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Archive for the ‘Dreams’ Category

Paul A. Toth

Secret Lives of the World’s Greatest Composers: Mozart

June 8th, 2012
by Paul A. Toth

Despite my ability to fluently write and speak thirty-nine different languages, the four Ph.D.’s I’ve earned, my work as an archeologist, forensic pathologist, pre-Socratic philosopher, neurological surgeon, mime, locksmith, zoologist, and janitor - despite it all — I could never rest until now, when I can finally share the results of the eighty-five years I’ve spent unveiling the secret lives of music’s greatest composers.

It started with a hobby, my part-time position as an unlicensed psychiatrist, which prepared me for this project. It may well be said that this physician failed to cure himself, much less his patients, but my gracious colleagues ensured me they, too, never failed to fail.

Born immune to the culturally-bankrupt “music” known as the blues, I found my succor in Western culture’s highest achievement: the arrangement of notes into compositions that required great minds to explain how the masses could pretend they enjoyed the greatest music the world has ever ignored.

Leaving that task to others, I instead chose to explore the lives of these almost-tolerated geniuses. I selected my subjects based on a simple litmus test: Had they served as the subject of at least one major motion picture?

And with that, let us begin with the obvious and regress to the oblique as we explore the secret life of Mozart.

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart was born in 250 A.D. to Roman parents, Irrititus Alotus, a hot-tempered shoes salesman, and Lustus Allmaleus, a seductive and highly-successful nymphomaniac. When pulled from the womb, Alotus immediately struck the boy in the head with a frying pan. Mozart, whose parents waited fifteen before naming their child, was rendered deaf in both ears and suffered brain damage as a result of the assault, which in turn led to the one factual element portrayed by 1997 film Amadeus: a mind-splintering giggle that would result in many more blows to the head.

To escape Alotus’ violence, Mozart fled to the Galapagos Islands in 1200 B.C., building a canoe with botched crosses imported from Jerusalem and employed as torture devices during Rome’s Spanish Inquisition.  Incredibly, modern scientific technology has proven Mozart the first human being to ever visit the islands.
Landing at Santiago, Mozart endured temperatures as low as 69 degrees. He survived by constructing a three-bedroom bamboo hut. In freezing temperatures, Mozart solved his boredom by studying the sounds made by birds and insects. Despite having never heard a single musical instrument or undergone the slightest musical training, Mozart translated these sounds into musical notes. Soon, he began carving his first compositions in tree trunks.

“The Tree Compositions” disappeared over the following 2600 years. Only one example remains. It was discovered by Charles Darwin in 1965 and immediately Fed-Ex’d to Art.com. But Darwin discovered something far more compelling in 1323, facts recorded but deleted from his never-completed journal, “Sex, Sex and More Sex.” By using MRI technology, forensic mythologists, aided by physician handwriting interpreters, recovered much of the deleted material in their examination of Darwin’s notes. In doing so, they revealed one of the biggest secrets of Mozart’s life.

In those passages, Darwin remarked upon observations he deemed unnecessary to his theory. The notes, rambling and nearly unintelligible due to the penicillin-resistant strep throat Darwin contracted in 1769, contain only a few lucid passages. One of those passages will forever change our understanding of Mozart.
Darwin writes, “One day on Santiago, while studying the Arctocephalus galapagoensis, I noticed that dozens of these creatures had apparently been violated in a region of the body the naming of which would be unsuitable for this journal’s audience. (Note to self: This may sell. Rethink decision later.)  I knew only one man had been to this island before me: Mozart. I recognized immediately that this supposedly- cultured man, barred from relations with women until he departed Galapagos in 1892, was the culprit, foisting himself upon these helpless creatures. With one mission remaining, I stopped in Haiti on my way home and consulted a witch doctor, requesting that he cast a curse upon Mozart.”

