Thursday, September 9, 2010


There is a flood of wet noses sniffing and furry paws jumping and happy tongues kissing inside my front door and when you crack it open, there's a cascade of licky-barky happiness that spills out all over the place. So it's only natural that I've developed an adrenaline-tinged Pavlovian anticipation to that first door-opening moment. Tonight I had an anti-climactic surprise when what I found instead was inky blackness, until my eyes slowly adjusted and the tiny flames of candles began floating in the dark around me. My living room was there after all, recast in sensual flickery light.

James had declared it a no-electricity night. Well, kind of. It was really just a no-light-bulbs night, with laptops and even TV allowed, which was fine by me. So it was kind of like Little House on the Prairie except that Linsey was Facebooking and I was blogging, but hey, at least Ashley's math homework was done by candle light. She complained about it the whole time.

And it was magic.

You know, that line you cross when stuff around you stops being just “interesting” or “beautiful” and adjectives become irrelevant. Because magic can't be condensed to words. Even poetry is an echo of the thing itself, creating new magic in its place.

I studied music composition with a brilliant and difficult man who did his best teaching after three Grand Marniers in any bar seedy enough to overlook California's indoor smoking ban. I remember a late night bullshit session that focused on who (or what) we were, “we” meaning composers – Is a composer/musician an entertainer? An artist? Do we provoke or soothe? Create or reflect? Used car salesman, expert craftsman, misunderstood bohemian... it was all up for grabs. My professor said that he knew one thing, and that's for sure, that we are shamans.

When you need the magic, you go to the shaman. When they want to raise their hands and cry because their God is so real and so close, they come to me. That's what they pay me for. If every choir octavo was neatly filed, and every note was correctly played, and every volunteer was sufficiently motivated, but there was no magic, I'd be emptying my desk right about now.

So I give the magic because that's what I was trained to do, and I'm pretty good at it if I do say so myself, but I want some back and that's where the problem is. There are shortcuts to get there, but oh there's a price to pay, and I felt entitled enough that I didn't really care who paid it.

I know I'm not supposed to say it but the drugs and the porn, they had the magic. And it was immediate and dependable, and I can't even begin to describe the places I've been and the shit I've seen when I let them take the wheel. You don't find that kind of magic in the real world, at least not in this life.

But you know the story – it all comes crashing down, and there's the screaming and the crying and that knot in your stomach because if you'd just stopped yesterday, none of this would have happened. But you never do stop, because just-one-more-time is all the magic you need and then you'll be good, I promise promise promise.

I'm ready to find the magic in real life now. I know it's there because if it's not, why the hell did I choose to be a composer/musician? I could have done something useful, like build stuff, or fix stuff, or haul stuff around. Instead I chose to pour my life into something that logically has no purpose. And I never even doubt for a second that it was the right decision, because if I had every material thing I ever needed, but there was no magic, then it's not even worth getting out of bed in the morning.

Thanks, James, for no-light-bulbs night.


  1. The real life to me is infinitely more interesting than the fantasy world. I never drugged or porned but I would imagine loss of self is the fall out from all of that.

  2. Eli, since you and I have a sort of 'history' on here, I'll write freely--whenever has THAT not happened--grin!

    I believe that music of almost any genre has great purpose. Even the "...shepherds heard the angels singing." Shepherds for their part, were tending their flocks, not "fixing things"--I'm grinning!!!

    And music (from Beethoven to Jon Bon Jovi) is powerful enough to lift the human heart and spirit above the frantic world of finance, consumerism, greed, and selfishness--I know all about that last one!

    Recall that saying:

    "Music hath charms to soothe a savage breast, to soften rocks, or bend a knotted oak." William Congreve...

    The best supportive thought is those "choirs of angels" filling the sky...and music IS nature--waves, harmonic sequences, rhythm, melody, sometimes expressive words. Did i make a point, Eli?

    Whenever teacher told us "five hundred words or less", I always did 700 words, and have the low grades to prove it!!!

    Blessings, and PEACE to you Eli, and your family.
    Steve E

  3. I discovered your blog this afternoon, and I admit I read all of your posts. I related to quite a lot. I don't know if you'll see this, looks like you haven't blogged much lately. Thanks for your honesty, it was refreshing.

  4. "C"- the last commenter that said they'd read all of my posts was a spambot, so it's nice to hear that from a real person. (I presume.) Taking time to read a blog in its entirety has got to be the ultimate complement.

    I'm glad you could relate to some of it. I hope that what I spill onto the page here is helpful to someone besides me. But I know it helps me and that's enough by itself.

    Hope you are doing well and finding peace and healing. Stop by anytime.

  5. Thanks Eli,
    I am new to blogging, but I created one to work through my own sex addiction, and so I found your blog when I searched for others talking about addiction. I think what draws me to read your blog is that as a female sex addicit, I have also been sexually abused and I relate to a lot of what you say but I also respond to certain things like someone that has been abused. Its definately tricky to have both. I think i'm 'following' your blog so I look forward to reading your updates.