THE MAILBAG 11.02.96
Date: Thu, Oct 17, 1996 12:02 AM EDT
Like all of us, I can't wait for your next journal installment, or for Terrence
to return and, with your correspondence, provide MORE!
I never could find a good reason to write to you, who am I to critique your
thoughts and feelings when you so generously provide them for us? Or something
The Glass Lunch did sort of strike a chord with me, however, for I am in
the interim period between a career as a Glassblower and some vague future
that hopefully includes dental insurance and the like. People, including
other glassblowers, and even potential employers are eager to sympathize
with me over the loss of such a quaint profession or, as other glassblowers
see it, the loss of brethren. S'okay, I tell 'em. Onward, by my own choice.
I worked in a Goblet shop where a team produces hundreds of handmade goblets
a day. The goal, the bosses goal, is to make as many pieces a day as humanly
possible, as exactly identical as possible.
The glassblower's goal is to fall into a zen state of rhythmic glassblowing,
forming a silent, dancing relationship with the molten glass, shaping a
bubble with wet newspaper and the same tools used for thousands of years,
until finally blowing into an iron mold, removing 90 percent of the soul
from the process. then on to the stem guy, then on to the foot guy, over
and over. It was never a bad job, physically taxing as it was, it beat diggin'
ditches. The payoff was making one-of-a-kind things after work on Fridays.
Glassblowers are universally obsessed with glass, you have to be to learn
it's ways. We eat, sleep and dream glass.
My love for computers and digital graphics, and my concern for eyes staring
into white hot Glory Holes, lungs full of glass dust, and wrists mangled
by constant turning of pipes, have proven to be greater than my love for
So I find myself in the void between the Past and Future, with you, my friend.
What do we do now?
Our problems aside-
My understanding of glass is this-
Where cold glass is loud when it hits the floor,
a glob of hot glass is totally silent, and stays in one piece.
It is what I understand the word "LIQUID" to mean. Slow motion
water. Also, glass never changes states, that is, it is always liquid, even
cold and rigid. All glass is right now slowly headed south with the constant
tug of gravity, no matter how mind-crushingly slow.
The clearness of it wore off years ago and was replaced by heat. Constantly
reheating to soften, one becomes totally aware of the distribution of heat
on a piece, inside and out. A vase can be worked for a few seconds while
hot and maleable, but must be quickly re-heated before it cools and cracks
under the stress of shrinking.
And unlike other crafts, you can't stop until the piece is done-sometimes
45 minutes of tight-rope walking in a 110 degree shop-forearms throbbing.
Well, anyway, I'm not forcing my own take on you, I just read your poem
that was shouting glass! Glass! Glass!! at me and found myself trying to
see the metaphor I know, which is Orange Flowing Goo that incinerates everything
it touches, in your imagery.
Strangely enough, over the years, the cold kind of glass has never really
meant that much to me. We used to joke about how we could easily smash the
previous day's work and giggle at the beautiful crashing noise. I've pondered
it alot, the clear, noisy stuff that cuts you, but only really personal
pieces hold any value to me, a thing I made with someone close to me one
stoned night, the first platter, or sculpture that holds something other
So, I'll take your poem to heart, and like all your work, I'll re-interpret,
mis-interpret, take it personally, dismiss it altogether, print it up, stick
it into a hand made bottle, cork it and throw it into the ocean, pay the
$1,000 fine for littering, curse the glass gods for abandoning me and finally
come to use it as a window that showed me the way through these transitory
times. I guess it may be time to think about glass as something cold and
clear, to "cool off" the good old days.
I struggle sometimes with the closeness I feel to you GD "strangers",
and usually come to know that I can rely on my experience with your music.
But Bob, the Glass thing at this time of our lives is just above and beyond
the Call of Weirdness. I used to wonder that there are few Dead referencess
to Glass, as long groovy jams carried me through a long involved glass project-and
now you have written an anthem. I bet you never saw molten orange goo in
your words, did you?
A spoken aloud re-reading of "Glass Lunch" has moved me to tears.
you have amply rewarded my writing of "Glass Lunch" the other
morning, eyes still clouded with sleep. I'll never again read my own piece
the same way. You looked it over and gave it back to me changed.
As an ex-highland piper I know what it is to work with copious amounts of
breath in an athletically rhythmic fashion. Sometimes you just float off
the floor. You march around in circles even playing by yourself, to keep
the circulation flowing so you don't pass out. Add molten glass, pain, fire
and friction - and you know why a goblet rings when you draw a wet finger
along the rim.
Subj: No Subject
Date: Thu, Oct 17, 1996 12:19 PM EDT
From: email@example.com (Steve Wright)
I'm writing this minutes before I walk into the office of my 'superior'
to give my 2 weeks notice; quitting time.
I'm leaving a relatively high paying, low-stress, lower-spark type position,
for a job at a BIG northeastern ski area, where I'll be in charge of on-snow
reports, skiing with media-types, and promotional gigs etc... 9 bucks an
hour and some hope toward a more fulfilling future.
It's a dream I've dreamed many afternoons, that began quite a time ago...
I'm as nervous as I've ever been-giving up the comfort of family, friends,
and familiar surroundings, along with the deeply grooved rut I've carved
for myself here at work.
Why am I dishing you this-I wanted to let you know that in no small way,
this whole experience has helped create the energy needed to make this move
possible. I can't quite put a finger on it, and I'm sure my words are certainly
betraying my true feelings, but understand that the spirit behind *our*
experience, is the very spirit I'm calling on right now..
I won't have access to the page for quite some time, and that makes me sad.
I'll miss hearing your 'voice' and the voices of a thousand kindred spirits.
For me, this candle was and is worth every available piece of wax. And if
this *thing* was, or is ever considered twisted, then brother twist me up
and let me roll.....
(I'll be) missing *you* in a longtime way,
Via con Dios. Exciting. Thresholds are the place of greatest consciousness.
Ave atqua vale.
