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[rivers] - January 1999-
August 2005
Seven years ago I came to Texas. My parents had moved here when I was seventeen and I had nowhere else to be when I finished high school so this seemed as good a place as any to go.

I liked the myth of the place, and the way it was shaped. It was meant to be a shorter experiment; a place to find some answers for a little while, to figure out who I was and where I wanted to go when I really got started. Seven years now and I've never lived anywhere in this place that wasn't on a river. I thought I might end up living in Washington or Kentucky for a while, ages ago, and now I have a tattoo on my arm of the Alamo and no one understands it and I never explain it to them and I'm not going to try now. I have my own reasons and I have my own reasons for having stayed, my own reasons for leaving.

I started keeping a journal those seven years ago and all of it is on the Internet, from then to now, archived here like you can contain the experiences of your growth into something resembling adulthood in lines and curves. I leave Texas in a little over three weeks and I'm leaving all of this with it. I have my own reasons.

[the colorado]
Two years ago I lived in Austin and my favorite record was blackberry belle by the Twilight Singers.

Everything I love is about the search for truth. I'm into posturing and talking trash and it ain't braggin' if it's true and but only because I've been shown that such bravado can lead to a larger truth than overwhelming sincerity. Even if the truth only appears in the space that such bravado creates.

Two years ago I sat at a desk in a small apartment I lived in by myself, the only time in my life I lived alone, and listened to that record all night, every night, for months. And I wrote all the damn time. I've learned since then that creativity ebbs and flows, and sometimes when I'm in a more reflective state of mind I can even remember that when it's ebbing and I'm convinced that I'll never write again. Words are easy to find, easy to believe in.

I'm not a musician and any inspiration I felt to paint left me before I crossed my first river; my search for truth is a search through words. I love abstraction but it's not a language I speak. I try to believe that these shapes that are recognized as language are just another form of abstraction. I'll never know. It's not a question I get to answer.

[the san antonio]
Four years ago I lived in San Antonio and my favorite record was grace by Jeff Buckley. I don't listen to that record anymore, but that should speak more about its continued power than a lack thereof.

Seven years ago I wrote of a different record, listening to it every few months can send me back there and i like that. if i listened to it too much here then it would belong to right now, and i don’t like ‘right now’ very much. The reason I don't listen to grace is the opposite of the reason I didn't listen to that record seven years ago.

Two hours ago I was at a diner where they were playing grace. I tried not to listen. It's not that I was afraid that I would be taken back to the place I was four years ago. It's not that I worried it would make me feel something. I was worried that it wouldn't.

Seven years ago I started keeping a journal and putting it on the Internet. It was just a page of text that I kept on a free service that I updated with everything I had written once a month.

Four years ago I put it on a different service, more public, based on community, and I was so desperate and lonely and starving for attention that I decided that my life would be okay, finally, if I could just let people know these things that were in my head. To prove that I wasn't alone, or just to prove that even if no one else ever felt the way I did, it didn't mean that I was an alien. I listened to Jeff Buckley all the time and I called the journal mysterywhteboy, a misspelling of the title of a live album that came out a couple years after he drowned in the Wolf River.

I had my own theories on his death, like anyone who ever found truth in the expression of another person who died mysteriously does. suicide or tragic accident? it must have been a suicide, if only subconsciously... you can hear it. he says 'i feel them drown my name' in a song. he knew how he would die. It made sense and it seemed important once.

I don't have a theory now. I've learned in the past four years how irrelevant the question is. I don't listen to that record now because there's no point.

[the rio grande]
Five years ago I lived in McAllen, Texas and my favorite record was the marshall mathers lp by Eminem.

I have been so angry in my life, you would not believe it. You would not believe how angry a boy who had nothing much to be angry about could be. How infuriating these things that we control can be until we realize the fact that we control them. How powerless a person can feel watching that control as it grows more and more distant and everything that should be an opportunity feels like a trap.

Have you ever felt that pull to do something more than the things you have built your life around, known that it can not be that hard to do them, known that the stories and the songs and the legends are full of people who have done them and survived, thrived, lived and loved and had grand, glorious adventures, felt the need to do these things, and understood fundamentally that the power to do them was really and truly in your hands, and also known somehow that you could not be the one to do them?

Have you ever known that it must be other people, because such things require something that you don't have? And it may just be courage, but you can pretend that it's money instead and feel better about yourself. You can pretend that the thing that ties you to these limits that keep you from feeling like you are in control is a job and not fear. You can pretend, but you will know, somehow, and that is where the anger comes from. It's not merely being angry with yourself. It's being angry about the fact that whether or not it's your own fault or not isn't the point, because it's not something you're capable of changing.

Three years ago I changed.

