Aaron Parker (transcript)

Aaron Parker, James Avramenko

James Avramenko 00:00
Friendless is presented by the Saskatchewan Podcast Network. The Saskatchewan Podcast Network is supported in part by Conexus and Directwest. My sweet babies Welcome back to another fun filled episode of Friendless. The only podcast about me your host, James Avramenko, unfriending, everyone I’ve ever connected with on Facebook, one interview at a time. This week I have on fellow podcaster. And all around incredible soul, Aaron Parker, Aaron and I have never actually met in person. In fact, our entire interaction history is literally two recorded interviews, one on his show, the mourning talk show, the other being the episode you’re about to listen to. We talk about all kinds of fun topics from how we met through email, sending the wrong vibes by association, CBC comments sections, the lonesome genius of Daniel Johnston, the necessary placebo of astrology, where art lives, and so so much more. Aaron is an incredible conversationalist. And it was my pleasure to chat with him. Catch me at the end of the episode for a few updates and reminders. But that’s then this is now. So for now, lay back and enjoy my conversation. Aaron Parker, here on Friendless. So, you know, Aaron, Aaron Parker, you’re such a fascinating guest for this show. And you’re somebody I’ve been really wanting to have on. And I apologize for being so delayed. But we have this what is just a lightning in a bottle moment of a friendship that has since come to, from my side, you’ve come to actually really mean quite a bit to my sort of Facebook feed. Because of what you post and how you engage in, you know, dialogue and conversation I I find the way you use Facebook to be endlessly fascinating. So I’m sort of sad to be losing it. But to get us there, I’d like to first sort of introduce you to the show and and get a little bit of a reading of, of what is what it is you do and how you kind of how you spend your day, especially nowadays in quarantine. Yeah.

Aaron Parker 02:37
Well, that’s very, very kind of you to say that and and it’s it’s very confirming and affirming to me because that’s what like I really after the Trump election, and I think we’ve talked about this a bit in our, in your episode of my show, after the Trump election, I just thought I’ve got to make this something that I can live with or get off of Facebook. So if I if I hear that it’s encouraging to anybody that is like the ultimate that really, really goes right to my heart. So thank you.

James Avramenko 03:10
Oh, of course. So the way we sort of this way, the way we sort of connected was was super fun. You made me feel like a total celebrity and I and so maybe that’s why I have such a little like rosy part of my heart for you. Right, but from my side, and I’d love to hear sort of you, you know your side of it. But for my side, I guess about well over a year now, maybe about a year and a half ago. You know, I was like I was like CBC famous for like one day, and they did like a little featurette article, where all the comments called me a lazy millennial. And I was being overdramatic, and I was an idiot, and we’re wasting taxpayer dollars on this article. But

Aaron Parker 03:52
Oh that’s what the comments were,

James Avramenko 03:54
yeah, oh, god. CBC comments are one of the most hostile toxic environments you can ever witness. It’s shocking.

Aaron Parker 04:02
That is so unfortunate.

James Avramenko 04:04
Yeah, I don’t know. I don’t know why they even leave them on like, they’re just, they’re just brutal. But but so. So you know, there was this article written about me, and then you reached out through the email. And it was so funny because you, you introduce yourself and and you said, I’ve just had these two guests on my podcast, and one of them was a flat earther. And the other one was a guy who like I wasn’t super familiar with but who sort of struck me as a I don’t know how to describe it. Exactly. He’s one of those guys who you sort of he sounds good until you get into a rabbit hole of YouTube. And suddenly you realize he’s like shilling supplements on you kind of thing. Okay. And so I read your email and I was like, Oh, no, like, do I do I reach out to like, do I say yes to be on this guy. I had just like, hours before your email came in. I had been sort of burned by being on a talk show that on Lot of the art community in Saskatchewan super disagrees with really hate the host. And so I was dealing with little micro blowback of like, how dare you be on this guy’s show? Yeah, I was super, you know, but so that I get your email and, and I’m so glad you know, because I reached out to you and then you were like, Oh, no, no, no, that everything’s cool. All right.

Aaron Parker 05:20
Well, yeah, I mean, yeah, I think I think if I recall correctly, there was a Jordan Peterson connection with one of the interviews.

James Avramenko 05:27
That’s what it was.