Subj: Bats in your Belfry
Date: Thu, Oct 17, 1996 2:09 PM EDT
From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Thomas Friedlund)
Got a huge kick(in the head)reading about the bat buzzing your dome in the
swimming pool. Our family pool has a bat that comes out at dusk and skims
the water for about 30 minutes. We decided to name him Eric or Eric the
half-a-bat after Eric the half-a-bee in Monty Pythons first album. Anyway,
Eric has never attacked us, just the water and maybe some
floating jetsom and flotsom. Enjoy the archive very much. Thanks!
just goes to show you never know what's gonna connect with who when you
put writings out. Got a most eloquent letter from a glass blower concerning
Subj: No Subject
Date: Sat, Oct 19, 1996 11:49 PM EDT
We grabbed onto two things at once-our radical freedom, for which
we were willing to do anything in order to be able to do anything;
and our radical dependency, realizing how much we were a part of
everything going on, and liable to have anything done to us by
anyone doing anything.
Is it any wonder that we are still sitting here grinning? Who do we
take for a fool, anyway?
And who else would be taken for a fool? Who's grinning, after all?
There simply isn't a name for what we are grabbed on to, or any
name that has revealed itself yet, after all these years. Do we
want it differently? Wouldn't it be a sign of something inferior,
to be caught by a name?
Or would it be worse to realize that we've been fishing for a long
time without a bite? Can't we just enjoy the long afternoon with
the fish? Can we enjoy the goods without consuming them?
Perhaps each question assumes the unspoken answer that allows the
voice to speak. We learn, not to be ensnared by the past's dead
weight, for the dead depend on us to pull them through. True, it
ain't our fault, but fault don't enter this equation-not if love is
to triumph over pain and humiliation. But we don't want
incompetence either, neither musical, lyrical, or spiritual.
I'll indulge in some silence now, boogie with the things that need
my voice. If you can't dance, don't talk.
A week for journeying forward, a week for real joy begins.
Love from these parts, and please note the new address,
Thanks for another compact and poetic letter. One need not reply to poetry,
poetry replies to itself. I value the experience of reading your letters,
and they help direct me to new ways to think about what's going, gone and
about to be.
Subj: Re: 10/18
Date: Sat, Oct 19, 1996 10:29 PM EDT
From: email@example.com (Steven Solomon)
Ooops... now you got me goin'. 'Scuse me while I chew up just a few more
>I'm aware that the site is pretty brownshoes right now, but have a hunch
>that our >future is more tied up with the evolution of the internet
than >most of our outfit >suspects right now.
For the moment, the brownshoes seem to fit- they wear well stumbling furthur
into this new space.
As to your hunch, I think you've got it right. I'd add that tech for tech's
sake is just amusing, and what we've got here is not a bunch of beta-testers,
but a community ripe for, indeed requiring transformation. We are also perhaps
uniquely positioned to bring out some of the real utility in digital telecom
when it's invested with Heart.
With or without consensus, permission or forgiveness, I hope to see these
cultural, technological and human cards we've barely got in hand get played.
Thanks for the bandwidth ;-)
"What we have here is the ideal solution to many unknown problems."
Physicist Bacon Botwinnick III, c 1973
replays are autonomous. Forget the $5. Lunch was on the government.
Date: Tue, Oct 22, 1996 1:01 AM EDT
Subj: Don't Shake the Tree
Dear Mr. Hunter,
Sorry about the subject header, I couldn't resist. I'm writing in response
to your latest journal entry. I was a little concerned by your description
of the shaking apple tree. I recall hearing somewhere that shaking in certain
plants (cactus ?) indicates many small and possibly nasty insects (wasps
?) have taken up residence inside and may be thinking about emerging en
masse. I'm very foggy on the details and have no idea whether this phenomenon
occurs with apple trees. Anyway, just thought I'd mention it.
Thanks for everything,
sorry to disappoint but as my next journal installment will reveal, 'twas
neither insecta nor divine manifestation, rather mole or gopher tunneling
insufficient to truly explain the overtness of the phenomenon but adequate
to dismiss it. The uncanniness of the situation is the main thing. To dwell
in such moments is a return to childhood for a spell. Uncanny is the fountain,
but never so uncanny as eyeballs in heads with souls behind.
Date: Wed, Oct 23, 1996 2:37 AM EDT
Subj: nevada ?? oylimpia?? only the rain knows...
dbbl prked in winnemauka .....................ughhhhhhhhhhahhhh,...3days
until she grabbed vicks instead of the vaso,,,,,,,,,,,line.........!!!
that's what ended it all.................. eye waz there? U were?? we all
it was from <DEAN MORTY> ...... Clink skulss the jashman
peace, :)~ wilson sez helo!
tx/bayarea/who nose? p.s. how's the deutch???? gott en himmel !
yeah, it's been one helluva week for me too.
Subj: a thankfulness that is immeasureable
Date: Wed, Oct 23, 1996 10:58 PM EDT
From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Chris Hartman)
Being an aspiring poet myself, I know what a few choice words spoken in
the right place can do to the human heart and mind. As I write this letter,
my internal voice is singing your gem of a song- Eva.
That said, I have a few brief questions to ask of you:
Q: How influential is/are/were psychedelics in the creation of your songs?
A: How do you separate one part of experience from another? It's all one
big ball of wax that comes out a style.
Q:What is your favorite(if you have one) GD song?
A: None or all of the above. Do you have a favorite hair on your head?
Q: How influential was the work of Jack Kerouac on you?
A: Our generation was part of Kerouac's future. I'd say his influence is
immeasurable on all of us.
Q: Do you have any plans to tour again?
A: no plans, maybe in a few years. Not doing so makes much writing possible.
I think I provide a better service at my desk these days than I would as
a troubadour. I'm also not feeling equal to the stress of touring at present.
Being 55 offers some true limitations. I simply don't have the stamina I
once had. But you know, if the wolf is at the door anything is possible.
