I woke up as the sun was reddening; and that was the one distinct time in my life, the strangest moment of all, when I didn't know who I was — I was far away from home, haunted and tired with travel, in a cheap hotel room I'd never seen, hearing the hiss of steam outside, and the creak of the old wood of the hotel, and footsteps upstairs, and all the sad sounds, and I looked at the cracked high ceiling and really didn't know who I was for about fifteen strange seconds. I wasn't scared; I was just somebody else, some stranger, and my whole life was a haunted life, the life of a ghost. I was halfway across America, at the dividing line between the East of my youth and the West of my future.
- Jack Kerouac, On The Road (written in 1951 and published in 1957)
Be it life or death, we crave only reality. If we are really dying, let us hear the rattle in our throats and feel cold in the extremities; if we are alive, let us go about our business. Time is but the stream I go a-fishing in. I drink at it; but while I drink I see the sandy bottom and detect how shallow it is. Its thin current slides away, but eternity remains.
...Perhaps the logical question to ask at this point is: Why go? The answer is that when a man has been there and undergone the baptism of solitude he can't help himself. Once he has been under the spell of the vast luminous, silent country, no other place is quite strong enough for him, no other surroundings can provide the supremely satisfying sensation of existing in the midst of something that is absolute. He will go back, whatever the cost in time or money, for the absolute has no price.
- Paul Bowles, Their Heads are Green and Their Hands are Blue: Scenes from the Non-Christian World
We all travel the milky way together, trees and men; but it never occurred to me until this storm-day, while swinging in the wind, that trees are travelers, in the ordinary sense. They make many journeys, not very extensive ones, it is true; but our own little comes and goes are only little more than tree-wavings -- many of them not so much.
All life is fundamentally & inextricably sad, with the perpetual snatching away of all the chance combinations of image & vista & mood that we become attached to, & the perpetual encroachment of the shadow of decay upon illusions of expansion & liberation which buoyed us up & spurred us on in youth.
- H. P. Lovecraft, Letter to Frank Belknap Long (27 February 1931)
Only the silent, sleepy, staring houses in the backwoods can tell all that has lain hidden since the early days; and they are not communicative, being loath to shake off the drowsiness which helps them forget. Sometimes one feels that it would be merciful to tear down these houses, for they must often dream.
- H. P. Lovecraft, The Picture in the House (1921)
Because we don't know when we will die, we get to think of life as an inexhaustible well. Yet everything happens only a certain number of times, and a very small number really. How many more times will you remember a certain afternoon of your childhood, some afternoon that is so deeply a part of your being that you can't even conceive of your life without it? Perhaps four or five times more, perhaps not even that. How many more times will you watch the full moon rise? Perhaps twenty. And yet it all seems limitless.
Man has gone out to explore other worlds and other civilizations without having explored his own labyrinth of dark passages and secret chambers, and without finding what lies behind doorways that he himself has sealed.
John Tocher surveys the free music landscape for new and old releases encompassing the realms of avant garde, experimental, electronic, musique concréte, industrial, dada-ist music. A transplant from the Los Angeles area, he now makes his home in southeast Texas near the border with Louisiana --deep in swamp country, where the ambiance is enhanced by cicadas and the occasional hurricane.