Aaron Parker 05:28
And, and, yeah, so, I mean, and I and I understood completely because at that phase, I was really unpacking my own thoughts on Jordan Peterson because I was a I was more of a what more interested in him because of some of the ways like not, not the not not everything he says, but he was talking about biblical stories and kind of unpacking them in a psychological way. So I was I was watching those videos. And so anyway, the I could understand them, because I don’t Peterson is one of those people that I take with a huge grain of salt. And, and so yeah, I didn’t want I did not want you to think that it was, you know, that? Well, he’s part of that, you know, he’s considered part of the anti woke thing too, right. Yes. And so I, I didn’t want to go down that road. But I do, I did want to unpack, like, part of my podcast is unpacking my own thoughts on things through the, through the lens of somebody else’s perspective. And so anyway, I was really glad that you said yes. And, and, and happy to hear that it made you that it was in some way, encouraging, and that I was happy with the conversation.

James Avramenko 06:44
Well, it was so fun. It was so great. And I think that was one of the things that was so exciting afterwards was being like, okay, like, not only like, was it really validating for my idea, and like, okay, so like strangers will hear this show and be interested in it, but also to then be brought on and be like, Oh, shit, and like other people who I have a legitimate connection to you are doing really interesting, exciting things. Like, I think that’s something that that Canadian culture really falls victim victim to quite often is the idea of like, the Americans are cooler and they’re doing it and all we can hope to do is sort of parrot it, but in a watered down more boring, kind of East Coast flavor. And, and if it’s not coming out of Ontario, it’s not even worth being looked at kind of thing. Yeah. Yeah. And now you’re set up in Edmonton. Right,

Aaron Parker 07:37
Edmonton? Yeah.

James Avramenko 07:38
And are you? Are you from there originally? Or did you?

Aaron Parker 07:41
I’m from the United States.

James Avramenko 07:43
No kidding.

Aaron Parker 07:44
Yeah, I was born in Texas, actually. And lived in Arkansas. Yeah, I’m a southern kid. But I’ve been here since grade six. So I do not feel like I have feel I don’t I feel homeless basically, in terms of a homeland. Because Southern culture is so unique and interesting. And Canadian culture is is what I know the best. And so yeah, that’s me.

James Avramenko 08:08
Do you ever go back there? Do you ever go back to the States?

Aaron Parker 08:10
Yeah, I did. When I was. When I was first with my wife. I did a couple trips down there. to have her basically see the culture that I came from and meet my family down there. But it’s been a lot harder in the intervening years because of we have some kids and, and it’s hard to travel with kids. And now obviously, like, I really want to go back, but it’s who knows when that’ll be?

James Avramenko 08:33
Yeah, yeah, we did a thing. We have some family. My sister in law lives in the States. And, and I felt so guilty, because like when, you know, when Trump got elected I in my little, you know, petulant, canadiana way. I was like, Well, I’m not going back to the states for four years, at least. Right? I was like, I’m shunning. The,

Aaron Parker 08:57
let me tell you that really stung the United States when you did that. Right.

James Avramenko 09:00
They felt it. They felt my dollars being withheld.

Aaron Parker 09:03
For sure.

James Avramenko 09:05
But then she, but then she had a had a baby, she had a little daughter, and it was like, well, there’s no fucking way I’m not gonna go down and see her. Right.

Aaron Parker 09:14
We gotta go. Yeah. Right.

James Avramenko 09:16
You know, and I’m so grateful that I did. But But you, you could really feel a shift in. I always find America’s always a little tense. You know, like, no matter what, when you go, no matter who’s the president, it’s always you’re always a little tense, like, not in like a danger way like, but more than like, everybody kind of watches each other differently than they do in Canada.

Aaron Parker 09:39
I would say it’s, it’s, it’s kind of a conceptual tension. That kind of keeps you keeps it at arm’s length. And I mean, I think the one nice thing and the one reason that sometimes people have really good experiences in the States, not always but is that so many people in in the states like, full Americans feel That same tension And it forces them to find, you know, healthy communities and, and things to be involved in. And so that’s there is a lot of that too. And in, in the US, it’s a fascinating, fascinating place.

James Avramenko 10:15
It’s a weird place in that they, when when an American is friendly, you know that they’re genuinely friendly in a way that Canadians are like, I find that I find that all Canadians are generally passively Nice. Yeah, but Well, it’s usually but it’s like usually kind of fake. Like, it’s usually like, they feel they feel like they are it’s, what’s the word? Like, if they feel like they’re? They have to be nice, right? Whereas in America, they choose to be nice.

Aaron Parker 10:45

James Avramenko 10:47
Obligatory is the word Exactly. Thank you.