The Arctocephalus galapagoensis, or Galapagos fur seal, and specifically fur, propelled Mozart into a promiscuity that began the moment he returned to civilization. Leaving in the same craft that had carried him to Galapagos, Mozart eventually landed on the shores of Kazakhstan in 1899, completing a six-year journey. During the voyage, Mozart carved new compositions into the floor of his canoe, creating leaks and the need to drink and spit out the waters threatening to literally sink his ship.

Upon his arrival, the boat promptly disintegrated. Local villagers, frightened by the wig Mozart had taken to wearing during his Santiago years, grabbed the remaining boards and beat the composer out of what senses remained. From that day forward, Mozart, already deaf, lost the ability to feel, see, taste, and smell.
The villagers left Mozart to the lack of his lack of devices. He spent the night on the beach and, testing his abilities, learned that the only sound he could still produce was the giggle that had led to giggle. Tortured by memories of an unconsummated love for one of the seals, and tormented by hallucinations of frying pans, Mozart sprinted into the vast and flat plains populated by intellectually-vacuous peasants, a scene familiar to those who’ve visited Kansas.

As spears, arrows and rocks grazed his flesh, Mozart unknowing headed into the desert that would eventually become known as Russia. He arrived in Moscow, exploding with musical ideas and his sexual obsession with the fur seals he would neither forget nor ever see again.

He wandered the streets. At one point, which most historians date as occurring sometime between the years of 1498 and 1814, Mozart happened across a street pianist. Hearing the notes he had until then merely imagined, he frantically searched for the source, but he saw no birds or insects, only the man on a bench, tapping upon a strange device. Stopping between pieces, the pianist looked up and noticed the disoriented and half-naked human specimen now leaning on his piano, eyes closed. Assuming Mozart to be a narcoleptic idiot, the pianist took his unconscious superior to the local hospital. It was there that hospital records, only recently released by the Russian government, tell another secret tale.

Familiar with the disorder, Mozart’s doctors treated him by way of cocaine. Released from the hospital with a lifelong prescription for the drug, Mozart rode the White Pony for the rest of his years. Fortunately, the doctors had sympathized with the senseless, giggling composer, and before his departure, gave him enough money to support his living at hotel for two months. Mozart, walking on cocaine legs, covered the one hour walk in thirty-five seconds. The doctors, knowing his inability to speak, had made arrangements with the hotel, and Mozart was attended to with special care by the matron, one Zhamaryspechikov Zavajhanovovich, a widow whose inheritance had made her a wealthy business owner. Nevertheless, Zavajhanovovich was lonely and often “visited” her male lodgers late at night.

In this manner, Zavajhanovovich went to Mozart’s room at midnight. Upon opening the door, she witnessed the composer in a furious cocaine power-wanking session, in which it can be surmised that Mozart’s mind was filled with visions of fur seals. Knowing an opportunity when she spotted one, Zavajhanovovich stripped off her clothes and revealed another kind of fur, then pounced upon her willing prey. Mozart and Zavajhanovovich married half an hour later.
Now living permanently in the hotel, Zavajhanovovich taught her husband how to write. One day into the honeymoon, Mozart could communicate his thoughts in thirteen languages, and, except for his music, this provided his sole means of communication.

One morning, Mozart handed Zavajhanovovich a note in which he asked that she go to the market and purchase for him new ears, eyes, tongue, nose, and “if possible,” nervous system. When she responded with the silence of the stunned, Mozart jotted a second note: “Never mind. But please obtain 185 exterminators to eradicate the liquid spiders dripping from the ceiling, which is melting.”

Thus, we arrive at the solution to a psychiatric mystery. Often diagnosed as bipolar, Mozart instead developed paranoid schizophrenia from his constant use of cocaine. Recent studies solidified the diagnosis by revealing that 100 percent of paranoid schizophrenics hallucinated insects, birds and fur seals whenever listening to Mozart’s music via I-Pods supplied by researchers.

