October 28, 2013
The Styley: Lou Reed
I was watching Oliver Stone's The Doors the first time I heard the song "Venus in Furs." At the time, I was in love with Jim Morrison and would have done anything to go back in time to marry him and have deep intellectual conversations about Neitzche and suffering, rushed up my spine and the jingle-jangle of the guitars got into my nerve endings, and I was hooked. I was tired, I was weary, and I could sleep for a thousand years.
I was never in love with Lou Reed the way I was with Morrison, or Kurt Cobain, or Eric Stoltz (in Some Kind of Wonderful). No, I wanted Reed as a mentor. I wanted to meet up with him in the East Village, go somewhere in the East Village where we could smoke and drink coffee and talk about art, about what it meant to be an artist, and how you managed to maintain your belief in yourself as an artist despite the overwhelming lack of evidence (in my case, at least) that you would ever get anywhere with it. I still ask myself that question today. I look to people like Reed to help me with the answer, which is that where you end up doesn't matter, what matters is the doing. That attitude is applicable no matter what you're doing: starting a business, a book, a song, a photograph. All of these activities are creative, and creativity needs faith. How do we maintain that faith? Sometimes we just do it, because we have no other choice. Other times we look to the people we admire, and for me, Lou Reed was one of those people. He will be sorely missed.