Aaron Parker 10:50
It’s totally true. You hit the nail on the head, because I was told I came from Originally, I came from the southern United States, to Ontario. And I was told that Canadians were nicer. And that was, and I was like, I could not figure that out. I’m like, how do you mean, like, you know, like, and then I realized as an adult, that it was civility, it’s, it’s different accessibility. It’s obligatory deference, it’s holding a door open, but do not talk to someone in the line at the grocery store, especially like in certain places in Canada, because they’re going to be like, what is this person’s problem? Whereas, like, where I came from, like, I’d watch my pap or talk to somebody, I have a memory of this, he talked to someone. And I thought, well, these are dear old friends. You know, like, and then I was like, how did you know that guy? Oh, I I didn’t know that guy in my life. So a different kind of friendliness. It’s familiarity down there. And familiarity. weirds Canadians out? It’s like you Why do you What are you doing? Why are you getting into my psyche? Like this? Like what? What’s You know? So it’s, it’s just a totally different thing. But in the Maritimes they have that in Canada. Like, do you? Yeah,

James Avramenko 12:03
yeah. And it’s and it’s funny, actually. funny that you should mention them. That’s the other place. I have a lot of family and, and so we go out there every now and then. And it’s a it’s a head trip, because they’re like, they’re they’re just nice. You know, like, Now on the flip side, though, when someone’s an asshole. They’re like, a legitimate ruin your day asshole.

Aaron Parker 12:24
Right? Yeah. Yeah, it’s the same in the states too. Right? Yeah, there’s it. There’s assholes everywhere. So

James Avramenko 12:32
of course,

Aaron Parker 12:33
yeah, when you get those really familiar, that is the danger. I guess that’s probably what people nervous about. When you get those really familiar cultures, then you probably also have more open conflict. Then you would in say, like a button down Toronto, right city suburb or something?

James Avramenko 12:53
And now, um, so you’re set up in Edmonton. You’ve got this ever blooming family. And, and I’m and and now, I want to say in your questionnaire, you said that you’re a graphic designer as well.

Aaron Parker 13:08
Oh, yeah. Which is, which is probably the thing that people know the least about. In my life. That’s what I do for work.

James Avramenko 13:17
Gotcha. Okay, I know, is it like a sort of like a, like, are you freelance? Or is it like with a company or

Aaron Parker 13:23
no, I work, It’s a, it’s a corporate kind of job. Okay. Yeah, I don’t really, I don’t really get into it too much. It is what it is. It’s, it’s creative problem solving. And it has its satisfying ness. And it also makes me not terrified about where our food will come from.

James Avramenko 13:43
You know, so that’s a huge element of what I talk a lot about with a lot of my artists friends is this idea of, have we made a mistake by completely enveloping our lives in art, and that’s not just, you know, reading art, but working within our like, you know, I’m an arts administrator, and so is my wife. And, you know, our combined salaries are less than I mean, I’m only part time right. And so it’s like, our combined salaries are less than entry level positions in other What are considered creative fields, whether it’s graphic design, or marketing, or copywriting or things like this right, and let alone you then get an actual jobs. Right? And we, you know, we can’t help it sometimes wonder, like, Is it a mistake to make your entire life around art? And and would you maybe, like, do you feel I guess, I wonder, do you feel more secure in being creative? Because you know, your paycheck is, is sort of taken care of every month?

Aaron Parker 14:43
Yeah, I mean, yes, I guess I feel less anxiety. Quite a bit. I mean, not that we’ve never had financial anxiety. We’ve definitely gone through that. But, and still do occasionally. But yeah, just when. So I wouldn’t directly I wouldn’t directly equate the work the full time work with, with contributing to my artistic inspiration, but it does, it does relate, because I think the main thing is, and this individual for different people, because we all have different. We all have different scenarios that are best that are most conducive to work, working on our pursuits. And for me, it’s scarcity is better. scarcity of time, is a little bit better than open ended time. Because when I’ve been, when I’ve been unemployed, I have been more full of self loathing for how much I’m not getting done. And, and it just, there’s something in my brain, it’s a certain kind of I hesitate to say, ADHD, because I haven’t been technically diagnosed with that, although I suspect that I have it, but it’s something where I need I need scarcity, I need a little bit of panic, I need a little bit of, you know, frustration, and that does feed in I don’t think it’s the same for everybody, like, one of my closest friends is an artist and a musician and, and he, he really likes to spend like entire days, totally immersed in what he does. And to him, it’s kind of a necessary element of it. So he’s figured out how to make enough money off of some like off of illustration and things like that, and make a name for himself. So but, and I admire that a lot. But it didn’t seem to be my it didn’t seem to be my natural state when I actually had the time. So yeah, it’s more about scarcity. That said, I don’t know that I’ve ever reached the perfect level of time scarcity in my life, and the other thing is with the family, there is a kind of a huge well of I don’t know, just like human experience. So I think the other thing that kills some artists, is maybe, oh, man, now I don’t want to actually, I really don’t want to make pronouncements about other people.