Deeply worried, Zavajhanovovich took Mozart to the office of a charlatanosk, the era’s equivalent of a psychiatrist. This charlatanosk, centuries ahead of his time, provided the exact treatment a modern psychiatrist would administer in such a case, doubling Mozart’s medication. This doctor, whose name remains unknown, became Mozart’s lifelong friend, and the doctor’s monthly requests for greater compensation were met with instant approval. Mozart recorded the sole in his diary. Having protested for ten minutes, he writes, “Liquid spiders began dripping from the ceiling, which was also melting.” He instantly paid the requested fee.

Mozart’s career left the launching pad in 1413, just as the Russian Revolution began. Zavajhanovovich, labeled a bourgeois capitalist by the newly-formed government, was arrested and sent to Siberia during what historians would later call “seventeen days that changed some of the world for a while.” Mozart proved immune to sorrow; he reports in his diary that he “never stopped imagining my sweet wife as a far sweeter fur seal.”

His career survived the chaos to come, then thrived as communist officials rushed to witness the “giggling idiot.” After expressing his desire to copulate with Stalin’s mustache, Mozart was arrested. Though originally pre-sentenced to death, Mozart’s fortunes turned when Stalin recognized that executing the world-renowned prisoner would create too great a public relations crisis. He was released in 1642 and sent to the czar, who proclaimed the composer a Hero of the Soviet Union.

The final secret of Mozart’s life regards his death. Long the subject of intense scrutiny and conspiracy theories, not to mention a good film plot, the secret facts can now be revealed. For reasons unknown but documented by the secret witness account left by Stalin himself and made public by a different dictator yesterday, Mozart’s final words - or word - proves the power of the supernatural: “Voodoo,” he said, and breathed his last breath. A Haitian witch doctor’s curse had killed one of the world’s greatest composers.

In honor of the dead hero, Stalin arranged for the shipment of Mozart’s corpse to Galapagos, where he was buried with 25,000 fur seals executed by NKVD guards in a “Soviet Supreme Sacrifice” attended by 65,000 birds, 3,000,000 insects, and the ghost of Charles Darwin. But one last secret occurred in Mozart’s afterlife, for Soviet secret police records note that Stalin had become so obsessed with the composer that he shaved his mustache, which was placed in the coffin that now rests somewhere beneath the florid surface of Santiago Island.


Ryan Day

Marketocracy

November 6th, 2009
by Ryan Day

PHOENIX, AZ-

I am, unfortunately, in no position to refuse $75 for one hour of my time, pretty much no matter what the the contents of that hour. They could have asked me to drink six bottles of catsup (ketchup?). They could have asked me to have tea with Glen Beck and soothe his uniquely bruised ego with prefabricated whispers about the peaceful forces at the center of the conservative universe (you are a child of the marketplace… the invisible hand will always lead you towards the light of the DOW…). I would have mowed lawns, bagged leaves (though I imagine the going rate of yard maintenance is somewhat lower), run backwards into the weird smelling basin at the end of the Salt River. But, alas, all they wanted was that I watch some movie trailers and tell them, no matter what I really thought, that the Rock was just the actor to breath renewed life into that excalibur of cinematic roles, the Tooth Fairy. (more…)


Paul A. Toth

My Siamese Twin

November 6th, 2009
by Paul A. Toth

SARASOTA, FL-

This has been what I call the Year of Ice. Colder than a shaved polar bear. Sayonara 2009. It’s been a year of pills, pills and more pills, until finally I seem to have reached some kind of treaty with bipolar disorder, which barely warrants discussion given that virtually everyone is now diagnosed as bipolar. Still, it’s important to note that when I write “ice,” I mean anxiety, yet when I write “anxiety,” I do not describe all attributes of “ice.” (more…)


Simon Smithson

It’s The Strangest Thing

November 1st, 2009
by Simon Smithson

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA-

I’m of two minds about posting this. Mainly because I’m worried that when my hat-wearing, bullet-riddled corpse is found on the wrong side of the border with a simultaneous death-grip on both an empty bottle of Jose Cuervo and a silver .45, the eventual court proceedings will employ this post and previous ones from TNB as Exhibit A: When It All Started To Go Wrong For Simon And We Were Left With No Option But To Bring Him Down.