[the colorado]
Three years ago I had just moved to Austin and my favorite record was bringing it all back home by Bob Dylan even though everyone assumed it was the beginning stages of the polyphonic spree by the Polyphonic Spree.

The secret to changing isn't in realizing that you hold the key, or that you're unhappy, or that you know what you want. The secret to changing is realizing that you will die and no one will do anything to make your life matter at all. It's not realizing that the power was in you all along, it's realizing that the power isn't in anyone else. The difference between the two is the difference between an open space and a window. Only one of them means anything in a practical sense.

I thrive on change, live for it. I have been so many more people in the three years since I started listening to that Bob Dylan record than I was in all the years prior. I didn't even resemble myself before Texas; ask anyone who knew me before those seven years and three rivers and see what they say about the person I was then as compared to now. I don't much resemble the boy who went down to the Rio Grande now, but any form I took before then is completely unrecognizable.

Six years ago I started to become something I respected, and that process of starting was misleading. I had not yet realized that no one else would finish it. The me that I was six years ago wasn't much different than the me that listened to Jeff Buckley and thought in vague ways about the fact that I would die and it probably wouldn't even happen in a river, not much different than the me that listened to that Bob Dylan record the first time but a million miles from the one who got sick of it and switched to blackberry belle.

[the rio grande]
Six years ago I had settled into McAllen and my favorite record was terror twilight by Pavement.

The process of becoming is exciting and glorious. It is so strange to think about all of it because at the time I thought I knew who I was. That certainty has come and gone in the past six years, but I find it interesting that I am more certain now, despite all of the changing I have done, despite the rate of acceleration, than I was for the first four years after Texas. Less than half of it has happened since crossing the Colorado. I'm leaving the river for good in such a short time. It would be dishonest to not let it change me, to not offer myself to it and see where it takes me.

[the colorado]
One year ago my favorite record was the black album by Jay-Z.

I think it is important to know how to make an exit. In three weeks I'll live by a lake and the rivers will freeze in the winter. Texas rivers never freeze, even when it snows.

One year ago it snowed in Texas and I thought it was significant. It was silly; there are places where that happens more often than not during those months. I'll soon live in one of them, spend the next winter there. I'll wish I was in Texas again that winter and I wouldn't be surprised if I even stop by for a while, if only just to keep warm, but that's never been the point. I've exhausted rivers, and in three weeks I'll be done with them except to visit. I've exhausted this journal, too, and in three weeks I'll be done with it except as a museum.

If I do start looking at rivers again, it'll be upstream.
27 defect from the Old ; create the New
roobytoosday From: roobytoosday Date: July 9th, 2005 05:48 am (UTC) (Link)
I listened to Grace a couple months ago and I felt nothing.
I think he has that effect on people; we listen so much because there is such a vast amount of emotion, and we then drain it of all meaning to ourselves.
I didn't even feel sad that his album means nothing to me now.
Maybe I'll feel something new for it in a few years.
Or maybe it will just take me back.

I'm sad to see you go, Dan, and I'm sad to see this journal end. I've enjoyed reading about your life, your thoughts. You have a way with writing lines and curves so that people not only understand, but they really think about what you write.
In a few ways, I've seen you as a mentor; I've watched my thought process change, and it's from reading your writings. I respect your opinion on good writing and I'm always overjoyed when you compliment mine.
I do not know if I have told you this, but you are one of my favorite writers.
Please keep in touch and let me know if you ever start another live journal account. I will happily friend you again.

Best Wishes,
mysterywhteboy From: mysterywhteboy Date: July 9th, 2005 05:36 pm (UTC) (Link)
I'll still be in touch, Jennifer. You're a wonderful girl, and I'm flattered to have played any role in your development. Ya'll better come to the going-away party.

roobytoosday From: roobytoosday Date: July 9th, 2005 10:50 pm (UTC) (Link)
I will come to the going-away party if you tell me the date so I can ask for that evening off!
silentrebel From: silentrebel Date: July 9th, 2005 06:06 am (UTC) (Link)
i read this after i wrote my post, and gosh it seems like you're sitting in front of me, saying your words of wisdom and dry humor. i said maybe we'll find the peace in ourselves that's been there the whole time, but you make a valid point when you say the powerthe power isn't in anyone else.

i've been so stricken with lack of motivation to commit to the changes that are occuring in my life. lacking the motivation to commit to the hard work that needs to be put in to my future.

but. what you say counteracts all that i said. or accompanies it. but argues the point that i was trying to make: we're all going to die and it's up to us to do anything worth a damn.

i have been so many people in my life time, and even more so during the past three years, i get confused with past selves and eras. you differentiate with the music you were listening to. perhaps i differentiate by dwelling. and music. and scents.

anyway. i'm going to miss you, brother. i am so proud of you. my love and heart are with you and kat forever.
mysterywhteboy From: mysterywhteboy Date: July 9th, 2005 05:37 pm (UTC) (Link)
When're you coming back to Austin?

antebellumcafe From: antebellumcafe Date: July 9th, 2005 06:21 am (UTC) (Link)
I will miss you.

