Thursday, January 02, 2014
I spent New Years’ Day getting rid of stuff, dumping that collection of junk that has mounted up in my closet and work room for years.
This might have been prompted by the calls from my new found family or from my best friend (whom I hadn’t talked to in about a year).
This last year has been startling for a number of reasons, not least the fact that I went from being an only child at the start of 2013 to having three sisters (one adopted), two brothers (who I haven’t yet made contact with) and a host of cousins – one of whom has become extremely close.
I even have a step mom, who I spoke with twice, who gave me further insight into what a scoundrel my father was, something my own dearly departed mother only hinted at on her death bed.
I had been at a loss since early 2012 when the last of my closest family members passed away, with me being the youngest of what some called “the Sarti clan.”
I didn’t fully appreciate what this meant, even though Mrs. Swartz from School No. 11 in Clifton, once referred to me as that during my one year in public school in Clifton. She had taught many of my uncles, and recognized the breed when I came along, even though my last name was technically “Sullivan.”
She was being divisive and yet not without a note of tender regret as if putting up with the Sarti wildness was part of the challenge of teaching that she would miss once I moved out of her care.
In some ways, I was wilder than any of the uncles (who were more like brothers), getting into deeper mischief before actually getting into serious trouble, and somehow coming out on the other side of both unscathed.
The lessons on my father taught me just where I got this wild streak from – a rebellious nature that I barely contain even with age, as if this beast inside of me remains at bay only by whip and chair, items my father apparently lacked especially when drunk.
The last year was a good year for a number of reasons – although it also showed me that I need to get back on track and return to those things that I have long aspired to do.
My friend’s calling a few days before New Year’s also brought that fact home.
“We could have been great,” he told me, referring to the numerous projects we did for fun – music and radio plays, even some videos. “If we had paid more attention to them, we would have gotten somewhere.”
Most of these projects, I pointed out, were done under the influence, and were more self-entertainment than art – the fake radio shows, the odd-mocking operas, the video history of the band, musical score to a film that did not exist, video skits in which I always played some odd character, the science fiction pink Floyd like projects he and I did with guitars and keyboard and many more.
We recorded everything – just as I always did with a written account of my experiences – but many of the tapes were lost over the years, some of which I ache to hear again such as the sessions we had in the uptown apartment in Passaic where we jammed for hours, tracking on a Teac (a tape recorder I sold later for a down payment on a new Pinto).
I have some of these old tapes, and so does he, which is promising. But he wants to go back there, and redo things we can’t find.
Some things can’t be redone, I told him. Some things are special in that moment of inspiration.
The best we can do is to get inspired by the here and now. This has always been true, even back then, when we were keeping a sound record of that moment (the way I keep a written record in my journal) special to that particular moment, filled with the aspirations and the sense of space we felt then. We cannot redo such things. They are of that moment, which is why we needed to put them down on tape or paper or in some other medium.
We always need to capture the moment before it slips away.