But hey, it’s Halloween. So enjoy!

(more…)


Rich Ferguson

Karma Driving School

October 15th, 2009
by Rich Ferguson

LOS ANGELES -

Author’s Note: I want to thank Jessica Larsen for the photo that she took during her recent travels in Varanasi, India.

Let’s go back to the very beginning / get in that car / get behind the wheel / rev the engine to pure devotion / our each and every dream – sparkling motion / relearn brake, gas, and clutch / not so much to speed us through these streets / but to clearly see that our each and every action ripens into results / bad equals bad / good equals good / it’s not some tricky math / nothing like finding the perimeter of all human suffering / what it is is the world coming from us / not at us / karma driving school

(more…)


Kip Tobin

“So I Was Just About To Fall Asleep, You Know, Right In That Nebulous Spot Between Being Conscious and Totally Slipping Off Into the Other Side, When the Phone Rings.”

October 4th, 2009
by Kip Tobin

BROOKVILLE, OH-

“It was 2 am on Sunday, my last week in Guadalajara and also higher education hell week when all your papers have to be finished, exams gotta be taken and your stress level is already pressing down a little further on your already-painful digestive system, strained from daily dense Mexican food and a second bout with that bastard Montezuma.”

(more…)


David S. Wills

A Thousand Words: Wilderness Kicks

September 14th, 2009
by David S. Wills

BIG SUR, CALIFORNIA -

I used to work on an organic farm in California, living in a barn full of horses and riding tractors through fields under the warmth of a gentle fall sun. I was a Beatnik then more than now – among hippies and flower children, believing everything I was told and digging all the world in some glorious young innocence.

I was obsessed with Kerouac and Ginsberg, and with the notion of wilderness. I read too much for my own good; my head full of dreams and naïve thoughts. I’d read Into the Wild, a lot of London and some Thoreau. I was obsessed with Big Sur and becoming free of the constraints of humanity. I loved the idea of the writer disappearing into nature.

(more…)


Megan Power

A Thousand Words: Possible Selves

September 13th, 2009
by Megan Power

SAN ANTONIO, TX

What photos have on words is speed.

Photos can be evocative, epiphanic and emblematic instantly, faster than the printed word.

They suck us in at the speed of sight. The speed of emotion.

(more…)


Don Mitchell

Pictures of Makis

September 7th, 2009
by Don Mitchell

COLDEN, NY-

In the white shimmering overexposed one he’s looking through his chrome camera at Niagara Falls in late December. This was before black cameras were the common things they are now, so the only black in the print is Makis’ face, though little of it shows above the fur collar and below the knit hat. It’s 1978.
 
In another he’s holding what we christened the world’s largest chicken, a stupendous fowl as big as a small turkey. He cradles it in the crook of his arm as if it were a baby. We couldn’t decide whether to boil it village fashion or to roast it whiteman style. In the end we roasted it because we had neither bush spinach nor coconut milk, and anyway, what’s the point of bogus village cooking?
(more…)


Kristen Elde

Irresistible

September 3rd, 2009
by Kristen Elde

NEW YORK CITY-

compulsion
n.
1c./1d. An irresistible impulse to act, regardless of the rationality of the motivation. / An act or acts performed in response to such an impulse.

I, a full-tilt Virgo, have been inclined since the tender age of five, back when my chore of choice was folding laundry, keen (hell-bent?) on matching corner to corner, edge to edge, of The Wonderfully Right-Angled Bath Towel, to observe an indulgent amount of order in the course of a day. I’ve never really seen this as an impediment, however, considering the routine straightening of pictures, aligning of chairs, and, yes, still the fastidious towel folding, have never, like, axed friendships or lost me jobs or sent lovers fleeing in abject horror. At most/worst, these and other related behaviors have brought about the conspicuous rearranging of my office desk fixtures at the hand(s) of knowing coworkers. And that’s just kinda funny, you know? (Not that said fixtures aren’t promptly and vigorously returned to their rightful homes. Heh.)