I will miss your words. I've listened to "Howling" so many times, it's like a song to me. Whenever I hear it, I feel like it's 2003 again. I feel myself working three jobs, getting over heartbreak, trying to find my footing again, making new friends, and desperate not to go back to San Antonio again. You don't know this, but maybe you sense it - I (and I'm sure there are others) get spiritual nourishment from your words. Poet and Saints are the same to me, they understand life and see the world in a way that only few do. And when you agree with someone's sentiments about the world and they are far better at "spelling" than you - you begin to see them as a prophet, channeling the divine.
(So thank you.)

Your poem "the crossing" blew me away emotionally. It reminded me of Van Gogh's letters to his brother Theo.

I started my LJ to write and be anonymous (I only had 2 people I actually knew on my friends list). As more and more people began reading it, my journal turned more into a tool for my social life and the writing lost something. That's my qualm.

I hope you find a way to keep in touch and keep sharing your craft - no matter what sort of space you choose share it in.

Good luck, Dan.
mysterywhteboy From: mysterywhteboy Date: July 9th, 2005 05:42 pm (UTC) (Link)
Isn't it funny how that works? There was a time when no one I knew read this journal; I felt completely free to say whatever I wanted, and promised myself I wouldn't lose that. I did, of course, tho there've been benefits too (knowing my "audience" made me want to write better)-- but the shift in dynamic eventually runs out of potential.

And I'll definitely remain in touch, Jackie. You're the definition of a real friend, and I'm not saying that to blow smoke up your ass. I know that sometimes that sort of loyalty goes unrewarded, but I don't want you to think it went unnoticed.

And I ain't gone yet, sucka.

From: letmecomehome Date: July 9th, 2005 06:25 am (UTC) (Link)
I think the difference is that I like going back to the past once in awhile to remember that I'm not as BAD or fucked up as I was. I go back to listen to records to put myself in that mentality and it is consoling/comforting to know that I've changed, even just a little. Or that some records defined me and I can rest comfortably knowing they did so much for me when I needed them. I can't imagine Grace losing its impact on me. I want to grow bored with life-changing bands and I want to not get excited when I hear old Beatles songs because they remind me of childhood. But I still do get the chills everytime I listen to Astral Weeks and Yankee Hotel Foxtrot. I see where you're going and it's good to make a grand exit... you're always unintentionally evolving, a self-revolution keeps brewing but as much as there are aspects of myself that I don't necessarily like... they still make up parts of me that make me who I am and I don't want to change them even if they're not considered to be positive attributes.

That's probably frustrating for a lot of folks. I know you among others want me to be the best version of me possible but I also don't set out to reinvent the wheel but instead just be me flaws and all, and if something becomes of it... cool, if not... at least there have been some good records and good times. I always contemplate closing up shop here at Livejournal AGAIN but I keep coming back for a reason. Maybe I hope that my audience will still grow in some way. But you know I am geniunely proud of you for your constant search through the archives of words of the best version of yourself, and by moving onward, you'll only get farther. It's in me to settle down now, instead of gaining momentum to keep going. It's not a cop-out, but a choice to really try a different path again, although I want to be doing it in Chicago. Just stay real tried and true, and Chicago is going to be good to be good to you. Winters aren't so bad either. Your forum will be a pen, a microphone, and there's always going to be an audience. This I know is true.

mysterywhteboy From: mysterywhteboy Date: July 9th, 2005 05:42 pm (UTC) (Link)
We should talk soon.

cruisergirl From: cruisergirl Date: July 9th, 2005 10:26 am (UTC) (Link)
I'm going to miss finding your posts on my friends list. If you start a new journal of your Midwestern adventures, let us know here because I'd like to read it.

It's funny how these journals become the story arc of one's life. I started mine more or less as a stressed out grad student wasting time by amusing myself online one night, and it's become the story of walking away from that life. Perhaps that why I haven't been posting much lately.

Whatever you do, all the best for your future, Kat, and career!

mysterywhteboy From: mysterywhteboy Date: July 9th, 2005 05:45 pm (UTC) (Link)
I love having a documented story arc preserved, just to have it. It's of no tangible use-- I wouldn't expect anyone else to read it, and except on rare specific occasions I can't imagine going back-- but it's nice to know that it's there, that you had the presence of mind to keep a record of it. You know?

