Five o’clock evening.
I’m trying not to get involved in a big family fiasco happening right now. Deep breaths. But I feel rather bad for my sister being caught in the middle of everything. It happens to be her birthday as well… The sun has come out partially a few times today, alternated with gray and black skies, yet no rain the whole day. I’ve just had a modest dinner and now want to unwind for a while. The daylight will last until after seven thirty. I’ve observed how everyone seems so apathetic every day except to be greedy and materialistic, and every person for himself. I see no love and we’re not having fun anymore. With a little motivation I’d take down my big book of Goethe and finish Faust. At least I need a shot of passion and seizing the day. I believe we waste so much of our lives making mistakes and controlling the damage afterwards. Perhaps it can’t be helped. Howsoever we live life is a wager and the stakes are very high. Do you go for all the marbles? Often I feel content to just sit quietly at home.
“Never wanted to be the boy next door
Always thought I’d be something more
But it ain’t easy for a small town boy
It ain’t easy at all
“Thinking it right, doing it wrong
Is easier from an armchair…”
Nine o five.
It feels cold in here though the furnace is running. I fed the dog and I’m gathering myself to spring to the store as usual. I slept pretty badly last night from worrying and caffeine. I’ve got this lunatic music playing in my head by Missing Persons from many years back. I see myself in the garage of Burke’s dad’s house off of Coburg Road, where our band would practice. Is the memory really meaningful or just so much flotsam? Perhaps all psychology is fake and not a true science at all. I can remember the old yellow Datsun truck Burke used to drive. I don’t remember the car he replaced it with later. From lack of self confidence or a shortage of faith, I never led the band anywhere. We just jammed privately, drank beer, and made our nowhere plans for nobody. Alcohol is conducive to dreaming big dreams while real time passes you by. In the meantime, however, I did get an education.
Ten twenty five.
It seems that the world panders to our dreams. Around the bend from me is the little Sin City that sells everything you need to escape. Going the other way on the road, you’ll find a place to seek salvation, the hope of the coming heaven on earth and an end to suffering. Both places have their sights on the horizon. It makes me wonder why the present is undesirable, and why we don’t do more with it.
Like a lot of days
I can see through you and all you say
Even if you try to get away
You’ll find escaping will bring you face to face
Nine thirty AM.
I ran into a few people on my trip to market, or rather one significant one I don’t see every day. Lisa, formerly of Karen’s salon, walked in and said hi as she got a couple of items. I wished her a belated Merry Christmas and she said, “Oh you know, Christmas was Christmas, now it’s over, time to move on.” She sounded tired or bored with the whole thing, like a cynical person or someone very smart. Either way she was superior to the holidays, which was fine with me. Kathy also was there, doing something like inventory work plus the usual cashiering, but it was Thomas who helped me at checkout. I got my stuff together and headed out the door. By the time I reached N Park I saw Lisa in her little navy blue Chevy cruising past me toward River Road and probably from there to the highway. As she went by I uttered softly, “There she goes.”
Quarter after midnight.
I’ve been writing elsewhere some notes on the Promethean gift of fire to humankind and the virtue of selfishness, according to Ayn Rand. I don’t know how efficient capitalism is as a system, so maybe I don’t agree wholly with her ideas; but I’m absolutely certain that discovery and invention can’t be bad things. I’m even more convinced that an intellect is a terrible thing to wreck with alcohol abuse, whatever the motive for drinking too much. Possibly, alcoholic people are driven to it by guilt for something, like a superior brain. A professor lectured that the “good soldier” of the novel by Ford Madox Ford was “too great for society” when I was a young student. My first response to this was incomprehension, then resentment when I did understand his thrust. Again it’s the rights of society versus individual rights. But whenever a person of genius makes a major breakthrough, it’s a great gift to his society, so he owes it to himself to pursue his mind the best he can. Perhaps a lot of people believe just the opposite: a person with new ideas ought to be suppressed and persecuted for his originality, especially if they challenge longstanding notions held sacred by culture.
My brother told me he’d had big dreams before he graduated from high school. He would invent the thingamajig and make a million dollars. Another time he said in self mockery, “You could’ve invented the reverse nuclear bomb!” Now I hate to think of what he’s like today. Yet his life as an educator wasn’t all for nothing…
I’m having a high energy day and things are going right. I just practiced on my Aria bass and for some reason it sounds pretty great. Perhaps the battery is fresh, or maybe the Donner cable makes a big difference. Or both. I hadn’t played it in a long while. The Aria is the bass I’ve had the longest; about 13 years, yet it’s never seen a real gig. I suppose that could change before too much time goes by… Gloria was here for two and a half hours this morning and it was rather fun. Something has happened to me that changed my whole perspective. I have no fear or dread of anything. During the small hours today I got up and listened to The Joshua Tree and some fusion by Yellowjackets, and that didn’t hurt… All day it’s been scattered showers, like early this morning when I walked with an umbrella to Community Market, and again for our road trip to the thrift store to dump off old useless junk. I don’t really have any more didactic things to share with my readers, and just maybe my job as a blogger is completed. I reckon time will tell. I could be gathering myself for the next jump; and I could be full of beans, too. It doesn’t matter very much.
Quarter after eleven.
I feel kind of tired and a bit anxious in general. Maybe I shouldn’t have called my sister on the phone. She has inflexible opinions on everything… I’m watching the squirrels in my backyard while Aesop pouts by the glass door. What would make him really happy?