Date: Thu, Oct 24, 1996 4:26 PM EDT
Subj: Scully's Book
Hello. From reading your journals I pretty much know how you feel about
books on Jerry and the Dead. I understand your issues completely but as
a fan, natural curiousity always gets the better of me and I wind up caving
in and reading them. I promised myself I wouldn't read Living with the Dead
but then just recently at a Ratdog show I got talked into it and poof----my
beliefs went out the window yet again. It was the damn atmosphere, it made
me homesick for fall tour. So out I went and plunked down my money.
Anyway to the point---my question. It seemed to me that Scully had an axe
to grind. Maybe rightfully so--I don't know. Parts made me laugh out loud
but alot seemed negative or hardly there at all. Except that everyone did
alot of drugs. GOT THAT POINT. What I'm basically getting at is was the
book written with some good intentions or just to reveal the Dead's exploits.
He claims it was you who tried to save him when he was fired --so I figured
you could offer some perspective. If you've covered it in one of your past
journals--just tell me which one and I'll look it up. Thanks for listening,
this turned out to be a lot longer than expected. Peace. -KCR
you stuck your hand in the fire, you got burned. Now you're among those
who either must decide to dig the music for what it is, despite delusions
which you can no longer maintain, or scrap the whole thing over the moral
issues raised. This is the issue I address in my journals, not the truth
or untruth of Rock's book. It's what Rock remembers from his own angle of
interest and motivation. I only read the first draft which, apparently,
was a lot more scandalous than the version pared down by the lawyers for
publication. I hear the final cut is pretty tame, from those who've read
both versions. The publishers also decided to cut out the sections dealing
with the music. Not juicy enough.
Have you seen the movie "Rashomon," where the same series of events
is related from four different angles, resulting in four entirely different
As for what I've said in my journals, I don't have time (or inclination)
to read them. I hope somebody will index them for me some day. You'll just
have to plow through them if you want my scattered bits of opinion.
(11/1 Note: KC Romano responded with an offer to index the journals as he
"plowed through them" - and is now up to week # 8. Expect an index
on or before the next update of the Archive. It was fascinating to read
his first installments - I'd forgotten I'd written about many of the subjects
- seems like ten years ago. What extends subjective time extends life in
the only way it CAN be extended - by one's own reckoning.)
Subj: what to say
Date: Wed, Oct 23, 1996 4:41 PM EDT
From: email@example.com (Gregory Manier)
Having rolled through pages upon pages of your mind over the last year I
must say the inevitable thank you. there is so much over the years that
has come to mind with your expressions all over them that I feel as though
this does not begin to scape the surface, but for this keyboard and monitor
I suppose it must.
I "type" to you from 9980 ft in Gunnison Colorado where there
is little intellectual stimulation that does not come from within. the landscape
certainly forever pushing places in the mind but the folks stomping the
same button as if it were the "E" key on this board. If ever there
was an accomplishment achieved by the internet I would have a great case
as I read the rh journals with emotion flowing from the screen that can
be found (now) no other place on earth.
This craziness of coping and replacing will never be complete, but day by
day I learn new ways to keep me from retreat. sympathy has been trailing
me like a shark that preys on a minnow, but never will I pause to see the
jaws in my tank's window.
So my message is a simple one, it is one of thanks. For all that's done
and let's never forget of all that is to come.
Finally I send a message straight to the top, with hope he ceases not. For
I will always know there are things you can replace and others you cannot.
as another lyricist once said "I need a dumptruck to unload my mind".
I used to do it a few shovelfuls at a time, but the internet provides that
Mack rig I didn't know I needed until I signed on.
"sympathy has been trailing me like a shark that preys on a minnow,
but never will I pause to see the jaws in my tank's window." Not quite
sure of the use of "sympathy" here (did you mean apathy?) but
the rest of the image is one of the best descriptions of entropy I've seen.
The gnostics called that shark Leviathan, which grinds all to powder. So
far, in the ongoing discussion on the site, and in Orfeo, we've established
that halting to look back, instead of moving ahead with conscious momentum,
allows entropy the chance to pounce (or slither in, or snap) and starting
up again may be all but impossible. Without the band, we've got to run twice
as fast as before. Pay attention to that shadow and it grows, fleshes out,
devours. Like security.
Thank you for the kind estimation of my work. I'm not entirely sure what
I'm doing here sometimes. There's some direction, but mostly I just dump
my concerns in hopes it's better to do so than not.
Subj: Welcome back to the New World
Date: Sun, Oct 27, 1996 3:06 AM EDT
From: Midnightlamp@msn.com (Jon Whitehead)
What's shakin' Bob?
Visited the Archive for the first time in months, and, well, I was sad to
see that confusion's run amuck. The journal back then seemed much more gentle
and contemplative. But that's why you were in England, I'm sure, to rest
and retreat. It's not necessarily a bad thing, more of a challenge now,
eh, to keep things, as busy as they are, somewhat sane and under control.
Just wanted to put my two cents worth in. At this early
stage in my life I could write volumes that would only make me at most two
cents. Don't worry, I won't write volumes this time. I did write you a while
back, end of July, I think, before there were volumes to read through. So
I'll be as brief as I
First of all, just wanted to see how you're doing. A little
stressful maybe? But, hey, I don't know anybody that has a shrink like you
do. Instead of laying on a couch, all you need to do is pull up the keyboard,
and away you go for any interested party to see. Unfortunately, you have
a hundred different analyses coming in at once barraging you with varied
perspective. And I know, all you need is another.
What you're doing is admirable. Don't get the schematics too tangled with
the message. No matter how it gets to the public, it's your insights that
keep shining through. Don't fear having to raise your own sail, if mutiny
breaks out on the Ship of the Sun. There are many of us that aren't concerned
so much with what the rats are doing in the galley, but still need and enjoy
your winds of wisdom. But what's a 23 year old know, anyway?
One final food for thought. Glass is made from the heating up of sands that
used to be part of some ancient mountain. And although perception becomes
clear when seen through glass, it can become sharp fragments that slice
if shattered when beating your head against it. I don't know if there's
meaning to that at all. You tell me. It was just something that I thought.