Anyway, yeah: I’m scrupulously neat and I’m okay with it. It evens me out. (more…)


James D. Irwin

The Death of a Clown: My Shortlived Stand Up Career

September 1st, 2009
by James D. Irwin

SOUTH COAST, ENGLAND-

At some point in 2007 the number of people telling me to do stand up comedy began to outweigh the number of people who didn’t care to admit that I was a walking laugh factory.

I was pretty on during 2007, to the point I managed to impress people with my wit; not girls of course, no, still too ugly for that, but people who weren’t obligated as relatives to laugh.

A lot of it came from beating the bastards to whatever aspect of my crater-faced physicality was being made fun of that day.

One day it was the big red spot on my nose.

”Your nose looks like a traffic light” somebody wise cracked.

”Where’s the green light?!” another laughed.

And for reasons I can only explain as superb comic timing, I put my right index finger in my nose and pulled out a juicy green globule.

(more…)


Lenore Zion

There Have Been Many Lies

August 30th, 2009
by Lenore Zion

LOS ANGELES, CA-

I had a friend in grade school named Krista.  I didn’t like when she came over to play with me because when she was around I had to eat dry cat food.

It was my own fault.  I told her I ate dry cat food, that I enjoyed it.  It wasn’t true.  I don’t know why I said it.  She didn’t believe me, so I had to prove it to her by, indeed, eating dry cat food in front of her.

It’s not that the taste is so horrible.  It’s really a texture thing.  It crumbles dryly in your mouth, and because the flavor isn’t fantastic, your mouth doesn’t respond with much saliva.  The result is a mouthful of paste that tastes very little like the “Chicken Dinner” it claims to be. (more…)


Simon Smithson

Sex Talk

August 15th, 2009
by Simon Smithson

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA-

Or

A DIMENSION NOT ONLY OF SIGHT AND SOUND, BUT OF MIND-

So. Of late, certain Scullys of my acquaintance have been pointing out that perhaps ‘Simon Smithson Territory’, or ‘Simon Smithson Syndrome’, as it has become known here on The Nervous Breakdown, is not quite the synchronicity-laden Bermuda Triangle I’ve been selling it as. They point to probabilities, they objurgate me with odds, they calculate chance and causal effect. They say ‘Hey, it’s just coincidence that you dreamed of your dead grandmother and she was mentioned the next day in conversation. It’s just coincidence that you dreamed of your friend Richard getting it on with a model, and he then called you the next day to say he was at an audition directly next to a model casting shoot.’

Be that as it may, should my younger self join the Brazilian soccer team, make a game-winning goal in the final seconds of the match, and go on to celebrate with the rest of the team by stealing a train, we’ll know for sure that my recent dreams can accurately predict the future. (more…)


Shya Scanlon

I Want to be Famous

August 14th, 2009
by Shya Scanlon

LOWER EAST SIDE-

Like most aspiring authors, I’ve read quite a number of interviews with famous writers. One of the things they continually bring up is the following advice: focus on the work, and not on whether or not you’re going to become famous. The obvious but never-discussed subtext of this advice is that aspiring authors spend a lot of time focusing on becoming famous. I’m not going to argue with this.

In fact, in the name of honesty and transparency and of the big blog in the sky, I’m going to air some of my most base, fame-seeking, attention-getting, insecurity-balming, fever-dream ambitions.

(more…)


D.R. Haney

3301 Waverly Drive

August 13th, 2009
by D.R. Haney

LOS ANGELES—

Jerry and Mary Neeley used to own the best video store on the east side of L.A. That’s where I met them, and since they closed shop two years ago to sell movie collectibles online, we’ve occasionally met for coffee and talk of, among other topics, true crime. We’ve also kept in touch by e-mail, and last week Mary sent the following message:

As you know, the 40th anniversary of Tate/LaBianca is this August 8th & 9th. (Technically, the 9th & 10th because both parties were killed after midnight.)

