People don’t make music like this nowadays. People do not make nerd music. People make music for cool people that have punchy choruses and catchy things they can sing along with in minor keys so they can feel appropriately melancholy and dark and epic and weird and cynical, but, at the same time, good about everything because the song works and there’s a chorus, a verse, and a bridge.
It’s 5:30 again. Now Nolan, Let’s not make this a habit, okay?
It seems like another lifetime that I suffered from chronic insomnia, which is probably why it hurts so much to relive it now. I hear tugboats pulling in to Tacoma, people driving alone on the empty streets for an early trip to the airport, modern construction machinery working the grounds, and my mind yelling at me in an attempt to convict me of my open eyes. By the way, it’s 5:30 in the morning, and let me say that insomnia is not exciting. That feeling ended years ago. Real insomnia leaves a bad taste in the mouth of the victim. Nausea comes to stare with you each night, your ceiling never smiles back, you can’t find the words to say your nightly prayer, you try to understand why you can’t find the tears to filter your eyes, and when you try to make it better, whatever controls it all won’t let you, and so you sit there empty, cold, and wistful.
I told myself I would be brief, so I will try to sleep now. But, why does the Lord provide each undeserving breath to fuel my sinful life? Is it so that I may choose truth, or is it so I can fail once more to make an example of a life I lived? Maybe it’s these very questions that keep me awake at night, but, eventually, I will slip out of wakefulness, and dream of soft light slanting through the old growth, and I will not remember it in the morning.
If it weren’t for colors I would probably disappear into my own skin. If, at night, you’ve ever kept your eyes open and wondered what you’re doing down here on this planet feeling hurt and alone, then you understand the basic principle of desire, which is, of course, feeling. But, there’s something to be said concerning solitude and the moon. I find it hard to lose myself before midnight, and I find it difficult to dream by 1. I’m not one to get bored by will (is anyone?), but I feel as if I put myself in this exact state every night. I willfully surrender to “nighttime” and lay awake here wondering what it would be like if it were different, if I could love everyone and sit at the large circular tables during lunch everyday, if I had a lover to hold down the street, if I had the strength to run a marathon, and if I were better. But, I don’t deny that I have actively participated in the creation of this life. However, I do enjoy imagining and pretending. Everyday I pretend I’m being watched, as if I am on a T.V. screen in someone’s home while they all provide their commentary on my every action. I imagine her smiling at me as I lay here with open eyes and mind. Once, I asked a friend whether or not she did the same, assuming everyone did, and she told me she did not. So you can understand where this notion comes from, my idea that I am silly (not that I care). I think If you’re ready to face some difficult realities about yourself, then the truth will not be held from you. I can’t deny it given my experience.
I know, they say, “To make God laugh tell Him all your plans.” But, there is a peace in hope.
God doesn’t give you courage all the time. Sometimes He gives you the opportunity to be courageous.
It feels good to do good.
Suddenly it seems like the whole world is calling your name, and you’re feeling so good you practically float on home. And when you go to bed that night, the last thing you see before you fall asleep are her eyes, and the last thing on your face is a smile.
Maybe you were wearing a new jacket that you had bought with your last paycheck. Or you had dreaded your hair over the summer. Or you broke your arm skateboarding with friends. Or got a girlfriend the first week of school. Or maybe you weren’t even a person. Maybe you were an small black and white drawing on the wall, or a neat and lovely-looking flower getting soaked by the rain at four o’clock in the dark grey of the afternoon. Whatever you were, whatever we were, we walked away smiling and maybe not saying but all thinking the same thing: it felt good to finally get some credit for who we were.
And, so, last night, I finally thanked her. In the dream she didn’t have a face, so she wasn’t saying anything, but as I recognized the silence, I wrapped my left arm around her, held her close, and gave her a face. Then, I woke embracing the sun in her place.
I’m a solo artist. I go under the name of “Jade” and I recorded my first ep this summer. D0wnload it here: http://jademusic.bandcamp.com/ or visit my myspace if you’re bored: http://www.myspace.com/nolanjsbkurtz.
Currently, I’m in a band. We don’t have a name yet. We’re working on an ep that we hope to release soon in 2011. What kind of music is it? We call it “sound rock” but that doesn’t mean anything.
There was a time when I forgot why I was alive. That was a time when I was new and green and knew nothing about anything, except perhaps how to awkwardly ruin a conversation, rattle off the Rolodex of northwest indie bands, and carry out the basic principles of fashion. I took AP English my senior year. I took my time reading the material (when I wanted to) and started wearing a beanie everyday. I think there’s a dimension out there that’s easy to fall into and is extremely hard to climb out of. If it exists, that’s where I was. It’s like a muddy ditch or something. I was bound by addiction and boredom. I’m sure there was more to it than that. Insomnia has a way of making one forget the good we’re all surrounded by because you’re only conscious to experience the dark.
I remember my solemn ideas resonating with the notions of Ralph Waldo Emerson. His idea that divinity pervades all nature and humanity was one in which I took literally. I looked for warmth in all the wrong areas. I wanted to fill the space within me by gazing at tall trees and laughing at foolish people (thus learning from their foolish ways). I thought I could honestly feel whole by living in solitude within community, but I couldn’t. I tried to free myself of passion because that’s what the Buddhists and Hindus tell you. But, nothing, not even the rain filled me. I couldn’t do a whole lot of anything with eyes wide open for forty-eight hours at a time. It’s a lot like holding one’s breath, a lot like dying.
I covered the western canon reading the classics. I thought I appreciated literature until then. Or maybe, that’s all I could do, appreciate them because I didn’t care to read them. My relationship to books was analogous to my affair with the Bible. I appreciated it, but wasn’t one to go out and read it on my own, and that’s just what I felt, on my own.
To skip all the “deep” stuff, I had a second spiritual experience, and now nothing makes sense to me except for Jesus and every single thing He said. I came back to the fact that Jesus Christ was a real man in history. I read about him in my European history textbook my junior year. One has to personally decide whether to believe that he was a complete lunatic and lied about everything, or that He was exactly who He said to be, the son of God, the First and the Last, the Alpha and the Omega, with the whole world in His hands, and more importantly at the time, with my life in His hands. I loved the idea of a God who loves everyone unconditionally, and Jesus’ idea of forgiveness and salvation. It’s one of those things you feel a deep conviction about. It’s what honestly fills that space that’s in everyone. I know because it happened to me. And, I wasn’t always this way. I’m done staying out at night to try and feel more alive. I used to run all day never stopping to catch my breath. But, even now, in my physical weakness and blurred vision, I have something eternal to live for, and I never had that before.
In class, no other religion resonated with me because they didn’t give me hope. I believe in Jesus because I believe in truth. I believe in the hope that there is more than this. I believe in justice and peace, and the power of love. I believe because I see. I’ve seen enemies embrace, victims forgive, and oppressors repent. I’ve seen a beautiful sunrise, shining stars in the sky, and humans brought into it all. I believe because I experience the power of the Holy Spirit. I feel the Truth of the Bible make the hairs on my neck stand. I feel the peace of Christ overwhelm me in times of need and in times of want. I believe in Jesus because I am broken and He desires a relationship with me, so much so that He died for me, only to rise again to a triumphal victory over my sin, offering a new, a good, way to live. I believe because He is God.
I guess the real point I’m trying to make with this is that the reason why I’m a Christian is because the only thing that stepped up to the task and filled the empty space within me was Jesus. Before, that void inside of me was done feeling, and now all it does is feel out of love. It’s clear to me now that nothing in my life, thus far, has gone unnoted for the God of the universe has been guiding me to this very moment since before I was even born, and I cannot wait to serve Him tomorrow.