As published in the Japanese magazine BEEAST
I stood in front of my bedroom door with probably more excitement than my 2 little furry boys MacKaye and Leonard, who were crying and barking for me to quickly open up. That pure loving moment is what has kept me coming back home on a regular basis in the year that has gone by, separating me from actually being able to say: “Alright, I’m back home.” I never thought the last year would go as it did, even if I didn’t have any plans. Days became weeks. Weeks turned into months. And without further notice, I found myself wondering if I would ever come back at all, which I believe wouldn’t have happened if it wasn’t for writing the book “A Journey Beyond Ourselves”. I was that emotionally damaged, but realized I wasn’t that definitely broken after all. You can run as far and as long as you want, for all the good or wrong reasons. Time doesn’t heal… Only forgiveness does.
It was somehow special for me to be back in the studio last night, after what felt like an eternity. It was special to stand in a place with so much history, with so much of our tears, laughter, mourning dreams and exulting success. I didn’t expect the place to be anything else. Again, it’s what we decide to make out of all those moments that determines their nature and therefore their emotional implication. Last night, without any other reason than feeling it, all through the freedom by which I live my life now, I was even able to share with the others. I used to keep any personal emotion to myself, so this reminded me how something as simple as being in the same place as the others had never been quite that simple for me before. Sharing some song ideas and revealing a little of the emotions that came with them was good to me… it was simple.
Some of the things I shared were about the fact that, in the midst of the world’s present chaos and its everlasting new grieving morning after, I felt it was time for me to give life to the words of compassion, grace and mercy I kept on writing about in order to purge the intolerance and fatalism that roams around, following every unbearable and crushing act of revolting terror we are either part of, may it be as victims of anger or powerless survivors, or disconnected from, may it be to protect ourselves from hate or as an acknowledged denial to live without fear, whatever it may be or not. As I told a dear friend who asked me to write a text for an important newspaper after a recent act of abominable and revolting horror, I wasn’t able, as shameful and disheartened as it may sound, to keep on writing eulogies anymore.
We are totally devastated by the horror that occurred last night in Manchester, a city that has always been very significant for the band, and where we have so many great friends and family members. Our most compassionate thoughts and purest prayers go to the families who have been ripped from the blessings of their loved ones, and to everyone, who just like us, feel helpless in front of such monstrous and abominable acts of hatred and violence.
Every morning following such a horrifying display of disasters, might they be perpetuated in familiar places or far away, reminds us how fragile gathering peace and communal empathy look like before the implacable nature of hatred… How the price for forgiveness and love seem to be more and more difficult to pay for people of good will… as we are to be facing the most horrible fears and dreads there is, which is to become the same monsters we are now so deeply despising… At least that’s always my personal decision to make.
Let’s embrace life; it’s always the most inspiring way to honor the ones we have lost and to respond to hatred and terror.
PS: We also want to thank everyone who sent us messages inquiring for the safety of Jeff and me as we are just coming back from the UK… Sorry it took time for us to react, we are as shocked as you all are… One thing is for sure, though; your affection is once again so inspiring to us all. Thank you for reminding us the power of true love.
To deny anyone’s rights is to deprave everyone from their rights. We might not understand, we might not be comfortable, we might not even agree, but one thing is for sure; the moment we deny equality based on our beliefs or on other people’s differences, we become accomplice of the hatred that each and everyone of us had to face, are facing or will face one day for simply being who we are. By acknowledging who we are, whatever it might be or not, it is to assume what others might be or not as well. Want it or not, we’re all strange, weird or wrong for at least another one. And this is what makes the world a far more captivating place to evolve in than any homogenized dictature created by our fears and what we rebuke. At least, true or not, that’s where I stand… Human rights for all… no exception!!!
New York has always been a fascinating living entity for me. More than just an iconic name to hang onto, it is like a world revolving on its own, almost a fictional concept of sorts… It’s as if time never had any kind of authority on its evolving motion tides. It feels like the center of everywhere you may try to look at; the past, the present, the future. Blissful joy and apathetic misery. Everything we’re trying to leave behind and all we’ve ever wished for. Addiction and freedom. Community and self-reliance. It’s a symbolistic imagery of liberty and an implacable opulent stronghold. A pornographic indigence and a sanctified ambition.
Like a mirror reflecting its vision of the world it creates and destroys, it’s a romantic illusion for everlasting love devotees. A refuge for those in need of a new beginning. A theater for anyone longing for a brighter light to shine. A hideout for strangers. A noisy crowd for those fleeing their own silence. An ongoing picture of past nostalgia and future envisioning. It’s a busy street for an anonymous writer, a mystical fire, a mysterious desire to kneel for, an elevation of our own contractions. It’s the beauty of all creations and the chaotic natural disaster that comes with it. It’s what it tastes like to be God in your own rights, and what it means to truly be human.