Nine forty PM.
By now I realize that I’d love to play nineties jazz fusion with my friend here locally. It was an ambition I left behind when that style went out by around 1996 and all jazz converted to acoustic instruments. If we can get it to take off in Eugene then maybe I’ll be spending less time writing and blogging, which is all good with me.
Quarter of eleven. Perhaps it’s me who has inflexible opinions as to how much is possible?:
With happy thoughts and a dash of pixie dust, anyone can fly—
Quarter of ten at night.
Living in American culture hasn’t done me any favors as a person with a mental health diagnosis. Even my family rejects me, as I actually predicted in a story I wrote when I was 19 years old. Sometimes I feel like a perfect pariah, like the monster in Frankenstein, totally cut off from humanity except by the power of his rhetoric. Only his speech gives him any kind of place among humankind, kind of like my own situation. I can remember the lectures I heard on Frankenstein by Professor Pyle when I was a student. It was in the springtime, and occasionally while he was talking, a yellow jacket would fly in the open windows and dangle above his head. I sat next to a young lady named Lori who was nice looking and very smart. She worked for another professor grading papers and exams. Her plan was to join the Peace Corps after graduation and then be a teacher wherever she wanted. I had no such plans after college; I really didn’t know what I was going to do. I had a nebulous dream of being a rockstar. I guess I sort of dropped it all in the lap of fate, though I knew I didn’t want to leave school. Now I’m not sure what happened to me. But I think I knew there was something different about me. And underneath it all I still count on being catapulted to fame, however quixotic this expectation is. I don’t know where I got such a beautiful idea.
I’m having a rather rough day, though the rainfall is a kind of consolation, like sympathetic tears. Dunno; I’m just unhappy with my role as a person with this illness. The inside of my house is a dirty and cluttered wreck, and likewise is my mind sometimes. The two posts I published this morning I trashed; they were just inconsistent with my usual beliefs and attitudes. I guess I’m okay with the open door policy regarding church, the flexibility to come and go as needed. Today I feel like no kind of existential hero, but even the underdog will have his day. All I really want to do is empower people like me with mental illness by means of this blog, and to show you what we’re capable of in spite of a diagnostic label. And if you get some entertainment along the way, so much the better… Right now feels like sort of a trap, a lot of closed doors and windows, and every road leads me back to either church or the agency. The dice I was given are loaded and always land on snake eyes. If only I got just a fighting chance in the real world, the outcome would be fruitful. In the meantime there’s this blog to be my domain, a place for being simply myself. I will do what I can to get myself together in time for the New Year.
Nine o’clock at night.
Today didn’t amount to anything, except my dog was pretty happy, maybe because I didn’t play the bass. Last night I priced different brands of flat wound bass strings from three different sellers, and they were all close to forty dollars. With an eye on my finances, I might spring for the Rotosound set as the month progresses. Nothing is a giveaway right now because of holiday consumerism. They get you coming and going. It could be a very long season.
It’s interesting when it isn’t frustrating how people are pressed into such solitudes for the things they believe or don’t believe. America is notorious for this kind of alienation, as some people know who have traveled abroad and experienced cultural differences here and there. Sometimes I feel inclined to do a Henry James and emigrate from here to the Old World, if I only had enough money to do this, and a monopoly of daring. Most people’s imaginations are so limited by what they learn from their environment, their immediate family and upbringing. I vaguely remember the photographs that Kate used to send me of Rosyth, the little town across the bridge from Edinburgh in Scotland, with cobbled streets and foreign cars in black and white. Was it all just a drunken vision or did I really see those places on my computer screen? I’m beginning to lose my sanity thinking of it. Somehow in my euphoria I slipped over the rainbow to a land beyond my wildest dreams.
On my doorstep I found a new package: the selection of John Berryman had arrived, and it’s in time before our next band practice. So I opened the box but left the book wrapped in the plastic for delivery to Ron this weekend. Now I have to think of something for Mike; maybe a music CD, but which one?… I walked off to the store to get a few things. The sky is mostly cloudy and it’s cooler than yesterday. When I came home from church the other day I saw a big white prop plane low in the blue sky. I thought that I’d rather observe it from the ground than be a passenger on it. The same day, I stopped and said hello to Johnny in the green house on Fremont. He told me he hadn’t built the book share himself. It was someone who lives three blocks away from him. Then he wished me a happy Father’s Day, whether I was a dad or not… I think I’m going to opt out of DDA group. There’s one person who lords it over the rest of us at every meeting and I can’t tolerate it anymore… The Tuesday garbage trucks are making the rounds and it feels like an ordinary business day in the neighborhood. I have a renewed sense of individual freedom today.
Ten o’clock. Colin and Roger were just talking to each other in the street; I wonder what they have in common? Generally I don’t like a lot of my neighbors. North Eugene is sort of a purple zone, leaning towards the red in many places. Roger said he would like to move to a red state like Montana. He tunes the radio in his garage to conservative political talk and eats his heart out. What a waste of energy, so full of resentment and pure hate. He told me that education was excessive but for reading, writing, and arithmetic. No wonder he’s an ignoramus… I used to work in an office with a bunch of turkeys who mostly had a phobia of books and learning. The only way I could keep going to work was by pretending my education ended at eighth grade. But as with all self delusions, this situation couldn’t last. The truth comes out. So now I’ve changed my mind about that big twin engine plane: I’d prefer to fly the friendly skies.