James Avramenko 17:26
You know what, let’s just talk in massive blanket statement for one minute, let’s do it,

Aaron Parker 17:31
Forgive me all the artists out there. But I do think that when making an art career becomes a mania, there can be an unhealthy lack of input of kind of transcendent experiences or things where you, I mean, the thing that you come up against the most kind of on a philosophical or conceptual emotional level, is yourself and your own shitty work habits or, like, you know, what I mean, or your own lack of money to buy the equipment you need for your art or whatever. And it becomes a kind of a shallow Well, I think, to from which to draw on, in whatever you’re doing.

James Avramenko 18:15
That’s such a fantastic element of it, too, isn’t it? This idea of all I want to be doing is my art. But you you you create your own hurdles, right? I can’t, you know, I I’ve done it so many times, I can think of so many times when you know, my friends, you know, would they’d have, you know, for instance, I mean, this is kind of a dumb example, but it’s like, you know, they’d have a brand new phone, right, they’d have a brand new phone. And they would want to be I’m thinking of this one person I knew desperately wanted to be a photographer, but kept on telling themselves, Oh, I can’t be a photographer because I don’t have the exact camera and the tripod and the lighting and the light diffuser and the the flash and this and that the other thing, and in their hand, is, you know, a point and shoot like yeah, okay, it’s not the greatest photo, you know, camera ever, but it’s like, if you have some materials you have enough to start and and i think so much of our creative process is stymied by wanting perfection and wanting greater than we’re actually able to achieve right now. And but but what a lot of people forget is you don’t get to those next years without first doing these initial things, right? One I always talk about is like, the one I was talking about is you you don’t get to just sit down and write Moby Dick. If you’ve never written 1000 terrible sentences or more than that 1000 terrible short stories, you know, 10 terrible novels, right? Like, you know, Melville did just sit down and write it. He worked towards it. Right. And yeah, and it’s something that we have to remember in this in this sort of like instant culture, right.

Aaron Parker 19:53
Yeah. And there’s to add on to that. There is the sort of paying almost like paying your dues to the gods are a portion of your art career. And then there’s also the amazing things that can be done specifically because you were you were overcoming a lack or a, you know, a deficit in your gear or in your, you know, like, in music, I go to music a lot, because that’s my main artistic outlet. In music, there’s this whole kind of lo fi world where there’s kind of a, an aesthetic and a vernacular of low fidelity sounds and a whole palette there accessible only because there were people who just were so off the wall that nobody was giving them money to do what they did. And so it’s a two fold thing, you either you first you have to you do have to do your kind of your stuff that you’re not gonna like later. But then you may also do stuff that later when you have all the stuff you want, you look back and say, Well, that was like, how did I do that? Like,

James Avramenko 21:01
yeah, that makes me think of Daniel Johnson and and his recordings. Did you ever listen to him?

Aaron Parker 21:09
Oh, yeah, definitely.

James Avramenko 21:10
Yeah, yeah. And how it’s like just the grainiest crappiest. Like he just recorded on a tape recorder. And it’s like, but it’s incredible. You know, and, and it’s like, I feel like he needs to be held as a as an example of like, it’s not the medium that’s holding you back. You know?

Aaron Parker 21:27
Yeah, he was he was an example of full commitment to what he was doing that came from just an absolute love of it as something that changed his own life, like rock and roll, defined him. And, and so I think, I mean, he’s an example of how career, I really do think that and this is complicated, but that career aspirations can really be a problem. Like, yeah, career aspirations in art can be such an obscuring force. And so he, he was an example of someone who probably just assumed that, that there was no way he could have a career. And while that’s a sad thing, it also it also meant that he was just doing these things where he was pouring 100% of himself into it with nothing held back. That’s how that’s how it feels when you listen to it anyway.

James Avramenko 22:32
So this is this is sort of the the the, the crux of this whole show, here is this question. And I’m always I’m endlessly fascinated by everybody’s answers, because they always end up being like, so wildly different, and yet they hold the same sort of heart within them. And so, you know, you have you have 800 plus Facebook friends, and you’re, you’re exploring all these ideas of conversation and connection. So I feel like you have a very, you’ll have a very interesting perspective on this. So I wonder how in your life, you define friendship?

Aaron Parker 23:13
Oh, that’s a good question. Yeah. So okay, so keep your expectations low. I don’t know. No. Uh, yeah, I think that friendship. Well, rather than define what friendship is kind of in a, in an overarching way. I can say what, what it has been for me and I’ve struggled in my life of feeling like not a good friend.

