There Is No Nirvana

Eight thirty. I know that nine years ago was a long time, but I have a hard time letting it go. I loved Kate, simply enough. Yet the simplicity was complicated by other circumstances, including my alcoholism when I knew her. I guess what I need is to be patient with the process of recovery. In some ways I feel quite lost, while in others I’m very confident. For a while, I have to content myself with smaller pleasures before I’m ready for a relationship. But I have no regrets for what happened in the fall nine years ago, and hold those memories sacred.

Nine thirty five. I wore my new Duck mask on my trip to the store. Michelle was very nice, as always. Sometimes my thinking is clearer when I’m walking around. I realized that what I really miss is not my Scottish friend but rather the alcohol! Booze is a great facilitator of daydreams, and truly I lived in a fantasy years ago. I had a wonderful time when I drank, yet nothing short of heaven is permanent bliss. And then I speculated on the necessity for fantasy in all our lives. Dreams keep us going. If the frigate can’t be alcohol, then give me a good book. Today I’ll probably read more in Victor Hugo. The sky is overcast, though not as dark as yesterday morning. I think I love November. Music by Stewart Copeland runs in my mind, a souvenir of old times when I believed I was happy. Is all happiness just an illusion? Whatever your bliss, nothing in life is forever. Sobriety is to experience the roller coaster of real life. And these ups and downs are what I have to accept. 

Under the Sun

Quarter of nine.

Patience is a virtue. Apparently my pen pal can’t receive emails from me by some glitch. I have to wait until the bugs are fixed. It’s another sunny morning. Furnace is running. I won’t participate in the Zoom service. There’s nothing factual about Jesus, and that’s why it’s so hard to believe. It is unfortunate that real information is expensive while BS is free. Even worse when the BS is also expensive… But maybe the best avenue to faith is the Intimations Ode by Wordsworth. Childhood memories hold the key to everything that is spiritual in us. It can take quite an effort to remember back that far. When things were “appareled in celestial light.” We may be asked to give up childish things, to grow out of them. There is conflict with “the Child is the Father of the Man.” And then what are we supposed to do? Go on growing up, or cling to the child inside? This is my personal brain teaser lately. Do I go with Wordsworth or try for something new and more mature?

Ten o’clock. Pretty soon I will hit the street and head to the store. Destination Snapple. Destination something new… 

Foot and Mouth

Eight forty.

Walking west on Maxwell Road, I saw a man in a white Comcast truck peel out of a parking lot and scream up towards the bridge, swerving out of his lane as he went. I was thinking about the dumb things I used to say when I abused alcohol and kicking myself. When I got to the store, a few older guys with white hair came in and bought Budweiser and Keystone Light, with some incidental biscuits and gravy. Michelle held down the fort by herself. We talked a little about driving drunk and traffic violations. I had a few stupid accidents in my alcoholism. But the worst mistakes were verbal. I cringe to remember some of the things I’ve said to people, both in speech and in writing. So now, when I behold other alcoholics still doing their thing, I’m not sure how I feel. I doubt that I’d want to lapse back to drinking again. Curiously, I still catch myself putting my foot in my mouth sometimes. It makes me think again and repent for being a jerk. They say that alcoholism is more than just the drinking behavior. It’s a personality type. I don’t know if I agree with this, but then nobody asked my opinion… The sky is overcast this morning and it’s quite cool. That’s a fact that no one will dispute. Facts can be comforting, yet even they can be driven to support someone’s argument. The search for truth is a useless passion. Today I will try to simply go with the flow, though for me it’s very difficult. It’s nice to have a reprieve from the heat. 

Living Room

I just remembered: I’m going to the salon tomorrow for Kim’s birthday. This will be a good thing to do. I could actually go to Bi Mart today and buy a few things. As long as I’m there, I could get Kim a birthday card…

Quarter after eleven. I chickened out and ordered from Amazon. The sun is blazing high in the sky right now. It’s just as well to stay home. I feel a little hungry, so I’ll have some cottage cheese presently.