Sorry for taking up your time with my babbling. Maybe I'm full of it. Who
knows? Take care and keep the words coming no matter how they make it to
minds of the masses.
just spilled epoxy all over my fingers trying to fix my reading glasses.
Yes, a very great deal of confusion. Went up to the Russian River last night
after the Harley raffle. An evening away from internet. Read some Habermas,
appendix to "Knowledge and Human Interests" and wrote my journal
by hand. Back home today feeling clearer about things. Thought about how
much must be dared to stave off destruction of all that might yet come of
those old dreams and ambitions. Nobody elected me to do it. It just seems
to fall to me, and the way is made clear by my own obsessive efforts to
create a vehicle to speak. And you know what? I'm mad enough to goddamn
well do it. As for the more contemplative tones of the English journals,
that was my vacation wasn't it? I knew what I was coming back to. Thanks
for the support. If I get my way, the denizens of the scuppers will have
cheese to feed on, rather than corpses.
Date: Sat, Oct 26, 1996 8:46 PM EDT
Subj: still need that miracle
from the latest journal entries one cannot help sense the frustration at
carrying the torch. If there's anything to be said it's that we still need
a miracle every day. Not one day goes by here in albuquerque that gina and
i don't quote a lyric, sing a tune, and live out some of your wonderful
words. same for my two brothers (django202 and jaxtraw345) - we cherish
what moments we can share and hold on to. some of the very best times in
my 47 years on this earth have been listening to your words and jerry's
last wednesday night, Dylan played the Kiva auditorium here. talk about
carrying a flame for 3 decades....a great Sylvio ended the first electric
set - and i reminded a friend the words were yours and he smiled and asked
"so how come jerry didn't buy it?"
there's 'such a long time to be gone and short time to be there' indeed.
please stay with us as long as the muse allows.
peace and love from albuquerque - david, gina, noah jerome garcia, the rest
gang in the land of enchantment
Date: Sun, Oct 27, 1996 12:51 AM EDT
Subj: Your (my?) Harley!
...sorry I missed your call earlier this evening.....It's incredible, but
I actually won your Harley! I retrieved your message when I called my answering
machine from a payphone in Boston; I called KST but you had just left. I
briefly spoke with Linda and she mentioned that you may want to contact
me. If you'd like to speak with me, you can try to reach my home phone at
Thanks alot, Robert; I'm speechless. By the way, how's "Big John"
-Paul Doherty (a.ka. Fritz)
nothing much to say - too bad not to be able to floor you flat with the
A few things about the bike: it's got more cc's than it says on the wrapper,
probably about 1750 - don't know for sure. I had those cylinders bored out
and bigger pistons put in. It's got a Screaming Eagle carbeurator - just
pull that little button on top of the carb up when you start it to give
more air - you can generally push it back down again in 30 seconds - depending
on how cold it is. I left the saddlebags on for you. It's a good machine.
You could probably turn it over for 18 grand were you so inclined. KST could
have made more selling it than raffling it off - they made about 12 grand
on 2000 tickets, but they had a lot of fun doing it which is a big part
of what it's about. I was pleased to pull a name I recognized out of the
box. I put my hand way into the tickets feeling for one that felt a different
temperature than the others - and yours kind of wrapped around my thumb
and wouldn't let go!
John's back home and doing fine now.
Subj: ---> Make your own Subject <---
Date: Mon, Oct 28, 1996 1:47 AM EDT
From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Tim Smith)
Dear Mr. Hunter,
I've started to write an email to you about three or four times and just
never had the umph to finish any of them. From the past few months of Journals
and this summers Furthur shows, I've had plenty of stuff to think about.
I guess my first line of thought would be related to the continuation of
the Dead.Net. I was glad to read your journal entries when you started thinkin
of ways to save deadnet. I guess the best advice here is just to follow
your dreams. To me, the Grateful Dead has always been about not doing what
is the accepted practice, not listening to the business people, not following
the straight and narrow path, and definitely not giving up b/c of outside
pressure. The Grateful Dead is about following your heart.
I think if you like the unlimited possiblities of your online projects you
should go ahead full steam until it is impossible to continue. The people
who give when told to are not the innovators or pioneers. It is those people
who say fuck it all and keep going when the odds are bad that make the breakthroughs.
I have a good feeling about the potential success of Dead.net....and if
it fails, it won't be the first or last...ya just gotta move on.
I had some thoughts on Furthur, but I am just to exhausted to write anymore.
Just remember one thing, I'm sure there are plenty of online-heads that
would gladly help you out with any of your online
projects...I for one would be glad to help if you ever needed it.
thanks for a very heartening letter. Very. And, uh . . . oh yeah - thanks
again! I'm written out too, bro. Up since 5:30 this morning writing in the
journal. It's 9:30 now and time to think about heading over to the office.
Just got an email that Bruce Hornsby's joined the Rex board.
Subj: Re: 10/9
Date: Mon, Oct 28, 1996 1:07 PM EDT
From: Laura.Hess@Colorado.EDU (hess laura)
Thank you. How do you manage to write everyone that writes to you? You must
be swamped. I appreciate the info you sent me on how to surf. I am a music
major (in voice) at the University of Colorado @ Boulder. One of the few
perks is that I have access to the net. When I sit down at the computer
I just don't really know what to do or what program I need to be in in order
to look up the dead page. Do I have to get on aol?orwww?or is that part
of the net? As you can see I haven't really tapped into the computer revolution
yet. I'm a little hesitant b/c it freaks me out! It's a little overwhelming.
This weekend I went to Leadville, CO (the highest town in the US) and heard
the David Grisman Quintet. What a talented group of musicians! I haven't
heard anything like that since my last dead show. I know that there are
talented groups out there that I just haven't discovered yet. Who are you
into these days? Are you writing lyrics for anyone in particular? You've
given so much to me that I'm glad to be able to say a simple 'thank you'.
But that thank you comes from the heart. You and the boys really brought
me up to a different level that has moved me in such positive ways.