James Avramenko 23:41

Aaron Parker 23:42
Like I haven’t cuz I yeah, I’ve got some friends from before I was married, that I really love and, and haven’t kept in as much contact as I would have liked and used to be in each other’s lives all the time. So friendship, friendship, to me, though, that I think the reason for that is that friendship is kind of an expression of just, it’s an expression of connection. between two people, it’s sort of friendship is almost like another being in between two people. That’s how it feels to me, because people will kind of come in and out of my life. And I just noticed that with some people, it kind of isn’t related. Like our friendship isn’t related to the amount of time that we spent together or I guess it’s, it’s, there’s always some amount of shared experience or being from the same community in some way. But that really for for some reason. Friendships will kind of spring up and they they feel like they have a life and I’m big on that the word life where sometimes feels alive. It has its own. It has its own pull to it and its own personality and, and sort of it, the feeling of obligation is not a huge part of it. And that’s just me like I recently I had like a really funny experience. I talked way too long. Sorry. But at

James Avramenko 25:22
No this is great.

Aaron Parker 25:23
I had a funny experience. I don’t know if you saw when I was sort of, I was being a bit of a brat on Facebook. And I threw out there that I’m not entirely skeptical of astrology

James Avramenko 25:35
Yeah. Which I actually agree with. I will say I agreed with what you were saying almost 100% you know,

Aaron Parker 25:44
Great. Yeah. It’s, that’s cool. So I won’t sound like a total nut to you. But if you believe in it, in the sense of like, I think there’s probably a lot of infrastructure known as astrology that, you know, it may be impactful to you if, if it’s, well, it’s impactful to you if it’s impactful to you, but that’s not really what I’m referring to. And then but a friend sent me a few pages, pictures of pages from a book that was that was a profile of you based on the date of your birth. Oh, and, and holy cow, it was. It was scary, accurate. And I didn’t I didn’t post this on the thing, because I didn’t it felt a little bit manipulative, but I literally, I wept while reading it, and that never happens, I cried, and then I laughed, like I laugh cried, and I’m not a big crier or laughter, neither of those things. Like if you listen back to the audio of this, while I’ve been very amused, I probably haven’t laughed. So it was really weird. And the one of the things that it said about me Was it said that some some aspects of my personality good and bad, and one of them was cold. And it was like that really hit me because I was like, I don’t think that I am I people don’t think of me as cold. But I know what they mean. Right? Sure, because of this very thing that I’m talking about with friendship, where friendships will kind of come and go. And on an emotional level, like I’m I, it doesn’t hurt me the way it might hurt somebody else. And it’s, it’s this odd thing where I’m connected with you when I’m connected with you. And then other times, like it’s its way on the backburner. And so I don’t know friendship is a weird one for me. Because that idea of devotion, like loyal friend, like this person, like Aaron has been, you know, I mean, whenever I’ve been upset, he’s been at my door with muffins. Like, that’s the kind of friend I wish that I were. And I just, it’s not natural to me.

James Avramenko 27:57
yeah, that’s a beautiful I love I love the idea of friendship being the third person in the relationship. I actually really I love that sort of imagery, and that sort of idea that it’s like, it’s a shared, it’s a shared thing. And also, yeah, you know, I actually had a crazy experience with astrology this year. My wife found someone on Instagram, actually, who does, like moon readings and card readings for you and and just this wonderful, I wish I could remember her name. I’m gonna, I’ll put all the I’ll put all the information in the show notes. But she’s fabulous. And she, she did a very similar thing where she got all of like, not just my sign, like, not just Virgo, but she got all my like, you know, they’re called like moon signs or signs or something like that all the other ones and created this little profile for me that just like, gutted me, right, you know, cuz it was just like, oh, shit, you see me?

Aaron Parker 29:03
Isn’t it Weird, like so eruptive to be seen, to be seen, like, by something that’s not even seeing you. You know, this was out of a book for me. At least that was a person for you. But yeah, yeah. Anyway. Yeah. It’s wonderful.

James Avramenko 29:18
Yeah. And it’s a wonderful, you know, I understand the skepticism behind it. And I also understood I and I also understand the the sort of the, the cynicism behind it too, of like, well, it’s no different from Jesus or what, you know, whatever. Right. You know, whatever. pseudo intellectuals like to posit, right, but yeah, but I, I just can’t, I can’t be against something that gives comfort.

Aaron Parker 29:43

James Avramenko 29:43
You know, when it’s weaponized, sure, then let’s talk about it. But if it’s something that’s just really nice for the person, then back the fuck off,

Aaron Parker 29:51
Yeah. And I guess that’s true, like insight is insight, and what I read on that page, I don’t know, it kind of felt filled in some gaps. Yeah, in the way that I think about myself. And I don’t think people trust their intuition enough, like, because I’ve thought a lot about, I thought a lot about spiritual experiences, because I’ve had, like, fewer than I would have liked, honestly. But I’ve had a few experiences that I would qualify as spiritual. And that have been really, really impactful. And the skeptical thing comes in, and rightly so I think we should always be looking at these things. But then there’s also that side that says, Man, if this made a positive change, like, I don’t know, you know, it, like, who, who cares in a way? And it doesn’t, you know, it’s only when we become kind of dogmatically religious about these things, that that the real danger occurs. Right?