Noon hour. I just began my project of making my living room habitable. I moved 11 boxes of books out to the garage. First I put Aesop in the backyard. Then I opened the side door to the garage and propped open the front screen door. Maybe this afternoon I’ll move some more. My desire is to get some comfortable furniture for the living room, if only a few beanbag chairs and a couple of lamps for reading light. I’m tired of having only two places to sit in the house… I think I’m done with placating my parents’ spirits. If rock music doesn’t appeal to me anymore, then I can make other changes as well. Stay sober and the rest follows. Everything is different from before, including myself. Mom and Dad are truly gone… I found my Oxford copy of Middlemarch and pulled it out. I know very little about George Eliot, except that she was an Englishwoman who accepted Darwin. It might be fun to gaze into it at some point today. I’m so lazy and slow to get anything done, but there’s no pressure on me. If I want something badly enough, then it will happen.

How to Act

Quarter of nine.

I leave for the church very soon. Aesop has been fed. It’s another sunny day today. This time I remembered my tithe, so I wrote a check for two hundred dollars. Not a day goes by without thinking about my family.

Quarter of noon. Just got home from volunteering. Tired. I observe what an anachronism I am, out of our time, and also out of place. I don’t conform to what other people do. I’m just a maverick, I guess. But my peculiarity hopefully serves a purpose. I no longer see it as righteous. People are supposed to jump on the bandwagon and do what is expected. I am a loner doing just what I want to do. Others look at me kind of funny. Maybe something went wrong with me after my parents died and my siblings bullied me so unfairly. But you know, my parents were pretty weird people, though I loved and honored them all I could. I had friends who either liked my parents or not. My mother was very sympathetic toward people with disabilities, people of color— everybody in the rainbow category… After they passed away, I was left alone not knowing how to act. Even now, I’m still figuring it out. I doubt if I’ll ever be like other folks… Aesop came up to me and asked with his eyes if I was going to play my bass today. It really upsets him when I do. So I’ll give him a reprieve for the day.

Shine!

Eight o’clock.

I’ve fallen into a funk because of choices I made. I can choose to be happy and avoid depressing prog rock music. The jam is tomorrow, unless it’s cancelled. I barely remember what I was doing a year ago this time. But it seems that I wasn’t happy then either. I was reading a collection by Clark Ashton Smith, but my daily life is hard to pull up. I felt hopeless. You know, it may not be a matter of choice. How much freewill do we have, anyway? The big romantic scheme I dreamed up while in the trailer was an illusion… The weather is gray and rainy again. Maybe it just is. Accept life as it is, highs and lows alike. I actually think I was happier when I drank and emailed with Kate seven years ago. Another possibility is that cutting out caffeine has resulted in depression. I could try just a one liter of Coca Cola and see what happens… I would definitely prefer to be happy. Don’t forget to withdraw some cash at the store. Aesop needs dry food. I will go right now.

Nine thirty five. Back from the store. The Coke tastes great. Hoping for the best. They were out of regular Dog Chow, so I bought something more expensive. As I was walking home, my delusions of grandeur disappeared. I’m just a poor schizophrenic person on disability income who doesn’t have a car. I asked myself where I wanted to be in life — and I answered, Right here. But was that honest? Maybe I think it’s all or nothing. I just want to play my music and hope things work out. My pride doesn’t match my situation. I’m really in a low place in society, and probably destined to stay there. Only drinking alcohol could make it worse. I should make my American hero someone like Edgar Allan Poe, who was very poor and survived by his writing. He had a drinking problem and perhaps other mental issues. How could I aspire to higher? The best I can do is stay alive and shine in my place and be content.

Like the Weather

I have to be ready to leave at three o’clock. I’ll go to the store after ten o’clock or so. The weather is gray but not stormy or even rainy. It’s just sort of glum and blah. It is neither warm nor bright; just the opposite. I’m getting tired of the same old food day after day, but I still enjoy the ginger ale. Remember to avoid caffeine because it gives me shortness of breath. I thought I would die the last time I did Coke… I haven’t heard from any musical prospects since Monday. I look forward to another jam with Mark, but he has to find us a guitar player to make a trio. I guess I’m trying to hurry things, but it takes time to put something together. I should just relax and let the future happen. I hear “Cinema Show” in my head, an old Genesis classic. Aesop gets his breakfast in an hour. He’s such a good companion. Smart as a whip. I feel that I should accept life more as it is rather than try to change it. It’s so important to love ourselves and each other and basically let it be. We are where we are in life, so no need to push things or try to force them to happen. I’m thankful that the schizophrenia is well managed and that life is as good as it is. What if it doesn’t get any better than this? Shouldn’t I be happy just the same? Maybe idealism has its drawbacks. Progress is slow and painful, and perfect is probably impossible. It amazes me sometimes how I run into the same people now and then. Everyone does the best that they can at all times. To ask for more is being unrealistic, so just accept and move on… Therefore, the weather may not be beautiful today, but it could be much worse. And human beings are like the weather.

