[Editor's Note: Exene Cervenka is a writer, visual artist and punk rock pioneer. The OC transplant is the lead singer for X, the Knitters and Original Sinners. Her column, Exene Says..., is her space to basically just write what's on her mind, everything from crazy life stories to political theories and observations about what's going on in this fucked up world of ours. To contact her, send all messages to firstname.lastname@example.org.]
When I first started writing my Ask Exene advice column for the OC Weekly, I felt like Nathaniel West's Miss Lonelyhearts. Or, sometimes, Lois Lane. I took every letter very seriously, contemplating my response for days. After all, if people were asking me for advice, I owed it to them to do some soul-searching. I thought also of the people who might relate to the letters, even if the original questioner would hate my advice! Hey, maybe I helped somebody who wasn't even looking for help!
Then I got to write whatever I wanted with Exene Says. I could stir up the truth, then put it on a paper plate, and let's have a picnic. Not everybody wants to eat what I serve. And that's okay with me. If I made you think slightly differently, or if you vehemently disagreed, I feel pretty good about the whole experience.
All I really want to achieve on this planet is to know I served a meaningful purpose, that I was honest with myself, that I slayed all my dragons and gave you a few tips on how to slay yours.
This is my last column. I am striking out to that horizon I haven't met yet. Please visit my Youtube channel, Christine Cervenka, if you want to continue on with me as your guide, pal, helper, friend, joker.
If artists don't liberate our minds, then they are not artists; they are simply entertainers. If we don't seek the truth in high and low places, we will be stuck with lies in the middle of nowhere. If we don't care about ourselves, our communities, our shared humanity, then we are not a society.
If we are censored, prevented, stalled, struck out, limited, prohibited and intimidated by corporate predators, then we are goners.
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Here are some words of wisdom from my advice-column days: Wake up, step up, man up, woman up, get up, rise up, throw up, spit up, and look in the mirror. There is only one you. Don't let them take it. It's all you got. We need you to be an individual, with your own strengths, peculiarities, quirks and opinions. Don't imitate, emulate, worship or desire to be a celebrity or worship made-in-hell idols. We need you to be you. Don't be afraid to not fit in because, really, who does?
If this whole matrix-economy nightmare doesn't get repaired, we will all need to pull together. Actually, we already do. Support your farmers' markets, indie stores and, most of all, one another.
Thanks to the OC Weekly and all who read or cared about what I had to say. Much love.