JANIS JOPLIN,
blues/rock singer
Port Arthur, Texas
September 3, 1969

I have like what anyone would call like, say, a loneliness, a loneliness of my own. But it's just a private trip and probably shouldn't be forced on other people that much, you know what I mean? God, fuck it. Who cares how lonely you feel. You just have to learn to deal with it like everybody else does. Everybody has that, I think. Everybody. Even Christians.

I remember I used to think, goddamn it, it's because I'm a chick or it's because I haven't figured it out yet. It's because I'm not twenty-one. It's because I haven't read this or I haven't tried that.... Well, I've done every fucking thing and now I know better. There is no "because." And it's not going to get any better.

My father.... See, my father is a very intelligent man and I used to talk to him a lot because he reads and he's pretty sensitive and I was a mixed-up kid and too smart for my age-right? Anyway, so when I was eighteen, I ran away. Well,...went to California. One day this thing comes along and I learned something. It went pfshutt right in the side of my head and I sat up...and realized something. I ran up and wrote a long, long letter to my father all about how I'd felt growing up was like climbing a hill and that sooner or later you'd figure it out and it'd all come together and you'd level out and it wouldn't be such a fucking struggle every day, you know?... But then I realized there wasn't any leveling out, you know? You have the same fucking problem- or more-when you get old. I mean, you got more to deal with. It isn't gonna turn that corner, man. It just keeps going right on straight uphill.

So I wrote my father and explained this whole thing. Well, the next time I came home-my father has this friend, another man who's also very intelligent-and my father had evidently let him read my letter. You know, "Look what Janis is going through." They were proud of me because I was a thinker and they liked that because they were thinkers. So when I got home, this guy comes up to me and he says, "Well, I hear you learned about the Great Saturday Night Swindle." That's what he called it.

The realization that there isn't going to be any turning point.... There isn't going to be any next-month-it'll-be-better, next fucking year, next fucking life. You don't have any time to wait for. You just got to look around you and say, So this is it. This is really all there is to it. This little thing. Everybody needing such little things and they can't get them. Everybody needing just a little...confidence from somebody else and they can't get it. Everybody, everybody fighting to protect their little feelings. Everybody, you know, like reaching out tentatively but drawing back. It's so shallow and seems so...fucking...it seems like such a shame. It's so close to being like really right and good and open and amorphous and giving and everything. But it's not. And it ain't gonna be.

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