I wanted to go to the LaBianca house around 1am on the 10th to see if anyone else shows up. Would you be interested? I don’t want to walk up there alone at 1am.
(more…)


James D. Irwin

A Thousand Words: When I Think of California, I Think About Her

August 12th, 2009
by James D. Irwin

SOUTH COAST, ENGLAND-

Goddamnit woman!’ I remember thinking. ‘SQUEEZE! YES! But for the love of God please shut the hell up!”

I hadn’t travelled all the way out to California to hear a rubenesque Midwestern woman squat out a deuce. We were somewhere around Barstow on the edge of the desert, and this, apparently, was log country. I was not sat in a glamorous and expensive convertible — clearly. I was on a coach, heading to Las Vegas. I had the good fortune to be seated in front of the chemical toilet at the back, able to hear the whole dirty performance.

Whilst chewing on cold curly french fries, an ill-advised purchase from a stop at Arby’s, I had an horrific and horrendous thought: What if she’s pleasuring herself?! She’s been in there a damn long time! How can I know for sure? How can any of us know? And will the mental scars ever heal?

(more…)


Lance Reynald

In the Imperfect World of Fallen Screws

August 7th, 2009
by Lance Reynald

PORTLAND, OR-

I’m going to run a bit off the farm on this one here. Allow for the author to journey through the emotional hillside with ya. Give ya a bit of pop culture tourism through the eyes of the 1980’s raised brat-pack wannabe.

It’s been a crazy few days. I’ve been pounding the pavement trying my damdest to problem solve and keep my starving artist self from starving even more and facing the very real possibility of slipping through the cracks and being homeless.

And halfway through that series of pavement pounding challenges I get a text message that John Hughes died.

(more…)


Sung J. Woo

Book Review: J. Robert Lennon’s Pieces for the Left Hand

August 6th, 2009
by Sung J. Woo

WASHINGTON, NJ -

Every time I open a new book of fiction, there’s a part of me that hopes for the improbable: to encounter something new, something utterly original.  So as you can imagine, I’m let down a lot.  But sometimes I get lucky.

It’s been two weeks since I finished reading J. Robert Lennon’s Pieces for the Left Hand, but here’s this little gem of a book, still sitting on my desk.  I don’t know when I’ll return this paperback to its designated shelf, but it won’t be anytime soon, for I keep going back to it, reading one of the 100 anecdotes in this collection at random, smiling and chuckling along the way.

(more…)


Kristen Elde

Big Sky

August 4th, 2009
by Kristen Elde

MISSOULA, MT-

September 2003

It’s late, 12:30-late, and I’m just now pulling into the parking lot of Hubbard’s Ponderosa Lodge in Missoula. The toll of a thousand straight miles on the road won’t register for a while yet: I’m still carrying a charge.

“Hi. I’d like a room—two nights, one person.”

I’m traveling by myself, my preference from the age of five, a time when my version of a solo vacation was putting Mom and Dad thirty feet at my back, all but forgetting them as I crouched low, sifting through frosted sea glass and limpet shells with glossy, purplish undersides—alone on the beach with a green plastic bucket and an active imagination.

(more…)


Shya Scanlon

Five Thoughts Upon the Eve of my 34th Birthday

July 27th, 2009
by Shya Scanlon

LOWER EAST SIDE, MANHATTAN-

On Water

I’ve become pretty water-savvy over the past few years. Who hasn’t? Spring water, sparkling water, water from the quickly disappearing glaciers of Alaska – we’ve all been drinking more bottled water. I know some people who have stopped drinking tap water altogether. They say they don’t like the taste, but I think it’s actually a matter of trust. I drink it, but I probably shouldn’t. When I order tap water in restaurants, it’s slightly embarrassing. Can’t I afford the bottled water? Am I making some kind of statement? (Sometimes when the refrigerator in my kitchen kicks in, the lights in my apartment dim a little, and I feel my eyelids dip to match the encroaching darkness as though they’re struggling to blur the line between what they guard and what they guard against.)

(more…)