Read an Excerpt
1977april 29, 1977: Pittsburgh
This is a blue moment . . . it’s blue because I’m confused, again; orshould I say “still”? I don’t know what I want or how to get it. Iact like I know what I want, and I appear to be going after it—fast,but I don’t, when it comes down to it, even know. I guess it’s becauseI’m afraid. Afraid I’m wrong. And I guess I’m afraid I’mwrong, because I constantly relate myself to other people, otherexperiences, other ideas. I should be looking at both in perspective,not comparing. I relate my life to an idea or an example thatis some entirely different life. I should be relating it to my life onlyin the sense that each has good and bad facets. Each is separate.The only way the other attained enough merit, making it worthyof my admiration, or long to copy it is by taking chances, taking itin its own way. It has grown with different situations and has discovereddifferent heights of happiness and equal sorrows. If I always seek to pattern my life after another, mine is beingwasted re-doing things for my own empty acceptance. But, ifI live my life my way and only let the other [artists] influenceme as a reference, a starting point, I can build an even higherawareness instead of staying dormant. If I can take this andapply it, it will help, but again I am afraid. Afraid I’ll just ignorethis whole revelation and remain in the rut and rationalizeand call it human nature or some shit. But, I’ve beenliving like this for so long that it seems I’m doomed to continue.Although I realized it now, so that is encouraging. If Ican do this, then it should not be hard to answer my questionsand doubts about my forthcoming adventure. If I amall that is in question, then I should be able to answer all.Like past experience, there is always a certain magic thatsome call “Fate.” Lately it hasn’t been as evident, or perhapsI am just more ignorant of it, but I know that I’ll end upsomewhere for some reason or no reason, but with someanswers or at least be a little clearer on why I am and what Iam aiming to do or what I am gonna do or just “do.” If thisfate is negative, that isn’t negative because that is what happenedand that then was the fate. I only wish that I couldhave more confi dence and try to forget all my silly preconceptions,misconceptions, and just live. Just live. Just. Live.
Just live till I die.
Today we got to Interstate State Park and camped andmet people and sold T-shirts. Tripped. Met people going tosee the Grateful Dead in Minnesota. The Grateful Dead inMinnesota! We’re going to see the Grateful Dead!I found a tree in this park that I’m gonna come back to,someday. It stretches sideways out over the St. Croix riverand I can sit on it and balance lying on it perfectly.
tuesday, may 10, 1977
Today we awoke at sunrise, walked out of the park andhitchhiked to Minneapolis. We saw the school. It’s so big!Giant studios and facilities for silk-screen, etching, lithography,sculpture and giant sun roofs. They have a big librarywith “Pioneer” receivers, tape decks and a large selection ofmusic (even Frank Zappa). We saw the downtown area anda really modern mall that I can’t begin to describe. We got adorm apartment for two nights for $10 and bought GratefulDead tickets. (Only $5.50 apiece and it’s not sold outyet.) Also I met people that go to school here and askeda lot of questions and got a good idea of what this schoolis like.
The Dead were great. We saw the people we met at thecampsite, sold T-shirts, got high. The Dead even did an encorefrom American Beauty, “By the waterside I will lay myhead, listen to the river sing sweet songs to rock my soul.”friday, may 13, 1977After we left Minneapolis, we took a bus to I-94 and caughta few little rides and then a truck ride all the way to the borderof N. Dakota where we ate three cheeseburgers anddrank some beers. It was all farmers and when I went to thebathroom they all talked about my hair . . . Rednecks! Thenwe got a ride from a pilot who likes Bachman Turner Overdriveand then a truck ride into N. Dakota.
saturday, may 14, 1977
I am in Miles City, Montana, sitting in the sun. Thinkingabout the Grateful Dead, ’cause the last ride was 77 miles ofAM Radio. Suzy said my hair looks like there are dead animalsliving in it. At least they’re dead.
sunday, may 15, 1977
You have to stand before the ramp in Washington, so it wasreal hard to get rides. So we went down onto the Interstate,illegally, and finally got a ride, seconds before a sheriff camedown the ramp. This guy is going all the way to Sacramento.I’m in his car now. We drove till around 10:00 last night andthen stayed in a motel, watched Paper Moon on TV and tookshowers. Today he bought us breakfast in Medford, Oregon,and now we’re on our way to Sacramento in a ’62 Chryslerwith a dome dash and plastic slipcovers. It’s a really neat car.Also, he is blind in one eye and has a cataract in the otherand the radio doesn’t work right ’cause he spilled a glass ofCoke down the front of the dash a few years ago. But we’llget there . . .
wednesday, may 18, 1977
Yesterday we woke up, got out of the tent and there werecows standing 20 feet away just looking at us. They keptcoming closer and closer till they were right in front of thetent, and Suzy is saying, “Hurry up, they’re gonna chargeus,” so we hurried up and left and hitchhiked to I-80 and gota ride in a van and then a ride with a guy named Peter whotook us to Berkeley. The school is really amazing. Better thanMinneapolis, and not even comparable to Ivy. Then we wentby Rapid Transit (space transit) to San Francisco to a placeto eat and sleep for free advertised in an “alternative” YellowPages we found in Berkeley. The guy who ran it was gay, Ithink, and his friend took us to Polk Street, where we sawmore faggots than I saw in my entire life. It was weird, butwe got fed well and no hassles. Now we are at a laundromatand we’ll head for Santa Ana.
We went to Newport Beach today. It was nice. I wish Icould live here . . . It’s like N.J. shore. I got high and metsomeone from Boston and from Michigan.
I am sunburned. We saw the ocean today, one month afterseeing the Atlantic Ocean.
monday, may 23, 1977
Yesterday me and Suzy took a bus to Disneyland. What atrip! It was like another world. We did everything we couldpossibly do in nine hours. I expected it to be a letdown afterseeing it on TV and hearing about it, but it was better. Exceptthe castle is only about three stories high and it always looksgigantic in pictures. We went to the Haunted Mansion twotimes.
saturday, may 28, 1977
We are camped in a National Forest (for free) in the RockyMountains. We put our tent up last night and drank Coorsthis morning and we woke up and there was snow everywhere!I got up and walked farther down the creek, andfound a good place to make a shelter. It was snowing. This isthe nicest place we’ve been to yet. Last Saturday we were gettingsunburned at Newport Beach, and now we’re in snow! Ibuilt a shelter out of pine trees and we put the tent underit. Now I am sitting across the creek from our tent drinkinga beer and getting high on the scenes. Rocky MountainHigh!
memorial day 1977
We slept under a train bridge last night and woke at sunriseand signed the bridge along with the other people that hadslept there. We got a family ride that was very comical, andthen a ride to Des Moines, Iowa, with a really neat guy whohad tame raccoons.
Now I’m on the North Side, and Suzy is making Frenchtoast. This is the end of the fi rst part of my trip. Or should Isay the beginning of another “trip.” Through all the shit,shines the small ray of hope that lives in the common senseof the few. The music, dance, theatre, and the visual arts; theforms of expression, the arts of hope. This is where I think Ifi t in. If it’s alongside a creek in the Rocky Mountains or in askyscraper in Chicago or in a small town called Park City,Utah, it is always with me. Art will never leave me and nevershould. So as I go into the next part of the trip I hope it willbe more creative and more work involved and less talk andmore doing, seeing, learning, being, loving, feeling, maybeless feeling, and just work my ass off, ’cause that, my friend,is where it’s at!
It’s the Image I’m seeking, the Image I seewhen the man in the mirror is talking to Me.