Rock n Roll isn’t for cowards

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My 14th year of life was soul crushing. The best thing about it was meeting Molly. Ours was a classic 80s high school experience, ala any John Hughes movie. Preppy west siders ruled the school, bragging of snowboarding and cocaine on the weekends. Molly hung out with the smokers, the kids who wore black and tried not to go to class. Gus Van Sant was filming My Own Private Idaho. Molly’s friends kept inviting me to ditch and hang on set with River, Keanu. They sometimes got to party with them. All the good drugs, they said.

My friend Lisa’s mom drove us to the first Lollapalooza. We came back with matching t-shirts that carried a social currency. Total jocks gave us a right on, as if they were cheering a sports team and failing to see the irony. 1990 turned to 1991, punk broke into the mainstream. My home life was shattering. I joined the outsiders, getting drunk with the catholic girls from St. Mary’s, finding hills to drink on and watch my life slide out of view. The last day of school Molly signed my yearbook, asked me to hang out with her that summer. I’d never had someone pursue my friendship before and mean it. Flash forward a couple weeks in and Molly and I were thick as theives. We went to the 7-11 to pick up ice cream and watch the Breakfast Club for the millionth time while stoned. She skipped around me shyly, asking if we could be best friends. I thought it was the sweetest thing and laughed, saying you can’t ask someone to be best friends, you just are. Still, my answer was yes.

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Molly had a casette tape of Bleach, she showed it to me in her lunchbox. She wanted to start a band, move to Olympia. She was 14 and knew what she wanted, what she liked and didn’t like, what was wrong or right. She’d learned to stand up for herself, having experienced abuse since she was a child, passed around to uncles and foster families until her dad took her in and cleaned up. That summer changed everything. Molly was convinced something was different. We broke into her dad’s truck and found a whiskey bottle under his seat. The personality change was sudden, violent. She called DHS on him herself, for threatening her with a gun. But there was no where for her to go, she ended up in a group home for adjudicated youth, imprisoned by curfews and shitty food. She told me she wanted to die and I convinced her to write me a letter saying she wouldn’t. I still have that letter, I don’t have Molly.

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Like anyone’s high school years, there was so much living and excitement mixed with rejection and vulnerability. They were the most profoundly fucked up years and the most free and fun. Molly helped save me from depression and mania that followed an early assault and I tried to convince her to hang on. There is not a single living person who has had as much of an effect on me and I only had her in my life for five years. We were opposites. I was the shy one, she was loud. Parents, teachers and friends tried to keep us apart from each other. I often wonder what my life would have been like if they had been successful. We fought bitterly, did a-lot of bad drugs, petty crime, but Molly was also the girl with a strawberry shortcake lunchbox. who skipped around me asking me to be her friend and that never changed. She had a way of making bad situations better and she is the first one I want to call when anything happens, good or bad. It’s hard to replace something like that, people simply can’t be replaced.

20 years after she died, I looked at her seminal zine, Rock n Roll Fantasy for the first time and decided I couldn’t be the sole keeper of Molly’s artwork any longer. Please check out the teaser and share with your friends, help make Molly’s Rock n Roll Fantasy a reality!!!

Being lost and found

In an age of inter-connectivity

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At one time, I made my phone calls from phone booths. Traveling from San Francisco to New Orleans on the greyhound bus and back through Texas, Arizona and Los Angeles by way of hitching rides and hopping freight trains; making phone calls wasn’t a priority. I used to put some quarters in, spit my words out until a recorded voice gave a 30 second warning, then beep, call’s over. No internet or smartphone. Connection lost.

I’m a huge fan of technology. But, the idea of being lost has its up sides.

I loved the freedom of riding trains. The freedom to become something else, to show up unannounced and without a plan and lose the parts of yourself you’ve become tired of holding on to, along the way. Meeting new people without an introduction through friends or shared interests, gave opportunity to create yourself anew again and again. I became many different personalities, people that I normally wasn’t, like someone who didn’t complain about the cold, or lack of food. It forced me to use better parts of my personality, stronger parts, that I didn’t know I had.

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I came back to living on the grid in 2001. I pursued school and work and received jury summons.

For fifteen years, I searched for an ex online. It was a tragic story that ended in hospitals, homeless shelters and other things that start with h. I had questions about his survival and I enjoy solving mysteries, so periodically, I’d search. My quest began with asking so and so to keep an eye out at his regular spots on the street in California, to scanning obits to searching the web for glimpses of a life lived. His moniker is a different spelling of a name that google couldn’t recognize as existing or belonging to a person. My complete inability to find information lead me to think the worst.

Life seems like a story sometimes, that you understand the plot for only as it is happening. A particular interaction may seem banal for years and then will re-surface years later when making a comparison to a similar instance sheds new light on the old one. These are the twists I crave, when my thinking slips into place on a subject. When I found the ex on social networking I had one of those moments. Looking at his picture, sitting in his aged self, I knew too much, the beginning and end of the story. As painful as it was, I enjoyed the story of my loss and the possibilities that laid within it much more than the reality.

Sometimes, people don’t want to be found.