James Avramenko 30:54
And isn’t that just the thing? Right? Isn’t that just the thing of like, if it’s helping, why are we trying to stop that? Right? Yeah, like, yeah, like, yeah, like you say, if it becomes dogmatic, then we got to talk about it. But for now, I mean, like, just, you know, we’re all hurtling through space. We’re all gonna be dead and forgotten someday. Everything is pain. Like, why don’t we just allow some moments to breathe and feel good?

Aaron Parker 31:20
Yeah, totally. When you find a person who’s who is comfortable with themselves in some way or understand, you know, is at least seeking to understand themselves, by hook or by crook, you know, by whatever friggin way. You know, like, that’s a, that’s a person that can can affirm that in in yourself. And it doesn’t really matter where they come from, I think that’s the, that’s something that I’m definitely learning in, in life.

James Avramenko 31:54
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Aaron Parker 32:21
Okay, second question will follow on with spirituality. Have you had any experience with spirituality in your life? What kind and and what was it like positive or negative?

James Avramenko 32:33
Oh, man? Oh, God, good question. You know, it’s tough, right? Because I don’t know if I’ve ever had, like, I think the closest I’ve come to, to, I was not raised with any kind of religion. I wasn’t I, you know, I, the last time I was in a church, I was like, four or five. And I right when I was like, super, super, super young. My, my parents took us to church. And I remember, we were late for Sunday school, and my mom bought me McDonald’s breakfast and sent me into Sunday school with my McDonald’s breakfast, and whoever was teaching was like really mean to me about it. And I never went back never went back. And so, you know, no experience in the church of any kind. And I think for me, the closest thing to spirituality has been, maybe moments on stage. You know, the idea of the idea of theater and the idea of art, for me, does root itself in a spiritual ism. And in, you know, a type of ritual. I really do believe in the there is something really sacred about being in a room, witnessing what is essentially a dance, right. And, and, you know, dance then roots into, you know, ritual and prayer and all those things. And and, and so I think there’s been moments on stage when you realize, now sometimes it’s been me on stage, sometimes this has been me in the audience. But when you realize every single person in this room is participating in this singular moment. And, and there’s something really beautiful in that silence. Right. And in that movement, and then I guess the other thing, you know, you know, sort of like not to, like keep, I don’t know, maybe I’m reaching too much, but like, there have been moments of writing when you sort of, like when I, you know, have this idea in my head, and I’m like, Okay, this is what I’m intending. And then I sit down and I write something and, and it, it becomes what it is, right. And I very much I’ve had very, very few of them. But I have had moments when you sort of realize why the Greeks believed in the Muses, right, you know, because it’s like you sort of like, you sit down to do a thing, and then something sort of takes over and at the end of it, you’re like, Oh, that’s there now. Yeah.

Aaron Parker 35:00
Yeah. And just like friendship. Yeah, yeah,

James Avramenko 35:05
exactly. You know, and I do I do. I do believe in that kind of stuff. I don’t know how, I don’t know how like forensically or also how strongly I do. Right. But I do know that I, I, I know that there is other stuff at play in existence. And I don’t know what it is. And I, you know, and I actually, I worry that we don’t believe in it, because we’ve lost connection to it. And so maybe what we need is to foster that belief a little more, and allow ourselves to trust in these other things more, and maybe that will help us right.

Aaron Parker 35:42
Yeah, the moments where it’s beyond critique, like where maybe critic, criticism doesn’t enter into your mind. And that’s like, that’s one of the things I do think that it’s all spiritual. Like, I’ve had some of my most spiritual moments. Yeah, on stage playing music. And I do think that when it’s when, when you’ve tapped into something, I mean, I actually believe that arts a phenomena that exists in in the mind, of the, of the art viewer, you know, or the artist, I don’t think that I don’t think a thing hanging on our wall is art. And I don’t think vibrations in the air is art. I think art is what takes place in, in the person’s mind And so when you’ve created art in somebody else’s mind, like when you’ve that it’s specifically I think, followed by a non analytical experience, you know, so that’s just, that’s just something

James Avramenko 36:42
that’s beautiful. It’s, it’s funny that that then makes my brain go bwaoh, you know, that sort of that moment of like, wow, like, it’s the experience of it. And the Yeah, oh, wow. Yeah, yeah, I guess, right. But and, and, you know, like, you were saying, like, you know, like, I like, the the most spiritual moments are the moments that you sort of let go, and you let yourself exist, right. And, and I think that we are so we’re so confined by our moment, and by our body and by our preconceived judgments, and by our rules and our society, and are, you know, and then it’s just, it’s just pound after pound after pound on us that we’re never allowed to. We’re never allowed to just exist, right. And, I mean, that’s the whole goal, right? That’s the whole goal of meditation is to release the past release the future at present. Yeah. And it’s why, you know, you listen to these, you know, you listen to Ramdas speak, and he’s like, he’s, he’s just so peaceful. Right. And he is he, I can’t imagine what it would have been like to be around a guy like that.