Thanks, Patricia.

anonymouslie From: anonymouslie Date: July 9th, 2005 03:09 pm (UTC) (Link)
Your words can be a well of inspiration.
Texas is losing one of it's legends.
mysterywhteboy From: mysterywhteboy Date: July 9th, 2005 05:46 pm (UTC) (Link)
I'm flattered, Pamela.

From: grapefruitmoon Date: July 9th, 2005 03:51 pm (UTC) (Link)
You will be missed.
mysterywhteboy From: mysterywhteboy Date: July 9th, 2005 05:46 pm (UTC) (Link)
Thanks, Sonja. And welcome back stateside.

(Deleted comment)
mysterywhteboy From: mysterywhteboy Date: July 9th, 2005 05:47 pm (UTC) (Link)
Keep at it, boss. Glad I could help.

nopunk From: nopunk Date: July 9th, 2005 09:57 pm (UTC) (Link)
i'm often envious of you. the way everything you write ends in an exclamation point, like whatever you're saying just is and it's daring anyone to question otherwise. it just seems like you've got such a good grasp of everything around you (even if that's constantly changing)) and a really interesting way of relaying it to an audience. even if you fall off the livejournal circuit, i have no doubt that i'll be hearing your name somewhere down the line. you're too talented to not.

i'll miss reading your stuff here, dan. and i just wanted to make sure you knew how much i've enjoyed your journal.
mysterywhteboy From: mysterywhteboy Date: July 13th, 2005 10:15 pm (UTC) (Link)
I think the writing in your journal is fantastic, Marisa. I really appreciate the kindness.

kattullus From: kattullus Date: July 10th, 2005 01:47 am (UTC) (Link)
well, it's been nice to know you :)

it'll probably be hard to keep in touch non-lj

just remember to have fun
jewelboxer From: jewelboxer Date: July 10th, 2005 05:28 am (UTC) (Link)

just...oh. it feels almost blasphemous next to all those you are close with to say i'll miss you. but i will.
From: letmecomehome Date: July 12th, 2005 10:41 pm (UTC) (Link)

So Is It Safe To Say That This Is Your Last Goodbye?!

Check out this pic I found on Google :)
artmayes167 From: artmayes167 Date: July 13th, 2005 06:37 am (UTC) (Link)

Re: So Is It Safe To Say That This Is Your Last Goodbye?!

Whoa. Those were king-heller days.
You ever miss your hair, Dan?

I do.
(any plans for the conquering of Chicago? don't forget to call for help with the move in.)
mysterywhteboy From: mysterywhteboy Date: July 13th, 2005 04:16 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re: So Is It Safe To Say That This Is Your Last Goodbye?!

I had long hair again, twice, since high school. Once when I was nineteen/twenty and once for an ill-advised eight or nine months in 2003. I don't miss it.

Lots of ideas, not a single plan as yet; I'll be up for some serious brainstorming when I'm up there.

I'm going to give you a call later. I have a favor to ask.

mysterywhteboy From: mysterywhteboy Date: July 13th, 2005 10:15 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re: So Is It Safe To Say That This Is Your Last Goodbye?!

You are a son of a bitch.

From: letmecomehome Date: July 14th, 2005 04:12 am (UTC) (Link)

Re: So Is It Safe To Say That This Is Your Last Goodbye?!

You can always delete it :-) And yes my mom can be quite bitchy so I concur with the above statement.
enfuego From: enfuego Date: July 13th, 2005 02:10 pm (UTC) (Link)
I'll miss reading your words. I can't really describe to you what they've meant, but they've always meant something to me because of your ability to put words to thoughts in ways that I never could. I want to, but I can't express myself with the deftness you have. I speak my sincerity with photographs.

Let me just end this by saying that I dreampt about Elliott Smith last night and it seemed so real that I could feel the heat of him beside me. I looked at his arms, because I've always had a thing for arms; and he had nice ones. I could smell the boy on him, that fresh and heady mix of soap, sweat and testosterone. I woke up and sat at the edge of my bed, aching and looking with apprehension towards a day of getting stuck with needles, poked, prodded and having my breasts ultrasounded. I try to tell myself I'm not nervous, but I am. I tried to make sense of having met Elliott during my slumbering hours, but I couldn't.

I put Either - Or on when I woke up, and found myself thinking of you, so I came to read what's been going on in your life. I haven't been very good at keeping up with my friends list lately--I chalk it up to two parts busy, one part laziness--and I found myself reading this.

Whenever I hear Say Yes, I'll think of you.

Maybe this is goodbye? Maybe you'll be in Canada again sometime and our paths will cross.


mysterywhteboy From: mysterywhteboy Date: July 13th, 2005 10:17 pm (UTC) (Link)
This was very nice to read, Kate, thanks.

27 defect from the Old ; create the New