Love and Blessings,
how do I manage to answer it all? Beats me. One letter at a time.
To get on the web page just type: http://www.dead.net on the "location"
menu item on your browser and hit return or OK. Or type it in the URL window
at the top of the browser screen, erasing whatever else is there, and hit
return (or enter, depending on your computer).
Not doing much lyric writing lately, but there's some new stuff due out
from Zero and maybe a few other interesting places I'll let people know
about when it happens.
Subj: Song for My Father
Date: Mon, Oct 28, 1996 5:02 PM EDT
From: MCMANUSR@od31tm1.od.nih.gov (McManus, Rich)
Crow regards sun
Branch provides pedestal
Caw confers balance
Sky rolls by
while clouds stay put.
Wind zags leaf
on trip to ground
Bee hugs building
Or other way 'round?
Sun sings color
on hummocks of gold
shadows fall sharper
in autumn cold.
Wages of singing
is you gather a crowd
Got more friends
If you sing out loud.
Sing to yourself
And you go it alone
Crow knows the music
And he follows it home.
Robert, is your tree still shaking? On a fall Sunday morning a few years
back I went out for the paper. Across the street on that windless day a
tree shed its leaves with a quiver not registered on any neighboring bough.
I called for my wife to behold this display and she saw it too. The tree
simply wiggled its way out of its clothes and stood unashamed until spring.
God love ya--keep aworryin' and afussin' over us.
like your poem, like your letter. The tree stopped shaking. Musings on same
in upcoming journal. Don't my cabbage twice chew sometimes except.
Date: Tue, Oct 29, 1996 5:51 PM EDT
Subj: Thoughts from a new friend...
Hello...you've never heard from me, but I've been wanting to write you for
awhile. Finally I'm home-ridden with some evil strain of bronchitis and
am forced to do all the stuff I've "been meaning to do".
I've been reading the journal and mailbag for a few months. I got addicted
while I was house-sitting and because of your web page I went out and bought
a modem to connect to my roommate's computer. I think you owe me $40....Kidding!
One night, after reading your mailbag and journal (I like to print them
out and read them in bed before I go to sleep. Gee, I just realized how
intimate that seems....is....whatever...), while trying to fall asleep,
I was pondering the discussions and thoughts about Jerry and his struggle
with heroin and his personal demons and thought about how I handle my own.
Demons that is, I've never done heroin. I realized that going to a GD show
was one of the most therapuetic experiences I had: I didn't feel alone,
I didn't feel the need to be flawless, only to find and be myself, I was
able to feel forgiving towards myself and others, and the music, well, what
can I say, it raised my soul above all the crap I had to deal with....it
didn't make me forget about the crap, better yet, it made me feel able to
deal with it. The experience renewed my soul.
I then realized that although Jerry played a big part in creating this experience,
he never got to experience it the way I and so many others did. Granted,
I'm sure he had some great times from his side, but it's not the same, and
just as we will never know exactly what it was like for him, he will never
know exactly what it was like for us. And because of that, he will never
know, or never knew, the exact nature of the incredible gift he was giving
us. Nor will any of the other members of the band, including you, because,
as you've said, you could never feel what the experience was like to an
outsider, being so entangled in the inner dramas of the band.
Jerry never got to walk around the parking lot before a show just hanging
out and celebrating. He and the band were always onstage expected to spark
the energy that would create the experience for all of us. As in any live
performance, we the audience played a role, but the pressure was not on
It seems he found respite in his deep sea diving, but, as the saying goes,
"there is nothing like a Grateful Dead show", and I think Jerry
needed one. It saddens me to think that he never got the chance to experience
what so many of us rejoiced in. It saddens me to think that you and the
rest of the band will never get to experience it from our side.
Being a performer myself (I'm an actress), I envy Jerry and the band for
being able to create such an incredible thing. But I also know that the
experience is different for the artist, sometimes better, sometimes worse,
but always different. And after a long run of a play, or a long day of shooting,
often what I crave is to go to a movie or play and be on the other end of
the stage, just watch and participate as an audience member. I realize this
is not any kind of new insight, generally, but I personally had never applied
it to Jerry and the unique GD experience. How could he, or any other member
of the band, possibly go out and find something that was anything like what
they were creating? Well, we all have to take care of ourselves, and I guess
they found their ways. Too bad that, for Jerry, it ended up being heroin.
As for you, I'm glad to hear you went surfing around to other journals--even
if it was under the guise of wanting to find links for your page. :) Did
it fill any other purpose for you besides informational?
One other question: Have you ever noticed that people who are into Shakespeare
are also often into the Grateful Dead? Maybe it's just me, but I've never
seen so many deadheads gathered in one place (unless it was a show, obviously)
than at a Shakespeare festival. I mean the actors, audience, stage managers,
everyone involved seems to be a deadhead, or if they aren't, can certainly
be turned on to them very easily. And it's not just actors or theatre people
in general, it's specifically those who love Shakespeare....Maybe it's just
me....what are your feelings on the Bard? Maybe you're him reincarnated???
Well, I'll wrap it up by saying that I think what you're doing is wonderful
and I'm so thankful for it. I know sometimes it feels like you're on a sinking
ship with a small bucket scooping out water, but, I for one, am grateful
and inspired by what you're doing: not giving up. You're taking the chance,
and we'll more than forgive you...even if it doesn't become everything you
want it to be, you've already accomplished more than anyone ever expected
you to even attempt. So...thanks!
Hope all is well with you're family and Maureen's dad...
perhaps you haven't noticed but time flows backwards. What we think of as
memories are visions of the future. We can't think backwards except in dreams.
Therefore we are not reincarnations but ancestors. Whether or not one of
us is to be another of us, I do not know. Not having noticed that we live
backwards, we haven't been able to approach the problem of multiplicity.
First the writings, then the author. No wonder we get to feeling inspired
Your thoughts on Jerry are pognant and, I think, not entirely off the mark.