Aaron Parker 37:54
Because it’s like, you know, on drugs.

James Avramenko 37:55
Yeah. Right. Because it’s like to just be present, and to not be worrying about what may come or what has come or what could happen, or what has happened to just be there. Yeah, like, that’s godliness, right?

Aaron Parker 38:08
I think so. And people get hung up on the idea of identity. And they’re offended by the idea of meditation being about breaking down identity. But I think the real thing is that your true I mean, if there is such a thing as true identity, it’s not something that you have to hold together through the strength of your efforts. Yeah. And so that when you draw that, and you drop that away, you can kind of you kind of feel maybe that, like, maybe that there is some self there, but you view it, but it’s not. It’s not this. What’s the word? kind of lost the thread there, but it’s not insecure.

James Avramenko 38:42
Yeah, no, yes. Yes. And that’s the thing too, and I it’s so funny, because I think that that actually correlates with this idea of creative voice is this idea of like, yeah, clarity and confidence actually frees you to just speak, honestly. Right. And, and so we, you know, we as like layman sort of interpret that as, like a creative voice when really what that’s doing is just allowing the moment to channel through you and allowing just honesty to channel through and, and, and that changes because the truth changes, no, there is no such thing as as concrete fact, right? What, what we knew was back 200 years ago isn’t true anymore. So, you know, it’s why art sort of waxes and wanes and you know, things come and go in and out of fashion and things like that. Right? But that doesn’t mean they weren’t honest for their moment, right?

Aaron Parker 39:34
Oh, yeah, totally. Totally. Like, I get Yeah, I mean, I think that honesty is is such an interesting thing, because honesty in art doesn’t mean just bleeding onto the page, just like blah saying exactly. Kind of what’s on your mind without it, you know, it it’s it’s a lens of honesty. So honesty can be you know, expressing something that is is seemingly opposite from how you feel or whatever. Like, it’s so mysterious and when and I don’t think you can, you can uncover it. If you can’t be in the moment, at least in little snatches. It’s not like anybody lives, it lives there the whole time. If you have those moments of being in the moment, like, you know, the Muse is probably just you that was sitting there waiting for you to Yeah, to come there, right?

James Avramenko 40:28
Yeah, exactly. Well, then there’s that whole thing of like, I mean, again, I don’t know how much I really buy into it. I just like the thought of like, you know, reality is just the same godhead experiencing itself back on itself. And all those things. Oh, yeah.

Aaron Parker 40:41
Right. Well, I don’t want to go nuts. But I do pretty much exactly believe that.

James Avramenko 40:46
Yeah, right. Yeah. And again, it’s one of those things where like, it sounds really good when you’ve had like, a full joint to yourself, and you’re just, yes, this is it? You know? Yeah. I mean, in my, in my more pragmatic moments, I’m sort of like that’s dumb but I do really, I like the idea.

Aaron Parker 41:02
It doesn’t tie in with every activity of life, like, awareness of that or that, thinking about it that way doesn’t tie in. But exactly, it can be very clarifying in moments of existential crisis.

James Avramenko 41:18
wellness, however you define it is achievable. You don’t even need to figure it all out yourself. Talk to connexus. They’ll give you guidance, motivation, and the push, you need to reach your goals. They’ve got you, they’re your financial partner. And they know you can achieve your very best, your financial best. prove them right. start right at connexus credit union. But so with with your show, you know, developing and continuing in into the world now the new year, but with all that connection, and then just with your own personal life, what do you think it’s going to take to be a good friend, however you define that in in 2021? And then going forward?

Aaron Parker 42:06
Right? Well, on a practical level, and thank you for the kind words about the show. Wow. That’s awesome. And from, from my perspective, you’re a great conversationalist. And I any great conversationalist is, is inspirational to me, as well. So anyway. So I mean, on a technical level, I think that in 2021, digital platforms are going to be extremely important to my friendships, and they already, they already are, and they kind of already were pre COVID-19. Because like I say, I’m not a massive like FaceTime. Like, actually, no, FaceTime is an app. I mean, like actual physical FaceTime. Okay, the best of times that I’m not. It’s, uh, yeah, I don’t I’m not like with my bros, or like, sure, or, or whatever, all the time. And so yeah, digital technology, and then friendship in 2021, I think is going to be about checking in. And probably and what I’ve been doing is casting my net a little wider than a than a small group of sort of best friends. And I’ve just been sort of if somebody crosses my mind, because I know a lot of really beautiful people through music and art, and that kind of thing. And then and then family and stuff as well, who are going through varying levels of tough times, and people I know who are isolated. Like truly isolated, like one of my really close friends lives alone and works from home. Yeah,

James Avramenko 43:50
Fuck that’s a tough one.