Sunday Worship

One ten. The sermon today was about evangelism. Pastor asked the assembly what words we associated with it, and I said “force.” He liked the relevance of this to his sermon. He said that many in the congregation had never experienced evangelism, so maybe they wouldn’t understand. So he went on to define what evangelism is, or what it should be. Our pastor is a smart guy, thankfully. He has a lot of erudition and is powerful with words. Though I feel a little on the fringe of the group, they still accept me as part of the family. I know they won’t pick up stones to hurl at me or anything if I openly express doubts about religion. I’ve done it already on a few occasions, and it merely made them think a little harder. All in all it’s a very healthy mental environment for everyone involved. I really like Our Redeemer for a place to go and share with intelligent people. Service today went especially well, I thought. And it’s a beautiful sunny day today.

Sunday

Six thirty. Sleepless and dysphoric. Caffeine again. The sunrise should encourage me. Yesterday it was grenadine and worth a picture as I trod towards it, but I’d left my phone at home. My new shoes were heavy on the asphalt, clopping along in rhythm. I’m just a saturnine Capricorn, goat footed and sure on the rocks. The job of the tenth house is to crystallize the mentality instigated by Aries. We bring up the rear, make sense of the times, and immortalize them. I might make a good historian. I was a decent archivist. When my life is incoherent, I take recourse to the stars, resort to my birth chart to reorient myself. I let things drop and just accept what is, because it can’t be otherwise. I feel the need to forgive myself for being me. What else would I do? Distort myself to be somebody’s poster boy? Something tells me I’m doing all right. The day is breaking cloudy with no rain. In a few minutes I’ll tramp over to the market for Aesop’s cans and something for me to drink. I might avoid Coca-Cola this time…

An Old Beatles Song

Until reading a bit more of Waldo, I had begun to forget the importance of liberal thought and liberal education, the use of reason and intuition to help people advance. He set forth particularly that most individuals won’t agree with the Bible, but even so will go to church for lack of thinking about religion. I might add that people don’t esteem their own opinion highly enough to trust it for direction. These folks have been discouraged from thinking and judging, dissuaded from their reason, by leadership that suspects a threat in anyone who wears glasses or appears intellectual. Still everyone thinks anyway, consciously or subconsciously. We can’t avoid reason for, as Plato believed, an essence of it pervades all existence. Meanwhile William Blake quoted, “Would to God that all the Lord’s people were prophets.” For him the spirit is the Poetic Genius, an intuitive thing. Blake vilified empiricism, especially John Locke and David Hume. When Newton blows the trumpet of the last doom in Europe: A Prophecy, the angels fall to their graves on earth, exhibiting Blake’s mistrust of science…

It took me some time and trouble to locate that passage in Europe. I recalled it from the Norton critical edition of Blake I read from in fall 1994. The image of the crashing angels impressed my imagination. I found the information again in a scholarly article of criticism, thanks to Google…

And I’m picking up another subtext in my writing. If Plato is the philosophical tradition, might I be referring to myself? Then what real person in my experience is represented by Blake? I would guess my pastor. He’s the one who would be leery of empirical science, of the knowledge it yields. He is suspicious of Hume’s determinism as well, since atheists use it in their arguments. And indeed the angels would come crashing down to earth at the sound of the trumpet blown by Newton.

So that: it’s looking like a departure of me from the church, for as I suggested above, I cannot stop my brain from reasoning, even subconsciously. The honest thing to do is to quietly take my leave, out of respect for the believers. Be considerate and kind, but do it rather than be a wolf in sheep’s clothing. “But tomorrow may rain, so, I’ll follow the sun…”