I grew up in a storm, ever too old to believe and too young to really care. Most live to say goodbye, some die to feel alive. And as close as it might be from home, reality always seems to be the furthest of all places to reach out to, as if the distance between a dream and its incarnation remains the greatest one to overcome. And on that foggy and rainy night of March 1, 2016, walking on Broadway, drinking wine surrounded by loved ones’ laughter and amazement… That moment wasn’t New York City. It was resolutely greater than any of its dazzling lights and its vibrant skyline. It was family… As magnificently simple as it is. As inspiringly empowering as it is. Family… and its unique ability to allow its own to be, between a dream and its incarnation, whatever they are or might be.
New York City… “Most Live To Say Goodbye – Some Die To Feel Alive”
Thoughts following the events in Sainte-Foy
It feels awfully more painful for me to write a message like this one… Not because madness came violently ripping life at home, but because it gets harder and harder for me to look around without sounding hopelessly cynical or disconnected…
It’s as if the world, more than the reality in which it seems to revolve around or grow in, was getting blurrier and blurrier. As if every time we were forced to look outside our own lives, we had to helplessly witness another bright color disappearing before our very eyes, suddenly unblinded, if only for a brief moment, by the despicable horrors that frightfully seem to be coming closer and closer to what we thought was our safe haven of existence.
It feels awfully more painful for me to muse about hope and love and peace as “terror” keeps inviting itself at the table of communion, bringing with it its abominable darkness, as if such a dreadful evilness was challenging everything that I am, everything that I believe in, everything that defines the compassion I turned into actions, forcing me to look deeper and deeper every time, to take a look at myself. But everything inside of me would rather keep looking the other way in order to deny myself the sole existence of such hatred, to rebuke it all, to keep living, as if… as if what…? Sometimes, I’m just too confused to even be able to lie to myself… “Everything will be ok”, I keep whispering. But how do I know? I keep wondering. Is it ok to be confused? I don’t know.
Since the Charlie Hebdo atrocities, the multiplications of abhorring hateful tragedies, their associated images and videos, what disgusted me the most remains the high level of apathetic nonsense we keep hearing in the different public tribunes. “Experts”, “specialists”, “observers” and “commentators” feed the flow of every possible easy and generic bullshit seconds only after the news are out. This morning, the garbage I heard was beyond intelligence from both sides of the political and social spectrum. I was disgusted. People advertising their books, their conferences, their services… no compassion, no empathy, no sympathy, no grace, not only from the tip of their lips as they advertised themselves. It made me so sick. I was just too repulsed by such lack of sensitivity to fake it through the day. It was beyond imagination. And since Donald Trump has been elected President, God knows the degree of insanity we have heard from all possible sides, from depicting women as sexual objects to be grabbed to walls, refugees bans, assassination jokes, all the way to publicly talking about bombing the white house. The political and social rhetoric is now too monstrously depraved of sense to simply be seen as ridiculously pathetic anymore; it’s hideous.
In fact, after the horrific events that occurred in Istanbul on New Year’s eve, I promised myself to stop writing about those tragedies. When words aren’t enough to share the true dimension of my feelings, I would rather leave others who still have enough strength to do it. But after receiving so many messages from friends from all over the world, from different cultures, religions and social, economic and political spheres of life, I realized even more that it’s not my weakness, nor my confusion or my doubts that I should fear, but silence… The true serum to everything that leads to or feeds bitterness, sorrow and hate remains our desires to keep inviting, to keep welcoming as we are, to keep taking chances…
As I’m writing, I’m still as confused as before, if not more. I still feel powerless, disgusted by it all. But it’s what a dear friend from Morocco recently wrote to me that keeps vibrating in my heart today. “It’s ok to be discouraged, to be confused or even scared. We all are. Love, peace, the world… nothing’s a lost cause as long as we care. As long as we care, there will always be hope, my friend. Keep walking your path and remember, when you are discouraged and want to give up, that there are people like me who do care about you.”
And as I keep whispering “everything will be ok” and keep wondering “how do I know?”, I guess, after all, that it’s because I’m one of the millions who does care that I know it will be ok. Thank you for your messages and for welcoming me. My family, my loved ones and I are safe. It might seem like the world gets more and more into the bleakness of black and white, but I know that the colors I thought were lost were safely held in your generous and sharing hands, my dear brothers, sisters, and loved ones… Let’s keep shining!!!
As published in the Japanese magazine BEEAST
“I am now convinced that Tangier is a place where the past and the present exist simultaneously in proportionate degree, where a very much alive today is given an added depth of reality by the presence of an equally alive yesterday. In Tangier the past is a physical reality as perceptible as the sunlight.” – Paul Bowles – 1958 – The Worlds Of Tangier
There are moments in life that are so incredibly significant, so deeply impacting, so purely real and genuine, that we can barely grasp their true nature, that we can’t truly capture their essence, as they seem to be so completely remote from the tangible laws of what we call “reality”, of all the elements we need to define into words not only to make sense out of them, but in order to believe in their authenticity so as to reassure our logical perspective from the emotional realm of our complete affective uncertainty, so as to build a new layer of life upon such significant moments, as if defining the wonders we can’t truly understand had the ability to make them true, tangible enough to acknowledge their existence and therefore their transforming effect on us. Well, that’s how I can describe what I have experienced during my passage in Tangier; a dazzling reverberation of self.