Aaron Parker 43:52
Yeah, it is. And she’s like an insomniac and stuff already. So a lot of it is just just when the person you know, authentically crosses my mind, I think that’s the thing is I’m trying not to make, I’m trying not to make anybody a project friend. And, but to but there are just so many people that I just sort of care about for some mysterious reason. And so that’s, that’s, I think that’s the big thing is is the check ins and then there are a couple of friends that I have that our our our conversations are a part of what feeds my my soul for the podcast itself. So that’s a big one actually, I’m thinking this year is the year where my, one of my best friends and I will start to do episodes, just the two of us in YouTube clean. And that’s because he is I mean, he named the show. Oh, and, and because because he got excited about it when I had a couple when I had first thought about it, and has watched, I think he’s probably one of the only people who has seen every episode. And so yeah, that that’s another thing is like bringing one of my actual friendships on to the world stage or whatever, that’s a terrible way to say it like, into into the public. The public could see it, which is kind of an odd thing. It hasn’t happened much. It’s been mostly strangers. And I’ve kind of had to unpack or just become comfortable with the fact that I do like to do things in the public eye, but I guess you can relate to that.

James Avramenko 45:33
Totally. So that might have needed that validation. You know, like, there’s that element of sort of like checking in with the rest. Like, is this cool? Okay, we’re cool. Let’s go on.

Aaron Parker 45:43
Yeah, I don’t know what it is. I have to say it, it must be related to validation. And I’ve struggled with that, you know, really being down on that part of my personality, but I don’t know. The the more that I’m feeling like I’m able to do it in a way that is clarifying or impactful to people, the less I I kind of feel bad about it.

James Avramenko 46:07
Man, Aaron, we could talk a whole other hour and I’m and I’m really sorry that I have to sort of pull this No, I have to pull the rug out from under us here. But you’re, you know, you’re you’re somebody who I’m just so glad we have crossed paths. And oh, man, like it’s, it’s so crazy that it’s like we’ve had literally two conversations and this is one of them. And and yet I do I genuinely feel like a real connection to you. And I genuinely feel

Aaron Parker 46:34

James Avramenko 46:35
I you know, yeah, I just I just I really like you, Aaron.

Aaron Parker 46:41
I like you James!

James Avramenko 46:41
I’m really glad you reached out to me, so thank you.

Aaron Parker 46:46
Oh, man. That’s awesome. Honestly, yeah, that makes me feel so good.

James Avramenko 46:52
I just love it. It’s just one of those really nice, like, Fuck, yeah, you know, but unfortunately, we are at the point of the show, though, where I do have to pull up your Facebook. And then me. Here we go. Okay. Aaron Parker are no longer Facebook friends.

Aaron Parker 47:11

James Avramenko 47:42
That’s it. Thank you once more to Aaron for coming on the show. It has been just such a pleasure to chat with him. And I really hope we get to do more in the future. Actually, off recording. We were actually starting talk about some other fun stuff. So who knows what’s gonna come out of that? Be sure to check out his show the morning talk show. It’s on YouTube. It’s on podcast catchers all over. There is a link in the show notes to check that out. If you haven’t signed up for the friendless newsletter, why don’t you left me it’s super easy, and it’s as unobtrusive, as unobtrusive as possible. Just once a month, you get book reviews of what I’ve read that month, Article recommendations and exclusive writing you won’t find anywhere else. This month’s newsletter is about to go out. So don’t wait. Check out the link in the show notes and sign up today. I am having a bit of a rocky February. I’m just gonna level up here at the end. Between you know the impending anniversary of quarantine my job and me idiotically joining a writing challenge to write a play a day for all of February. I’m spread pretty thin. I think I think I can maintain but really, any positive vibes or funny memes or whatever else you can do to spread some joy my way I would really appreciate. Send me what’s made you laugh this week either at friendlesspod@gmail.com or in social media at friendless pod, I would really appreciate that. But anyway, that’s it for me. But I will be back next week with more friend this goodness. But of course, that is then this is now. So for now. I hope you do something nice for yourself this week. And then something even nicer for a stranger. I love you. And I’ll catch you next time. Fun and safety y’all

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