It will be (was) given each of us to experience a bit of what others saw,
in certain frames of mind, a bit detached from self. I've done a bit of
performing myself, and on certain rare occasions found myself detached from
myself experiencing the whole surround, and something else besides. You
probably know that one too. That's the performers equivalent of the audience's
Subj: Your shaking tree
Date: Tue, Oct 29, 1996 5:40 PM EDT
From: email@example.com (Peter O'Brien)
I've been reading about your mysterious shaking tree. Try to keep track
of the rain or other waterings the tree might be getting. Also, try to observe
the relative humidity around when this happens. Has it been dry?
My theory-based-on-no-Data: Maybe what your seeing is due to the water moving
through the conductive tissues of the tree. Turgor pressure can be pretty
impressive. Just think about those big redwoods! Evaporation across that
huge surface area causing water to be pulled all the way up to the crown?
Imagine the forces necessary to do that. Man, I should have gotten into
Thanks for everything!
bone dry all Spring and Summer. First real rain of the season last night.
Subj: music vs boxers? you decide.
Date: Wed, Oct 30, 1996 11:54 AM EDT
From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Valerie Ramos-Ford)
Good morning Hunter,
And a fine morning as it is as it's my 37th birthday and my husband had
the good sense to give me the new Ticket to New Year's video as my one and
only gift! I know you said "no advice" on the merchandising, but
I just can't help putting in my two cents.
Why? Why? Why?! is anyone at the "office" thinking of selling
anything but music. We were invited over by some new aquaintances to watch
the video the other night, them knowing little about us other than our true
love for the songs. Half way through the video we realized that no one was
saying a word. I only once asked our hosts if they agreed that no casual
conversation was necessary under the circumstances. They agreed. Our kids
were spinning and singing and dancing rather than fighting and chasing and
hitting. Everyone was good in the moment, and that don't come easy in this
world! We will pay for that feeling!! I can tell you, none of us would have
felt the same way because we were wearing boxer shorts with dancing bears
on them or drinking a $10. bottle of dealcoholized wine.
Somewhere in your journal you said that you had been talking to Dick about
speeding up the release of the Pix, and even letting out more of the videos.
For what it's worth, our friends agree that the shows with a spit-shine
are great for general consumption, but there is something endearing and
even sentimental about the cuts where Jerry really blows the lyrics or "drop[s]
the beat". We didn't stop going to shows because of it, and we won't
stop buying the music.
The interesting thing about the videos is that they will probably bring
a whole new audience to the Dead. A lot of people who love the music felt
intimidated by the scene to the same degree that we were attracted to it.
Watching the videos is like practicing "safe show-going" for these
Hunter, remind the powers that be that as good as we try to take care of
our tapes, they'll get old one day. Do your surveys to see how many of us
will buy whatever comes out, and keep the music coming. With all due respect,
fuck the rest of the stuff.
To celebrate my birthday tonight, I'll be sitting my 73 year old mom down
for her first show. And on Christmas it will be my 91 year old musician/composer
grandfather's turn (but he's already sold on the Dead -- even has a couple
of his own tapes!). Can't wait.
Be talking to you, friend
Need a place on the Net? Call a broker
Published: Oct. 30, 1996
Mercury News staff report
An outfit called Multimedia Realty Inc. out of Beverly Hills announced Tuesday
it has gone into the business of brokering sales of Internet ''domain''
names, the text addresses that allow Net users to send e-mail or find a
site on the World Wide Web.
Among names listed for sale: wallstreet.org for $375,000, gratefuldead.org
for $175,000 and videodating.com for $30,000.
''Domain names are an extremely valuable asset to a company or an individual,''
Multimedia President Steve Newman said in a statement. "It makes the
difference between being easily found or completely overlooked.''
Domain names have been issued on a first-come, first-served basis by a government-sponsored
agency. As a result, some people or companies trying to get possession of
certain names have found them already assigned to others. Sometimes, in
fact, people register for names on speculation, hoping to sell them to others
''Inherently, many names are not being put to their highest and best use,''
said Newman, who couldn't be reached in person. ''As the Internet continues
to gain popularity, the potential for profit through investing in Internet
addresses may be outstanding.''
So if you might be ready to step up and make a buy, check out Multimedia
Realty for information or to make an offer.
And don't worry -- sellers pay all fees.
(just in case you're in an emailing mood!)
Date: Wed, Oct 30, 1996 2:59 PM EDT
thanks for putting your journals and letters on the computer. It is great
to have this chance to look into your immediate mind. Usually people won't
allow this much of themselves to be seen until they are safely dead and
we can break the locks of their diaries with butter knives. Thank you.
Anyway, I was reading your journals and hearing about this fight as the
business end of the Dead tries to figure out what kind of animal it is.
I can see that the emphasis of the money and marketing side is wearing on
you. I almost think you're going to have to let it go.
I think that the sense of community the Dead brought, the ideas they inspired,
will live on, regardless of the profit margins, or whatever. I can see why
you have a personal intrest in keeping some sort of guiding ideology in
place, but things grow in certain ways, no matter how we try to hold them.
I don't know. I mean, I'm not going to Graceland, but I still listen to
I think that if its possible, it may be time to let the long, strange trip
go it's own way. The things you've done are not going to be lessened by
the fact that people with other intents might try to use them for their
own advantage. Ultimately, the original design comes through. I believe
Things like the Rex Foundation might have to make a total break with the
GD machine to survive without being corrupted by opportunists. Maybe the
DeadNet will be advertizing blurbs. As long as people know that there is
still concern in you and the rest of the band, I think you won't be tainted
by the dumb moves in this first scramble to survive.
Forgive me for just spouting off.
I've been putting my mind out to the public for thirty years. It's second
nature. I make an offer of trust and find it's often reciprocated. Someone
like yourself is able to communicate with me and know who he's talking to.
I think I know the line between healthy exposure of organizational problems
and betrayal. The mailbag just happens to be the only coherent interface
between the band and the true perceptions of their fans. I'm not suggesting
any of the band read the mailbag (or my journals), but it gives me the ability
to speak in the declared interests of the supporters with authority and
I'm able to register it as part of the ongoing dialogue.
