In order for the message to be heard, the conduit must remain open. For the message to run clear and true, then perhaps it can be said the body of the vessel must be broken and remade, again and again. In that the body and the mind of the artist must be broken, his heart must occasionally be broken, everything blown apart and then put back together. For the true message sometimes lives out beyond the wilderness of hunger, madness and despair.
The landscaper who taught me how to play guitar told me once how he saw ZZ Top years ago down in Pungo. Some pissant festival or another nestled down in the swamp country below Virginia Beach. He said they were lean and hungry, beardless and dangerous. They wore matching garish cowboy shirts and they had to be dragged off the stage because they would not stop playing. Another friend of mine saw them in a stadium sometime in the nineties, they were fat, the music laborious, the stage lined with strippers, the music was pure debauchery and sex. I choose to think they lost their way.
I meditate on all this while I was the dishes by hand. I've done it this way for years. I watch the muscles in my arms as they work. In the mirror I look at the muscles that make up my chest. I pray every morning, I make the necessary phone calls to go back on food stamps. I fight every day and try to concentrate on my breathing. I wonder how much longer I can keep this up.