I was feeling jazzed with myself the day after seeing my story "Georgia Peach" published online. It was like I had pole-vaulted to the moon and back and still had time to win the Daytona 500. I was eating breakfast Saturday morning, letting the word PUBLISHED take laps around my subconscious, when I noticed the June issue of Newsweek magazine sitting on the table. Believe it or not, folks, but I read other things aside from horror. I start reading the magazine until I come across an article that makes the Cocoa Puffs in my stomach do a little dance. The article is called "The Beach Boys' Crazy Summer" by Andrew Romano. Now, if you've read "Georgia Peach" (and if you haven't by now, I suggest you do), you'll notice that a certain Beach Boys song is a recurring element in the story. I think to myself, "damn, what are the odds?" So I start reading.
But the more I read the faster those little chocolate corn starch balls dance in my stomach juices.
This particular article focuses on Brian Wilson, who wrote, produced, and sang most of the Beach Boy's greatest hits. A recent photo of Mr. Wilson accompanies this article. His hair is gray and his skin covered in wrinkles; he is certainly no longer the image of eternal youth. His hands are clasped against his cheeks and his eyes are closed. He appears to be in a state of meditation. The man suffers from schizoaffective disorder. Sometimes he hears voices. Voices that say "I'm going to kill you." Did these voices come from the drugs he consumed or from his abusive father? Wherever these voices came from, Wilson has been able to channel his frustrations into great music and the world is a better place for it. But reading this article got me thinking about an old video with Wilson and the Boys playing in front of a crowd of screaming teenagers in 1965. They sing "California Girls" on a stage designed like a beach boardwalk complete with dancing extras and a billboard advertising fifty cent hamburgers. Wilson is hitting those high notes and strumming his guitar and smiling and all I can wonder is this: did you hear those voices back then, Brian? (I wish they all could be I'm going to kill you California girls.) Did you use the power of your music to drown them out, to stay sane and not have a break down on national television?
Fortunately, this was never the case. An interviewer asked him if he ever heard these voices while singing. "No," Brian said, "not when I'm singing, no." The interviewer then asks when he hears them. "When I'm not singing or writing." The same can be said for many artists.
Keep doing what you do best, Mr. Wilson. Just remember, folks:
Don't worry baby
Everything will turn out alright.