If this were just another band and business, I'd take your advice to let
it go its own way unimpeded. Would have done so 25 years ago. But it isn't.
It's the Grateful Dead and its unity and direction are worth fighting for,
even amongst ourselves. Win or lose, the fight itself is important. Don't
let it be recorded that we rolled over easily. It's worth whatever frustration
is required to remind it of who it is. If it cannot rise from its own ashes,
it can refrain from becoming its own opposite.
Subj: MISC. STUFF!!!!
Date: Fri, Nov 1, 1996 10:04 AM EDT
From: Valerie_ROS@wow.com (Valerie Cat)
IT'S ONE OF THOSE RARE MOMENTS WHEN I FIND MYSELF MAKING THE
TIME TO READ WHAT YOU HAVE TO SAY.
YOU SAY IT'S SOMETHING FREE FROM US TO YOU, BUT REALLY IT'S NOT. IT'S FROM
YOU, ROBERT HUNTER, TO US. THOSE OF US THAT HAVE THE TIME TO PRINT AND READ
OR JUST READ, OR PRINT THE 72 PAGE SENTINEL WONDERING IF MY PRINTER CARTRIDGE
WILL RUN OUT OF POWDER? YOUR WRITING IS INSPIRATIONAL. WHO ARE YOU WRITING
TO, I DON'T KNOW. WHO AM I? ONE OF THE HARD CORE DEAD HEADS. 750+ SHOWS
AND 20 YEARS OF MY LIFE. I DIDN'T GO TO ANY OF THE FURTHER SHOWS BECAUSE
I SAW BOBBY AT THE HOG FARM PIGNIC AND UP UNTIL THAT MOMENT I KEPT THINKING......"WELL,
THEY COULD DO THIS OR THAT OR.........." I REALIZED THEN THAT IT WAS
OVER AND I CRIED AND CRIED AND CRIED WHILE DEAD TUNES BLASTED IN THE BACKGROUND
IN THE CAMPGROUND. IT WAS THE END OF MY LIFE AS I HAD KNOWN IT FOR ALMOST
20 YEARS. IT'S TAKEN SOME TIME TO ADJUST, BUT I HAD ALREADY DECIDED THAT
'ON TOUR' WAS NOT SOMEWHERE I WANTEDTO BE. THE SCENE HAD DETERIORATED TO
THE POINT WHERE I WAS ASHAMED TO BE ASSOCIATED WITH THE 'SCENE.' IT NEVER
WOULD HAVE ENDED. JERRY'S TIMELY DEMISE WAS THE ONLY WAY AND IT WAS TIMELY
BECAUSE THE SCENE HAD GOTTEN TO BE DISGUSTING. BROKEN GLASS THROUGHOUT THE
PARKING LOT, A ZILLION PEOPLE LOOKING FOR WHAT THEY CALLED A 'MIRACLE' WHAT
I CALLED A FREE RIDE. MANY YEARS AGO WHEN ONE GOT GIVEN A FREE TICKET OUT
OF THE BLUE AND INTO THE BLACK IT WAS CALLED BEING MIRACLED. WOW!! SOMEONE
MIRACLED ME!!! WOW!!! AND THEN IT BECAME SOMETHING THAT WAS EXPECTED, WHICH
KINDA RUINS THE WHOLE IDEA.
THE CLINCHER FOR ME WAS VEGAS 1995 AND UNBROKEN CHAIN. I COULD HAVE PLAYED
ANY TAPE AND IT WOULD HAVE SOUNDED BETTER. SO, I SAW UNBROKEN CHAIN.....I'D
BEEN WAITING 20 YEARS FOR IT (AND OTHERS).....WAS IT WORTH IT? NO. DON'T
GET ME WRONG, I DON'T MEAN TO BE CYNICAL, BUT FOR ME, IN MY HEART, IT WAS
OVER, AS THOUGH IT WAS TIME FOR ANOTHER GENERATION TO TAKE OVER.........THE
PROBLEM WAS I DIDN'T APPROVE OF HOW THE NEXT GENERATION WAS GOING ABOUT
TREATING EACH OTHER AND OUR PLANET........AND SO, THERE BEGINS THE GENERATION
GAP, OR DOES IT?????????? SOMETHING NEW HAD BEGUN AND I DIDN'T APPROVE OR
WANT ANY PART OF IT. DID I GET OLD OR WHAT?????
I DON'T KNOW. I DO KNOW THAT IT WAS A TIMELY DEMISE. I DON'T THINK THAT
HE COULD HANDLE ALL THAT WAS PUT UPON HIM ANY MORE THAN I COULD UNDERSTAND
WHY THINGS HAD CHANGED SO DRASTICALLY.
FOOD FOR THOUGHT,
SENT WITH LOTS OF LOVE,
and shot 5 clay pigeons just like that bangbangbangbangbang .... eecummings
Who am I writing to? The Other. To that other one, "I" am the
Other. It has been a fruitful conversation. In what way is such communication
not "from us," in whatever essential sense it ever was?
So much projection, so much confusion of projection. I only went to one
big outdoor stadium gig - W/Dylan at Oakland. I was flabbergasted. I found
that the only way I could remain dedicated to my part of the vision was
to stay clean away. That's maybe why I have energy now - just hitting my
stride. Picking my own brick walls to try to walk through.
It wouldn't do to lose it all, to let junk & the grab wave the Bones
and Bolts like a flag of its own. Yeah?
Date: Thu, Oct 17, 1996 1:07 AM EDT
Well, I just spent the last couple hours watching the circus... er, I mean,
the presidential debate... and man, do I feel like I just got back from
shopping for a used car!! Although I've got to say, for all the energy these
two guys put into talking AROUND the issues to the point where a lot of
people probably thought that issues really did get discussed, were politicians
to become songwriters they'd spin some damned good ones! Know what I mean?
