God. Even the title of this blog post is too long, too wordy and too much. I wish I could be a streamlined person who leaves a small footprint and has an uncluttered spirit. Alas, I’m not sure that was ever in the cards for me.
As I’ve said probably enough times to make you unsubscribe from this blog, being an addict through and through I like more of everything. More sex, more, booze, more drugs, more reality television, more donuts, more shopping and so on. Yet less is now something I stride for. Raymond Carver (my personal hero/idol when it comes to writing), is seen as one of modern fiction’s great minimalists. So if it’s good enough for Carver it’s good enough for me, right? Although like me Carver was an alcoholic and some say he was pushed into his minimal style by legendary editor Gordon Lish. Nevertheless, I believe in the power of simplicity and having a less crowded life. The husband and I are good about not keeping a lot of stuff around the house and we try to use what we have. I recylce and walk almost everywhere. Our walls aren’t cluttered and we try to live tchotchke-free.
Still, it’s my brain that usually overproduces and over-consumes. The truth is even though I think I can be some dime store version of Carver, I’m really more akin to Veruca Salt. “Don’t care how! I want it now!” I took a creative writing workshop once where we all had to read out loud and then receive feedback from SL Stebel, a renowned creative writing professor from USC. After laughing at the jokes in my story, he nodded and said, “Wow. That’s a lot of stuff there. It’s nearly too much. You have enough for four books there.” He was right of course. I was overdoing it as usual. Sigh.
Aiming to be more minimal and thoughtful is a good thing for me whereas wanting more now is usually a flashing warning sign that I have to get my spiritual life in check. But I’m also realistic. I know that I can appreciate the sparse beauty of an Agnes Martin painting just as much as I can appreciate a trip to the Liberace Museum followed by all you can eat ribs.
I feel like I’ve 12 stepped and therapied my behind off in order to be okay with my insane past. I can laugh about most of it but that doesn’t mean I always want to be reminded of it. So when my days as drugged out raver recently surfaced on Facebook, my reaction threw me for a loop.
Last week, I was added to a Facebook group called something like “I went to raves in Colorado in the 90s” by one of my oldest friends. I used to poo poo reminiscing yet for some reason this group sucked me right in. The group grew to over 1,000 people all of whom shared songs and memories and photos of the all night debauchery that was set to an electronic soundtrack. The fairy wings, the glitter, the fuzzy wookie boots and other cartoon couture litter the pictures of children who took drugs and danced all night long. I’ve spent this week revisiting my past and I’m surprising okay with it. I went to some of Denver’s earliest raves in 1990 through 1993 but the scene held steady well into the early 2000s. I was 17 when I first got my rave on and rolled it up by the time I turned 21. We did mass amounts of Ecstasy and danced and made friends and all loved each other. Until we didn’t. Crystal meth came into the picture, parties started getting broken up by the cops and drama was on every dance floor. I mean talk about a recipe for disaster– take minors, add drugs that make you wanna screw your brains out, stir and enjoy! Personally, I had a blast but it was clear from my early days of raving that all I wanted was more. I went every Saturday for months and did Ecstasy every week. And coke and whatever else was being passed around. I burnt out at 20 and again at 21. But I wasn’t alone, we were all really young and high and the lifestyle wasn’t built to last.
When I turned 21, I shook off the fuzzy backpacks and the people I met in that world. Raves were for kids and I was ready to drink with the big boys. I didn’t look back. Well until last week. It’s odd. Part of me has truly enjoyed the memories of the people and the music and the general craziness. It’s healthy for me to look back on time in my life with love and fondness. Another sick part of me really wishes I could do it again or live like that today. I know that’s nuts and beyond unhealthy but there you go. The reality is a 40 year-old raver high on drugs still acting like the party never ended would be tragic.com. For me, anyway.
I can’t argue the culture significance of raves as I was always fickle. Before raves, I was goth before that I was a moody Smiths listening teenager. After raves I moved to LA and embraced the glam rock revival and then electro clash. In short, I was always a bit of scenester sheep looking to latch on to the next big thing. But I can look at those pictures of myself and have compassion for that kid and the journeys he was going to embark on.