As published in the Japanese magazine BEEAST
“If you want to be happy, be” – Tolstoy
I’m presently in Morocco, only 2 days in what is scheduled for me to be an 8-week residency in the utterly inspiring city of Tangier. I’m having a glass of red wine on the upper roof terrace of the Dar Nour, a magnificent guest house I right now live in, a place I already call home. In the middle of the kasbah of Tangier, I face the warm North African sun that generously offers a last display of its bright and vivid lights before slowly setting in a poetic fading evening motion. The wind gently caresses the welcoming surface of my face, fresh breeze from the sea, reflecting the pure blue of the sky, mirror of world, that steadily dances only a few steps from where I stand. The perfect scenery reveals the attractive charms of Spain, inviting me over and over through the sounds of the ocean… Too beautiful to deny, too delicate to refuse, too desirable to withhold.
In answer to the Nice attacks
“Once more”… While hate keeps spreading terror and horror on the persistent monstrosity that defines its path, it is hard to envision the day where such atrocities will be but a painful memory of a time deprived of love and color.
“Once more”… While the world divides itself upon slogans and their dichotomy, that the terror induced by images becomes a fight of audience ratings led by mass media and that the term “matter” become the reflection of a political campaign that prioritizes their agenda of cultural antagonism.
“Once more”… We are hit, we are knocked down, we are stripped down, we are being divided, radicalized and isolated, we are afraid… but most of all, we are dehumanized.
“Once more”… Once too many times. Always unbearable, unacceptable, this fatalistic expression haunts us… “What can I do? Is there really something to be done?”
However “once more” has the ability to remind us that, despite a deep sorrow, we are still standing, wobbling and fragile, but united in front of this tenebrous breach of hate.
“Once more”… May we have the courage to remain in the light while facing the dark shame that is hate, may we believe that through our faith in life and love we will win over apathy, animosity and malice.
“Once more”… As hard as it may be to resist to our own darkness and to becoming a shadow of sorts, may we have faith that one day, beyond the horizon of our deepest beliefs in humanity, we will see the expression “once more” become the reflection of a day where we will be able to gather and celebrate, free from the anxiety born from the fear of “the other”. And this day will be a magnificent one, on which we will be able to build, all together, no exception.
So today, I must resolve to offer you my thoughts, my prayers… My brothers, sisters, friends and loved ones, while I know that my words cannot ease your suffering, or even comfort you, I can only express my most sincere and unconditional love to you… While different, it is this love that unites us and that will be able to build us up… “once more”.
As published in the Japanese magazine BEEAST
“Every creator painfully experiences the chasm between his inner vision and its ultimate expression.”
– Isaac Bashevis Singer
I left Montreal as dawn was slowly taking the shape of the bright and magnificent colors of a day that quietly whispers its lights through the faded darkness of the remaining shades of a night, from purple, to blue and orange. This luminous canvas made of lively shades turns the horizon into a comforting velvet sky, another miracle of sorts, spectacular display of splendors so radiantly alive that you know how blessed you are to witness them all, to lose yourself into them and to wish you had enough faith to suspend time from moving, from changing so fast, hoping images would stand still, contemplative as I was, if only for a few seconds.
As published in the Japanese magazine BEEAST
Lebanese-American artist, poet, and writer Khalil Gibran said “We choose our joys and sorrows long before we experience them”. Do we? Maybe we do… Do I? Maybe I do.
I’ve been greatly awaiting spring to unfold its wonders, this year more than any time before, I guess. Maybe it’s because I haven’t seen much light since I came back from Japan last November. Everything goes so fast, too fast for me to truly see, if only as a by-standing witness trying to capture a furtive view of the magnificent seasonal colors I’m in. Maybe I’ve lost perspective of time, musing about the everlasting essence of the invisible. Meditating about long-gone ghosts, sorrows inevitably grow in you. Just like chasing shadows, if you’re ready to become one with these long-gone ghosts a little more every time you go running after missing pieces of memories, illusions inevitably catch on to you… until you lose yourself.
Therefore, when days feel like old photographs slowly losing their brightness through the over-exposed nights spent looking for a place to lay down, when comforting images we tend to secretly kneel before and reminiscence of joyful past whispers become all we have to feel alive, is it the reflection of our own impermanent nature that makes every single morning an even more precious moment to breathe into? As we fade away, as we disappear a little more every day, as we fight to keep a right balance between what is and what you dream of becoming, I now believe that every dawn is a gift, an invitation for rebirth, an open door to new beginnings.