Do you know what my greatest fantasy is? To learn the secret of life. I know there really is no secret to life but I still want to learn it. I’m dedicated alright.

I have to think the best place to learn the secret of life is in books. There are plenty of books that claim to have the secret of life such as religious and self help books but these don’t interest me. It is a secret, after all, so why would it be in a book that millions of people have read? No, it has to be in an obscure book tucked away in some dusty old room. This is why I like the movie “The Ninth Gate”. No one else I know likes it but the movie is about Johnny Depp searching through rare books for the secret of life. Johhny’s secret of life involves proving the devil exists which really doesn’t interest me but the search does. He just keeps looking and looking…

Mostly I read books on history and biography. I think that if the secret of life exists these are the type of books it would be in. Maybe some person in the past discovered it and the secret can be gleaned from the story of his life. Or it might be found in some great past event that if looked at in just the right light would reveal everything. Usually the events and people are interesting enough on their own to make good subjects for books but in the back of my mind I’m always on the lookout for that secret.

The other good place to try and find the secret of life is in documentaries. I had one on as I was drawing today about Nixon and Watergate. No secret of life was revealed to me but somewhere in that scandalous mess it might be hiding. HBO and PBS usually have good docs about life in this old world of ours and somewhere in all of those millions of feet of film there must be some peek at life’s secret. There has to be. The odds say so. A million monkeys and all.

The other type of documentary is the cable TV “In Search Of” type. I hesitate to call them documentaries because they really don’t document anything other than speculations about if aliens are among us and such but I don’t think there is another name for them. I don’t really care for the alien ones but the history based ones can be entertaining. Henry Lincoln’s “Holy Blood, Holy Grail” docs from the BBC come to mind. They are from the 70’s and cover a lot of the ground that “The DaVinci Code” walks on. The Knights Templar, secret societies, lost royal blood lines, secret treasures and all that fun stuff are in Lincoln’s three docs. The only reason to have a secret society is to guard secrets so it is a natural place to look.

All of these pseudo-docs claim to have a lot of “hidden truths”. So one of them could have the secret of life. Right? Because if Nikola Tesla didn’t have it than who did? Rasputin maybe? Unfortunately none of these shows actually reveal any secrets. Though they do make up plenty of stuff that the next show can quote.

Anything about Atlantis is cool too. Those Atlanteans knew all kinds of stuff. It makes me wonder why Aquaman is so damn boring.

Paintings can help in the search. I’m sure there is something in van Gogh’s work that I just have to nail down. Just look at it. He saw the world in a way that no one else did. I also think I can almost see the secret of life when I look at an Ad Reinhardt composition in black.

Whenever I dream of learning the secret of life I am inevitably drawn to a Tom T. Hall song that I heard in my childhood. In it the singer is asking an old man about the secret of life.

“I knew I had to ask him about the mysteries of life he spit between his boots and he replied:
It’s faster horses, younger women, older whiskey, and more money” -Tom T Hall “Faster Horses”