. To take on advice. To be seen and be recognized. The links in my biography are the labor of many hands. Some invisible; some acting at a distance; many warm and loving. All appreciated. All blessed.

Here’s another lyric I like: “What is it? It’s it. What is it? It’s it.”

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“Change yourself in the way you want everyone else to change. Love your enemies in case your friends turn out to be jerks. Avoid thinking about winning the lottery while making love. Brainwash yourself before someone nasty beats you to it. Confess big secrets to people who aren’t very interested. Write a love letter to your evil twin during a lunar eclipse. Fool the tricky red beasts guarding the Wheels of Time. Locate the master codex and add erudite graffiti to it. Sell celebrity sperm on the home shopping channel. Dream up wilder, wetter, more interesting problems. Change your name every day for a thousand days. Kill the apocalypse and annihilate Armageddon. Exaggerate your flaws till they turn into virtues. Brag about what you can’t do and don’t have. Get a vanity license plate that reads KZMYAZ. Bow down to the greatest mystery you know. Make fun of people who make fun of people. See how far you can spit a mouthful of beer. Pick blackberries naked in the pouring rain. Scare yourself with how beautiful you are. Simulate global warming into your pants. Stage a slow-motion water balloon fight. Pretend your wounds are exotic tattoos. Sing anarchist lullabies to lesbian trees. Plunge butcher knives into accordions. Commit a crime that breaks no laws. Sip the tears of someone you love. Build a plush orphanage in Minsk. Feel sorry for a devious lawyer. Rebel against your horoscope. Give yourself another chance. Write your autohagiography. Play games with no rules. Teach animals to dance. Trick your nightmares. Relax and go deeper. Dream like stones. Mock your fears. Drink the sun. Fuck gravity. Sing love. Be mojo. Do jigs. Ask id.”

LUMINOUS TEASE (by Rob Brezsny)

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