Lady Fortuna

I’m thankful to have no superstitions today. The logical filter is in place and I think very well. I hear Ravel in my head, but it’s not a hallucination; merely my phonographic memory. When I was fourteen my mind could record albums of music and play them back at will. I didn’t need a Walkman to hear tunes. I didn’t tell anyone about this ability. Nowadays, when I play my bass with others, I can fetch lines out of thin air and play them on the spot. Perhaps bass guitar is too easy an instrument for me, but I love the way it sounds. I don’t usually consider an instrument in terms of ease or difficulty of playing. I always said that any instrument can be taken as far as you want to go. Maybe I could find some jazz musicians to play with, but I never cared much for jazz. I like classical and rock, and a blend of the two. There has to be a niche for me somewhere in local music. If not then I’ll carve one. It’s an issue of applying myself to what I want to do. I can’t let anything interfere, neither human nor canine. My dog hates music, but he must learn his role. I was derailed from making music for so many years, and finally I have the conditions necessary to do it again. My house will have a soundproof room, enabling me to play as loudly as I want, any time of day. The responsibility is mine: I have the right circumstances, now I must use them. Fortune is cooperating at last, if it isn’t better than blind.



Why do I persist with my life? I must feel it’s worth saving. I feel terrible now, but there’s no way back. Only forward march. I’ve come a long way, too far to give up now. The show must go on. Just ride it out and watch what happens, accepting everything. Things could take a turn for the worst, but again, just accept what comes. Just stay alive. And remember the people who were good to me. It sounds cliché, but a simple ethic like this really works. I’ll have good days and bad days, and no two days will be exactly alike. I amaze myself for how I slogged through the early stages of recovery. I could barely think some days, but I trudged through the best I could. The fact is that I survived to see this day. I don’t know what tomorrow will be like. Concentrate on this moment: am I happy? I just ate a good burrito for lunch. In a masochistic way I am enjoying this writing process. Progress is painful, and I have setbacks now and again. Today is a bad day, mostly. Happiness used to be artificially induced by alcohol. Like magic, I could drink myself into euphoria that resembled heaven. I could do this anytime in the comfort of home. At the same time, nothing got done. Inside my head, all was peachy, and I thought that was enough. But no, there was a world outside my head that needed my participation. And another word for participation is sharing.


Religion is the disease for which it is the cure, to recast Wittgenstein. Just opening the Bible and scanning it is enough to be hooked like a fish to the bait. From there, you are stuck on the Bible’s terms. The only way out is to unlearn its terminology…

This reminds me of the reluctant debate I had with a Catholic in January 2010. The guy tried to force me to meet him on his terms when I said I didn’t believe in God. I refused to use logic and only reasserted my unbelief. This exasperated the heck out of the man, who kept trying to snare me logically. My defense was that of an existentialist, saying that reason didn’t have all the answers. My defense against his rationalism was indeed irrationalism. I completely dodged his method with something visceral, just a gut feeling. He finally gave up on trying to convert me, and eleven months later his family moved away. It was the most unpleasant inquisition of my life. I realized later that the Catholic had something wrong upstairs. You just don’t invite your neighbors to breakfast and then try to crucify them.

Chase Dream

Quarter of ten. In my recurring dream of persecution, I finally made it downtown! To begin, I was with Morgan Freeman in a large building, something like a hangar, but with a hallway. We passed through a double door into a smaller chamber with big windows. The feeling was agoraphobic and paranoid, like being watched. Outside, the landscape was flat and treeless, looking like an airport in the boonies. I glanced around, focusing mostly to our right. I saw no one outside, so I decided to make a run for it. Freeman stayed behind. I left the building, hurrying towards my parked car and ever watchful to my right. Then, among the sticks in the distance, I caught a glimpse of a pursuer. The dream’s pace accelerated from there. I got in the car and drove maniacally onto the highway. I took a few turn-offs I knew, watching the car divide in two and move along without me in it. I could guide the vehicle by remote, but couldn’t see where it was going after the on-ramp. Still, this time it worked. I rejoined with the car at the Ferry Street Bridge and exited right onto Sixth Street, changing lanes a few times and becoming camouflaged by the thick traffic, all the while fleeing from hot pursuit…