But I tell you, Dole just doesn't get it, does he? He just can't figure
out that his own biggest liability is the fact that he's such a complete
bite-in-the-ass! I mean, he can take any stance he wants on any issue there
is, and it won't change the fact that people aren't gonna elect a President
who's a bite-in-the-ass! They "Just Won't Do It!"
I've written you a few times through the Orfeo feedback link, but I was
always hesitant about writing you at your AOL address because I was afraid
I might be adding to a huge pile of mail. But the more I thought about it,
the more I realized that I was passing up an opportunity to communicate
with a writer for whom I have a great deal of respect, and what the hell...
if you're swamped with e-mail let me know. If not... howdy, neighbor!
Like I said, I have really enjoyed the Orfeo tennis match. Consciousness
is a hell of a colorful mystery, but it's one that doesn't seem to generate
as much quality sleuthing as I would imagine it would. So many people are
so desperate to believe in a solid, consistant world, despite evidence to
the contrary at virtually every turn. I can sympathize... a flat earth with
oceans full of ravenous serpents tends to relieve one of the responsibility
of leaving home and exploring. But damn, is it interesting what you find
when you do start to explore! It's a shame that the membrane through which
one must pass in order to get out seems to limit the amount of information
one can bring back. Kind of like a big ol' Customs shakedown between one
realm of conscious and the next! That's one reason why my writing has always
tended to be more frequent during the times when I've been doing psychedelics
more than once in a blue moon. It's not that getting high necessarily makes
me more creative (the old cliche) but rather, I have more notes to take.
The most personally satisfying writing I have ever done has been more or
less notes I've taken on my visions and half-dreams while high. Not that
all of it (or MUCH of it, for that matter) is exactly prose for the ages...
the best ones are simply the little nuggets which remind my waking mind
of the ways of that other mind. I always feel, perhaps foolishly, that I'm
gathering material for a time when I have the leisure to sit down and take
the time to contemplate the Mystery thoroughly and at length. And if that
time never comes, well, there are a lot worse ways to piddle away one's
time, don't you think?
And I feel really fortunate to have had an environment like the Grateful
Dead experience in which to allow this part of myself to grow. Because it
damned sure kept me from taking myself and my search too seriously, thank
god. I'm still trying to figure out what that whole deal was, though. The
Grateful Dead has the makings of a hell of a great myth for the ages, don't
you think? It was all so energetic, yet nebulous... just the minute you
thought you had it worked out to be one thing, you looked up and it was
another. And I'm talking about the whole messy stew here, the band, the
scene, the events that took place onstage and off in the campgrounds...
this has got to be, mythologically speaking, one of the most interesting
things to happen this century. It took place off to one side of everything
else going on in society for thirty years. More, if you take into account
the musical journey that led up to the Dead being formed. Off to the side
of the main historical flow of events.... the Dead experience itself acted
like a shaman in a way. Off away from the campfire, out into the woods like
medicine men used to do. Gotta love parallels!
I'd like to discuss this more, but I've got to get up early tomorrow...
working poor, y'know! Hope to hear from you sometime, but like I said before,
if you've already got way too much e-mail I completely understand. Thank
you for all the great words through the years, Robert. They will last.
conscious in Chicago! That could be problematic. I was conscious in Chicago
once, but, fortunately, only passing through. I like Elgin though, in the
suburbs. A livable town. Peaked snow roofs and great green lawns.
If my words last and I'm not there to hear them, will they be mine?
Love your image of Customs on the other side of the membrane appropriating
our contraband insights. But the ones we managed to smuggle in, promised
never to forget, and didn't - there's riches.
Date: Fri, Nov 1, 1996 10:03 PM EDT
As a bit late arriving to your journal I hesitated to add my thoughts and
feelings but inspired, once again , by you and your words to let the effort
find its own outcome, I weigh in. It is truly >>The Ship of The Sun>>
in skys never travelled before, gathering the harvest of seeds dispersed
among currents and tides not understood and only partially seen.
I have been blessed and privileged to be part of this extraordinary communication,
hyperdimensional at every turn. The music and your words have been the resonant
feedback in my life to knowing I was on the right spoor in pursuit of expanded
and balanced lunatic consciousness. We might still be everywhere but the
concentrated connection, the thick plasma of us is/was so rare and intoxicating,
I shudder and sweat in my withdrawal. Nonetheless, I feel like I have been
seeded with ideas,grooves and understandings that seemed ridiculous, and
daunting to express and articulate in face of the galactic musical envoy,
but now are necessary, at least for me to flesh out and own. Maybe, to be
able to give back what was downloaded into me. Data storage retrieval.
I love reading what you have to say, I need the connection with what nuclei
is left, I seek the center of it as before even as we create anew. I know
that the support and connective tissue is in place to continue this grand
undertaking, whatever the form.
One last piece, I still perceive large portions of Deadom as similar to
the premise of " The Gameplayers of Zan" I think it is by A.E.
Forrester, I'm not sure because my copy is always out on loan. The story
is about genectically engineered humans who are bred with certain superior
qualities, the Ler, who are then ostracized and put on a reservation of
sorts. The Ler are known for a multidimensional mathematic chesslike game
they play, Zan.
Hidden from normal humans and uninitiated Lers is the true purpose of the
game, a training for and operation of a spaceship. Presently occupying both
normal earth and nth space but soon to be the escape from earth as tensions
and jealousies escalate between humans and Lers. The story follows a character
who goes from watching, to playing to excelling at Zan. Soon he becomes
aware that he is now sharing in the actual operation of the ship, The striking
part for me was the notion that as we become aware of the different levels
of experience ,from the miraculous to the painful, we become responsible
for the workings of what we perceive and participate in. Initiated in flying
a ship you must continue your part or the ship is destroyed . I cannot presume
to imagine, but I hear you and value it greatly and will do my part to have
us fly together.
I thought of what you said about the Zan game during a moment of major decision
the other day. Looked at in that way, the decision was made for me. A useful
metaphor is worth ten times its weight in proverbs! I've managed to lose
your email address, so I hope you don't mind reading my reply online. Thanks
for the transmission.