I shall gather my thoughts on poetic transcendence, IMO best epitomized by Emily Dickinson. The project of nineteenth century American poetry often was union with the spirit world through the use of metaphor. When Ralph Waldo Emerson came to light in the 1840s, he brought to the language the influence of Plato in the West and Hinduism in the East. What Dickinson added to his vision was wavering Christian faith and extended metaphor. Like an impressionist, she could transmute a view of the landscape into something personal and sublime. But she didn’t merely conceive an image, she perceived past the literal things to their Platonic ideal, leaving us the record in a “riddle.” I lack for examples except for “It Sifts from Leaden Sieves.” The blanket of snow to Dickinson’s imagination “deals celestial veil” to the scene. But she sees the snow not as literal snow, nor even as a metaphor: she sees the snow as it really is. The snow is a copy of the Platonic Form for snow, an ideal in the spirit world. It’s almost as if the prospect Dickinson looks upon were three dimensions in two, like a sheet of paper, and the question to her mind is, “What’s on the other side of the paper?” That would be the fourth dimension, the one concealed by the snow. Dickinson furnishes us not with a personal vision but, through writing it down in poetic language, the very essence of the sublime. It is hyperbole on my part, but Dickinson makes visible to us what we otherwise would never suspect. She gives us the truth—- as also did Vincent Van Gogh after his illness. The project of art is and always will be the discovery of the absolute. In a sense, poetry is the science of God…

Which of Us Is Hollow?

Midnight. I woke up to a handful of email notifications, a few being from WordPress. My dream of the hollow tree may be more interesting than I had deemed. My brother’s attitude, when I joined him on the beach or riverside, was that the lower, easier tunnel was a no brainer. It was the materialistic way everyone else went. The climbing, narrowing tunnel was foolhardy and a dead end. He laughed mockingly at Christians, poets, and anyone who sought a spiritual truth. He held that the only truth was material and, I daresay, amoral. In reality he cackled, “Two by two, motherfucker!” and drove away in his sparkling car. So my dream queries who will have the last laugh, my brother or me. In his opinion, my theological struggle will end fruitlessly in death. My dream of the hollow tree admits some self doubt and fear that he may be right. His storing up earthly treasures may be wiser than storing up treasures in heaven. It is impossible to know until we both reach that threshold.

Past and Future

What was that thought I had concerning the mystery of Christ? I didn’t read the New Testament until 2007, and then saw my past through a lens of the apostles. Mostly I was just confused. I couldn’t hear my own voice in the clamor of fundamentalism in my mind. At Optical, we were taught two contradictory beliefs: Christian altruism on one hand and the value of money on the other. How could we be selfless and selfish at the same time? But the same absurdity was true of all republicans. My obsessive mind created its own little shrine of iconic books, consisting of three main ones: The Basic Works of Aristotle, a red KJV Bible, and a hardcover of The Fountainhead. These formed the triumvirate rock that got me through each workday. By a form of talismanic telepathy I was kept safe. I further wore a heavy sterling silver dog tag engraved with “Reason.” I probably realized what a mess I was, but I believed that in order to survive I had to be a robot at all times. The message I got from my siblings was that the robot existence was right, and it was okay to salve the pain with binge drinking. In fact, that’s what my coworkers also did. In sum, I had to brainwash myself to be a republican, something I was not. But as with all disguises, mine couldn’t last forever, for as Shakespeare wrote, the truth will out. I see my NKJV Bible as a souvenir of hard times dealing with the loss of my mother. When she was gone, I had to learn to be independent, and that took me some time. I’ve learned to trust my own wits and resources, which nobody before ever encouraged me to do. The revolution began with finding my voice, and WordPress was there to facilitate the process. In a literal way, so was Our Redeemer when I started singing. My voice with the choir was artless yet tuneful enough to build confidence. And the rest is destiny yet to unravel…